Excited About a New Opportunity
For the past two years, I’ve been working to develop the framework for a new position at United Prairie—the innovation agronomy lead. I brought the concept to Tim Hughes and the management team a year ago and they thought it was a great idea. I’m excited to say that the position has now become a reality.
Dekalb®/Asgrow® used to have a local field advisor in our area, and I thought it was a very effective position. The advisor’s role was to support not only the local growers but also the sales team. My new role includes elements of that position and draws on my years of experience digging deep into a producer’s operation to apply what we’ve learned from our field trials.
United Prairie understands that return on investment is critically important today and will become even more so in the future. My role is to help our farmers—and our sales agronomists—see all the opportunities that exist to improve farm profitability. Jeff Brown does a great job with the Innovation Farm. My role is to take what we learn there to the farm gate.
Like any new position, this one is a work in progress. I’ll be working closely with Drew Mulvaney as he moves into my former role. Producers who want to dig deep into the agronomic side of their operation should start by contacting your sales agronomist. I strongly support the team approach, and I want to work for both the farmer and the sales agronomist.
What I’m seeing
Regarding what I’m seeing in our trials this year, the one thing that stands out to this point is the response of corn to fungicide. I’m seeing a 25-30 bushel per acre yield increase from fungicide application. I’ve seen more gray leaf spot than I can recall this year, and I believe fungicide did a good job of mitigating stress for the corn in our plots, holding back disease and helping the plant fight through.
Now, there are individuals that I’ve talked to who report little or no response from fungicide. In my years of farming experience, I’ve learned that if you’re not seeing a response from fungicide in a year like we’ve had, there is another limiting factor—fertility or hybrid selection, for example—that needs to be addressed before fungicide application will be effective. This is where I slip into the role of innovation agronomy lead and say that we need to dig deeper and find out why you’re not getting a response.
I’m excited about my new role and the chance to put our research to work for our growers. There are still more plots to take off and data to analyze this year, and we’ll be keeping you informed via email, newsletter and, most importantly, our winter meetings. Watch for details on when and where those meetings will take place.