The first I heard of Sustainable Agriculture was in Robert Rodale’s New Farm magazine in the 70’s. It made sense as our farm practiced similar methods to the ones he described since grandpa moved his family the home farm in 1918.
The farm consisted of a 5-year crop rotation, limited plowing, and raising enough livestock to consume all of the production of the 300-acre general farm. The manure was spread back on the soil and cultivation was kept to a minimum to protect the nearly and highly erodible soils on the farm.
This worked well until the agricultural crises kept building momentum in each decadal cycle and the wheat price couldn’t be fed or sold at a profit nor the livestock or products you fed it to. There was no room on the farm for a third-generation so I was sent to college to make my own life.
I taught vocational agriculture and became an extension agent in 16 years. By then the sustainability movement was growing and agents visited Rodale’s Farm and taught the principals to those who were interested. Most of agriculture went to specialized production instead and cash grain farming, confinement hog and poultry production instead. Beef, dairy and lamb remained pretty much the sustainable way but dairy soon joined specialization.
The essence of sustainability to me is leaving the place better than you found it. I taught in my classrooms the principle of healthy soil, healthy plants, healthy livestock, and healthy humans; the chain is connected. Rodale and Albrecht’s teachings helped me learn these principles and teach them to others.
My mentor Paul Reed, Washington, Iowa teaches “speak with your fields.” Farmers will ask you how you did that. My crops right now are speaking volumes through this record drought. I attribute this to the sustainable practices of reduced tillage, balanced fertility, crop rotation and careful management.
I do this profitably by farming with used AGCO machinery and preventive maintenance. AGCO is usually the best buy in the marketplace new or used and lasts a long time; we still use 50 and 60-year old equipment. I have taught reduced tillage to thousands of other farmers across this country and beyond. The White Planters 5100 no tillage planter is the best one ever built in my mind. And the farmer designed Gleaner combine is easy to maintain.
I keep my cost of production low using these methods while yielding beyond my county average. The best part is my soil doesn’t wash away and gets more productive each year. Cover crops is an exciting new part of our crop rotation.
Sustainable Agriculture is a must for my grand children and just makes good common sense. AGCOhelps keep me farming sustainably.
Debra shared with us how she has been implementing sustainable agriculture practices in her farm operations. What are some of things you’re thinking about, or have had success with?
This fall will be my second harvest since I started calling myself a farmer. And the third season since I started making management decisions on the farm. There is certainly no amount of education that can prepare you for the complexities of farming. In 2010, mere months after unexpectedly losing my father, I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Agriculture; majoring in Crop Science. Even with a degree as relevant as that, I still feel entirely lost in our operation.
In the last few years we have tried our best to continue to enhance the sustainability of our farm. We have implemented a flexible crop rotation to decrease pest and disease incidence and better utilize the soil through diversity in crop types and seeding dates. We started soil sampling to better understand the nutrient deficiencies of our fields. We have also made crop checking more of a priority so we can detect pests early and utilize chemical rotation strategies to reduce the chance of resistant populations. It may be a few modest steps toward sustainability, but they have been difficult, yet worthwhile steps up a steep learning curve for our family.
Sustainable agriculture is the key to a very challenging future for our world. If farmers are having a hard time transitioning to management practices entirely different than they are accustomed to, I encourage them to start small. Although these are modest steps, they are to a view that is entirely worth the effort.
Musunga Sue Chuzu was the winner of AGCO’s Africa Ambassador 2012 contest. Read more about her experience, involvement, and opportunities over the last months with us.
I got to know about the Africa Ambassador contest through social media and I immediately knew I liked it. I applied because of the vast opportunity that the contest presented to me to meet highly influential people, travel to Berlin, host a world summit and contribute to the development of the African continent.
I prepared for the summit by making sure that I had enough rest when I arrived. I also read widely on the profiles of the speakers for the summit noting a few things that I needed to highlight about them that were of interest when making my introductions. I practiced in first of the mirror about 7 to 8 times a day and pronounced the speakers names over and over and over again until I got all of them right.
My time as the Africa Ambassador was a wonderful experience that was full of excitement. I gained knowledge and was kept stimulated, I also made a lot of friends, went sightseeing and I liked the fact that I played a key role during the summit.
Being crowned AGCO Africa Ambassador has been a tremendous opportunity and a life changing journey. Over the last 10 months I have gained a lot of skills and experiences, which have helped me develop as a person. I must have done something right and impressive during the summit because I have since joined AGCO as the Marketing and Communications Manager for AGCO Zambia as of August 2012. The opportunities are endless with this title and it’s up to you to work hard and grab them.
Learn more about AGCO’s Africa Ambassador Contest and send your video to firstname.lastname@example.org
Expointer reaches its 35th edition, it takes place in the city of Esteio – RS, between August 25th and September 2nd.
In order to better service clients and visitors, Massey Ferguson and Valtra prepared a modern and differentiated structure in an area of over 5000 m², presenting solutions for agriculture. The displays will also have spaces dedicated to the AGCO solutions and the Santal brands – manufacturer of agricultural equipment for the sugar and alcohol sector and GSI Agromarau – manufacturer in the segment of grain storage and protein production systems), recent acquisitions of the AGCO group.
In addition the exhibition of products, the Valtra display will highlight the area dedicated to the ANTS Concept: those who see the display, can learn about this concept machine and play a game simulating the ANTS working on a farm of the future. The best scorer will win an IPad 3. The ranking will be available on the Facebook Valtra Global, stay tuned!
In the Massey Ferguson stand, visitors can claim a copy of the 106th issue of the Campo Aberto Magazine and participate in the Contest You on the Cover of Campo Aberto, snapping a picture to produce a custom magazine, which will be delivered right away! The participant will also compete for 3 semi-professional digital cameras in the contest for the most “liked” covers on Facebook Massey Ferguson Global.
Relationship, Press and Advertising
On the Massey Ferguson and Valtra displays, the press office will be present to serve interested journalists. In addition, several TV commercials will be displayed, add in magazines and local specialized newspapers.
Throughout the 9 days of the fair, several visitors will be welcomed in the stands and in the factory, which is near the Expointer park. Over 200 visitors are expected.
For the first time, Massey Ferguson presents its new harvester MF 32, now SR which is prepared both for grain harvesting and harvesting of irrigated rice. Check out the commercial vídeo here. Also, there will be launching of the tractor MF 2625, the windrowers (MF 3802 and MF 3814, MF 3875), harvesters (MF 1309 e MF 1358), balers MF 1837 (rectangular bales) and MF 1745 (cylindrical bales) and also the rice planter MF300. Highlight also for the bigger and modern tractors of Massey Ferguson in Brazil, the MF 8600 series, in addition to the Pulverizer MF 9030 and the Telemetric System AGCOMMAND.
Valtra also consolidates its technological pioneering going into the industry of tractors over 300hp with its S Series. The High Power models S293 and S353 offer differential features which make them stand out from other tractors in the country. The Challenger Balers of small rectangular bales SB34 and round bales RB452 will also be launched during Expointer. HIghlight also for the AGCOMMAND Telemetric System,new HiTech Threshing rotor for the axial harvesters, new 600F Series platforms, and also the BS3020H Pulverizer.
Also, there will be launching of the tractor MF 2625, the windrowers (MF 3802 and MF 3814, MF 3875), harvesters (MF 1309 e MF 1358), balers MF 1837 (rectangular bales) and MF 1745 (cylindrical bales) and also the rice planterMF300. Highlight also for the bigger and modern tractors of Massey Ferguson in Brazil, the MF 8600 series, in addition to the Pulverizer MF 9030 and the Telemetric System AGCOMMAND.
With this spirit of technology and innovation, as well as actions to support all businesses, Massey Ferguson and Valtra begin their participation at Expointer! May you all have good business!
These are the last days of AGCO’s Farm Sustainability Blog Contest. Write a short blog or submit a video post about what sustainability means to you, or on your farm. Winning entries will be posted on the AGCO blog and shared with others. In addition, 10 winning authors will help AGCO distribute $5000 in donations.
With the population growing every day, sustainable farm operations are now more important than ever before. Farmers on the field know sustainability; we want to hear from you.
Sign up here, and share what you have been doing with us!