From the Editor: The importance of flexibility
By Bree Rody
In manure management, there is indisputable science, chemistry and economics at play. However, the beautiful thing about those elements is that they are always evolving. Every year, every quarter, every day, we discover something new that enhances our practice. That’s why one of the most valuable traits in agriculture is openness to new ideas. Another trait that’s highly desirable: flexibility. Together, along with curiosity and willingness to adapt, those traits are as invaluable as manure itself.
It’s hard to be flexible if you don’t know what’s out there and what’s to come. That’s why when we moved the North American Manure Expo online this year, we made sure to not skimp on any of the popular elements from years past, including education sessions and equipment demos.
Education sessions include a trio of lectures on compaction – including the importance of avoiding it, as well as mitigation and recovery – and a session on real, actionable things farmers can do to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It does us no good to pretend that big problems – like compaction, extreme weather events, or GHG emissions – don’t exist. Instead, we learn how to work around them, work with them and work to overcome them.
Working in ag is tough; one has to constantly re-educate and often must do it on their own time and dollar. It’s why we, as the providers of informational resources, must ensure at all times that our content is current and relevant, yet innovative and forward-thinking. The ideal educational event – and magazine – is a mix of both.
In this issue, we have the ever-relevant and timely matter of seasonal application, as well as discussions on the perennial issue of timing – how that can be used to mitigate nitrogen losses and generate the most return on crops. We answer age-old questions on storage – how to choose the right solution for you, how to factor in finances and more.
But we also highlight the innovators – like the team at Iowa State University that is currently studying the link between manure management and antibiotic resistance. As our world becomes more challenging and unpredictable, it is important that we look to the new innovations to find solutions to keep stock healthy – and business equally healthy.
We’ve all demonstrated flexibility over the last year, whether it’s the flexibility to change up a business model or to move an event online. As we learn new information about how to best store, apply or manage manure, it is imperative to demonstrate the same level of flexibility – for the stock, for the business and for the future.•