Precision Planting Hosts DEKALB® Farmers, Dealers in “The Root Pit”

Publish Date:

Tuesday September 10, 2013

Sitting on straw hay bales positioned uniformly, row by row, in the Precision Planting “Root Pit,” nearly 300 DEKALB® brand farmers and dealers, along with Monsanto employees from Brazil and Argentina, learned about the latest planter technologies at the Farm Progress® Show. They also were challenged with a weighty task: how can you raise average corn yields to 300 bushels per acre to feed 9.7 billion people by the year 2030?

“To do that, we have to understand the corn plant,” said Gregg Sauder, Founder of Precision Planting, LLC, which was purchased by Monsanto in June 2012.  “Data and knowledge will get us there.”

Sauder and Monsanto Chief Technology Officer Robb Fraley were the keynote speakers during the Precision Planting root pit presentation event at the Farm Progress Show. 

The theme of the event was “Harvest Your Potential,” which also was the focus of the root pit agronomy training sessions led by two agronomists throughout the week. Each speaker presented amid a backdrop of 10-foot high corn stalks with the roots visible, as a hole was dug to let visitors see the root depth and structure of a row of corn plants. 

Fraley described Monsanto’s work to produce higher yield. 

“What excites me are the tools and technologies to advance yield and its enormous potential,” said Fraley. 

As examples, Fraley cited Genuity® DroughtGard™ Hybrids, which launched in the Western Great Plains in 2013, Next-Generation Corn Rootworm, which is anticipated to launch later this decade, and the Roundup Ready® Xtend Crop System, which is pending regulatory approval.

“More and more, we’re seeing information technology and data management on the farm, which leads to better decision making,” said Fraley. “The intersection of genetics, breeding and information technology advancements will propel us to better yield.”

Sauder reassured the standing room only audience not to be overwhelmed by data and technology. 

“Monsanto delivers the genetics and breeding advancements,” said Sauder. “We as growers need to do our part and raise the bar with on-farm management and planter performance to create an ideal seed environment.”

That part, said Sauder, includes having a better understanding of all the inputs and techniques that go into producing a single ear of corn, such as tillage, uniform row spacing, planting populations, soil types, germination and root development. 

“I don’t farm by the acre; I farm by the seed,” said Sauder, who, like Fraley, was raised on a farm in Illinois. “The goal is to position every seed to produce an ear of corn, and to get better every year doing that.”

Precision Planting also welcomed visitors to its tent, where on display was an eight-row planter simulator to show how planting decisions can impact yield. Visitors saw other planter technologies, such as vDrive™, FieldView™, YieldSense™ and DeltaForce™, with Precision Planting experts available to answer visitors’ questions.

Sauder added that Monsanto and Precision Planting are developing new technologies, such as FieldScripts®, to be simple and effective. 

“When technology is simple, it makes you better,” he said.


Commercialization is dependent on multiple factors, including successful conclusion of the regulatory process. The information presented herein is provided for educational purposes only, and is not and shall not be construed as an offer to sell, or a recommendation to use, any unregistered pesticide for any purpose whatsoever. It is a violation of federal law to promote or offer to sell an unregistered pesticide.

Individual results may vary, and performance may vary from location to location and from year to year. This result may not be an indicator of results you may obtain as local growing, soil and weather conditions may vary. Growers should evaluate data from multiple locations and years whenever possible.

ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. DEKALB®, DroughtGard™, FieldScripts®, Genuity®, and Roundup Ready®  are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC. DeltaForce™, FieldView™, Precision Planting®, vDrive™ and YieldSense™ are trademarks of Precision Planting, LLC.  All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2013 Monsanto Company.