Now that the grand tour of Nebraska and Kansas is over—the tents are packed away, the trailers parked, the Answer Plots all so very quiet—it’s highlight time. Let’s send off the 2015 RD Summer Series with the fanfare it deserves: a best-of recap of the awesomeness that spanned three months and two excellent states.
This year’s series was a fundamentals approach. We built our conversations upon four main pillars of agriculture—water, nutrients, (fighting) weeds, and hybrids—then added a fifth conversation—about the optimum acre—that brought the four pillars into concert with each other. Each piece of the puzzle provided essential information and highlights of their own:
Conversation about hybrid selection differed greatly by locality, with discussions ranging from which hybrids to pay attention to in the upcoming season to what hybrid information means and how we use it.
Discussions about controlling weeds varied by locality as well, though pretty much everyone focused on a fall burndown. We talked about how to manage tough-to-control weeds (no solution for which included a plow!), how to change tactics to flank an adapting weed population, and an upcoming tool that’s showing a lot of promise, but also a need for caution if we use it.
In the nutrients block, Neil and Glen talked about how crop removal affects your fertility program and using the hierarchy of nutrients to maximize your investments. They also touched on the importance of accurate soil testing.
Highlights from the discussions about water and irrigation included Keith and Trevor and the rest of the group using aqua systems probes to manage irrigation and help us keep the difficult balance between over- or under-watering. Their demonstration illustrated quite well that excellent water management is both an art and a science.
We also added a member to the team: Goldie the Goldfish, who started as a demo tool but swam her way into our hearts. (For those of you interested, she is alive and well in Randolph in a very adequately sized fishbowl.)
And finally, the optimum acre. I think that we were able to demonstrate successfully how this all comes together in a system. How with a little trust (in your FSA) and with a little math, we can increase your profit. The optimum acre is a new way of talking about the value of a product like Ascend and a new way to optimize your profit on even your hardest acres.
Nothing is complete though without the more-than-necessary and very-well-deserved thank yous that are in order right now. Thank you to everyone who attended for your whole-hearted support of our endeavors. I know that there are a thousand and one things vying for your attention, and that you give us even an hour is humbling and wonderful.
So with yet another RD Summer Series in the books, what next? Well, for those of us in the show, we’re going to take a little rest backstage and regroup. Some day in November, we’ll invite y’all in again and have new pieces to the puzzle to show you and cool new things to share. For the moment though, harvest starts in 40 days or so, so focus on finishing this crop off and enjoy the last days of the 2015 growing season.