Cut Down Your Drying Time for Hay


We are COUNTING THE DAYS until we can start mowing hay!  It’s like therapy you don’t have to pay for if you ask me.  So today, we’re going to talk about how can we shorten the time between when we cut hay and bale it.  As an added bonus we’ll also touch on how we can produce a better quality forage.

We mow with a John Deere moco on our farm.  In the process of putting up hay, some years are exceedingly challenging, from a drying time standpoint. Plus for us time is always of the essence.  Therefor, it becomes really important to have as short a window between cutting and baling. The other thing we focus on is leaf retention; because leaf retention is where we get a lot of the protein and a lot of the feed value. Our main goal is to maintain as much forage as we can, leaving nothing behind in the field; and yet, keeping it in a way that it will stay good throughout the winter.

What we’re doing is as we’re cutting, we’re spraying Pro-Serve at the rate of a gallon per 100 ton of forage. Now, we also use Wex to speed up the drying as well which goes on at the rate of one quart for every 25 gallon of water. Our applicator tank is set up with a 12-volt pump. There’s a switch with a pressure gauge and a control toggle in the cab so we can control how much Proserve & Wex we’re putting on. The low-volume electric pump works great. We have four nozzles strung across the moco.  They’re evenly spaced on our 14 foot cutter bar.

This is INCREDIBLY easy to do and costs less than $2.00 per ton at factory-direct pricing, so it’s very inexpensive.  We’re very pleased with the results we see year in and year out. The best part about using this system is we typically cut our drying time by at least one full day. Where other people may mow on Tuesday and not be able to bale until Thursday or Friday; we start mowing on a Tuesday morning and bale Wednesday afternoon. As we come in and we do that, if there’s a rain coming, we can get by on a shorter window, which has saved us a lot of headaches.

Another benefit of this is we typically bale somewhere in the 18% moisture range. Baling at 18% moisture allows us to hang on to a whole bunch of leaf.  If we can keep those leaves on the bale, we end up with more tonnage. We also end up with more protein. We’ll end up with more feed value.

I hope that you find this information beneficial and as always feel free to message us on Facebook, or give Rod a call at 641-919-1206.

🚧 Bad Information Can Be Really Dangerous 🚧


Good Afternoon. Rod here at A Better Way to Farm. I’m excited to come to you today. One of the issues that bothers me in America today is that our 24-hour news service has taught us lots of bad habits. They give us a headline and they talk about something that’s really sensational to reel us in.  Then they talk about it, but they don’t really tell us anything. The problem is, bad information makes us as farmers make bad decisions.

Today, specifically, I caught an article, and the title of it was “Micronutrients’ Macro Impact on Plant Health.” I was so excited when I saw the article I thought the university’s finally had something positive on micronutrients however, after reading two pages of information,  I was left frustrated.

Since 2012, five universities have been spending tax dollars in five states with 200 field trials reviewing micronutrients. The first thing they concluded was there’s a potential problem with the interpretation of soil test and tissue test results. That’s possibly true if we’re using the wrong lab, but if we use Midwest Labs, there’s no question. MidWest Labs knows how to interpret their work, and they know how to take that and make recommendations specifically for our micronutrients.  The article went on to say if we don’t apply things we don’t need, that adds to our bottom line and saves us money….Well, yes obviously that’s true. That’s why we here at A Better Way to Farm are not going to push you to ever do a micro mix. We don’t believe that everything that you need is in one jug. We’ve got to take each part of each field, treat it separately, and do exactly what it says because we don’t want to put something on that we don’t need, but we also can’t afford to be deficient in something and miss it. Such as Boron.  Which has a major role in cell wall biosynthesis and membranes, and therefore, we don’t want to be deficient in it. It also helps with root elongation and pollen germination and growth. There’s some good information that way. It talks about the different ones and what they do.

Guys, here’s the deal: If you want to grow 50 bushel soybeans, there’s probably not much I’m going to do for you because you’re going to grow 50 bushel soybeans. I think that if we’re content to grow 65 bushel soybeans, we could be in trouble. The majority of our clients are saying, “Rod, we’re growing 80 bushel beans, but that’s not paying the bills. That’s not doing the job. We’ve got to get to 90 or a hundred. Help us. Show us what to do.”  What will work to get you to a 55 or 65-bushel is probably pretty simple. It’s kind of like how can I grow 165 bushel corn? It’s not that hard, but if we want to move up the yield curve, if I want to get into that 95 bushel range on beans or 300 bpa corn we gotta do things differently.


They talked about for max effectiveness, apply foliar manganese as soon as deficiency symptoms appear. Wrong answer. The time to cure a manganese deficiency is before we see it, before it’s visually detectable because when it’s visually detectable, we have already given up a great deal of yield. That’s expensive, so what do we do?

There is a calibrated soil test that will tell us about manganese and what we need to apply in furrow to beat that first rush. We know that using our product, 100% chelated manganese co-applied when you spray glyphosate helps to reduce yellow flash and increases yield every time. We know that. We know what it does. We trade $3.60 worth of manganese for 3-15 bushel of corn or beans. That seems like a good idea to me. That’s good information. That’s statistical information. That’s 15 years worth of working information by growers all across the United States, not by university, not by somebody who’s trying to prove anything, growers coming to us and saying, “Look at this. Look at what this did. This is exciting.” What we want to do is apply manganese as per the soil test, and then apply it when we spray glyphosate, and then if we need further based-on tissue test, we want to foliar-feed it. My goal is you never see a manganese deficiency because if you do, it’s already too late. We’ve already wasted money, and it’s down the road.



Here’s what I know. We are unabashed in that fact that we want you to make money, more money with us than anyone else so you’ll stick with us. The information that we bring you, we’re going to talk to you guys about do this with us and go do these things with someone else. We’re going to help you source products from other places. We’re going to make recommendations of changes that fit your operations that will make you more money. Let’s run that soil test, let’s pull that tissue test, let’s meet those and beat those deficiencies before they ever show up, and let’s move to that next level.

Guys, everything we do matters. We want you to be profitable. We want you to seek information that’s current and relevant and right now, not somebody trying to prove something that we’ve known for 25 years. We’ve known for 25 years that broadcast micronutrients aren’t the deal. We’ve known that they have to be row-placed. We know that we gotta do a soil test and put on just what it needs. Not too much of anything. Not too little of anything. Put on exactly what it needs. I’ve never been more energized about helping growers and making a difference than we are today. Feel free to give me a phone call at 641-919-1206. rod1

PS: I hope that when you’re looking at information, you’re asking “Why?” It’s always the right thing to do to say, “Why is this this way? How did you arrive at this? What were the testing methods? What were you trying to prove or not prove?” because it’s going to impact your bottom line. Let’s make sure we’re impacting your bottom line for the positive because what we always want for you is a better bottom line.

P.S.S Today’s topic started as a LIVE – so be sure to watch it!LIVE – so be sure to watch it!

Carpet Farming Might Just Save The World

Yes, we know it’s a bold statement but we believe it with all our heart and here’s why….

Brandon CarpetJohn Carpetnathan carpetjoshua carpet

Who else here grew up a farm kid? The values taught on a farm can’t be taught anywhere else in the world.  Some memories are good.  Like rides in the combine with Grandpa or the first time you got to drive the truck through the gate and in the pasture.  Some memories are sad like the circle of life and the first time you sell calves.  However at the end of the day they all lead us to being the best job EVER being a farmer. 
We’re willing to bet that you started your career just like us, in the living room on the carpet with your favorite tractor.  Thousand of acres of corn were planted in the hallway and the hay baled in the kitchen always looked the best. Did you ever branch out and do custom work in your brother’s room? Christmas and birthdays always brought the newest & fanciest equipment the local farm store could buy & don’t forget about the herd of black Angus you had in the closet at grandma’s house!

Nothing makes our heart happier then seeing a kid sprawled out on the floor combining beans or chopping silage.  It always reminds us there is hope for the future.  That this is another generation ready to take on the challenge of feeding the world.

Carpet farming teaches life lessons…

Hope for the best but plan for the worst– You can start planting and the rows can be as straight as can be but if your baby brother who is just starting to crawl decides to come for you that seed can need replanted worse than any spring rain.

Life has a budget – Many times kids buy their own equipment, livestock, or feed.  It teaches kids the importance of saving for what they want.  Will the save for the nicer or but what they can afford now and work their way up?

Always have a back up plan–  Sometimes (okay most times) accidents happen.  More than once dad will step on the fence and let all those weaned calves loose all over the dining room.

Have a good banker– Now this may be mom or your favorite aunt but if you can present your case well and provide a good way to repay the money (for low interest)  they’ll stand by you til the end but you have to have a good relationship before you need it.

Life doesn’t always go as planned – your younger & cuter cousin will inevitably show up at grandmas and they will want to take your brand new baler home and guess what grandma will give in.

Do you have similar memories growing up on the farm?  What are some of the best lessons you learned on the floor?

Here’s to all the farm families out there making big plans and chasing big dreams because of the lessons they learned carpet farming!

P.S Thanks Brandon, John, Nathan, & Joshua for the pictures posted on A Better Way to Farm’s Facebook Page!
P.S.S This post was inspired by a blog we saw last year you can see the original post here!

Let Us Save You Some Time!

Save Time

Today started like any other Monday.  Up and at ’em early returning calls.  Travis was one of the first guys we talked to this morning and our conversation lead us to today’s blog (& LIVE) topic!

Are you trying hard to do the best you can farming?  We want you to know you are not alone!  Guys like you know micros are crucial for success.  Guys like you know Nitrogen has to be carefully managed.  Guys like you are ALWAYS trying new things, which is great.  However, let’s make sure we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel.  There are some things that don’t need to be tested any more.

What if you could find a full system for your farm?  What if you could run a soil test that could tell you how many ounces per acre you need of Zinc or Boron (or any micro-nutrient)?  What if you knew when and where to apply EVERY nutrient your soil needs?  That system already exists and is in place!

Over the past 26 growing seasons we have learned what works well and what flat out doesn’t.  We know the break points.  We know what provides a good ROI.  Please don’t think this is a one size fits all program because it is not!  Soil type, CEC, tillage practices, location, ect all matter and effect the choices we make for each and every field!

We live in a busy world but we hope that you will take two days and join us at a Pro Ag Conference so you can discover what you need to test on your farm.  Bottom line is as farmers we get 45 maybe 50 growing season to perfect our craft and we don’t want you to waste a single one testing something that is already proven.

Ankeny, IA Feb 12-13

Lincoln, NE Feb 15-16

Columbus, OH Feb 19-20

PS Be sure to watch the Facebook LIVE Rod did on the topic!


Heads up: 😊 How to make more money 💰 farming in 2018 🌽

A Better Way to farm

It’s no secret, our goal is to help you make more money farming.  For the past 25 years our family has been working with that at the forefront of what we do.   We help farmers across from Idaho to New York and everywhere in between improve their bottom line.

Here is our question for you today, what is your goal for 2018?  Is it to simply be able to farm again in 2019 or is it more than that?  Bigger than that?
We want to to figure out how to flourish!  We want you to thrive, even when markets are weak. Rod recently did a LIVE video (watch it here) where he shared our best tips for making 2018 your best year yet! So let’s talk about how we can do that.

Historically speaking $8 corn is not where we are going to be so we must evaluate all of the choices we make for the farm and make sure they meet our needs to help us surpass our goals.  To work in ag we have to be passionate but we can’t be emotional.  We have to remember this is a business and look at the bottom line of everything.   What is it costing us to produce a bushel of beans, corn, wheat, ect?

Our first #profittip for you is to get your hands on the Beck’s PFR book and take a look at what is working across the country!  What products provide the best ROI?  Things like WEX, Amplify-D, & Soil X-Cyto.

It might be time to stop doing it the same old way.  Everything else about agriculture has changed so why hasn’t our fertility program changed too? Farming just like Grandpa did is no longer an option because land is no longer $300 an acre and tractors are no longer $3,500.  If the build program your grandpa or dad started worked why isn’t it built yet?  Our second #profittip is if you need a high return on invest look at what row placed P & K can do for your farm.  If you need a high return on invest look at row placed micro-nutrients and secondaries.  “The right product at the right time gets the right levels into the plant.” -Rod Livesay Doing things like that is how we are going to flourish in 2018.

We hope 2017 was good for you but we hope 2018 is way better.  If you are looking for a better way to farm and we can ever be of any help to you or your farm let us know!

The Best Farm Advice – From Farmers



10. “Take the wife and kids on vacation, farming will consume you. There is always something to do or fix.” Bill

9. “Get equipment to work with not work on” Harry

8. “A poor job of tillage in the fall is better than a good job in the spring!” Brad

7. “You have to walk before you can run dad always says you can’t have it all now.” Bruce

6. “Do everything you can to be successful and leave the rest to God.” Walter

5.   “When your a toddler your jobs the gate opener, then when your eighty that’s where you return to …. The gate opener” From Samatha’s 6th generation father in law 

4. “Never have more livestock than your wife can take care of.” Paul

3. “Fastest way to go broke farming is to do everything the way Grandpa did it. Second fastest is to forget why Grandpa did things that way.” Eric

2.  “The farm has to be your hobby too. Because you won’t have time for your work and hobby too.” – Jeffy

1. “There’s no such thing as two growing seasons that are exactly the same.” Josh

The Perfect Life

Not that long ago I had myself convinced that if I had the following I’d be happy:
1. A good guy 
2. A nice house 
3. A farm 
4. A dog (okay I wasnt sure about the dog but they’re in all the movies) 

I thought I’d be set once I had all these boxes checked. 

Do I have those things now? Yes. Do I love all these blessings? Absolutely. 

But do they complete me? Meet my every need. Solve all of life’s problems? Fix my flaws? Not in the slightest. 

You see, after days like today I’m reminded that even when we have the things we want the most that things don’t complete us. People don’t complete us. Only the love of God can do that. 

This year in the strangest places, in life’s rawest moments, when an instant changes everything I have felt the most complete 

1. When I helped the mom with the crying baby and a cart full of groceries and no more room on her credit card. 
2. When I could provide the shoulder family needed to cry on.
3. When I hold the door open for a stranger. 

Isn’t it funny how life works? When I do the things Jesus said to do, like love the least of these & building each other up I am overflowing with joy (even on the days where life is ugly). 🚀

When I am in HIS presence, I am whole 

Do I typically post about the “whole moments”? No. Should I? tell me

If right now your “perfect life” doesn’t exist, if tonight you are feeling less than whole compared to someone’s perfect Facebook life, if you can only see your flaws and brokenness… 

PLEASE stop looking for wholeness in stunning Pinterest boards. 

Look for wholeness by delighting in the Lord & you’ll find  He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).

It might look a little different than what you expect. But I hope and whole heatedly believe you’ll discover the wholeness He gives in the simple things—the important things. The conversation at the check out counter, the tearful conversations, & in restaurant doorways. 

I hope you too will look & find wholeness when you step outside your comfort zone & leap (or tip toe if needed) into the tough stuff because it might just heal your soul like it did for me. 


Top 10 Wishes for 2018 from A Farmer



2018 is here at last and we can’t wait to see what the next 12 months has in store!  So here’s our list of top wishes for the new year…

10. May all your cows all calve on a sunny day.

9. May your chemicals not drift onto your neighbors rose bushes.

8. May your dog stop chasing the kid’s chickens.

7.  May the rains fall right when you need them.

6. May you never have to chase cows back in on your way to church.

5. May the storm clouds miss your hay that’s in wind rows.

4. May you remember to buy your wife flowers for her birthday instead of bringing her an ear of corn. (We all remember how that went over last year.

3. May you always have the right seed at the right field.

2. May the equipment only need fixed on a rainy day.

1. May you grow wiser in knowledge and wealthier in love than ever before.

Best Wishes in 2018


Will Rogers said it best “The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.” and in our opinion there’s never a better time to be optimistic than at the start of the year.

We don’t know if 2017 year was your best year yet or a lot harder then expected…maybe it was both?  Maybe 2017 did not go as you planned and life got in the way. Maybe 2017 surpassed all expectations. 

Regardless of your current circumstances the slate is offically wiped clean, today is a fresh start. 

We encourage you to take a moment to take some deep breaths & refocus. 
* Let’s enter this new season with a peace that surpasses all human understanding. 
* Let’s enter this new season with a new found commitment to success. 
* Let’s enter this new season with a passion that is so infectious people can’t deny it. 

Here’s to doing great things in 2018.