The Benefits of Precision Agriculture

United Soybean Board

When it comes to technology and data available within the agricultural industry, there’s a large amount of choices these days. It’s important retailers understand and are able to provide guidance for their customers about what works well and what doesn’t work as well. Understanding the technologies and datasets are important and how to best use them is even more crucial.

Precision agriculture is a term widely used today in the industry and essentially refers to technology and software systems that provide knowledge to enhance decision making, and if used properly can help contribute to reduced waste, increased profits, and protection of the environment.

Today growers are utilizing precision technology to enhance their growing process, including field application equipment and sensor platforms that control product purchases and can provide recorded data in real-time. Software is also available that can then be used to collect and analyze data to help inform retailers and growers of various decisions throughout the crop production process.

As precision agriculture increases momentum in 2017, here are four benefits and ways that precision agriculture can help growers increase field productivity while also reducing environmental stress.

  1. Monitor soil and plant parameters: Growers can determine peak conditions for plant growth by placing sensors throughout the fields.
  2. Automate field management: Soil and plant species can be automatically optimized through sensors taken from a Decision Support System, which can help determine the best moments to water and fertilize.
  3. Collect real-time data: Applying sensing devices throughout the field will allow a continuous monitoring of the chosen parameters and offers real-time data to help inform decisions throughout the planting and harvest season.
  4. Get the best results from labor and resources: Use technology to help maximize the benefits of your crop nutrients, crop protection and irrigation costs by using automatic sensors that alert the grower of the need or best time to irrigate, fertilize, etc.

It’s estimated that over 50 percent of growers currently engage in some form of agricultural technology. Precision agriculture can bring many benefits to growers who decide to use technology to help manage their fields.

Ag retailers have the opportunity to help their customers by providing them with local expertise on how the various technology available today, might best be implemented within their geography and more specifically within their individual operation to help them improve their return on investment in the most appropriate ways.

Original Source: Leaders of In-Furrow Technology, West Central

CHS reports fiscal 2017 second-quarter and first-half results

CHS office in winter

Earnings increase in second quarter on improved conditions across CHS wholesale and retail agricultural related businesses

ST. PAUL, MINN. (April 5, 2017)CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, today reported net income of $14.6 million for the second quarter of its 2017 fiscal year (the three-month period ended Feb. 28, 2017), compared to a net loss of $31 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2016. Operating earnings for the company’s second quarter were $10.5 million, up from a loss of $91.8 million from the second quarter of fiscal 2016. Revenues for the second quarter were $7.3 billion, up 11 percent compared with $6.6 billion for the second quarter of fiscal 2016.

Earnings for the six months of the company’s fiscal 2017 (the six-month period ended Feb. 28, 2017), were $223.7 million, compared to $235.5 million for the first six months of fiscal 2016, a decrease of 5 percent. The decrease is a result of increased loan loss reserves, higher income taxes and continued challenges in the energy operating environment, which were partially offset by improved conditions across CHS wholesale and retail agricultural related businesses.

Revenues for the first six months of fiscal 2017 were $15.4 billion, compared to $14.4 billion for the first six months of fiscal 2016, an increase of 7 percent.

“As our operating environment remains challenging, we continue to act prudently, taking appropriate and measured actions regarding costs and investments, while positioning ourselves to take advantage of opportunities as they arise while focusing on return on our invested capital,” said CHS President and Chief Executive Officer Carl Casale. “We are on a journey and are starting to see the benefits of our focus.”

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Advice for Growers in Today’s Economy

advice for growers from John Laffey

Many growers are turning to agronomists, ag retailers and other industry experts for advice about the best ways to strengthen their farming operations. Topics including soil health, seed selection, insect and disease pressure and more have long been the starting point for growers looking for the best ways to make improvements that will make their operations stronger overall.

Today, as growers rely even more on data, research and other technology in addition to their traditional farming equipment, agronomists and their network of agricultural experts are as important as ever.

For growers, improving efficiency and making effective decisions can be crucial to achieving a high quality and profitable crop. Since they are always looking to make smart and strategic purchase decisions when it comes to seed, fertilizers, fungicides, insecticides and adjuvants, growers look to utilize the expertise of their agriculture retailer and other ag partner businesses to provide them guidance when making these decisions. Through these agriculture experts, growers hope to successfully plant and produce a high yielding crop by minimizing pest and disease pressures and managing weed resistance to increase overall profitability for their farming operation. (more…)

5 Things to Know about Dicamba in 2017

using dicamba on soybeans

United Soybean Board

The agriculture industry has been working hard to provide the most effective herbicides to help slow down and minimize the growing weed resistance problem. However, efforts with formulating dicamba products go further than the manufacturer. Federal and state rules and regulations dictate how applicators and growers are able to legally and safely use different herbicides to limit volatility and drift in undesired areas.

With each new year and with new products, comes new policies. It is important for growers, applicators and other ag professionals to be aware of these policies to avoid negative consequences. (more…)

Celebrate National Ag Day on March 21

“Growing up in rural South Dakota, surrounded by farms and ranches as far as the eye could see, I never gave the food supply chain a second thought. It was intertwined in everything I did,” writes Mark Biedenfeld, vice president, CHS Aligned Solutions on the Ag Day blog. He goes on to emphasize the important role those in agriculture play in helping our broader communities understand where their food comes from.

Biedenfeld joins others in contributing to the blog in a nod to National Ag Day, coming up this Tuesday, March 21. The celebration is now a tradition across the U.S., created to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture. Agriculture provides almost everything we eat, use and eat on a daily basis, and is increasingly contributing to fuel and other bio-products. (more…)

5 Ways to Ensure the Best Stand

stand establishment

LivingLandscapeArchitecture

Uniform stand establishment is a critical component in achieving maximum yield potential. With unexpected weather and other uncontrollable factors often impacting the crop’s stand, it is even more important to be proactive in the areas that can be controlled. Fortunately, there are steps to help get your crop off to a strong start and encourage a strong and healthy stand.

1. Seed Selection

Each season it all starts with selecting your seed. There are multiple considerations growers need to be aware of when selecting the appropriate seed, including the geography, any unique field conditions, potential impact from weeds, disease and pests, maturity timing, etc. These considerations need to be evaluated in cooperation with your farm management practices to ensure the best results. Read more on considerations for seed selection, for soybeans and for corn. (more…)

Preparing for a Successful Planting Season

planting season

Ian Sane

As the weather begins to creep into warmer temperatures and the sun lingers in the sky longer in the evening, thoughts of spring come to mind.

With the 2017 planting season quickly approaching for many and even if still several weeks away for cooler geographies, it is a key time to make sure that plans are underway to help get the crop off to a strong start. Having a set schedule and list leading up to your key planting dates will provide extra time as necessary to be devoted to any unexpected issues as they arise. (more…)

The Future of Drones in Agriculture

drones in agriculture

 

Could drones be the future of agriculture – and a game-changer?

According to a late 2016 article in Successful Farming, drones also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were first received with hesitation in the agriculture industry. Although the new technology was known to provide growers with a way to see potential problems that wouldn’t otherwise be known from ground level, the new technology was taken with initial apprehension due to the lack of regulations, in addition to the sometimes challenging process of applying for a Section 333 exemption through the FAA.

Slowly but surely, the agriculture industry is realizing the benefits and discovering different strategies on how drones can benefit and move their crop production plans forward. (more…)

Fighting Hunger in Rural America with CHS Harvest for Hunger campaign

Harvest for Hunger 2017 children help fight hunger in the CHS Harvest for Hunger drive

It’s once again time for farmers, ranchers and cooperatives to come together in a powerful campaign to knock out hunger. The CHS Harvest for Hunger food and fund drive begins March 1 and will continue through March 20 at your nearest CHS location.

“Since 2011 we have raised more than $4 million and 2.7 million pounds of food to fight hunger through CHS Harvest for Hunger,” says Lynden Johnson, executive vice president and chief operating officer, CHS Country Operations. “We are making a significant difference in the communities where we live and work, helping families across the country put food on their tables.” (more…)

Using Soil Sampling Results To Improve Your Next Crop

soil sampling

 

We recently discussed the importance of soil sampling and what growers learn from testing samples from their field. Now we want to look more at what the results can tell the grower and how it can help them improve their next crop.

As growers receive information regarding organic matter, soil pH, Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC), Nitrate-N and extractable macro and micro nutrients from their soil sample results, they will be able to make more informed fertility decisions, and address potential issues in advance or during the early stages of the plant’s growth cycle.

The results also provide a holistic view of the health of the soil, and can help provide growers with an indication of success for their fertility philosophy by determining if the following are needed:

  • Building nutrient levels
  • Maintaining nutrient levels
  • Reducing of specific mineral levels

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© 2017 CHS Inc.