2023 Set the Stage for 2024's Focus

Dec 27, 2023

Get focused on key points for 2024 growing season.
Along with many thanks for your agronomy business in 2023, Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager, looked forward to 2024 and where he believes growers should place their focus.
ROI takes top priority.
“First off,” he said, “concentrate on your return on investment (ROI)” Crop yield – which determines the bottom line – is all about making the right investments in seed, nutrients, crop protection products, and services. “We are here to help you with all of those,” said Carlson.
“Crop commodity prices have dropped,” he said, “but so has the price of crop protection and nutrients. That’s good news.” He noted that though “we don’t know where it’s going to go,” we do know that good crop management helps keep ROI in good territory.
Keep an eye on biofuels.
A newer focus is biofuels. “This is a real bright spot” for U.S. farmers, he said. Both the corn and soybean growers’ associations are directing good attention to biofuels, promoting the U.S. farmer such that the people in Washington, D.C. (and elsewhere) remember to keep American ag at top of mind.
“There’s lots of ‘buzz’ on the topic of biofuels, and that’s good news,” said Carlson. Between airline biofuels and the fuel blend mandate, there is a lot going on in the corn industry. With a “large carryout number on corn,” American farmers have a lot at stake in the biofuel discussion. Keep an eye on the news, Carlson recommended.
Don’t forget the weather.
Another focus for 2024 is the weather. “El Niño gives a different perspective,” he said, and since that’s the weather pattern now, going into the next growing season, it’s important to plan accordingly. The dry, warm winter will have its effect on the Mississippi where products are moved. “Federated has taken measures to make sure we have fertilizer in place,” he said. Good planning on everyone’s part will keep things moving in the right direction.
Despite a dry summer, good precipitation in the autumn put things pretty much back where they need to be. “Topsoil moisture recharge was close to 100%. We are sitting good for spring,” he said. However, weed control in 2023 was a challenge that won’t be set right by any weather pattern. “As we look forward,” said Carlson, “it doesn’t get any easier; it gets harder.”
Really think about weed control.
Focus on pre-emerge applications followed by good post-emerge applications. One without the other is not sufficient with today’s resistant weeds, and this applies to both corn and soybeans. “Most everyone is used to a two-pass program, pre followed by post, for soybeans,” he said, but “we need clean corn, too.”
For one thing, “if you do a really good job controlling weeds in corn [one year] you will have really good weed control in beans [the next year],” Carlson said. Both corn and soybean weed control need two – or maybe three – weed control applications.
Think about it this way, he said, “Post emerge is just a clean-up of the pre-emerge application.” Plus, even if you don’t think the pre-emerge worked well (with its weather dependence), you don’t know what weeds you didn’t see because the herbicide got to them pre-emerge!
Along with weed control, think about crop stress. Biologicals come into that discussion, and they can fit well into your efforts to improve ROI. Ask about these trending and beneficial products!
“It’s been said a farmer makes 1000 decisions for every crop,” said Carlson. As 2023 closes and 2024 begins, financial, agronomic, and service decisions will come into focus. Let your Federated Agronomist come alongside and help you make the best crop management choices for 2024.
Happy New Year!
Kevin Carlson
Agronomy Sales Manager
Federated Co-ops

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