Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Tuesday September 20 Ag News

Soybean farmers provide $900,000 to help expand soybean meal exports

One of the most dynamic developments within the soybean industry in recent history has been the proliferation of current and planned expansion of soybean processing throughout the United States – largely inspired by the demand for soybean oil as one of the primary feedstocks for the expanding renewable energy market. These current and planned investments present a profound question, “With all of the future processing, how can we most effectively access markets for the increased soybean meal?”. A group of soybean farmer organizations are helping provide an answer to this question by assisting a future investment that will significantly enhance the amount of U.S. soybean meal exported to international customers.

AG Processing, Inc. (AGP), the Omaha-based cooperative that owns and operates ten soybean processing facilities in the Midwest, announced on March 22nd a major expansion and upgrade to its export terminal at the Port of Grays Harbor in Aberdeen, Washington. AGP plans to construct additional storage at its Terminal 2 facility and develop a new ship loader at Terminal 4. These investments – scheduled to be operational in 2025 – will ultimately allow the AGP terminal to increase soybean meal exports from 3 million to 6 million metric tons. In order to accommodate this growth and investment, the Port of Grays Harbor will expand its rail infrastructure within the complex to efficiently handle the increased volume, as well as mitigate the surface traffic impact to the local community.

Given the profound benefit these planned investments will provide to a significant number U.S. soybean farmers, the Nebraska Soybean Board, the Iowa Soybean Association, the Kansas Soybean Commission, the North Dakota Soybean Council, the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, and the Soy Transportation Coalition have committed $900,000 to help offset some of the pre-engineering, design, and site development costs of the Port of Grays Harbor Terminal 4 Expansion and Redevelopment Project.

“With more future soybean processing in this country, farmers are very interested in opportunities to assist with the increased need for soybean meal export capacity,” says Jonathan Miller, a soybean farmer from Island, Kentucky, and Chairman of the Soy Transportation Coalition. “The more we can export a higher value product, like soybean meal, farmers will benefit. I am proud of how these soybean farmer organizations are demonstrating their commitment to their fellow producers by making this significant investment.”

“Over the past 20 years, AGP has been an excellent partner, and we are excited to continue to collaborate with them on this major expansion,” says Gary Nelson, Executive Director of the Port of Grays Harbor. “We are extremely pleased and grateful to receive this generous support from soybean farmers. It will clearly enhance this project as it moves forward. We look forward to the Port of Grays Harbor becoming an even more significant economic engine for not only our local and regional community, but also soybean farmers throughout the country.”

“AGP’s previous and future investments at the Port of Grays Harbor are motivated by the commitment to provide efficient and economical access to international markets for U.S. soybean meal,” says Chris Schaffer, Chief Executive Officer of AGP. “For many years, this export terminal has served as a vital link between AGP farmer-owned cooperative members and critical international markets. We very much appreciate the financial commitment from the soybean farmer organizations to support AGP’s efforts to enhance and upgrade the port’s export capabilities.”

“What happens over there impacts what happens over here, and what happens over here impacts what happens over there,” explains Mike Steenhoek, Executive Director of the Soy Transportation Coalition. “It is well-established how investments in the Pacific Northwest will result in greater farmer profitability in the Midwest. In turn, profitable farmers in the Midwest result in increased investment in the Pacific Northwest. AGP’s expansion project at the Port of Grays Harbor is arguably the most immediate opportunity for soybean farmers to assist with the need for increased soybean meal export capacity. The Soy Transportation Coalition and other farmer organizations are pleased to partner in this important project.”

NeFU Participates is Productive and Positive National Farmers Union Fly-In

Four Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) members were among the 250 Farmers Union members from around the nation who participated in the 2022 National Farmers Union (NFU) Fall Fly-In last week in Washington, D.C. The NeFU group had individual meetings with the Nebraska Congressional Delegation.

This was the first in person Fly-In since 2019. As a result of the COVID-19 safety protocols that limited the number of people who could be in a meeting at the Capitol, NeFU limited the number of participants to four this year: NeFU Vice President Vern Jantzen of Plymouth; Farmers Union Midwest Agency (FUMA) General Manager Jeff Downing of Elkhorn; FUMA agent Ryan Scheetz of Blair; and NeFU President John Hansen of Lincoln.

In addition to a lengthy and constructive Q & A session Monday morning with USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, participants heard from two high ranking USDA panels.

The first panel, which focused on Marketing and Regulatory Programs included: Mae Wu, Deputy Under Secretary, USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Katie Zenk, Chief of Staff, Marketing and Regulatory Programs, and Andy Green, Senior Advisor, Fair and Competitive Markets, Marketing and Regulatory Programs.

The second Panel, which focused on Farm Production and Conservation mission area included: Robert Bonnie, USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, Terry Cosby, Chief, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Scott Marlow, Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs, Farm Service Agency. Both panels fielded questions from Fly-In participants.

In addition to the usual Congressional meetings and USDA briefings, Fly-In participants met with over a dozen federal agencies and had direct discussions with, Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan, Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, and Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chair Rostin Behnam, among other leaders.

NeFU Vice President Vern Jantzen participated in the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) meeting with Chair Rostin Behnam. “It was a very productive meeting,” Jantzen said. “They asked us questions about agricultural markets, and marketing practices. Hopefully, our meetings will open the door to more constructive meetings and more CFTC efforts to ensure a more level playing field.”

NeFU President John Hansen, a veteran of over 30 years of NFU Fly-Ins was extremely pleased with this year’s additional agency meetings. “While it is critically important to discuss legislative issues with our Congressional members, it is also critical we discuss regulatory issues with the agencies that impact agriculture,” Hansen said. “President Biden’s historic Executive Order on Competition is being taken seriously. NFU’s “Fairness for Farmers” campaign is having a very positive impact,” Hansen added. “We especially appreciate the leadership Sen. Deb Fischer is providing with her Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act, S.4030. Hopefully, all five members of Nebraska’s Congressional delegation will strongly support her efforts to support Nebraska’s largest single agricultural sector, cattle production.”


– Ben Beckman, NE Extension

Are you looking to buy hay?  Can’t find anything local?  When you finally do find hay, don’t also bring undesired pests to your farm or ranch along with that imported hay.

Hay is expensive this fall, and very hard to find.  You may be looking out-of-state or even out-of-country to find hay for this winter.

Whenever you bring hay from another location onto your land, you also run the risk of bringing any pests onto your land that were in the distant hayfield.  If hay comes from someone close by, you probably won’t bring in anything you don’t already have.  But when hay comes from a long distance, you can get pests that are new or extra hard to control.

So, what should you lookout for?  It could be any number of things, but some examples might be sericea lespedeza and old-world bluestems from Kansas, endophyte-infected fescue from Missouri, or absinthe wormwood from North and South Dakota.  Even with more local hay, a clean pasture may suddenly be infected with leafy spurge or Canada thistle.

These examples all are weeds, but hay also can carry other pests.  For example, it might contain alfalfa weevils from just about anywhere or fire ants from Texas.  Fire ants won’t survive a typically harsh Nebraska winter, but if it’s mild and the hay is well-sheltered, they could be a problem for a season or two.

Now – I don’t mean to suggest that all hay from these areas will carry problem pests.  Lots of very good hay is made in these areas.  But how do you reduce the risk of acquiring these pests?

Begin by asking questions.  Find out what pests are a problem in that area.  Check references.  Reserve the right to refuse the hay after it arrives, and you’ve check it out thoroughly.  Then, when you feed the hay, do it only in a small area.  That way, if a problem does develop, you can keep it isolated and, hopefully, controllable.

Nebraska Beef Passport Concludes September 30

The 2022 Nebraska Beef Passport program will be wrapping up another successful season marking the end of the five-month long program. The last day to collect stamps will be September 30.  

The Nebraska Beef Passport program is sponsored by the Nebraska Beef Council and highlights over 40 restaurants across the state that serve outstanding beef menu items. During the summer months, passport holders were encouraged to visit the participating restaurants, order beef items and earn stamps. Each earned stamp qualifies as an entry into the drawing for one of two beef bundle give-a-ways valued at $250 each. Additional prizes will be awarded to participants who reach milestones of five, ten or 30 stamps as well as a special prize drawing for acquiring digital stamps through the new mobile passport.
“It’s been another great year for the Nebraska Beef Passport program,” said Adam Wegner, director of marketing for the Nebraska Beef Council. “We’ve seen over 2,500 stamps already collected just through the digital platform alone. Most of the printed passports will be submitted over the next few weeks.”
Stamps collected on printed passports must be submitted to the Nebraska Beef Council postmarked by October 5. Winners will be announced by October 31, 2022.
For additional information, visit www.GoodLifeGreatSteaks.org or contact the Nebraska Beef Council office at 1-800-421-5326.

Nebraska Cattlemen Accepting Nominations for Young Cattlemen’s Connection Class of 2023

Today, the Nebraska Cattlemen Association announced they are accepting nominations for the Young Cattlemen’s Connection (YCC) Class of 2023 until Tuesday, October 25, 2022.

YCC is a longstanding Nebraska Cattlemen tradition as we work to keep the future of our industry innovative and knowledgeable. This program helps emerging leaders understand the industry structure, issues management, product research and marketing, and teaches participants how to become effective communicators.

The Young Cattlemen’s Connections program is a two-year commitment. Alongside a summer and fall meeting each year, the upcoming Class of 2023 will have meetings in Lincoln on January 17-19, 2023, and January 23-26, 2024.

The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, October 25, 2022, and nominees will be required to fill out an application for the selection committee to review. The YCC Class of 2023 will be announced on November 18, 2022.

For more information, please contact Bonita Lederer, at (402) 450-0223 or blederer@necattlemen.org.

Annual NRD Conference Focuses on Water Quality, New Technology

Natural resources stakeholders and subject matter experts will be in Kearney for the annual Nebraska Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) Conference at the Younes Conference Center Sept. 26-27, 2022.

The conference brings together NRD employees, directors and others integrally involved in conservation, technology and policymaking. The event kicks off with the Ron Bishop Memorial Golf tournament on Sunday, Sept. 25, to raise money for the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Foundation.

Gov. Pete Ricketts will open the conference on Monday at 8:30 a.m. followed by updates from natural resources partners including USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency, the National Association of Conservation Districts, the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources. The conference runs from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Topics include an overview and discussion of successful natural resources programs, new technologies and research for future programs. Panelists at the forum will also provide insight on water quality, groundwater management, and carbon credits.

Recognizing citizens for their conservation efforts, Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts also will present awards during the noon luncheon Monday, Sept. 26. Winners include:
    2022 Tree Planter of the Year: Dennis & Teri Taylor – Newport, Nebraska
    2022 Community Conservation Award: City of York (Project Grow) – York, Nebraska
    2022 Water Conservation Award: John Krohn – Albion, Nebraska
    2022 Soil Stewardship Conservation Award: Dave & Alex Daake – Seward County, Nebraska
    2022 Director of the Year: Larry Moore, Upper Big Blue NRD – Ulysses, Nebraska
    2022 Educator of the Year (K-6): Laura Cooney, Arthur County Public Schools
    2022 Educator of the Year (7-12): Kelly Guggenmos, Wheeler Central High School

Monday evening includes a silent auction for the NARD Foundation, which supports natural resources youth programs, followed by a dinner banquet. During the banquet, three NRD Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized including:
    Jim Bendfeldt, Kearney, Nebraska (2022 NRD Director, Central Platte NRD)
    Marlin Petermann, Omaha, Nebraska (posthumously) (2022 NRD Employee, Papio-Missouri River NRD)
    Susan Olafsen-Lackey, Conservation and Survey Division (2022 NRD Supporter)

More than 400 natural resources stakeholders are expected to attend the conference. Online registration and a detailed agenda are available on the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts’ website.

The annual NRD Conference is presented by Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts with a range of local and national sponsors.

Throughout 2022, the NRDs will commemorate breakthroughs and achievements in conservation. To join in the celebration and follow the Natural Resources Districts’ special activities throughout 2022, visit nrdnet.org and follow #Since1972 on social media.

Applications being accepted for 2023 Greenhouse to Cafeteria Award

A Nebraska school greenhouse demonstrating excellence in food production and exemplary education will receive the second Greenhouse to Cafeteria Award early next year, presented by the Center for Rural Affairs, in collaboration with Nebraska FFA.

Applicants are judged on categories including diversity and quantity of produce grown, water and input management, student involvement, community involvement, and more.

Nebraska schools can now apply, and must submit an application to be considered for the award; found at cfra.org/greenhouse-cafeteria. The deadline is 5 p.m. CST, on Jan. 27, 2023.

In 2019, the Center began providing technical assistance to school greenhouse programs and is seeking to grow food production in agriculture education throughout Nebraska.

“Our goal is to spread resources and knowledge on food cultivation throughout the state and to showcase schools who are excelling in this area,” said Justin Carter, project associate with the Center. “We want to see greenhouse grown foods supplying cafeterias and to help students discover new opportunities in specialty crop production.”

While the Center strives to assist schools, staff recognizes existing programs already supply fresh food to Nebraska school lunchrooms.

“With this award, we hope to lift up these schools to show their achievements and offer an example of outstanding production education,” Carter said. “Down the road, we would like to encourage mentorship and collaboration between schools to multiply greenhouse programs across the state.”

In 2021, Nebraska Christian Schools was chosen as the first Greenhouse to Cafeteria award winner. The school was chosen based on exemplary student leadership in the greenhouse as well as unique community partnerships with local farms and nonprofits. The runner up was Litchfield Public Schools.
In 2023, the award will be presented at the state FFA convention. Winners will be provided a financial award to procure equipment or supplies for programs, as well as the Greenhouse to Cafeteria trophy.

ICA Member Testifies Before House Agriculture Committee Regarding Value of Conservation Programs

Today, Iowa cattle producer and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) member Shayne Wiese testified before the House Agriculture Committee regarding implementation of the conservation title of the 2018 Farm Bill.    

“USDA’s voluntary conservation programs have been a great asset to cattle producers, and it is important that these programs are implemented in a practical, producer friendly, and voluntary manner for years to come to ensure that cattle producers will continue to have the ability to do what we do best: produce the world’s safest, most nutritious, abundant, and affordable protein while operating in the most environmentally friendly way possible,” Wiese testified.    

Wiese shared his experiences utilizing the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Additionally, Wiese highlighted his concerns with the staffing shortage at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that has led to agency delays, additional paperwork burdens, and less time for local officials to meet with the agricultural producers they serve.  

“NCBA communicates with members of Congress and their staff every day but hearing directly from a cattle producer outside of Washington is extremely beneficial,” said NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane. “We hope Congress carefully considers Shayne’s testimony as they evaluate the last Farm Bill and begin crafting the next one.”    

Shayne Wiese is a fifth-generation cattle producer, currently operating Wiese & Sons: Good Doin’ Bulls along with his older brother in West Central Iowa. Wiese & Sons are advocates for conservation and utilize cover crops, CRP, water filtration buffers, and erosion reduction practices as part of their comprehensive commitment to environmental stewardship. In addition to being a member of NCBA, Wiese is involved with the American Hereford Association, Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Beef Breed’s Council, and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association.    

“Producer feedback is vital to improving conservation programs outlined in the Farm Bill, and we appreciate Shayne for sharing his personal experiences,” said Bob Noble, president of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. “Livestock producers take pride in being stewards of the land and natural resources and would benefit from additional support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We seek to maximize the impact of programs like the Conservation Reserve Program and Environmental Quality Incentives Program to further achieve our conservation goals and solidify cattle as climate-smart solutions.”   

NPPC Hires Mikayla Dolch as New Manager of Marketing and Digital Communications

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is pleased to announce that Mikayla Dolch has joined the organization as its new manager of marketing and digital communications. Dolch will support the expansion and enhancement of NPPC’s digital programming activities.
“As the pork industry evolves, it is important for NPPC to share the stories of how America’s farmers and processors are working to deliver safe and nutritious pork products to consumers across the globe,” said Annemarie Pender, assistant vice president of marketing and communications, NPPC. “As we navigate the policy environment, Mikayla’s experience in agriculture and policy communications will be valuable in helping NPPC deliver on its strategic priorities and meet objectives.”
Dolch comes to NPPC from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, where she was deputy director of communications for Secretary Mike Naig. Among her duties, she implemented and managed the department’s public relations efforts and oversaw visual and written content for its social media channels. Prior to that, Dolch worked in the corporate affairs department for the Renewable Energy Group and has interned for Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; the Iowa Pork Producers Association; and the Iowa Soybean Association. She served her family’s farming business, Dolch Brothers Farms, and led the southwest district for the Iowa FFA Association as vice president.
Raised on her family’s diversified livestock and row crop farm near Villisca, Iowa, Dolch attended Iowa State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in agricultural and life sciences education and international agriculture. She received a master’s degree in international agriculture and agricultural communications from Oklahoma State University.

NCBA Extremely Disappointed with White House Biotechnology Executive Order

Today, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) raised questions on President Biden’s Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe, and Secure American Bioeconomy, following its release last week.

“We encourage the administration to support the biotechnology innovations already occurring in the cattle industry. Technology like gene editing is critical to improving cattle health and wellbeing, while also helping the U.S. cattle industry demonstrate climate neutrality by 2040. These tools are necessary to build on our legacy as sustainable providers of beef to consumers in the U.S. and around the world,” said NCBA President Don Schiefelbein. “Unfortunately, we are extremely disappointed that this Executive Order also addresses fake meat production under the guise of food security. Supporting cell-cultured, fake meat products is the wrong approach and the administration should remain focused on supporting America’s farmers and ranchers.”

Cattle producers play an important role in ensuring food security and NCBA has long fought for policies that help producers remain in business while raising the highest quality beef in the world.

2023 Commodity Classic Announces Schedule

Plans for the 2023 Commodity Classic are well underway as America’s largest farmer-led agricultural and educational experience returns to Orlando March 9-11, 2023. The theme for the 2023 show is “Preparing for the Next Generation.”

The preliminary schedule for the 2023 Commodity Classic can be found online at https://commodityclassic.com/2023-schedule-at-a-glance. The schedule highlights tentative dates and times for the dozens of educational sessions, presentations, special events, and trade show. Additional sessions continue to be added to the schedule as available.

 “We’re excited for Commodity Classic to return to Orlando, which has historically been a very popular location for us,” said George Goblish, a Minnesota farmer, ASA member, and co-chair of the 2023 Commodity Classic. “We encourage everyone to check out the schedule to start planning their trip to Orlando.”

 Fellow 2023 co-chair Kenny Hartman, an Illinois farmer and NCGA member, added, “Our attendees love the huge trade show Commodity Classic offers, which is one of the best places where growers can learn the latest farming technologies and build on strategies to improve their operation.”

The location’s popularity is evident with a nearly sold-out tradeshow of agricultural exhibitors who plan to showcase innovative products and services in front of thousands of America’s top farmers. Orlando also offers an abundance of opportunities for dining, entertainment, guided tours, and various local attractions.

Registration and housing for the 2023 Commodity Classic will open in mid-November 2022. Attendees can sign up now to receive email updates at CommodityClassic.com. Watch social media for additional details.

NIAA Leadership Program Launches Matching Funds Campaign

With the generous support of a member and the organization’s board of directors, the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) has launched a matching funds campaign to support the NIAA Advanced Training for Animal Agriculture Leaders program. An initial donation of $10,000 has been received with a goal of raising at least $20,000 via matching contributions. Funds raised will develop and empower animal agriculture leaders to positively affect the future of animal agriculture in the U.S. and around the world.

“We began this program to bring together proven leaders from all segments of the value chain,” shares Dr. Eric Moore, NIAA chairman of the board of directors and director of technical services – North America, Norbrook, Inc.

NIAA's Advanced Training for Animal Agriculture Leaders is a multi-disciplinary leadership program. The program was initiated after NIAA’s board of directors envisioned a program to build on animal agriculture leaders’ experiences in species and organization-specific professional development programming. NIAA executive director, J.J. Jones, highlights that, “The program is designed to expand the leadership and professional development continuum for our sector of today’s food system.”

Leaders selected for the program grow and develop through in-person and virtual experiential learnings and an engaging, dynamic curriculum developed specifically for this program. The program provides participants – leaders from the entire value chain – the advanced skills necessary to lead animal agriculture into the future. Cornerstone components of the program expand leaders’ proficiencies in critical thinking, leadership development, connecting and relating skills, and achieving operational excellence within their organization and animal agriculture.

To learn more about the NIAA Advanced Training for Animal Agriculture Leaders program and to contribute, visit www.AnimalAgriculture.org/leadership-program.

Research Shows EXCAVATOR™ Delivering Three to One Return On Investment

Many top farmers and agronomists are insisting next crop’s success starts right now – when your combine leaves the field – and they’re using a post-harvest application of EXCAVATOR™, powered by MICROBILIZE™, to release major-league plant nutrition.

“No more trash talk,” smiles Fred Below, PhD, crop physiologist at the University of Illinois, who says corn yield must also take the value of the “stover” or residue into account. Below has calculated that 200 bushel/A. corn will produce 4.5 tons/A. of residue holding more than 200 pounds of NPK nutritional value per acre. “There’s just too much nutrient value in residue to not take residue management seriously.”

Breaking down stalks and releasing nutrients is key to next season’s crop, agrees Lewis Stearns, farmer and founding agronomist at Progressive Crop Solutions, serving farmers in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. “We’re recommending a post-harvest application of EXCAVATOR from Meristem because we’re seen a three-to-one ROI (return on investment) in terms of available nutrients, especially phosphorus, potassium and zinc.”

The data Stearns evaluated came from an effort Meristem Crop Performance began earlier this season, when the company sent hundreds of farmers across the Corn Belt enough EXCAVATOR™ to treat 25 acres. Meristem’s “EXCAVATOR Field Team” visited farmers who used the product across the U.S., pulling soil samples and doing stand counts in treated 25-acre plots and untreated control plots. To evaluate and assure data consistency and quality, Meristem engaged Stearns and his company, along with experts at DPH Biologicals and Total Acre, to evaluate the body of data.

“Of course, there was a lot of variability,” says Mitch Eviston, Meristem Founder and CEO. “Some growers didn’t get it on in the spring. There were also issues with timing, soil type variability and sampling.” But in the end, Eviston says, the win rate was clear and compelling. “We ended up with hundreds of soil tests, treated and untreated, and most of time, using EXCAVATOR increased availability of N, P, and K, and based on the K alone, we saw an average return of $39/acre nutrient value.”

Eviston says EXCAVATOR powered by MICROBILIZE breaks down residue faster, because the surfactant package penetrates the cuticle faster. “We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the action of these microbes. Combining EXCAVATOR™ in the fall and REVLINE HOPPER THROTTLE™ at planting time can truly be considered the starter system for the next generation.” He says fast-acting EXCAVATOR powered by MICROBILIZE is bringing productivity to wheat growers, too.

“We had 272-bushel corn off one of those fields and we are getting ready to plant no-till wheat into it,” says Brent Willin, Seaford, Delaware. “We’ve sprayed our EXCAVATOR right after the combine left the field.” Willin sees the value of residue and uses a Calmer stalk roll and a flail shredder to begin the breakdown process. He will apply EXCAVATOR powered by MICROBILIZE on 500 acres this year to free up those nutrients faster.

“Our target yields average in the 260 bu./acre range,” he says, “and of course that makes for a lot of residue -- last year we had our best-ever wheat crop and we were still fighting the corn fodder in the planting.” Willin is looking at EXCAVATOR to make drilling his winter wheat easier – and on the ground that goes corn-on-corn this year, we’re trying to avoid a tillage pass. “I’ve heard good things and now we’ll see if it works for us.”

Near Axtell, Neb., Ty Fickenscher is getting ready to start harvest next week with high-moisture corn. He’s planning to follow-up with a fall application of EXCAVATOR. “Around here the high-management farmers are looking to apply EXCAVATOR,” says Fichenscher, who farms and runs Upward Ag, an agronomic consulting business. “They’ve seen enough benefit from easier planting in the spring to run their sprayer in the fall to put EXCAVATOR on that residue. Those guys seem to understand the value of the nutrients in the residue. They’re going to be checking their yield to see how it translates into bushels.”

While fertilizer costs bring nutrient value into sharp focus, Rob McClelland, Meristem President and CMO, says that’s only a part of the overall return on investment (ROI) EXCAVATOR powered by MICROBILIZE brings. Though he says results will vary, ROI could easily tally up to nearly $100/acre:
•       Breaking down residue faster will allow faster planting with fewer skips: $25/A.
•       More nutrients available early, 30-40lbs. N, 5-10lbs. P, 35-40lbs. K alone: $39/A.
•       Lighter residue means one less pass: $18/A.
•       Breaks down carbon and increases organic matter: 12 percent increase in soil health.

“We can reduce waste and boost real productivity with this kind of practical innovation that helps farmers make the most of their residue and release nutrients they already own,” says McClelland. “We’re opening up a path for new technology that helps growers make the most of every dollar they spend on crop inputs.”

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