2020 Vision

Here’s what a leading ag analyst eyes as major trends impacting no-tillers over the next 14 years.

 
During January’s 14th annual National No-Tillage Conference in St. Louis, Charlie Rentschler gazed into the crystal ball and came up with 11 major trends no-tillers will have to deal with by the year 2020.
 
A farm equipment analyst with Foresight Research Solutions in Oak Park, Ill., and a farmer in Indiana, he sees a bright future for no-tillers in the coming decades, even though these trends will place more pressure on profit margins. 
 
 “But I remain optimistic because no-tillers represent the cutting edge of adoption,” he says. “You parked the moldboard plow, dropped old ways of doing things, tried many new ideas and were willing to make some mistakes.”
 

1. Worldwide Food Demand Will Continue.

 
Rentschler says the world population now stands at 6.4 billion and will reach 10 billion by 2050. Much of the increased food demand is coming from the Asian middle class, specifically China, where subsistence diets are being replaced with protein rich diets. 
 

2. Oil Prices Will Trend Higher.

 
“We’re never going to see $10 or $15 per barrel oil prices again, as half the world’s oil supply is used up,” he says. “Production will decline 5 to 6 percent per year without new discoveries.”
 
 He says the world will run out of oil by 2050 or 2060. But there will be plenty of new fuel conservation efforts and more production and exploration even though it will be tougher and more expensive. There will also be more energy substitutes such as liquid natural gas, converting gas…
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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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