Equipment can be one of the most expensive investments you can make for your business. And with today’s lower grain/milk prices and tighter budgets, many farmers are considering used machinery as an alternative to buying new. However, the hours logged on a piece of machinery are not always a reliable indicator of the health of the engine. Below, are listed three considerations that may help you make a final decision when you are in the market for “new-used” equipment.
- Get an oil analysis.
Potential buyers can look for leaks and damage when inspecting used machinery, but even if a piece of equipment looks good on the outside, it’s harder to tell the condition under the hood. That’s where an oil analysis can be a valuable tool for the buyer. It is like a blood test for a machine’s engine, transmission and hydraulic systems. The cost of an oil analysis kit ($15 to $25) is minimal considering the valuable insights it can provide on a machine that likely costs tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy.
- Consider the age of the engine and the fuel it’ll need. (more…)
Most research today supports soil sampling and testing as a best management practice. Growers should take the opportunity learn as much as possible about their soil in order to produce their best yields. This includes knowing what nutrient deficiencies exist in their soil.
The following explains the process of soil sampling, and highlights key data growers will learn from testing and analyzing their soil.
The Soil Sampling Process
The primary objective of soil sampling is to provide a representative sample of the fertility within the field.
Based on the variability throughout the field, the number of acres per sample will vary.
- If soils are similar in texture, slope, previous crop and production practices, then the number of acres per sample can increase.
- If soils within a field are variable, than those areas can be sampled separately to determine the needs in those specific areas.
The agriculture industry not only provides food, energy and products that we all use on a daily basis, it is also often a leader in technology. Agricultural companies, professionals and even individual growers are often at the forefront of new technology concepts as they continue to work to make this very busy industry more efficient in costs, production and labor.
The industry continues to grow and evolve – making growers’ lives easier while still allowing them to produce the food that feeds the world. A few of the newest innovations are stemming from the big data trend that’s making a huge impact across most industries. (more…)
It’s easy to look around and see how agriculture impacts our world. This might be one of the reasons you chose a career in production agriculture. Even though you love your chosen career path, it doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges out there every day. The difference between the successful growers and the ones who aren’t as successful is how they approach the challenges that come their way.
The best way to solve a challenge is by looking at the opportunities behind the challenge and then taking control of your own destiny. The following are three very different challenges, but each with opportunities for you to succeed.
Delegates to the CHS Annual Meeting have approved amendments to the CHS Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. The amendments created a new membership class structure and criteria.
“We appreciate our owners’ commitment to the governance of the company they own, as evidenced by their strong interest in the proposed changes to the core CHS governing documents” says CHS Board Chairman David Bielenberg. “Having a voice in the governance of the company you own and do business with is an essential point of difference of the cooperative business model.”
The two resolutions – one amending the company’s articles and the other amending the CHS bylaws – each received a “yes” vote of more than 86 percent.
When the CHS Board reconvenes in 2017, it will work to develop procedures regarding implementation and for members to periodically certify their ongoing eligibility for their membership class. “We are committed to keeping members fully informed,” Bielenberg says.
Steve Fritel, chairman of the CHS Board’s Governance Committee, says the board took its commitment to communication seriously by listening to owners, keeping the proposed changes simple and ensuring there was time for learning and conversation.
“Our goal is always to ensure that CHS remains an agricultural-focused and producer-governed cooperative,” Fritel said. “At the same time, we also recognize we must accommodate our current members as they change to stay relevant to their customers. Our articles and bylaws need to line up with the ways our members do business today, while recognizing the strong heritage of the member cooperatives who built today’s CHS.”
View details of the new membership classes on the CHS Governance page.
Growers are often called stewards of the land, and with the supply and demand increasing at a rapid pace they are also looked upon to produce higher quantities of food and grain in the same amount of time, all while protecting the environment.
Thanks to today’s innovative technology, environmental concerns including soil erosion, animal welfare and nutrient runoff can be minimized or prevented.
Farms are becoming increasingly progressive and the use of technology has made farming practices more sustainable to the environment than we have ever seen in history.
Improvements in technology continue to help growers with their environmental stewardship efforts, including: (more…)
Image courtesy United Soybean Board
There are a number of factors that need to be considered when selecting a seed variety, and it’s no easy task for growers these days. Below are some considerations for seed selection, for soybeans and for corn.
- When selecting soybean seed for the upcoming planting season, the first factor to take into account is the maturity rating of the soybean you’re selecting. Selecting a seed variety that’s well suited to your geography enables the crop to move through its lifecycle efficiently in a way that best matches its environment. Selecting the correct maturity rating allows the crop to take full advantage of the growing season in your area and helps maximize your yield potential.
A bean with too early of a maturity rating for your geography can leave yield potential on the table by not taking advantage of the additional growing days. On the other hand, if you select a variety with too late of a maturity rating for your geography, you risk the beans not reaching physiological maturity before the frost. Knowing how a variety will work within your specific geographic conditions help strike a balance that will aid in procuring the highest potential yield for your crop.
There are many issues growers face in today’s agricultural industry. One rising to the top of the list is low commodity prices.
Growers across the country are facing the harsh reality of a decrease in income forecasted for the third straight year due to an extended decline in corn and soybean prices. According to the USDA, net cash farm income for 2016 is forecast at $94.1 billion, and net farm income at $71.5 billion – following the declines in 2015.
One way growers can help their profitability during this time is to make sure they are getting the best yield possible, so they simply have more crop to sell.
Growers should make sure they are maximizing their production practices to help capitalize on the best potential yield:
- Proper soil preparation, prior to planting
- Applying crop nutrients and fertilizers as appropriate to help with emergence and throughout the life of the plant
- Applying crop protection products as appropriate to help combat disease, weeds and insects
- Proper irrigation, as appropriate
- Effective harvesting practices and techniques
Nutrient management is as important in fall as it is at planting.
Growers considering a fall anhydrous ammonia application can take measures to make the most out of their fertilizer investment, while supporting nitrogen management best practices, says Eric Scherder, Ph.D., field scientist, Dow AgroSciences.
“Nitrogen isn’t a one-time event,” Scherder says. “There has to be forethought about how to manage it today and tomorrow.”
Growers who are serious about reducing nitrate loss into groundwater can take steps when making fall applications. These steps include evaluating application methods, paying attention to temperature and using a nitrogen stabilizer to reduce nitrate loss due to leaching and denitrification. (more…)
ST. PAUL, MINN. (Nov. 3, 2016) – CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, today announced earnings for fiscal 2016 of $424.2 million.
CHS net income for fiscal 2016 (Sept. 1, 2015 – Aug. 31, 2016) of $424.2 million was down 46 percent from $781.0 million for fiscal 2015, reflecting lower pre-tax earnings within the company’s Energy and Ag segments, as well as its Corporate and Other category. Lower pre-tax earnings within these two segments were partly offset by increased pretax earnings in its Foods segment, and seven months of earnings from its Nitrogen Production segment which was created by the February 2016 strategic investment CHS made in CF Industries Nitrogen, LLC (CF Nitrogen). These results reflect the continued economic down cycle in the company’s core energy and agriculture businesses, as well as the impact of one-time events.