How research and data can help meet end-user demand and provide a marketing edge
Sustainability on our farm is a year-round focus that begins with data. We want to make sure our soils are balanced before we plant, so we take samples and get them tested. We look for organic matter in the soil and hope to see improvements from last year.
Using GPS technology, we overlay this information with yield data, seed types and planting rates, as well as in-season management to see what decisions led to stronger yields. Combining these insights with additional information, we lay out our plan for the coming season, setting yield goals based on the production capacity of each of our fields. We also use this data to put together our nutrient plans for the coming year, which helps us carefully select inputs. Our plan helps us apply the right inputs, in the correct amounts, on the appropriate location. Over applying isn’t only irresponsible environmentally, it’s financially irresponsible, too.
In our equipment we use precision technology and track all those inputs throughout the growing season. After harvest, we overlay this information with our harvest data and drone photos. This helps us understand where we were most successful and determine what practices we could replicate in other fields to see that outcome across more acres.
Sustainability might be a newer idea to some consumers and end users of soy. But to farmers, it’s always been top of mind, even if we haven’t always used the term to describe it. We must be sustainable to be an economically viable operation… and of course to make sure that the next generation has the opportunity to continue the family legacy in a better starting position than we were. Just like the generations before did for us.
I personally think it’s exciting that consumers of U.S. Soy are interested in how we produce our crops. We work hard to produce quality, sustainable soybeans, so we appreciate the opportunity to highlight these attributes and practices to those who use our product.
We realize that not every one of our customers can come to Kaiser Farms to see the quality crop and sustainable practices firsthand. That’s why communicating with the elevators and processors who buy our crop is so important. We share information about our sustainability practices with our local elevator. This transparency builds their confidence in what they are selling. In return, our elevator helps us understand what their customers need from U.S. soybeans.
U.S. Soy has a great sustainability story. U.S. soybean farmers work hard to do what’s best for the environment because that’s what’s best for our operations and the next generation of U.S. soybean farmers. We collect data and use that information to inform our decisions. At the end of the day, this means that our first purchasers can be assured they are buying a sustainable product and can stand behind that sustainability with their customers downstream.