Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest There is no doubt 2015 offered ample challenges for crop production. In many cases, the difficult year has left more questions than answers about increasingly tough decisions with inputs as margins tighten for 2016. The Between the Rows farmers from this year each faced specific challenges unique to their area and learned some different things to implement on their farms with regard to crop inputs.Matt Saal from Wayne County saw increased importance of inoculant use in the wet conditions he faced when chopping his hay crop early in the season.“Normally we just wait longer to get the forage drier when the moisture is high, but this year we have mowed and chopped in the same day a couple of times on the haylage because that is all the window we’ve had,” Saal said. “We have definitely put up wetter forage than we ever have this year and a good inoculant will help that more than forage chopped at optimal moisture.”With the extremely wet conditions in many areas, there was the potential for significant nitrogen loss this year, making it an interesting time to look at nitrogen inhibitors.“We did some experiments with nitrogen inhibitors and I think we need to look at that a little further. My gut is telling me that, based on the yield maps, there was not a great benefit to those. I am not sure nitrogen loss was the limiting factor for our corn,” said Ryan Lee from Union County. “The ears were filled out within a half-inch of the tip, which says that we were hitting maximum yield potential even though it wasn’t what we wanted. We got beat up early and the ear size was set. It was a year where you try to survive with corn and move on.”Conditions were even tougher to the northwest where Jeff Duling saw some of the most challenging conditions of his lifetime in the fields of Putnam, Hancock and Van Wert counties where he farms. Though yields on his farm were not great in some fields devastated by too much water, he knows things could have been worse. He gives at least some of the credit for the positive things that happened in his fields to his system of no-till and cover crops.“I didn’t see any reason to do much tillage this fall. I had to do some because we had some tile lines that settled out,” he said. “When we are probing these fields for tiling, you can push a probe down four feet in the fields that have had cover crops in them. In the fields with conventional tillage, I can’t probe in them. We actually have to take a backhoe in and start digging.”Whether farmers are experienced with planting cover crops or not, Duling thinks it is now a good time to give them a try.“There is quite a bit of money out there to do some experimenting with cover crops,” he said. “I am scared of all of the tillage being done around here. If we get a big goose-drowner where is all of this soil going to go? There is a lot of fertilizer out there and its not good when dirt starts moving.”Andy Rodefer is using some strategic tillage to add diversity to his Preble County fields next spring in response to the unique challenges of 2015 in his area.“After going through the wet spring, we were looking at doing more no-till to cut expenses, but we decided to go back and do some deep tillage so we have a little bit of each,” Rodefer said. “The no-till guys really did get hurt in this area this year because they lost a couple of days planting and deep tillage really paid this year. It isn’t always that way. I have never been through a season where five or six days difference in planting date made such a big difference in yield.”He also saw a real benefit to the use of fungicides.“We did some fungicide trials and found the corn was at least 10 bushels better with fungicide. In our fields that were going 220, it was more like 180 where we didn’t spray. We had fields where we put fungicide on corn with just Roundup and no other traits,” Rodefer said. “Where the traited corn in some situations was 40 or 50 bushels more than the Roundup corn, I also saw Roundup corn was only five to 10 bushels less with fungicide on it.”There were many examples of very significant yield benefits in hybrids with stacked traits this year for Rodefer and some of his seed customers.“We are not 100% sure why. We think there could have been some rootworm pressure, but the roots were so shallow and hurt this year from the rain, it is hard to tell. There are a few guys going to conventional corn to cut input costs but I am worried on the backside if they will truly save anything at the end of the day,” he said. “We had some customers that split fields with triple stack corn and conventional to make decisions for next year. Three out of those guys I talked to who did that said they would never plant conventional corn again because it yielded 20 to 30 bushels less. I am not saying that is everybody or every seed company, but that is what we are seeing. It just seems like the stacked traits take the stress better. It is a consistent thing we’ve seen. Occasionally we hear about the refuge doing the same as the triple stack, but 80% of the time I don’t see that. I think it depends on the hybrid a lot. The traited corn usually has better stalk strength too.”A careful look at these and other inputs will be increasingly important moving forward as margins continue to tighten after a tough 2015 on many farms.“I know some loyal seed customers who are really worried about where they are going to come up with the money to put out a crop next year,” Rodefer said. “I think guys are trying to decide what to do to save their input costs, but you need to be really careful about cutting corners.”
You can render much larger compositions—both for preview and for final output—with larger frame sizes and larger source files.RAM previews can be much longer.You can work with higher color bit depths without encountering memory limitations.After Effects can cache more items, which reduce the frequency with which frames and components of frames are re-rendered. Is your computer optimized for After Effects? In this post, we share a simple tip to rev up your processing speeds in AE.If your rendering time is taking longer than expected, a change in RAM allocation may be all you need to speed up After Effects.I confess, when I starting using After Effects a few years back I was befuddled at the long rendering times. My computer was new and had plenty of RAM, but rendering was taking forever. Then, I learned this quick tip that has dramatically altered the performance of the app. Hopefully it’ll do the same for you!Adobe gives you the option to change how much of your computer’s RAM is being used by After Effects (and the other applications in the Creative Suite). Depending on the RAM you have installed in your system, you will want to experiment with your allocation settings. After Effects is 64 bit, which allows you to take full advantage of your available RAM (from Adobe): Modifying your AE RAM allocation settings is simple. Here’s how it’s done:1. Open up After Effects2. Go into your AE PreferencesClick on After Effects > Preferences > Memory & Multiprocessing.3. Change ‘RAM for Other Applications’4. Click ‘Ok’And you’re done! You should see an increase in your rendering speeds in After Effects. If your computer is still going slow you might need either a new graphics card or maybe even a better processor. If you want more info about how to optimize your machine for After Effects check out the system requirements or memory and storage pages on Adobe’s site.Have any tips for optimizing your system for After Effects?Share in the comments below.
Color Grading SurfacesThere are plenty of reasons to get a control surface, but picking the right one for your needs is crucial. If you aren’t a professional colorist, it makes no sense to buy a console that costs as much as a car. Here are five color grading surfaces that range from free to just over $1000.1. Tangent Element-Vs App (Free or $100) For most videographers, there’s really no need to build out a full color grading suite. Use these color tools instead — and then put them away when you’re done!Top image via X-RiteCan’t dedicate your editing suite to massive color consoles? These color grading tools are handy when you need them — and can be set aside when you don’t.Color Check Cards and ChartsImage via X-RiteIf you are a shooter and editor, a color card is a great way to save time color correcting your footage. Shooting your subject with a color card in focus allows you to instantly match the true colors of the chart in post.Here are a few of the most popular color cards used by video producers.X-Rite ColorChecker Card — $55ColorChecker Passport Video — $120DataColor SpyderCheckr — $139DSC Labs Front Box One Shot — $300 Image via TangentIf you don’t want a color surface cluttering your desk (or simply don’t use one often enough to justify a purchase), Tangent has created a color surface app for iPads and Android tablets. The digital surface emulates Tangent’s Element line and connects via Wi-Fi, so the tablet and your editing computer must be on the same network for best performance. Another nice feature — you can use multiple tablets at once.The Element-Vs app’s free version will only allow you to use the app for an hour a day, but it’s a great way to test the product. The full version will only set you back $100, and it’s available in the App Store and Google Play Store. It works on every generation of iPad. Android devices must have a screen size of 7″ or more.2. Palette Gear ($199+)Image via Palette GearPalette Gear is a modular control panel (and it’s really awesome). It’s the most customizable tool you can get. The Palette’s functionality isn’t specific to color work — it works with Photoshop, After Effects, Lightroom, Illustrator, InDesign, and Audition. The company is currently in beta for Premiere and FCPX.You connect the core to your computer and then attach modules in any array. You can attach buttons, dials, and sliders by magnetically connecting to the core. There are no specific setups, so you can arrange the tools to your own preference.The core supports up to eighteen modules. The starter kit is available for $199 and it includes the core, two buttons, a slider, and a dial. The $299 expert kit comes with three dials, two buttons, and two sliders — so it’s ideal for color grading, as you can set the dials to control highlights, midtones, and shadows.There is also a $499 professional kit, but since Palette Gear is modular, you can just purchase the individual tools to add on to the starter kit. Buttons cost $29 each, and sliders and dials cost $49.3. Tangent Ripple ($350)Image via TangentAt $350, the Tangent Ripple is a very affordable color grading surface. You aren’t going to find a cheaper, more reliable controller designed specifically for color work. If you ever decide to upgrade your color suite, the Ripple is compatible with the Tangent Element line. It can also be used with the Element-Vs tablet app for added control.The Ripple works with a wide variety of programs — Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve, AutoDesk Flame, Color Finale Pro, FilmLight, REDCINE-X PRO, and more.4. Tangent Element Tk ($1135)Image via TangentThe Tangent Element consoles were designed to be modular systems. Just like the Tangent Element-Vs app, there are four different panels — Tk, Mf, Kb, and Bt.The Tk is the trackerball panel. It has three programmable trackerballs and three programmable rings above the balls. Each ball and ring has its own reset button. There are also two more buttons that function as Alt and Shift.Like the previously mentioned Tangent products, the Tk panel works with Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve, AutoDesk Flame, Color Finale Pro, FilmLight, REDCINE-X PRO, and more.Image via TangentThe Tangent Element can also grow with your needs. You can add the Mf (multifuntion), Kb (knob), and Bt (button) panels to create a full color grading suite. If you’re interested in the entire Tangent Elements panel, you can find bundles starting at $3,320.5. Avid Artist Control ($1499)Image via AvidThe Avid Artist Color panel is optimized for Media Composer, but it’s compatible with other color grading programs like DaVinci Resolve, NewsCutter, Smoke, FilmLight, STORM, and RED REDCINE-X.One of the downsides is that the panel requires an Ethernet connection to function, unlike most of the previously listed tools that connect via USB. That said, the Artist Color does offer a lot for its price. There are three trackballs, three trackwheels, six rotary encoders, and nine programmable soft keys.Are you a shooter or video editor who works with color grading tools in your daily workflow? What are your go-to tools? Let us know in the comments below.