Agriculture: A Need For The Long View

Recently, I read an article detailing money troubles at Walmart. In an effort to boost overall sales, it seems that the retailing giant has cut back on the number of workers at many of its stores. As a consequence, the company’s supply chain is breaking down, with too few employees on hand to physically move products from the storeroom to shelves.

Some places, said the article, this practice is affecting company sales. “To gain short-term results, Walmart is hurting its long-term image,” said one analyst.

I think this is an excellent lesson for members of the agricultural community to remember as well. As everyone knows, the past few years have been tough on some grower-customers as herbicide-resistant weeds continue to spread across many acres of farmland.

To combat this threat to crop yields and revenue, many ag retailers have made a series of recommendations to their growers on how to control these weeds and curb their spread. This has included using multiple modes of action products and not spraying weeds that are over six inches in height (when they are more likely to survive).

However, despite dispensing this good advice, many ag retailers have told me they are regularly rebuffed by their grower-customers regarding many of these best weed management practices. “Most of them don’t seem to want to listen to my agronomic advice,” many dealer reps have told me.

When I’ve pointed this out to some growers, many of them have acknowledged that they chose to ignore this good advice. “I know I shouldn’t spray a weed that’s over six inches tall because it might develop resistance,” they say. “But if I even slow the weed’s growth a little bit, my yield will go up and I will make more money for that season.”

So as with Walmart, these growers are willing to take the short-term financial gain at the expense of long-term agronomic stability.

Unfortunately, this problem doesn’t look like it will be limited to growers. In our May 2013 issue, CropLife® is looking at the topic of managing spray drift better, recommending ways custom applicators can achieve on-target results.

But according to some industry experts, custom applicators have been use to applying a single product, glyphosate. Adding different and new herbicides to the mix will require potentially more complicated application methods. This could include lowering today’s longer spray booms, driving at slower speeds and leaving larger buffer zones as products such as dicamba and 2,4-D become more common.

“Higher speeds and higher booms can lead to less coverage and poorer weed control,” said one expert. “Neither is a good scenario if you want to be a profitable application business.”

I would call this sound advice. Obviously, everyone who makes their living in agriculture should always be trying to make more money. However, doing so in the here-and-now without giving any thought to what happens tomorrow isn’t sustainable. If you don’t believe me, just ask Walmart.

Leave a Reply

Eric Sfiligoj Stories

Corn Field
Eric SfiligojFacing Ag Industry Challenges
September 26, 2016
At the 2016 annual Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) meeting in September, a pair of crop protection company representatives discussed Read More
Potash Agrium
Eric SfiligojBig Fertilizer Merger In The Works
September 12, 2016
If you are a fan of consolidation in agriculture, 2016 has been a banner year so far. Not only are Read More
Eric SfiligojThis Column Is Terrible
September 6, 2016
Does the negative always trump the positive in getting a reader’s attention? It would seem so based upon the evidence. Read More
MAGIE 2015 Overview
Eric SfiligojThe Read From MAGIE
August 29, 2016
As I write this column, I’ve just returned from the annual Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) in Bloomington, IL. Being Read More
Trending Articles
Corn Field
Eric SfiligojFacing Ag Industry Challenges
September 26, 2016
At the 2016 annual Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) meeting in September, a pair of crop protection company representatives discussed Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger: 6 Things You Need To Know
September 14, 2016
Mega mergers have become almost routine in the agricultural industry. Right on the heels of Monday’s news that fertilizer giants Potash Read More
Potash Corp Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium, Potash Corp To Merge To Create $36 Billion Company
September 12, 2016
Canada’s Agrium Inc. and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. have agreed to combine in a deal that would create a Read More
Osage Co-op Elevator Osage, IA Finished Building
OpinionAre We Crazy?
September 8, 2016
At some point in the first few months of my employment here at CropLife® magazine, I started getting curious about Read More
ManagementMAGIE 2016 Highlights and Deere Anti-Trust
September 1, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses the recent Midwest AG Industries Exposition and the Department of Justice’s objection to John Deere Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
Latest News
Young Corn Field
StewardshipStudy: Ohio Farmers Doing ‘A Good Job Of Managing…
September 27, 2016
Leaders from Ohio’s largest grain farming organizations announced today that Ohio farmers are doing their part in effectively managing phosphorus Read More
Growmark FS Outlet
Industry NewsGROWMARK To Purchase Suncor’s Share Of UPI
September 26, 2016
GROWMARK and Suncor have reached an agreement in which GROWMARK will purchase Suncor’s 50% interest in UPI, Inc. in Ontario, Read More
Corn Field
Eric SfiligojFacing Ag Industry Challenges
September 26, 2016
At the 2016 annual Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) meeting in September, a pair of crop protection company representatives discussed Read More
Syngenta Seedcare Institute
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Opens New North America Seedcare Institute In …
September 23, 2016
Syngenta unveiled its new Seedcare Institute in Stanton, MN, during a recent grand opening celebration. More than 150 industry leaders, Read More
StewardshipMonsanto Invests $1.6 Million In System To Quantify Gre…
September 23, 2016
The USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) recently awarded the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and its Soil Health Read More
Pipe rack
LegislationCourt Sides With Ag Retailers On PSM
September 23, 2016
The D.C. Court of Appeals has ruled the Occupational Safety and Health Administration violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act when Read More
ManagementPacific Coast Fertilizer Announces Interest In Longview…
September 22, 2016
Pacific Coast Fertilizer LP (PCF) announced at the Cowlitz Economic Development Council board of directors meeting its interest in developing Read More
Young corn plants in soil
UncategorizedCool Planet Raises Additional $9 Million To Commerciali…
September 22, 2016
Cool Planet has announced the first close of a new financing round to commercialize the company’s Cool Terra Engineered Biocarbon Read More
Crop InputsJim Loar Promoted To President And CEO Of Cool Planet
September 22, 2016
In a move that reflects and reinforces the company’s commitment to the agricultural market, the Cool Planet board of directors Read More
BlendersNorth Dakota Coop Debuts Dry Fertilizer Plant
September 22, 2016
North Central Grain Cooperative has begun operations at a new dry fertilizer plant at its Rolla, ND, site. It is Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto, Bayer Officials Defend Proposed $66 Billion M…
September 21, 2016
Top officials for Monsanto and Bayer defended their proposed $66 billion merger before skeptical senators on Tuesday, insisting that the Read More
ManagementUpcoming Shows & Recent Events
September 19, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about upcoming trade shows and events and review the Mid America CropLife Association Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Appoints New CEO
September 19, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences, a plant health and nutrition company, today announced that its board of directors has named Kenneth M. Avery Read More
Corn
Crop InputsEPA Settles With Syngenta For Alleged Multi-Regional Pe…
September 19, 2016
The U.S. EPA has announced a multi-region settlement with Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC (Syngenta) in Greensboro, NC, for alleged violations of Read More
ManagementMerger Mania
September 16, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss this week’s mega-ag mergers of Bayer and Monsanto and Potash and Agrium. Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Ends Up Being A Bargain For Bayer
September 16, 2016
History will say Bayer got a bargain in its $66 billion purchase of Monsanto, writes David Nicklaus, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
CropLife 100California Ag Retailer Steps Up To Feed Families Affect…
September 16, 2016
GAR Tootelian, Inc. (GAR) in Reedley, CA, is challenging the Central Valley to help raise enough money and provide 525,000 meals Read More
Crop InputsBayer, Monsanto CEOs Discuss Merger
September 15, 2016
Werner Baumann, Bayer CEO, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto CEO, discuss why they decided to merge their companies. Read More