FS Crop Advisers Help with Nutrient Management Plans

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

This is the final installment of a four part series on Nutrient Management sponsored by FS/GROWMARK

growmark-musserJohn Musser, a crop adviser with Stephenson Service Company, has been a crop consultant for over 30 years and a Certified Crop Adviser for the past two decades. He was the 2012 winner of the Illinois Certified Crop Adviser Award for helping his growers improve their total nitrogen management strategy.

“My first direction is to make sure that we build something that’s agronomically sound,” said Musser. “That usually starts out with soil testing information to ensure that we have adequate agronomic levels to grow a crop, whether it’s corn or soybeans.” Beyond that, recommendations follow a 3-4 year cycle.

Musser says he stresses to growers the importance of keeping what they put on. “If we lose our soils, we really lose our nutrients, and we lose our value and our ability to grow good corn crops,” he said. Bottom line is that over application means lost money.

One of the biggest changes for the benefit of nutrient management in the time that Musser has been in the crop consulting business has been the use of GPS since the mid-90s. “Understanding that we can really watch change and understand change, (we’ve seen) the numbers really do work,” he said.

Moving forward, Musser says better data management will help growers continue to improve nutrient management. “Right now they’re in a collection mode,” he said. “The challenge that they have right now is there’s no consistent data collection tool that everybody’s using to start to gather some consistency.”

Listen to my interview with John here and learn more about improving nutrient management plans: Interview with John Musser, Stephenson Service Company

In case you missed them, here are links to the other three parts of this series:
Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy
N-Watch Program Growing.
Be Part of Nutrient Management Solution

Nutrient Management Series

sponsored by
Nutrient Management Series is sponsored by GROWMARK
Audio, Data, Growmark, Nutrient Management Cindy ZimmermanFS Crop Advisers Help with Nutrient Management Plans

New Leader TR1000 Trailer

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

hiwayHighway Equipment Company, the manufacturer of New Leader® crop nutrient applicators, encourages growers across the nation to inquire about the TR1000 trailer with dry nutrient applicator at their authorized John Deere CAD/ASD dealerships. The TR1000 trailer, built exclusively for the John Deere 4900 series sprayer chassis, allows individual growers the ability to apply lime and fertilizer as needed, on their own clock. The TR1000 is adaptable to specific crop needs with an adjustable axle, 3 tire size options, and brakes.

The TR1000 trailer and dry nutrient applicator package, is more than a spreader. It’s a machine. New Leader’s patented application technology permits a uniform, consistent application that helps crops achieve their maximum nutrient uptake. Side-by-side comparisons demonstrate that New Leader applicators are capable of spreading 25-50% wider that competing applicators, even in 20 mph wind.

Additional features of the TR1000 include: a heavy-duty category ¾ bull pull hitch which eliminated backlash, an inspection ladder, hose and harness support, 40k-pound rated safety chain and a heavy-duty trailer jack.

Agribusiness, Equipment, Fertilizer Jamie JohansenNew Leader TR1000 Trailer

Biotechnology a Focus at Export Exchange

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

minigh-exexDr. Howard Minigh, president and chief executive officer of CropLife International, was one of the presenters at the 2014 Export Exchange in Seattle this week. The event is co-sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

Speaking to nearly 500 attendees representing over 40 countries, Minigh talked about how biotechnology benefits farmers and consumers worldwide, and innovation in plant science is essential to meet the world’s rapidly growing demand for food. Biotechnology was a key topic at the Exchange in an effort to educate international buyers.

Since being commercially introduced in the mid-1990s, the economic benefits of plant biotechnology at the farm level have exceeded $117 billion, according to PG Economics. In 2013, 18 million farmers in 27 countries – more than 90 percent of them lower-income farmers in the developing world – planted biotech crops.

Despite the widespread adoption of this technology, it is controversial and, in some markets, unpredictable regulatory frameworks often influenced by political forces have created challenges to global trade. The timelines for approval in large importing countries are increasing, although this trend is not confined only to those who buy grain. Even the United States, which as recently as 2008 was a global leader in biotech approvals, now trails Canada, Brazil and Argentina on this measure.

Export Exchange participants also heard presentations on the global supply and demand situation, economic drivers affecting the global feed grains trade, and the latest developments in shipping, financing and the policy environment.

Agribusiness, biotechnology, Exports, Grain Cindy ZimmermanBiotechnology a Focus at Export Exchange

Save the Date for 2015 NeATA

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 9.31.15 AMMark your calendar now for the 2015 Nebraska Agriculture Technology Association (NeATA) conference held on February 4 and 5 in Grand Island. This year’s conference will feature a variable rate and UAV symposium as well as numerous other topics. You won’t want to miss.

NeATA is Nebraska’s a grassroots agricultural-based non-profit associations. The association was founded by innovative Nebraska farmers and agribusiness representatives that share a common desire to stay abreast of emerging agricultural technologies. The NeATA organization facilitates on-farm research opportunities, educational programs, and a perpetual investigation of practical applications for new agricultural technologies.

Ag Group, Education, Events, technology Jamie JohansenSave the Date for 2015 NeATA

Hick Chick Chat: A Farmland Review

Leah Guffey Leave a Comment

11326519286_c9a07ae0bf_oEarlier this year during Commodity Classic I first learned about the movie Farmland. Since I’d been away from the world of agriculture for a few years, I missed the preparations and planning for this groundbreaking documentary. At this point a trailer was out giving us all an opportunity to watch and learn a bit more about the film. Over the next several months we saw stories and interviews with the farmers and ranchers who were featured in it. Then it happened, it was released to the world with positive feedback. With limited chances to view the film in its entirety, I turned to Hulu to finally take it in myself and you can too.  

10379016_1607274999498947_6900745005405091864_nFarmland isn’t just a documentary it’s really a story that you can find outside the lights of your local community. I’ve lived in the country (which I prefer), on an Army post, in a city and in the gorgeous state of Maine. I can tell you the one thing that I’ve missed each and every time I’ve left the country has been the smell of freshly cultivated dirt, the view of the crops growing, the scent of livestock and the constant need to pull over for the larger-than-me equipment on the road. Yet, I think of all of those who haven’t heard this story. The people I’ve worked with that haven’t known the difference between corn and soybeans or what a combine looked like and how it worked. I’m no expert, but I do love to share the story of the hard working people who grow and harvest our food. The movie Farmland does just that. The stories are no different than those created by the farmer or rancher that lives down the road from you. My dad once told me that sometimes the way of life is worth the paycheck. Farming is an amazing way of life.

You can listen to my chat here: Hick Chick Chat Farmland: The Movie

Join in the conversation on Twitter and on Facebook

Audio, Hick Chick Chat, USFRA Leah GuffeyHick Chick Chat: A Farmland Review

PERC Calculators Estimate Propane Cost Savings

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

perc-propaneThe Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) has just released a suite of cost calculator tools for customers in three of the industry’s fastest-growing markets: agriculture, commercial landscape, and on road fleets. The calculators are designed to estimate potential fuel savings and ROI with clean, American-made propane when compared with conventional fuels like gasoline and diesel.

“At PERC, we’ve have worked with a number of companies in the last few years to develop new propane engines for use in irrigation,” said PERC Director of Agriculture Business Development Cinch Munson. Using the new calculator on-line or on a smart phone, a producer can plug in some basic information – such as engine horsepower, propane and diesel engine and fuel costs – and it will determine the costs for over five years for comparison purposes. “So they can see what the return on investment would be by making the choice to go with propane,” Munson said.

The Propane Irrigation Engine Calculator can be operated with Internet access online at propanecostcalculator.com or downloaded as a desktop tool for users. Downloadable worksheets can also be printed and filled in by hand. Mobile applications are available for phones and tablets in app stores for Apple and Android devices and results from the applications can be easily shared by email.

Listen to my interview with Cinch here: Interview with Cinch Munson, Propane Education and Research Council

We’ll be learning more about propane irrigation engines, as well as incentive programs to use propane on the farm and new propane farm equipment at the World LP Gas Forum next week in Miami where Cinch and other representatives from PERC will be in attendance.

Audio, Irrigation, propane Cindy ZimmermanPERC Calculators Estimate Propane Cost Savings

Valent and MGK Enter into Agreement

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

valent-mgk Valent U.S.A. Corporation (Valent) has entered into an agreement to manage the marketing and sales of Minneapolis-based MGK’s crop protection line of insect control products within the United States. The marketing agreement, which broadens Valent’s agricultural insecticide portfolio in the U.S. market, will start on April 1, 2015.

MGK will continue to manufacture their products, provide regulatory support for the active ingredients and collaborate with Valent on developmental projects. The companies are working together to ensure a smooth business transition for customers, as well as to build upon the outstanding customer service model of Valent, with seamless integration.

Agribusiness, Crop Protection Cindy ZimmermanValent and MGK Enter into Agreement

Calcium Products Opens World Headquarters

Talia Goes Leave a Comment

cpCalcium Products – North America’s leading producer of precision soil amendments that improve soil quality to maximize nutrient uptake and strengthen yields — recently celebrated the grand opening of its new headquarters located at the Iowa State University Research Park. Included is a new research and development laboratory and customer support center. Company CEO Mike Hogan also announced the expansion of Calcium Product’s sales force to support increased demand for its products in the US and Canada.

“Our new headquarters and R&D lab is located in the heart of the Midwest and right next door to Iowa State University, a worldwide leader in agriculture practices and soil sciences,” says Hogan. “Managing soil quality is now a critical component of profitable farming as growers optimize their nutrients to maximize yields and return on their investment. Our new facilities will help us accelerate the development of more precision soil amendments that enable crops to absorb more nutrients and produce greater yields while protecting the environment at the same time.”

Calcium Products’ headquarters were previously located in Gilmore City, Iowa, one of its five (5) North American manufacturing and distribution facilities.

Agribusiness, Calcium Products Talia GoesCalcium Products Opens World Headquarters

Ag, Interior Departments Measure Conservation Water Quality

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

usda-logoThe USDA and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced a new partnership agreement that will provide a clearer picture of the benefits of farmers’ conservation practices on the quality of our Nation’s water. Working together, USDA’s NRCS and DOI’s USGS will quantify the benefits of voluntary agricultural practices at a watershed scale. This information will strengthen the effectiveness of state and federal nutrient reduction strategies while protecting the privacy of individual farmers. The agreement was announced at the Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force Meeting.

“On a voluntary basis, the agricultural community has put extensive effort into the management of nutrients and reducing runoff into waterways. This collaboration will help evaluate the impact of farmers’ conservation efforts on improving water quality,” said Ann Mills, USDA’s deputy under secretary for Natural Resources and Environment.

Mills said when hundreds of farms take action in one watershed, it can make a difference-it can help prevent an algal bloom downstream or lessen the need for water treatment plants to treat for nitrates.

The U.S. Geological Survey will now use Natural Resources Conservation Service data on conservation work to factor into its surface water quality models, which track how rivers receive and transport nutrients from natural and human sources to downstream reservoirs and estuaries. This information will help provide a more accurate picture of the conservation systems in the watershed that contribute to water quality improvement and will provide crucial information for voluntary nutrient management strategies and watershed planning.

Read More

Ag Group, Conservation, farm land, Government, USDA, water Jamie JohansenAg, Interior Departments Measure Conservation Water Quality

Precision Sugarcane Harvesting

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment


2014 CTIC Conservation in Action Tour Photo Album

ctic-14-cane-harvestIn addition to seeing sugarcane planting on the the 2014 CTIC Conservation in Action tour, we also got to see harvesting – yes, they can do both at the same time of year in the sunny south!

“We harvest with one mechanical harvester per row, each one geared with auto steer and trash extraction systems,” says Ken McDuffie, senior VP of sugarcane operations for U.S. Sugar. “They’re harvesting about 50 tons an hour per machine.” That’s almost 1.2 acres an hour – or about 1000 tons per machine, per day.

All of U.S. Sugar’s cane harvesters are John Deere models and all use JD Link. “Each machine is wired in with JD Link so we can see engine health, RPMs at all times, fuel burn,” McDuffie said. “We were able to conserve about 1-2 gallons per hour (of fuel) last year using monitoring systems on the engines from John Deere.”

It was only about 20 years ago that all of the sugarcane harvesting in Florida was done by hand, as it is still done in less developed countries. “Each machine replaced about 40-50 people, back in the hand cut days,” said McDuffie.

Listen to my interview with Ken here and watch the video below to hear more and see the harvesters in action: Interview with Ken McDuffie, U.S. Sugar

In case you are wondering about the birds, snowy egrets follow the harvesters around the fields to eat up the worms and bugs the machines dig up.


Audio, Conservation, CTIC, Harvesting, John Deere Cindy ZimmermanPrecision Sugarcane Harvesting