Weathering the 2011 crop year
It’s been a tough year to farm in the central Plains. Record high temperatures, lingering drought and volatility in the marketplace have made most growers scratch their heads, even wonder if they’ll be in business a year from now.
Bayer CropScience and High Plains Journal host the Profit Maximizer Wheat Summit with partners Kansas Wheat and KFRM radio to address industry challenges and help customers increase their bottom line. In its fifth year, the event brings together nearly 250 wheat growers from Kansas and Oklahoma for education and encouragement. This year’s summit was held July 27 in Wichita.
During the day-long event, agronomist John McGillicuddy discussed how to gather hands-on field information to formulate an equation to determine yield potential. He said farmers must take a walk through their fields to identify whether kernel weight, head count and grains per head are above or below normal. McGillicuddy said the last 10 bushels lost are the easiest to evaluate and get back.
National Association of Wheat Growers President Jerry McReynolds said wheat accounts for 20 percent of the world’s caloric intake. This is good news for cereal grain producers and commercial biotech, as the world population is expected to grow to 9 billion people by 2050. Two years ago, NAWG, U.S. Wheat and North American Millers’ Association put together a biotech position statement that includes principles of communication and a road map toward the development of commercial biotech wheat.
During his presentation to the Profit Maximizer crowd, Bayer CropScience’s Brad Ruden said fungicide coverage should be a big part of a grower’s annual management plan. He said effective disease management should be based on susceptibility of the wheat variety, on timing and the environment, and that a plan for preventing disease must be in place before the problem actually appears in the field.
The hot, dry weather conditions have put the heat on farmers to discover creative ways to make ends meet through marketing strategies. Mark Gold, managing partner with Top Third Ag Marketing, said volatility will rule the wheat market this year and as emotions run high, he advises producers to avoid margin calls and use put options. Russia, he said, is on the rebound from its own severe drought and heat and in 2011. The country’s wheat crop is now up 50 percent, meaning Russia is back as a fierce competitor in the global wheat export market.
At the end of the day, a four-member producer panel provided
insight to the impact of this year’s wicked weather as well as the success of their own farm management decisions.Growers naturally trust and learn from one another and this is what Profit Maximizer serves to accomplish—to bring together industry experts and farming professionals in one room to focus on the future.