• Crop Protection
  • Mar 18, 2021

Are You Capitalizing on Carbon Capture?

Corn field

Are you poised to monetize your sustainable farming practices such as strategic nitrogen placement, use of cover crops and employing a conservation tillage system?


WinField United recently hosted a learning session at Commodity Classic called “Corn and Carbon: Farming’s New Double Crop,” which explored the topic of how carbon credits can provide farmers with a way to diversify their income stream and create more predictability in revenue while ensuring that their land, air and water remain healthy for future generations.


The virtual panel was moderated by Jamie Leifker, vice president R&D, agronomy and product development for WinField United. Panelists were Aaron Sindelar, conservation agronomist for Central Valley Ag in Lincoln, Nebraska; and Jim Hedges, vice president of seed marketing for WinField United. Here are some highlights.


Earn credits for keeping carbon in the soil

Truterra, LLC, the sustainability business subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, offers a carbon program, TruCarbon™, to help farmers generate and sell carbon credits to private-sector buyers. Farmers who participate in the TruCarbon program by working with their retailers use the Truterra™ Insights Engine data platform to measure and track on-farm practices and model the impacts of new practice changes, such as cover crops and conservation tillage. These types of actions help keep carbon in the soil, generating biomass and optimizing crop production versus letting carbon escape into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.


Implement effective nitrogen use practices  

Nitrogen is one of the largest per-acre costs for corn farmers, so applying it at the right time, at the right rate and in the right place is key. Poor nitrogen placement, poor timing of nitrogen applications or applying too much nitrogen to hybrids that don’t have a high response to nitrogen can have a negative impact on ROI potential. Using nitrogen efficiently is one way to both increase current ROI potential in the field and position yourself to successfully participate in potential future GHG reduction rewards.


Industry is responding to consumer demand

“People have been talking about carbon credits for a while, but the market and the reality of actually fulfilling carbon demand has just really begun in earnest,” said Leifker during the Commodity Classic discussion. “There’s so much pent-up demand because of environmental concerns. Many Fortune 500 companies have made pledges to their investors and to Wall Street to be carbon net neutral or carbon negative, and these pledges have created a great demand for carbon reduction.”


The drive to reduce carbon emissions and capturing carbon credits is also evident with smaller companies closer to home. “A number of companies in our area are working to reduce their carbon footprint and offset greenhouse gas emissions,” said Sindelar. “We’re seeing that local companies our cooperative deals with daily are pursuing the same goal of becoming carbon neutral.”


Be sustainable while still turning a profit

With tight margins, it’s important for farmers to be both sustainable and profitable. The key to this is understanding the science and data that are driving recommendations on the productivity side. For example, through WinField United’s response-to-nitrogen scores, farmers know what hybrids will be particularly responsive to a nitrogen application and can target it to those hybrids.


“If a farmer is optimizing yield with fewer inputs such as nitrogen, that farmer is not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions; they’re also making the farm more profitable,” said Hedges.


WinField United is committed to helping farmers invest strategically in their crops, whether that means applying the right amount of nitrogen, applying a fungicide for plant health or applying micronutrients. Those types of investments can help drive significant gains in production.


For more information, contact your local WinField United-affiliated retailer. You can watch the entire Commodity Classic learning session here.


All photos are either the property of WinField United or used with permission.


Important: Before use always read and follow label instructions. Crop performance is dependent on several factors many of which are beyond the control of WinField United, including without limitation, soil type, pest pressures, agronomic practices, and weather conditions. Growers are encouraged to consider data from multiple locations, over multiple years, and be mindful of how such agronomic conditions could impact results.


© 2021 WinField United. WinField® is a trademark of WinField United.

TruCarbon™ and Truterra™ are trademarks of Land O’Lakes, Inc.

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