Reaching New Heights in 2016
Gary and Jason Levan, Plainview, MN
The Levan family is no stranger to the National Corn Growers Yield Contest. Through their participation over the years, they have been able to learn from other growers across the state and nation. They used this valuable information to make smart choices in managing their own acres, and are now reaping the rewards. Gary and Jason won the 2016 state of Minnesota Yield Contest for the NCGA in the AA No-Till/Strip Till Non-Irrigated division with DK 54-40 VT2P with a yield of 285.17 bushels.
Larry Veith, Seed Specialist for Progressive Ag Center, LLC, says the Levan family takes their entry in the National Corn Growers Yield Contest very seriously. “They have always been proactive in making sound, business-minded decisions in their farming practices. I think Gary and Jason will echo my feelings when I say that we hope over the next few years we can accomplish the next hurdle: getting over the 300 bu. level in the contest.”
When asked about their long-time participation in the NCGA contest, Jason says “the National Corn Growers Association Yield contest is an opportunity to learn about and putting to use new technology. To be recognized for our yield results of 285.2 bushels per acre with the DeKalb 54-40 variety is a true honor.” Gary and Jason will be attending the 2017 Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas in early March, compliments of Monsanto. They will be part of a group representing Minnesota and will be recognized for their yield award for the 2016 contest.
Gary states that to reach this level of yield results “takes more than just making the right seed choices. It’s also about having the best possible recipe for each acre. This includes a balanced mix of fertilizer, seed placement, post spray choices, and fungicide applications when necessary. It is no secret to anyone in production agriculture that there are no two growing seasons that are exactly the same. With the support of the Progressive Ag Center team, including Larry Veith and Agronomist Steve Yoch, we have the best possible resources available to us to make the most educated choices possible. Anticipating what Mother Nature is going to throw our way is probably the biggest challenge we have in any given season.” Jason adds, “The Progressive Ag Center team knows the history of our farm, they know our farming practices, and they bring us the current studies, products, and research to help us make the best educated decisions necessary to get the most out of every acre while still being profitable. It’s not just about the product, it’s the service package that completes the deal for us.”
Gary will tell you that timing is the key to any success. The results that the Levans are seeing today are a result of making smart choices over the past 5 years and taking advantage of some market opportunities along the way. The decision to update mechanical technology through Precision Planting has supported their efforts to increase yields and efficiencies. Variable Rate Seeding prescriptions are an effective way to manage seed costs. “It was an important improvement for us to update our planting equipment when commodity prices were up. That investment has definitely paid off for us.” Gary says that taking advantage of $7 corn was important. “The timing of those business decisions offered us some definite success. We try to make smart business decisions that will help support our farming business.”
In addition to participating in the National Corn Growers Contest, the Levans also participate in other area plots, including the Olmsted/Wabasha Corn Growers plot and in the Nutrient Management Initiative Program in Minnesota. Both Gary and Jason feel this is important not only for themselves but for other area corn and soybean growers in the area (as well as for the Progressive Ag Center staff). “Without the data gathered from these producer plots, we would not have real world information at our access to refer to for future applications.” says Jason. These producer plots focus on many different components besides seed varieties, including such applications as nitrogen tracking, herbicide applications, and fungicide applications.
Gary says, “We like keeping our business local. There is value in doing business with our local cooperative.” Jason adds, “The staff at Progressive Ag Center knows the history of our farming acres which helps to keep us on our toes and make educated decisions for each production year. We value their support and are excited to reach new highs in the future.”