Farm Progress

Zwingman discusses progress and learning curve in nitrogen and water advisory group; basic framework for nitrogen management system at HHD podcast series.

Tyler Harris, Editor

September 25, 2017

Note: You can listen to my conversation with Mike Zwingman by clicking on the audio link above.

During Husker Harvest Days from Sept. 12 to 14, we recorded a live podcast interview with a new expert each day of the show. Day No. 2 saw a regular guest on the Nebraska Notebook podcast — now known as Down in the Weeds — Mike Zwingman.

In this episode, Zwingman, agronomy R&D Manager at Central Valley Ag, discusses some of the latest practices and research regarding nitrogen management, and some updates on how CVA's nitrogen and water advisory group has progressed over the last year.

"We're gaining a lot more confidence in nitrogen models. Regardless of which platform we're using on nitrogen models whether it be climate FieldView or Winfield United's Field Forecasting tool, or Adapt N, we're really getting a better feel for what's going on in season," says Zwingman. "Through the introduction of the OODA loop this August — that constant ‘observation, orientation, decision and action’ process — we've really helped our growers speed up the time from being able to notice the issue to making a decision and making an action."

And the learning curve has been pretty steep, Zwingman notes. "A lot of growers have been really willing to change or tweak some things, and a more open and more flexible mindset about how to go about doing that practice of nitrogen management. Growers moving from being all fall anhydrous to doing some split applications, or maybe doing two or three applications throughout the year, has really kind of advanced them into a new thought process of I've managed this, what's the next thing I can do?"

Zwingman adds it's important to "crawl before we walk, walk before we run." "Do the smallest, most achievable management step possible, and let's move onto the next one," he says. "Now we've got a handful of growers completely relying on models and intuition to tell them when to apply nitrogen."


About the Author(s)

Tyler Harris

Editor, Wallaces Farmer

Tyler Harris is the editor for Wallaces Farmer. He started at Farm Progress as a field editor, covering Missouri, Kansas and Iowa. Before joining Farm Progress, Tyler got his feet wet covering agriculture and rural issues while attending the University of Iowa, taking any chance he could to get outside the city limits and get on to the farm. This included working for Kalona News, south of Iowa City in the town of Kalona, followed by an internship at Wallaces Farmer in Des Moines after graduation.

Coming from a farm family in southwest Iowa, Tyler is largely interested in how issues impact people at the producer level. True to the reason he started reporting, he loves getting out of town and meeting with producers on the farm, which also gives him a firsthand look at how agriculture and urban interact.

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