One of the most important topics discussed at the Ag Issues Forum was the buzz about bee health and what is being done to address declining bee colonies. One of the panelists was Laurie Adams, executive director of the Pollinator Partnership. Laurie stressed that collaboration between all parties is needed to protect all pollinators, including bees. Listen to my interview with Laurie here: Interview with Laurie Adams, Pollinator Partnership
Also on the panel was Don Parker who deals with integrated pest management for the National Cotton Council. He discussed the importance of farmers working closely with beekeepers who use their land for hives. Parker believes that the varroa mite is the biggest threat to bee colonies right now and he stressed the need for science to lead the discussion when it comes to pollinator health, not politics or personal opinion. Interview with Don Parker, National Cotton Council
In an effort to further education and collaboration around pollinator health, Bayer CropScience is holding its second annual Bee Care Tour this year, traveling coast-to-coast to create awareness of the vital role of honey bees in sustainable agriculture by establishing a dialogue with growers, beekeepers, researchers and students to discuss the multiple factors affecting honey bee health. They will also be opening a new North American Bee Care Center next month at Bayer’s Research Triangle Park, N.C. headquarters.
Anna has a strong history in agriculture specifically centered in the south. She grew up around cotton and started her career in ag media working for Cotton International Magazine. There she met a number of cotton traders who were intimately involved in creating the museum and continuing to support it.
“Our museum endeavors to cover the entirety of cotton history. But we focus on the history of the U.S. cotton industry and more specifically on how Memphis was founded as a cotton port and how the cotton industry shaped this city. It covers everything from slavery and share-cropping to modern day cotton growing.”
The museum hosts a party every year during the Gin Show and they consider it a fun way to kick off the growing season. It also it a great opportunity for growers across the south and ag industry reps to take in the lush history cotton has on the U.S.
The Cotton Museum operates on memberships and corporate sponsorships. If you are interested in helping to support their efforts in preserving our nations history checkout their website at MemphisCottonMuseum.org
Meet Tim Price. He’s the manager of the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show and Executive Director of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association. Tim is very passionate about agriculture and his community. You will hear that in our interview at the start of this year’s show. And for those of you who do not know what a cotton gin is, you will after you listen in.
Tim says that over the two days of the show there will be nearly 20,000 people attend and that it is a family affair. I vouch for that. This is a real down to earth farm show with a relaxed atmosphere and with 400 exhibitors there is a lot to see and learn. I’m going to get a wrap-up interview with Tim before leaving the show which I’ll share later. In the meantime, please listen in and I hope you enjoy our conversation.
Here’s a big thank you to FMC for sponsoring my first time ever coverage of the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show. For all my friends who said, “Gin Show?” I’ve got an interview coming up with the show manager that will answer all your questions.
While I was spending time with FMC today here in Memphis I met Tim Thompson who is row crop product manager for the southeast. I asked Tim to give me an overview of the products that FMC offers for corn, soybeans, peanuts, rice and cotton. Farmers of all these crops are represented here at the the show which has a strong cotton background. Tim says that at FMC, investing in farming’s future, is their mantra. One of their key areas of focus is resistance management. He provided me with several crop examples. Tim also talks about some new products FMC has in the field and even in the future.
Agriculture’s newest, most innovative products and services will be showcased at the What’s New sessions at the 2014 Commodity Classic. The 19th Annual Commodity Classic is Feb. 27-March 1, along the banks of the famous River Walk in San Antonio, TX.
“If you’re coming to Commodity Classic hoping to learn and gain some new ideas to take back to your farm, you’ll want to mark your calendar for the What’s New sessions,” said Commodity Classic Co-Chairman Wyatt Whitford. “These sessions offer a sneak peek at the new technology and products out on the trade show floor and an opportunity to ask the experts questions.”
Topics of the sessions include: tractor and combine header technologies, soil fertility trends, new developments in seeds to help manage pests, technology tools for the farm and tools to optimize seed selection for each field.
These sessions are scheduled for Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, March 1. Each session is 40 minutes long and allows attendees to learn about the topic in an in-depth manner.
Companies selected to present include Case IH, DuPont Pioneer, John Deere, Monsanto, The Mosaic Company, Syngenta, The Climate Corporation, Trimble and United Soybean Board. The products and services are chosen by the grower community to ensure they are truly something new to the industry.
More information on the What’s New sessions and other events at Commodity Classic can be found here.
The Cotton Belt Challenge is in its second year, and Bayer CropScience is encouraging FiberMax and Stoneville cotton growers to enter to win great prizes. Growers with the highest yields and highest overall loan values in 12 regions will be recognized for both irrigated and dryland cotton. In addition to regional awards, there will be two grand prize drawings for a custom 4WD Bad Boy Buggies Ambush vehicle.
“FiberMax and Stoneville cotton varieties have the germplasm and trait technologies to help growers produce profitable cotton yields and fiber quality,” said Jeff Brehmer, U.S. product manager for FiberMax and Stoneville cotton. “Cotton production varies across the United States, depending on weather, irrigation, soil type, pest pressure and other factors. We want to recognize successful cotton production in diverse regional scenarios, and the Bayer CropScience Cotton Belt Challenge gives growers a chance to be rewarded by region for producing high-yielding and high-quality cotton.”
Growers enter by filling out an official entry form and submitting their gin receipts. All regional irrigated and dryland winners in the yield and fiber quality categories will receive 10,000 Innovation Plus™ points – a $500 value.
To qualify, growers must submit their yield and quality results from a minimum of 50 acres and verify their production through gin receipts. Yield is based on ginned lint yield, and quality is based on USDA loan value. If any portion of a field is irrigated, then the entry must be in the irrigated category.
“The focus has been to try and come up with farm policy for cotton in the new farm bill that will resolve the case,” said NCC vice president for Economics & Farm Policy Gary Adams. “We believe that STAX, which would be a new area-wide revenue insurance option for cotton, is a way to resolve the case.”
Gary says the provisions for Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) are “very similar” in both bills, while the House also includes transition payments to assist growers and their lenders until STAX can be fully implemented, “so that’s a difference that has to be worked out.”
Gary says they were some features of STAX that Brazil objected to that have now been removed, such as what was referred to as a reference price, “so we think that without having that reference price in there … we think this puts together a package that should satisfy the case.”
Bottom line, Gary says producers need a farm bill this year. “The one thing we hope is we can see Congress complete its action this summer so we can get a multi-year farm bill in place and give producers some certainty about what policy is going to be for the next few years,” he concluded.
The 2014 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, set for January 6-8 at the New Orleans Marriott Hotel, will include a half-day Cotton Consultants Conference and the day and a half Cotton Technical Conferences. The 2014 Consultants Conference, set for Monday, January 6, will be more robust, providing technical information desired by consultants and others involved in key production/marketing-related decisions such as Extension specialists/agents, industry sales/support personnel and many producers.
Planned for the 2014 Consultants Conference are new developments from industry, including discussions of new varieties and chemistries. Also included will be special sessions where scientists, from the various disciplines ranging from agronomy to weed science, will interact with attendees to foster a lively exchange of ideas and experiences.
This year we got an update from Janae (formally Althouse) Tapper on this precision harvest technology and grower adoption of it.
“John Deere harvest identification is really important to the cotton growers so they can understand how many modules are being built with in a field. We are really looking at continuing to reduce labor requirements that are needed in cotton production especially around 7760. We understand that with the introduction of that machine we are building four modules for every one traditional module. So, it increases labor to go out and tag each of those individual modules.”
“In our technology division we saw a use to utilize the RF ID reading technology that we have in the round module wrap to enable them to reduce that manuel labor going out and tagging the modules. We are automatically reading those RF ID tags in the modules and sending that information to the display in the cab of the machine.”
Janae shared that cotton producers are continuing to be on board with the adoption of precision agriculture. And since the launch of time & money saving technology, John Deere’s growers are sending in very positive feedback.
“More than 410 growers who’ve achieved 2,000 pounds of cotton to the acre on at least 20 acres, doing that with more than 27 varieties,” Jeff Brehmer, U.S. marketing manager for FiberMax, told attendees of the Beltwide Cotton Conference, highlighting the high yields of the varieties. And he says the fiber quality of the FiberMax cotton is recognized throughout the world. “We hear from gins out there who know they are ginning FiberMax cotton because it so much more efficient going through the gin. Those are the characteristics of that brand that we need to continue to deliver.”
Brehmer said that even in areas where water and growing conditions don’t make it possible for growers to achieve 2,000 pounds per acre, the FiberMax varieties still offer significant increases over what they had been growing. “The emotion also comes from where a farmer maybe 10 years ago was growing 350 pounds on their dryland but today is now growing 550 pounds. That success and emotion come with reaching levels that are attainable respective to your area.”
Growers can submit their qualification forms between now and March 1, 2013. Forms are available at local gins, through Bayer CropScience sales reps and online at www.FiberMax.com. Both first-time One Ton Club qualifiers and past members need to submit qualification forms for membership in the 2012 One Ton Club class. Members will be recognized at a banquet in April 2013 and have a chance to win a two-year lease on a Ford® Super Duty® F-350 King Ranch® truck. They also receive special FiberMax One Ton Club apparel and gifts.
Randy covers west Texas and into New Mexico for FMC and was able to see Display at work as a harvest aid for cotton in his area. “Did a very good job, pleasantly surprised with the effects we got with this in a tank mix,” Randy said. “Display gave us a very versatile product that we used in a lot of different conditions.”
Randy says Display offers the same advantage of Aim herbicide in that it can be used without harm to cover crops like wheat. “Display fit like a glove,” he said. “You can put it out, take the leaves off the cotton without harming any adjacent crop or the cover crop.”
Display was just released last August so this will be the product’s first full year of commercial availability for cotton growers throughout the cotton belt.
Extension of the 2008 farm bill raises questions about resolution of the cotton trade dispute with Brazil, according to Dr. Gary Adams, Vice president of economics and policy analysis for the National Cotton Council.
“I think we have to figure out how Brazil reacts to a one year extension (of the farm bill),” Gary said in an interview at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences, noting that the framework agreed to with Brazil in 2010 allowed the United States time to adopt new WTO-compliant cotton policy in a new farm bill. “Is Brazil going to accept a short term extension and see how things play out? We just don’t know the answer to that question.”
Gary says the U-S cotton industry has been facing a slightly different challenge from another country as well recently. “We’ve been dealing with a trade dispute with Peru for the last 6-8 months,” he said. “Countries can initiate their own countervailing duty investigation if they’re concerned that imports into their country are causing harm to their domestic industry. That is what Peru initiated last summer.”
That investigation is proceeding and Adams expects they will know more by the end of March.
With weed resistance exploding across America’s farmland, Bayer CropScience has introduced two new Stoneville cotton varieties for 2013 that give cotton growers more tools to fight weed resistance and rotate herbicide chemistries on their farms.
Steve Nichols, U.S. Agronomic Services Manager for Bayer CropScience, gave the media an overview of the new varieties during the Beltwide Cotton Conferences last week.
Nichols explained that the ST 4946GLB2 is an early-medium maturing GlyTol LibertyLink Bollgard II variety with exceptional yield potential. “It’s widely adapted across the entire cotton-growing region. That speaks a lot about the stability and the consistency of the performance of it,” adding that it has offers root-knot nematode tolerance. “We’re looking for more varieties with different maturities to give that root-knot nematode tolerance, and this is going to deliver that.” Plus, he said it will have tolerance to the Liberty herbicides.
The other variety, ST 6448GLB2, gives a full-season capability. “It’s the first variety that we’ve really had that meets that full-season market for the South Region. So this variety fits very well in the South Delta, the Georgia market and even into South Carolina,” Nichols said. It also has a dual-herbicide technology that gives growers, especially in Georgia, a tool against resistant weeds.
Nichols added that the development of the Bayer CropScience Agronomic Services, providing hundreds of field trials, helps his company make these kind of developments in cotton varieties to match the right varieties for the right fields.
Marjory Lynch Walker and T. Cotton Nelson have staffed the news room at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences for many, many of the event’s 58 year history and while they are not sure what the changes in store will mean for media attendance, they are looking forward to moving ahead.
“Media attendance has always been healthy here. We’ve had as many as 50-60 members here,” Cotton told me, adding that attendance has continued to be strong over the years, even as less growers have been attending. That’s why Cotton says they appreciate Monsanto’s sponsorship of the news room. “Their support has allowed us to have the equipment in here, a big room, food for the media – just to make it a really good working environment for the media.”
Cotton notes that there will still be lots of information to get out to producers with the revamped schedule for Beltwide next year. “We realize the transfer of technology by the news media of the information that’s presented here is great for cotton growers,” he said.
Despite changes planned for Beltwide Cotton Conferences in 2014 that mean no more technical exhibits, FMC Corporation remains committed to involvement in technology transfer within the cotton industry, according to Product Manager Stu Throop.
“Needs are changing just as the industry’s changing,” said Stu, pictured here on the left with some of the FMC team at Beltwide. “The anchor to this is the technology exchange and that’s the part that’s going to be maintained and expanded on in the future.”
Stu says the cotton industry is important to FMC. “We have a history in the cotton industry going back to the beginnings of our company,” he said. “We were able to come in cotton with a series of new brands as the boll weevil eradication program was implemented and cotton acres increased … we just happened to have the right chemistry at the right time.”
With the advent of resistent weed strains, Stu says FMC been able to develop new products to help cotton growers remain competitive. “We’re playing a role in weed pest management in cotton and we’re very excited about some of the chemistries still to come.”
You might remember Chuck doing a post about these great Acala Farms cottonseed oils after World Dairy Expo last year. We got to find out more about them from Tom Wedegaertner, Director of Cottonseed Research and Marketing for Cotton Inc., who says that they are hoping the specialty oils will help increase public awareness of cotton as a food crop.
“Per capita consumption of cottonseed oil is about three pints per person,” Tom explains. “It’s a wonderful frying oil, has a very high smoke point, so a lot of restaurants use it in their deep fat fryers.” Tom says it’s also used in salad dressings because it has a very light, delicate taste that lends itself well to adding other flavors.
San Antonio Marriott Executive Chef Donald Hoffman provided a demonstration and taste test for the media so we could find out for ourselves just how great these flavor-infused cottonseed oils are. First, he made Salmon Salpicon featuring the Jalapeno Lime and Cilantro flavored oils. He also made a BBQ sauce with Chipotle flavor on chicken breast sauteed in fresh-roasted garlic cottonseed oil.
You can watch Chef Donald demo the salmon recipe in the video below and if you want to find out more about these great tasting cottonseed oils, go to Acala-Farms.com.
FMC Corporation is working on registration of a new herbicide for resistant weed control in cotton by 2014. Growers at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences had a chance to hear more about it this week from Scott Akin with FMC.
“Anthem is going to be a valuable pre-emergence herbicide I think for cotton growers across the belt for use against grasses and small seeded broadleaf weeds, particularly Palmer ameranth,” Scott said.