Seeds for Success

By Jerry Hartsock & Dakota Miller
Cutting Edge Consulting & Research Services

With the turn to the 2024 calendar usually brings posts of everyone sharing their New Year’s resolutions. While to most people it is in the form of eating healthier, working out more, being kinder to the neighbors, or traveling more the question we have is: what are your New Year’s resolutions for the farm? A wise person once shared a very simple, yet impactful phrase with me that’s very important as we set new goals and approach a new season. Simply put: don’t forget that sometimes you have to take the time to work ON the business and not always FOR the business. This all starts with reviewing the past, and deciding on what direction we are going in the future.

Now is a great time to dive into the immense amount of data you have been collecting (if you are not currently collecting data, get a plan together and get started!). It needs sorted, cleaned, and analyzed. It takes time to do these things as only good data can yield good decisions. Crappy data doesn’t provide any further guidance. This may be an area you look to improve next year as you aim to calibrate more often and capture great planting and yield data to build a bank of information on YOUR farm that you can use to fuel decisions in the future. This data can shed light on the effectiveness of tillage and management that was done this last year, how it interacted with your environment, the products that were tested, hybrids that were used and how they were placed. We have found multiple years of great data to assist in tiling project decisions too.
We may still be setting some goals for the 2024 season, but keep in mind we started setting up the planter when combines were rolling. Residue distribution from the combine can affect soil temperature and moisture come planting time. There were fall tillage decisions that had to be made either for residue management, compaction alleviation, or both and those choices have set the stage for the planter. New projects may exist to improve the farm in the near and long term such as tile projects or new irrigation systems that can be set up to drive yield potential to a new level. Who is influencing you in making these decisions? Who is on your farming circle of influence driving you to be progressive and adaptive to be more profitable, instead of being money savers? This is where the AgVenture Maximum Profit System™ comes in with the guidance of your AYS who will help drive yields, profitability, and standards to an upper tier not many may see.

Using this system can be a guide to determining some of the farm’s New Year’s resolutions or goals for the season. It all starts with a cropping plan, and perhaps you and your AYS have begun this process. If you do NOT have a cropping plan, it is imperative to get that process started soon. This plan lays out all the products, steps, tactics, and standards that are needed to ensure better success at leading to higher yields. Some of these key steps might include planting, fertility management, fungicide applications, and timely weed management.

Possibly a goal this year is to have the planter in the shop and maintenance completed two weeks earlier than last year. The planter MUST be in tip-top shape and have a conscious individual pulling it to set the crop up for success. With up to 75% of yield potential being determined on the day of planting, the machine and person running it need to be at the top of their game. The machine needs to be able to plant 2 3/8” deep consistently with proper down pressure and needs someone to set it there and check every row unit. Not every row unit is the same, and each one needs to be dug behind and assessed for necessary changes. We believe the planting process is a finesse process, not a violent one that throws soil aggressively and causes excessive unit bounce. At higher speeds (6 mph +) depth consistency and seed-to-soil contact are compromised and therefore are the source of our lesser ear counts come harvest. Have these standards and conditions been explained to EVERYONE on your team, so everyone is on the same page and looking for the same outcome? Having these higher standards in place for optimum conditions and planting accuracy while also knowing your warm AND cold germination scores means you can then set a new goal for your Net Effective Plant Stand (NEPS) rating. You should strive to improve your score every year to reach that 96% +. This ensures you are maximizing every space of opportunity and driving yield potential. By focusing on the planting standards and seed quality someone can gain 2500 ears per acre equaling 20 bushel per acre or $100 per acre… that can be a game changer without spending any extra money.

Review the nitrogen and fertility program from 2023. This is a key component of your cropping plan. Did you have a source of nitrogen and sulfur in the early, middle, and late portions of the season? There are several ways to get those nutrients out there at the right rate and time to be more efficient. Remember that anhydrous ammonia is a great middle and late season source but does not provide the early nutrition needed prior to setting rows around. This is where starter fertilizer (2×2 or in-furrow) can play a huge part in feeding that crop through setting rows around. Planning, planting, and fertilizing better lead right into deciphering how other high yield management tactics can work on YOUR farm.

Review the product tests you had out this season. Did a one-pass fungicide application pay? We certainly found it did. It brought yield (upwards of 30 bpa) through stress alleviation, better efficiency of feeding, much improved standability, cooling the canopy, and many other avenues. Our product tests still show our top tier of product choices in corn are Veltyma, Trivapro, and Miravis Neo. We did more testing with Miravis Neo in soybeans this year (~10-12 oz/ac rate) and will move to using that more in soybeans in 2024. Are nutritional applications needed in soybeans? From our testing this year and last year, we have often found that especially sulfur and potassium applied around R3 with the fungicide brings that boost needed to break through another yield barrier. We also believe in soybeans, 18”– 22” rows are the best row widths for capturing the advantages of narrow rows, while also allowing more air flow through the canopy.

Those things mentioned above are just a couple ideas/products we tested this year, and plan to expand on our testing in 2024. Our testing list continues to expand on in-season soybean fertility, starter fertilizer in soybeans, soybean populations, and fungicides. We continue to do testing on corn fungicide products, timing, double-pass programs, and we work to filter through and test certain biological products. We hope to see more of you through the winter and hear what your goals are for the 2024 season and how we can help you reach them.

If you would like to learn more about how you can thrive by becoming an ISC, let us know.

Hear what farmers are saying

“I use AgVenture because of their excellent products, service, and agronomic support. When we need something they respond quickly. I can’t think of any reason why we wouldn’t use AgVenture. AgVenture stressed the importance of new technology on our farm and is helping us maximize our yield maps, soil grid maps, and fertilizer application data. I do business with AgVenture because they are very trustworthy and service oriented.”

- Kansas Farmer

“We’ve had the AgVenture Spangler 'Training Plots' for several years. The plots help us in our corn and soybean selections. For 3 generations, we have been using AgVenture Spangler products.”

- Wisconsin Farmer

“I consider everyone at AgVenture a friend and I can tell that they are really looking out for me and my farming operation. AgVenture is an easy company to work with and you cannot beat the service. When I have questions about my crops I call AgVenture and they are here right away helping me find the answer.”

- Kansas Farmer

“An AgVenture Yield Specialist showed me what my yields could be with AgVenture seed and I thought they were impossible because they were so good.”

- Nebraska Farmer