Solutions and Problems: Which Came First?
Oct 25, 2018

It seems to me all too often in life, as consumers we are presented with solutions or products that are in search of a problem. This, of course, is counter-intuitive to what we should have, which is a problem in search of a solution. On the surface, these two things seem closely related, but the fact is they are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Don’t believe me? This winter walk around a farm show and see how many products are there that you just shake your head at and wonder "who would buy that?" At the same time, count the products that you see that make you go “It is so simple, why didn’t I think of that!”

What is Nutrient Management?
Oct 18, 2018

Over the past few weeks, you may have heard something brewing about Nutrient Management here at Central Valley Ag. And for those of you brave enough to ask the question, "what is Nutrient Management?" And just as important, "how does it affect me?" We are here today to answer your questions.

COB - Cost of Business
Oct 04, 2018

For the past two weeks, we have focused our time and energy talking about fertility decisions, and how to budget accordingly. I thought that this also provided us with a platform to look at other expenses and how they affect our bottom line as well. To me, this seems particularly important this time of year as we work through some of the big budget items for 2019, like machinery, inputs, and rent.
 

How Soil Sampling Helps the Budget Process
Sep 27, 2018

Last week, I tried to help you understand how cutting back your crop removal rates would affect two things, your budget, and your yield. Throughout that entire discussion, I decided to simplify things; work under that assumption that we have consistent fertility needs across our entire field. Of course, that assumption is an oversimplification. We know that even on flat fields, there can be, and often is wide swings in soil fertility level. Whether from erosion, differences in cropping history, old farmstead locations, or a plethora of other reasons. So as we continue to be mindful about how we allocate our resources, we need to think about how and why we apply the rates we do. And the answer to those questions is intensive soil sampling.

Essential Fertility Decisions for 2019
Sep 20, 2018

As we find ourselves in the early stages of the 2018 harvest, we also find ourselves making decisions about our 2019 crop. We have been deciding how to market, or more specifically, not market our 2019 crop for the past few weeks and months. Along with our marketing decisions, we have also been evaluating and deciding on our 2019 crops. Are we going to see more corn on corn, an increase in wheat acres, or the status quo planted in 2019? But as we work ourselves through all of these decisions and more, we need to be mindful of the other choices that need to be made to accompany our 2019 intentions.

Water Water Everywhere
Sep 13, 2018

Today is one of those divisive times where I am speaking to a subset of you instead of the whole group. We have had some major rainfall events in portions of the Midwest over the last few weeks. This rainfall is going to prove to challenge us in many ways over the next few weeks, but also into the next growing season, and potentially even beyond 2019. Being mindful of those challenges now and preparing for them will let us have not just plans in place, but also secondary plans moving forward. And this may well prove to be significant in preserving profits.
 

More Bang for Our Buck
Sep 06, 2018

Every year at this time, I know that you take on an operational focus. I do the exact same thing. But, while we are worried about the business at hand, you know, how full is bin 3? What is the moisture on the corn on the NW quarter? How many bushels have to go to the elevator? And so on, there is a lot of research coming to a culmination. The starter trials, the variety, and hybrid comparisons. But I know many of you are also trying to use specialty products on your operation. Biologicals, inhibitors, and many other products are seeing the culmination of a growing season. And while we are operationally focused, there is a wealth of data streaming into out monitors to feed a winter worth of study and decision making.

Changing with the Times
Aug 31, 2018

Every year about this time, I implore you all to make preparations for harvest. In the past, I have talked about the yield monitor components, the combine components, and the calibration procedures for each one of your machines. And while still important, I'm going to shift my focus this year. Instead, I am going to get with the times and talk about this preparation period in a sense that is a bit more fitting to where we are in 2018, and this is from a data standpoint.

Agriculture's PR Problem
Aug 23, 2018

If your livelihood is Agriculture, then the ruling on Glyphosate last week affects you. Monsanto’s public relations nightmare is our public relations nightmare. In the eye of many American consumers, Monsanto is the spawn of Satan. Polluting the earth with their poison and genetically modified seeds, they won’t rest until we are all vanquished from the earth. Of course, we as farmers know that isn’t true. Traits that are embedded in our seeds have eliminated millions of pounds of chemicals from being applied to our environment in the last 20 years. But, regardless of fact or fiction, the Monsanto ruling last week effects each and every one of us in the court of public opinion.

Volunteer Corn Trouble
Aug 16, 2018

This year we had more problems with volunteer corn than I ever remember before. Why, what is the reason for this? First, we had the integrity of the stalk and ear shank problems last year. Those problems, caused by weather conditions and plant health and genetics. We could rehash that event, but it's almost a full year in our rearview mirror, and the truth of the matter is, once it happened, there was nothing we could do about it. On the other hand, the other factor that led to this volunteer corn issue we could manage and do something about, so let’s talk about that instead.
 

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