It's the time of year when we all talk about being thankful. And while we should probably all recognize the things we're thankful for a little more often, at least we're talking about them now. Atop my personal list: a beautiful daughter, an amazing family and one heck of a great life. And part of why my life is so great: agriculture. ...More
How do you create real value from your GIS field data?
“By converting data to knowledge” that can improve production decisions, says Dan Frieberg, president of Premier Crop Systems, West Des Moines, Iowa, a precision agriculture software company.
That means “going beyond what you can see on a map,” and moving to sophisticated data analysis at the field level and across thousands of acres of pooled data, he says....More
I believe we are in the midst of another Golden Age of Agriculture, for two reasons: Farmers and ag companies are thriving, and we have a new generation of ag producers who don't know the "bad times."...More
While farm diversity can offer many benefits, before entering a new venture, ask yourself a few questions about how it will benefit your farm, what problem it solves and what it will cost your core business....More
Growing crops is always a gamble. That’s why Jeremy Hopper runs the numbers. Hopper manages several thousand acres of row cropland near Tiptonville, Tenn. Precision data guides his agronomic decisions and helps him hone his operation....More
Jeremy Hopper, Tiptonville, Tenn., uses precision data to make many agronomic and management decisions. Using field maps and data, he can see yield distribution and evaluate hybrid performance, as well as influence irrigation and row spacing choices.
There’s no slow season anymore! Farmers tell me that often. With crop and business demands, it can feel like the year is just one long string of activity without the spikes and dips we used to experience. With that said, every business – whether its seasons are set by the weather or not – needs to create and utilize an “off season.”...More
I've written about the Mix Tank app before, and now they've released an update. If you haven't already downloaded the app, do it now. It's an easy-to-use tool for spray management and chemical applications....More
One of the questions posed to us concerned the future of mom-and-pop farms. First, this term needs to be defined because it can be very difficult to describe. Mom-and-pop farms have children and/or grandchildren working on the farm, may have have grown to be a large agricultural entity. Some own other businesses both inside and outside of agriculture. Others have become very entrepreneurial and operate more like a small business....More
Bob Recker, Cedar Valley Innovation, takes aerial images of fields and looks down to the plant level to determine the cause of field patterns and variances. This is his 9th year of foucs at the plant level. "It's been an evolving process," Recker says....More
The U.S., other developed countries and, to some extent, North American agriculture could experience a tremendous loss of institutional knowledge as the baby boomer generation fades into the golden years of their lives. In the agricultural industry, many organizations are strategically examining life without the baby boomers as the “worker bees” of their boards, management teams and in everyday operations....More
I keep bringing new and useful apps to you through this blog, what I'd really like is to hear from you. So, tell me, what apps do you use on your phone while you're in the field, in the barn, at your desk? There have got to be more out there I haven't covered....More
Some people remember phone numbers or calendar dates; I remember farm fields. Before the 2005 crop year, the program leaders for Central Advantage from Central Valley Cooperative in southern Minnesota asked me to help generate variable-rate planting prescriptions. The primary question was, “Agronomically, what makes sense?” Field by field, I looked at the data collected for historic yields, soils, fertility levels, CECs, etc., and generated VR prescriptions for each field....More
I recently made my annual trek to WebEquity Solutions’ annual client conference in Omaha, NE. What started over 15 years ago as a small conference with less than 40 people is now one of the showcase ag lender events of the year with an emphasis on technology. This year one of my assignments was to serve on a panel with some ag lenders. I was placed in the hot seat to provide wisdom and wit about the current state of affairs. The following are some specific points and perspectives that I covered....More
One of the top 10 questions I am asked, and perhaps number one or two, is “Will the farmland bubble burst?” Examination of farm real estate data by state illustrates a compelling story that farmland is not experiencing a national bubble, but one of regional and local proportions. If there is a land bubble, it is located in the upper Midwest and the western Corn Belt. For example, our good friends in Nebraska have experienced a 50% increase in land values in the past two years, followed closely by Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota....More
The last column focused on a young producer who provided advice to his peers at a young and beginning farmer and rancher conference in Omaha, Neb. I explained how this industry leader recommended having a team of advisors and doing succession planning. Let’s continue the discussion....More
At a recent event in Omaha, NE, a young producer, who was first appointed to the board of directors and then elected, provided a glimpse of the type of youth with vigor that will lead agriculture in the decades to come. This young person provided some advice to his peers in the audience that was well worth capturing, which I did on the Delta Airlines napkin that was available in my pocket....More
We asked three farmers: What is the biggest lesson learned from your landlords? Lessons learned include staying in touch with people, operating the property as if it's your own, continuing relationships through generations and being open about opportunity....More
If people are getting something done – mistakes are going to happen. The question becomes: What to do when a mistake’s been made? Since the 1940s, one of the most important assets on the farm has been the tractor PTO. The power and versatility it brought revolutionized productivity on the farm. Unfortunately, it also became a significant source of injury and death on the farm....More
With corn and soybean harvest around the corner, it's time to start prepping equipment. One place to start is having the tires on farm equipment inflated to a proper psi. Lucky for you, there's a new mobile website that can help with that....More
I’ve learned to trust the people who advise me. The hybrids change so fast I’m not planting anything today that is exactly the same as what we were growing three years ago, says Steve Lawler, Ogden, Iowa....More
I hit the jackpot the other day when I was in Des Moines, Iowa to speak to the New Century Farmer group. A chance meeting with an Australian farmer at 6:00 AM in the workout room started off the day with a bang. Richard Heath, a fourth-generation farmer from Down Under was visiting the United States and Canada, and had a stopover golf outing in Nebraska, that was circumvented by my request that he come join me to speak to the New Century Farmer group....More