Steve's Story

Bringing the family farm full-circle

Steve Welsh remembers with a laugh being scolded for attempting to drive the tractor at 2-years-old on his family’s operation, Welsh Farms, in Sciota, Illinois. His two sons and daughter as well as his nephew and two nieces all are still young, but are just as eager to join the family farming business as the 7th generation.

 

Welsh Farms has proudly been a pioneer in the region for years and continues to make progressive choices. Since the 1990s, Steve, along with his father and brother, have been strip-tilling their corn and no-tilling their soybeans. At that time, Steve was just graduating from high school but remembers conservation as the driving factor in this decision. Sustaining the family business is also what led to enrolling in the AgriEdge Excelsior® program in 2011.

 

“The program has helped us increase our financial awareness. We’ve been able to improve our ROI on a field-by-field basis,” says Steve. “It will continue to be a challenge to stay profitable with the declining commodity prices. The Land.db® technology is a great tool to overcome this challenge because it analyzes our data and our decisions to see if we’re making profitable choices.”  This financial awareness and increased understanding of the impact of management decisions helps Steve and his brother prepare the business for their children.

Reaching a digital dashboard

Steve was first drawn to AgriEdge Excelsior for the risk-management aspect of it. However, starting his 5th season, he now sees the most benefit from using the Land.db software as his digital dashboard for all his farm data. Steve’s advice to growers who are just starting with the program is, “Stay with it. Keep going! I log everything in Land.db now. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. Fully leveraging the software will take time, but it will ultimately save you time.” 

 

With his digital dashboard, Steve can see all of his farm data in one spot instead of having notes here and there. “I was always looking for the right notebook or slip of paper,” says Steve. “I have lots of different notes, so it was hard to remember where I put the notes with the planting information, spraying information or yield information. Trying to keep track and then reference all of it when I needed was difficult.”

 

The next generation of Welshes is growing up with digital devices. When they reach the age to be more involved in the farm, it will be ideal that years of historical farm data is already available through the cloud-based software.

Making decisions based on data and trust

“The AgriEdge Excelsior incentives encouraged me to switch to Syngenta products, but the warranties and how well they work are why I stick with Syngenta products.” says Steve Welsh.

Before enrolling in the program, Steve used mostly generic products. “The AgriEdge Excelsior incentives encouraged me to switch to Syngenta products, but the warranties and how well they work are why I stick with Syngenta products,” says Steve.

 

A couple years ago, Steve leveraged his personalized service team and the technology to decide how to best combat his problems with glyphosate-resistant marestail. He spoke with his AgriEdge Specialist who suggested 2,4-D with Boundary® 6.5 EC followed by Flexstar® GT 3.5 herbicides. The products worked so well that the next year, local retailers were asking what herbicides had kept his soybean fields so clean. Steve is also using 2,4-D and Princep® 4L herbicide as a fall application before his strip-till corn program for better weed control and to eliminate problem weeds like marestail. 

 

Steve didn’t use any fungicides either before joining the program. Now, he advocates for the products’ use since the software quickly is able to prove the profitability and return-on-investment. Understanding how a fungicide application can help protect and maximize yield, Steve now makes informed decisions about using fungicides.

 

“I trust my AgriEdge Specialist’s knowledge and expertise on the products and his understanding of my farm,” says Steve. “Paired with the incentives from the program, it made sense for me to double the amount of fungicides that I sprayed in 2015. This stemmed from a mid-season conversation with my AgriEdge Specialist. I can see the positive financial impact from that choice on a per-field basis. I am always open to trying new products if it makes sense for my farm and will be profitable.”

Connecting data points

Steve logs all his yield data, operational inputs and input applications like planting, spraying and fertilizing into the software. This formulates the return on investment on a field-by-field basis.
He also uses the Ag Connections API to link his Land.db database with his MyJohnDeere cloud account.

“We can seamlessly log the data in the field, upload it to MyJohnDeere.com and then pull it into Land.db using the exchange center software,” explains Steve. “This stops us from having to enter our John Deere machine data manually into my Land.db software. My AgriEdge Specialist can even import the data remotely for us since it’s cloud-based, which has been a big time saver for us.”

 

Having all this data in one place empowers Steve to benefit from the full impact of the program on his operation for today and tomorrow. “Our farm has come full circle,” Steve said. “We are at a point where we are reaping the benefits of the technology, realizing the strength of Syngenta products and benefiting from the cost share incentive, better yields and cleaner fields.”

Contact an AgriEdge manager to learn more

 

©2016 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some crop protection products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration status. 410 Swing Road, Greensboro, NC 27409. AgriEdge®, AgriEdge Excelsior®, Boundary®, Flexstar®, Princep®, the Purpose Icon, the Alliance Frame and the Syngenta logo are trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company. Land.db® is a trademark of AgConnections, Inc. All photos are either the property of Syngenta or used under agreement. John Deere® is a registered trademark of Deere & Company.


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