Good farm management and grower fundamentals are not altered by the pandemic

While the world combats the spread of coronavirus, growers and co-ops move forward as always with their innovative ag management and spring planting preparation. Growing seasons don’t halt for global pandemics, and in fact, the need for normalcy and resilience is stronger than ever.

It takes grit to keep going in farm management, and that’s what growers do.

As growers and retail advisers prepare for spring planting, they take the same steps they’ve always taken. The ground must be tilled and the rows spaced. Seed selection, seeding rate, and depth must be determined. Soil warming and planting dates will also arrive, regardless of the virus. Just as the weather can throw growers a sudden farm management curve ball, so does the coronavirus throw us all an unexpected pitch. Still, the Corn Belt is ready, with growers and retail advisers right now reviewing their planting plans, watching for last frost dates, and making a million other field decisions.

American growers have long kept this country and many others fed – with robust, reliable farm management.

With history as our guide, it’s clear that farm management has consistently improved over time, and today’s modern growers owe much to improvements begun centuries ago. For example, the 18th century’s four-field rotation system, larger crop size, and selective cross breeding practices improved yield and created new cultivars. By the early 1900s, farmers had also learned how to better retain soil nutrients, all improvements that meant fewer growers could feed far more people.

However, severe rationing during both world wars, exacerbated by the 1930s Dust Bowl, challenged farmers to reverse soil erosion and increase yield. These were dark years in American farming, but a combination of improved conditions – both in the weather and regulations – resulted in dramatic improvements in corn production, with U.S. corn yield increasing more than 360% since 1950. And soil erosion has been even further reduced by 34% since 1982, thanks to the modernization and careful land stewardship of American growers.

In times like these, growers with solid farm management practices are equal to the challenge.

America – indeed the world – has always looked to the heartland for certainty. In today’s yield-based economy, the Corn Belt’s ability to feed us has remained constant, even when droughts ravaged the topsoil and floods overran the fields. We’ve seen these challenges before, and we have overcome them. The current pandemic is no different: in an uncertain global environment, cutting edge ag management techniques continue to prevail. When growers and retail advisers are able to adjust, adapt, and continue to feed the world, we can all take comfort in the fact that we’ll continue to have more than enough.

 

By focusing on best ag management practices, American growers can again surmount difficulties and avoid demand market volatility.

Now is the time for growers to focus on supply, not demand. While demand-side markets will remain uncertain, supply is something growers can control – and maximize. Some impacts from coronavirus will have lasting effects, while others will come and go with the first good rain. By taking a long view, and focusing on improving yield with modern farm management tactics, American growers can continue to bring our particular brand of comfort and normalcy to worldwide markets.

 

It’s a good time to double down on good ag management techniques.

Knowledge, data, and insights are key to a good growing season – and perhaps key to caring for even more of the world. Learn more here about how data science is improving ag management practices.

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