As most agricultural eyes were on progress of the farm bill last week in Congress, some very prominent farmers were in another nation’s capitol below the equator signing a new agreement to create an alliance between North and South American corn growers.
“Food Security is a priority for every country,” said Pam Johnson, NCGA President. “Countries can be food secure without being self-sufficient by establishing relationships and building trust with exporting countries to be long-term, reliable suppliers of quality feed and food supplies.”
The primary focus of this new alliance is emphasize the need for better consumer understanding of production agriculture, including the benefits of biotechnology and advancing the global acceptance on the capacity to produce maize for feed, food and fuel. MAIZALL will also conduct outreach to governments and stakeholders on the need for trade-enabling biotechnology policies and regulatory procedures.
Planting progress is on the minds of the AgFanatics.
In episode #31, the AgFanatics talk with MaxYield Cooperative’s, Karl Setzer, to get his take on the markets and what he’s been witnessing in the northwest part of Iowa. Karl also shares his thoughts on corn planting progress in his area.
Episode #32 features guest host Graham Utter discussing how his own planting progress is coming along, as well as corn and soybean price projection possibilities for the next few years.
The AgriVisor AgFanatics podcast is updated twice weekly and can be found on Itunes or right from the front page at www.agrivisor.com.
Betty’s nomination, submitted by son Charles, was chosen by judges of American Agri-Women as regional winner for the Southeast. Online voting was conducted in early May, during which time anyone could visit AmericasFarmers.com, read regional winners’ nominations and cast a vote for one to receive the national title. Betty received the most online votes, and she was notified of her national win on Mother’s Day.
“Whether she is driving a tractor, feeding cows or caring for her family, Elizabeth (Betty) is 100 percent all-in for the job,” wrote Charles in the winning nomination. “Mom certainly doesn’t let grass grow under her feet, as she is always on the move for her family, her church, her farm and the community.”
All five regional “Farm Mom of the Year” winners will receive a $5,000 cash prize from Monsanto. As national winner, Betty will receive an additional $5,000. A check presentation ceremony is being planned in her honor for early summer.
This planting season, more than 150 farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota are trialing the first offering from Monsanto’s Integrated Farming SystemsSM (IFS) research platform – FieldScriptsSM. With FieldScripts planted on more than 8,300 acres in Illinois, Ground Breakers® farmers there are impressed with how FieldScripts revolutionizes variable rate planting.
FieldScripts integrates Monsanto’s understanding of hybrid performance with the data farmers provide about their individual fields to identify the best hybrids and provide a variable rate planting prescription for each field. The process is led by FieldScripts Certified Dealers, delivered through the FieldView® Plus app on the farmer’s iPad®, and executed with precision equipment on the planter.
Ground Breakers farmer Mark Sturtevant in Carroll County, Ill. has planted several fields with FieldScripts and is excited about bringing together Monsanto’s knowledge of hybrid performance in multiple yield environments with the latest planter technologies, “If we can harness this technology, we’ll be able to increase our yield and profit potential. We’re working to put the right seed, at the right amount, on every acre. FieldScripts is a step in the right direction for the industry.”
While many farmers own variable rate planters, there has not been a simple and accurate way to utilize them. Traditionally, variable rate seeding has been based on soil type or normalized yield, but these methods fall short of revealing the true picture of what is happening in the field or providing a means to plant accurately using that information.
FieldScripts allows the farmer to accurately plant a lower seeding rate in lower-yielding areas of the field, and a higher seeding rate at higher yielding areas of the field, maximizing the yield potential of every seed. Monsanto research has shown that FieldScripts delivers a 5-10 bushel per acre yield advantage across the field as a whole, as compared with fields not planted with FieldScripts. In 2014, Monsanto plans to launch FieldScripts that will be delivered to farmers through FieldScripts Certified DEKALB® seed dealers.
Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “How many generations are you removed from the farm?”
Our poll results: Thirty percent say they are “One Generation, My Parents are Farmers,” 23% are “Two, My Grandparents Were Farmers,” 22% say “None, I’m a Farmer,” nine percent are not farmers but work in the ag industry, seven percent have “No Direct Farm Connection,” and three percent say “Three, My Great-Grandparents Were Farmers,” “More Than Three,” or “Other.” It is safe to say that most of our followers are not far removed from the farm, if at all!
Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “Are so-called “ag gag” bills fair?” In the wake of undercover videos at animal agriculture operations that have shown abuse, and especially those that were compiled over a period of time, edited and then released to the public without doing anything to stop the abuse or take it to the proper authorities, several states have passed legislation making that illegal. Most of the laws simply require mandatory reporting of animal cruelty when it happens but opponents have labeled them “ag gag” laws that would suppress efforts to document and publicize animal abuse. Those in favor prefer to call them “See Something, Say Something” bills. Do you feel that the so-called “ag gag” bills are prohibitive? Will these laws hamper efforts to stop animal cruelty? Does this impede our efforts for transparency in the food systems? Let us know.
Farmers seeking the flexibility of an early preemergence or postemergence herbicide application combined with residual control of resistant and tough-to-manage weeds in soybeans and cotton have a “go-to” solution: Warrant herbicide from Monsanto.
I talked with Monsanto Selective Chemistry Manager Tyler Hackstadt (HOCK-stet) about Warrant and how it might provide some advantages for growers facing planting delays this spring. “We’ve been recommending growers use multiple modes of action with residual herbicides as part of a comprehensive weed management system,” Hackstadt said. “When you’ve got a compressed planting window, the priority is to get the crop in the ground and sometimes we’re not able to get the pre-emerge residual herbicide applied in a timely fashion.” The pre- and post- application flexibility of Warrant allows growers to still get residual control.
Listen to or download my interview with Tyler here: Monsanto Selective Chemistry Manager Tyler Hackstadt
Warrant herbicide provides up to 30 days of residual control of waterhemp, lambsquarters, nightshade, Palmer pigweed, foxtails and other small-seeded grasses and broadleaf weeds. The herbicide’s wide application window includes preplant, at-planting, preemergence or postemergence – up to R2 growth stage in soybeans and first flower in cotton. The encapsulated, acetochlor-based technology of Warrant herbicide also provides increased crop safety for soybeans and cotton.
Compatibility with many tank mix partners, such as Roundup® agricultural herbicide, further complements the Warrant herbicide ease of use for farmers seeking to implement diversified weed management practices (DWMPs) that include residual and postemergence herbicides.
Warrant can be a key component of an effective weed management strategy that includes burndown, residual and postemergence herbicides, plus it qualifies for Roundup Ready PLUS® Weed Management Solutions incentives up to $2.50 per acre in soybeans and $4.50 per acre in cotton.
Data, data, data. I wonder how many times that word was used at this week’s G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture? A lot I’m sure. Well, I was not there but Paul Welbig, Raven Industries was.
Here’s a photo of Paul on the left with Dr. Aboubacar Diaby, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. They are holding an African corn planter.
The conference concluded after participating countries created some action plans for what to do next. You can find those on the website and even more information. A focus of the efforts being made to make more agricultural data sets available to the world wide community is to create resources that will help people in developing countries and where there is a real need for advanced food production. So you might like an example of how this has already been done in other areas. Paul shares a couple of examples that were given at the conference like GPS which exists because of data shared and now used in so many beneficial ways which includes precision agriculture.
This evening I was proud to be the skeptic in an episode of HuffPost Live titled, “Who Cares About Drought?”
A drought of historic proportions continues to grip much of the U.S. We discuss the impact of drought and how innovative water supply solutions can create jobs and stimulate the economy.
I actually don’t think I was really a skeptic, at least when it comes to the fact that we had a major widespread drought in 2012 and that there are all kinds of innovative solutions being worked on to better manage our water supply. What I am skeptical about are the hysterical emotion-driven claims that were made last fall about exorbitant food prices and that climate change was the reason we had last year’s drought. I believe this is the link to the archive of the program if you’d like to watch.
I mentioned that innovative companies like Monsanto and Dupont Pioneer are developing new technologies like drought resistant crops to address this situation where it exists. That hit a nerve with a couple of my fellow panelists. Ideas they presented included water harvesting and local food movements which I see nothing wrong with and would encourage. Several tweets were displayed that included one about desalinization plants. That struck a personal nerve with me since my father-in-law designed those plants all over the world!
In the end the episode skeptic was not moved from what he believes in. But as I said earlier, I think we had more we agreed on than not.
Planting progress continues to be slowed by wet and cold weather in most of the major corn producing states.
According to USDA, just 5% of the U.S. corn crop was planted as of Sunday, only a percentage point of difference compared to the previous week. Last year at this time, nearly half the crop was in the ground and normally at least 30% should be planted by now. All 18 major corn producing states are behind the five year average and five have nothing in the ground yet. Another half dozen have less than 3-4% planted.
John Grandin, Senior Field Sales Agronomist at GROWMARK, Inc. says that while planting is definitely running behind normal in the Corn Belt, it’s nothing to worry about just yet.
“We’re not behind the eight ball as far as we’ve missed out on all the growing degree days,” said Grandin, who adds that field work is progressing in his area of Iowa.
Grandin stresses the importance of sticking with the original plan when it comes to nutrient management. “If the original plan calls for spring-applied anhydrous ammonia, then stick with spring-applied anhydrous ammonia,” he said.
However, Grandin points out the possibility of burning corn roots or even killing the seedling if application is followed too quickly by planting. “We can manage that by putting the anhydrous ammonia on at an angle to the direction of row planting,” he said. That will help decrease the possibility of free ammonia being trapped in the knife track as a result of wetter soils. “We don’t want to be planting directly on top of the anhydrous knife track for any length of row.”
Scouting is more popular than ever to help farmers to be prepared.
A recent BASF poll showed nearly 80 percent of growers are changing their weed management programs to head off herbicide-resistant weeds – and with resistance confirmed across 31 U.S. states, a good scouting technique is a must for every field.
“Understanding the biology of the weeds already present in the field is the first step for farmers to gain control of their weed problems,” said Luke Bozeman, Technical Market Manager, BASF. “But scouting is equally important, and keeping an eye out for weeds that may have survived an early-season application is critical.”
Scouting has evolved from a task to a science. While there are many new technologies and custom weed identification tools that farmers, crop scouts and company agents use to quickly and accurately identify common weeds in their fields, traditional scouting techniques are still critical. Moving in a diagonal pattern across fields is the best approach to capturing accurate data of persistent weeds and gaining a broad sample survey.
Timing is essential for effective weed control and scouting should be done early in the growing season. As weeds get bigger they become more difficult to control and can continue to grow and produce seed. This can keep soil weed seed banks high and increase weed problems next year, contributing to crop competition and yield loss.
One of the biggest concerns for any ag operation is getting the most out of your inputs. During the recent tour of BASF‘s newly acquired Becker Underwood St.Joseph, Mo. seed facility, Russ Berndt, product manager for legumes and northern crops for Becker Underwood, talked about the symbiotic relationship soybeans have with the living organism rhizobia, a soil bacteria that fixes nitrogen for soybean plants. While the rhizobia are naturally occurring, they’re not always the right kind for soybeans to get the most out of the nitrogen relationship. That’s where Becker Underwood’s VAULT HP and its compounds come in.
“One of them is a compound that stimulates the rhizobia so that they send signals to the plant to produce more [nitrogen-producing] nodules sites,” adding that another component is INTEGRAL, a biological fungicide that gives more protection for the plants. Russ says that while inoculant technology is not necessarily new, VAULT HP’s approach differs from the old days of the dusty black powders. Liquid concentrations allow more rhizobia to be in each treatment. “It’s now very convenient. Growers can have it put on their seed when they’re getting other seed treatments put on. They’re put on at a very low rate so the treater can put on multiple products. And the concentrations are high so the grower is getting a high count rhizobia along with all the other components of VAULT HP,” he says.
Russ goes on to say that not only are growers ensured a maximum nodulation on those roots with a surefire nitrogen fixer, they get a living biological in INTERGRAL that grows on the roots surface to provide protection throughout the season. It all adds up to a better bottom line.
“What we see as far as return on investment is growers are going to get a 5-to-1 or better return half the time and over 70 percent of the time, get at least a 2-to-1 return.”
Got an email today from an employee of GROWMARK with a great message that I wanted to share for Earth Day week.
I’m sure you’ve seen email signatures saying something like “Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail!” This one is a little different.
Notice: It’s OK to print this e-mail.
Paper is a biodegradable, renewable, sustainable product made from trees and corn starch. Growing and harvesting trees and corn provides jobs for millions of Americans. Working forests are good for the environment and provide clean air and water, wildlife habitat and carbon storage. Thanks to improved forest and agricultural management, we have more trees and corn in America today than we had 100 years ago.
I love it! Planning to add it to my email signatures in the future. How about you? Thanks GROWMARK!
Representatives from both agricultural employers and farm labor are pleased with guest worker provisions included in the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act introduced in the Senate yesterday.
Leaders from the Agriculture Workforce Coalition (AWC) held a press conference yesterday to highlight the stake American agriculture has in immigration reform. Late last week, a landmark agreement on immigration reform was reached by the AWC, the United Farm Workers (UFW), and key Senators.
The bill’s provisions for agriculture include a new “blue card” program for experienced farm workers, and improvements to the current agricultural worker visa program.
Participating in the news conference were National Council of Farmer Cooperatives president Chuck Conner, National Milk Producers president Jerry Kozak, Western Growers Association president Tom Nassif, United Fresh Produce Association president Tom Stenzel, Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association president Mike Stuart, U.S. Apple Association president Nancy Foster, and United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez.
My “Face of Climate Change” says, “Why all the hysteria?” At least that’s what I would be thinking if you took a picture of me after mentioning the theme of this year’s Earth Day. I’m a skeptic when it comes to man made global warming or that man can and should try to change it. I’m not a skeptic of the fact that climate changes and that it can cause havoc in areas where man has decided to live or work.
I have a real problem with organizations that are raking in huge amounts of money by creating fear on the part of a not very well educated public and calling for immediate and drastic social change which of course includes big governmental tax increases and added costs to do business or impacts how you choose to live your life. I know that the folks who have imbibed the climate change kool-aid can cite “research” that seems to give their ideas credence. However, there are plenty of other studies pointing the exact opposite direction. All of them are making predictions based on models that don’t all agree. But even more foolish than thinking that science is not questionable is buying into the fact that just because we have a drought here or a cold weather event there we are facing armageddon (watched too many end of the world movies?). Last year’s midwest U.S. drought was a very real and severe event but even though climate activists want to point to it as proof of their assertions it just isn’t so. I’m pretty sure that supporters of organizations like the Earth Day Network or the FAO would dismiss this.
There’s no doubt that as civilization continues to grow we will also continue to manage it more and more efficiently and sustainably. We don’t need hysteria and monumental government change for it to happen. Since any credible definition of sustainability has to contain a financial element you can rest assured that businesses will continue R&D to operate more efficiently and produce products that are better for the environment. We see this happening all over in agriculture today. Biotechnology like that produced by our seed companies is just one example. Drought tolerant crops will become important in areas that either have new drought patterns or have always had them.
This Earth Day let’s get positive and FarmOn by raising #FarmVoices. Farmers are a great place to look if you want to see positive ways we can take care of our land and natural resources. We need to give them more credit than the activists seem to want to do. I’m pretty sure most climate activists are sustaining their bodies by eating the fruits of the land produced by the original environmental activists!
I’m sure many people will disagree with my outlook. Your comments are welcome as long as they stay on topic and offer something new.
Hey folks let’s FarmOn! Now, I know that’s not real easy these days, especially for young people who want to get started. Here’s an organization that’s trying to help. The FarmOn Foundation is compiling a number of online resources while also conducting social media awareness campaigns like #FARMVOICES. We’ll learn all about it in this week’s program.
I had a conversation with Sarah Wray, a FarmOn Foundation director and one of the founders of this effort. With her husband they worked hard to find investment funds to get their farm started in Canada. From the effort it took to make that happen they started FarmOn. Sarah says it has been a very cool experience basing their decisions of what they learn by listening to young farmers and the business community. For young farmers, she says “We actually have a real live online facilitator who can help them to find resources themselves in areas we might not have on the site right now.” If you’re interested in helping this effort then consider a sponsorship.
We also talked about the FarmOn social media campaign that’s going on now through Earth Day, April 22. The organization is inviting farmers and consumers to post a photo and a thought to Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter about their experience. Learn more about it here.
Here’s a great looking group of custom harvesters. This is from the U.S. Custom Harvesters booth at Commodity Classic. I met another one of these road warriors that will be featured in the upcoming film documentary, “The Great American Wheat Harvest.” He is Dan Misener, second from the right.
Dan’s business is Misener Family Harvesters which has been in business since 1969. It is truly a family business. That family business will be one of the ones featured in the documentary which is now in production. The documentary will tell their story as they follow the harvest north. Dan says around mid April they get started and work a week or so from each stop over a period of 6-7 months. That’s a long stretch away from home!
The Great American Wheat Harvest is a project that will help people understand where a loaf of bread comes from. Dan says, “We can’t let somebody else tell our story. We need to tell our own story.
This April 22 a group of young agricultural enthusiasts want you to FarmOn. The organization is inviting farmers and consumers to connect through the power of social media. Farmers are asked to post a photo and a thought to Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter about their experience as a farmer, attaching the hashtag #FARMVOICES.
Let your picture/post answer one of the following questions:
What do you love about farming?
What challenge do you face that threatens your ability to farm?
How do you care for your land and animals?
The FarmOn Foundation was formed by a group of young agricultural enthusiasts, from rural Alberta, determined to see the industry thrive and become tangible for new farmers looking to be a part of it. With Canada losing 60% of their young agricultural producers in the last 15 years, leaving only 9.1% of farmers under the age of 35, it was mission critical to form an organization that existed solely for the benefit of young farmers and seeing them succeed.
As such, the FarmOn Foundation was born, with the mandate to inspire young farmers to action by equipping them with the tools, knowledge and hands on skills needed to increase the profitability of their agricultural businesses.
Governed by a Board of Directors, all in touch with the agriculture industry, the Foundation continues to create programming that is of benefit to farmers who are evolving their operations.
In the newest AgFanatics podcast, our friends Cory and Nick give some explanation as to what has caused the significant retreat in grain prices, after last Thursday’s USDA report. What does the future hold and what could we see in next Wednesday’s WASDE report? Tune in to find out!
The AgriVisor AgFanatics podcast is updated twice weekly and can be found on Itunes or right from the front page at www.agrivisor.com.
During our weekly AgChat session last night several folks interjected messages about a United Nations sanctioned initiative called the 2014 International Year of Family Farming, Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth. So I had to look at it and can’t say I like what I see. If you click around their website you’ll see some pretty mixed messages. There is a lot of feel good rhetoric about family farming and losing people to the cities. Then you’ll find a video with a page title “Do we really need industrial agriculture?” It’s on YouTube and I couldn’t get past more than a minute or two to realize these folks have an agenda that is not compatible with reality and common sense. It’s just the tired old messaging that farming today is all “industrial” and the evil corporations are taking over the world. You’d think we’re all going to die unless we do what they want. This video is produced by Food MythBusters and the Real Food Media Project. I hate to think of what they hope to teach kids.
I can empathize with the challenges presented by a changing world and changing technology. It does make it tough to make a living from a small patch of ground even here in America. But you’ll also find messages in here about how bad subsidies are. I’m just curious how these folks think they’re going to fund all their feel good programs. Where do they think the money will come from? My bet is that it will be subsidies they want which will then be “good subsidies.” I can’t support this kind of effort and as far as I’m concerned anything with the United Nations involved is suspect.
What do you think? I work in the ag media realm and have my whole career. I saw broadcasting, especially on the radio side, change as consolidation happened and we no longer had truly local ownership. I didn’t cry over it and ask the government to help me. New technology offered us some great new opportunities. Throw in some hard work too! Voila. I’m making a living. I think this can apply to farming today. It is changing and will continue to change. Instead of looking at the work agribusinesses are doing to become more efficient, produce more and safer food, and do so in a sustainable way, as evil, how about looking at it with thanks and gladness that hard working people are making a positive difference that will reap benefits in countries all over the world. Corporations are not faceless entities. They are a business model populated by real people who are also trying to make a living and working very hard at it. I think they need to be rewarded for their work!
It looks like this effort has been going on for a while. Some pretty outdated stuff on the website, especially the blog.