Peterson Farms Seed held their annual field day, where they welcomed growers onto their farm for a day full of agriculture and fellowship.

“Frankly, I love this day. I love the interactions with customers,” Carl Peterson, president of Peterson Farms Seed said.

A day full of learning

An attendee looking at their program pamphlet while listening to Tommy Grisafi talk about the current market sitation. Photo taken September 1, 2021, in Harwood, North Dakota. (Emily Beal / Agweek)
An attendee looking at their program pamphlet while listening to Tommy Grisafi talk about the current market sitation. Photo taken September 1, 2021, in Harwood, North Dakota. (Emily Beal / Agweek)
While many growers look forward to attending the annual field day to catch up with some old friends, many come excited to learn about various topics in the agriculture industry. According to Peterson, the speakers are invited to share relevant information and topics that are current issues or conversations in the agriculture industry.

It was no surprise that this year, Daryl Ritchinson, director of North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network, was in attendance to discuss the current drought situation that is plaguing the majority of the Upper Midwest. Other topics included markets, precision agriculture and much more, guaranteeing there was something for every grower to enjoy.

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“Our goal with the field day is not so much to sell products; our company goal is to help our customers raise their yields. Sometimes that’s a new corn hybrid or soybean variety, but sometimes it might just be planter settings or some of the other things we got going here. So the focus of this day is that every farmer who comes will learn something that will help raise their yields on their farm next year,” Peterson said. “We very quickly learned that along with seed, our growers needed additional information. So we’ve been doing this field day since 2005 and it has just been growing and expanding as we go.”

Innovative Technology

A large talking point in many of the lectures given at the field day was one common topic: technology. While precision agriculture has made things easier for many producers, it also makes simple tasks, such as maintenance to their equipment, much more important.

“Maintenance is huge,” Kris Brekken, general manager of RKO Enterprises, said. “We’re just trying to put a good message to the growers that troubling times like this year with no rain shows up some of the problems we have been seeing and how we can correct them.”

According to Brekken many of the maintenance issues he sees deal with disc diameter, portions of the planter itself being worn out and just things needing to be replaced.

Brekken urges producers to take their time with their equipment and their maintenance plan. It is also important for growers to pay close attention to how their seed is being planted, and if it is being planted properly. If the planter is not planting the seed in the desired way, farmers can lose money very quickly.

“There are so many dollars at stake. I think, in planting, you set your yield with your planter. The opportunities they have with having a good crop and a subpar crop can happen and can change very quickly. So being able to get on top of those decisions, find out what goes into making those decisions through monitoring and getting out and digging and looking at your trench and those kinds of things,” Brekken said.

Going back to the basics

Attendees were invited to take a couple swings at some golf balls between speakers. Photo taken September 1, 2021, in Harwood, North Dakota. (Emily Beal / Agweek)
Attendees were invited to take a couple swings at some golf balls between speakers. Photo taken September 1, 2021, in Harwood, North Dakota. (Emily Beal / Agweek)
While technology and precision agriculture have no doubt made many positive impacts on the farm, it has also caused some farmers to not check their equipment’s performance and accuracy the way they should, leading to error and loss of money in yields.

“There’s a lot of guys going out there planting three quarters of an inch on the corn and it should be going in at 2 inches. When the whole field is going in and it’s not the proper depth, that’s a big deal and there’s a lot of dollars left on the table,” said Rick Swenson, lead agronomist at Peterson Farms Seed.

He believes that producers have become too trusting with technology and urges them to go back to the basics of farming and agronomy. Though the computer in the cab may be reading one number, an entirely different thing could be happening in the actual soil.

“If it says it’s at 2 inches, we kind of take it as gospel that it's 2 inches. That’s where we need to get back to the basics, the real agronomy. I mean if you don’t have dirty knees by 9 o’clock, I think you’re leaving bushels on the table. You need to get out behind that planter and digging to see that stuff,” Swenson said.