Harvest Land = Honest Ag

We don’t know the last time we saw men shake hands in a farm field, and we can guarantee there was no photographer there to capture the moment in perfect sunlight.

We can recall, however, the early mornings, long days and late nights we’re working with you to get seed in the ground, crop protection in the right place and applied at the right time. We’ve been running on all cylinders right there with you this spring.

This Friday, we simply want to share our latest video with you, reminding you that we’re not here to blow sunshine up your silo, we’re here to do what’s best for your operation.

Contact your local YieldPro Specialist for all your agronomy needs this season.

 

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A Pre-Plant Poem

A Pre-Plant Poem
by Harvest Land

Spring days are getting longer as we start to break the soil

Traffic slows behind equipment driven by local men of toil.

With a warm snap moving through you can almost cut the anticipation

Every move we’re about to make is a result deliberate conversation.

From plant to harvest, and plant again, we’re in a series of decisions

Analyzing data, selecting hybrids and programs and considering provisions.

Sometimes we forget how much promise can be in one tiny seed

Part of our job at Harvest Land is ensuring they get what they need.

We’ve been thinking about this crop since walking through the last

When time passes in seasons of work you come to realize just how fast.

Going forward our days will be designed around the warm sunshine or the rain

When you live your hours according to weather you come to terms with gain or pain.

And so we move into another planting season with anticipation far and wide

In high hopes that good help, weather, supply and parts all live in a time that coincide.

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Harvest Land’s Top 10 Tips for Growing High Yielding Corn

Sound management decisions go a long way to help farmers secure yields and return on investment when growing corn. At Harvest Land, we offer a full consultative approach in which our YieldPro team prescribes a field-by-field plan for each year. Through the experience of our trained salespeople and input from our expert agronomists we have come up with our top recommendations for growing high yielding corn in our trade area.

  1. Hybrid Selection

Select hybrids from more than one maturity group for risk management and to spread out the workload at planting and harvest time. Choose hybrids with consistently high-yield _DSC0537corn ratings, good standability, strong disease resistance, and a range of maturities. Our trained sales staff can also walk you through the Characterization Charts to show the data from WinField United  Answer Plots across the united states, and local plots, to help assist you in your hybrid selection.

  1. Seed Genetics

Plant hybrids that have shown good yield trial results, plus your tried-and-true hybrids. Seed genetics with built-in herbicide tolerance traits can significantly enhance control of a broad range of tough-to-manage grasses and broadleaf weeds. Diversify hybrid choices to spread risk with a range of maturities and insect and disease susceptibilities.

  1. Seed Treatments

Today’s seed treatments can protect against diseases, insect pests and nematodes to help _dsc0768get young corn plants off to a good start. The wide range of products available can be confusing. Your Harvest Land YieldPro Specialist can help you make good economic decisions focused on the pests you are most concerned with.

 

  1.  Season-long Weed Control

Starting clean with a solid burndown program and/or tillage is critical.  Aim to control weeds before they reach 4 inches in height. Larger weeds are more difficult to control and compete more tenaciously with corn seedlings for sunlight, soil, water and other nutrients. “Driver weeds” like tall waterhemp and marestail usually take a special program (higher cost) for adequate control.

  1. Fertility

Top yields can only be achieved with a solid nutrient management program.  Proper nitrogen fertilizer practices are critical for high-yielding corn. YieldPro has proven to be a YieldPro_4Cvery effective program to prescribe field-specific programs to achieve this goal.

  1. Planting

Consider geography, weather and individual field conditions, such as drainage, when deciding if it’s fit to plant. Recommended planting dates for corn tend to range from early April to early May. Spring weather can change quickly from cool and wet to dry and warm. Planting when the field is too heavy can cause uneven emergence and potential yield reduction due to poor stands and soil compaction issues later in the season.

  1. Seeding Rate

Follow your seed company’s recommendations because there are many variables, such as Agronomy_Looking at plant-2soil types, different hybrid maturity dates and yield potential on various soil types. Seeding rates are a decision best made field-by-field. The Characterization Charts your trained Harvest Land salesperson has access to, can help you decide the optimal seeding rate for your soil type and management style.

  1. Field Scouting

Spotting problems in the crop is imperative.  Check fields early and often for emerging weeds, diseases and insects to help guide treatment decisions and economic thresholds.  Season-long management of weed, disease and insect pests in corn will aid your goal for best return on investment at the end of the growing season. The YieldPro team has the solution for your scouting and diagnostic needs.

  1. Plant Health

dld-4751Fungicides are a valuable tool.  Planned fungicide use helps prevent disease pressure from negatively impacting yields especially in a no-till situation with higher residue or in fields that were planted to corn the year prior.  Every hybrid purchased through Harvest Land will have a response to fungicide rate which will prove valuable in accessing the need for an application. The other option is to “wait and see”, but timely field scouting is critical.

  1. Resistance Management

Use diversified management practices to manage resistance to herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. Select products from different classes of chemistries that attack multiple, effective sites of action. Refer to sources such as Herbicide Resistance Action Committee (HRAC), Fungicide Resistance Action Committee (FRAC) and Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC).

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During this undesirable economic time, it is imperative every decision you make for your farm is thought through and driven to make you a positive ROI. Mother Nature cannot be totally predicted or controlled, but we can do all that we can to ensure our crop can perform to the best of its ability in all situation. High yielding corn can be achieved by taking pieces from this article and personalizing it to your fields. Our YieldPro team, trained sales staff, and expect agronomists can help you navigate these decisions and achieve your yield goals.

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The Final Chapter of the GMO Argument?

GMOs have been in the news lately, and for once, it’s been positive press.

For nearly twenty years, genetically modified organisms have attracted negative attention brought on by poorly informed non-experts with access to the masses. Ah, the power of modern day social media.

But as of late, a series of articles have supported the benefits, safety and value of genetically modified organisms. It is thought that this public breakthrough could finally put to bed the argument of the safety of GMOs to human health. Additionally, a well-known, brilliant billionaire has weighed in, giving GMOs a boost in the right direction in public eye.

The Breakthrough:

A recent meta-analyses, which sorted through hundreds or thousands of studies (how would you like to have that job?) to separate the fact from the noise and draw surer conclusions from scientific data, compared GMO corn with conventional varieties.

The analysis of over 6,000 peer-reviewed studies covering 21 years of data found that GMO corn increased yields up to 25 percent and dramatically decreased dangerous food contaminants. The study analyzed field data from 1996, when the first GMO corn was planted, through 2016 in the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and Australia.

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Key findings:

  • GMO corn varieties increased crop yields 5.6 to 24.5 percent relative to their non-GMO equivalents
  • GMO corn crops had lower percentages of mycotoxins (-28.8 percent), which can lead to economic losses and harm human and animal health. What exactly are mycotoxins?:
    • Mycotoxins, chemicals produced by fungi, are both toxic and carcinogenic to humans and animals. A significant percentage of non-GM and organic corn contain small amounts of mycotoxins. These chemicals are often removed by cleaning in developing countries, but the risk still exists.Genetically modified  corn has substantially fewer mycotoxins because the plants are modified to experience less crop damage from insects. Insects weaken a plant’s immune system and make it more susceptible to developing the fungi that produce mycotoxins.
  • The study also reaffirmed the scientific consensus that genetically modified corn does not pose risks to human health.

Let’s review that last point again:

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For years the misinformed have argued that GMOs in the U.S. and Canada haven’t increased crop yields and could threaten human health; this meta analysis proved just the opposite.

 

The Billionaire

Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates recently participated in an “Ask Me Anything” online forum and remarked that not only does he view genetically modified foods as “perfectly healthy,” but that he sees them as a promising tool in a wider array of resources in the fight to reduce world hunger.

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“GMO foods are perfectly healthy and the technique has the possibility to reduce starvation and malnutrition when it is reviewed in the right way,” Gates wrote. “I don’t stay away from non-GMO foods but it is disappointing that people view it as better.”

gatesHis strong and public opinion of GMOs is getting press because it seems to be the opposite of others’ who aren’t necessarily educated on the topic, but are quite passionate (and maybe vocal?) about it. It appears that for once, someone with a mighty microphone did their homework and has made a personal decision for the benefit of progress and health.

When speaking of the argument regarding the safety and value of GMOs?
As far as we’re concerned, the book is closed.

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Information came from these sources:

After Two Decades of GMOs, Scientists Find They Live up to Their Promise

Bill Gates calls GMOs ‘perfectly healthy’ — and scientists say he’s right

Does GMO corn increase crop yields? 21 years of data confirm it does—and provides substantial health benefits

 

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Winter Agronomic Insights: A Note from Dlugosz

This winter agronomy note is contributed by Harvest Land Agronomist Steve Dlugosz. He offers a few things to consider during these cold winter months. 

Maintaining yields while managing input costs is a real challenge this year. In basketball, the fundamentals like good defense, taking care of the ball and making free throws are essential to winning consistently on the court. Growers’ crops need to follow the same philosophy: Try to match the hybrids and varieties to your specific field conditions.

Nitrogen loss is a big deal for many growers nearly every year. Choosing the optimum nitrogen rate for your soils and the use of nitrogen management tools like N-Serve®/Instinct® and Agrotain can help supply nitrogen all season long. Splitting your nitrogen into several applications increases overall efficiency and uptake.

Leaf diseases in both corn and soybeans can be a big yield robber. Plant hybrids and varieties with good disease packages, especially if you don’t want to spray fungicides. This is especially true in reduced-tillage situations or where soybeans will be grown back-to-back.

Last year, weed control was very difficult due to so much rain. Remember that a good weed control program always utilizes a strong soil residual herbicide, followed by a timely post application when the weeds are still small. In corn, weeds that get over 4 inches in height before they are killed will silently rob yield.Dlugosz

Finally, a quick reminder to watch for weed resistance. Problems are usually first seen as patches of a particular weed species across a field that won’t die. Repeated applications also have little effect.

If you have any concerns, be sure to contact your local ag center and we can come out and take a look.

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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.

 

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Be Still

After 27 inches of rain in the last 31 days for some parts of our trade territory, there is nothing like waking up to this forecast earlier this week:

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As we recover from another shower, we wanted to share with you a video from one of our customers, Alan Bays.

Four generations of Bays have used Harvest Land’s service and products, forming a business relationship that spans fifty years. Excellent reliability with fuels, competitive pricing, available purchasing options and a knowledgeable team are all qualities on which the Bays family relies on Harvest Land.

If the name sounds familiar, it should. The Bays were the cover family of our 2012 Annual Report.

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Justin Bays, Brian Bays,  Elle Contos, Bennett Contos and Sarah Contos

Brian Bays once said of the family’s history with Harvest Land:

“With Harvest Land we’ve sustained a very long-term, business relationship that has provided quality supplies and price-competitive opportunities. We’ve consistently had good relationships with Harvest Land employees, and they always strive to provide solutions for our operation.”  -Brian Bays

The Lapel area, where the Bays farm, has gotten the brunt of the 2017 torrential rains. It seems that if a shower hits Indiana, it’s sure to hit their farm.

But, there is still hope.

We invite you to take a look at this inspiring video from Alan, brother of Brian:

We are so proud to be a small part of Bays’ family operation.

 

 

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Save The Date: August 16

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What are you doing on August 16?

Hopefully spending the morning with us!

We invite you to save the date for our 2017 Answer Plot to be held at our Winfield plot in Pershing, Indiana.

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2017 Answer Plot topics include:
  • Nitrogen Management: Lessons Learned in 2017 for Success in 2018
  • Corn & Beans: Finish Strong in 2017, Start Strong in 2018
  • Why Can’t I Kill Weeds Anymore?: Managing with Resistance
  • Are Traits Still Relevant?: Seed Trait Technology
  • Does YieldPro Still Pay?
  • Keynote Presenter: King of Corn, Dr. Bob Nielson
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Harvest Land Agronomist Steve Dlugosz

Our expert agronomy team and Winfield’s top resources will be available all day to ensure you leave in the afternoon with great ways to preserve the potential of every acre you farm.

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Stick around and we’ll buy your lunch!

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Mark you calendar now: August 16, 2017 at 8:30 AM in Pershing.

 

 

 

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Ye of Little Praise

 

There are a lot of variables in businesses such as our’s. We have many different divisions, span hundreds of miles, employ 300+ people, each with different skill sets and responsibilities, and work daily among thousands of moving parts. Oh, and we’re usually running short on time, too.

In our nearly 100 years of business we’ve learned from time to time that if you’re not careful and attentive to details, things can go awry quickly. It is usually in those rare instances that we hear from our farmer-members, as we should. We appreciate the feedback; it makes us better.

Farmers may be considered “ye of little praise” (not to be confused with ye of little faith; there is no greater demonstration of faith than a man planting seeds in a field; but perhaps that is a blog for another week) because they just weren’t brought up that way. In agriculture there are very few pats on the back, few words of encouragement and absolutely no participation trophies. Often the “praise” received comes in the form of a grain check or a milk check, and it’s only then that you know that you’re doing something right.

Though every once in a great while, farmers send written words of encouragement or praise. And those are the ones that you hang onto.

Our CEO received a personally addressed letter on this desk back in February. Of course, though he might be considered one of those ye of little praise, he appreciated the words tremendously and hung on to the note of praise. Fast forward more than two months later and he thought it appropriate to share.



Dear Scott, 

We intended to send you this note at the end of harvest last fall, and here it is the middle of February. 

We were very pleased with the fertilizer application and custom spraying that the College Corner branch provided during the 2016 growing season. It was obvious that Dave Norris and the operators of the sprayers and spreaders were focused on doing a good job instead of covering the most acres in the least amount of time. Bill Curry (who did most of the harvesting) said, “You can tell they took extra care to spray the perimeters of all the fields and were careful of the waterways, too.”

So, we just wanted to let yo know we appreciated their good work and we look forward to their help in the fast approaching growing season. 

Sincerely, 

It was signed by the land owner and the farmer. 

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Despite what the evening news, price at the pump or markets tell you, there is a lot of good going on around us. There are people doing the right thing even when no one is watching.

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Photo by applicator Dave Barbee at our Lena Ag Center

This week we encourage you to refrain from being “ye of little praise” and offer encouragement or sincere thanks to someone around you who deserves it.

Your words may be brief but their impact could be enduring.

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Were You Hired To Do That?

A middle school student, from a town not far from our cooperative headquarters, was given the assignment to job shadow someone working in a field that might interest him down the road.

His top choices for a future career – at age 14 – were

  • a pediatrician (should a student spend their day in a medical office during flu season?)
  • a preacher (he gets weekly insight from this field every Sunday and at youth group)
  • the agricultural field (he chose to spend his day at our farmer-owned cooperative)

I had a meeting with our agronomist and the gentleman that this student was shadowing for the day, our Chief Operations Officer. The three of us discussed plans for an upcoming presentation we are giving at Ball State University, while the student sat in quiet observation. After collaboration over a meal, we engaged the student by explaining to him our individual paths that lead to the current positions we have within Harvest Land.

It was a really valuable conversation. Not only did I learn about the very unique roads my coworkers have taken to get to the successful levels they’re at today, but I also noticed a trend that I think is worth sharing with you.

One employee never went to college, they went straight to into the work force out of high school.

One employee went to a highly accredited 4-year university (after turning down an offer at Notre Dame) and even went on to attain their Master’s.

One employee graduated with a bachelor’s degree in a non-agriculture field.

All three were leaps and bounds above the level – both in position and pay – in which they were first hired (one started at $1 an hour – and it wasn’t 1929). All three shared oddly similar stories when visiting with the job-shadowing-student.

All three never turned down a job.
  • Sweeping the shop floor
  • Answering phones
  • Tying feed sacks
  • Mixing chemicals
  • Making the office coffee (which could be comparable to mixing chemicals)
  • Washing trucks
  • Delivering meals to the field
  • Cleaning up after meetings or guests
  • Taking out the trash
  • Sweeping out bins
  • Working in the pit
  • Loading trucks with bagged feed
  • Painting tanks
  • Making parts runs
  • And more

These were just a few of the things these highly successful adults did in their early careers.

“Were you hired to do that?!” the student asked the COO.
“No, I wasn’t. But it needed done.”

What a lesson that can resonate with today’s students about to begin their careers. There is a strange expectation from many who are early in their career that they will get hired into a middle management position and climb the ladder of success by starting on the third rung. Today’s work force doesn’t work that way. The workforce in 2007 didn’t work that way. The work force in 1997 didn’t work that way. The work force in 1987 didn’t work that way. Do you notice a trend?

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What an advantage someone will have if they choose early in life to do the work that needs to be done, whether it was written in their job description, or not. Those who keep the phrase “That’s not my job,” off their lips will have a far greater advantage over those who use it.

Now, this isn’t giving every supervisor across America to take advantage of those who work hard.

But we offer this encouragement to those who want to be successful in their field of choice: If you’re willing to do more than what is expected of you, more opportunities than you expect will come your way. 

work bootsWe believe that farm kids get hired and promoted regularly because they understand that there is work to be done, no matter who does it. They come from a place where 5:00 PM simply means that there is still four more hours of daylight and work ahead of them. They come from a team that doesn’t clock in or clock out – their work begins when the boots go on and it ends when they come off…and then they have to eat dinner with their co-workers.

Farm kids understand that even the bosses have to do the dirty jobs sometimes – – -because they’ve seen their grandfathers use auto steer in the brand new tractor in the same day that they saw him picking up rocks out of the field.

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We encourage those early in their career to take full advantage of the opportunities to do many different jobs – the good, bad, and ugly – when given the chance. Not only will it offer you new experiences, it will expand your skill set and build your character.

And who knows, it might start a really enlightening conversation in 30 years when you’re being job shadowed by an eager middle schooler trying to figure out the world.