CNH Awarded Silver Status

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

CNH-logoThe plant in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is CNH‘s first North American Industrial facility to be awarded silver status for implementing World Class Manufacturing (WCM).  The designation is one of the highest standards for management of manufacturing plants in the world.  The Saskatoon plant produces CNH’s ag equipment brands, Case IH and New Holland, and manufactures planters, headers, air carts, and other equipment.

The award follows an independent audit in May, and earns a silver designation for achieving production process excellence and for employee knowledge base throughout the plant.  The WCM program focuses on both technical and management standards, such as safety, cost, environment, quality and process.  This status was achieved after just seven years of implementation.

“This is a great honor as our company is committed to achieving the highest standards in production in North America and around the world,” said Bret Lieberman, Vice President of Manufacturing, CNH Industrial North America. “Employee involvement is a vital aspect of any successful World Class Manufacturing program. All of our employees in Saskatoon should be commended for their strong commitment and achievement in making CNH Industrial’s plants among the best in the world.”

Through precise methods and standards, WCM seeks to eliminate waste and loss by identifying objectives such as zero injuries, zero defects, zero breakdowns, zero waste, reduced inventories, and suppliers’ punctual delivery of parts to plants, and subsequently to dealers and end users.

CNH Industrial has 59 plants around the world involved in WCM, now totaling nine silver level and 18 bronze level plants. Currently, 83% of CNH Industrial plants (i.e., 53 plants in all) participate in WCM, with 90% of the employees at those plants taking part in the program.

Agribusiness, Award, Case IH, New Holland

Space Research Sponsored by BASF

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment


The research project of three twelfth-grade students will have the scientific and financial sponsorship of BASF as they send their experiment to astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS).  The students from the ag program at Edith Stein School in Ravensburg, Germany have created an experiment to test plant growth in microgravity conditions, specifically plant cuttings.

Prior research done in the field of space-farming has focused on seedling roots and how they respond to the lack of gravity.  The students’ experiment questions if roots and leaves can develop from cuttings in space to produce food.  If it turns out that cuttings can be used, it would be a huge step in supplying long-term space flights, like missions to Mars, with food.

“We are excited about this project and about working with forward-thinking young people who strive for groundbreaking ideas and innovation. With our 100 years of experience in agriculture, it has been a thrilling challenge to investigate what could come next and how to achieve the ultimate goal of growing and reproducing plants on a space station,” said Dr. Harald Rang, Senior Vice President Research & Development, BASF Crop Protection.

To ensure the success of the experiment, the student research team is currently developing an appropriate experimental design for the ISS. BASF is providing knowledge on how to keep the plants healthy and free from fungal disease during the foreseen 30 days in the ISS environment. The students will do an internship with experts at the BASF Agricultural Center in Limburgerhof, Germany, before conducting trials at Kennedy Space Center laboratories in Florida.

Agribusiness, BASF, Research

USFRA to Talk Water During Toledo Food Dialogues

John Davis Leave a Comment

usfra-toledoLast year’s toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie at Toledo, Ohio, that left half a million people without clean water, underscored the delicate balance that exists between farming and drinking supplies. So it’s no wonder the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) chose Toldeo as the site for the next Food Dialogues on Thursday, May 28, starting at 9 a.m. ET.

“Issues for water are so regional, whether you are talking about California drought, issues with ground water or surface water,” explains USFRA CEO Randy Krotz, adding Toledo’s plight brought worldwide attention and shined a light on the need for abundant food and clean water. “Both of those issues farmers and ranchers couldn’t be more committed to.”

The Toledo Food Dialogues will have two panels – one talking about what happened on Lake Erie and the other discussing how to balance the food and water equation. Krotz says they invited scientists, activists, ag producers and other stakeholders to give voice to the many sides of the issue. “We try to have all sides of a topic covered.”

This session is sponsored by USFRA, the Ohio Farm Bureau, and several ag groups in the state. If you can’t make it to Toledo in person, you can catch a livestream of the event at the Food Dialogues website or through the Ohio Farm Bureau website.

Interview with USFRA CEO Randy Krotz on Toledo Food Dialogues
Ag Group, Audio, USFRA, water, Water Management

AgNerd Cloud – New Holland PLM

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

New Holland PLMIn this AgNerd Cloud we’re going to take a more in-depth look at New Holland’s Precision Land Management (PLM) platform with Chris Carrier, Marketing Manager, Precision Land Management & T7 Series. I visited with Chris in his office recently to talk about PLM.

New Holland’s PLM has a growing number of resources and functionalities that you can find on the PLM Portal. This can also be found within As you can see from the iPad image, PLM is also being heavily integrated into mobile technology.

New Holland PLM iPadIn my conversation with Chris we first talk about the evolution of PLM over a period of years into the platform it is today. He says that they’re moving into the new field of data and connectivity taking another step beyond things like auto guidance and swath control. The new PLM Connect is helping farmers better manage and optimize their fleets with easier data transfer using the cloud.

In our interview Chris talks about the options for different products in the PLM lineup. One of those is the PLM Calculator App that let’s you figure out the return on investment of using precision technology. You enter a number of parameters like field sizes to get instant feedback on the payback.

When it comes to training Chris points to their PLM Academy. This includes an app, web-based and instructor led training.

You can listen to my full interview with Chris here: Interview with Chris Carrier

AgNerd, Agribusiness, Audio, New Holland

Kubota Striving to Meet Consumer Demand

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

kubota-logoKubota Tractor Corp. and Kubota Manufacturing of America Corp., have plans for a new manufacturing plant in Gainsville, GA.  The facility will be located on 180 acres with an estimated 502,000 square feet.  The existing plant, which has been operating since 1988, will also be expanded.  The upgrade is estimated to cost $80 million.

RTV Lineup_webAll of this comes on the heels of a recent announcement to move KTC’s headquarters to Grapevine, TX to be closer to its major market.

“The demand for Kubota products continues to grow in the U.S.,” said Mr. Hironobu Kubota, President of KMA. “We estimate that this expansion of our operations will allow us to increase production capacity by 60 percent over the next five years.”

The announcement further demonstrates the company’s commitment to support its growing product offerings with operational excellence as a priority. “Growing our manufacturing operations in Georgia will enable us to achieve even greater operational efficiencies to make Kubota’s business stronger and more competitive,” said Mr. Masato Yoshikawa, President & CEO of KTC. “We will be better equipped to respond to market needs more quickly, satisfying both dealer and customer demand for Kubota’s popular sub-compact tractors, turf products and utility vehicles.”

The expansion is expected to begin in September 2015 with a target production date of spring 2017.  The facility will produce Kubota’s RTV series utility vehicles, with a capacity to manufacture 50,000 units each year.

Agribusiness, Machinery, Retailers

St. Louis Fed: Farm Income, Land Values Down

John Davis Leave a Comment

stlfedresA new report says farm incomes and land values continue their downward slide in the Midwest and Mid-South, and those trends are expected to continue. In its first quarter of 2015 survey, the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis blames the slump on declining grain prices worldwide.

Bankers noted a continued decline in farm income compared with the same period a year earlier. Based on a diffusion index methodology with a base of 100 (results above 100 indicate proportionately higher income compared with the same quarter a year earlier; results lower than 100 indicate lower income), the farm income index value was 49 for the first quarter.

This was the third consecutive quarter that this value fell below 100, and represented the lowest level since the survey began in the summer of 2012. Looking ahead, a large percentage of bankers expect further declines in the second quarter.

Corresponding with the decline in farm income, household expenditures and capital spending also fell during the first quarter.

“Lower grain prices are finally changing the psychological mindset for producers,” a Missouri banker noted. “Most producers are not able to lower operating expenses significantly and are looking at troublesome cash-flow projections. Grain prices will likely remain in this price range for several years and will have a huge impact on lenders.”

Farmland values dropped an average of 2.5 percent during the same period compared to a year earlier. This was the largest quarterly percentage decline since the survey began in the summer of 2012. The value of ranch or pastureland declined 1.6 percent, but unlike farmland prices, ranch or pastureland values are expected to rise.

Agribusiness, farm land, Land

USDA Debuts ‘Hope in Healthy Soil’ Ad

John Davis Leave a Comment

A new 90-second ad on YouTube looks to bring new respect and admiration for the soil beneath our feet. As part of its “Unlock the Secrets in the Soil” campaign, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has released a new, 90-second public service announcement that encapsulates “The hope in healthy soil.”

According to Ron Nichols, the campaign’s communications coordinator, the benefits of soil health are numerous, both on and off the farm.

“By farming using soil health principles and practices like no-till, cover cropping and diverse rotations, farmers are actually increasing organic matter in their soil, increasing microbial activity, sequestering more carbon, improving wildlife and pollinator habitat—all while harvesting better profits and often better yields,” Nichols said. “Off the farm, these practices are improving water and air quality, too.”

The ad, is part of an on-going awareness and education campaign designed to help farmers, landowners and consumers understand the basics and benefits of soil health. Ultimately, the goal of the agency’s campaign is to increase the adoption of soil health-promoting systems on the nation’s farm and ranches.

Fifteen-second and 30-second versions of the ads are being sent to television stations throughout the country later this summer.

Agribusiness, NRCS, Soil, USDA, Video

High Def Corn Planting

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Via Twitter alert from Robert Frye comes, “Iowa Corn Planting In High Definition.” Robert is obviously a drone pro judging by how he commanded his quad copter to take this gorgeous video. He published it on May 11, 2015.

Here’s how he described it on YouTube:

A “birds-eye-view” of Jim, Matt and Jay’s 2015 corn planting.
Please watch on full screen in full HD.
Please read music credit below.
The music selection title is metaphorical by design.
This video was shot on April 30th and May1st.
Thanks to Jim, Matt and Jay for allowing me to document their planting.
I hope this was not much of an inconvenience for them.
Flown with a DJI Inspire-1 and its 4K camera.
Edited with Adobe Premiere Pro 2014 CC

Music Credit:
Composer: Hans Zimmer
Selection: “In The Beginning”

Watch and enjoy.

Aerial Imagery, Corn, Planting, UAS, UAV, Video

Real-Time Data Solutions Maximize Productivity

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

Dupont PioneerEncirca services from DuPont Pioneer are helping growers manage risks as they plant their 2015 crops.  With corn and soybean reported plantings running ahead of average, growers are able to use Encira services to make adjustments accordingly, making better decisions about things like seed and nitrogen fertilizer. Also provided is Encirca View, which allows farmers a way to record, organize and share scouting notes.

“The warmer spring and pockets of heavy rain throughout the country are exactly the types of weather anomalies that Encirca℠ services can help growers navigate,” said Joe Foresman, director of Encirca℠ services Marketing and Product Development. “Encirca℠ services are delivered through a trusted local advisor who helps growers evaluate their planting and nutrient management plans – taking into account weather, soil types, land topography and historical trends – in order to maximize operational efficiency and grower profitability at the end of the season.”

Launched earlier this year, Encirca℠ Yield Stand helps growers tailor corn and soybean planting prescriptions to unique areas of each field, while also providing risk analysis and planting priority tools to help growers make real-time adjustments if weather or other factors interfere with spring planting. The Encirca℠ Yield Nitrogen Management Service works together with Encirca℠ Yield Stand to help growers differentially manage acres at a sub-field level or decision zone to improve productivity and control costs by applying varied rates of nitrogen fertilizer (N).

“More growers are getting first-hand experience with the value of our real-time, data-driven management services,” said Foresman. “We’ve seen strong adoption of our Encirca℠ Yield and Encirca℠ View platforms and look forward to expanding with additional services that help growers improve input management and work through production challenges in real-time, on every acre.”

Agribusiness, Corn, Dupont Pioneer, Fertilizer, Scouting, Soybeans

ASTA Plays Part in Pollinator Plan

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

asta-logoThis week, the Task Force released its strategy, under the joint leadership of EPA and USDA and agriculture industry reaction to the plan has been very positive overall.

Andy LaVigne with the American Seed Trade Association says the industry had a seat at the table in developing the strategy. “We were part of the original program pulled together at the White House that was held about a year ago now,” said LaVigne.

Part of the strategy involves an EPA review of products used in agricultural production that could impact honey bees, including the neonicotinoid class of pesticides, and LaVigne says the industry is taking an active role there as well. “Our main focus is that EPA needs to look at this from a scientific standpoint,” he said.

The pollinator strategy highlighted the industry’s seed treatment stewardship program as an example of working with the public sector to mitigate pollinator exposure to agricultural chemicals. “What they were pleased with is that we took that initiative to raise awareness within the agriculture community on how farmers can be aware of pollinators in the area when they’re planting and make sure there aren’t any adverse affects from dust or anything,” said LaVigne.

In this interview, Andy also talks about the upcoming 132nd ASTA Annual Convention in Washington DC, June 17-20, where pollinator health will be one of many topics on the agenda. Interview with Andy LaVigne, American Seed Trade Association

ASTA, Audio, Bees, pollinators