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Fluid Journal : Fall 2011
8 The Fluid Journal Fall 2011 Summary: We have entered an age of amazing precision in agriculture. Not only does size matter, but with size comes performance and improved accuracy. We need to accept the reality of this fundamental shift in agriculture and respond with research driven by understanding every aspect of producing grain. Inputs are much more involved than just seed and pesticides. Knowledgeable genetic selection is just as crucial as knowing your costs. Another challenge is selecting the right equipment. And the list goes on. What about seeds and pesticides? Herbicides? Foliar fungicides and insecticides? And don’t forget the soil. Finally, what about y-o-u-r skills? Are you an innovator, adopter, or follower? Bottom line: a skilled operator knows how to produce profitable grain. A long-winded, kitchen sink approach to enhance grain yields and profits. Needed: A Research-driven Understanding of Every Aspect of Producing Grain The Fluid Journal • Official Journal of the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation • Fall 2011 • Vol. 19, No. 4, Issue # 74 Dr. Timothy Maloney Far too often in life we have a natural tendency to focus on one item as the answer to a problem. However, reality teaches us that multiple factors usually contribute to the solution. In modern agriculture we face a similar dilemma. We may promote product A or product B as the yield enhancing miracle cure. Sometimes that is indeed true, but more often it is only part of the cure and modern agriculture demonstrates that reality. Twenty-four row planters, Class 9 combines, and 600 horsepower tractors all point to the future or reinvention of grain farming. Three-hundred-bushel corn needs to be the norm not the exception. We have entered an age of amazing precision in agriculture. Not only does size matter, but with size come performance and improved accuracy. We need to accept the reality of this fundamental shift in agriculture and respond with research driven by understanding every aspect of production grain. Factors of genetics, information, profitability, equipment, inputs/outputs and the soil, as well as honing our skills all must be a part of this reinvention. Genetics Genetics is the fundamental foundation of yield. Marketers often fixate that it is the GMO trait that produces yield. Actually, it is the agronomic and DNA traits that determine a potential yield. The GMO traits assist in protecting the yield potential. Additionally, seed selection based on yield, test weight, and grain dry-down are important, but we must also look at percent germination, seed size, relative maturity, root size, stalk strength, stay-green, disease package, early season vigor, and population density. These additional factors must be identified to unlock the hidden yield potential in every hybrid/variety. Building upon our genetic selection includes our need to access information. Accessing Our sources of information may originate from: • Seed and/or pesticide suppliers • Custom applicators • Farm service agencies • University extensions • Friends and neighbors • And don’t overlook the internet! Such accurate and timely information will assist producers in their pursuit of higher yields. And while we often use yield as the sole source of success in what we do, we would be remiss if we did not also factor in profitability. Profitability Cost of inputs versus expected outputs, cost per acre, cost per bushel, profit per bushel, and profit per acre all must be calculated to help producers to market their products. Knowing your costs signifies knowing the cost of everything: • Land costs: • Rents • Leases • Mortgages • Needed improvements • Costs of: • added fertilizers • pesticides • seed and seed additives • fuel • equipment • maintenance • labor All must be known to maintain profitability. Throughout the growing season any additional applications must be calculated as to what impact it would have on yield and profitability. Equipment We know equipment is easy to access. Simply put: choose a color, find a dealer, pay the money, and you get the equipment. It is the challenge of choosing the correct type of equipment, how to use that equipment, and how to properly drive and maintain that equipment that creates more anxiety. The range of our equipment needs includes: • Tractors • Planters • Tillage pieces “Know your costs of Everything!!”