Bayer Bee Care Center for Canada Too

bayer-bee-murrayThe new Bayer Bee Care Center opened last week in North Carolina is for all of North America, and that includes Canada where Murray Belyk is manager of scientific affairs for Bayer CropScience.

“We share a lot of similarities with our U.S. colleagues,” says Murray. “We have similar crops, similar pests, similar tools – the concerns of beekeepers as well as growers are the same.”

Murray says the new North America Bee Care Center exceeds his expectations. “I think it’s a terrific combination of a meeting facility, research facility, and educational facility.”

Listen to my interview with Murray here: Interview with Murray Belyk, Bayer CropScience

Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Grand Opening Photo Album

BASF Confirms New Fungicide Mode of Action

Specialty crop producers can take advantage of a new unique class of fungicide that provides two modes of action to manage fungal resistance.

BASFBASF researchers have confirmed the discovery of a unique binding mechanism in Initium® fungicide, a key component of Zampro® fungicide, currently available for sale in the U.S.

This means that Zampro fungicide is the first, and currently only, fungicide in this classification. Zampro fungicide is not cross-resistant with other commercial fungicides, making it an ideal tool for managing fungal resistance in specialty crops. The classification has been accepted by the Fungicide Resistance Action Committee (FRAC).

“Zampro fungicide provides two modes of action, one of which is a completely unique class of control,” said Jennifer Holland, Ph.D., Product Manager, BASF. “The fungicide is a superior solution for vegetable growers seeking control of downy mildew and late blight.”

Read more from BASF.

BASF Fights Weed Resistance in Colorado

12807927604_8316ec035c_qAt the BASF “Science Behind the Advanced Acre” media event before Commodity Classic a few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to learn more about how BASF helps farmers in various parts of the country.

Bob Leisy is a business representative with BASF based in Eastern Colorado. He works with retailers and crop consultants, helping them help local growers, like Alex Rock who we already heard from, to make informed and smart decisions about advanced weed control and plant health.

One of the more interesting things I learned from Bob is the problem that tumbleweeds are in that part of the country. “A lot of our kochia turns to tumbleweeds,” he said. “In the fall, once the plant dies off, the wind breaks it off and then that plant distributes seed as it rolls across the field.” Those tumbleweeds can spread about 100,000 seeds of glyphosate-resistant kochia as they roll, so Bob says they are working with growers to spray for kochia earlier than ever before to try and control it. “We’re looking at using 12-16 ounces of Clarity, a dicamba product from BASF, to put some residual in the ground that will kill the kochia as it begins to sprout.”

You can listen to my interview with Bob here: Interview with Bob Leisy, BASF Business Representative

BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

BASF Sharpen Gets Registration for Rice

Rice growers now have a new weapon in the fight against tough weeds such as hemp sesbania, morning glory, and Texasweed.

basf-sharpenBASF has received federal registration of Sharpen® herbicide for both pre- and post-emergence applications on rice to allow for flexible control of broadleaf weeds.

“This is a herbicide that offers growers broad-spectrum control on broadleaf weeds,” said Eric Webster, Ph.D., of Louisiana State University, who has studied Sharpen herbicide for several years. “Mainly, we have seen Sharpen herbicide control hemp sesbania, Texasweed and jointvetch very well.”

Webster says Sharpen herbicide is also easily incorporated into the Clearfield® Production System for rice from BASF. “It is an additional chemistry that can be incorporated into that system,” he explained.

Sharpen herbicide is powered by Kixor® herbicide technology – find out more here.

Kip Cullers in Africa

classic14-kipAbout a week or so before Commodity Classic, I got a call from our good friend and rock star soybean grower Kip Cullers who was all excited about the trip he had just taken to South Africa. So, I did an interview with him while I had the chance, which was a good thing because I barely saw him at Classic, where he had promised to give me a USB drive with photos from the trip but never did. I did catch a shot of him on the stage at Case IH where he was telling the audience about his trip.

Anyway, it was a pretty interesting trip for Kip, who was there with another grower for a tour to meet with local farmers, primarily sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, with participation by BASF and John Deere. “We traveled around the country and had meetings where they were expecting 200 and 400 would show up,” Kip said. “We did five meetings and they said that we covered 80% of the total production acres in South Africa, whether it be corn, wheat or beans.”

Kip says one of his biggest surprises was that they have Asian Soybean Rust there and was interested to find that they use the same BASF product to fight it, although instead of Headline it is known by a different name. He said the farmers were very interested in seed treatments, which are currently not used much in South Africa.

The trip was great, but Kip says he wasn’t thrilled with the food – lamb that was fatty and “kinda got a twang” and some kind of white corn grits-like food that was so dry “I had the spoon turned upside down and it wouldn’t fall off.”

Listen to my interview with Kip talking about his trip to South Africa, as only Kip can – Interview with Missouri farmer Kip Cullers

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

BASF Celebrates Corn and Soybean Farmers

classic14-basf-banquet1BASF Crop Protection helped corn and soybean growers celebrate the achievements of the past year as sponsors of the big association banquets during the Commodity Classic last week.

At the National Corn Growers Association banquet, BASF Manager for Plant Health and Seed Treatment Dr. Gary Fellows talked about how corn growers are living Howard Buffett’s “40 Chances” challenge to make a difference in the world. “You are all greatly maximizing your 40 chances, or 40 seasons, to producing more out of the same acre,” Gary said, paying tribute to the corn yield contest and scholarship winners who were honored during the banquet.

classic14-basf-sharonBASF Communications and Industry Relations Manager Sharon Hall attended the American Soybean Association annual banquet and helped to present the Conservation Legacy Awards, which BASF co-sponsors. Iowa soybean farmer David Ausberger was honored as both the Midwest regional and the national award winner. Jerry Peery of Kentucky received the the South Region award, and Mark and Phyllis Legan of Indiana received the award for the Northeast Region.

BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

BASF Helps Farmers Increase Production

At the BASF Crop Protection Science Behind the Advanced Acre media event last week farmers from different states talked about how BASF Innovation Specialists help them get the most out of their operations.

12807855514_866aa16cfe_qMatt Miles is a 4th generation row crop farmer from southeastern Arkansas who grows corn, soybeans and cotton on a 6300 acre family operation with his wife and son-in-law.

Irrigation is key to Matt’s operation. “Without irrigation our soybean yields would be 20% of what we make now,” he said. Also important to increased yields for Matt is precision agriculture and his BASF Innovation Specialist Brad Koen, a friend since high school who provides him with important agronomic information.

Listen to my interview with Matt here: Interview with Matt Miles, Arkansas Farmer

12807529195_21054ae829_qAlex Rock and his family have Illinois roots and have moved their operation to Colorado where they also have a heifer replacement program from his mother’s side of the family. “Mom said we aren’t milking cows again,” said Alex. “But this gives us an opportunity to remain involved in the dairy industry.”

The Rock family wheat crop is currently in the field, but as a dry land farmer they are reliant on the snow melt from mountains. They have to deal with real life tumbleweeds as some of the weeds that have become resistant are continuing to reek havoc. He relies on his BASF representative Bob Leisy to help him make informed and smart decisions with local growers about Advanced Weed Control and Plant Health.

Listen to my conversation with Alex here: Interview with Alex Rock, Colorado Farmer

BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

BASF Agronomist and Central Illinois Farming

Ahead of Commodity Classic in San Antonio last week, BASF Crop Protection held the eighth in its Science Behind media event series with the theme of The Advanced Acre.

12807770804_be98529644_qJeremy Hogan, Innovation Specialist and Agronomist with BASF in Central Illinois, works with farmers to deliver agronomic and product solutions to their operations. Jeremy and I discussed last year’s crazy growing season weather that ended up producing a record crop. BASF is already helping growers prepare for a successful 2014 growing season by planning for all the possible scenarios that could cause problems, such as glyphosate-resistant weeds. Listen to my interview with Jeremy here: Interview with Jeremy Hogan, BASF

12807460983_1f11784dd9_qT.J. Shambaugh is a 7th generation central Illinois farmer. After graduating from Purdue he came back to the family farm. He works closely with Jeremy and BASF to make his family farming operation be the most profitable for them. TJ and his father have a unique approach to their operation, with TJ handling the front end from seed selection, planting and and how they will plant each seed.  His dad works the back end of the operation, from running the combine at harvest to marketing the sale of the finished product. Listen to my interview with TJ here: Interview with TJ Shambaugh, Central IL Farmer

BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

BASF Helps Growers Plan for Success

classic14-basf-ajNobody in business plans for failure and farmers are no different.

“We have to plan for success,” says BASF Technical Crop Production Specialist AJ Woodyard. “We have to take that mindset again this year of looking at what is my plan for success this growing season and how am I going to implement that strategy to best maximize yield on my farm.”

During the BASF Science Behind the Advanced Acre event prior to Commodity Classic last week, AJ talked about how higher yields will be more important to growers this year than ever before. “Prices aren’t where they have been so getting the most return from a bushel standpoint is going to be very important,” he said.

AJ talked about BASF’s advanced weed control options, advanced plant health, and the economics of seed treatments. “When we look at the economics and the return on seed treatments, we find that with today’s commodity prices and at various yield levels, there’s likely a nine out of ten chance that seed treatment is going to pay for itself. That’s pretty good odds,” he said.

Listen to my interview with AJ here: Interview with AJ Woodyard, BASF

Here more from AJ’s presentation here: AJ Woodyard, BASF Science Behind presentation

BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Living Without Regrets: Managing Weed Resistance

young1It seems like a pretty common sense idea in weed management: cleaner soybean fields will equal better yields when harvest time comes around. But Bryan Young, a professor of weed science from Purdue University who conducted the BASF-sponsored learning session, “Clean Fields, High Yields: The Keys to Solving Your Weed Problems in 2014,” at Commodity Classic told the farmers attending that they have to break it down into three steps: 1. Accept the reality of what is going on in your fields (especially as it pertains to weed management); 2. Develop a plan; and 3. Put that plan into action.

“In accepting reality, you need to acknowledge when you might have resistance and stay ahead of it,” he said, adding that denial is the biggest problem many farmers have. He said if producers start off with the right mindset, they might not have to face regret later on. “I’ve never talked to a grower who’s had resistance that’s said to me, ‘Well, I wouldn’t have done anything different.’”

Once you accept the fact that you’ve got weed resistance, Bryan said you need to put together a plan to fight that resistance, admitting it’s complicated, but if you understand the different herbicides and the best sites of action for the weeds you have, developing what you are going to do starts to come into order.

Finally, you need to put the plan into action. Bryan said growers need to have a Plan A, B and C ready, because you have to be adaptive. “Our best intentions can go awry, because Mother Nature was going to put too much or not enough rain on a residual herbicide, so we just have to know what our Plan A, Plan B or Plan C are,” he said.

Another common mistake that producers make when facing weed resistance is not doing a good enough cost-benefit analysis when deciding how much they should spend to kill the weeds. While it might cost them $30 an acre more to treat a weed-resistant field, the yield results can more than make up for the costs they would have spent.

Finally, Bryan said farmers also need to look at weed treatments while different crops are rotated in those fields because of the carry-over when beans are back in there.

Listen to more of my interview with Bryan here: Bryan Young, Purdue

BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

BASF Spotlights Future of Farming

classic14-basf-drawingOver 7,000 people had the opportunity to visit the BASF Crop Protection USA booth at the Commodity Classic to learn more about the future of farming – by video and through the eyes of children.

The newest video from BASF, featuring fun facts about how far the industry has progressed and how we must advance in order to meet the needs of future generations, was on a movie screen size display. Behind it was a wall displaying creative pictures artwork from children across the country of how they see the future of farming.

BASF asked children what they thought farming would look like in 50 or 100 years and got dozens of creative, innovative and colorful concepts that were on display in the booth. The winning submission, by 11-year-old Moise Dougherty of Minnesota, was chosen on Saturday morning.

See more photos here:
BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Watch the new BASF video here:

BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Meet the BASF SOY Scholarship Winner

classic14-basf-soyAn idea that started back when he was just an elementary school student has led a Tennessee high schooler to picking up a substantial scholarship that he says will help him further his own energy business. Caleb Brannon of Puryear, Tenn. was selected as the recipient of the 2014-2015 ASA Secure Optimal Yield (SOY) Scholarship, a $5,000 award presented to an outstanding high school senior who has achieved high academic and leadership requirements, and is planning to pursue a degree in an agriculture-related field at an accredited college or university.

“I’m really thankful to the American Soybean Association and BASF who were so generous in this scholarship,” he says. Brannon, a senior at Calloway County High School, will pursue a degree in agricultural business at Murray State University, Murray, Ky. beginning this fall. He already has his very own business, Brannon Agri-Energy, a company focusing on cellulosic ethanol that he actually thought up way back in the fifth grade!

“Our family farm was in a partnership with the University of Tennessee to grow switchgrass in a pilot program to be bailed and put in a coal-fired plant [in Alabama].” While other area farmers gave up after a few years, it led Brannon to researching other crops for what is now his cellulosic ethanol business, finding his own markets.

He adds that the scholarship money will free up what he would have spent on college to invest back into his business. But he says this is more than just his future; it’s the Nation’s future.

“I want to help our country become just a little bit more energy independent. That’s really important to me.”

Listen to an interview with Brannon here: Interview with BASF SOY Scholarship Winner

BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Meet the Jerry Minore Scholarship Winners

classic14-basf-wheatIn its second year, the Jerry Minore Memorial Scholarship fund honors students pursuing careers in the agriculture industry. A total of four students will be awarded a $1,000 or $1,500 scholarship.

As a BASF Senior Market Manager, Minore was a liaison to the wheat industry, including the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and the Foundation, and an advocate for wheat growers, who passed away unexpectedly in February 2012. To honor his advocacy for the wheat industry, BASF partnered with NAWG to fund the scholarships.

“We are pleased to partner with BASF on something that was important to Jerry,” said NWF Chairman Jimmie Musick. “This scholarship is a great way to support youth who express interest in the wheat industry and also continue to honor Jerry’s legacy.”

Lee Moore of Red Springs, North Carolina – a freshman at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, studying agricultural business management.
Trey Heitschmidt of Bushton, Kansas – will be attending Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, in the fall of 2014 and plans on studying agronomy.
Heidi Jamison of Garfield, Washington – a sophomore at the University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, studying agribusiness.
Max Mielke of Davenport, Washington – will be attending Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, in the fall of 2014 and plans on studying agricultural economics.

Meet the 2014 winners in this interview: Interview with BASF Wheat Scholarship Winners

BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Meet the BASF NCGA Scholarship Winners

classic14-basf-ncgaFor the seventh year in a row, BASF Crop Protection teamed up with the National Corn Growers Association to provide the William C. Berg Academic Excellence in Agriculture scholarships to undergraduate or graduate students pursuing an agricultural degree.

Mark Scott, a Missouri farmer on the NCGA Grower Services Action Team, helped to present the scholarships. “We’d like to thank BASF for their commitment to the future of our industry,” said Mark. “We feel it’s vital to encourage and support our young people in an ag-related field.”

The program awarded scholarships of $1,000 each to the following students:
Clayton Carley of Milford, Illinois – a junior at Parkland College, Champaign, Illinois, studying crop science and agricultural education.
Emma Likens of Swanton, Nebraska – a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, studying agricultural journalism.
Nicole Schubert of Rockford, Iowa – a junior at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, studying animal science and animal ecology.
Hillary Kletscher of Lamberton, Minnesota – a junior at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, studying biological systems engineering.
Lauren Zitelman of Alma, Missouri – a sophomore at University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri, studying agribusiness management.

Pictured from left to right are Mark, Clayton, Emma, and Nicole – Hillary and Lauren were not able to make it. You can hear from those who were in attendance in the interview here: Interview with NCGA Scholarship Winners

BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

BASF Growing Today for Tomorrow

basf-cc14-scholarsBASF Crop Protection is committed to growing the future of agriculture by investing in the next generation of professionals for the industry.

BASF this year has continued its partnership with the American Soybean Association (ASA), the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and the National Wheat Foundation (NWF) to present 10 students with scholarships today during the 2014 Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas. The scholarships were awarded to students across the country who are pursuing degrees in agriculture.

Dr. Gary Fellows, BASF Manager for Plant Health and Seed Treatment, presented the awards to the students at the BASF exhibit in the Classic trade show. “We’re talking about the farm of the future and these kids are the ones that are going to run that farm,” said Gary. “If you saw their applications for these scholarships, there’s an excellent bunch of students here in all aspects of agriculture from communications, to science, to research, to practical agriculture. But what they all have in common is they are advocates for agriculture to the non-agriculture world.”

We will hear from all the different winners in posts to come, but you can find a list of them all here and see photos in the album linked below.

Listen to my interview with Gary here: Interview with Gary Fellows, BASF

BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

BASF Shares Science Behind the Advanced Acre

basf-cc-14This is the eighth year for the BASF Crop Protection Science Behind media event series held prior to the kickoff of the Commodity Classic and this year the theme is The Advanced Acre.

“The advanced acre is a comprehensive approach that BASF wants to take in its relationship with growers,” said Scott Kay, BASF Vice President for U.S. Crop Protection. “It’s a very good approach to start with the agronomics, talk to the growers about what they have going on on their farm and what they’re planning to do in the future.”

basf-cc14-scottScott is carrying a different title at BASF these days than the last few times we talked to him. He recently moved from the Canadian Crop Protection division of the company back to the United States, taking the place of Paul Rea who has gone global with BASF.

Scott is excited to be back in the North Carolina BASF headquarters and sharing with the U.S. ag media what BASF is doing to help growers get the most out of every acre. “BASF is very committed to agriculture,” said Scott. “We make up roughly six percent of the overall BASF business, yet we receive 35% of the overall R&D investment. That equates to about two million dollars every day.”

BASF now expects its crop protection R&D pipeline
to achieve a peak sales potential of nearly €2.1 billion ($2.9 billion), an increase of €400 million over the past year, driven primarily by global demand for BASF’s new Xemium fungicide and Kixor herbicide. BASF also plans to launch a host of new products across a wide range of crops and markets until the end of the decade. Supported by favorable market trends, the R&D pipeline and continued investments will contribute to the Crop Protection division reaching its previously-announced sales target of €8 billion ($11 billion) by 2020.

Listen to my interview with Scott here: Interview with Scott Kay, BASF
Listen to Scott’s Science Behind presentation here: BASF Science Behind with Scott Kay

BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Two No-Till Products of the Year from BASF

Headline AMPNo-till farmers gave top honors to BASF products Headline AMP® fungicide and Sharpen® herbicide at the recent 22nd Annual National No-Tillage Conference in Springfield, Illinois.

This is the eighth consecutive win for Headline AMP fungicide in the top fungicide product category. Headline AMP fungicide is labeled for corn application. On-farm field trials from 2013 show Headline AMP fungicide delivers 11.7 bu/A more than untreated corn.

basf-sharpenA new winner this year in the weed control product category, Sharpen herbicide, drives burndown of tough weeds three-to-five times faster than 2,4-D or glyphosate – an important feature for many no-till growers. Sharpen herbicide is powered by Kixor® herbicide technology, featuring a unique chemistry that provides foliar and soil activity on today’s toughest weeds.

Expect to hear more about these products when we attend the BASF media event this week prior to Commodity Classic in San Antonio!

BASF Zidua® Herbicide Gets Registration for Wheat

BASFWheat growers now have a new class of chemistry to fight Italian ryegrass.

BASF just announced that Zidua® herbicide
has received federal registration from the Environmental Protection Agency for spring and winter wheat.

basf-ziduaZidua herbicide provides wheat growers with a powerful tool to fight tough to control weeds like Italian ryegrass, annual bluegrass and canarygrass. In addition, Zidua herbicide suppresses many broadleaf and grasses in wheat including brome species, wild oat, foxtail species, kochia, pigweed, chickweed, henbit and wild mustard. Zidua herbicide was previously registered only for use in corn and soybeans.

Zidua herbicide utilizes a unique class of chemistry – pyroxasulfone. More than 10 years of research and field trials by BASF have demonstrated that Zidua herbicide provides excellent residual control of resistant weeds like Italian ryegrass.

“Wheat growers now have access to a new residual tool for long-lasting weed control with Zidua herbicide,” said Greg Armel, Ph.D., Technical Market Manager, BASF. “The pyroxasulfone in Zidua herbicide helps control Italian ryegrass weed populations, even those populations resistant to ALS-inhibitor and ACCase herbicides.”

We talked with Greg about Zidua at last year’s Commodity Classic after they received registration for soybeans. I suspect we will hear more about it this year at Classic!

BASF Announces Plans for 2014

nevin mcdougallBASF recently announced plans to expand its services and initiatives for growers and agricultural professionals worldwide in 2014 through a significant investment in the development of new IT tools.

“The initiatives that were announced reflect the very strong commitment by BASF to the agricultural industry to provide modern tools to help growers get the most out of every acre,” said Nevin McDougall, BASF Senior Vice President Crop Protection North America.

BASFBASF has also announced a partnership with John Deere to jointly develop a suite of integrated precision farming and farm management solutions for farmers. “We see the partnership allowing us to integrate BASF’s expertise in agronomics and crop protection and biotechnology with John Deere’s strengths in agricultural machinery, equipment, precision ag, and data management,” Nevin said. As part of the agreement, BASF will offer a new service for field scouting and agronomic decision support. John Deere will provide a new application for sprayer setup as well as integration of field data via its collaborative farm management portal ‘’, which will enable growers to better manage their farm operations.

Nevin says BASF says the goal is to launch the first joint integrated tools by the end of 2014 in key agricultural markets with additional markets to follow.

Listen to or download my interview with Nevin here. Interview with Nevin McDougall, BASF

BASF Advanced Seed Enhancement is Global

basf-alysonAt the ASTA CSS 2013 and Seed Expo last week, we heard about the BASF portfolio of Advanced Seed Enhancements including inoculants, colorants, and biological and chemical seed treatments. Much of this new portfolio comes from the BASF acquisition of Becker Underwood in late 2012, according to Alyson Emanuel, Vice President of Global Business Management for BASF Functional Crop Care.

“We were here (at ASTA CSS) just a year ago when we had just closed the deal and the last year we’ve been very busy working on our portfolio in seed solutions bringing together the BASF side of the house and the Becker Underwood side of the house,” said Alyson.

She explains that BASF’s exclusive BioStacked® technology has enabled them to combine inoculants and biofungicides, polymers and colorants designed for specific crops. “It provides better rooting architecture, enhances plant health, nutrient uptake, disease protection – it’s a very interesting technology that we’re just beginning to see the benefits of,” Alyson said.

BASF is launching the technology in both North and South America and they plan to bring it into Europe as well. “The great thing about the BioStacked technology is that it can be very customized to the particular environment and the needs of the farmers in the area,” Alyson said

Learn more in this interview: Interview with Alyson Emanuel, BASF Functional Crop Care