The Agribusiness Association of Iowa conducted a survey of ag retailer members in the late fall of 2015 asking for their insights into the nutrient management and conservation activities of their customers to help characterize the status of farmer efforts across Iowa. The survey did not ask for any feedback about individual farmers, rather it relied on the experience and knowledge that ag retailers and crop advisers possess about their customers as a whole thanks to the large presence they have working with virtually every farmer, in every field, every year. Click here for the full report.
Overall, the survey findings provide valuable information about the “lay of the land” on farmer use of several nutrient management and conservation practices, and shows how ag retailers are assisting with those efforts in the services they provide. Here are some key findings from the survey:
• Ag retailers have responded impressively to offer numerous services that have benefits for both crop productivity and environmental objectives.
• 100% of retailer responses indicated that they offer soil sample collection, and 92% offer soil sample nutrient analysis.
• 88% of retailers sell seed for cover crops, and 73% offer seeding services to plant cover crops.
• Farmer use of agronomy decision support tools shows strong adoption of technologies that help inform them about nutrient management and productivity goals.
• Farmer use of conservation planning ranked equal to or greater than many of the decision tools used by farmers to inform them about their productivity and inputs.
• The largest areas of potential interest in retailer service offerings are for UAV use in agriculture and for conservation planning services, showing that retailers are responding well to what their customers have shown strong interest in and demand for as markets emerge.
• Nearly equal amounts of farmers apply their nitrogen in a single application as those that apply their nitrogen in split applications.
• Less intensive tillage methods (e.g. no-till, conservation tillage) were the most common methods for tillage prior to both corn and soybeans, while intensive tillage such as using a moldboard plow was the least utilized method.