02 June 2010

Back Home

We finally returned back to the States. We had a wonderful visit to Argentina and I met many friends. I am very impressed with the knowledge and skills of those who work on corn and soybean production in Argentina. The concepts and principles of CREA are extremely valuable to the producers and I think we can bring a few of those ideas home. I may make a few more posts as we try to get a some of the concepts of CREA implemented here in the States.

Thanks for reading.

04 May 2010

CREA: The Technical Meeting

CREA Monte Maiz Wheat Production Meeting

I was able to attend two different CREA group meetings specifically on wheat production. The meetings were organized and run by the CREA advisor and attended by most of the members.

The CREA advisor compiled the wheat production numbers from the members for previous campaign and the research results from the group and the region. The advisor included additional data deemed relevant to wheat production. 

In both meetings, the advisor went through the agronomic benefits of growing wheat in rotation with corn and soybeans. Here, the water table at the time of planting is a very good indicator as to final crop yield. Historically, they receive little rain during the wheat growing season. Water table levels are up this year. The advisors used data that was analyzed with statistics. I don't think they shared any data that wasn't evaluated with statistics, first. Many of the research data was from farms, but most of those plots were randomized and replicated either across a field, or across many farms. 

The advisors were comfortable presenting LSD's and CV's and other measurements for variability within data. The shared regressions and stability tests as well. 

CREA General Baldissera Wheat Production Meeting

In both meetings, the issue of government policy on wheat exports was a major concern. The general straw poll indicated that most producers would grow less wheat. If they grew wheat at all, it would be in regions of the country that have some better historical yields. Some producers may not grow any wheat at all in Argentina, but may try some in a neighboring country. (Yes, some of these producers have land in Uraguay. Remember, that the business model here is to spread your risk by managing land in different regions.)

These producers are on the top of their game with economics and agronomic data for producing wheat. Even with all of that information, they do not know how the government will react this coming year. That is their biggest question going into wheat this season. 

CREA: The Group Meeting III

When Clint Hardy and Suzy Martin came to visit, we were able to attend another CREA group meeting, CREA Pergamino. Jorge Banciotto is the vocale for northern Buenos Aires and he invited us to this meeting. Our host farm was Estancia Santa Rosa, about 10 or 15 km from the paved road. (Later that turned out to be quite the adventure.)

The morning meeting was different than usual. The morning was devoted to discussing how/if CREA should change. The producers were asked to work in groups, fill out individual surveys and discuss how and if CREA should change. The survey asked several questions from the purpose of CREA to the function of the various components of CREA. I kept a copy because it has some of the same questions we might need to ask if we develop something like this.

Once the morning session was over, we were served lunch. I have been told by more than one member that a good lunch is critical to a good meeting (sounds like home). But, for lunch, we started with salami, cheese, olives and bread as appetizers. After that, we had epanadas, baked joys of beef or ham wrapped in something similar to a pie crust. After that, we moved on to chori-pan, which would be similar to an Italian sausage sandwich with French bread. That was capped off with an ice cream dessert and coffee.

After lunch, the amazing part happened... all of the members stayed and all of the members stayed awake. The three "Americanos" marveled at the Argentines' ability to stay attentive and engaged after such a meal.

The afternoon became the normal CREA group meeting with the presentation by the host and group discussion. This group function was similar to the others I have witnessed. The group members do their best to give an honest assessment of the host farm and to provide valuable criticism.

Equally impressive to the ability to stay awake after a big lunch, was the quietness of cell phones. All cell phones were on silent. During the entire day, only three or four calls were answered. If they were answered, the producer quickly and quietly left the meeting area. At home, it almost seems a demonstration of importance to take a cell phone call during a meeting. Here, it was considered rude.  For the most part, the group members stayed engaged for the entire time of the meeting. They all talked, but they were courteous towards each other. Once in a while, the moderator would have to quiet everyone and restore order. This is the type of engagement we in Extension say we want, but we never quite get there in most of our meetings.

It was nearly dark when it was time to leave... and it had been raining all day. We were 10 to 15 km from paved roads, so the drive to the paved roads was extremely exciting. I say exciting because we never had to get out and push... although we came close once or twice. Jorge, the producer who invited us, was also our driver. If he ever decides to change careers, I think he would do just fine in NASCAR or on the Rally circuit!

Soybean Harvest

Soybean harvest is mostly complete in this region and for the more part, it was a good year. Diseases like frog-eye leaf spot and insects such as loopers may have kept yields a little lower than expected. In spite of this, many farmers were pleased with the harvest.

Yields ranged from about 50 to 70 bu/acre for most full season soybeans.

Farmers start the harvest season with corn. When the soybeans are ready, they leave the corn fields and get the soybeans. Once soybeans are harvested, they return to the corn. Their reason for this is that soybeans do not handle rains and weather as well as the corn. The soybeans are prone to open the pods and drop seeds in bad conditions.

The current financial structure and the current taxing situation allows farmers to make more from soybeans than corn. Many of the rented fields have been in soybeans for two or three years now because of economics. The current restrictions on corn and wheat exports implies that soybeans will be grown on rented and again next year.

Watching a field of good corn or soybeans harvested is a lot of fun. I was able to see several fields while here. You can see a short video of soybean harvest on YouTube. For fun, I included an Argentina song that is supposed to be popular at soccer matches for the World Cup.

The role of the farmer and contractor is similar to what I described in the corn harvest post. The farmer and the contractor agree to a price (whether that is cash or a share of the harvest). The contractor wants to get as many fields harvested as quickly as possible. The farmer wants a good harvest in his fields. The contractor wants to get the same job again next year. Both work with those goals in mind.

Many of the contracting combines seem to be in excellent condition. Tractors that pull the grain carts, may or may not be in great shape. I saw more older tractors pulling grain carts than anywhere else. Normally, only one tractor and grain cart were used per combine. In soybeans, this was not an issue. But in corn, the combines were harvesting faster than they could unload, creating a bottleneck. Of course, that extra grain cart, means and extra tractor and an extra employee. It appears that most contractors have decided that one grain cart per combine is sufficient. This probably explains why most grain heads here are smaller than the ones back in the States. I saw some class 6 combines with 20-ft grain heads.

But, now that harvest is mostly over, I can see that they get it harvested. They may use some different techniques than we, but they get the crop out of the field.

A lot of the grain gets put into silo bags, really opening up the old bottle neck of waiting for trucks.

Sitting in a new Claas Lexion was a lot of fun. Harvesting soybeans at about 65 bu/acre was fun as well.

A field of about 200 acres... a thing of beauty.

Working until it's dark is common if the condition of the crop is suitable for harvest. (Just like home.)

Roads and Railroads

A grain truck on the road next to an abandoned railroad. The poles for the old telegraph still remain.

Living in the center of the "Bread Basket" for Argentina, one common question asked my many visitors is, "Where are the trains?" Asking that question gets you about the same answer from every person in the area. "The British built a great train system, but the government took it over and ruined it."

This region (southern Santa Fe, southwestern Cordoba and northern Buenos Aires) is the heart of corn and soybean production in Argentina. This year was a great one. Yields were massive. Almost every seed company has a base here. Seed corn is grown here. Venado Tuerto hosts almost all of the farm machinery manufacturers. Harvest was very exciting because of the yields. And the roads were clogged with semi trucks loaded with grain driving the hundred or so miles to Rosario. And that brings rise to one of the greatest seasons for everyone else... passing semi-trucks on the road.

Semi-trucks can only go 50 miles per hour (80 km/hr) while cars can go 68 miles per hour (110 km/hr). The main road from Venado Tuerto to Rosario is a two-lane road. If you are in a car, sooner than later - - usually sooner - - you will be slowed down by a semi-truck only going 50 mph. In some cases, you will be slowed down by a truck going much slower... usually a very old Ford, Chevy, Dodge or Mercedes Benz. In these cases, semis are trying to pass semis. Your challenge is to pass the semi without getting plastered by a semi coming back from Rosario, or by a car trying to pass that semi. You also have to make sure a car behind you isn't trying to pass you as you are trying to pass the semi. This game is not for the faint-of-heart.

You do all of this while driving parallel to an abandoned railroad. While you are stuck behind one of these semis, or getting up the nerve to pass, you ask yourself.... "Why are there no trains?"

As was told by many, the British did come to Argentina to build railroads. However, so did the French. According to people who remember, those railroads were very good. They were credited with helping to improve the economy of the entire country. But, the railroads were foreign-owned and were built to help export products... not necessarily help products move within Argentina. During World War II, Argentine products became very valuable and the country was running a surplus. President Juan Peron purchased the British and French railroad companies and nationalized the railways.

The government was not able to integrate these rail systems or make money with them. Eventually, transport of goods by truck took over. Today, the truck drivers' union is very strong. For the foreseeable future, trains are not going to transport all that grain to port. Maybe someone could convince the government to build an extra lane or two.

The Back Roads II

An earlier posting on the roads in Argentina addressed some of the challenges of getting around after rain. I've been on a lot more roads since then and the same theme holds true. Rain and back roads in Argentina are a bad mix.

Most farmers are not happy with their roads, or with their government in managing these roads. One farmer told me that they pay taxes based on their land size. All of those taxes go to the government. A local consortium comprised of local citizens then gets 55% of those taxes to manage the roads. The remaining 45% is gone. . . or at least it appears to be gone. The citizens use the 55% to purchase equipment, operate equipment and maintain the roads as best as possible.

Almost all of the back roads are dirt. Gravel is a rare commodity. I am not a civil engineer, but I wonder what just a little gravel on the surface good do. However, if 45% of your money for roads disappears, can you afford to purchase gravel?

Farmers in the States are used to rain keeping them out of the fields at harvest, but they are not used to rain keeping them off the roads. (Of course, I am writing this as many places in Kentucky are under water from heavy rains.)

Because of these roads, many farmers and their families live in towns. Better schools, consistent electricity and access to goods, services, etc. are all good reasons for living in town. About the only people I have witnessed living on the farm have direct access to paved roads and/or do not have children.

With 30% retention on soybean, 20+% retention on corn and a 45% "disappearance" of the road tax and a 21% sales tax, I can understand how a producer may not want to invest any more in the roads. . . or in much of anything related to public services.

In addition to this, there are not as many grain bins and grain elevators as in the States. Also, there are almost no railroads.

06 April 2010

Dairy Farms in Argentina

As content as a cow.

During my time in Argentina, I have visited three or four dairy farms. This is not a large group to make any wide conclusions, but I can make a few observations on what I have seen to date.

1. The dairies I visited all graze alfalfa by rotating cows between paddocks. They supplement the grazing with silage (corn and alfalfa silage) and some grain (corn or grain sorghum).

2. The alflalfa is grown in rotation with corn, soybeans and wheat. An alfalfa field will last about 4 to 5 years. They rotate into row crops for about 4 years.

3. Most of the cows are Holsteins. Some are Jersey.

4. Artificial insemination is the method for breeding.

5. Alflalfa in this region could be cut up to 9 times if adequate water is available in a year.

One of the farms I visited was Alfalfarce which is about 60 km west of Venado Tuerto. Alfalfarce has about 3,100 hectares (7,860 acres). It is managed by a group, Morgan Stein, who manages a total of 20,000 hectares (50,800 acres). Alfalfarce has about 300 hectares (762 acres) of alfalfa and about 1100 cows. The farm has two mobile milking parlors and one stationary. Each cow is milked twice a day. The milking parlor moves from field to field to milk the cows. Each mobile milking parlor milks 36 cows at a time. The milk is chilled to 8 degrees C (45 degrees F) and stored in a 2000-liter mobile tank. Trucks take milk from the farm each day.

On this farm, the 1st cutting of alfalfa is made into silage. Cows rotationally-graze the alfalfa after that.

The dairy part of the operation is in a CREA group for dairy production. The manager of the field crops, Gaston Glarace, is also a CREA advisor for a grain crops group in another region of the country.

With only 300 hectares in alfalfa, most of the other fields are in row crops. As with most places this year, row crops look great. Soybeans are yielding about 4.1 to 4.5 tons/ha (roughly 60 to 67 bu/acre). Corn yielded about 11 tons/ha or 175 bu/acre.

Another farm I visited was El Pimpollo, which has 5,200 hectares (almost 12,900 acres) in one tract. El Pimpollo has a dairy with about 600 to 650 cows, a feedlot and 3,200 hectares (7,900 acres) in crops. They use about 480 hectares for the dairy cows and about 800 hectares for the feedlots. Another 400 hectares is used for breeding. They supply all of their own silage and grain for feed. Alfalfa for the dairy cows is grazed in rotation. Alfalfa is grown in rotation with corn and soybeans.

About 8 people are employed full time on the dairy and another 3 full time on the crops. The farm uses a contractor for who has been planting for this farm for 40 years.

El Pimpollo grows a lot of Pannar corn hybrids for silage production. I visited this farm with a group of South African farmers here on a tour with Pannar. The owner of the farm, Santiago Sastre, gave a PowerPoint presentation with google earth images of his farms and with an economic breakdown of what his goals are per hectare for the dairy and the feedlot. I'm not sure if Santiago is a member of a CREA group, but his presentation was very similar to what I have seen from CREA members.

Portable milking parlor.

Milk tank.

28 March 2010

CREA - The Group Meeting II

The group CREA General Baldissera had their meeting this past week. The president of the group, Santiago Nobile, invited me to attend the meeting. Santiago was extremely helpful to my family and I when we first arrived, helping me get a cell phone and look for apartments. Santiago also gave a presentation on CREA to the Kentucky producers when they visited.

We met at the farm of Alfonso about one hour from Venado Tuerto, and about 100 km from General Baldissera. The meeting started at 8:24 am (6 minutes early) with the round of news, where each farm reports on the latest. Most of the reports centered on how much of the corn and soybean crop has been harvested and the yields to this point. To sum things up quickly, yields look good (about 200 bu/acre for corn and 60 bu/acre for soybean). Farmers were pleased with the corn and a little disappointed with soybean. Frogeye leafspot (Circospora sojina) was a problem this year and reduced some yields.

Alfonso presented his operation to the group and has some general questions about what his 5-year plan should be with his operation. He would like to expand is acreage and put forward a proposal on how to do it. After Alfonso presented his information, the group broke into two groups and they discussed Alfonso's questions. Again, Alfonso, his family and the advisor, Juan Pablo, can not participate in this part of the meeting.

When the groups were completed with their ideas, they presented their information to Alfonso, starting at about 12:20. Again, here is where I wish I could speak or at least understand Spanish. Looking at facial expressions and general body language, I could tell when a comment was favorable or complimentary to the operation and when a comment was critical. This reminded me that none of us like to hear criticism. But, these farmers know that it is precisely that criticism that will help them improve their operations. The comments to Alfonso were complete by about 1:00 pm. So, this response by the groups is not very long, but the information is very useful.

Interestingly, the discussion drifted from responses to Alfonso to a bunch of small discussions between two or three producers. These meetings get everyone to think, both about Alfonso's operation and their own. Lunch was served at 2 pm and the conversation stopped almost immediately. Lunch was chorizo (a sausage), followed by salad, steak, ice cream bars and coffee. I really like Argentine lunches. These folks know how to feed somebody.

On a side note: two of the producers in this group knew Dr. Grant Thomas at the University of Kentucky. They visited Kentucky in 1996 or 1997 and remembered when Dr. Thomas was in Argentina. I have met many farmers in this area of Argentina that knew Dr. Thomas. Again, they credit Kentucky for teaching them how to do no-till or "siembra directa".

Santiago (bottom right) reports on his group's response to Alfonso's (middle left) questions.
More feedback to Alfonso.

CREA - Research Plots on Corn

I was able to visit two different CREA research projects during the past couple weeks, one investigating fertilizer effects on soils and crops, and the second investigating fungicide effect on corn yield. The first visit was with Miguel Boxler, the research coordinator for Sur de Santa Fe and Fernando Garcia with International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), and Ricardo Pozzi, a CREA advisor and the coordinator of this project. This project was coordinated across the Sur de Santa Fe Region.

Dr. Garcia and IPNI were interested in the long term effects of fertilizer on soils and crop yields. They needed competent producers to carry out the long term project. They turned to CREA Sur de Santa Fe. They also needed a sponsor for the project. ASP (similar to CPS in the States) volunteered and provides all of the fertilizer for the tests.

Dr. Garcia informed me that they are in the tenth year of the project and they have six farms remaining. Each farm has fertilizer treatments involving nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur, all compared with no fertilizer. Each farm has three replications of the treatments. Everything is performed with farm-scale equipment and the plots are very large. The farms then operate one of two rotations: corn - wheat - double crop soybeans or full season soybeans - corn - wheat - double crop soybeans.

Over this time, students at universities have conducted research projects. CREA, IPNI and ASP all are interested in as much data as possible. They welcome university researchers. Some of the measurements on the soils include soil stability, velocity of infiltration, young carbon, bulk density, soil P fractions and soil microbiological properties. All of these measurements are compared across the contrasting fertilizer treatments.

After we looked at two different fields, Dr. Garcia, Jorge Minteguiaga (regional coordinator for CREA), and Ricardo Pozzi discussed the direction of the research plots over lunch. After 10 years of data, they were asking each other if new treatments, changes to current treatments or other factors should be included. Personally, I would love to have six farms with replicated plots for ten years. Ricardo told me that the soils in this area are about 70% silt, 25% clay and 5% sand. I would love to have that soil as well!

Miguel told me that he is managing 70 research plots for CREA Sur de Santa Fe, including hybrids, fertilizers, etc. All of the plots are conducted with farm-scale equipment and use large field plots. In addition to these research plots, many of the CREA groups conduct research plots as well. About 270 sites of research are being conducted this year across Sur de Santa Fe (70 of those are organized by the region, the remainder are organized by individual groups or farms).

The second visit was with Maximo Uranga, producer, and Juan Pablo Ioele, advisor, of CREA Posta Espinollos. This CREA group had put together a fungicide protocol on corn. The treatments included six hybrids, all planted in long strips. Fungicide (Opera) was applied at about V14 or at R1 (tassel/silking) in two separate treatments. Each farm has only one replication, but six different farms serve as the replications.

In addition to these treatments, Maximo included some nitrogen fertilizer rates and plant density rates. If I understood correctly, these treatments were solely on Maximo's farm and he had three replications of these treatments.

While Maximo collected grain samples from the harvester, Juan Pablo and I checked stalks for disease. I wasn't keeping track of the treatments, but it appeared that stalk diseases were a function of hybrid and less affected by fungicide. Fungicide timing did increase grain moisture content (the no fungicide treatment was the lowest grain moisture and R1 treatment was the highest grain moisture concentration). Grain yields appeared to be sporadic and not influenced by fungicide treatment. Again, this is only one site and I was looking at the preliminary data.

What I have witnessed is some really good research being conducted on large-scale plots with a coordinated effort. They have the same challenges as we do, such as getting some treatments to work well with equipment limitations. But, to have this many farms with research plots and for these farmers to be sharing their research with each other is extremely helpful to all producers. In addition, I was told that CREA will share their research results with non-CREA producers. They have the opinion that they want more farmers to join CREA and the research plots are a good advertisement for that.

A spot in the field with a "triple", three plants very close to each other. I've noticed a lot of doubles and triples in many of the fields. Planter accuracy is a problem here, but seed costs are much less. Since contractors get paid by the hectare, there is pressure on them to plant each hectare as fast as possible. That probably leads to more doubles and triples.

Dr. Fernando Garcia with IPNI (middle), Miguel Boxler, research coordinator for CREA Sur de Santa Fe (far left) and Ricardo Pozzi, CREA advisor, (between Miguel and Fernando) examine corn in the fertilizer trials.

Maximo is talking with the contractor about how to harvest the plots.

A couple of Maximo's children are enjoying riding in the combine.

Checking stalks for diseases. We saw some anthracnose and a little fusarium.

The weigh wagon is equipped with scales, allowing the contractor to record the weight of each plot.

27 March 2010

CREA - Mendoza Wine Country

My family and I were able to visit western Argentina, Mendoza Province in mid-March. CREA Regional Valles Cordilleranos is a regional group of producers who grow grapes and/or olives. Most of the grapes are for wine. The vocale of the region is Alejandro Toso, a producer who has a vineyard just south of the city of Mendoza.

-- Just as a quick reminder, producers make up CREA groups. The groups make up regions. Each group has a president that serves for two years. The presidents of a region elect a "vocal" to represent the region.--

Alejandro encouraged us to visit several places in Mendoza Province, including Bodegas Salentein, a winery in Alejandro's CREA group. Bodegas Salentein has a wine cellar, a restaurant and museum and a church all on the same farm. This place looked like it was designed to have visitors and tours, just like the tour we attended. The cost for adults to tour the vineyard and cellar was 20 pesos (about $5.30 US Dollars). The drive from central Mendoza city took about an hour, maybe a little more. But, the vineyards and view of the mountains was worth it.

We took one day to visit Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Western Hemisphere. No grapes, but a fantastic view. Vineyards closer to the mountains are at higher elevations and produce grapes that get higher prices for wine. If I understand correctly, the higher elevations bring cooler night temperatures and that helps with color and acidity.

We visited Alejandro's farm, Vinas de Barrancas, which is about 30 to 40 minutes south of central Mendoza city. Alejandro has 100 hectares of grapes. He grows five varieties of grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Sauvignion Blanc. He sells grapes to five different wineries.

In addition to growing grapes, Alejandro offers lunches and the freedom to walk through his finca (farm). Reservations are required. But, after lunch, you walk under the shade of trees through much of his farm and walk to a high point to get a really good view of the valley. So, if you are in the Mendoza area, take the time to visit Vinas de Barrancas, enjoy a great lunch and learn a little about the wine industry as well.

Grape harvest was in full swing and Alejandro took us to one of his neighbors to see the harvest. Grape harvest is mostly done by hand, even though machinery harvesters are available. Many of the wineries prefer to have hand-harvested grapes as part of the tradition.

The CREA group to which Alejandro belongs is CREA Los Barrancas. There are 16 members of CREA Los Barrancas. Three of the members only grow grapes and sell those grapes to wineries. The remaining 13 have both vineyards and wineries. The general meeting schedule for this group is to meet at 9 am and start by the host producer presenting the operation. Things discussed include the winemaking process, grapes and growing grapes. In addition, if the host producer has a winery, then wine tasting occurs and the members of the group provide feedback on how the wine should be priced and marketed. Lunch occurs by 2 pm and the official meeting is over. After lunch, the group members may stay and talk until as late as 6 pm. While the schedule is a little different from CREA groups in southern Santa Fe, the purpose of the meeting is the same, one producer presents his operation and some questions. The other members do their best to provide suggestions, criticism and guidance.

There are ten CREA groups that make up the Region Valles Cordilleranos of CREA. Most of the groups produce grapes. Five of the groups are based in Mendoza. One CREA group in the region is made of producers who grow table grapes. Two groups are for producers of olives.

A side note: almost every farm I visit, the farmer asks me for areas where he can improve. Normally, the farmer gets agitated if I do not provide at least one suggestion. They want me to be critical. They want to see an area that they are missing.

So, while the crops are different, the concept of CREA in the Mendoza area is similar to CREA in southern Santa Fe.

Vines at Bodega Salentein.

Wine cellar of Bodega Salentein.

Barrels of wine aging at the cellar of Bodega Valentein.

Bottles of wine aging at Bodega Salentein.

The restaurant and museum at Bodega Salentein.

Anconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Western Hemisphere.

Alejandro Toso and myself at his farm.

Field of malbec grapes at Vinas de Barrancas.

Vinas de Barrancas.

Harvesting grapes at Finca del Inca, a farm near Alejandro's.

Taking boxes of grapes to the truck. Each worker is paid for each box of grapes harvested.

Box of harvested grapes at Finca del Inca.

Grapes at Finca del Inca.

09 March 2010

AgroExpo: The Work Behind the Scenes

The ExpoAgro is a big event every year and seed companies put a lot of effort into showing their hybrids and varieties. One private research, Martin Johnstone, owner of Durantia, contracts for three of these plots at ExpoAgro.

Each of the companies tries to develop artistic layouts of the crops. To accomplish the layout, each plant is seeded by hand. In some cases, two or three seeds are placed in each spot and then thinned back to one plot. (I plan to bring this up when my crew complains about any type of plot work we do.)

Irrigation is used to prevent any lack of water. Since these are small areas of crops, animals and insects can be especially harsh on the crops. Electric fences, nets, and insecticides are all used to keep damage to a minimum.Weeds are controlled with herbicides and hand-hoeing (again, I will use this with my crew). These plots are as much a work of art as anything. Martin and his crew works very hard to keep all things in an artistic condition when the ExpoAgro comes.

Timing the plantings such that corn has dented kernels, sunflowers have beautiful yellow flowers and sorghum heads have dark seeds takes some effort.

Martin had one person stay with each plot from planting through the ExpoAgro. Each person's sole responsibility was to get the plot ready for show. The crew lived in campers for about 3 months.

The final result was a thing of beauty. The plots looked excellent. Again, they were more like art than fields.

Pioneer before.

Pioneer before.

Pioneer before.

Pioneer before.

Irrigation piping. Neither lack of water, nor insects, nor weeds or diseases could be allowed to make these crops look bad.

Advanta before.

Advanta before.

Advanta before.

Advanta before.

Pioneer after.

Pioneer after.

Pioneer after.

Pioneer after.

Arvales after.

Arvales after.

Arvales after.

Advanta after.

Advanta after.

Advanta after.