January 03, 2018

What’s holding you back?

Guest Post by John Fenderson, Technical Product Manager - WestBred®


Have you ever tried changing your normal morning routine? For instance, brushing your teeth as soon as you get out of bed instead of starting the coffee pot. Or eating breakfast then showering. If you are like most people, you won’t like it. It will feel uncomfortable and you will switch back to your old habits the very next day.

Unfortunately, today’s world is a world of changes. If we want to keep up in business and in life, we must embrace change.

Agriculture is certainly not immune to change. Farmers and ranchers have long felt the uneasy ebb and flow of commodity markets, making production decisions agonizing at best. Modern agriculture research has provided us with a plethora of amazing information that improves productivity and improves bottom lines, but staying in business today is a challenge for every farmer and livestock producer, regardless of crop or species you produce. It can be even more difficult if we ignore the unpleasant circumstances we face and just hope things get better. Hoping is not a strategy, and without a game plan things can get off track in a hurry.

Reducing cost of production is key to survival in a down commodity market. Human nature tells us to reduce inputs and save money, but that also reduces output and may ultimately raise the per-unit cost of production. The best way to reduce per-unit cost is by increasing production using the knowledge and tools available. A few of those tools include: soil testing, utilizing the newest and highest yielding varieties, precision fertilizer application, utilizing data you or others have collected from your own farm over the years, and last but certainly not least, scouting your fields regularly to monitor for production issues.

Picture this scenario: A livestock producer is trying to cut costs due to the low price of beef. This producer pens up his herd and leaves them without feed. Is he cutting costs? You bet! Is he reducing per-unit cost of production? Definitely not! His herd is going to starve to death!

Regardless of the commodity, it must be taken care of appropriately to expect any sort of return. Over the last couple of years, I have been amazed at the bunker mentality taken by many wheat producers. While some producers have been harvesting record yields, others have struggled to grow an average wheat crop. As I have traveled across the southern plains, I have observed progressive wheat growers embracing changes in their production practices, and except for a few acts of God, those changes are certainly paying off for them.  

Overcoming old ways is difficult, but success breeds confidence. And yes — it may not be a smooth road, but one failure does not make a trend. Help is available. Agronomic professionals like WestBred® Technical Product Managers can help guide you through what may seem like a jungle of information and help you make the best decisions for your farm and your future.

We at WestBred feel like the best days for wheat are ahead of us. Wheat breeding has entered a new era with the use of genetic tools to make greater and more rapid improvements in wheat productivity. We will be a part of directing wheat production into a new era of productivity and profitability as well.  

So, what’s holding you back?

If you’re ready to innovate in your wheat field, check out some of our new varieties, tailored for your region, or learn the best tips and practices from our agronomists.

See All Articles