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Time to think about lessons learned in 2015 agriculture

Time to think about lessons learned in 2015 agriculture
Some of them were learned in the field; others in the business end of farming.

Dave Nanda writes excellent columns about corn production all year long. Each year near about this time he puts together a list of lessons learned from the growing season. He confines his list to things learned about crops, particularly corn.

Related: Corn yields surprise many in the Corn Belt

Recently he asked me to give him what I thought were some of the lessons from the season that he might consider for his list.

That has me thinking. Not all the lessons learned this year in agriculture were from the season itself. We'll wait and let Dave unveil what things we could have learned from field experiences this year.

Not even yellow corn lasts forever! It looked like this would be remembered as the season of yellow corn and terrible yields, and it is in some places. But in some places even in Indiana, corn yields were very good.

Here are some other lessons I've learned about agriculture in general as the year unfolded.

1. Nothing lasts forever. When it was raining and raining, no one thought it would stop. I left ruts mowing my neighbor's yard in late July. Well, it did change, and the rains stopped. We've barely had two inches of rain total since. Nothing lasts forever!

2. There are new things under the sun. One of them is a portable soil analyzer from Yield Center 360. You can get accurate nitrate readings and other information within minutes. It may lead to park the application rig at the end of the field, then test the soil, and then make adjustments and go-type farming. 

3. Some ideas never die. Hybrid wheat has been a dream for many for a long time. Some companies have invested in it only to decide it was a pipe dream and give up. When DuPont Pioneer christened their expanded research center near Windfall in August, they noted that part of the expansion was for wheat research. Yes, they're working on hybrid wheat and are confident they can make it work.

4. The government program wasn't as impossible to decipher as it seemed. Despite all the hoopla and constant resetting of sign-up deadlines, FSA says a large number of farmers signed up for the new government program in the Farm Bill. An overwhelming majority, like almost but not quite everyone, signed up for ARC County as their option after all the nail biting was over. Last word from FSA is there may be 2014 payments and possible even 2015 crop season payments in some cases yet this year. Purdue Extension plus FSA deserves a lot of the credit for helping farmers understand this program.

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