Koch Agronomic Services is on display here at AG CONNECT Expo. I visited with Greg Schwab, Director of Agronomy (pictured with the company team), to learn what he’s talking to farmer attendees about.
Greg says the company has grown tremendously in the last two years with multiple acquisitions to add to their product lineup. One of the key issues he’s talking to attendees about is nitrogen management. He’s also talking about the company commitment to “scientific integrity.” He says that they’ve been working with university researchers around the country to make sure the products they develop bring real value to producers that will help their bottom line.
For eight years running, readers of No-Till Farmer magazine have voted AGROTAIN nitrogen stabilizer by Koch Agronomic Services the top product in the fertility/soil amendments category. Allen Sutton, who was on the product development team for AGROTAIN stabilizer, accepted the award on behalf of Koch at the National No‐Tillage Conference in Indianapolis.
AGROTAIN stabilizer is a great fit in no‐till operations. When they add AGROTAIN stabilizer to their nitrogen, farmers can apply urea and liquid nitrogen (UAN) to the surface without worries of losing almost half of their nitrogen to ammonia volatilization (losses into the air.)
Ammonia volatilization can be a major concern in no‐till fields, where higher levels of crop residue and soil moisture contribute to faster breakdown of surface‐applied nitrogen. AGROTAIN stabilizer blocks the activity of the enzyme urease in the soil from breaking down the urea long enough for a rain event or irrigation to incorporate the nitrogen into the soil.
CTIC Executive Director Karen Scanlon says they will host the event on May 31 near Tunica, Miss., which will include educational field visits, technology demonstrations and opportunities to speak directly with growers about their on-farm solutions to natural resources issues. “We’ll be meeting producers who are leading the way with water conservation, water quality protection and wildlife habitat management on their farms,” Scanlon said during an interview at Commodity Classic.
Scanlon says CTIC has partnered with Delta Farmers Advocating Resource Management (Delta F.A.R.M.) to host the Conservation In Action Tour 2012. Delta F.A.R.M., an association of growers and landowners who strive to implement recognized agricultural practices that will conserve, restore and enhance the Northwest Mississippi environment, recently celebrated 1 million acres enrolled in its conservation programs. “We’ll be getting an academic perspective, a government perspective, a legislative perspective, as well as the producer perspective on some of these critical issues in the lower Mississippi River basin,” she said.
The Mississippi Delta is one of the largest contiguous coastal ecosystems in North America, boasting both ecological and economic value. The Delta hosts the United States’ largest fishery, by weight, and its port activity rivals those worldwide. The region also generates a significant portion of the United States’ energy and provides critical wildlife habitat.
On-line registration for the event is now open for anyone who would like to attend. Coverage of the event will be provided here on Precision Pays and on AgWired.com, thanks to support from both CTIC and AGROTAIN, just as we have the last two years.
One of the stops on the 2011 CTIC Conservation In Action Tour in Ohio last week was the farm of Todd Hesterman in Napoleon, Ohio. Todd has employed continuous no-till on his 450 acre corn, soybean and wheat operation for 22 years and used yield mapping for more than 14 years and is a strong advocate for doing what he can to help water quality and “still stay in business.”
“Our water infiltration rates for heavy rains, we can definitely see an improvement in the quantity of rain water we can accept and not have standing water or running water off the service,” he said. “That’s the biggest improvement we see is soil health and soil quality.”
To show the clear difference between tilled and no-till soil, USDA-NRCS Ohio state agronomist Mark Scarpitti did a little demonstration on Todd’s farm by dropping a chunk of soil that had been in no-till for several decades, compared to a similar chunk of tilled soil. You can see what happens in the video below.
This week I participated in the Conservation Technology Information Center’s Indian Creek Watershed Project field tour. Several bus loads of participants visited Livingston County, IL area farms to see and hear how they are implementing best management practices for things like nutrient management.
One of the people working on the project with CTIC and a presenter is Harold Reetz. I visite with Harold prior to the start of the day’s activities. I’ll see him again next week in Sprinfield, IL for the InfoAg Conference. Since that’s all about precision agriculture and since that is an integral part of the BMP’s being implemented on the tour stops here we decided to call it “precision conservation.”
Harold says the project purpose is to demonstrate different best management practices for nitrogen. It’s a relatively small watershed with mostly corn and soybean crops. So the goal is to come up with practices to improve nitrogen efficiency which will reduce the amount that will get into the ground water. Local farmers have volunteered in this first year of the project to implement suggested practices and it is their farms we visited.
The project is receiving funding from a variety of sources that includes the Illinois EPA. It is a proactive approach to voluntarily manage natural resources without the need to have new regulations. That sure seems like a potentially win win situation for all parties.