Changing the way farmers put on anhydrous

Tom Evans, Great Plains Ag Sales Manager_EDITTom Evans, Great Plains Vice President of Sales, says they’ve developed equipment that will change the way farmers apply anhydrous ammonia. He says the Great Plains’ Nutra-Pro Bar with high-speed anhydrous coulder is how.  We interviewed Evans at the Great Plains Media Day at the Kansas City Expo Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Interview with Tom Evans (4:00 mp3)

Great Plains has new planters, tillers and more

Mike Cleveland_GreatPlainsGreat Plains Manufacturing, Incorporated’s Ag Division is launching 10 new seeding equipment products this year. We talked with Mike Cleveland of Domestic Sales and Daniel Rauchholz of International Sales about the new offerings.

Much of what they have brought to the market, they tell Brownfield Ag News, has been influenced by European design. Great Plains is based in Salina, Kansas and is holding its biannual international dealer meeting at the Kansas City Expo Center this week. On Wednesday, they held a special media event to showcase their new products.

Interview with Mike Cleveland and Daniel Rauchholz (4:00 mp3)

An update on Sygenta’s Enogen corn trait technology

Syngenta’s Enogen trait technology is the industry’s only corn output trait bioengineered specifically to enhance ethanol production. In this interview with Brownfield, Jack Bernens, head of Enogen marketing and stakeholder relations for Syngenta, talks about growing interest in the product from both ethanol producers and farmers. He also discusses Syngenta’s collaboration with Cellulosic Ethanol Technologies LLC. That company recently began producing commercial-scale quantities of cellulosic ethanol—the first of its kind in Iowa—at the Quad County Corn Processors ethanol plant in Galva, Iowa.

AUDIO: Jack Bernens (8:33 MP3)

Reporting from Ag Academy in Grinnell, Iowa

Our travels recently took us to Grinnell, Iowa and a 2014 Ag Academy event hosted by Asgrow and DEKALB.

One of the Ag Academy presenters was Christie Wiebbecke, a soybean breeder with Monsanto. We visited with Wiebbecke about the soybean breeding program, a typical day in the life of a soybean breeder, and what she likes most about her job.

AUDIO: Christie Wiebbecke (4:53 MP3)

Another Ag Academy presenter was Steve Eichenberger, an Asgrow/DEKALB technical agronomist in northeast Iowa. Eichenberger talked about the local impact of breeding efforts and the role that the technical agronomist plays in product development.

AUDIO: Steve Eichenberger (1:34 MP3)

Ag Academy attendees also heard about two new product offerings, Climate Basic and Climate Pro. Making that presentation was Ashley Hartmann, the Climate Corporation’s new customer success district manager for northern Illinois.

AUDIO: Ashley Hartmann (3:52 MP3)

BASF Plant Science president prides future on innovation

Peter Eckes, BASF Plant Science Division president, knows the struggles farmers face in today’s agriculture industry.

“The grower wants to produce more with less. The grower wants to manage the risks that he has either with weather or also with commodity prices and at the end, farming is an incredibly tough business,” Eckes says.

Eckes welcomes these struggles, confirming that the answer to many of them have been discovered through innovation at BASF.

“I think we are really recognizing the challenges,” Eckes says. “Innovation is our life. Innovation means bringing a technical new solution to consumers, customers and in our case ag growers. If you look at our 150 year history, that’s our DNA.”

Eckes says BASF Plant Science focuses on three main areas to help farmers. These areas include attention to new traits, fungal resistance and herbicide tolerance.

Recently, BASF has expanded their advancements by partnering with other agriculture companies.

“We have now launched jointly in partnership with Monsanto the first new generation product in the area of yield and stress,” Eckes says. “This is absolutely novel because it combines the first yield and stress trait, it combines an adapted germplasm for drought conditions and grower recommendations. So, with this product we care about the farmers in the western part of the Corn Belt and I think that pays out because the farmer gets an average of five bushels per acre and a yield advantage.”

Monsanto successfully launched the product last year and this year will be the full launch for new product.

“Plant science for us is an important growth field and we are committed to this field in bringing innovation to customers,” Eckes says. “In that respect, this is a great opportunity for us.”

Eckes proudly states that BASF is committed to the future in the field of plant science.

“I have been with BASF for more than a decade and it has never been more exciting,” Eckes says. “There will be more people asking for more food, more fiber, more fuel and I really see that in BASF we are getting innovation going. I think we have a very well equipped pipeline and with that we can support growers and that’s where our passion really is.”

AUDIO: Peter Eckes (5:32 mp3)

BASF Crop Protection president is excited for growth increase in North America

Markus Heldt BASF Crop Protection President

Two big changes are in store for BASF Chemical in North America.

BASF recently announced the expansion of their production of dicamba and DMTA, two well-known herbicides around the globe. They will upgrade this production in Hannibal, Mo. as well as at their Beaumont, Texas site. In addition to this, BASF has recently partnered with Mitsui Chemicals Agro, a Japanese based company, to produce a new insecticide. These two steps help continue BASF’s endeavor of expanding their crop protection efforts worldwide.

Markus Heldt, president of the Crop Protection Division, is optimistic about these new opportunities.

“Exciting times. Money is needed but business opportunities are also kicking in as well,” Heldt says. “We’ve seen spectacular performance and we are moving forward with the research and development of this new technology.”

Heldt expects 2025 as the earliest time to expect these new technologies on the market.

After extensive research, Heldt explains how BASF has fit their new plans to directly serve their consumers.

“The last couple of years, we’ve looked at consumer attitudes and their views and perspectives and all their needs and requirements,” Heldt says. “What is very obvious from that market research is the consumer’s view is often a very romantic view of agriculture. It’s a very detached situation, especially in the northern hemisphere, where many consumers are living in cities and urban environments.”

BASF hopes to bridge the gap of this romantic view of agriculture with the reality that farmers face.

“We know the key person to convince the consumer in the quality of the product and the services provided is the farmer,” Heldt says. “We have to ask the farmers to step up to the challenge and address the needs.”

To promote this, BASF has started a global branding campaign called “Farming, the biggest job on Earth.”

“Farmers have done a phenomenal job of finding a very successful way of improving productivity and yield and sometimes consumers tend to ignore and forget what farmers have done to their well-being, their quality of life, but also the best and most affordable food ever in mankind,” Heldt says. “We need to speak up and support farmers and their endeavors.”

Heldt admits that technology found in long term goals is actually needed by today’s farmer.

“The long lens for us only means we can achieve those objectives with a strong commitment to research and development and technology, and we have to make sure that we bring those new solutions to the farmers fast, as soon as possible to make sure we can address some of the most burning needs in farming,” Heldt says. “Those needs are different in the us compared to China, India or Brazil. So, the go-to market approach or the resources we’re providing is an important contributor to overall success of farmers.”

At the end of the day, Heldt finds his passion from working together with his team at BASF to improve the future of agriculture.

“Of my 35 years in agriculture, the last five years have been the most exciting times in agriculture ever,” Heldt says. “This is by business success, by a great team, by a good strategy and by a good progress and success we can measure and we can enjoy every year. That personally gives me a lot of passion and kick to get up every morning and do the best I can for BASF and for my team.”

AUDIO: Markus Heldt (9:22 mp3)

Photo courtesy: AgWired

New product introductions from Novartis Animal Health

novartis logoNovartis Animal Health has introduced two new products into the marketplace. The are FLORVIO, a new antibiotic for treatment of swine respiratory disease; and Natunex, a new line of non-toxic biocides for controlling insects.

We discussed these new products with Dr. Mark Hammer, manager of professional services with the pig and poultry business unit of Novartis Animal Health.

AUDIO: Dr. Mark Hammer (5:49 MP3)

BASF committed to the future of agriculture

BASF recently announced it will invest more than $270 million to expand herbicide production capacities in the United States and will launch more than 20 new products, highlighted by an advanced dicamba formulation, Engenia herbicide, in 2015.  In a joint announcement with Mitsui Chemicals Agro, Inc. (MCAG), BASF shared that it has signed an exclusive global development and license agreement for a new insecticide.

Nevin McDougall at 2014 BASF Ag Media Summit

(Photo of Nevn McDougall courtesy of AgWired)

During the BASF Ag Media Summit held earlier this month in Durham, N.C., Nevin McDougall, Senior Vice President for Crop Protection, North America told Brownfield the co-development agreement between BASF and Mitsui is a great partnership that he believes will yield new technologies and new solutions in the future.   

Through the continued expansion of resistant weeds, McDougall said BASF has seen the need for an alternative mode of action has been on a dramatic increase.  The investment to expand production capacity for key herbicides dicamba and DMTA at the Beaumont, Texas site as well as upgrade production at the Hannibal, Missouri site is significant and a great opportunity for customers. 

McDougall said BASF is looking forward to the launch of dicamba-tolerant soybeans.  Along with that, BASF will launch its new formulation of dicamba within the next 12 to 18 months.  Engenia will compliment an integrated weed management solution and integrated approach.

Standing on a stage in a renovated warehouse on the former American Tobacco campus, Nevin McDougall welcomed media to the 2014 BASF Ag Media Summit. The venue was fitting as McDougall told attendees that the many changes in agriculture have opened the door to innovation and prosperity.

The impact that BASF can have on the acre is the thing that inspires the BASF Vice President of Crop Protection for North America.  McDougall is encouraged by the potential of new technologies; of bringing them together into a more integrated, holistic approach to have a great outcome. 

McDougall is confident agriculture can meet the growing demand for food, fiber and fuel for the future, but it will take improved yield, efficiency and sustainability.  BASF is working to tailor its investment to those long term needs.  He said BASF is committed to meeting the challenges. 

 Audio: Conversation with Nevin McDougall – Senior Vice President, North America (5:06min. mp3)

BASF Functional Crop Care

Farmers are challenged to improve yield and plant health while managing environmental stresses.   BASF has, for many years, provided herbicides, fungicides and insecticides that help farmers get that job done.  In addition to those established tools already in the market, BASF has created a new field providing additional tools beyond conventional crop protection to work alongside conventional crop protection.

Dr. Juergen Huff at 2014 BASF Media Summit

Dr. Juergen Huff, Senior Vice President, Functional Crop Care with BASF, tells Brownfield that 50% of nitrogen content in fertilizer is lost between application and plant update, so farmers are investing money into fertilizer that goes into the air, not into the plant.  BASF will introduce new Limus urea protection technology to the market as early as next year.  The technology keeps the urea from decomposing in the soil. 

Huff said BASF has focused on getting closer to the farmer-customer and to a more solution-oriented mindset.  He said farmers today face many challenges, from nutrient and water supply to increased regulatory restrictions for application of products.  Huff believes farmers are professionals in a high-tech industry.  They demand more from industry and recognize potential to make farming more sustainable and more profitable. 

Dr. Huff believes implementing tools such as Biologicals will allow farmers to focus on the crop instead of focusing on limitations of technology.  He is exciting about the future for agriculture and the role BASF will play.  With a growing world population and many more people to feed, farming is facing a huge challenge.  BASF, Huff tells Brownfield, is an innovation based company with many ideas to develop – from nutrient and water technologies to new chemical modes of action for new herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and biological.

It is exciting for Huff to see future challenges on one hand and the ability to answer those challenges on the other.

AUDIO: Conversation with Dr. Juergen Huff (6:10min mp3)

Major swine genetics companies announce merger

Swine genetics firms TOPIGS International and Norsvin International AS have merged their international activities into a new company with the name Topigs Norsvin.

At World Pork Expo in Des Moines, we visited with Mike Terrill, president and CEO of Topigs Norsvin USA, about what the merger will mean for the U.S. pork industry.

AUDIO: Mike Terrill (3:29 MP3)