Joint ventures

Agricultural companies have been teaming up for years to bring innovative products to farmers more efficiently. Here are some of the recent teams shaping the ag industry’s offerings:


K, P (potassium, phosphorus)
There’s no fudging on major nutrients when top corn yields are sought. Growers need to pay close attention to potassium and phosphorus levels as well as nitrogen. As University of Illinois professor Fred Below says, it is understood that adequate levels of P and K are necessary for corn production and growers need soil tests to identify any deficiencies. Simply put, growers must pay attention to the basics as well as embrace new products and technology before achieving 300-bu. yields. -Karen McMahon

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Lightweight metals

Aluminum, magnesium and titanium alloy shave been used for years in the aerospace and automotive industries to reduce the weight, carbon emission and fuel consumption of the structural designs. Because these lightweight materials cost more than standard steel, they’ve had limited use in agriculture. But now, as more is being learned about the harmful effects of soil compaction, the farm machinery industry is placing more emphasis on materials that lessen the weight of farm vehicles and equipment while also improving fuel economy, says Douglas Otto, engineer with CNH and program chair of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). “For example, some of the machines developed recently make more use of aluminum because of its strength and low weight,” Otto says. “I can’t cite anything in particular that is coming in the next year that will revolutionize the way we think about this. But those of us in the industry know that we need to move to lighter-weight materials that also carry the durability required in farming. And the price of these materials is coming down, too, making them less cost-prohibitive to use.” -Jodie Wehrspann

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