A Challenge To All

Nervous excitement. That’s the best way I can express what I saw at the Farm Progress Show last month. For some time, we — and I am sure many of you — have been anticipating the next big wave of biotechnology innovations. At the farm shows just a couple of years ago, companies were talking about a sort of “quiet period” for biotechnology. There were plenty of promises, sneak peeks, and sabre rattling about what was coming up, but it was much more sizzle than steak.

Get ready — the filet mignon is about to be served.

If you’re reading this after having read the cover story, then you’ve got a pretty clear picture of what’s on the near term horizon — lots of new offerings that will broaden the choices we have for managing weed and insect resistance, which is great news. And in the medium and longer term, we can look forward to even more new generation traits that will provide the seed with even greater abilities to resist Mother Nature’s challenges, improving performance and yield potential. Outstanding.

But back to the nervous excitement. One of the highlights of our visit to Farm Progress was taking a tour of the Monsanto display area, guided by the Chief Technology Officer himself, Robb Fraley. Now, Monsanto has made it a habit to make good on its promises to agriculture — indeed, Roundup Ready soybeans and insect-protected corn did turn agriculture crossways, taking billions of dollars out of the market (and out of your coffers as well).

Today, Monsanto’s promise — delivered by Fraley and his crew at Farm Progress — is even more sweeping: Double the year 2000’s average yield for corn and soybeans yields by 2030. The crystal clear mandate was echoed by each employee at each stop along Monsanto’s display — clearly, the message is already ingrained in the culture. But I would add a small phrase to the end of the corporate message to benefit all of you who did not get to Farm Progress: “By any means necessary.”

The display featured two impressive machines brought up from St. Louis, one performing soybean genome analysis and the second demonstrating how individual seeds are analyzed for their genetic contents at breakneck speed. Another section was a virtual museum of corn and soybean seed development, demonstrating the yield gains achieved from the earliest varieties and hybrids to today.

But it was the finale I found most fascinating: Monsanto is doing deep field research using precision agriculture, and has developed proprietary remote soil analysis software and prescription planting tools that growers will be able to use in the future.

Fraley and his folks have recognized that the genetics will get them most of the way to their goal, but they can’t get all the way there without solid agronomic recommendations. And they clearly intend to make a significant impact in that arena.

Nervous excitement, indeed. We’ve seen agriculture reinvent itself in a bit more than a decade. More reinvention is on the horizon. As the service provider and trusted advisor to the grower, you’ll need to ensure you’re deepening grower relationships and providing valuable and relevant services to clients. This is a challenge we all will face as we find our place in the next wave of biotechnology.

Leave a Reply

Latest News
Soybean Plant closeup
HerbicidesRegional Listening Sessions Give Farmers A Voice In The…
February 27, 2017
Both scientists and regulators have had a lot to say about the growing problem of herbicide resistance and how weed Read More
Greystone Construction built the tension membrane fertilizer storage building (left) and steel seed treater building (right)
CropLife 100Pinnacle Announces Successful Exchange Offer Results An…
February 27, 2017
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC has announced today the early tender results of its previously announced offer to exchange (the “Exchange Read More
IEI Barge Fertilizer Potash Port Terminal
EquipmentLegacy Building Solutions Receives Design-Build Merit A…
February 27, 2017
When IEI Barge Services needed a building capable of storing and loading fertilizer, they turned to Legacy Building Solutions to Read More
ManagementSouth Africa Update and the New New Leader G5
February 24, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Dan Jacobs discuss the recent visit to South Africa by sister magazine AgriBusiness Global and the Read More
Fall Creek Watershed
StewardshipUpdate: Nutrient Stewardship In Indiana Requires Cool, …
February 24, 2017
Update: The application deadline for NCRS funding has been extended to March 17, 2017. Green leaves sparkle in the sunlight. Trees Read More
Greenleaf Technologies TADF03-D Dual Fan Nozzle
NozzlesSix Greenleaf Nozzles Approved For XtendiMax With Vapor…
February 22, 2017
Greenleaf Technologies has announced that six of its TurboDrop D Series nozzles have been approved for use with Monsanto’s XtendiMax Read More
Winter Wheat
Industry NewsTiger-Sul Hires Manitoba And Eastern Canada Account Man…
February 22, 2017
Tiger-Sul, a global leader in sulphur fertilizers and crop performance products, has announced that sales veteran Trevor Loewen has joined Read More
NFMS 17 Hagie Sprayer
Eric SfiligojThe Read From Louisville: Uncertain
February 22, 2017
By the time this column appears across the country, the annual Commodity Classic will be in full swing. This means Read More
SprayersApache 1000 Series Sprayer Earns 2017 EquipmentWatch Hi…
February 21, 2017
ET Works has been named a winner in the 2017 EquipmentWatch Highest Retained Value Awards program, the industry’s only award Read More
Measuring Bulk Tanks
StewardshipMeister Media Among 2017 Award Winners Presented By The…
February 21, 2017
The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance (TPSA) held its annual conference in San Diego, CA, earlier this month where three awards were Read More
John Reifsteck
CropLife 100GROWMARK’s Reifsteck Earns NCFC Director Of The Y…
February 21, 2017
GROWMARK Chairman of the Board and President John Reifsteck has earned the prestigious Director of the Year Award from the Read More
Roy Blunt
LegislationARA Recognizes Blunt, Heitkamp For Legislative Efforts …
February 17, 2017
Agricultural industry continues to face federal regulatory challenges. Thankfully, agriculture’s allies in the U.S. Senate stepped forward. The Agricultural Retailers Read More
LegislationThe Fertilizer Institute Commends Senate On Confirmatio…
February 17, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn issued the following statement on the Senate confirmation of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Read More
Trump, Senate, Cabinet
LegislationBREAKING: Trump EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Confirmed by S…
February 17, 2017
Scott Pruitt, who as Oklahoma’s attorney general spent years suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its efforts to regulate various Read More
ManagementFebruary Road Trip Edition
February 17, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent visits to Indiana and Kentucky. Read More
Heritage Cooperative Finished Building Aerial
ManagementHeritage Cooperative, Agland Co-op Approve Merger
February 17, 2017
Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative stockholders have both approved the merger agreement between Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative. Now begins Read More
LegislationARA Fly-In: Ag Retail Descends on Capitol Hill, Lawmake…
February 15, 2017
More than 100 agricultural retailers, distributors and suppliers headed to Capitol Hill Tuesday morning for the Agribusiness Congressional Fly-in, according to a Read More
Untreated soybean seed Heartland Coop
Seed/BiotechMarrone Bio Innovations, Groundwork BioAg Bio-stacked M…
February 13, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. and Groundwork BioAg, Ltd have announced successful seed treatment field trials of the world’s first all-biological Read More