CHS introduces XLR-rate

_DSC2634Maria Abbott is an agronomist with the crop nutrients division of CHS. She talks about XLR-rate which is a low salt starter fertilizer that has been on the market for just over a year.

“We think about 40% of the corn is actually put down with a starter fertilizer”

Maria says that boosting yields is the goal for XLR-rate and that it promotes early season growth in cold, wet soil. Growers are looking for the extra push to boost those yields come harvest time.

Listen to my complete interview with Maria here: Interview with Maria Abbott, CHS

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

GSI Acquires JSI

nafb13-gsiWith a record corn crop going in the bin, more storage is needed and that’s where GSI comes in. Andrew Stednitz director of North America Dealer Sales for GSI had some exciting news for me while we were at NAFB Trade Talk last month. They have recently acquired JSI (Johnson Systems Inc.) which will bring them into the tower, catwalk, and superstructure business.

“Adding another company into the lineup with more of what our dealers and customers need is just going to be huge for us. We are looking for big, bright things in the future.”

Andrew says that dryers in the bins are running 24/7 during the long harvest. He added that they also have conditioners to add during the drying process for better results at the elevator by being able to start earlier and store grain.

Listen to my complete interview with Andrew here: Interview with Andrew Stednitz, GSI

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Hick Chick Chat with Case IH about 2014 Products

IMG_3503Everyone has their preferences. On our farm, we liked red tractors and combines, on yours you may like green ones, maybe blue or even yellow or silver. Regardless, new products are rolling out for 2014. I had a chance to chat with the boys from CaseIH while at Trade Talk at NAFB about their upcoming 2014 line.

_DSC2646Dr. Rob Zemenchik, Case IH Crop Production Marketing Manager. Rob discusses with me how important their new discs and plows make for a successful planting season which in the end makes harvest more profitable.

_DSC2644Ryan Schaefer, Case IH Marketing Manager for High Horsepower Tractors, talks about Efficient Power. He shares how Case IH is delivering Tier 4 B/Final compliance with superior performance, economy and operating efficiencies.

_DSC2645Nathan (Nate) Weinkauf is the North American Harvest Marketing Manager at Case. We discuss what they are learning about their 2013 models following this year’s harvest and look forward to 2014 and where they are headed with 2014 year models.

You can listen to the Hick Chick Chat here: Hick Chick Chat Case IH

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

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USDA Talks Numbers at NAFB Trade Talk

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) representatives were on hand at NAFB Trade Talk last month to discuss the 2013 crop and the 2012 census.

usda-nassThe 2013 harvest is considered completed at this point and Lance Honig with NASS says with a record corn crop and near record soybean crop forecast it’s turned out to be a pretty good year, despite the weather challenges.

“We started one way, we kind of went another way.  It’s just the weather shifting throughout the season, but apparently we had enough moisture at the right times to produce a good crop this year”

The November crop production forecast was the final one of the season so Honig says NASS is beginning the process this week of surveying some 80,000 farmers for the final end-of-season numbers coming out January 10.

Listen to my complete interview with Lance here: USDA NASS, Lance Honig

Meanwhile, NASS is also gearing up to release the first numbers from the 2012 Census of Agriculture soon.  However, that release is running a little behind schedule due to the two week government shutdown in October.  According to Donald Buysse with NASS, the preliminary results are scheduled for release on February 20, 2014 at the Ag Outlook Forum, with the bulk of the data to come later.
Listen to my complete interview with Donald here: USDA NASS, Donald Buysse

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album


Koch Agronomic Services Looking Ahead

At the 70th Annual Convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting and on the Trade Talk floor I stopped in to see our friends from Koch Agronomic Services to find out what’s new in their world.

_DSC2639Vice President for North American Sales Ron Rustom tells me about the acquisition of new companies and how Koch looks to become the global leader in agriculture. While this new company is fairly young, they have a vision to take them further than ever before. “Our vision is to be the global leader in making nutrients more efficient,” Rustom says, noting that their acquisitions of Georgia Pacific and Agrotain International have really helped them toward that goal.

Listent to my interview with Ron here: Ron Rustom, Koch Agronomic Services

_DSC2638Greg Scwaab, director of agronomy for Koch, says they are looking ahead now to nutrient applications in 2014. He says that higher than expected harvest has been great, but they are encouraging growers to take a look at their application process as no one wants to wait for the last minute and now is a great time to be planning ahead. Greg says, “farmers learned they have to be prepared for loss of fertilizer, nitrogen especially.” He recommends their products to be safe and help prevent nitrogen loss in the field.

Listen to my interview with Greg here: Greg Schwaab, Koch Agronomic Services

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

BASF Advanced Plant Health and Grower Engagement

Advanced plant health and grower engagement were two topics that BASF Crop Protection representatives discussed with reporters at the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting Trade Talk.

nafb13-basf-reevesDr. Brianne Reeves is a member of the BASF Plant Health Technical Market team and in that role supports field research efforts and manages technical training for Priaxor® fungicide. Brianne is a DPM – Doctor of Plant Medicine – so she knows quite a bit about plant health and how Xemium® fungicide, the active ingredient in Priaxor fungicide, brings advanced plant health benefits to the table.

“The advanced plant health benefits are advanced growth efficiency, advanced disease control and advanced stress tolerance,” she says, noting that BASF has done hundreds of research projects to show those benefits, such as the “root and shoot” advantages. “Better roots, better shoots, more leaves, greener leaves, more photosynthesis, better yields.” Interview with Dr. Brianne Reeves, BASF

In addition to advancements in plant health, BASF has made a commitment to advancing its partnership with farmers in the field by introducing Innovation Specialists like Kaleb Hellwig to engage with growers and help them manage their operations more effectively.

nafb13-basf-kaleb“It’s not about selling them a product, I make recommendations for competitive products, I make recommendations in the fertility area,” Kaleb says. “So that when they make an application of Priaxor in soybeans or Headline AMP in corn or Twinline in wheat that they get the very highest return.”

Kaleb says BASF has gotten such positive feedback with Innovation Specialists in the field that they will be expanding the program next year. Interview with Kaleb Hellwig, BASF

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Ram Truck Farmer Photography Book Available

Ram Truck Farmer BookYou loved the commercial, you’ll love the book. It’s a new photography book launched by Ram Trucks with National Geographic titled, “The Farmer in All of Us: An American Portrait.” The book is available for purchase now for $45 at and will be in retail stores beginning late spring 2014.

The 300-page coffee table book is a beautiful and comprehensive collection of original agriculture and farming photography, including many of the images commissioned by the Ram Truck brand for its “Farmer” Super Bowl commercial inspired by Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” essay. Every book purchase backs a minimum contribution of $25,000 by the Ram Truck brand to the National FFA Organization’s “Give the Gift of Blue” program, which donates traditional FFA blue corduroy jackets to members who would not otherwise be able to own one.

“Supporting farmers isn’t just about those who till the soil, it’s about reminding America who we are and where our greatness comes from,” said Olivier Francois, Chief Marketing Officer, Chrysler Group, LLC. “This book truly brings the ‘Farmer’ story to life, and continues to give back in support of the amazing students of the FFA who embody this spirit every day.”

nafb-13-45-editedTo create the book, ten world-class photographers were tasked with traveling throughout America’s heartland over the course of three weeks to capture the essence of the farmer. Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” speech served as their inspiration. The photographers’ original goal was to create the visual backdrop for a television commercial celebrating the “Year of the Farmer.” The two-minute tribute aired during Super Bowl XLVII, stopping the nation in its tracks.

The Ram Truck crew was present during the recent NAFB Convention and Jamie caught an interview with David Sowers, who is head of Ram’s marketing team. He discusses the book along with what’s new for Ram Truck. Interview with David Sowers, Ram Truck

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Hick Chick Chat for Thanksgiving

IMG_3503Welcome to the second installment of the Hick Chick Chat for the week of Thanksgiving, that glorious time of year we give #FoodThanks for another bountiful harvest.

There was a lot of conversation this year about the unfavorable growing conditions experienced in many areas and just a few months ago there were some pretty major concerns about whether the harvest would be very bountiful this year.  For the first time ever, there were no field demonstrations at the Farm Progress Show because the crops weren’t mature. Despite that adversity however, farmers have just about finished harvesting a record nearly 14 billion bushel corn crop – thanks in a very large part to the latest and greatest technology in equipment, seed and crop protection.  

IMG_3591I had a chance to catch up with some farmers at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Trade Talk earlier this month to “talk turkey” about this year’s crop and how technology is helping them overcome even the toughest weather challenges.

From all of us here at Precision Pays, we wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you for all you do to continue to provide a bountiful harvest each and every year.

Follow me on Twitter @the_hickchick and join me on Facebook

Listen to the Hick Chick Chat here: Hick Chick Chat Thanksgiving

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Rabo AgriFinance Report From NAFB

nafb-13-40-editedRabo AgriFinance was present for the recent Trade Talk during the 2013 NAFB Convention. The company is the leading U.S. ag lender and specializes in protein to produce and inputs to oilseeds. Their expert team monitors and evaluates the global market that influences agriculture around the world.

I spoke with one of the team’s analysts at the event and he shed some insight into the upcoming 2014 futures and recapped how growers and producers faired in 2013. John Grettenburg is a Relationships Manager in Western and Southwest Iowa and specializes in the corn and soybean market.

John hit on on-farm storage of grains and how it can benefit growers.

“I think it gives the producer the opportunity to mange it from one tax year to the next from an income tax perspective. Historically we have had some increases and bumps in the market through the spring months and early summer. It allows farmers to increase the speed of their harvest if they have their own drying facility and by not have to wait in lines at local elevators. It gives them that flexibility to move that crop to market when the price dictates.”

Listen to my complete interview with John here: Interview with John Grettenburg

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Climate Corporation’s Growth by Tracking Weather

nafb-13-29-editedAnother ag based company who attended this year’s Trade Talk at the recent NAFB Convention was the Climate Corporation. They are focused on applying data science to production agriculture and take all the environmental data, weather, soil conditions and current and seasonal projections and apply it to the production agricultural decisions growers make on a daily basis.

Greg Smirin, CEO of The Climate Corporation, sat down with me during the event to talk about some new products they are offering growers and what changes customers might see with the Monsanto acquisition.

“We help protect the grower from things they cannot control with our total weather insurance, crop insurance and we are rolling out for the season Climate Basic and Climate Pro, which helps the farmer make decisions throughout the growing season to boost profitability.”

Climate Basic and Climate Pro will use data science to change agriculture. The basic program is a free web and mobil service and will provide hyper-local weather on each of the fields a grower has. A grower gets projected growth stages, soil moisture tracking, alerts along with scouting and notes. The pro version comes with a fee, but growers get everything the basic provides with an advisor for planting, nitrogen, pest and disease, harvest and in variable rates.

There is no doubt the company provides a service for growers that can increase profitability by over $100 per acre. Recently, the company was acquired by Monsanto. The two companies have found that they are doing the same science based research. The Climate Corporation will continue to operate independently with growers, but they are now able to leverage the research that has come out of Monsanto’s labs.

Listen to my complete interview with Greg here: Interview with Greg Smirin

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

USFRA Update on Farmland Movie

nafb13-usfra-lunzConsumers want to see a face of where their food comes from and that is one thing the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) has tried to provide. USFRA was on-hand during NAFB’s Trade Talk and Cindy spoke with them about their desire to continually start the conversations about food and farming across the country.

Lisa Lunz, USFRA Board Member, has been involved with all aspects of the organization’s endeavors. She is a corn and soybean producer from Northeast Nebraska. Her involvement on the Nebraska Soybean board is what lead her to USFRA. In the short time USFRA has been in existence, Lisa is truly proud of the dialogue they have been able to start and the wide-spread conversations people are having about the food they eat and produce. She describes USFRA as a movement not an organization, because change doesn’t happen over night. The success of the Food Dialogues is a testament to the need for these conversations to take place globally.

“We need to acknowledge consumers questions, answer those questions and give them an opportunity to understand what we do.”

The latest USFRA outreach activity was the release of trailer and website for the new film Farmland. The documentary is a work in progress. Director James Moll, has interviewed, conducted research and is now almost ready to announce the families featured in the film. This winter the film will be finalized and sent to film festivals. The coveted national debut will come in March 2014. The film is supported by USFRA, but not a USFRA production.

“Part of the reason why we thought this project was so important was because there are a lot of documentaries out there about a lot of different subjects, but there is not one about the next generation of farming. I think they have found a great director, that is a great listener and wanted to learn more too. As he went out and interviewed these famers and ranchers he has had an opportunity to learn also. He is an award winning director and so it has given us a great opportunity to create something that hopefully we can use as an educational tool and something that will spark conversations about food.”

Listen to Cindy’s complete interview with Lisa here: Interview with Lisa Lunz, USFRA Board Member

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Great American Wheat Harvest Thanksgiving

conradThe Great American Wheat Harvest will debut in 2014, according to the director of the documentary who was at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting annual meeting talking about the project.

Conrad Weaver tells us the documentary will be seen first in March 2014. “We are premiering the film nationally on National Ag Day in Washington DC on March 25,” he said. Conrad logged more than 70,000 air- and 30,000 driving-miles this year alone, capturing the harvest from Texas to North Dakota to the Northwest and across the U.S. border into Canada. Listen to Leah Guffey’s interview with Conrad here: Interview with Conrad Weaver, Great American Wheat Harvest

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the makers of the film wanted to let everyone know how grateful for all the help they have received in making this great American documentary.

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

John Deere Rolls Out New Tractors for 2014

With the new year will come newly redesigned John Deere tractors for 2014 that offer updates that farmers will really appreciate.

_DSC2637Jarrod McGinnis, division manager of the 7 and 8 series tractors with John Deere, was talking about the new tractors during the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) meeting last week in Kansas City. You might recall that Jarrod gave us a preview of the new rides back in August.

McGinnis says the tractors meet the final tier 4 emissions standards, but farmers are likely to most appreciate the creature comforts such as a new command center. To help eliminate fatigue in the cab, refrigerators are available as an option, extra swivel in the seat to take a look behind and see how things are tracking, and the new laminated glass makes for a quieter ride. The new 8R line has much bigger tires, Jarrod tells me that this is so there is more power to the ground.

You can listen to my interview with Jarrod here Interview with Jarrod McGinnis, John Deere

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

FMC Update from NAFB

Smart phones, iPads, and social media platforms are changing the way agribusiness companies like
FMC Agricultural Solutions
are able to reach their audiences.

nafb13-fmc-paul1FMC has had great success with two different promotions that have a social media aspect to them. One is FMC’s on-line video series “Authority Minute” which will expand its focus to become simply “The FMC Minute” in December, according to FMC Strategic Communications Manager Paul Redhage. “We’ve had such great response, several thousands of growers and retailers, that have participated in that digital video series,” he said. The videos will now be expanded to include corn and soybeans, weeds and insects, and other important farm management topics as well.

Paul says the fun part of it is that farmers get a chance to win stuff at the same time they are getting new information. “Each episode we’ll pick out five $100 gift card winners and there will be sweepstakes for trips or generators or hunting supplies,” he said, adding that they will likely expand the Minute to include other crops and geographies in the future.

FMC has also had great success with the Anthem Singing Contest, which has a social media aspect to it as well with on-line voting. “We ended up having like 90,000 on-line votes for that program,” said Paul of the contest which they took to the National FFA Convention last month. Paul says they brought in a sound booth to allow FFA members to “get a head start” on prepping for the 2014 contest. “We had over 400 students do that!” Paul said. “So the kids really responded enthusiastically.” Next year will be the third year for the contest and he expects it to be bigger than ever. “Students simply have to record themselves on their iPhones or whatever singing the national anthem and then upload it to” starting March 1 for a chance at $25,000 in college scholarships.

Listen to my interview with Paul here: Interview with Paul Redhage, FMC Agricultural Products

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Classic Grows with AG CONNECT in 2016

With corn, soybeans, wheat and sorghum growers all part of the Commodity Classic, who thought it could get any bigger?

But it will definitely be bigger in 2016 when Classic joins forces with AG CONNECT expo to become what may well be the biggest farm show on Earth.

nafb13-aem-classic“2016 will be the opening salvo into a new bigger, better,” said 2014 Commodity Classic chair Rob Elliott of Illinois. “The synergy aspect of it could be fairly significant.”

I talked with Rob at the NAFB Trade Talk about the partnership for 2016, as well as what is in store for 2014 in San Antonio and a little bit about this season on his farm near Monmouth, Illinois. Interview with Rob Elliott, NCGA

Sara Mooney, AG CONNECT show director with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, says there are lots of details to work out in the next two years, but they are really excited. “The producers that attended AG CONNECT and our exhibitors and other stakeholders are really going to find that this combined event is really greater than its two parts alone,” she said. “More technology, more engagement with the whole ag community, more experts to talk to, more industry leaders – just more of that quality experience.”

Listen to my interview with Sara here: Interview with Sara Mooney, AEM

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album