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Awarded crop adviser gearing clients for 2012 season

By Staff | Mar 14, 2012

By DOUG CLOUGH

Farm News staff writer

ALTA – Bruce Baier, Ag Partners’ precision ag manager, was recently recognized as the 2011 Iowa Certified Crop Adviser of the Year.

The accolade was presented to Baier during the Iowa Certified Crop Advisors’ luncheon at the Agribusiness Association of Iowa’s Agribusiness Showcase and Conference held February in Des Moines.

As a CCA, Baier said he uses his skills and experience in nutrient and pest management to assist growers with economical and efficient crop production.

The Iowa CCA board said it initiated the annual award to recognize a member of the industry who embodies its standard of providing professional and effective “good advice” to clients.

As part of this advice, Baier said considers the challenges that are expected each new season when giving advice to his customers.

“Last summer’s dry conditions that finished off the year is on everyone’s mind,” said Baier. “We’ve gotten some moisture over the past few weeks, and I haven’t seen much run-off with our mild winter.

“The moisture appears to be soaking in. As long as this much-needed moisture doesn’t get out of hand, we shouldn’t see a delayed planting season like last year.

“That’s the hope.”

As precision ag manager, Baier and his team analyzes a field’s performance to see “what farmers do right and what they don’t want to do ever again.”

Participants record their fertilizer and chemical applications, their hybrid information, yield monitor data, tillage information, and global positioning system soil sample data.

“We combine all the collected data, while keeping it confidential,” said Baier. “Our data analysis compares the farming practices of those within Ag Partners’ InSite Crop Data Management program.”

With the rise in corn prices, Baier has seen more acres open up for planting, which has presented additional challenges.

“With 95 million acres of corn throughout the nation, there is a possibility that there will not be enough of the most desirable hybrid seed sizes to go around.”

The use of Round Up and other glyphosate products is also on Baier’s mind.

“There is talk about weed resistance to this chemical,” further explained Baier. “We see a trend for more pre-plant herbicides for corn and soybeans.

“These different modes of action could slowdown spread of these resistant plants.”

The first glyphosate-resistant species was identified a decade ago. Research conducted last year by Iowa State University has confirmed glyphosate resistant weeds in isolated fields across Iowa.

Baier has noted that this concern has grown with this upcoming planting season.

Although resistant weeds are found throughout the state, it was estimated last year that less than one percent of Iowa’s corn and soybean fields are affected at levels of economic concern.

“We’re ramping up for this spring’s planting season,” said Baier. “We’re working on variable rate population planting maps and variety placement maps right now.

“We’re using improved information about our customers’ land, allowing them to better control the variables that impact their profitability.

“Our western regions are our most stable. The (soil) pH balance is lower, there are consistent soil types, and drainage is not as much of an issue as other parts of our territory. Other areas are requiring a bit more homework.”

Baier is a graduate of Iowa Central Community College with 36 years experience in agriculture retail businesses.

He has also been recognized for having more than 15 years of CCA service.

Contact Doug Clough at douglasclough@gmail.com.

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