Co-sponsored by No-Till Farmer and Wall Street Access, the event’s goal was to help Wall Street fund managers better understand the food production cycle and this year’s challenging fertilizer markets.

It was a follow-up to a similar Ag Day event for Wall Street investment fund managers that we co-sponsored last summer that zeroed in on the ag equipment industry.

Clay Mitchell of Buckingham, Iowa; Jeff Martin of Mt. Pulaski, Ill.; and Ray McCormick of Vincennes, Ind., demonstrated why today’s no-till innovators are leading the pack when it comes to producing food. Other speakers representing the ag equipment, GPS and fertilizer industries included Matt Hays, Equipment Technologies (Apache sprayers), Mooresville, Ind.; Steve Koles, Hemisphere GPS, Calgary, Alberta; Bert Frost, CF Industries, Deerfield, Ill.; Gary Smith and Denny Addis, The Andersons, Maumee, Ohio; and Joe Ewing, Terra Industries, Sioux City, Iowa.

Here’s a brief look at a few of the ideas presented. Results from an exclusive late-winter No-Till Farmer fertilizer survey that was presented at the New York City meeting appeared on page 3 of the April issue.

1. RTK equipment offers sub-inch accuracy with our strip-till toolbar and planter and lets us drop corn in the center of the berm. Corn planted off to the side of the strip will emerge several days later and leads to a 3% yield loss. Planting directly on the strips yields an extra 7 bushels per acre. With $4 corn, that amounts to $131,600 more income with 4,700 acres of corn.

— Jeff Martin

2. Take a closer look at government payments. While no-tilling, seeding cover crops, practicing nutrient management and tiling each earns us a separate government payment, there is a $20-per-acre bonus available by using all four practices on our farm.

— Ray McCormick

3. Turning off spray nozzles individually as we approach grass waterways or overlap end rows saves 20% on chemical costs.

— Clay Mitchell

4. Less than 20% of new tractors are GPS equipped, even though a typical payback is 12 to 18 months.

— Steve Koles

5. Sales of self-propelled sprayers will rise as growers insist on more timely pesticide application.

— Matt Hayes

6. Lime is the most cost-effective way to correct many soil problems.

— Denny Addis

7. The popularity of anhydrous ammonia is not going away, but there’s going to be more pressure on using it safely and properly.

— Joe Ewing

8. Turning off individual seed boxes on a planter when you cross grass waterways can save 15% on seed costs.

— Clay Mitchell

9. In our operation, corn nets an additional $100 per acre over soybeans. That’s why we intend to grow soybeans on just 6% of our ground.

— Jeff Martin

10. Part of the concern over fertilizer supplies this spring hinges on deliverability. With a Middle East order for urea, the fertilizer needs to be shipped to New Orleans, loaded on barges for shipment up the Mississippi River, delivered to the distributor’s warehouse, trucked to a retail center and then sent to the farm. If the order were placed on Feb. 15, it would not likely reach an Iowa farm until May 5.

— Bert Frost

11. By investing in less machinery, we save $5 per acre in annual machinery costs. That’s $25,000 in our 5,000-acre operation.

— Jeff Martin

12. Agriculture will recover quicker than general businesses from the current economic downturn.

— Gary Smith

13. Versus conventional tillage, strip-till saves us 2,250 hours of labor per year. That works out to a savings of $27,000 with 4,700 acres of corn.

— Jeff Martin