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Master of Agribusiness

Variable Crop Residue Management

Brian Myers, Basehor, Kans., defended his thesis, “Variable Crop Residue Management,” on April 10th. He is the Alliance Development Manager for John Deere Company in Olathe. Myers is a spring graduate from Kansas State University with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree.

Producers are constantly looking for ways to be more efficient and improve yields. One new avenue farmers are exploring is the amount of crop residue to leave or remove from fields. Crop residue serves as a valuable source of nutrients for the soil, but too much can be a deterrent.  If new technology can effectively provide a way to micro-manage crop residue levels within a field, the benefits will go beyond soil health.  Surplus crop residue can be collected for supplementary income while leaving the optimum amounts in the field to maintain the environment and soil health as well as promote future crop growth. 

“Great strides have been made in the areas of seed genetics, farming practices, and precision technology to allow producers to improve their productivity.  These developments lead to another critical value driver for the producer – advanced crop residue management,” Myers said.

The objective of his Master of Agribusiness thesis was to create a budget model to determine the economic impact of crop residue removal that is sustainable for the long-term, while also enhancing soil quality and increasing grain yield.

”The future of variable rate technology applied to any farm input or output is crucial in giving producers the opportunity to improve their productivity,” Myers said.

Myers developed a budget model using crop residue return rate, prices, costs and other factors to determine the economic feasibility of harvesting crop residue at variable rates.

Dr. Jeffery Williams, Professor of Agricultural Economics and Myers’s thesis advisor, said, “Brian’s work identifies factors that are important in using variable rate crop residue harvest so that it is profitable and environmentally sustainable.”