New VP of North America at New Holland

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Bret Lieberman_headshotNew Holland is excited to announced the appointment of Bret Lieberman as Vice President of North America. Bret will be based in New Holland and will assume the role of Vice President immediately.

Bret has an accomplished resume at CNH Industrial and New Holland spanning 25 years in various roles which will bring a multi-faceted perspective and a passion from within to the brand’s top leadership position. Most recently, Bret has held the position of head of North America Manufacturing, where he has been responsible for all agricultural and construction manufacturing plants since 2009.

Bret joined the company in 1990 with a position in service parts. Bret continued to expand his experience with various roles in purchasing, human resources, quality management and haytools production.

“Bret has brought strong leadership to each role he has held and has a deep understanding and passion for New Holland and the equipment that makes us a world-class leader in agriculture and construction,” said Brad Crews, COO of CNH Industrial NAFTA. “We are focused on the future and given Bret’s proven ability we see a great opportunity for continued growth through close partnerships with our dealers and customers.”

“I am excited for this new opportunity to lead the brand as I have spent a significant portion of my career here on the New Holland campus,” said Bret. “I deeply understand the importance of the quality and performance of the equipment that our dealers and customers rely on everyday for their success.”

Bret Lieberman holds a Master Degree in Business Management from Saint Francis College in Loretto, Pa. and received his Bachelor’s degree in Business, Management and Administration from Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pa. He currently resides in Lititz, Pa. where he enjoys spending time with his three children as well as a variety of outdoor sports such as bicycling, snowboarding and motorcycling.

Agribusiness, Company Announcement, New Holland

Rate Control Manure Spreaders from Digi-Star

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

DS_NT8000i_011215Digi-Star introduces the NT 8000i rate control system for manure spreaders. The NT 8000i is a weight-based system that improves application efficiency by varying the unloading rate in proportion to ground speed.

The NT 8000i is a closed-loop rate control system designed to provide precision guidance and prescription-based control of the spreading rate in hydraulically driven apron floor systems on manure spreaders using data collected and evaluated in real time.

“The unique feature of the NT 8000i is the weight-based self-calibration and calibration-check system that continuously monitors and readjusts the calibration factor based on the actual weight of the material spread,” says Jack Danner, Digi-Star sales manager. “The NT 8000i system provides enhanced spreading rate accuracy when working with challenging materials of varying densities such as manure, litter or compost.”

With complete as-applied data records saved to an SD card, NT 8000i applicators are equipped with automated traceability allowing them to meet the recordkeeping needs of land owners and government agencies. The system also reduces operator mistakes and fatigue with its fully automated spreader controls.

The NT8000i earned an AE50 award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) earlier this year. AE50 awards recognize the most innovative designs in engineering products or systems for the food and agriculture industries.
For more information on the NT8000i, call (920) 563-1400 or email:

Agribusiness, Equipment, Fertilizer

Nutrient Management Through Plant Sap Analysis

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Michelle redGrowers who are interested in reducing crop inputs and increasing profits can learn more about a program to achieve both from Crop Health Labs. This nutrient management tool is plant sap analysis and they are hosting webinars throughout July to educate growers about this different approach to very common nutrient management problems.

I spoke with Crop Health Labs Executive Director, Michelle Gregg, to learn more about the benefits of plant sap analysis and whats sets it apart from traditional methods. “Plant sap analysis differs from traditional tissue analysis in that we are collecting the liquid portion of the plant instead of the structure of the plant. By collecting a ‘blood sample’ of the plant we are able to detail and predict nutrient deficiencies three to four weeks prior to traditional tissue analysis.”

Growers can then proactively apply nutrients instead of waiting until visible signs of the plant suffering are apparent. Gregg said that from what they have collected from real users of the technology, growers have reduced their total input costs between 15-40%.

RedingGaryPicGary Reding, Crop Consultant for Advancing Eco Agriculture, a distributor for Crop Health Labs, also spoke with me about the 21 different nutrient parameters for testing in a lab environment. Crop Health Labs is the only company that offers this, along with a customized analysis for each grower’s operation.

He shares an example of one of the most common parameters tested. “The potassium and calcium ratio is one of the 21 data points. We look at the parts per million of potassium in the plant sap and then how much calcium is in the plant sap and then we look at the relationship between the two.”

Listen to my complete interview with Michelle and Gary to learn more about the webinars they are offering and how your operation could benefit from plant sap analysis. Interview with Michelle Gregg & Gary Reding, Crop Health Labs

agronomy, Audio, Crop Health Labs, Nutrient Management

New FAPRI Report Shows ARC, PLC Picks

John Davis Leave a Comment

fapri-logoA new report from the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri (FAPRI-MU) shows how many farmers are using Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) plans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Highlights from the report, titled, “U.S. crop program fiscal costs: Revised estimates with updated participation information,” include:

· The FAPRI-MU baseline anticipated that most corn and soybean producers would elect ARC, because average ARC payments were projected to exceed PLC payments for those crops. Election results show that even more corn and soybean producers chose ARC than had been expected.

· For wheat, we expected a more even split, with 60 percent choosing PLC, given a closer balance of projected payments. Instead, a narrow majority chose ARC.

· As expected, given projected payments, the vast majority of long grain rice and peanut producers chose PLC, as did smaller majorities of sorghum and barley producers.

· The reallocation of base acreage resulted in more base acres for corn, rice and peanuts, crops that have larger projected ARC or PLC payments than most other crops.

Based on this new information, FAPRI expects increased outlays associated with the 2014 and 2015 crops, especially for corn. In 2017 and 2018, outlays are expected to drop.

Agribusiness, Government, USDA

Got Drone? Get Interdrone

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

ZimmCast 480Got Drone? Want Drone? Then plan to attend Interdrone! It’s Interdrone, the International Drone Conference & Expo, taking place in Las Vegas, September 9-11.

InterdroneAgWired is a media sponsor for Interdrone and I hope to attend the show to provide coverage right here and on I talked with Ted Bahr, President/CEO, BZ Media, the company that is conducting the show to learn more about it.

Registration is open and a lot of people have already taken care of it. One of the interesting components of the show is a drone flying area inside for vendors to show off their products. A number of ag focused companies are on the list and precision ag is on the program. Get a full overview of the program by listening to my conversation with Ted.

Listen to my conversation with Ted in this week’s program: 2015 Interdrone Conference

Subscribe to the ZimmCast podcast here.

Audio, drone, UAV

Lower Corn Acres This Year

John Davis Leave a Comment

NCGA-Logo-3Wet weather in the corn belt and plenty of carry over has pushed down the number of acres of corn planted this year. But the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) says there’s plenty of the crop for all uses from the grain. Citing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Acreage report, NCGA says total corn planting in the United States totals 88.9 million acres, the lowest planted acreage since 2010 but the sixth-largest U.S. corn acreage planted since 1944.

“Corn farmers produced an abundance in 2014 that resulted in a large carry over into this year,” National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling said. “While planted acreage has decreased as farmers in many parts of the country face unrelentingly wet conditions, U.S. farmers have steadily increased our ability to grow more corn on every acre. Americans can rest assured that we will be able to meet all needs, be they for food, fuel or fiber, for years to come.”

USDA projects 13.5 billion acres of corn to be harvested this fall.

Ag Group, Agribusiness, Corn, Government, NCGA, USDA

USDA to Resurvey Growers for Acres Planted in Several States

John Davis Leave a Comment

usda-logoUSDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the June 30 planted acreage report this week, but weather issues that have caused planting delays in several states mean the numbers are not as accurate as they should be by now. Four states are to be re-surveyed.

NASS previously collected planted acreage information during the first two weeks of June, with the results published in the June 30 Acreage report. At the time of the survey, weather had prevented planting leaving a portion of acres to be planted for cotton in Texas; sorghum in Kansas; and soybeans in Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri. If the newly collected data justify any changes, NASS will publish updated estimates in the Crop Production report to be released at noon EDT on Wednesday, August 12.

More information is available at


Polenske Named Crop Adviser of the Year

John Davis Leave a Comment

polenske1Jeff Polenske of Tilth Agronomy Group in Appleton, Wisconsin, has been picked as the International Certified Crop Adviser’s (ICCA) Adviser of the Year.

Polenske began work with a bachelors’ degree in Agronomy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and experience as an intern in a county extension office, scouting fields and providing reports. Crop consulting was just starting as a profession, and Polenske sought out the additional training. In 1991 he became a Certified Professional Agronomist, which became the CCA program in 2012.

Polenske’s work can be described by the numbers: 29 years, 56 current clients and 50,000 plus acres of his own clients, while managing a consulting firm with 23 employees and helping with their clients. It can also be described as a commitment. “Some people would call it a passion, and some would call it a disease,” Polenske states. “If people are hiring me as a consult I should be available with farmers’ hours.”

Nominator and University of Wisconsin-Extension agent Bryan Jensen mentions Polenske’s generous approach: “Jeff has the mind and attitude of a teacher. He has laid the foundation for creating the next generation of agronomists.”

“One of the keys to growth is getting involved as much as we can. It’s a thirst for learning—now I’m teaching and I still want to learn,” Polenske says.

The award will be handed out at the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) Annual Meeting.

Ag Group, Agribusiness, agronomy, Award

iCropTrak Getting Ready for InfoAg Conference

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

iCropTrakThe InfoAg Conference is only four weeks away and companies like iCropTrak are getting excited to showcase their products to a record setting crowd in St. Louis. iCropTrak has been a supporter of ours for several years now and I look forward to visiting with them in the trade show and during a session I will be moderating that includes iCropTrak on the program.

I just spoke with Aaron Hutchinson, iCropTrak, about what’s new and what we can expect to see when visiting the company during InfoAg. They’ll be in booth 85. Aaron says they’ll be showing the new 6.1 release of their software. He says the key word this year is reporting with customers needing pixel perfect government forms and the ability to create them faster. So there’s a new software plugin that allows that to happen.

Listen to my interview with Aaron to learn more about what’s new with iCropTrak: Aaron Hutchinson, iCropTrak

Agribusiness, Audio, iCropTrak, InfoAg