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On the right channel:

By Staff | Jul 30, 2009

Agronomist John Harker talked about soybean yield with producers on the Asmus Farm Supply plot tour Wednesday. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

The last time I drove my father’s John Deere, plowing the north forty, if I told someone we were planning on 100-bushel corn, he would either call me a liar, tell me to get my head examined or ask what I had been drinking – or maybe all three.

Oh, how times have changed.

Just how much those times have changed was evidenced by the questions – and answers – at Asmus Farm Supply’s crop tour and crop seminar Wednesday in Estherville. Representatives of The Channel Group were on hand to give the latest information on Crow’s, Midwest and NC+ products.

While the speed of changes in genetics – and the resulting increase in price per bag of soybean and corn seed – may not be fully embraced by all ag producers, the fact remains that companies like Channel are keying their prices to making farmers more productive and profitable in turn.

Mike Schaefer, Channel representative, noted that the company is the third-largest corn seed producer in the U.S. “We hope to double that in the next 10 years,” Schaefer said of company sales.

Crow’s agronomist Paul Parcher discussed row width, plant population and yield with ag producers

Schaefer showed a video that emphasized the dynamics of agriculture today. Managing volatility, minimizing risk and not missing opportunities are all key goals for ag producers today.

Using a five-year-old seed product can make a farmer forfeit five to 10 bushels an acre, and farmers need to double production over the next 20 years to meet demand. At the same time, they need to assure consumers of safe, quality food.

After the video, Schaefer noted growing demand for soybeans for human consumption rather than as commodities.

In a question-and-answer session that followed, Schaefer addressed a question about rising seed costs, something that goes along with improved seed performance.

“It will keep going up if we keep making the farmer more money,” Schaefer said.

Regarding a question about farmers being able to have designer-quality gene diversity in seed, Schaefer said if a company diversifies too much, it won’t be able to meet demand. “You can’t be everything to everybody,” he said.

Paul Parcher, Crow’s agronomist, on a test plot visit talked about row width and planting density.

Parcher said producers need to look at the field as a factory. Toward that end, he said one measure of productivity is yield per 1,000 plants. If production is toward the top end of a range, that means the farmer is utilizing inputs well, he said. That means he might consider increasing seed population.

Parcher offered a formula in which the optimal planting rate is the historical yield level times typical yield per 1,000 plants times hybrid planting factors.

Agronomist John Harker compared Roundup Ready II soybeans to their predecessor, noting a 7-11 percent yield increase.

Harker observed that soybeans have the ability to thin or fill stands to optimum yield, usually 120,000 to 125,000 plants per acre. On the flip side, even at 85,000 to 100,000 plants per acre soybeans have the natural ability to give optimum yield. Harker said the Roundup Ready II tests used untreated seed to give an objective baseline for results.

For more information about Channel products, call Asmus Farm Supply at 712-362-3366.