As with most farm business decisions, very few escape without some type of tradeoff, be it labor, time or money. Our cover story may challenge your beliefs if you're sold on 30-in. row soybeans, because you lose yield (range from 2.9 to 4.5 bu./acre) compared to 15-in. – according to a three-year, six-state university trial.
It’s not often a five-page letter from a farmer crosses my desk, even though it is obviously a typewriter-written, mass-mailed letter addressed to “magazine officials.” It was a letter from Vernon Bowman, a 74-year-old farmer from Sandborn, Ind. He outlined his use of commodity soybeans purchased from a local elevator to use as inexpensive double-crop soybean seed, and the subsequent legal actions taken against him by Monsanto.
It's all about a Think Different approach with the valuable resource that some farmers and investors are paying upwards of $15,000/acre. It's about the need to rebuild and improve the natural biological processes in your soil, so you and your landlord can gain greater efficiency and return on investment.
When I became editor last December, we began a journey steeped in a different philosophy – to find the best "Think Different" topics as well as sources for our stories. Our aim at Corn & Soybean Digest (CSD) is not to change our popular editorial emphasis on maximizing production and marketing for profit. It's all about how we look beyond the norm, beyond the average ways we do things. We all can learn when we push ourselves outside our comfort zone.
Our aim at Corn & Soybean Digest (CSD) is not to change our popular editorial emphasis on maximizing production and marketing for profit. It's all about how we look beyond the norm, beyond the average ways we do things. We all can learn when we push ourselves outside our comfort zone.
Think back 30 years. 1982. Reagan inhabited the White House. The earth was home to 4.6 billion people. Some brilliant forward-thinking scientists had created a space shuttle, the MRI diagnostic machine, and the first artificial heart. And some agricultural visionaries quietly started a conservation revolution.
With our national election less than a few weeks away, I do hope you cast an informed vote, no matter what your political persuasion. Will our votes help Congress learn how to work together? Who knows. But if we don't vote and we don't express our concerns that we want compromise, will the seemingly polarized two-party system continue its debilitating partisanship? Especially when 80% of the country disapproves of their actions.
CSD Editor Kurt Lawton headed home to Jefferson, Iowa, where his brother and cousin were harvesting corn on the family farm. From dawn until dusk (and beyond), they were combining, loading and getting the 2012 corn crop out of the field. These two fields averaged yields of 117 and 131 bu./acre. Yields were well below average due to the drought.
If drought hit your fields, no doubt you want to put this season in the rearview mirror fast and plan for a more normal crop in 2013. But before you begin to lock in whatever good seed numbers might be available during a coming year of short supply, take a detailed look at each field's 2012 herbicide and fertilizer applications.
While the stomach-churning drought of all droughts gets 24/7 news coverage, our cover story focus for August emphasizes an even larger problem that will remain in your fields well beyond this one crop cycle. And you can't buy insurance for it. The southern Minnesota field on the cover is being overrun by resistant giant ragweed, spread via combine and pollen. The glyphosate molecule will no longer control this prolific weed seed producer – similar to waterhemp and its pigweed cousin Palmer amaranth.
Are you a farmer who buys into the retailer/company/lender logic of adding more inputs to the spray tank, just in case insects or disease might be out there? Or are you fortunate to have a trusted source who scouts and openly discusses practices that can lead to weed, insect and disease resistance?