AGCO Africa Crop Tour 2018

AGCO's Darren Goebel, director, agronomy and farm services, discusses AGCO Africa Crop Tour 2018 which is currently underway in Lichtenberg, South Africa.

AGCO Africa Crop Tour 2018
March 12, 2018 by AGCO

AGCO Africa Crop Tour 2018

AGCO's Darren Goebel, director, agronomy and farm services, discusses AGCO Africa Crop Tour 2018 which is currently underway in Lichtenberg, South Africa.

AGCO has the fortune of having great customers and dealers all over the world. Africa is no exception. You may have heard about the AGCO Future Farm in Zambia, focused on bringing new technology and agronomic knowledge to the region. But, that’s not the focus for this blog. I want to tell you about South Africa and one of the exciting projects we have in place through collaboration with Cerealis, an AGCO dealer, and Precision Planting equipment distributor.

South Africa is an important agriculture producer, growing maize (corn), wheat, sunflower, soybeans, beans, grain sorghum, peanuts, cotton, and sugarcane. But, like in the United States, maize is king. This makes Precision Planting’s maize agronomy expertise a great fit for South Africa. And, AGCO with Massey Ferguson planters and other agriculture equipment is a recognized leader in the region.

Surprisingly this AGCO Africa Crop Tour 2018 project actually started at Agritechnica, a global farm show held in Germany, in November of 2017. I had a chance meeting with Josey Hendriks, managing director for technology at Cerealis. We chatted a bit about maize production and what Cerealis was doing in Africa to educate growers on the latest agronomy practices. He asked about conducting an AGCO Crop Tour event in South Africa. Josey had heard about the AGCO Crop Tour initiative in the United States aimed at educating growers on ways to improve corn yield through improved management practices at planting. I was excited, and we engaged in a fast paced discussion about the benefits to growers in South Africa, what it would take to pull it off, and when we would need to get started.

“Now!” Josey replied. “I have guys ready to get started planting as soon as we get enough rain to ensure proper germination. Can you send me the AGCO Crop Tour plot protocol tonight?” It seemed that even though it was cold in Germany, planting season was on the verge of breaking loose in South Africa.

Since then, a team at Cerealis has been doing what they do best – setting up the right environment to ensure learning will take place later in the season. They implemented the AGCO Crop Tour plot protocol that includes studies focused on the importance of even emergence (see photo), precise depth control, proper downforce, and highly accurate seed singulation and spacing. They have plots focused on both corn and sunflower established and growing near Lichtenberg, South Africa.

During the week of April 23, 2018, AGCO, Precision Planting, and Cerealis will host farmers for an educational event at the AGCO Africa Crop Tour 2018 plots. We will evaluate the effects of our differing planter treatments on corn growth and development. I am looking forward to being there to talk to growers like I have throughout the United States and Russia AGCO Crop Tour events in 2016 and 2017.

Written by: Darren Goebel, director, agronomy and farm services, AGCO 

Darren has been a crop consultant and agronomist throughout his career, with work encompassing virtually all crops and geographies including Southeast Asia, China, India, Eastern Europe, Brazil, Mexico, U.S., and Canada. Areas of specialization include soil fertility, crop management, precision farming, and agronomic research.   He grew up on a grain, livestock and specialty produce farm in southwest Indiana.

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Stay tuned! We will also publish an AGCO Global Crop Tour 2018 blog post once all events are complete to discuss results and key takeaways.

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