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3 Takeaways From a Challenging Year

Man walking in soybean field

Historic flooding. Late planting dates. Record-breaking prevent plant acres. These were some of the challenges you may have faced in 2019. If there’s anything that can be learned in a year like this one, it’s the power of perseverance. Here are three key takeaways that could help influence your decisions as you plan for next season.

It paid to have a backup plan

One thing that stands out in my mind is the unpredictability of 2019. It started early in the season. Farmers wondered when to fertilize. When would it stop raining? When should planting begin? What would the yield potential of the crops be if they went in late? Farmers struggled with these questions as they used their best judgment to make in-season decisions. In some cases, conditions made it impossible to stick with management plans and created more challenges for protecting yield potential. Farmers who didn’t give up on their crops and had contingency plans for management tended to see the benefits at harvest. Looking ahead to 2020, allow yourself some flexibility to make in-season changes to help manage unpredictable conditions.

Modern genetics are resilient

Despite the environmental conditions crops faced, many farmers were surprised at the yields they saw at the end of the season. Every year, we’re seeing advances in corn hybrids that make them more tolerant to stress. If you’re paying a premium for the latest seed genetics, this year showed us that it makes sense to manage them through the season, even when conditions seem unfavorable for decent yield. Modern genetics have resiliency when they're given what they need.

Modeling tools proved their value

In a year with so much unpredictability, relying on your gut instinct to make decisions may not have been the best strategy. Ag technology and modeling tools certainly helped farmers make more confident in-season management decisions, especially when they were forced to make adjustments to their original plans. For example, farmers who used the R7® Field Forecasting Tool were able to monitor conditions in their fields in real-time to predict how much nitrogen was available to the growing crop. That information was useful to help guide when and how much in-season nitrogen farmers added.

2019 will be a memorable year for most farmers, even if it was for all the wrong reasons. Looking ahead, you can certainly apply this year’s learnings to your management strategy for next season. Your local WinField United retailer can help you solidify your plans to capitalize on opportunities and mitigate risk.

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