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.

Less traffic in the field, more productivity in the soil

Charlie Hammer has never done the same thing for too long, except when it comes to wheels on soil. He has deliberately traveled the same controlled-traffic (CT) lanes on his Beaver Dam, Wis., farm to limit soil compaction.

Farm family grows modified corn for pharmaceutical purposes

This family farm has grown modified corn, tobacco, rice and potatoes that produce medically valuable drugs and enzymes. The high-profit, highly regulated farm enterprise diversifies them from low-margin commodity crops. (They also grow commodity corn.) “So, three of us make a living from about 4,000 acres of corn,” Bill Horan says.

3 farm strategies for today’s economy

“Agriculture is the story of productivity: doing old things better,” says Mark Drabenstott, a global economist, Federal Reserve 25-year veteran. “The future belongs to those who innovate, doing better things. Commodity markets require even more risk management in an ever-riskier environment."

Farmer builds consumer confidence

Farmer and ag ambassador Quint Pottinger explains the three legs of farming to consumers: environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and social sustainability (i.e., public support). “If we can’t convey a positive image of agriculture and the value it brings every family, then we run the risk of negative legislation that constricts our freedom to operate," he says.

Turn agriculture data into field knowledge 1

Gary Wagner is a 34-year farm-data veteran who’s taken data analysis to the next level to improve his profits. He uses two to four key data layers to identify soil productivity zones and yield patterns. Scrupulous attention to data accuracy ensures meaningful data and conclusions.

8 Tips for saving money when corn prices are below $4

This might be a year to only do what pencils out. Here are tips and research on what may make sense for you to reduce this year. From fertilizer tips to seeding rates and product use, to overhead costs and weather planning, university experts offer their best research and ideas to help you save money this growing season.

Adopt big data, or else

“You don’t have to adopt new technologies, but you have to compete against those who do,” says Moe Russell, farm management consultant. This sums up the huge advantage that Big Data provides to farmers. One expert compares Big Data profits to the launch of hybrid corn – where new technology separated winners from also-rans.

New field strips save nutrients

When it comes to conservation, small prairie strips make a big difference in surface runoff. And not just any strips: ones designed, contoured and placed according to scientific criteria developed over seven years by Iowa State University (ISU) researchers.

Cut energy and save yields 1

Ask yourself these energy-savvy questions: Have you analyzed diesel fuel use per row-crop acre? How much of your energy use adds profit? How much propane do you use to dry 1,000 bushels? What percent of a bushel did you lose in moisture discount?

2 tools help cut nitrogen costs 1

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 2

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.

Iowans willing to pay for better water quality

More than half of Iowans surveyed agreed that agriculture has some negative impacts on the environment, and two-thirds indicated that they’d support a shift toward a targeted conservation approach to minimize these negative effects, while also benefiting agricultural landscapes.

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.

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