Susan Winsor


Before joining Corn and Soybean Digest, Susan was an agricultural magazine editor for Miller Publishing, a newspaper reporter for Gannett newspapers and Manager, Marketing Publications for Cenex/Land O’Lakes Ag Services. She graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Journalism.

2 tools help cut nitrogen costs

Oklahoma farmer Brent Rendel exceeded his 100-bushel corn-yield average by 50% with just 75 pounds of nitrogen per acre. His Trimble GreenSeeker canopy sensors saved him $16,250 in sidedress nitrogen on corn by identifying no need for sidedress nitrogen for all his corn (at $25 per acre).

How warmer temps, higher C02 will affect your corn, soybeans 1

If Midwestern night temperatures rise by 9 degrees by 2100, as many climate scientists predict, the corn yield/July temperature relationship from Indiana suggests a yield decrease of 2.1 bushels per acre for every degree Fahrenheit increase.

Soybean yield drivers

Management, more than inputs, is still the key to higher soybean yields, according to the latest USB-funded university research. “You can’t buy higher yields; you still have to work for them,” says Seth Naeve, the University of Minnesota agronomist who led the intensive soybean yield research.

Are farmers walking away from rental contracts? 3

A recent Reuters news article titled “Rent walkouts point to strains in U.S. farm economy,” claims that some farmers have abandoned farmland-rental commitments. "It might be better to let it go and cut your acres back, cause if you lose $100 per acre on a farm have to make up that loss from other farms,” says Kent Thiesse, vice president of MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, Minn.

Wind erosion from uncovered fields can be costly 4

That’s money in the ditch. If it were $82 in cash, would you pull over and grab it? That’s what western Minnesota “snirt” (snow and dirt) contains in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

A strip-till journey 3

Strip-till has improved soil structure on Sheldon Stevermer's farm to the point where it can manage extreme rains and heavy corn residue. “Three years ago, I realized I didn’t need to freshen the strips in the spring; crusting was no longer a problem,” says the Wells, Minn., farmer.

Narrow-row soybeans offer yield advantage 2

Brent Friest and his father Denny compared 15- and 30-inch rows on their farm near Radcliffe, Iowa, one of seven replicated 2014 strip trials led by the Iowa Soybean Association On-Farm Network. The Friests’ 15-inch rows yielded 49.8 bushels, compared to 40.5 bushels for his 30-inch rows.

Tips for saving fuel, energy on the farm

Energy costs may not be your largest expense on the farm, but it's one that you can jump in on and make a fairly large impact without changing productivity, says Mark Hanna, Extension ag engineer at Iowa State University. He offers ideas for conserving fuel, including reduced tillage passes, shifting up, front-wheel assist and hybrid choice and drying.

Genetic engineering benefits

Farmers see the benefit of genetic engineering because it's made their work safer, said Don Lee, genetics professor at University of Nebraska, when he spoke to Managing Editor Susan Winsor. Lee also talked about the benefits of golden rice, as well as the naturally occurring process and the safety of the foods.

Farmer-led watershed groups offer water quality collaboration 

Wayne Kramer cut his nitrogen use by 33% and has applied no commercial phosphorus or potassium to his corn since joining his local farmer-led watershed group in Iowa five years ago. The Farley dairyman collaborates with his Hewitt Creek neighbors to voluntarily improve water quality with best management practices.

Signs of healthy soil

Abbey Wick, NDSU Extension soil health specialist, talked about the signs of healthy soil at the Conservation Tillage Conference in December. She says the presence of soil aggregates is a good indicator of healthy soil, as well as earth worms. The color of soil reflects the amount of organic matter, Wick says, noting that lighter soil has less organic matter.

High-oleic soybeans offer a profit

John Motter, Jenera, Ohio, pays himself $100 per hour from the premiums he earns for growing high-oleic soybeans. Not bad, says the four-year veteran of growing Pioneer Plenish and Asgrow Vistive Gold soybeans. Motter asked to be a high-oleic soybean grower when food trans-fat labeling first appeared, converting all of his soybean acres to high-oleic varieties after two years.

Weed resistance management tips

Managing editor Susan Winsor spoke with Ford Baldwin about weed resistance problems and how growers can manage the resistance issues that keep moving farther north. Baldwin offered farmers 5 things they can watch and do to keep weed resistance from becoming and even bigger problem.

Community weed control 

Mike Morgan lives the pigweed nightmare and wants to spare others. The Clay County, Ark., farmer teamed up with his neighbors to defeat Palmer amaranth in ditches, turnrows (headlands) and communal areas. This new weed weapon, a collaboration of farmers, is bent on stopping resistant weeds wherever they grow.

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