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.

Question your assumptions about agriculture feeding the world

Economic trends from the past five years have had an outsized positive influence on row-crop productivity, says Wells Fargo Ag Economist and Senior VP Michael Swanson. As they fade, “recognize that your economic future is in the hands of the new trends replacing them,” Swanson says.

8 tips for successful weed control 2

Jim Legvold’s weed-management story began when this Vincent, Iowa, farmer planned out his program, embodying a new approach. But the plot thickened after an extremely wet spring and cool summer thwarted his best-laid plans. Weather extremes, weed adaptability and low crop prices challenged his long-term plan of corn-soybean herbicides, residual herbicides and rotated modes of action.

Cornstalk nitrate test reveals nitrogen application accuracy 1

How many farmers feel that nitrogen application rates are a guessing game, since you don’t know the season’s rainfall forecast? Cornstalk nitrate testing tells you whether you applied enough nitrogen this year, based on cornstalk samples’ nitrate levels at black layer stage.

Check your tillage costs  2

How often have you wondered whether a new practice or piece of equipment will pay? Kenton, Ohio, farmer Brian Watkins built a computer farming simulation model to calculate the cost of such options. “It tells me how much time a piece of equipment will take to operate and repair, how much fuel will cost and how it will affect other things we do,” he says.

Strategize for lean years on the farm  1

Brian Haugen is preparing his farm for lean times. Leveraging his management experience, discipline, standard operating procedures (SOPs), a diversified revenue base, shared human resources for productivity and collaboration with more than 35 landlords, his corn and soybean operation will do its best to weather the storm over the next few years.

Managing corn production with low prices

Harry McCune, Walnut, Ill., farms just over 3,000 acres, and grows mostly corn with a few soybean acres. He recently spoke to CSD Managing Editor Susan Winsor about how he is managing his corn crop as corn prices continue to dip. "I think we have to get back to some more basic things," he says. From agronomics, including nitrogen management, to increasing yield, McCune is doing what he can to grow the best corn crop for his land.

Don’t base precision ag decisions on old maps, poor soil testing  3

Each level of information gathering is an opportunity for fuzzy data. Soil sampling, field mapping, yield monitoring and personal recollection are key building blocks, but they are also potential pillars of error for your precision-ag program, says independent agronomist Shannon Gomes.

What has 2014 taught farmers? 2

This spring was crazy in some areas, and we’re in for leaner times through at least 2016. Corn+Soybean Digest asked growers what they have learned and what they are changing going forward.

11 tips for financial success in agriculture 3

In the long run, the key to success in a commodity business is being a low-cost producer. That advice comes from Purdue Distinguished Ag Economics Professor Michael Boehlje. “When you wake up each day, tell yourself, ‘My job today is to lower my costs,’ he says. “The only trouble is that Ukraine woke up seven hours earlier and got a head start on it.”

Using Climate Basic and Climate Pro on the farm

David Friedberg, CEO, Climate Corporation, recently talked to CSD Managing Editor Susan Winsor about using Climate Pro and Climate Basic on the farm. The apps and programs help farmers see growth stages, soil moisture, offer recommendations for harvest based on grain moisture, and more, including field work decisions.

Shift to strip-till: residue management, benefits, challenges and tips  2

Tim Koosmann switched to strip-till from ridge-till five years ago to capture the efficiencies of phosphorus and potassium banding in continuous corn. Real-time kinematic (RTK) satellite navigation makes it relatively simple, and he’s building long-term soil organic matter and productivity.

OADA can help simplify big data

Ault spoke with Managing Editor Susan Winsor about the current disconnect with data in agriculture, as well as how OADA can help farmers manage data and make it work for them, and help with the tasks farmers need help with.

Predicting on-farm costs

Brian Watkins farms near Toledo, Ohio. For a long time, he’s been working on a computer model to predict costs on his 7,000-acre corn and soybean farm. He came up with Cropzilla. Using a $3.50 corn price, the numbers have absolutely influenced the decisions he’s made on his Ohio farm, he says.

Using UAVs on the farm 1

Jim Love, farm business advisor, Beck’s Hybrids, talks about using UAVs on the farm. “Once you’ve purchased the plane or the helicopter the money is spent, so now the trick is, how many times can I use it. Even if it’s a small problem, if I can sort it out, it’s going to be better for the grower,” he says.

Nitrogen management tips

“If you’re going to grow high-yielding corn, you’ve got to get your nitrogen management correct; we can’t fail,” says Jason Webster, director, Central Illinois Practical Farm Research. “Nitrogen is the one thing we can control.”

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