Monthly Archives:: February 2017

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

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


Identifying Grain Bin Hazards

grain bin hazard - flowing grainGrain bin hazards aren’t limited to entrapment or engulfment. Other, equally-hazardous situations include augers, bin collapses, Power Take-Offs (PTOs), fires and explosions, toxic atmospheres, electrical components and even ladders.

Identifying and understanding bin hazards is vital to keeping you and others safe. Learn more about some of the more common and hazardous situations that can occur when working with grain bins.

Grain Bin Entrapment: What if it Happens to You?

grain bin entrapment safety trainingA man unloading a grain bin was trapped for nearly five hours when his foot became caught under the side of a sweep auger motor and he was buried in grain above his waist. Courtesy of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, this report illustrates how this type of incident could occur at other grain-handling facilities, and provides safety guidelines that could help other elevators avoid grain bin entrapment or react more positively.

Grain Bin Safety Week 2017

grain bin safetyInitiated by Nationwide in 2014, Grain Bin Safety Week is an annual campaign recurring the third full week of February to promote grain bin safety on farms and commercial grain-handling facilities.

A collaborative effort with industry leaders like CHS and agricultural professionals, Grain Bin Safety Week was created to raise awareness about grain bin dangers, provide education and share best safety practices. Together, we hope to reduce the number of preventable injuries and deaths associated with grain handling and storage.

Visit the Nationwide website to learn more about Grain Safety Week 2017.

Grain Bin Safety Week Events: February 19-25, 2017


Live and prerecorded webinars are available to help educate farmers and other grain handlers on important grain safety issues. (more…)

2 Tips to Help Growers Plant Early This Season

plant early tips


Lower commodity prices and compressed planting times are encouraging growers to plant their crops earlier and in uncertain weather conditions.

There are advantages to planting early if done correctly, including more time to get the crops into the ground and increased time for crops to grow to their full potential. There are also risks, including cooler air temperatures, colder soil temperatures and unpredictable weather that can often leave crops more vulnerable to potential disease and insect problems.

With these advantages and disadvantages in mind, growers are continually looking for ways to help their plants emerge quicker and stronger, even in less than ideal conditions.

The following are two tips growers should consider when planting early.

1. Nutrient Management Practices

Using effective nutrient management practices to give plants the best chances to maximize the genetic potential of their seed.

Effectively maximizing the nutrients available to plants at each stage of their growing cycle is an important way to increase overall yield and maximize profitability. It is especially critical that the appropriate essential nutrients are available to the plant at the beginning stage of their life cycle.

First, the key to ensuring a healthy level of nutrients available for uptake to the plant is to focus on the balance of all essential nutrients. In order to maximize crop production growers need to provide all key macro and micronutrients at the appropriate time.

To help achieve this goal, it’s recommended growers make sure they understand the nutrient makeup of their soil and ensure that the appropriate nutrients are available to the plant in the optimal amounts and at the appropriate time that plants need these essential nutrients.

A couple things to focus on include phosphorus management and the advanced chelate technologies that are available to growers.

  • Phosphorus is an essential macronutrient already present in the soil and is an important part of phosphorus-based fertilizers.
    • Having the appropriate amounts of phosphorus available to the plant at the optimal timing can have a huge impact on increasing a grower’s overall yield.
    • The good news — phosphorus is an important energy-producing molecule with extremely limited soil mobility, so it will not leach from the soil.
    • However, phosphorus is notorious for easily getting tied up in the soil and becoming unavailable for uptake by the plant.
  • This is where chelates can help. Chelating technologies are not new, but have made significant advances. There are also several different types of chelates.
    • West Central has been working with chelate technology for more than 14 years. They developed a superior ortho ortho EDDHA chelating agent called Levesol™ which helps unlock the nutrients it’s applied with, unlocks nutrients in the soil and keeps nutrients mobile in the plant all season long.
    • In addition to the original Levesol, West Central also offers a dry fertilizer compatible version for growers called Levesol DFC™.
    • The superior chelating agent in Levesol is also an important ingredient in their other fertilizers, including their newest addition SoyShot™ and their industry leading IDC fertilizer Soygreen®, plus their starter fertilizer Redline® and their foliar cereal fertilizer Copper-Field™

2. In-Furrow Application

In-furrow application of crop protection inputs is another great way to ensure peace of mind that the crop is protected from the beginning, and is another way growers are helping their crops have a quicker emergence and develop stronger and healthier over their entire growth cycle.

Here are the different ways in-furrow application helps protect the crops when planted early.

  • Promotes quicker seed emergence that results in a healthier yield
  • Provides insect and disease control from the beginning
  • Promotes the solubility and uptake of essential nutrients, including phosphorus when using an effective nutrient management program as discussed above
  • Ensures an increased solubility of phosphorus and other nutrients – which helps the plants grow stronger and results in increased yield

For growers, smart investments and knowledge on best practices, along with using the new or improved technologies available could make all the difference for a successful early planting season and a more profitable year.

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

How Growers Can Prevent Iron Deficiency Chlorosis

prevent Iron Deficiency Chlorosis

Iron Deficiency Chlorosis (IDC) is a common soil issue in some areas of the country. IDCtends to occur in soil with high pH levels, which can prevent plant roots from reducing iron to a soluble state that can be used by the plant. The problem isn’t necessarily the lack of iron in the soil, but more importantly the type of iron that’s available in the soil for plant uptake.Iron is commonly in a ferric (FE3+) state when it’s in the soil, but the plants’ roots need to reduce the ferric iron (FE3+) to ferrous iron (FE2+) to make it soluble for uptake by the plant.

Why is Iron important?

Iron is critical to the development of chlorophyll within the plant. When iron gets bound up and is unavailable to the plant, it creates a chlorophyll imbalance and causes the characteristic yellow leaves in plants with IDC.

There are three indicators that help determine Iron Deficiency Chlorosis:

  1. High levels of calcium carbonate in the soil can cause IDC. The calcium carbonate particles can come in contact with the crop’s roots and neutralize the excreted acid (which helps with iron uptake by the plant), and can result in the plants’ inability to have access to adequate levels of iron.
  2. Salinity is another indicator of IDC. Soils with a high salt content should be a major concern for any grower trying to predict and combat IDC since IDC conditions are the most severe in saline soils.
  3. The third indicator is soil pH. The pH of the soil also has a major impact on the availability of iron for the plants’ uptake. When the soil pH is more than 7.5 it is considered alkaine. When this happens, plants have a difficult time reducing the iron to the soluble form (Fe2+) that they are able to use the to develop into a healthy and high yielding crop.

The Best Way to Combat Iron Deficiency Chlorosis is by Using Soygreen®

West Central Distribution developed an iron fertilizer solution called Soygreen® that uses the most effective iron in agriculture and was specifically developed for soybeans, dry beans, sugarbeets, sorghum, sunflowers and cotton that suffer or are at risk of suffering from IDC.

Soygreen is chelated with Levesol™, the purest and most concentrated ortho-ortho EDDHA chelate on the market. This is what makes it Soygreen the most effective IDC product in agriculture. As an industry leader, Soygreen’s ortho-ortho EDDHA chelate helps keep iron in its soluble state (Fe2+) for maximum uptake by the plant. In addition, Soygreen also makes other essential nutrients in the soil more available to the plant.

The following are some recommendations for using Soygreen to fight back against IDC and maximize your soybean yield:

  1. Use the highest yielding soybean variety along with Soygreen to get the best yields. IDC resistant varieties may have lower yield potential, so you might be sacrificing yield, which can negatively impact your profitability.
  2. Just because your beans are green, doesn’t correlate to higher yields at harvest. Soygreen increases and protects yield potential keeping beans green and healthy all season. Imitators can spark an initial green-up, but fail to deliver the same yield results.
  3. Soygreen increases and protects yield potential, throughout the season. Even mild cases of IDC can rob your yield by up to 50%.
  4. There are imitator products are out there, so don’t be deceived.
    • Soygreen has been successfully battling IDC for fourteen years.
    • As the industry leader, Soygreen contains the highest percent of chelated iron (5.41%) and the highest percentage of water soluble, stable iron in the industry (80%).
    • Beware of imitators who claim to be as effective. Imitators only have 2.92% or less chelated iron and only 47% water-soluble, soil stable iron. They may even claim to be less expensive, but actually cost more because they need to be applied at higher rates.
How Soygreen prevents Iron Deficiency Chlorosis How Soygreen prevents Iron Deficiency Chlorosis

Read more about how a grower in Cottonwood, Minnesota used Soygreen with in-furrow application on his farm to achieve a great yield and maximize the return on his investment.

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

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