Preparing for the 2016 Season

We survived the holidays just fine, and right now we’re just wheelin’ and dealin’ and trying to reinvent ourselves to survive the new economy.

From a research and discovery standpoint, things aren’t quite laid out yet, but we’re close. We’ve met with Jeremy and we’ve got our seed figured out, but we need to figure out some details going forward. I’m actually on the road right now to Illinois to meet with an AgVenture agronomist, so we’ll have a better idea after that.

Focus on Agronomy

The agronomist always has projects he wants us to dabble in — it’s usually something like a new product or implementation practice. This year, we’re looking at doing some of our own grid sampling, and we bought a self-propelled sprayer. We’ve always had to rely on others for spraying in the past, but now we own one. I want to talk to the agronomist about doing some post-emerge side dressing with the urea format. We’ll also talk about what he likes to see for some timing issues.

It’s not going to happen this year, but I’m envisioning if things go well next year, I’d like to add variable rate spraying to our GreenSeeker program. We could do it on the go as a side dressing, based on what the crop is reading. That’s something I’m kind of excited about, but financial constraints this year just aren’t going to allow it to happen until 2017 at the earliest. For 2016, we’ll focus on remote soil sensing and beta testing six automated pivot controls. With all this, Jeremy is involved with everything from top to bottom.

Preparing for the 2016 Economy

There are some real challenges going forward for ’16. We were blessed that we had a rewarding and successful ’15 — the bank is still shaking its head saying, “I don’t know how you did that, but do it again.” Some of the reason for that is we had some nice marketing that we carried into the year. We also had some favorable rains on our dryland fields. We saw yields that weren’t obscene, but they were still very, very good.

Then we’ve just been careful to every day keep expenses in check, though right now it doesn’t seem that way, with the sprayer and in some other areas. It seems like money’s just coming out, and nothing’s coming in; but we’re trying to start filling our own application needs so we can see long-term savings. It’s a big up-front cost, but we’ll save in the long run.