Jeff Newman Agronomist Wanamingo

by Jeff Newman

Agriculture is the best business to be involved in.  It changes with the seasons, and it brings a variety of skills and decision-making to the table.  One day you are making a plan for each field that will best address problems and potential of that field, and on another day you are adapting to weather conditions to make the best application given the circumstances.  To have flexibility in a farm plan is very important because it can reduce your stress and urgency level.  We all know what the weather can do, so it is very fortunate that we have products and services that can be applied at different stages of crop development.

We have learned that to kill a weed, the easiest time to accomplish this is before they come up.  A layered approach will result in cleaner fields at harvest.  We have seen how quickly a weed species like waterhemp can spread from just being a small patch on a headland of one field, to being thick on every field, in just one to two years.  There are some very good products that can keep waterhemp under control.  A solid plan is a good way to start, and if the weather gets in the way, we can adapt and still have very clean fields.

To help any crop grow, we apply fertilizer tailored to that crop’s needs.  We are learning more every year about timing of these applications, and how important it is to pay attention to details by farm.  We have all wanted a 2:1 or 3:1 return on our products that we apply, but sometimes we do break even.  There has been a tremendous amount of research done on timing and environmental influences on the products that we use, so if we use this data we can increase our chance of getting a higher return on our money spent.

We used to have programs that were very time sensitive and had to be done within 2-3 days, but now we have adapted to more flexible and less stressful plans that still give us the highest returns and are cost competitive.

I have a friend that was an ag teacher for 3 years who decided to go into the insurance business many years ago, and he has told me that he still envies me working in the agriculture field.

To sum this up, work with your agronomist to develop a sound program by farm.  Keep things simple, but also be ready to adapt to mother nature.