Tech Tuesday

Drought Shows Crop Tech Has Improved

Lousy crops parched and baked by drought still hold some good news for the future. And there's a drought webinar you may want to attend next week.

Sitting on a plane heading to a conference, a farm woman comments her husband got just 40 bushels per acre from the corn crop. Twitter is abuzz with farmers seeing yield monitors yo-yo like some sick amusement park ride as combines roll through the field. And every fall and winter meeting will have a common theme - drought.

Yet the silver lining, which is not easy to see, is that the 2012 corn crop will be the sixth or seventh largest on record even with millions of abandoned acres. Of course, corn supplies will remain tight because global demand for the golden grain has risen tremendously in the last decade. Yet when you sit back and look at the numbers the results are impressive.

Enough of the Pollyanna, harvest this fall isn't easy and I'm pretty sure you've never calibrated a yield monitor with so little corn going into the feeder housing of your combine. That makes getting accurate information difficult, but in a year like this that data gathering will be critical.

Knowing yield information - which is actually the start of 2013 crop planning - will help you start figuring nutrient use data, seed performance (and there will be winners with those losers) and even planting date information.

One story that keeps recurring for me are farmers who talk about how planting date impacted yield and performance. Corn that went in "at the right time" - which means early May versus early April - tended to outperform crops planted when those early warm days showed up last spring. Of course that's anecdotal evidence that timing is everything. Yet on your farm there will be interesting information about how your crop performed in this historic year.

Once you pull those yield maps, sit down with your agronomist to figure best soil testing plans, and your strategy for 2013. And start looking forward to next year.

A Webinar Worth Attending

The American Society of Agronomy is going to hold a webinar on Wednesday, Sept. 26 from Noon to 1:30 p.m. Central time, focused on nutrient management in the wake of the drought. Sponsored by the Agricultural Nutrient Policy Council, the free webinar will include a range of experts who will discuss what farmers and their advisers should consider for 2013. A variety of situations will be explored to help you make the most of crop inputs while managing soil and water resources.

The event is free, but you have to pre-register. Agronomists and crop professionals who need continuing education units can apply for those from this as well.

For readers who have not attended a Webinar, you register online and when the time comes you join the meeting using your computer. You'll hear speakers and see their information slides as they talk - it's an efficient way to keep up on hot topics. And for this event the price is right.

To register for the event, visit ASA Webinar.

Speaking of Drought

We've been collecting all drought-related information at special Web location - - where you can check out local and national news and information every day. And we update the Dateline Drought video daily with news, weather and market information too. Check it out.

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