No Amber Waves of Grain

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.

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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.

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Weeds stand nearly 6 feet tall in a field in Ohio.

 

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A field covered in weeds, prior to planting a seed.

 

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.

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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.

Wake up, America, the Beautiful! There may be no amber waves of grain and no fruited plains.

 

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.

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Maturities Do Matter

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.

 

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Sharpen The Axe: The Pan Test Process

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Early Season Fungicide Success and Response to Sulfur

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:

Lena Trial 1

Lena Trial 2

 

Lena Trial 3

 

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!

 

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Setting Priorities in a Compressed Season

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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.

start clean stay 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. 

 

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Let’s Talk Seed.

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A few points to get the conversation started:

  • 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.

 

 

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Adjuvants: A Necessary​ Investment​

Our Shop Talks series has become popular because it provides candid conversation on real issues in the field, and provides timely insight on addressing them.

We’ve gotten a lot of questions about adjuvants and their value. This week, join R & F Ag Center Manager Tom Barfield and Agronomist Steve Dlugosz as they discuss the value of adjuvants.

  • Any herbicide label will have specific requirements for an adjuvant that is necessary for the herbicide to work properly.
  • It is important to remember that price is directly correlated with quality.
  • All adjuvants are not created equal.

Watch the video to learn more!

Your YieldPro Specialist is ready to talk. Contact them to learn more.

 

 

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The Farmer

Today, October 12, is National Farmers Day. While we prefer to celebrate agriculture and the farmers who feed us daily (actually, three times a day – sometimes more if we need a snack), a single fall day in the middle of harvest is alright for celebrating them, too.

America’s farmers are the backbone of our economy and essential to global food security.

Today we share with you The Farmer, by Amelia Barr (1831-1919).

 

 

The Farmer

The king may rule o’er land and sea,

The lord may live right royally,

The soldier ride in pomp and pride,

The sailor roam o’er ocean wide;

But this or that, whate’er befall,

The farmer he must feed them all.

The writer thinks, the poet sings,

The craftsmen fashion wondrous things,

The doctor heals, the lawyer pleads,

The miner follows the precious leads;

But this or that, whate’er befall,

The farmer he must feed them all.

The merchant he may buy and sell,

The teacher do his duty well;

But men may toil through busy days,

Or men may stroll through pleasant ways;

From king to beggar, whate’er befall,

The farmer he must feed them all.

The farmer’s trade is one of worth;

He’s partner with the sky and earth,

He’s partner with the sun and rain,

And no man loses for his gain;

And men may rise, or men may fall,

But the farmer he must feed them all.

God bless the man who sows the wheat,

Who finds us milk and fruit and meat;

May his purse be heavy, his heart be light,

His cattle and corn and all go right;

God bless the seeds his hands let fall,

For the farmer he must feed us all.

 

 

Thank you, Farmers

 

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Managing Late Season Disease

Those not involved in agriculture, do not fear. The constant zipping around of helicopters in your area have nothing to do with Russia or an illegal substance. But rather, protection of a crop.

Harvest Land agronomist Steve Dlugosz joins us from the field this week to discuss the benefits of late season fungicide application. We caught up with Steve at our Pershing Answer Plot in Wayne County to talk about the application:

As always, contact your YieldPro Specialist for additional insight. We’re here to help preserve the potential of every acre you farm.

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