Farmers looking ahead to 2013 season

Authored by Jim Langham on Aug 20, 2012

Regardless of crop results from this year, over 200 area farmers gathered at New Era Ag, located south of Monroe, on Thursday evening to hear assessments of lessons learned from this summer's drought and professional advice on how to start planning for next summer's crop.
"We have people here from Adams, Wells, and Allen counties in Indiana and from Mercer and Van Wert counties in Ohio," commented Todd Mathewson, one of the owners of New Era Ag. "Guys are here to get educated about new products and new techniques. In addition, this counts for certification points for applicator licenses. It can be applied to continuing education credits.
"There's a lot of fellowship; guys talk about what crops are looking like," continued Matthewson. "There are a lot of plans going on for 2013. Once harvest is over, guys start planning the next day for next year's crop. There's consideration of seed choices and fertilizer choices."
Matthewson said that company officials are grateful for a lot of support from basic manufacturers and chemical companies. The agriculture specialist noted that the 2012 crop is pretty well set.
"There are already a lot of decisions to be made about next year," Matthewson said. "Farmers are going to be looking at chemical, fertilizer and seed prices. A lot of guys want to hear about the new products."
Mathewson said that one of the prime concerns to company officials is what is interesting farmers the most at this time.
"We want to know what people want to know," said Matthewson. "When there is a crowd this big, we want to listen to the topics of conversation. We want to know what people are thinking."
One thing that fascinates New Era Ag owner Bill Steinecker is the rapidly growing use of high tech in farming, even in the field.
"If I come across some type of mite or insect in the field and want to know how to treat it, I can take a picture, send it to specialists at Purdue, and within minutes I can have the answer back about how to deal with the situation," said Steinecker.
"A lot of the talk right now is about this summer's drought," observed Adams County Purdue Extension agent Brad Kohlhagen. "We want to help guys make management related decisions whether in marketing or other farm-related areas. One thing we need to talk about is how to utilize leftover fertilizer from this. In many cases, we didn't get enough rain to wash the fertilizer off the soil."
Kohlhagen noted that people in the agriculture field need to take a look at lessons that have been learned in a drought year.
One of the hot topics right now, said Kohlhagen, is the change in fertilizer rules, such as now being allowed to put fertilizer on frozen ground. The extension agent said that many of the rules governing fertilizer application are changing quickly and need to be examined by farmers before doing their applications.
"There are so many things to look at in relation to the drought," observed Kohlhagen. "Just one example is the fact that corn nitrates are pretty high because the corn has been so stressed. If you are going to feed some of this, you need to do so with caution.
"Between what the drought has done and changing rules, there are a lot of things that farmers need to know right now," added Kohlhagen. "Farmers need to be cautious and careful in planning ahead for their farms."
Steinecker, Matthewson and Dan Kaminsky, co-operators of the New Era business, noted that this year's attendance is by far the highest in the three-year history of the seminar.
"We are so happy for all of those who have come to learn and plan," said Matthewson. "We are looking forward to this event growing each year."

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