Tools For Growth

 Genetics, technology and expertise was on display at the Union City Field Day at the Bayer Research 
 Facility where Larry Ganann, technical agronomist for the DeKalb, Asgrow and Delta Pine
 brands outlined all the show had to offer.

 Photo by John LaRose, Jr.

Union City Field Day Showcases Best Techniques For 2020 Crops

MidAmerica Farmer Grower

   The latest in genetics, technology and expertise was on display recently at the Union City Field Day at the Bayer Research Facility on Pleasant Valley Avenue here.
   Larry Ganann, technical agronomist for the DeKalb, Asgrow and Delta Pine brands outlined all the show had to offer.
   “We have a lot of good things to show people here today based on genetics and technology,” he said. ‘That’s the focus of this field day. We have corn, soybeans and cotton displayed, and there’s the newest genetics we have coming for 2020. We’re extremely fortunate to be able to show our newest products and technology to growers and customers who are here today. Typically we have several hundred people here on this day, and it looks like we have a good crowd and the weather is cooperating. We always have been technology focused so we’ll also talk a lot about technology.”
   Monsanto came under the Bayer flag as of a year ago and Monsanto has always been a leading player in trait technology and that continues under the Bayer leadership now. Products that were discussed included Xtend Flex soybeans that are expected to be released for 2020 pending European Union approval.
   “We’ll also talk about our upcoming Lygus trait, sometimes referred to as our plant bug trait with significant Thrips control. That’s coming potentially early in the next decade.”
   Ganann also spoke about the new technology in the pipeline, noting that there are Climate Fieldview sessions underway inside the lab.     “Climate Fieldview is our precision technology platform allowing growers to track planting and harvesting activities and analyze yield performance to maximize placement and performance of our seed and chemistry products,” Ganann said.
   “We have a local grower, John Ed Powers, who is very well respected in this area, John Ed graced us with his presence last year, and his comments about Climate Fieldview were very well received. He explained how he uses that software to make more money on his farm. He’s back again this year.”
   Ganann’s 21 years in the technology industry have given him a perspective on the growers themselves.
   “Growers tend to manage significantly larger operations compared to 21 years ago,” he said. “We have a lot more technology available to growers now, and that hopefully has made their lives easier the last 21 years. When we put this field day under the Monsanto banner beginning in 1999, we had a number of traits that we highlighted including Roundup Ready soybean, corn and cotton, as well as Bt trait technology in corn and cotton.  Since then, we have improved and stacked dicamba and glufosinate alongside glyphosate in our Xtend Flex cotton, and are currently stacking the same trait package into Xtend Flex soybeans. We’ve always sought to provide good weed control on the farm. We’re always fighting pigweed, that’s the driver weed, so we spend a lot of time on weed control research as well as searching for new genetics in cotton, corn and soybeans. Growers have an appreciation for that. We want to try to help them make more money. Trait and technology development is very expensive and that means everything’s more expensive now for our customers – seed, chemistry, inputs, equipment, land rent, all of that, etc. We’re focused on trying to increase yield as much as we can to drive a higher revenue number on the farm so they can still make a good margin on their acres.”
   Events such as the field day say a lot about the company and the company’s concern about the grower. Ganann agreed that everything hinges on grower engagement and acceptance of technologies.
   “I’ve been in the seed industry my entire career,” he stated. “This is my 39th year, and I’ve worked for several different companies the last 35, mostly for Asgrow, Monsanto and Bayer. As Monsanto acquired Asgrow and Bayer acquired Monsanto, one thing that did not change is that a seed purchase remains an emotional purchase for a grower. So we’re really careful about what we say our products will do and what they won’t do. As an agronomist, my job is to make the best recommendation for the grower that I can to drive the most revenue on his farm; and to let him know if there’s any negative risk to a product as well. If there’s any weakness to one of our products I think it’s incumbent upon me to make growers aware of that, as well as all the positives. I try to give a balanced story of what a product will or will not do in a given situation.”
   Today’s growers are focused equally on technology and profit, both of which are closely tied together.
“It’s not just crop technology, it’s also chemistry and equipment technology. So Climate Fieldview is a big part of that for us. All of those different types of technology are the things that have driven yield. Our traditional germplasm breeding unit development adds a certain percentage of genetic gain each year but the biotech tools, including genetic markers that we have at our disposal right now are a large part of what drives those yield levels higher and higher in cotton, corn and soybeans.”
   While Ganann had hopes that the field day would make a significant impression on the growers who could attend, he was just as concerned about those unable to be present but still wanting to bring their farming operation up to par with the best of them.
   “We want you to have a successful day, we want you to know we’re here for you with a large portfolio of chemistry, seed and traits. I think we’re continuing to be the leader in technology in the industry now under the Bayer flag, so we’re going to do what we can to make you more profitable on your farm and try to help you have a successful year.”
   To duplicate his message for those not present, he added:
   “We’re Facebooking this event today live as well. I think there are some people probably watching things going on here today online besides the several hundred people that are on the site. We’ll leave this site dressed up like this for a few more weeks, and can bring other tour groups through here to view the genetics and technology that’s displayed. We are always trying to expand our audience.
   “In this part of West Tennessee, West Kentucky, and the Missouri Bootheel, folks love to come out to field days. It’s a bit more like the Midwest environment here and folks love to gather with neighbors and friends. Ag lenders and equipment dealers are part of the group here as well. It’s a live social event and we have a good time every time we’re here, plus we always end the tours with some really good BBQ from Strawberry’s BBQ in Holcomb, Mo. We try to have a good venue, good information and good food available, so it’s worthwhile for our customers to attend the event,” he summed. ∆
   BETTY VALLE GEGG-NAEGER: Senior Staff Writer, MidAmerica Farmer Grower
MidAmerica Farm Publications, Inc
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