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Commodity Classic 2020 in review

A record of 4,678 farmers registered for the 2020 Commodity Classic February 27-29 in San Antonio, Texas. In total 9,350 people registered for the annual event.

Farmers who made the trip enjoyed the sunshine while learning about new products, seizing educational opportunities, and mingling with high yield growers.

New Products

Several new chemical and machinery products for farmers were announced at the event. More than 400 businesses and organizations exhibited at the Commodity Classic trade show.

Helena introduced two new herbicide premixes.

American Vanguard Corporation (AMVAC) highlighted four herbicides recently aquired from Corteva Agriscience. The company is also developing chemistry to bring to market, including Sinnate herbicide.

BASF is waiting for EPA registration of the Group 27 herbicide that matches its GT27 and Liberty GT27 stacks. The company also says it’s working on a new herbicide site of action for corn and soybean farmers that will be introduced in the early 2030s.

In September 2019, BASF launched Operation Weed Eradication with the goal of shifting how the industry looks at weed control. The explosion of Palmer amaranth and waterhemp has been the driving force behind this program.

New iron also took up much of the tradeshow floor.

To kick off the Commodity Classic, Kinze Manufacturing announced it has reached an agreement with SureFire. Farmers will have the option to order their Kinze planter with SureFire liquid fertilizer solutions installed at the factory.

“SureFire fertilizer systems are custom-designed to meet farmer application needs and are complete with everything they need to start planting faster and more easily than ever before,” said president Susanne Veatch.

Case IH unveiled the new AFS Steiger tractor. The AFS Connect technology from Case IH was first introduced at the 2019 National Farm Machinery Show and is now available on the company’s largest line of tractors.

AFS Connect Steiger tractor
Photo credit: Natalina Sents

Later in 2020 farmers will be able to order a Fendt Ideal combine without a steering wheel. Instead, the machine will be equipped with the new Fendt IdealDrive introduced at the 2020 Commodity Classic. This is an optional joystick steering system that gives operators a clear view of the whole header.

AGCO Fendt IdealDrive
Photo credit: AGCO

Educational Opportunities

In addition to trade show sights, farmers gathered for educational sessions. Successful Farming hosted the Main Stage for the fifth year in a row.

The Main Stage activities began with Mini What’s New Sessions featuring exhibitors introducing their newest innovations for farmers. These brief presentations highlighted chemistry, machinery, and technology products.

Farmers packed the Main Stage audience to hear Successful Farming columnist Al Kluis
Photo credit: Natalina Sents

Al Kluis, Successful Farming market columnist, returned to the Main Stage to review the marketing plan he presented at last year’s event. A large crowd of farmers gathered to hear his price targets and marketing insight for the next growing season on Thursday afternoon.

Used machinery was the subject of the Economic Factors Impacting Your Machinery Purchases: Is Your Equipment an Asset or a Liability? session with Cameron Hurnard of Iron Solutions and Daryl Theis of Claas. Theis pointed out that there is an opportunity cost of not upgrading to machinery with the latest technology.

Next, a panel of agronomy experts discussed the 4R nutrient stewardship practices. This includes the right fertilizer source at the right rate, at the right time, and in the right place.

Brian Hefty and Darren Hefty drew a standing-room-only crowd for their talk, Fertility Secrets of High-Yield Fields. The brothers discussed soil tests and nutrient combinations in a fast-paced presentation that concluded Thrusday’s presentations.

Friday morning began with Brooks York, director of producer services for Diversified Services Agency, and Mike Mock, farmer marketing adviser for Consolidated Grain and Barge Co., taking the stage to discuss marketing insight and strategies for the current ag environment. Together the men have more than 50 years of experience.

Dale Dobson passionately spoke about ag equipment safety on public roadways next. John Fisher joined him on stage to share AEM’s Visual Guide to Lighting and Marking to help farmers understand the appropriate signs and lights for their machinery.

Later in the afternoon, Successful Farming Executive Editor Betsy Freese took the stage to present an update on African swine fever. She traveled to China in March 2019, and shared many of her experiences with the audience. American Farm Bureau economist Michael Nepveux shared the economic impact of the disease in China and the global marketplace. He says that China produces and consumes about 50% of the world’s pork.

Agronomy and technology editor Megan Vollstedt moderated an ag technology discussion between Jim Hedges of WinField United and farmers Steve Pitstick and Chris Gaesser. The group concluded that ag tech is a sound investment when decisions are made with the farmer’s ROI in mind.

The final panel on Friday highlighted agriculture in the D.C. landscape and was led by Successful Farming editor-in-chief Dave Kurns.

The Leffler family of Kansas
Photo credit: Natalina Sents

Saturday morning's main stage session, Time to Retire: Transitioning the Farm to the Next Generation featuring the Leffler family from Americus, Kansas drew a large crowd. The family shared their experiences with succession planning.

Celebrating Success

High-yield corn and soybean growers gathered to celebrate their successes and share strategies.

Virginia farmer David Hula set the world corn yield record with 616 bushels per acre.

Headshot of farmer Randy Dowdy at 2020 Commodity Classic
Photo credit: Bill Spiegel
Randy Dowdy of Georgia set the world soybean yield record with 190 bushels per acre.

Winners of the National Sorghum Producers Yield Contest were also honored at the 2020 Commodity Classic. Farmers from Idaho, Kansas, and Michigan shared their secrets to success in a discussion hosted by Pioneer Hi-Bred International.

The 2021 Commodity Classic will be held March 4-6 in San Antonio, Texas.

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