About “Beyond the Rows”

Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
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2010 Crop Season

Corn Yield Contest: It's About Farmers

In late December, the National Corn Growers Association announced the winners in the U.S. national corn yield contest. It’s a closely watched competition, by both farmers and seed companies. Farmers look to see where average yields may be headed, and seed companies look for an opportunity to one-up the competition.

DeKalb and Hubner Seed customers and products did well in the contest. More precisely, they did outstandingly well, with five of eight first-place wins at the national level and 53 first-place wins at the state level. We’re proud of what our customers accomplished with DeKalb and Hubner corn … Full Article »

Farmer and field

It's a New Year…Almost!

By Katie

It’s human nature to think ahead. We think about what we’re going to have for supper, and what we’re going to do for the coming weekend. In the seed industry, now is the time we start thinking about our plan for success for the upcoming year. We think about varieties we’re going to plant, how much seed we think we’ll sell, plans for plots, plans for field days, programs, and financing, and the list goes on and on.

We make these decisions based on how the current harvest is going and what we think acreage will do next … Full Article »

Researchers from Monsanto's Chesterfield Village site come out to Jerseyville to observe new traits and technologies growing outside.

Research Is More Than Spending Time in a Lab

From the road, the Jerseyville research farm looks like any other Southwest Illinois farm: corn and soybeans dominate the landscape and a couple sheds rise above the green. Once I entered the center of the 240-acre site, I discovered how special the farm is—where nearly every row of plants receives special care.

Jerseyville is one of a handful of sites where biotech traits are tested in the field. Their performance and reaction to the conditions (much more variable than in a controlled setting like a greenhouse) are monitored and tracked throughout the season.

That’s why nearly a dozen researchers from … Full Article »

Video: Planting Drags Out, Moisture Issues at Every Turn

It seems like forever since we had an update on what was happening on Bob Walker’s cotton, corn and soybean farm. Planting that started back in mid-April faced torrential rains in early May. Planting started so long ago and the blog about it was written so long ago, that people have likely forgotten about it. What a luxury that would be for the Walkers. It’s a luxury they do not have for sure. That’s because planters were still rolling at Walker farms throughout the month of June.

“We replanted some yesterday (June 30) but we’re doing alright. It has been … Full Article »

Video: Youth Getting Back to the Farm

By Kate

Did you know that about forty percent of the farmers in this country are 55 years old or older? I first heard this statistic from Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, at a 2010 Commodity Classic session and it really stuck with me. It got me thinking…you often hear parents talk about their childrens’ professions, “Oh, well they’re a [teacher, engineer, computer programmer…]” but it’s extremely rare, I believe, to hear someone say “my child is a farmer.”

Agriculture is increasingly overlooked as a career choice for young people. This is partly due to the nature of the … Full Article »

Muscatine Ag Students Take Hands On Learning to the Extreme

By Kate

Most farmers don’t have to worry about getting the crops in and making time for their algebra homework but at the Muscatine Ag Learning center in Muscatine, IA, the students face that very time crunch.

The Muscatine Agriculture Learning Center is a unique center that serves Muscatine High School and the community college. High school students in the agriculture program, the majority of which live in an urban environment, get hands on experience running the farm and in some cases, college credit. At the center the students are the backbone of the farming operations.

I was at the … Full Article »

The Race Against Mother Nature

By Tyne

It’s a race against Mother Nature every spring and fall for farmers across the U.S. This season, some may argue Mother Nature has pulled ahead over the past month. What started out to be a great year for planting with above normal temperatures in many areas across the country, has turned into a waiting game for farmers.

Fred Pond farms in northwest Ohio, and for him, this hurry-up-and-wait game is getting old

Pond has all of his corn in the ground, but only 5 percent of his soybeans planted.

“We’re actually slightly ahead of last year,” Pond said. … Full Article »

Collapsed levee wall from the recent Tennessee flooding. Water caused the levee to collapse creating that huge hole in center of the levee

Flash Flooding in the U.S.: The Challenges Farmers are Facing

The first weekend in May is always a big one in the Memphis area. It is the start of the month-long Memphis in May festival, and for those of us in the cotton business, it generally signals the start of planting in small communities all around. But this year, the stormy weather threw us a curve that undid months of planning.

Sure, I was disappointed to miss Alison Krauss–a concert I had looked forward to for a while–but for Bob Walker and hundreds of other farmers, the storm and subsequent flooding meant major setbacks far more serious than a rained-out Full Article »

Precision planting! Sean and Pat have nearly the identical form

When It Comes to Planting, Mother Nature Holds the Cards

Monday began with a rain shower in the St. Louis area. No planting at the Jerseyville farm for the next two days, I thought. After getting settled in at work, I sent an email to the crew at the farm, asking, “Do you think you’ll get in the fields later this week?”

To my surprise, the farm planned on hitting the fields. Research associate Joe Kinser replied immediately, “We caught a shower here this morning, but I think we will plant a few small fields in the 1 to 4 p.m. time frame at Jerseyville today. Let me know when … Full Article »

BobWalker

Thinking Through Planting, One Task at a Time

Until I worked in agriculture, I really didn’t know what kind of work went into planting the fields that I’d drive by everyday. Man, have I learned a lot and yet there are so many things I’m still learning.

Farmers like Bob Walker of Somerville, Tenn. have a lot to consider when planting. For quite a while he’s been helping me understand some of what farmers are juggling. This time, I’ve convinced him to help me do regular updates from his farm this season.

I’m starting with the blog posts now, because Bob finally got to start planting. He’s planting … Full Article »