AgInfomatics Identying the Benefits of Insecticides

Joanna Schroeder 1 Comment

I learned a lot this week during the Farm Progress Show but one particular thing I learned about was neonicotinoids. Until I met Pete Nowak with Madison, Wisconsin-based AgInfomatics and an emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison, I had never heard the term nor had any idea what it meant. Now I do.

So let’s go to school for a moment. Nowak explained that a neonicotinoid is a compound and there are a number of types of neonicotinoids. These are better known as insecticides and they are the broadest used insecticides in the world, used on almost all the corn and soybean crops in the U.S. and Canada as well Pete Nowak AgInfomaticsas a number of the other major commodity crops. The way they are used is that is is a coating applied on the outside of the seed so when the seed is planted it becomes systemic in the plant once it grows. The only way you will have an impact is if a insect bites the plant and then starts chewing on the plant the insect will die. (I asked Nowak about bees and he said they are safe from insecticides.)

Although insecticides are used around the world, they are regulated differently. “We are focusing on two agencies. In the United States its the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and in Canada it is the Pesticide Management Regulatory Authority,” explained Nowak. “They are looking at neonicotinoids now as part of a registration process and they realize we just don’t have good data on the benefits; how important these insecticides are.”

There are four companies that have come together to fund the studies including Syngenta, Bayer, Valiant and Mitsui. AgInfomatics is doing the research and then it will be given to the companies who will they give the research to the regulatory agencies.

The study is going to be structured to answer the question relative to the benefits. “If you’re going to look at the benefits, there are different ways you can do it,” said Nowak. “Let’s assume a certain situation or event occurs and let’s understand what would happen there. So one way to determine what the benefits are, let’s assume neonicotinoids are not there anymore. What would happen to agriculture? So we quantified that by saying farmers will have to use this compound and that compound at this rate and what’s the cost with that and what’s the environmental implications with that and how effective is pest control with that so all those issues are wrapped up in these technical reports.”

The study will determine what the true cost is if insecticides were not used as well as use valuation techniques to determine what would be the cost in time or to run your operation if insecticides were not available. His research team interviewed over 10,000 farmers and residents to begin to understand how important they are to the American farmers.

The first technical report will be released in a few weeks with a total of 14 technical reports issued in all.

To learn more about the neonicotinoids research, listen to my interview with Pete Nowak: Interview with Pete Nowak, AgInfomatics

View the Farm Progress 2014 Flicker photo album.

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Agribusiness, Audio, Bayer, Farm Progress Show, Insecticides, Syngenta Joanna SchroederAgInfomatics Identying the Benefits of Insecticides

New Holland Tier 4B Guardian Sprayers

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

New Holland Guardian SprayerAt the New Holland Media Day just prior to the Farm Progress Show we got to see the new Tier 4B Front-boom Guardian Sprayer. In the video below you will learn about the features of this sprayer which include:

  • The smart way to spray: ‘never look back’
  • Industry-leading horsepower, ground clearance, ride and turning radius
  • 1,600 US/gallon tank and 120-foot boom options
  • New engine: meets Tier 4B emissions standards
  • Cab design and electronics: premium operator comfort


New Holland introduces new Tier 4B Guardian™ front-boom sprayer models including the highest-capacity sprayer in the business, the SP.400F. In addtition to a revolutionary front-boom design, this model features industry-leading horsepower, combined with the available 1,600 US/gallon tank and 120-foot boom options to cover more acres faster than ever.

“With the boom in front, you get the best visibility without looking over your shoulder. You can spray and never look back,” says Sheldon Gerspacher, Crop Production Equipment Segment Leader. “Nozzles are located behind the front boom, providing complete, unrestricted view of every nozzle. Operating a front-mount sprayer reduces operator stress, which increases productivity and maximizes acres covered. In short, these sprayers allow producers to do more with every minute of their time.”

2014 Farm Progress photo album.

Coverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by
Coverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by New HollandCoverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by FMCCoverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by GrowmarkCoverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by AgLeader
Agribusiness, Equipment, Farm Progress Show, New Holland, Video Chuck ZimmermanNew Holland Tier 4B Guardian Sprayers

BASF Farm Perspectives Survey

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

fps14-basf-aj-bradyAt the Farm Progress Show this week, BASF released a new Farm Perspectives Study, conducted earlier this year, comparing consumer and farmer viewpoints on agriculture-related issues based on opinions from more than 9,000 people in seven different countries.

“This is actually the second study, it was first conducted in 2011,” said BASF Technical Crop Production Specialist AJ Woodyard. Conducted in early 2014, it included some 2,100 farmer and 7,233 consumer participants in the U.S., Germany, France, Spain, Brazil, India and China.

“This survey showed the satisfaction levels globally,” said BASF Market Intelligence & Research Manager Brady Spangenberg, noting some of the differences between farmers around the world. “For example, 88% of U.S. growers said they were satisfied with their profession. Compare that with France, where 54% of growers said they were satisfied, you start to see some interesting differences.” There was a three percent increase in U.S. grower satisfaction from 2011.

Nearly all farmers (95.6%) in the seven surveyed countries agree they have a shared responsibility to feed the growing population, but most feel the responsibility is not valued by consumers. Only 40 percent of U.S. farmers feel respected by the general U.S. population. Most U.S. farmers (78.6%) and consumers (67.9%) agree that innovations are necessary to help farmers with the challenge of feeding a growing population, but that still shows a gap in consumer perceptions of the need for new agricultural technology. “Clearly we know there’s an education need, consumers need to be educated on the value of these products,” said Woodyard. “But there’s probably also a piece of complacency in the U.S. because we’ve got food in the supermarkets.”

Spangenberg says the full results of the study will be made public soon. “We’re going to have a global roll out of the study results in a couple of weeks in Europe and after that the results will be available at FarmPerspectivesStudy.com.”

Interview with AJ Woodyard and Brady Spangenberg, BASF

2014 Farm Progress Show photo album

Audio, BASF, Farm Progress Show, Farming Cindy ZimmermanBASF Farm Perspectives Survey

Summit Group Announces Corn Ethanol Plant in Brazil

Joanna Schroeder 1 Comment

Bruce Rastetter Summit GroupAlden, Iowa-based Summit Group announced a project to build the first modern corn ethanol plant in Brazil during the 2014 Farm Progress Show. The project will consist of a US$140 million ethanol plant near Lucas do Rio Verde in Mato Grosso, a leading agricultural state in west central Brazil and the country’s largest producer of corn and soybeans. The project is being financed by Summit Group who is partnering with Fiagril and will be developed by ethanol technology company ICM and built by agribusiness company Marino Franz.

To learn more about the project I spoke with Summit Group CEO Bruce Rastetter who noted that his organization does large crop production, hog production and cattle production and as part of they core business they also have a private equity group, U.S. Farmland Fund, that is providing the financing for the project.

I asked Rastetter “Why Brazil” and he answered that outside of the U.S. they believe this country will play the biggest role in feeding the world. “One of the interesting parts in particular about Mato Grosso is because of improved genetics they’re able to double crop. So they are able to raise the first crop of soybeans and the second crop of corn or cotton so they have increasing corn production in the middle of the continent where it is difficult to get it out. So they are embracing value-added agriculture” explained Rastetter.

So what is the difference between the early U.S. ethanol plants and the modern corn ethanol plant that will be based in Braizl? Rastetter said they are partnering with Colwich,Kansas-based ICM and CEO Dave Vander Griend has been traveling to Brazil with Rastetter and his team for a few years. While the majority of the technology will be the same with an improvement on high protein low fiber DDGs (dried distillers grains) – a just patented process for livestock feed.

To learn more about Summit Group’s corn ethanol plant in Brazil, listen to my interview with Bruce Rastetter: Interview with Bruce Rastetter

I also had the opportunity to speak with Eric Peterson who is the president of Summit Group who talked more specifically about the value-added opportunities the corn ethanol plant will provide the community of Mato Grosso. Peterson explained the area has difficulty getting corn exports out of the region and ethanol into the region. With the new ethanol plant, the corn will be purchased Eric Peterson Summit Grouplocally and the ethanol and DDGs produced will then stay local – overcoming the export/import barriers of the region. This has made the project and partners very accepted in the community.

Since the technology will provide a different type of DDGs than used in the U.S. a part of the project and because Brazilians are very used to using soy meal, they will be able to complement the soy meal with a high protein product. In addition, with the high fiber feed product they are going to run feed trials with a University of Nebraska nutritionist to learn how to best utilize the co-product.

Peterson believes there is a great opportunity to create synergistic relationships between U.S. farmers and Brazilian farmers. “When we go there we are impressed with some of their technology and how they adapt to large scale agriculture and they are quickly adopting precision technologies that we have here in the U.S. and there is no better place for people to assimilate technology than in Brazil and so I think we can learn a lot from each other.”

The plant is to break ground the next six months and to be operational 16 months from groundbreaking which will occur before the rainy season in Feb/March and will produce 50 million gallons of ethanol per year.

To learn more about the agribusiness aspect of the Summit Group’s Brazilian ethanol plant by listening to my interview with Eric Peterson: Interview with Eric Peterson

View the Farm Progress 2014 Flicker photo album.

Coverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by
Coverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by New HollandCoverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by FMCCoverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by GrowmarkCoverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by AgLeader
Agribusiness, Audio, Biofuels, Corn, Ethanol, Farm Progress Show, Soybean Joanna SchroederSummit Group Announces Corn Ethanol Plant in Brazil

FMC Partners with John Deere Financial

Joanna Schroeder 1 Comment

FMC-LogoAdam Prestegord is an oilseed and cereals crop segment manager for FMC who has recently partnered with John Deere Financial to offer several offers for growers to finance key crop inputs. I learned more about this initiative from Prestegord during the 2014 Farm Progress Show held in Boone, Iowa. FMC was a sponsor of our coverage of the event.

“We’ve been hearing from our customers a growing need for financing, for crop inputs. With crop pricing coming down the last few months there is not as much cash available at the grower level and we’ve really started to hear more and more the need for grower financing to give them the ability to buy crop inputs to take the really key ones that are critical to their farm operations,” explained Prestegord regarding why they decided to pursue the financial partnership.

“We chose John Deere specifically because they are one of the largest providers of farm financial services,” continued Prestegord. “They have a lot of name recognition as well. But not only are they one of the largest providers, they also have a relationship with over 75 percent of our store retailer network. So over 75 percent of our account are already merchants of John Deere Financial.”

Starting September 1, 2014 growers will have the opportunity for several offers: three in the corn, soybean oilseed geography and another two will be in the rice and tobacco geographies in the south.

To learn more about FMC’s partnership with John Deere Financial and all the offers, listen to Cindy Zimmerman’s interview with Adam Prestegord: Interview with Adam Prestegord, FMC

View the Farm Progress 2014 Flicker photo album.

Coverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by
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Agribusiness, Audio, Crop Protection, Farm Progress Show, FMC Joanna SchroederFMC Partners with John Deere Financial

Land Values Showing Softness Across Illinois

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Illinois Society of Professional Farm ManagersThe Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers announced during the 2014 Farm Progress Show held this week in Boone, IA that prices being paid for farmland across Illinois have seen a “softening” from 2.0 percent to 4.1 percent. This was discovered during the organization’s Midyear Land Values Snapshot Survey.

The decline was found for the first half of 2014 but survey respondents believe the trend in prices paid will stay the same or decline modestly over the next year according to Dale Aupperle, with Heartland Ag Group, LTD and the chair of the report.

More specifically, for the first half of 2014, land values decreased:

  • 2 percent for excellent quality farmland (over 190 bushels per acre);
  • 3.7 percent for good quality farmland (between 170-190 bushels per acre);
  • 4.2 percent for average quality farmland (between 150-170 bushels per acre); and
  • 6 percent for fair quality farmland (averages below 150 bushels per acre).

“Participants were evenly divided on expectations for volume in the second half of 2014: 33 percent expect more land being offered for sale in the second half of than last year while 38 percent expect the same amount of land and 29 percent expect less,” said Gary Schnitkey, Ph.D. with the University of Illinois College of ACES, who conducted the study. “Local farmers are still the primary buyers.”

To learn more about farmland prices in Illinois, listen to the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers press conference:Land Values Showing Softness in Illinois Presser

View the Farm Progress 2014 Flicker photo album.

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Agribusiness, Audio, Farm Progress Show, Financial Joanna SchroederLand Values Showing Softness Across Illinois

EPA Official Talks WOTUS at FPS

Cindy Zimmerman 1 Comment

fps14-epaEnvironmental Protection Agency Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks held an informal press availability at the Farm Progress Show on Wednesday to mainly talk about the proposed Waters of the United States rule. He stressed the point that has been made by other officials that the rule exempts all normal farming practices that are currently exempt.

“If you did not need a permit from the (Army) Corps (of Engineers) or the EPA before this rule becomes final, you will not need a permit from these agencies after it becomes final,” said Brooks. He admits that the so-called “interpretive rule” part of the proposal needs some work. “From the get-go that was not well explained and has not been well understood. I’m fairly sure that the agencies will take another look at that.”

Brooks knew nothing about the maps released by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Wednesday which reportedly appear to detail the extent of EPA’s “Waters of the United States” proposal, but he said the final rule will be dependent on the results of an independent scientific review. “We know we need to have the science firm before we make the law to follow the science,” he said. EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks

2014 Farm Progress Show photo album

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Audio, Farm Progress Show, Government Cindy ZimmermanEPA Official Talks WOTUS at FPS

FMC Capture LFR & the Zone of Protection

Joanna Schroeder 1 Comment

capture_lfr_logoIt’s time to talk about the Zone of Protection offered by FMC’s Capture LFR Insecticide. I first heard this term from Gail Stratman, the Midwest technical sales lead for FMC who spoke with Cindy this week. FMC was one of our sponsors for the 2014 Farm Progress Show.

Capture LFR is an insecticide that is specifically designed to combine, or go in, a grower’s in furrow starter fertilizer and that provides an outstanding convenience for growers because he is able to apply is fertilizer and insecticide together in one pass,” explained Stratman. “As we know in this day in age, convenience is very important because growers have a lot to do in a very short period of time and especially in that planting window in the spring.”

Stratman also said this allows a grower to combine two operations into one tank, providing outstanding convenience and great control. Specifically, it helps control pests such as wireworm, cutworm, grubs, armyworm, seed corn maggot and common stalk borer. After several of years of work with Capture LFR, growers are seeing yield bump of 8-10 bushels per acre.

Stratman encourages growers who haven’t tried Capture LFR or an at plant in furrow insecticide treatment because a grower will see higher stand increases, greater plant health and higher yield potential.

To learn more about FMC Capture LFR Insecticide and the Zone of Protection listen to Cindy Zimmerman’s interview with Gail Stratman: Interview with Gail Stratman

View the Farm Progress 2014 Flicker photo album.

Coverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by
Coverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by New HollandCoverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by FMCCoverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by GrowmarkCoverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by AgLeader
Agribusiness, Audio, Crop Protection, FMC, Insecticides Joanna SchroederFMC Capture LFR & the Zone of Protection

Growth Energy Displays a Model Ethanol Plant

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

New Holland Supports EthanolAs part of New Holland’s commitment to being the Clean Energy Leader the company is very publicly and actively showing its support for biofuels like ethanol. During the Farm Progress Show not only could you find displays showing how and why the company supports home grown energy but there was also a special display on hand from Growth Energy. New Holland has partnered with Growth Energy for several years now.

You can find out about this display in this video I did with Kelly Manning, Vice President of Development. The educational display is under glass and is a fully built-to-scale ethanol plant showing how the feedstocks come into the plant and how the products made are then delivered from the plant.

2014 Farm Progress photo album.

Coverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by
Coverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by New HollandCoverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by FMCCoverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by GrowmarkCoverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by AgLeader
Agribusiness, Biofuels, Ethanol, Farm Progress Show, Growth Energy, New Holland, Video Chuck ZimmermanGrowth Energy Displays a Model Ethanol Plant

Corn Growers at Farm Progress Show

Cindy Zimmerman 1 Comment

fps14-ncga1National Corn Growers Association officers were out in force at the 2014 Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa this week.

Right out of the gate on the first day I met up with NCGA chairwoman Pam Johnson of Iowa, First VP Chip Bowling of Maryland, and President Martin Barbre of Illinois. It was a soggy start to the show on day one, while day two was lovely, and day three was a complete wash out.

gps14-ncga-chipChip stepped up to the podium in the media tent on day one to talk about our record corn crop in the fields this year. “We’re keeping a close eye on corn prices and are greatly concerned about efforts in Washington that may reduce or stifle demand for corn and raise the cost of production,” said Bowling, specifically noting the EPA’s proposal to lower volume obligations for ethanol under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Chip Bowling, NCGA comments on record corn crop Interview with Chip Bowling, NCGA

fps14-ncga-robNCGA soon-to-be Vice President Rob Elliott of Illinois sat down with us to talk about NCGA’s involvement in the American Ethanol NASCAR program which has had the popular racing platform running on 15% ethanol. “We’ve had about a four year program with Growth Energy and others to talk to 100 million NASCAR fans,” he said. “NASCAR in its three levels has run over six million miles (on E15) which is the same number of miles EPA drove to prove E15 to be a good fuel!”

Listen to our interview with Rob here: Interview with Rob Elliott, NCGA

2014 Farm Progress Show photo album

Coverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by
Coverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by New HollandCoverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by FMCCoverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by GrowmarkCoverage of the 2014 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by AgLeader
Audio, Biofuels, Corn, Ethanol, Farm Progress Show, NCGA Cindy ZimmermanCorn Growers at Farm Progress Show