Tractors are heavier than they used to be. It stands to reason that the tires on the machinery would be made to carry more weight. Michelin supplies the market with just such a tire specifically for John Deere and Case heavy tractors. David Graden talks about the company’s AgriBib tire, which was getting attention at the Commodity Classic Trade Show in San Antonio. On the subject of traction, Graden says the Michelin AgriBib develops 22 percent more traction than its competitors even when it’s 60 percent worn.
Neal Bredehoeft acknowledges that Big Data is as big of an issue as the term implies, but he thinks that what’s collected could show how some of today’s farming methods are contributing to sustainability.
“Putting this data together and having the ability to go back and say ‘ok, we did do this on this particular field,’ I think it does prove to the non-ag person that we are very careful on how we put our inputs out and how we work the soil,” the Missouri soybean grower told Brownfield Ag News at Commodity Classic.
Mitchell, South Dakota wheat grower Chet Edinger tells Brownfield Ag News that there are new programs in the newly passed farm bill about which he had questions. “The nice thing about the Commodity Classic is we had [U.S. Ag] Secretary Vilsack here and he talked about implementation of the programs and timeliness and getting the producers educated on the new programs,” said Edinger, stopping momentarily on the trade show floor. “There’s a lot of education that’s going to have be done out there for the farmers to figure out which way they want to go by next fall.” Edinger, who farms with his brother Charlie, is a board member for South Dakota Wheat, Inc. and is also a member of the South Dakota Wheat Commission Board.
Weyauwega, Wisconsin farmer Brian Long enjoys getting back to Commodity Classic to renew acquaintances and to catch up on policy issues important to his state’s corn growers. “The bill’s been passed to improve the Mississippi River lock and dam system, but they were never funded,” Long told Brownfield during a break at Commodity Classic, “so we passed a couple of resolutions to encourage funding of those things.” Although the majority of Wisconsin’s corn crop is fed to its livestock, such as the dairy steers he feeds, while some of the rest of it is either shipped for export down the Mississippi or via the Great Lakes.
Mike Marron, vice chairman of the Illinois Soybean Association tells Brownfield Ag News that the association is taking the lead in working with other groups to establish the Illinois-Cuba Working Group. At Commodity Classic, Marron talked about the working group having been authorized by the Illinois General Assembly. “It would be a very viable market for the Illinois producer,” said Marron, a Fithian, Illinois farmer, referring to trading with the island nation barely 90 miles off the Florida Keys. “Cuba is in such close proximity to this country; it makes a lot of sense for them to be buying U.S. soybeans.”
Urea is a hot commodity in terms of global supply, which will make the nutrient hard to come by this spring, said Ben Thompson, with the CHS Crop Nutrient Section in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. “Going into the spring, our numbers show that the supply will be down by about 600,000 tons,” he told Brownfield Ag News during Commodity Classic in San Antonio. “In addition to supply being short, we’re looking at logistical challenges that will make delivery from the entry points to the U.S. – the gulf ports – to the inland locations by barge, rail and truck, a challenge because of logistical challenges that each of those transportation modes face.” Thompson predicts a little less demand because of expected reductions in corn acres, but not enough to offset the shortfall in imports of nutrients.
Morgan Dugan converses easily about Channel Seeds, for which he is brand lead. “The growth I’m most excited about is the growth of our distribution network,” Dugan explained. “We continue to go out and find people who are dedicated to seed, dedicated to service, and we’re hiring them as Channel seeds men.” Dugan adds that the company will continue on that path in the foreseeable future.
For every gallon of oderized propane sold, a checkoff of .4 of one cent is collected to be used for research, safety and training programs. That’s according to Mark Leitman, who directs business development and marketing for the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC). The organization, by law, maintains a commitment to agriculture, said Leitman, which keeps PERC constantly looking for new agriculture technologies in which to invest, as well as seeking new propane-based applications for agriculture. “Take a grain dryer, for example, and mKe it better,” Leitman told Brownfield Ag News. Many irrigators switched from diesel power to propane because of cost savings, according to Leitman. A non-scientific anecdotal comparison showed a fuel savings of 36 percent and a cost savings of 57 percent. Last fall’s crop drying demand and the cold winter resulted in a propane price spike, said Leitman, but what the propane industry learned from that will help it’s prevention in the future.
South Dakota Corn Growers Association President Keith Alverson enjoys coming back to Commodity Classic. “It’s always a good event,” he told Brownfield Ag News. “It’s a big celebration of agriculture,” he said, referring to the familiar faces seen during the event. “(The renewable fuel standard) has to be number one,” said Alverson, when asked what policies are important to growers. Alverson farms near Chester, South Dakota.
“It’s really sad,” said John Bode, president of the Corn Refiners Association, “we’ve got what I call ag on ag violence.” He’s referring to litigation between corn refiners and the sugar industry resulting from what Bode calls attacks from sugar on high fructose corn sweetener. “I wish we could just work this out today,” Bode told Brownfield Ag News at Commodity Classic. “Ag on ag violence is just bad for all of agriculture.”
Photo: Brownfield’s Tom Steever talks to Corn Refiners Association CEO John Bode at Commodity Classic, San Antonio, Texas.