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LEXINGTON — Agriculture is ever changing. Seeds change, equipment changes, technology changes, inputs are ever changing and farmers’ ages change. How do you keep up? O’Hanlon Seed plans for the future, always anticipating what lies ahead.
They offer Channel Seed, Zimmatic pivot irrigation, Precision Planting products, cover crops, custom field work and crop consulting to farmers. They are in the business of helping their growers plan, prepare, and grow their crops.
Dustin O’Hanlon is a seedsman for Channel. He signed up with channel because he was impressed with the resources the company has put into Nebraska and local research locations. Bayer, the parent company, has also made strides to become a global leader in agriculture. Their goals coincide with the goals of O’Hanlon Seed, to be looking to the future.
Channel Seed has been around since 2009, O’Hanlon said and in 2011 they became a premier independent seed dealer and their growth has been significant as they continue to strive to be at the top in their industry.
There are over 30 Channel Seed Corn hybrids alone that will work well in this area. O’Hanlon said this gives producers a larger portfolio to help negate risk and meet their specific needs. O’Hanlon Seed also carries Channel Soybeans as well as Forage seed, Alfalfa seed, Native Grass seed, and numerous cover crops.
Of the Bayer Water Utilization Learning Center in Gothenburg, Dustin said “That facility provides a great amount of research and information to have here locally. The same seed I’m selling to my customers has already had a test run in the same soils and climate that they will be planting in.”
Bayer also has a division called Climate Cooperation, which offers Climate View, available to Channel growers. This allows producers to store Precision data and access satellite imagery, which is updated every 10 days, to show the producer the health of their crops. This can help ensure the maximum number of bushels for the least amount of cost, O’Hanlon said.
A big change for 2021 is the change to offering Zimmatic pivots, a division of Lindsay Corporation. When the offer presented itself to take over the Zimmatic dealership, it made perfect sense to Dustin. Not only was it a familiar system for the area but it came with the value-added features of being a great irrigation system and a very forward-thinking company, once again fitting into the goals at O’Hanlon Seed.
Zimmatic is listening to their owners and producing a product that is sturdy, long-lasting and at the top of the industry for technology. At Lindsay they know the future of agriculture relies on finding new ways to increase output while conserving resources and reducing waste. They are passionate about delivering solutions that advance irrigation methods and help growers make every drop count—on their field and around the world. Derek Weeder is the pivot manager. He joined O’Hanlon Seed with the Zimmatic dealership and comes in with many years of experience and expertise.
In the fall of 2017 Matt McClain, the Precision specialist at O’Hanlon Seed, built their own custom Precision planter and displayed it at Husker Harvest Days and that’s when things took off for the Precision division of their business.
They now custom build planters or modify them according to their producers’ needs as part of their Precision Planter offering. They can design a and build a full Precision Planter from the ground up with exactly what the farmer needs and can do it for much less due to low overhead. They originally started with a 12 row high speed planter and have built 10 complete planters and modified over 20 with upgrades to keep up with the new equipment and technology.
O’Hanlon says this will do away with “cookie cutter” options and help save growers money, focusing on only what they need.
When it comes to cover crops, “we can mix them faster than anyone,” O’Hanlon said.
Cover crops are still a staple of O’Hanlon Seed, which they have been offering since 2005. “We have been in cover crops for a long time,” said O’Hanlon, “we know them and keep adjusting when necessary, to get the best benefit from them.”
Cover crops can help nurture the soil, reduce nitrates and increase yields. O’Hanlon said even in the tight economy, producers are still ordering cover crops, seeing the benefit they provide not only to the environment, but their overall production.
O’Hanlon said they are the only company from a three-state area who can mix cover crops on a large scale and in a timely fashion. Kory Thatcher manages the seed warehouse and he said they can mix up to 5,000 acres per day of cover crops which is markedly above other competitors.
Custom field work continues to explode Dustin said. “We started this service after producers were not having enough time” The circumstances that generate a call to O’Hanlon Seed are varied. It may be not enough hours in the day, a weather event, a shift in priorities or a change in the farm ownership. These and many other situations can put the crew at O’Hanlon Seed to work. Rick Seberger, Jason Williams, Harrison Racek, Sam Tingelhoff and Mick Appelt are my guys in the field, Dustin said.
“We have the ability and the capacity to do it, so it’s just another service we can offer our growers to help see that work is done in a timely manner,” said Dustin.
“As things change, we evolve, to continue to stay at the top of our industry,” O’Hanlon said.
They service an area from the Kansas state line in the south, South Dakota border in the north, Ogallala in the west and Grand Island in the east, O’Hanlon said. They can normally take care of 1,000 acres per day and offer this for nearly any crop, except corn.
In 2014 O’Hanlon Seed added a strip tilling with dry fertilizer operation that they offer to their producers. This year, they are able to apply liquid fertilizer with the strip tiller also. Strip tilling helps decrease costs and gives the ability to get the right nutrients into the root zone of the crop so there is nothing blowing in the wind or running away with the rain.
O’Hanlon Seed started offering custom tillage equipment in 2016. Dustin said this is high cost equipment they can run for producers or they will rent it out to producers, so they don’t have to purchase it themselves. “It’s yet another way to help growers out and minimize their cost,” he said.
Shamrock Agriculture Consulting has been an integral part of O’Hanlon Seed since 2005. Their agronomists are Tyler Gruntorad and Jake Dreiling.
Both go out into the fields during the growing season and help growers with their weekly plant health checks. They also conduct moisture probes in the fields and make sure there is no over or under watering of the crops. Although they are monitoring the fields all summer, O’Hanlon said 90 percent of the agronomy work is done in the fall before anything is planted. He says that is when all the data is analyzed, and plans are made.
O’Hanlon said in the ever changing ag business, they are constantly looking into new ideas and they work to stay knowledgeable and help growers adapt quickly, showing them the benefits and risks.
“I always tell my crop consultants they make million-dollar decisions every week,” said O’Hanlon. “We need to do everything we possibly can to help growers thrive. We have to make sure they succeed for our success.” He said
Our producers in this area have seen bushel increases every year for the last 10 years, said O’Hanlon; it has increased in some cases up to 60 bushels per acre over 10 years.
In maintaining his goal to be a leader in his business, Dustin has noted the growth in organic farms. Three years ago, due to demand, they started consulting for organic farms. “The industry is leaning this way to meet specialized consumer needs, so we have seen this grow significantly in the last three years,” he said.
Looking ahead to the 2021 growing season, O’Hanlon said, “We do everything in our power to help our farmers succeed.”