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Stroll the Classic show floor
The 2013 Commodity Classic has converged on Kissimmee, Florida, this week. The annual meeting of national corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum producers includes a trade show featuring some of the latest ag innovations. Here are a few of the latest products on display catering to specific needs of farmers in the coming year.
Weather -- namely, whether the drought continues in the coming growing season -- is on top of many minds as spring planting approaches. One company, Sarasota, Florida-based Statweather -- is using new means to calculate the dangers of drought in the near and longer term, and using historical weather data to gauge the potential dangers of other weather problems.
"I think farmers look at historical weather data when planning their operations. We put that in a mathematical algorithm that says historically what the probability of certain patterns are," says Statweather president Ria Persad. "This has been a decade of extremes. Now more than ever, it's statistics that [farmers] really need."
If the drought does continue, the growth of irrigation in the last year will likely continue, says Reinke's Mike Mills, who adds there's been "a tremendous amount of demand" for center pivot sprinkler systems in areas not commonly thought to need irrigation, like the eastern Corn Belt and the East Coast.
Under effective, efficient irrigation, Mills says crop yields can improve by 50% to 200% "depending on management practices and your crop. Your return on investment, factoring in commodity prices, can be as short as 1 to 3 seasons," he adds.
A growing issue over the last few years -- one that's sure to continue in the near future -- is how farmers handle corn crop residue after the crop's been removed from the field. The Hector, Minnesota, Loftness company, has one of their windrowers on the Commodity Classic trade show floor this week.
The machine uses a belt drive to move residue into 1 or 2 windrows, making it easier for balers to handle. "You have to get rid of the stalks somehow, and with triple-stack hybrids and strong stalks, this is one way to do it," says Dave Nelson of Loftness.
Technology's huge at this year's Commodity Classic. And, one company -- DuPont Pioneer -- is rolling out 2 new mobile apps this week to help farmers make critical management decisions. "We're seeing a lot more sofistication in how people are using apps, especially ag-specific ones," says Pioneer's Matt Snyder. "It's a lot more sophisticated than it has been in the recent past."
Diversification of specific jobs easily handled by mobile devices has been crucial to the growth mobile apps in ag. "We're seeing adoption of smartphones and tablets, like Android phones and iPhones," Snyder says. "iPads are winning in the tablet space so far."
Take a quick tour of the Commodity Classic 2013 Trade Show floor to see some of the latest innovations for agriculture.