GrainSense in United States: Soil health journey resulting in solving cattle feeding problems
Soil health solutions boosted with timely testing
GrainSense distributor Elevate Ag is a Kansas based biological company providing soil and crop amendment products and services for sustainable, regenerative agriculture – soil health solutions to recapture profitability through use of all natural products. Elevate Ag also represents the GrainSense Handheld Analyzer, which they use in their customer projects and sell these devices to their customers.
We talked to Brian Ellis, Regenerative Ag Consultant at Elevate Ag. He has found a versatile clientele from the fields of agriculture and further processing for the GrainSense Analyzer. In addition to farmers, he works with merchandising partners, co-operatives and the malting industry.
“The advantage of the GrainSense Handheld Analyzer is the portability, the small sample size, and the speed at which it will analyze the protein. A farmer or a grain merchandiser can show up at harvest time or slightly before harvest and can test the sample in the fields and then make decisions very quickly and easily. Where applicable, one person can visit a lot of farms and a lot of fields relatively quickly and relatively easily with a relatively inexpensive device,” Mr. Ellis explains the benefits they’ve recognized using the GrainSense Analyzer.
Finding premiums and solving problems with on-the-field testing
The team at Elevate Ag has been able to find premiums for e.g. wheat for multiple customers utilizing the GrainSense Analyzer. Premiums that these customers weren't aware existed. An interesting case was found with farmer Austin Schweizer from Sterling, Kansas, so we also gave him a call.
Austin Schweizer is a fifth-generation farmer working together with his dad on their very versatile farm. They raise wheat, corn, soybeans, sorghum and milo, as well as cover crops, and also have a cattle operation. Their farm is all dry land, so they have to be careful about using their moisture wisely. They have been on the sole health journey for five or six years now.
Last year, the Schweizer farm ran Elevate Ag products on all their corn and Milo acres and got very promising results. Testing the grain with GrainSense Handheld Analyzer also revealed surprising results.
“We took samples of the grain as we were harvesting and tested those on the driveway. Everywhere where we had used the biological products from Elevate Ag we gained a full percent of protein in the corn. We tested it three times to make sure that we were right. In 20 minutes in the driveway, we had done ten samples and we realized that hey we have a problem, we need to make some adjustments,” Mr. Schweizer tells, and continues:
“We've been feeding corn in our feedlot. Their diets are adjusted off the average protein of corn in the US. We were pushing 10,5 % protein corn that we were feeding our cattle. We realized, off this test, that we needed to readjust the diets. We were pumping more protein than we thought just because we had higher quality grain and we didn't know it.”
This led to significant savings in the feeding cost, but also helped them to balance the diet of their cattle.
“With our feedlot, we were having trouble with acidosis, trying to get the gut of the cattle balanced. Once we made those adjustments it made feeding cattle a lot easier and a lot simpler. I'm not saying we wouldn't have found that, but GrainSense found it a lot faster. We always think our grain is the standard, corn is corn and it's always the standard. GrainSense was able to show us that that wasn't the standard and we needed to make some adjustments and we needed to do it soon. There is a value there, it's just hard to know how the one entity of grain farming helped pay for the entity of the cattle feeding. Having those tests made us money, it's just hard to know how much that was,” Mr. Schweizer concludes.
Important and valuable findings, or as Austin would put it “That’s huge!”. GrainSense is happy to be part of enabling quick and easy testing to make agriculture more sustainable and more profitable for farmers around the world also this season!