Over a year ago we talked about a new technology that would allow growers to plant offensive and defensive corn hybrids within the same field. Last year Jason Webster with Beck’s Hybrids planted his first field with the Variable Hybrid Planter. This year he has more trials and more acres.
In this Precision Pays Podcast, sponsored by Ag Leader Technology we’ll find out what they learned from last year and what he’s doing to make farmers excited about the future of agricultural technologies like this one.
Precision Pays Podcast
The Precision Pays Podcast is sponsored by Ag Leader Technology.
Bayer CropScience consistently focuses on the innovation of technology. During the 2013 Farm Progress Show their air-conditioned exhibit displayed their innovations no matter where you turned. Their On Demand Seed Treatment is one of those technologies where software, preloaded recipes and wireless communications accommodates all types of operations.
Kerry Grossweiler, SeedGrowth Equipment and Coatings Manager for Bayer CropScience, shared with Chuck what’s new with their On Demand Seed Treatment. Kerry described the new technology as “the future in digital farming.”
“The On Demand system is a fully automated closed system developed to treat seeds correctly and consistently, resulting in healthier plant establishment. This is really important because when you look into the past with inoculants and fungicides being applied downstream the older technology and early treaters were sufficient, but now with the new products on the marketplace, everything is going to a per seed application basis. On Demand really fits the need because we have taken our commercial equipment that is used by the seed companies to treat corn and we’ve scaled it down to be able to provide this to downstream treating for ag retailers and seed dealers.”
Listen to Chuck’s complete interview with Kerry here: Interview with Kerry Grossweiler
2013 Farm Progress Show Photo Album
Maximizing field yield is the goal of every grower, but is easier said than done. However, Monsanto’s FieldScripts program might be the answer. During the 2013 Farm Progress Show, Monsanto invited the media out to field to discuss the new opportunity and talk with FieldScripts Ground Breaker Growers.
Dale Sorensen, Integrated Farming Systems Field Research Lead, shared with the group the basics of what FieldScripts can offer in terms of precise seed placement and seeding rates. And how genetic and environmental components come into play.
“In 2013 we had our ground breakers program for FieldScripts. We had 150 growers from Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota. Those 150 growers had three to five fields on average. They basically shared the field boundaries, prior yield history and soil test results. And then we developed what we call out FieldScripts Management Zones and created a variable rate seeding zone within that field with the genetics that the dealer and grower had chosen.”
Listen to my interview with Dale here: Interview with Dale Sorensen
GRAINCO FS dealer, John Walsh, was also on hand to share his insights from the dealer perspective. John went through the steps to become FieldScripts certified to add specific value to his customers.
“It’s not a dealership certification. Each individual gets certified. My main job is with the seed portion and this was going to differentiate us from a lot of other seed dealers. You can buy that same bag of seed at several different places. We try every year to come up with something to add value to our dealership.”
Listen to my interview with John here: Interview with John Walsh
I also took the opportunity to talk with one of John’s growers, Doug and Justin Durdan. The father and son team farm about 100 miles from the Farm Progress Show location and shared why they jumped at the chance to increase yields with this new technology.
“We always just try and stay on top of new technologies and we thought that this was a good avenue for use to stay ahead.”
“The biggest benefit is putting the proper plants in the proper areas. We really felt we were over populating our lighter soil, which we were. Now we feel we can get a better averaged yield.”
Listen to my interview with Doug & Justin here: Interview with Doug & Justin Durdan
Check out photos from the event here: 2013 Monsanto Ground Breakers Media Event Photo Album
GROWMARK, along with FS had a strong presence at the recent Farm Progress Show in Decatur, IL. No matter where you went it was hard to escape the view of an FS flag waving high in the sky. Not only were they again sponsors of fuel used throughout the grounds, but they also gave a hands-on view of all the companies product divisions.
On the coolest day of the Farm Progress Show I visited the FS booth and spoke with Jenny Haycraft, who works in marketing and communications for the company. She shared what attendees were able to take in during the event and how FS is a full line service provider on the farm. This includes needs in energy, lubricants, propane, agronomy, seed and in precision farming.
“Throughout the exhibit we have designated areas for primary product divisions. We’ve got agronomy, seed, grain systems and energy. There are interactive games for attendees to play and learn a little bit about our products and services we offer in each area. And then once they play the game we can interact with them as much as possible and see if they are current customers or potential prospects.”
Listen to my interview with Jenny here: Interview with Jenny Haycraft
Check out photos from the event here: 2013 Farm Progress Show Photo Album
In a crowded marketplace, Steyer Seeds continues to innovate as a growing, progressive company with access to the best genetics and a new proprietary crop management tool marrying farmers’ data with seed attributes.
ACRES (Advanced Crop Revenue Enhancement System) is an innovative, new program that was unveiled earlier this year at the 48th National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky. ACRES combines on-farm data about soil attributes, crop rotation, etc. with the unique performance attributes of seed, chemical and fertilizer products to ensure optimal performance.
ACRES offers customers the following benefits:
• Steyer has access to all trait platforms so trait rotation is taken into account in order to avoid insect resistance to Bt events
• Order placement component ties into Steyer’s inventory in real time
• Geo-fulfillment component to improve delivery efficiencies
• Herbicide sensitivity ratings on hybrids are noted
ACRES is built upon the Data-Driven Farming System by MyFarms to combine proprietary product knowledge with the data farmers own and manage to improve crop production. ACRES leverages the core structure of MyFarms to provide a robust, comprehensive crop management tool that allows farmers to benefit from Steyer’s experts to ensure success.
Regular scouting and field evaluation is a wise practice this coming growing season, according to DuPont Pioneer researchers and agronomists. Mild winter temperatures may have aided the survival of overwintering pests and diseases which could impact crop yields if not discovered and controlled.
Scouting fields regularly will help to identify planting issues, such as seedlings that have not emerged or lower-than-expected population counts. Efficacy of seed treatments becomes a challenge if the seed fails to germinate due to cool, wet conditions, or saturated soils dilute the treatment. By the two-leaf stage, you should be able to determine whether there are seedling emergence issues.
To help track field notes and assist with early-season scouting, Pioneer launched the Pioneer Field360 Notes app. The tool streamlines and organizes field-by-field agronomic information for communication between DuPont Pioneer agronomists, sales professionals and growers and is compatible with all tablet and mobile devices.
Legends Seed Genetic Researcher and Agronomist, Mike Knight, reports that growers can glean valuable information by evaluating their plants within days of emergence. Early stage development sets the tone for the rest of the plant’s development. Evaluating plants is key for growers to know if the plant is developing to it’s full potential. By evaluating plants throughout the growing season growers can gauge plant development and seed performance; verify planting depth and detect, as well as, remedy nutrient deficiency
When evaluating newly emerged plants growers should begin by looking at a portion of the field to determine the actual emergence population. Like many aspects of plant evaluation, this helps growers determine if the seed is performing as it should. Measuring the mesocotyl, which is the distance from the seed to the soil’s surface, allows growers to determine actual planting depth and if their planter was correctly calibrated.
While initial plant evaluation can provide growers with useful information to use when planning 2014 management practices and selecting seed; it’s important to evaluate plants throughout the entire growing season. In some cases growers can actually increase yields through plant evaluation. For example, when looking at leaf coloration to determine if the plant is taking up the proper nutrients; if they catch a nutrient deficiency early enough in the plant’s development, there is the opportunity to side dress before yields are negatively impacted.
Even as the Syngenta-owned Garst and Golden Harvest® brands are being launched under the revised Golden Harvest brand, Syngenta intends to uphold the quality, reliability and legacy that have become synonymous with the Garst brand and the Garst Seed Advisor.
“Roswell Garst’s commitment to customers – to be a trusted advisor in addition to a seed dealer – is the very essence of what the Syngenta Seed Advisor network embodies,” said Lori Thomas, customer marketing manager for the dealer channel commercial unit for Syngenta in North America. “Even though the Garst name won’t have the same market presence, the integrity, tradition and history of the company will continue to live on.” Thomas and her husband, Mike, were Garst Seed Advisors for 10 years.
Founded as Garst & Thomas Hi-Bred Corn Company in 1930, the Garst brand has a rich history of bringing many innovative corn solutions to market, from developing herbicide-tolerant hybrids, including the first IMI-corn, to offering European Corn Borer (Bt) control and herbicide tolerance together in one corn hybrid, to transcending borders and taking the new technology to farmers in other countries, including the former Soviet Union.
Since Syngenta acquired the Garst brand in 2004, the company has focused on building a diverse genetic portfolio, using the genetics from the Garst, Golden Harvest and NK® brand breeding programs and incorporating the market-leading line-up of Agrisure® traits. Earlier this year, Syngenta announced the decision to rebrand the existing Garst and Golden Harvest corn seed brands and launch a unified Golden Harvest brand stemmed from ongoing efforts to strengthen and grow the network of Syngenta Seed Advisors.
A new logo and numbering system for Golden Harvest hybrids will be in place for summer 2013 trials and the 2014 planting season. “The new logo brings elements from the Garst legacy as well as the Golden Harvest legacy,” Lori says, stressing that growers who have counted on Garst seed to maximize their yields will still have access to the same high-quality genetics under the Golden Harvest name through their Syngenta Seed Advisor.
Listen to or download my interview with Lori here: Interview with Lori Thomas
You’ve spent some good money to treat those seeds before you plant them in the ground. But the dust that forms when the treated seeds rub together and rub off those expensive treatments is more than a loss of protection and an irritant for workers – it’s like money blowing away in the wind. Charlie Hale, marketing strategy and support lead for Becker Underwood says that’s why having the right polymer is so important.
“You might think of the polymers as glues that glue those solids on to the seed surface, but they are also designed these days to help fill in the spaces between the particles to make the seed smoother,” cutting down on that friction that creates that dust. Charlie adds that Becker Underwood’s new Flo Rite® 1706 plantability polymer does all that and gives you more uniform plant distribution out in the field. He also points out that losing protection for that seed also means a loss in yield potential. “With today’s prices for grain, we lose significant amounts of money, just because we haven’t kept that protection on the seed.”
Charlie says Becker Underwood has two formulations for legumes, two for corn and another one on the way for cotton. He says this is the third generation of the Flo Rite products for soybeans and corn, so his company has some experience to bring to the table. They’ve got it down to producing almost no dust, no matter how aggressively it gets rubbed.
He cautions that growers who think they can cut down on dust really aren’t gaining anything. “Yeah, [a half rate] does [cut down on dust]. But you still are losing protection.” You want to put on and keep on everything that you’ve invested. And he thinks the latest Flo Rite polymer will be near zero dust. “You get pretty close to that.”
Listen to Cindy’s interview with Charlie here: Charlie Hale, Becker Underwood marketing and support lead
Becker Underwood media tour photo album
The recent acquisition of Becker Underwood by BASF is more than just putting the two companies together. It means more research and development as each is able to look at the other’s advancements and see how they might be able to combine products for maximum efficiency
“Both companies are bringing together a lot of existing technology that we’re starting to examine to see if we can find some synergies with what we already have,” explained Kurt Seevers, field development leader for seed enhancements and biologicals, during the recent tour of the plant facility in St.Joseph, Mo. He added that going forward, they’ll also look at combining new material they are each developing.
Kurt said they might work on 750 treatments in a year, and of course, not all of them make it to market. But he said since they’ve done a lot of their prep work in the labs, more often than not, a treatment will go forward once it has hit the field testing.
He said they have some real challenges, including improving on already hot products, such as VAULT HP. “It does give us a challenge in research so we have the opportunity to take materials we’re looking at and put them in products that look really good already and see if we can make improvements that way. That’s typically how we take that next step.”
Kurt concluded that they are working on agriculture’s overall goal of feeding a growing world in a sustainable, ecologically respectful way.
Interview with Kurt Seevers, Becker Underwood field development lead
Becker Underwood media tour photo album
One of the biggest concerns for any ag operation is getting the most out of your inputs. During the recent tour of BASF‘s newly acquired Becker Underwood St.Joseph, Mo. seed facility, Russ Berndt, product manager for legumes and northern crops for Becker Underwood, talked about the symbiotic relationship soybeans have with the living organism rhizobia, a soil bacteria that fixes nitrogen for soybean plants. While the rhizobia are naturally occurring, they’re not always the right kind for soybeans to get the most out of the nitrogen relationship. That’s where Becker Underwood’s VAULT HP and its compounds come in.
“One of them is a compound that stimulates the rhizobia so that they send signals to the plant to produce more [nitrogen-producing] nodules sites,” adding that another component is INTEGRAL, a biological fungicide that gives more protection for the plants. Russ says that while inoculant technology is not necessarily new, VAULT HP’s approach differs from the old days of the dusty black powders. Liquid concentrations allow more rhizobia to be in each treatment. “It’s now very convenient. Growers can have it put on their seed when they’re getting other seed treatments put on. They’re put on at a very low rate so the treater can put on multiple products. And the concentrations are high so the grower is getting a high count rhizobia along with all the other components of VAULT HP,” he says.
Russ goes on to say that not only are growers ensured a maximum nodulation on those roots with a surefire nitrogen fixer, they get a living biological in INTERGRAL that grows on the roots surface to provide protection throughout the season. It all adds up to a better bottom line.
“What we see as far as return on investment is growers are going to get a 5-to-1 or better return half the time and over 70 percent of the time, get at least a 2-to-1 return.”
Listen to Cindy’s interview with Russ here: Russ Berndt, Becker Underwood product manager for legumes
Becker Underwood media tour photo album
The Sorghum Checkoff in collaboration with MMR Genetics (NuSeeds America) and USDA-Agricultural Research Service have released 50 new sources of sorghum germplasm through the reinstated Sorghum Conversion Program.
This is the program’s second of three scheduled releases of sorghum germplasm. In June 2012, the program released 44 converted lines that were distributed to 12 public and private entities engaged in sorghum breeding for the development of new and better hybrid lines of sorghum.
The reinstated sorghum conversion program releases make more of the world’s inventory of sorghum genetics available to public and private breeding programs. The material released provides a brand new source of germplasm with potential yield-improving benefits among other desirable genetic traits. Breeding companies can capture potential traits from this new release of germplasm to incorporate into their current sorghum lines to improve the crop’s productivity.
A guide to seed treatment stewardship is a new project by the American Seed Trade Association along with a collaboration of seed companies, researchers and organizations like CropLife America, National Corn Growers Association and Farm Bureau. Growers will soon find “The Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship” online.
I spoke with Andy Lavigne, ASTA President/CEO, during Commodity Classic about this project which is very timely since growers are getting ready to get back out in the field. The guide will answer questions like, “How can I protect my treated seeds; What environmental factors should I consider when planting treated seeds; Am I following state and federal regulations for treated seed and What should I do with unused treated seed?”
Right now growers have an incentive to visit and sign up for notifications at www.seed-treatment-guide.com. Two lucky people will win a $500 cash prize!
Listen to my interview with Andy here: Interview with Andy Lavigne
2013 Commodity Classic Photo Album
Just last month at the ASTA Seed Expo in Chicago, Harvest Masters by Juniper Systems, announced the release of their new harvest data collection software system they call Mirus.
Cindy spoke with Allen Wilson, Ag Marketing Manager for Harvest Masters, during the event. Allen shared how the two year long process to develop this software resulted in a brand new generation. Not simply a new addition to the previous version.
“The Mirus software that we just released works with our harvest data collection for research combines. It’s a Windows based platform. We have been using Windows mobile, but this is a Windows so it will be running on tablets, Windows XP and Windows 7 & 8. We are in that Windows environment. It is a next generation software to work with our hardware that we previously put out. This is a lot more flexible and easy to use. The operators are now able to see four different screens at one time about their system statues and yield levels. A lot more information available for the operators.”
“The feedback we got back from our beta testers, which were about 20 people that have run our previous software, all said it’s intuitive, it’s easy to use and they don’t have to go struggling through a bunch of different screen to find the information they need or settings to change. It’s a precision piece of equipment so they have to be monitoring it and watching to see if there are changes occurring. It was really over-whelming to hear these people that have used our software say we have made a step forward.”
You can find more information about the release of this new software on a previous post New Mirus Harvest Data Collection Software.
Listen to Cindy’s complete interview with Allen here: Interview with Allen Wilson
Check out photos from ASTA here:
ASTA-CSS Photo Album
Winter is a time when farmers can look forward to spring planting, especially if stuck inside due to a winter blizzard! This next installment in our series of interviews about Superior Graphite agricultural products will get you looking ahead. In this post we’ll look at a product line called Seed SLIK. I spoke once again with Barry Lee, Product Manager, Coatings & Lubricants. We focused on Seed SLIK Graphite and Seed SLIK Talc. It is common practice to mix a seed lubricant with seeds for planting to make sure skips don’t happen where a seed does not get planted where it should. That can affect yield. Besides the seed benefit, these products are also beneficial to the machinery itself.
Graphite seed flow lubricants, are made from high quality powdered graphite powders from environmentally safe, natural mineral, and will not hurt seeds, or plantings as they grow. Small seeds benefit from the addition of graphite, allowing them to slide easily off the planter plates.
Seed SLIK Talc provides similar benefits and features as the Graphite product but has an added benefit of not affecting optical sensors, although it is susceptible to moisture. Barry says the best of both worlds is a blended Seed SLIK product which contains both graphite and talc.
Seed SLIK™ has the highest quality powdered seed flow lubricants available on the market. Talc powder is an environmentally safe, natural mineral, that will not hurt seeds or plantings as they grow. Talc seed flow lubricants are used in mechanical plate and vacuum planters for increased lubricity and wear protection. Talc is a good alternative to graphite for planters with new electronic seed meters that sometimes give false readings with graphite. Small seeds benefit from the addition of talc allowing them to slide easily off the planter plates.
You can get more information on these products on the Slip Plate website or connect with the company on Facebook or LinkedIn.
Listen to my interview with Barry here: Interview with Barry Lee