Technology Helps Growers with Environmental Stewardship

environmental stewardship

Growers are often called stewards of the land, and with the supply and demand increasing at a rapid pace they are also looked upon to produce higher quantities of food and grain in the same amount of time, all while protecting the environment.

Thanks to today’s innovative technology, environmental concerns including soil erosion, animal welfare and nutrient runoff can be minimized or prevented.

Farms are becoming increasingly progressive and the use of technology has made farming practices more sustainable to the environment than we have ever seen in history.

Improvements in technology continue to help growers with their environmental stewardship efforts, including:

Precision Maps: Growers are using location-specific information about soil, nutrients, moisture and yield to help them make educated decisions about fertilizer placement and application levels. This contributes to smarter use of nutrients such as nitrogen, which helps reduce nitrogen runoff and leaching.

  • GPS: Today, most tractors and many other types of farming equipment are guided by GPS signals, improving the accuracy of their route for planting, fertilizing and harvesting crops.
  • Farm Equipment: Improved equipment features help growers work faster, but also smarter. Upgraded planter technology allows growers to adjust seed rates and plant multiple varieties throughout their fields without stopping their planter – improving the yield, but also allowing farmers to account for different soil types and conditions throughout their fields to improve environmental stewardship efforts. Tractors, combines and other equipment have been designed to be more fuel-efficient and operate with lower environmental footprints. Sprayers have been designed to provide more accurate product application and more efficient product usage to help farmers maximize the products they are using in their fields.
  • Soil Sensors and UAVs: Growers are also using sensors to measure moisture, chemical and biological properties in their soil and drones (UAVs) with cameras and sensors attached to them to help leverage environmental stewardship practices and improve crop yield to meet the growing demand for food production.
using precision maps to improve environmental stewardship

An Industry-wide Priority

Growers and ag business professionals know the importance of protecting our environment and leaving it in better condition for the future.

To recognize these efforts, many state organizations have implemented agricultural environmental leadership awards to annually highlight innovative farm practices throughout the country. National industry associations such as The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) have also implemented programs to recognize environmental leaders. Their 4R Advocates program encourages ag retailers to recognize their growers who are leading the way with exceptional nutrient stewardship practices. Winners are named 4R Advocates and help TFI share insight and success stories from the field level.

Environmental stewardship requires using fewer resources, developing new ideas and managing current resources provided by the environment to help protect the land. Protecting the world we live in is everybody’s responsibility, but farmers, ag retailers and ag industry professionals and trade organizations are proudly leading the way.

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

How Growers Can Overcome Low Commodity Prices

Dr. Fred BelowThere are many issues growers face in today’s agricultural industry. One rising to the top of the list is low commodity prices.

Growers across the country are facing the harsh reality of a decrease in income forecasted for the third straight year due to an extended decline in corn and soybean prices. According to the USDA, net cash farm income for 2016 is forecast at $94.1 billion, and net farm income at $71.5 billion – following the declines in 2015.

One way growers can help their profitability during this time is to make sure they are getting the best yield possible, so they simply have more crop to sell.

Growers should make sure they are maximizing their production practices to help capitalize on the best potential yield:

  • Proper soil preparation, prior to planting
  • Applying crop nutrients and fertilizers as appropriate to help with emergence and throughout the life of the plant
  • Applying crop protection products as appropriate to help combat disease, weeds and insects
  • Proper irrigation, as appropriate
  • Effective harvesting practices and techniques

Secondly, growers should make sure they are using these efforts in collaboration with the appropriate seed genetics to get the best yield they can, which will give them more bushels to sell at harvest time.

In this video clip from June 2016, Dr. Fred Below with University of Illinois, explains that low commodity prices are one of the most important issues facing agriculture today and explains how growers can best deal with this issue.

Transcript:
Low commodity prices are a real problem, and the only way I can see to overcome those is to be able to produce more. If the price is low I need to have more of it to sell. So, I don’t think I’m going to save myself to prosperity because that would imply that I’m wasting money.

I think it comes down to having the basics to production correct, and make sure you’re using those to get as much yield as you can out of today’s genetics.

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

Don’t Leave Fall Nitrogen Unstable

applyfertilizer

Nutrient management is as important in fall as it is at planting.

Growers considering a fall anhydrous ammonia application can take measures to make the most out of their fertilizer investment, while supporting nitrogen management best practices, says Eric Scherder, Ph.D., field scientist, Dow AgroSciences.

“Nitrogen isn’t a one-time event,” Scherder says. “There has to be forethought about how to manage it today and tomorrow.”

Growers who are serious about reducing nitrate loss into groundwater can take steps when making fall applications. These steps include evaluating application methods, paying attention to temperature and using a nitrogen stabilizer to reduce nitrate loss due to leaching and denitrification.

Important Considerations Before Fall Application

Soil Temp at 50 degrees or lessThere are best management practices growers can follow this fall to optimize fertilizer applications.

In the fall, let temperature drive timing. Fall nitrogen applications should be based on soil temperature, not calendar date, Scherder says. Wait to apply nitrogen until soil temperatures drop below 50 F.

Nitrosomonas bacteria, which converts ammonium nitrogen to the nitrate form that’s susceptible to loss, are active until soils reach freezing temperatures; however, their activity is significantly reduced once soil temperatures drop below 50 degrees,” Scherder says. “This is important to consider when making fall applications to protect that investment.”

To learn more about nutrient management contact us today.

CHS Board addresses 2016 equity management; delays individual equity redemption program changes

CHS Equity Management ProgramThe CHS Board has delayed implementation of the company’s new individual equity redemption program, a decision made following its regular review of the CHS equity management program.

“This decision was made as we considered a number of factors, including our commitment to balance sheet management and the current economic cycle,” says CHS Board Chairman Dave Bielenberg. “CHS remains financially sound and profitable, but as we navigate this economic cycle, the board believes this delay was appropriate as we continue to take a long-term view in managing equity redemptions.”

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Why you should celebrate Global Fertilizer Day

Global Fertilizer Day — October 13The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and its members (including CHS) will celebrate the first annual Global Fertilizer Day this coming Thursday, October 13. Organized by TFI and a network of international organizations, the day is dedicated to spreading the word about the vital role our industry plays in improving peoples’ lives. As Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has said on numerous occasions, two out of every five people in the world owe their lives to fertilizer.

A generation ago, a Nobel Peace Prize winner proclaimed the same message. He was the great-grandchild of Norwegian immigrants, attended a one-room schoolhouse through the eighth grade, and failed his first college entrance exam. But when he was finally admitted to the University of Minnesota, Norman Borlaug took a Depression-era job with the Civilian Conservation Corps to pay for his tuition and living expenses. Through that experience he met hungry people and saw the way having enough food changed them.

Despite his humble beginnings, he went on to do great things. For over a half-century, his scientific and humanitarian achievements kept starvation at bay for millions of people in Third World countries. As a result of his work, global food production everywhere other than sub-Saharan Africa has increased faster than the population.

But Borlaug’s story doesn’t end there. In addition to his scientific work, he was a tireless advocate of fertilizer use and other modern agricultural practices. He remained active into his nineties, traveling, speaking and teaching.

On October 13th we encourage you to remember Borlaug’s shining example of what it means to engage the public on behalf of the fertilizer industry. To make the job easier, TFI, the Global Fertilizer Day Coalition and the Nutrients for Life Foundation have assembled tools to help you spread the word.

They highlight interesting facts and figures, including:

  • Half of all the food grown around the world today, for both people and animals, is possible through the use of fertilizer.
  • The fertilizer industry contributes more than 452,000 American jobs and in excess of $139 billion to the U.S. economy.
  • U.S. farmers are using fertilizer with amazing efficiency, growing 87 percent more corn today with just 4 percent more fertilizer than they did in 1980.

If each of the industry’s 84,000 employees took time to spread just one of these messages on social media or through personal interaction, just think of the impact it could make.

CHS Pro Advantage contract now signing up bushels for 2017, 2018

Corn field - commoditiesWhen commodity markets turn volatile, pulling the trigger gets tougher. Grain producers looking for a seamless way to diversify – and simplify – their marketing have one more choice with CHS Pro Advantage.

This contract allows a grower to pledge a specific quantity of bushels to be professionally priced over a specific period of time, essentially taking the emotion out of selling. Bushels are priced by the trading professionals at CHS Hedging-owned Russell Consulting Group.

“The 2016 crop year was our inaugural offering for CHS Pro Advantage and we saw a tremendous interest from farmers who wanted to take advantage of pricing by experts who have a track record of success,” says John Whittle, merchandiser, CHS Grain Marketing NA.

“It’s important to remember the basis decision remains with the grower,” says Kent Beadle, marketing manager, Russell Consulting Group. “The settlement price to the grower is based on the performance of the futures and options hedges traded by our licensed brokers.”

Contract participants receive regular email updates about marketing progress and there is a price-out option available at any time during the pricing period.

Enrollment for CHS Pro Advantage corn, soybean and spring wheat bushels is now through Dec. 14, 2016. With one and two-year sign-ups, growers can enroll 2017 as well as 2018 bushels. Contact your local grain merchandiser for more details. Remember, there is a risk of loss when trading commodity futures and options.

© 2019 CHS Inc.