For a lot of farmers, altering strategies is troublesome. However for Jed Fleske, of Fleske Farms in Larned, innovation is vital to progress.
Fleske grows corn, milo and soy beans on his household farm. Final yr, he grew to become a part of a take a look at pilot program. As quickly as he heard about an progressive crop analysis initiative his co-op was concerned with, he signed on the dotted line.
Two years in the past, Great Bend Cooperative partnered with Truterra, the sustainability options enterprise of Land O’Lakes, to supply clients with entry to agricultural know-how and providers. These providers can be found free-of-charge. Primarily, this initiative offers the farmer, with the assistance of their co-op’s agronomist, an in depth blueprint of what practices work or don’t work on their land.
“I wished a solution to measure and see how we had been doing and the way we had been progressing,” Fleske mentioned. “I wished to have one thing past soil sorts.”
Truterra helps farmers in 19 states navigate profitability, conservation and talent. Three cooperatives in Kansas take part within the Truterra program. Together with Nice Bend Cooperative, farmers will be part of the initiative at Alliance Ag & Grain or Ottawa Cooperative.
“Truterra permits a producer to use the right quantity of vitamins right down to the zone,” mentioned Cammie Vaupel, conservation agronomy specialist for Nice Bend Co-op. “It helps them see it from a special approach.”
For Land O’Lakes, sustainable agriculture means a farm is all the time bettering its stewardship. By having a plan for the long run, a farmer makes selections that preserve their operation viable.
Truterra permits producers to create and preserve a database and preserve detailed information of every plot of land for future administration. By utilizing variable fee software gear, the producer can differ their fertilizer functions by way of zone administration. In addition they can estimate the potential fee of return by following this program’s suggestions.
Gary Van Horn, of Van Horn Land & Cattle in Ottawa, understands his soil’s well being is vital to his crop’s survival. He’s grateful to acquire custom-made suggestions for each acre.
“There’s a number of methods to realize what you’re attempting to realize,” Van Horn mentioned. “With the ability to visualize and see what your fields’ potential will be of their insights engine is fairly neat.”
Like Fleske, Van Horn began utilizing Truterra a yr in the past. Due to their foresight and want to enhance, each farmers signed on instantly. Every of the three co-ops solely accepted a couple of farmers for the primary class. However now, with one yr below their belt, the three co-ops are hoping to extend the quantity of farmers who need to be part of this particular, free undertaking.
“This yr, we’ve actually expanded,” mentioned Lindsey Sylvester from the Ottawa Cooperative Affiliation. “We’re reaching out to extra growers.”
Sylvester mentioned this program helps farmers each enhance yield and scale back weed stress.
“We’re very excited,” Sylvester mentioned. “It’s undoubtedly a win-win state of affairs.”
As a result of customers are eager to know the place their meals comes from and the way it’s grown, having information like these will assist many producers in the long term.
“Clients are demanding extra sustainably-sourced merchandise sooner or later,” Vaupel mentioned.
These co-ops created agronomist positions to work with Truterra and to assist bridge the hole between producers and the native NRCS. Lots of their shoppers are pondering of going both minimal-till or no-till, however should not fairly prepared. Vaupel mentioned they’ll begin this system from any degree. The vital precept is to be taught and develop.
“If an individual was utilizing minimal-till and so they went to no-till, they may see how a lot their rating would enhance,” Vaupel mentioned.
Van Horn grows corn, soy, wheat and barley. He mentioned this program modified his thought course of and gave him numerous new concepts.
Fleske believes for those who care for the land, it should care for you. He needs his land to be wholesome, retain moisture and preserve soil well being. He mentioned, with this program, there’s all the time an agronomist to reply questions.
“You’re not capturing at the hours of darkness,” Fleske mentioned. “You lower your expenses on the finish of the day.”
Alliance Ag & Grain serves Barton, Clark, Comanche, Edwards, Ford, Grey, Hodgeman, Kiowa, Meade, Pawnee and Stafford counties.
Nice Bend Cooperative serves Barton, Ellsworth, Reno, Rice and Stafford counties.
Ottawa Cooperative Affiliation has 14 branches in Franklin, Osage, Miami, Douglas, Anderson, John and Coffey counties.
To succeed in the co-ops name:
Alliance Ag & Grain: 620-385-2898
Nice Bend Co-op: 620-793-3531
Ottawa Co-op: 888-242-5170