As we look back on 2014, we remember some of our best stories, tips and ideas from farmers. Included in this first Best Of installment are ideas about data management and using and sharing that data to farm smarter, better. There are conservation ideas and soil health tips. Read about biotic fertilizers, and tips for telling your farm story. All of these stories offer farmers the chance to Think Different about their operations.
The November issue of Corn+Soybean Digest offered fresh ideas in merging art and science to farm for the big picture. There are also corn residue breakdown myths, including a photo gallery. Read challenges in rail transport, and weed control. Get an outlook about corn production in China, and see what's ahead in soil health tests. Finally, read about the weather future for the Corn Belt. And don't forget regular pieces from Editor Kurt Lawton, as well as new ideas from Xperts Ed Usset and Dan Frieberg.
Soil health tests are popping up around every corner, and farmer use is growing. Each has its adherents, and many offer a wealth of information to a degree unimaginable only a few years ago. As a soil scientist and landowner, Ward Labs President Ray Ward believes a diverse microbial community is an important measurement of soil health....More
Joel Gruver, Western Illinois University agronomist, planted specific cover crops in a band, then after their demise he pulled soil samples in the cover crop row and compared them to samples taken 15 inches off the row. There were substantial differences in soil-test levels of P and K—“comparable to a nutrient-banding effect from a commercial fertilizer (banding) applicator,” Gruver says....More
Five agriculture stories to read offer advice on fall tillage and insight into corn and soybean consumption after a large harvest. The USDA is seeking public comment on changes to the Conservation Stewardship Program, and if you're going to test cornstalks for nitrate, now is the time. For a good laugh, check out a bit by Jimmy Kimmel where he asked consumers what GMO means.
This conference emphasizes proven farmer experience and applied science in conservation tillage. Learn how heavier, colder soils aren’t necessarily the challenge they’re made out to be. And, what have long-time no-tillers and reduced-tillage farmers learned that could spare you the same lessons?...More
Corn and soybean harvest is in full swing but some fields are a little wet, and wetter soils compact easier. However, there are three ways to minimize the extent of the compaction you may create when driving through the field....More
Cover crops offer many benefits to farmers, says Eileen Kladivko, an agronomist and cover crops specialist with Purdue University. Some of the benefits include: improved nitrogen use and water quality, erosion prevention, better soil quality, weed suppression and enhanced wildlife habitat....More
The September issue of Corn+Soybean Digest offers a lot for readers. From data management to tips for financial success in turbulent times, what farmers learned in 2014 to strip-till tips. Check out these feature stories for insight on Ukraine corn exports, as well as marketing advice for low prices, using tillage for weed control and cover crop seed mixes.
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....More
The 5 ag stories to read this week include tips on storing grain this fall, as well as a reminder that a solid nutrient balance is important to corn yield, and not just nitrogen. Read about a new soil mapping technology from Purdue, and understand that when benchmarking your farm, it's important to use relevant benchmarks. For a little enjoyment, read about how you know you grew up on a farm when… .
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....More
Following the worst drought in his farming career – and growing frustration over competition for land – Les Albrecht expanded his operation internally in 2013 by adding five circles of irrigation to his dryland operation....More
Five agriculture stories to read this week reminds growers to renew applications for land enrolled in the Conservation Stewardship Program. There is also research about late-planted corn and frost risk, as well as some tips and challenges for seeding cover crops. Watch a video about predicting on-farm costs, and take in a parody called “On the Farm.”
There is no single recipe to determine the right cover crop mix for a particular field, much less an entire farm. You need to know each field, set goals and set a budget that makes sense. Are the primary concerns to retain and build nutrient levels for the coming crop, managing moisture, compaction or simply building soil health? Is grazing a potential income source? Which cover crops match the post-harvest-to-freeze interval in your area? Do you want to deal with pre-plant burn-down or do you prefer letting winterkill do the job?
There is no single recipe to determine the right cover crop mix for a particular field, much less an entire farm. You need to know each field, set goals and set a budget that makes sense. Are the primary concerns to retain and build nutrient levels for the coming crop, managing moisture, compaction or simply building soil health?...More
This week's 5 Ag stories to read includes advice on scouting for Southern rust in corn, as well as an outlook on farmland prices. Also read an opinion about GMO and organic working together to feed a growing population. There are also tips and methods for seeding cover crops, and for a little fun, enjoy a gallery featuring a throwback to seed bags.
The August issue of Corn+Soybean Digest features many great stories, including cover crops, high-moisture harvesting, waterway reform, strip-till decisions, market tips and data decisions. Read these tips and ideas to help you with agronomic, marketing and data decisions on your farm.
Midwest farmers are deploying many techniques for planting cover crops: broadcasting with fertilizer spreaders, flying on the cover crop and modifying high-clearance sprayers. Others are pairing cover crop seeding with another field operation, such as vertical tillage, manure application or even combining....More
This installment of 5 Ag stories to read offers best management practices for insecticide applications to help maintain water quality. There are also some crop insurance numbers, and an interactive map showing ag production for all states. Also hear what one family is doing for on-farm conservation. For a little fun, catch a fun "Frozen" parody from the infamous Farmer Derek.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced continued progress on implementing the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill), which President Obama signed into law nearly six months ago on Feb. 7, 2014. The 2014 Farm Bill reforms agricultural policy, reduces the deficit, and helps grow America’s economy.
Dan Sanderson and his son Trent farm near Clare, Ill. The operation is 100% strip-till, and the father-son duo plant cover crops on about 1/3 of their acres, experimenting with different mixes. They have clay loam soils and use a variety of technologies and equipment, including a sugar beet plate to plant some of their cover crops....More
Farmers using cover crops as a soil conservation method can remove much more corn stover per acre for biofuels or other uses and at the same time potentially increase their income, Purdue University research shows....More