Evolution of Prescription Farming

LGSeeds_logo2012LG Seeds shares the evolution of prescription farming.

When we think about technology advancement over the past 20 years a good example is our electronic devices. Smart phones, hand held tablets, sleeker computers; all these devices having data/software storage by the gigabyte and increasing. We live in a technology driven age with demand for real time information. This technology is common place in our society, but has also incorporated itself quite extensively into production agriculture over the past few years.

Prescription Farming at the Beginning
When thinking about prescription farming, variable rate fertilizing and/or seeding, generally comes to mind. Variable rate seeding began with the advent of hydraulic motors serving as the drive or transmission on the planter, giving farmers the chance to change seeding rates on the go. They were also putting GPS receivers and equipment on and in their tractors and combines for auto-steer and yield mapping capabilities.

Prescription Farming Today – Nutrient Application
The evolvement of prescription farming has become more of a streamlined process in farming today. Incorporation of the “smart technologies” into the farm, along with modern GPS/rate controlling equipment
has led to more fine tuning of seeding prescriptions and nutrient application. Nutrient management has seen
an influx of aerial imagery from satellites, airplanes, and now unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s).

Prescription Farming Today – Variable Rate Seeding
With past history of yield maps, fertility tests/maps, and topography/soil information for a field, we now have the opportunity to layer different data points on top one another to create more precise seeding zones.

Recently, LG Seeds parent company, AgReliant Genetics, began to do additional hybrid testing beyond traditional strip tests and randomized research yield trials. Testing includes population trials in high, medium, and low yielding environments along with larger strip tests over multiple soil types and topography changes, allowing for multiple data points across hybrid entries at one location. In the future, this data can be coupled with the grower’s yield history and soil tests to get more accurate seeding rates, in the right locations of the field.

Between the Ears - Evolution of Prescription Farming

You can view the entire release here.

Seed Treatment Stewardship Promoted at Classic

ASTA Seed Treatment GuideWe first heard about “The Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship” last year at Commodity Classic.

The second phase roll out of the guide – produced by the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) in collaboration with organizations like the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association and American Farm Bureau – began this year and we heard more about it from ASTA VP for Government and Regulatory Affairs Jane DeMarchi.

classic14-asta-jane“The Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship was created to touch all aspects of seed applied technology,” said Jane. “Our goal is to emphasize stewardship practices across crops and treatment segments and to minimize the risk of seed dust exposure to pollinators.”

Jane says they have developed videos about seed treatment stewardship and began taking them on the road this year to state and national corn, soybean and farm bureau meetings, and she says awareness of pollinator issues is growing among farmers across the country.

Learn more here: Press conference with Jane DeMarchi, ASTA

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Coverage is sponsored by John Deere

Deere Shows How to Be Accurate Up to 10 MPH

classic14-deere-kelbyImagine getting your work done at twice the speed you normally do! Producers attending this year’s Commodity Classic in San Antonio got to see more of John Deere’s new ExactEmerge planting system, which allows planters to be accurate at speeds up to 10 MPH. Kelby Krueger, product specialist with Deere’s Seeding Group, explained to Leah on the trade show floor that is quite revolutionary, considering that’s about twice as fast as farmers are used to planting using the old seed tube systems.

“The slower you go, the better your seed placement. Well, that doesn’t work very well when you have tight planting windows or when you’ve got rainstorms coming,” he said, pointing out that with ExactEmerge, you don’t have to choose between fast and accurate; you get both. “It controls the seed through the whole entire process from the meter, through a brush belt delivery system, and places it in the bottom of the trench.”

Kelby said they used high-speed video to see seeding errors with tube systems. They’ve been actively testing the new system in customer fields for the last three years, in a variety of conditions. In fact, for no-till operations, they found ExactEmerge really works well because it is built to stand up to rough conditions.

As expected with technology that doubles the speed at which you can get something done, ExactEmerge brought plenty of questions from farmers attending Commodity Classic.

“People are taking the time to come down here, try to understand how this system works, because they understand how revolutionary this will be for their farming operation,” Kelby said.

Listen to more of Leah’s interview with Kelby here: Kelby Krueger, John Deere

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Coverage is sponsored by John Deere

Kinze Debuts 1st Electric Multi-Hybrid Concept Planter

Kinze-ManufacturingKinze Manufacturing, Inc. would like to introduce the world’s first electric multi-hybrid concept planter to help famers optimize their seed hybrids and increase yields. This technology provides farmers with the ability to change the seed hybrid they are planting automatically as the planter moves through the field. Now seeds can be selected to suit the different field management zones.

“The electric multi-hybrid planter will allow farmers to maximize yield in every part of their field, and not have to make compromises,” said Rhett Schildroth, senior product manager at Kinze Manufacturing. “The yield gains in our trials varied from 2 bushels per acre to more than 10 bushels per acre by utilizing multi-hybrid planting. And unlike other crop practices that seem to have good results one year and negative results the next, every trial we’ve conducted with multi-hybrid planting has resulted in a yield increase.”

Kinze’s new electric multi-hybrid planter has new row units that incorporates two meters for every row and feeds a single seed tube. The gauge wheels, openers and closing wheels are identical to a standard Kinze 4000 series row unit.

“This was only possible by using the new electric drive option on the Kinze 4000 series meters. By eliminating the drive chain and clutch, we were able to orient the meters close together so that they feed a single seed tube,” said Schildroth. “It is a very elegant way to add the multi-hybrid planting capability.”

Kinze will be partnering with Midwestern farmers during the spring of 2014 to showcase the new technology in the field on several electric multi-hybrid concept planters. For more information checkout Kinze.com.

SDSU Creates World’s First Multi-Hybrid Planter

SDSUA collaborative effort at South Dakota State University’s (SDSU) College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences has produced the world’s first multi-hybrid planter to create advancement in precision agriculture.

When SDSU plant scientist, Peter Sexton, needed a new row-crop planter at the Agricultural
Experiment Station’s Southeast Research Farm near Beresford, he looked to the future – in terms of equipment and networking.

With support from the Southeast Experiment Farm board, the nonprofit growers’ corporation that owns the farm, Sexton and SDSU forged a partnership with Sioux Falls-based Raven Industries and DuPont Pioneer. Their collaboration resulted in a twin-row planter with the ability to automatically switch hybrids while seeding on-the-go based on GPS mapping of the field.

Through an agreement signed in the summer of 2012, Raven Industries donated the engineering time to customize the planter. Sexton described what he wanted the planter to do and then Raven engineers developed those capabilities.

“This is a great model of industry partnering with public entities,” says Raven Industries Product Manager Douglas Prairie, citing his company’s emphasis on innovation. Sexton gave Raven engineers feedback as they developed the hydraulic drives, control system and software to modify the Monosem planter.

In addition to the fields planted at the Southeast Research Farm near Beresford, test plots were sown on private farms near Parkston, Tripp, Lennox and Baltic. To select the appropriate corn and soybean hybrids for the fields that SDSU mapped, Sexton turned to DuPont Pioneer.

Pioneer agreed to supply the seed and made recommendations, according to DuPont Pioneer agronomy research manager Barry Anderson. The data from this research will “give us a chance to understand how our products perform,” he explains. “It’s nice when we as a seed industry can team up not only with the university but also with manufacturers. That doesn’t always happen.”

The information gleaned from field trials planted using this first-of-its-kind multi-hybrid planter will allow SDSU researchers to produce agronomic data that will help farmers decide what to plant, where to plant it, and how much to plant, as well as when and how much pesticide and fertilizer to apply, according to Sexton.

SDSU will also be able to provide agronomic and financial reasons why farmers should consider using a multi-hybrid approach to planting, according to Prairie. Eventually, Raven Industries seeks to play a role in “designing a true multi-hybrid planter.”

To view this and other articles found in the SDSU Agricultural Experiment Station 2013 Annual Report, visit iGrow.org.

CropLife Foundation Seed Treatment Report

CropLife FoundationCroplife Foundation has released a new report on “The Role of Seed Treatment in Modern U.S. Crop Production” which contains extensive information on the benefits of seed treatment for growers, consumers and the environment.

Among the findings of the report:

Seed treatments offer effective control against early-season pests and diseases, and reduce the need for additional rescue treatments or replanting.

Seed treatment protects and contributes value to a large proportion of seed that has been enhanced through agricultural technologies.

Crop protection products applied as seed treatments can reduce soil surface exposure by up to 90 percent compared to other application methods.

Through increased protection and greater crop yields, seed treatments helped contribute to nearly $80 billion worth of value to American corn growers in 2011.

Find out more details about the report here: CropLife Foundation Press Conference

BASF on Cutting Edge of Seed Enhancement

asta-css-basf-neilThe just released CropLife Foundation report shows just how important seed treatment is becoming for agricultural production and today at the ASTA CSS 2013 and Seed Expo we heard how BASF Crop Protection has moved to the forefront of seed enhancement to help farmers get the most out of every acre.

“Seed enhancement is one of the fastest growing segments of the industry,” said Neil Bentley, director of marketing for the BASF U.S. Crop Protection business. “Seed is one of the most expensive investments that a farmer makes each year. We want to make sure that’s maximized.”

Thanks to the integration of Becker Underwood into the BASF family over the past year, BASF’s Advanced Seed Enhancement platform includes a number of important products that can accomplish increased emergence and help farmers get more from every acre. “Those products include Vault HP + Integral in soybeans and Stamina F3 for cereals,” said Neil. “We also have Flo Rite Plantability Polymers, a very interesting technology that can help a grower maximize the amount of active ingredient that stays on a seed and also helps seeds flow better through planters.”

Neil pointed out that just a 5% stand loss on 3,000 acres of soybeans could cost a farmer nearly $85,000 in a growing season so anything they can do to help growers minimize that loss means more from every acre.

Listen to my interview with Neil here: Interview with Neil Bentley, BASF

2013 ASTA CSS & Seed Expo Photo Album

Precision Pays Podcast: The future of corn planting

pp-podcastOver 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’s Digital Farming

chuck-fps-grossweilerBayer 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

Coverage of the 2013 Farm Progress show is sponsored by Bayer CropScience, Growmark and New Holland

Maximizing Yields With FieldScripts

monsanto-media-fps-13-66-editedMaximizing 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

An On The Farm Full Service Provider

fps-13-673-editedGROWMARK, 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

Coverage of the 2013 Farm Progress show is sponsored by Bayer CropScience, Growmark and New Holland

ACRES Crop Management Tool

steyerIn 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.

Tips for Early-Season Scouting

pioneerRegular 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.

Evaluating Early Growth Provides Insight to Growers

Legends SeedLegends 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.

Syngenta Builds on Garst Legacy

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.

golden-harvestFounded 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