What is in this article?:
• The Conservation Legacy Awards Program is a national program designed to recognize outstanding environmental and conservation achievements by U.S. soybean farmers.
• Selection is based on each farmer’s environmental and economic efforts on their farm.
• There are three regional winners, from which a national winner will be chosen and announced at an awards banquet to be held at the Commodity Classic in Nashville, Tenn., in March 2012.
CULLEN BRYANT, South Region Conservation Legacy winner, uses soy biodiesel in all his vehicles.
Acts as a solvent
“When you first start with biodiesel it will act as a solvent. It will clean all the ‘gunk’ out of your tanks and vehicle fuel systems. So expect to replace fuel filters more often, until the system is cleaned out.”
That was a minor inconvenience, but in the long-term, using biodiesel is going to improve engine life, Bryant says.
“We are using soy biodiesel in some tractors that are 30-40 years old, and we haven’t seen any loss in power or any detriment to our ability to do whatever we want to do with our tractors and other vehicles. I haven’t had any problems with soy biodiesel at all,” Bryant adds.
Anything I can do on the farm and in my personal life to help reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, I’m going to do it. And, anything I can do to help keep our environment cleaner, I’m going to do that, too. Using soy biodiesel helps accomplish both of those goals.”
Not only does the South Carolina grower use biodiesel, he uses it wisely. One of the benefits of adding GPS, along with tractor equipment with auto steer and automatic shift feature has been fuel savings.
“This past year we were planting cotton, using a strip-till rig, and running the tractor at 5.5 miles per hour. In seventh gear, full throttle, we were using more than nine gallons of fuel per hour. Using the automatic shift feature along with auto steer, we dropped fuel usage to 6-7.5 gallons per hour,” he recalls. And, we had plenty of horsepower to get the job done right, he says.
Bryant points out that saving 1.5-3 gallons per hour over a large acreage of cotton makes a big difference in fuel costs. More importantly the conservation-minded farmer says it saves a little wear and tear on the environment.
Bryant Farms also uses variable rate technology on their commercial fertilizer applications — they use some chicken litter and use a spreader to apply it.
Variable rate, Bryant says, allows him to provide plants with all the food they need to grow, but doesn’t waste fertilizer and most importantly, doesn’t leave excess to have a negative impact on the environment.
“I believe in feeding your crop. You feed your crop just like you feed your animals or yourself. Crops are not much different and fertilizer is plant food. The first year using variable rate application on better than 2,000 acres we used very little phosphorus or potash — and I mean very little,” Bryant says.
We were able to reduce nutrient costs, reduce liming and apply lime and fertilizer in places where we needed it and not waste it in places where we didn’t need it, he explains.
We built variable application maps using GPS technology and a Veris machine to give more precise data, which has worked well, he adds.
Bryant is a strong supporter and participant in the Conservation Reserve Program, the Environmental Quality Incentive Program, and the Conservation Stewardship Program.
He grows soybeans, cotton, peanuts and a smaller acreage of corn. All his crops are either no-tilled or strip-tilled. Soybeans are no-tilled, cotton, peanuts and corn are strip-tilled. Conservation and profitability can work together, he says.