If you’re not directly working in agriculture – which, 98% of the population is not – talk of the challenging time in ag may not spur your curiosity. It may only be a 20-second segment on the evening news or a quick mention at the hardware store during check out. You may work or live in town, so it likely doesn’t matter much to you. But, you should care about this challenging time – unprecedented challenging time – because it does affect you. No one is exempt.
What’s the Problem?
The weather has been relentless to those who make a livelihood off the land. Let’s start in the fall of 2018:
When the crop is harvested off the field, a best practice is to apply a fall application, which is a herbicide that kills any weeds that may emerge. This ensures the field is clean and ready to be planted in the spring. But last fall, constant rain delayed harvest and also left fields saturated. This didn’t allow for equipment to get into the fields to apply this product, so the majority of fields went untouched. Fall application became something growers would have to take care of in the spring.
Folks with livestock such as cattle faced challenges from the uncooperative weather, also. Usually, a field can get three cuttings of hay in a summer season but that wasn’t the case in 2018. This resulted in a hay shortage last fall when stockmen were trying to produce or buy hay for the upcoming winter….the winter of 2018-2019: You know, the one that never ended. The extended winter, causing stockman to still feed hay in April, resulted in a real hay shortage. But the winter wasn’t just extended, it was brutal. Record temperatures and snowfall, blizzards striking America’s heartland multiple times, great loss of livestock in inclimate weather…each of these things compressed the issue. Then came the flooding.
Rain began in late March and never stopped. In a time when growers were hoping to apply the herbicide to kill the weeds so they could plant a crop, tractors, planters, and sprayers remained in the shop because they couldn’t get into the soggy fields. And there is a brief window of time in which a farmer can plant corn and soybeans. If that window is missed, there will be no crop at all. Now here we are, the middle of June, and fields still sit empty. Except for the weeds.
Also, in order for growers to get the best crop insurance possible, corn needed to be planed by June 6. After that date, farmers had to make a decision to either let the ground remain completely unplanted, or to plant an alternate crop. Maybe soybeans? The soybean market is already so weak, due to saturation of the market and tariffs, that there would be no money in that. We’re talking record low prices for the commodity.
As of June 9, just 60% of America’s soybean acres had been planted in our highest-producing states, compared with nearly 90% typically planted by this time of year. And just 83% of the corn crop is in the ground in the most productive states, a number that should be pushing 100%.
Some farmers are finally admitting
that this will be the first time in
their lifetime of farming
that there will be no crop.
This adds to an already extremely difficult run in agriculture. Land O’Lakes recently shared this information:
Due largely to sustained low commodity prices, average farm income in 2017 was $43,000, while the median farm income for 2018 was negative$1,500. In 2018, Chapter 12 bankruptcies in the farm states across the Midwest that are responsible for nearly half of all sales of U.S farm products rose to the highest level in a decade.
Those who support the American farmer are not spared in this grief. Ag retailers, such as the local farmer-owned cooperative, aren’t able to dispense the product they’ve purchased months ago because it has nowhere to go. There is no crop insurance for retail, they simply lose the money. Credit providers won’t get paid because the farmers have no income to make payments. Salesmen who may work on commission go without pay because no one has the money to buy. It is a cycle that affects stress levels and livlihoods by the thousands.
So, how are you affected?
The loss of income in agriculture this year will be in the billions. This will affect small towns across America in very real ways because this unprofitable year will affect ag retailers, seed companies, grain elevators, machinery dealers and more, all of which employs thousands in our area. All of which will have less in their pocketbook in a very real way. And when they’re making much less money, they’re spending less at local stores, restaurants, entertainment, car dealerships and beyond.
The price of food will also see an upward swing as the corn used to produce your favorite tortilla chips or the tomatoes you cook with simply aren’t being produced. We’re usually enjoying sweet corn by now…much won’t even be planted.
It is quite difficult to put into words the depth of despair agriculture is experiencing in this moment. The sickening statistic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that suicide rates in farmers are higher than any other occupation today speaks volumes.
We urge you to take heart regarding this national crisis. It spares no one who eats or cares about their community. We invite you to check on those in your community who work in agriculture. You may only see them at the grocery, church pew, ballpark or parking lot, but a simple word to let them know they aren’t alone in this volatile time could make a world of difference in their state of mind. Let them know their work and effort matters.
We’ll keep this in mind, our faith keeping us rooted:
But I will bless the person who puts his trust in me. He is like a tree growing near a stream and sending out roots to the water. It is not afraid when hot weather comes, because its leaves stay green; it has no worries when there is no rain; it keeps on bearing fruit. – Jeremiah 17:7-8
Harvest Land stands beside our growers as we navigate this unbelievable time. Those of us in production agriculture will get through this because of our unwavering resolve which has benefitted stewards of the land from the beginning of time. And we’ll go on to live admirably, doing the greatest work in the world: Farming.
We’re getting many questions about making planting adjustments for corn and also soybean varieties in this delayed season. We sat down with agronomist Steve Dlugosz and Seed Manager Brandon Lovett to address concerns and talk about why maturities do matter right now.
Take a look –
As always, your YieldPro team at Harvest Land is here to discuss with you the best options for success in this difficult season.
It has been a challenging spring. Just as we think we’re entering the thick of busy season, moisture arrives and prevents us from getting anything done on local land.
There is still plenty to do at our ag centers, whether we can get into a field, or not.
Abraham Lincoln said,
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree
and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
The first four hours: That’s where we’ve been over the last two months, as a cooperative awaiting a change in season. So we’ve taken advantage of that time to do things like pan testing our machines so we’re prepared to run on all cylinders when we finally can. Pan testing, you ask?
Our Central Ohio Ag crew recently worked together to pan test machines for spring fieldwork. Pan testing is a process used to calibrate the spread pattern of a fertilizer applicator. Watch the video to see how the machines cross over the pans set at regular positions across the spread pattern, allowing us to evaluate how even the spread pattern is. We can then make adjustments to our machines to ensure our customers are getting the highest quality application every time.
This is one more way we work to provide the best, most accurate service for our farmer-members. We wish you a safe planting season.
Increased pressure in diseased corn isn’t going away. Sara Nave from our Lena Ag Center, grower Richard Bodey and Agronomist Steve Dlugosz worked together in 2018 to develop and run a box trial that yielded really interesting – and telling – results regarding early season fungicide application and also response to sulfur. Bodey confirms that the treated side had greater plant stamina and standability.
So, how important is sulfur in the production of corn and soybeans? This week we invite you to watch the video below to find out!
Actual Trial Results:
Your YieldPro Specialist is ready to visit with you about your options for the 2019 crop. Contact them today to get a plan in place for success this season!
A challenging fall, which wasn’t ideal for applying a fall burn down, has set us up for an interesting spring ahead. Make sure you’re doing your tillage prior to making an application.
Simple Fact: You can’t stay clean if you don’t start clean.
Watch as YieldPro Specialist Kyle Brooks visits with Glenn Longabaugh, Winfield United Regional Agronomist, regarding setting agronomic priorities in a compressed season. Glenn makes some excellent points about finding operational success this spring.
Contact your YieldPro Specialist today to discuss
best practices for success in a season such as this.
A few weeks ago we sat down with grower Gary Lawyer to discuss the success he had in managing high-yield soybeans in 2018. Gary offered insight into why he believes 2018 was his best year, yet.
Applying fungicide and insecticide worked tremendously for Lawyer and his plan is to follow the same protocol in 2019.
Timing is important: An extra trip later in the season to manage disease can truly pay.
“Get better before you get bigger, and this is the easiest way I’ve found to do that.” – Gary Lawyer
Click below to watch Agronomist Steve Dlugosz and YieldPro Specialist David Vansickle discuss the keys to success grower Gary Lawyer used in 2018 to manage high-yield soybeans, and the things he will do again in 2019.
To back up this insight, below are yield numbers from the area we’re discussing:
Contact your YieldPro Specialist to develop your plan for better performance today. Also, if you want to begin receiving our agronomic emails, you can visit https://www.harvestlandcoop.com/Agronomy and sign up at the bottom of the page.
That is why our Winter Innovation Forum brings in the nation’s best presenters to Wayne County, giving you only the facts on the industries that matter most for your business.
We thought today may be a great time to introduce you to the five individuals who will lead the discussions throughout the day on February 20.
Senior Director, Knowledge Exchange Division,
Terry Barr, a nationally recognized economist, is senior director for CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division, an information-and-knowledge-sharing initiative created in 2009. The division draws upon the expertise and insights of experts inside CoBank as well as those of its customers and other third-party experts and professionals in the industries it serves.
Previously, Dr. Barr served as chief economist for the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives in Washington, DC from 1985 to 2009. Prior to joining NCFC, Terry held several positions during a 14-year tenure at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He served as chairman of the World Agricultural Outlook Board, which is responsible for coordinating USDA’s commodity forecasts and for publishing its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. He also served in the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture as director of economic analysis. Terry holds a doctorate in economics from Washington State University.
President and CEO, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
Charles F. (Chuck) Conner became president & CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) on January 22, 2009. As president of NCFC, Conner will oversee the organization’s work to promote and protect the business and public policy interests of America’s farmer-owned cooperatives. He will also provide the strategic vision for the trade association as it continues to seek new ways in which to add value for its membership.
Prior to joining NCFC, Conner had served as the Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture since mid-2005. In this capacity, he was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) overseeing day-to-day operations of the department. Conner interacted directly with President George W. Bush and his senior staff to formulate domestic and international food, trade, security and energy policy. He led development of the Bush Administration’s $300 billion Farm Bill proposal and the strategy to educate and inform industry, constituents and Congress.
From August 2007 to January 2008, Conner served as both USDA Secretary and Deputy Secretary. He played a key role in developing the Administration’s immigration policy including important changes to the H2A program.
Conner’s experience also includes the assignment of Special Assistant to the President, Executive Office of the President, from October 2001 to May 2005, working on the 2001/2 Farm Bill to develop the strategy behind the transfer of several USDA agency functions to the newly formed Department of Homeland Security. From May 1997 to October 2001 Conner served as President of the Corn Refiners Association. He also served for 17 years as an advisor to U.S. Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana.
Conner is a graduate of Purdue University, with a Bachelor’s of Science degree and is the recipient of Purdue’s Distinguished Alumni Award. He and his wife Dru have four children.
Steve Dlugosz, CCA, Agronomist, Harvest Land Co-op
Steve Dlugosz received a BS in Agronomy from Purdue University in 1980, and a MS in Entomology from Purdue University in 1991. He started his career as an Area IPM Extension specialist for Purdue, and worked an eleven county area of southwest Indiana. In 1985, he went to work for Indiana Farm Bureau Cooperative Inc. He has held various agronomic positions within the Cooperative system over the years of industry consolidation, and is currently the Lead Agronomist for Harvest Land Co-op.
Steve has been heavily involved in the CCA program since its inception, and has served in a number of leadership roles including Chairman of the International CCA Board in 2006. Steve has also served on a number of agricultural and industry boards and committees over the years. In 1997 he was appointed by the Governor of Indiana to serve on the Indiana Pesticide Review Board and currently serves today. He testified before two different Congressional Committees on Agriculture in 2005 and again in 2010
Todd Dysle, UAN Products Manager, CHS
Todd Dysle has had a 31-year career in the Crop Nutrient industry, working for a retail/wholesale fertilizer distributor. He has spent more than 10 years with two international trading companies. Dysle joined CHS in 2008 as the Product Manager for UAN (Nitrogen Solutions) and has since handled all crop nutrients at one time or another. Today he manages the UAN and the Ammonia books
It with great fondness that Dysle shares his fertilizer business experience with you today. He has witnessed many industry changes over the years and very much enjoys sharing that information with farmers.
Todd Dysle was raised on an Ohio dairy farm where his passion for agriculture was ignited. He went on to serve as a State FFA Officer and then received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from The Ohio State University. Dysle went on to be a Farm Broadcaster for 10 years and also a part time grain farmer.
Dysle has lived with his wife Paula in the Tampa, FL area the past 18 years. In his spare time he enjoys travel, golf, and his two granddaughters who reside in Ohio.
Charlie Smith is President and CEO of CountryMark Cooperative Holding Corp. (CountryMark). CountryMark’s operations encompass oil exploration and production, refining, and distribution-refined products to its branded retailers. Charlie began his career with the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) where he held a number of petroleum-related assignments in Houston, Anchorage and Dallas. In 1991, he joined a leading international petroleum consulting firm where he became Vice President and Director, managing the firm’s Mergers & Acquisitions practice. Charlie joined CountryMark in his current capacity in January 2003. Charlie holds a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University and is a graduate of the Hoosier Fellows program at Indiana University’s Tobias Center for Leadership Excellence. He also is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Texas. Charlie served eight years on the Advisory Board of the new Indiana State Department of Agriculture for which he received the Partner in Progress Award from Lt. Governor Becky Skillman. He currently serves on the Board of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Advisors for Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business (Indianapolis), the Board of the Michigan Oil and Gas Association, and the Industry Advisory Council for Purdue University’s School of Chemical Engineering. Charlie recently received the 2015 Purdue University School of Chemical Engineering’s Outstanding Chemical Engineer Award.
If you attend one meeting this winter, make it this one.
Seed Treatments – As commodity pricing has declined, in some cases growers have looked for ways to decrease input cost. Seed Treatment has changed in some operations. Seed treatment will not increase the germination of the “LOT”, however, it will increase the chances that each viable seed will become a “productive member of society”.
Populations: For many years we have overpopulated soybeans in Indiana and Ohio. We have made a concerted effort to reduce planting populations over the last several years. However, the 2019 year may not be the year to look at reducing plant populations.
Ownership – The best LOTs will be treated by Brands, best quality and highest Germ out the door first. The only way to ensure the quality and Germ % of your soybeans is to OWN the product and have it on your floor. Harvest Land highly recommends that you take possession of product.
Replants are NEVER a good situation. – All above-mentioned situations will be included in FIRST plant units. Many years we only really have one chance to do it Right.
Click below to watch Agronomist Steve Dlugosz and Seed Manager, Brandon Lovett, talk about seed treatment, populations, ownership and replant.