Looking Back at 2018 & Ahead to 2019

Gary Suess, Precision Ag Specialist (507) 273-7043
As we move into the last few weeks of 2018 and review this year’s growing season, one thing was clear: farming in 2018 has been a challenge from start to finish. We started the year
with a wet spring that made getting our crops planted timely a daunting task. A hot summer
helped us catch up from late planting, but also caused stress on plant growth and development throughout the season. We ended the season facing many weather delays that made getting fields harvested a difficult chore. Hopefully everyone has been able to finish all their fall work for 2018 and gets a chance to slow down and relax from the stressful year.

What can we learn from 2018? If you collected harvest yield data with your combine we invite you to share it with us. We would be happy to produce yield maps and discuss them with you. Also, if you are using a manufacturer’s data management program, such as the
MyJohnDeere or Climate Fieldview platforms, we also invite you to share your account data with us. Doing this allows us to get a better understanding of the strengths and challenges in your fields and find ways to maximize their potential. Using your data we can also research any trials you had in your field (hybrids, fungicide treatments, plant growth regulators, etc.) to help you recognize the operations in your fields that had positive impacts on your yields this year.

After harvest is complete and everyone gets a chance to review the 2018 crop, our attention quickly changes to the 2019 growing season, and how we can apply the things we’ve learned from the past to next year’s crop. It’s yet to be determined how the environment and agronomics will shape up for the 2019 growing season, but it seems certain to be financially challenging. Keeping these financial challenges in mind we need to do everything we can to set ourselves up for success. First, let’s start with taking an inventory of our field nutrients and production capabilities. Grid sampling is our best management tool to do this. Using grid soil sampling we can provide you with nutrient recommendations that allow you to maximize production through spatial distribution of fertilizer into the areas of the field that will give the most response and give increased profitability.

Another tool for your farm is one of the satellite and data based modeling programs, such as Climate Fieldview. Programs like these give detailed soil, crop and weather data on a field by field basis. Also, planting, harvest, and application data from your farm can be imported into the program and analyzed to help determine which products and treatments are working best on your farm. Every year we have more of our growers using this program to aid them in decision making. I encourage you to discuss the benefits of using Climate Fieldview on your farm with your All American Co-op agronomist in the 2019 season.

As 2018 comes to a close we turn our thoughts to 2019 and the upcoming growing season – it will be here quickly. Please talk to us about any precision ag ideas you want to explore to help increase your farm’s efficiency. Finally, take time to enjoy the Holiday Season with your family and friends. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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