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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Growing higher yields with technology

  • “One of our newer innovations is our capability to machine sync. This technology facilitates on-the-go unloading by synchronizing tractor speed and direction of travel with the combine, providing greater ease of operation with improved efficiency, resulting in higher productivity during harvest.”
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  • Higher yields technology has progressed by leaps and bounds in the last few decades. From computers to iPads to smart phones, technology has changed how businesses approach their tasks and agriculture is no exception.
        With the world population increasing rapidly, farming practices need to meet both the world’s food production and environmental needs. That’s why the Watonwan County Corn and Soybean Growers invited local precision agriculture experts to introduce the latest products and equipment at their annual banquet on January 22.
        More than 50 area farmers and agribusiness members gained insight on precision agriculture practices from industry experts Travis Routh, L&D Ag Service general manager and Keith Frick, John Deere Ag Management Solutions consultant.
        Each highlighted how precision agriculture can reduce input and labor costs, increase efficiency and better manage land and water resources.
        “One of our newer innovations is our capability to machine sync,” said Frick, “This technology facilitates on-the-go unloading by synchronizing tractor speed and direction of travel with the combine, providing greater ease of operation with improved efficiency, resulting in higher productivity during harvest.”
        In addition to equipment improvements, Routh and Frick presented new components coming out for the 2013 planting season. Routh described one of their latest planter technologies, Ag Leader Down Force, as a significant improvement for farmers. “L&D Ag Service’s hydraulic down force generates enough force to plant at the proper depth and it allows for more consistent planting compared to using air pressure.”
        Following his presentation, University of Minnesota Extension educator David Bau gave a comparison of farmland rental rates and values over the last year for counties in south central Minnesota.
        He also showed how rising input costs will affect the bottom line. “Input costs for corn have increased at a rate of 9 percent since 2003 and 7 percent for soybeans,” he explained. Fertilizer is one of the most volatile input costs, followed by fuel, nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, all directly influence crop profitability. Bau predicted high crop future prices for 2013, allowing growers to plan for positive margins.
        The Watonwan County Corn and Soybean Growers Association is affiliated with the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), a non-profit organization controlled by a board of elected soybean producers from across the state who direct the investments of the state’s soybean checkoff dollars into programs designed to increase the profitability of the soybean farmers of Minnesota.

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