KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Producers will continue
to embrace new farming practices in 2013, according to survey results presented
at Ag Connect Expo & Summit (ACES) in Kansas City on Jan. 30. According to
the survey, which was sponsored by Case IH, 85 percent of the 1,109 producer
respondents are considering new cropping practices and technologies for this
year’s growing season. The results were revealed at an ACES presentation by
Brian and Darren Hefty, co-hosts of RFD-TV’s weekly Ag PhD program.
“These survey results are not surprising,” says Brian, who operates Hefty
Seed Co. and farms approximately 2,500 acres with Darren near Baltic, S.D.
“Agriculture is driven by new technologies. Farmers face new challenges with
each cropping year. It might be drought, flooding, new diseases or high
fertilizer prices – it’s a seemingly endless list. Innovative solutions and
technology are how we’re going to be able to create a better growing environment
and positively impact the farm’s bottom line.”
“As one would expect, survey respondents are willing to try new technology
that has the potential to increase yield or reduce input costs,” adds Darren.
“This is especially true for technology that can increase yields since it has
the most impact on producer profitability.”
COVER CROPS MAKE A COME BACK
Cover crops are the top farming practice that will be tried for the first
time in 2013 with 24 percent of respondents planning to plant them. “We’re
seeing resurgence in cover crop use for multiple reasons,” says Brian. “They can
improve soil tilth, water infiltration, organic matter levels, and soil
fertility, as well as reduce erosion and suppress weeds. Clearly, a single cover
crop will not accomplish all of these benefits. Producers need to determine
their goals as each potential benefit may require a different seeding program.”
Another practice to improve soil health – vertical tillage – ranked as a
close No. 2 with 23 percent of respondents planning to use a vertical-tillage
tool to maintain conservation benefits of residue while making it more
manageable at planting time. \
“Vertical tillage prior to planting is becoming more popular every year,”
says Darren. “The need to manage corn stalks in a no-till system is one reason.
Other reasons are to incorporate manure, lime or fertilizer into the soil, as
well as conditioning the seedbed prior to planting.”
Rounding out the top five new farming practices to be tried for the first
time in 2013 were resuming deep tillage (22 percent), no-tillage (18 percent)
and strip tillage (15 percent).
ACCELERATED ADOPTION OF PRECISION FARMING
New precision farming tools will play a significant role in farming
operations in 2013, especially during the planting season. Variable-rate
fertilizer application will be used by 27 percent of survey respondents for the
first time as a way to reduce production costs and increase yields. “Farmers are
seeing additional profits with variable-rate fertilizer applications as they are
able to increase grain yields without increasing total nutrient inputs,” says
Brian. “This is especially true with today’s grain and fertilizer prices.”
Autosteer on the planter tractor ranked as the second most popular precision
farming method (25 percent) to ensure accuracy and increase productivity by
being able to plant day or night in difficult visibility conditions. “This
technology can improve efficiency without changing other management practices,”
says Darren. “Autosteer helps reduce planter overlaps and skips. Even small
errors prove costly when all inputs such as seed, fertilizer, fuel and labor are
Grid sampling tied with autosteer on the planter tractor as the second most
popular precision farming method with 25 percent of survey respondents planning
to use it for the first time in 2013. Rounding out the top five new precision
farming methods are yield and moisture mapping (22 percent) and field mapping
for the planter (22 percent).
MORE EFFICIENT EQUIPMENT
Engineering advances are the norm for equipment manufacturers. “Farmers need
to be more productive and efficient with their land,” says Brian. “Manufacturers
are responding to customer needs with not only bigger equipment, but more
innovative equipment that is efficient and versatile.”
Survey respondents’ top new equipment pick is a perfect example of innovation
and efficiency. Vertical tillage tools will be used by 23 percent of survey
respondents for the first time in 2013. “Farmers can pull these tools with less
horsepower and at higher speeds, so they cover more acres per hour than they
could with a disk or field cultivator,” says Darren.
“Vertical tillage is proving its value for producers who want a smooth, even
seed bed for spring planting without compromising erosion control,” adds Brian.
“It chops up residue, but does not bury it, which can help poorly drained soils
dry more quickly. It’s a fast, fuel efficient way to level the ground and
improve the seed bed. It can also help warm up the soil profile more quickly in
spring so farmers can get into fields a little earlier and plant into a
Tools to help farmers be more efficient also filled out the No. 2 and No. 3
spots with wider planters and seeders to be used by 20 percent of producers for
the first time and self-propelled sprayers being used by 15 percent. Strip-till
units (14 percent) and tractors with tracks (13 percent) complete the list of
top five new equipment purchases in 2013.
Case IH is a global leader in agricultural equipment, committed to
collaborating with its customers to develop the most powerful, productive,
reliable equipment – designed to meet today’s agricultural challenges.
Challenges like feeding an expanding global population on less land, meeting
ever-changing government regulations and managing input costs. With headquarters
in the United States, Case IH has a network of dealers and distributors that
operates in over 160 countries. Case IH provides agricultural equipment systems,
flexible financial service offerings and parts and service support for
professional farmers and commercial operators through a dedicated network of
professional dealers and distributors. Productivity enhancing products include
tractors; combines and harvesters; hay and forage equipment; tillage tools;
planting and seeding systems; sprayers and applicators; site-specific farming
tools and utility vehicles. Case IH is a brand of CNH (NYSE: CNH), a
majority-owned subsidiary of Fiat Industrial S.p.A. (FI.MI).