There are many issues growers face in today’s agricultural industry. One rising to the top of the list is low commodity prices.
Growers across the country are facing the harsh reality of a decrease in income forecasted for the third straight year due to an extended decline in corn and soybean prices. According to the USDA, net cash farm income for 2016 is forecast at $94.1 billion, and net farm income at $71.5 billion – following the declines in 2015.
One way growers can help their profitability during this time is to make sure they are getting the best yield possible, so they simply have more crop to sell.
Growers should make sure they are maximizing their production practices to help capitalize on the best potential yield:
Proper soil preparation, prior to planting
Applying crop nutrients and fertilizers as appropriate to help with emergence and throughout the life of the plant
Applying crop protection products as appropriate to help combat disease, weeds and insects
Proper irrigation, as appropriate
Effective harvesting practices and techniques
Secondly, growers should make sure they are using these efforts in collaboration with the appropriate seed genetics to get the best yield they can, which will give them more bushels to sell at harvest time.
In this video clip from June 2016, Dr. Fred Below with University of Illinois, explains that low commodity prices are one of the most important issues facing agriculture today and explains how growers can best deal with this issue.
Low commodity prices are a real problem, and the only way I can see to overcome those is to be able to produce more. If the price is low I need to have more of it to sell. So, I don’t think I’m going to save myself to prosperity because that would imply that I’m wasting money.
I think it comes down to having the basics to production correct, and make sure you’re using those to get as much yield as you can out of today’s genetics.
Nutrient management is as important in fall as it is at planting.
Growers considering a fall anhydrous ammonia application can take measures to make the most out of their fertilizer investment, while supporting nitrogen management best practices, says Eric Scherder, Ph.D., field scientist, Dow AgroSciences.
“Nitrogen isn’t a one-time event,” Scherder says. “There has to be forethought about how to manage it today and tomorrow.”
Growers who are serious about reducing nitrate loss into groundwater can take steps when making fall applications. These steps include evaluating application methods, paying attention to temperature and using a nitrogen stabilizer to reduce nitrate loss due to leaching and denitrification.
Important Considerations Before Fall Application
There are best management practices growers can follow this fall to optimize fertilizer applications.
In the fall, let temperature drive timing. Fall nitrogen applications should be based on soil temperature, not calendar date, Scherder says. Wait to apply nitrogen until soil temperatures drop below 50 F.
“Nitrosomonas bacteria, which converts ammonium nitrogen to the nitrate form that’s susceptible to loss, are active until soils reach freezing temperatures; however, their activity is significantly reduced once soil temperatures drop below 50 degrees,” Scherder says. “This is important to consider when making fall applications to protect that investment.”
The CHS Board has delayed implementation of the company’s new individual equity redemption program, a decision made following its regular review of the CHS equity management program.
“This decision was made as we considered a number of factors, including our commitment to balance sheet management and the current economic cycle,” says CHS Board Chairman Dave Bielenberg. “CHS remains financially sound and profitable, but as we navigate this economic cycle, the board believes this delay was appropriate as we continue to take a long-term view in managing equity redemptions.”
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and its members (including CHS) will celebrate the first annual Global Fertilizer Day this coming Thursday, October 13. Organized by TFI and a network of international organizations, the day is dedicated to spreading the word about the vital role our industry plays in improving peoples’ lives. As Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has said on numerous occasions, two out of every five people in the world owe their lives to fertilizer.
A generation ago, a Nobel Peace Prize winner proclaimed the same message. He was the great-grandchild of Norwegian immigrants, attended a one-room schoolhouse through the eighth grade, and failed his first college entrance exam. But when he was finally admitted to the University of Minnesota, Norman Borlaug took a Depression-era job with the Civilian Conservation Corps to pay for his tuition and living expenses. Through that experience he met hungry people and saw the way having enough food changed them.
Despite his humble beginnings, he went on to do great things. For over a half-century, his scientific and humanitarian achievements kept starvation at bay for millions of people in Third World countries. As a result of his work, global food production everywhere other than sub-Saharan Africa has increased faster than the population.
But Borlaug’s story doesn’t end there. In addition to his scientific work, he was a tireless advocate of fertilizer use and other modern agricultural practices. He remained active into his nineties, traveling, speaking and teaching.
On October 13th we encourage you to remember Borlaug’s shining example of what it means to engage the public on behalf of the fertilizer industry. To make the job easier, TFI, the Global Fertilizer Day Coalition and the Nutrients for Life Foundation have assembled tools to help you spread the word.
They highlight interesting facts and figures, including:
Half of all the food grown around the world today, for both people and animals, is possible through the use of fertilizer.
The fertilizer industry contributes more than 452,000 American jobs and in excess of $139 billion to the U.S. economy.
U.S. farmers are using fertilizer with amazing efficiency, growing 87 percent more corn today with just 4 percent more fertilizer than they did in 1980.
If each of the industry’s 84,000 employees took time to spread just one of these messages on social media or through personal interaction, just think of the impact it could make.