As both the House and Senate Agriculture committees are marking up their versions of a farm bill this week, that was the number one issue for farm broadcasters meeting in the nation’s capitol for their annual Washington Watch.
Mary Kay Thatcher with the American Farm Bureau Federation sees few major differences between the two committee drafts released last week. “If you look at all the titles, except commodities and nutrition, they’re fairly similar – there isn’t really a nickel’s worth of difference in conservation, research, rural development or specialty crops,” she said. Even the commodity titles she thinks are more similar this year than last, but there are differences in nutrition. “I still think the food stamp program is going to be the big ticket that’s going to hold us up in getting this thing done.”
Listen to Chuck’s interview with Mary Kay here: Interview with Mary Kay Thatcher, AFBF
Jon Doggett with the National Corn Growers Association says their top priority with the farm bill is risk management and crop insurance, which is why they joined with a number of other agriculture and environmental groups last week in hammering out a compromise to support tying conservation compliance and crop insurance but oppose means testing or payment limitations. “We worked out some common sense language that makes this a very workable program for growers that offers them plenty of opportunity that if they inadvertently get out of compliance they can quickly get back in,” he said. “In return, we have an assurance from the conservation community that they will be with us to protect the funding for crop insurance.”
Listen to Chuck’s interview with Jon here: Interview with Jon Doggett, NCGA
The Senate farm bill mark up is scheduled for Tuesday and the House on Wednesday.
Link to Senate farm bill page.
Link to House farm bill draft.
2013 NAFB Washington Watch Photo Album
Find more NAFB Washington Watch interviews on AgNewsWire.com
Even as the Syngenta-owned Garst and Golden Harvest® brands are being launched under the revised Golden Harvest brand, Syngenta intends to uphold the quality, reliability and legacy that have become synonymous with the Garst brand and the Garst Seed Advisor.
“Roswell Garst’s commitment to customers – to be a trusted advisor in addition to a seed dealer – is the very essence of what the Syngenta Seed Advisor network embodies,” said Lori Thomas, customer marketing manager for the dealer channel commercial unit for Syngenta in North America. “Even though the Garst name won’t have the same market presence, the integrity, tradition and history of the company will continue to live on.” Thomas and her husband, Mike, were Garst Seed Advisors for 10 years.
Founded as Garst & Thomas Hi-Bred Corn Company in 1930, the Garst brand has a rich history of bringing many innovative corn solutions to market, from developing herbicide-tolerant hybrids, including the first IMI-corn, to offering European Corn Borer (Bt) control and herbicide tolerance together in one corn hybrid, to transcending borders and taking the new technology to farmers in other countries, including the former Soviet Union.
Since Syngenta acquired the Garst brand in 2004, the company has focused on building a diverse genetic portfolio, using the genetics from the Garst, Golden Harvest and NK® brand breeding programs and incorporating the market-leading line-up of Agrisure® traits. Earlier this year, Syngenta announced the decision to rebrand the existing Garst and Golden Harvest corn seed brands and launch a unified Golden Harvest brand stemmed from ongoing efforts to strengthen and grow the network of Syngenta Seed Advisors.
A new logo and numbering system for Golden Harvest hybrids will be in place for summer 2013 trials and the 2014 planting season. “The new logo brings elements from the Garst legacy as well as the Golden Harvest legacy,” Lori says, stressing that growers who have counted on Garst seed to maximize their yields will still have access to the same high-quality genetics under the Golden Harvest name through their Syngenta Seed Advisor.
Listen to or download my interview with Lori here: Interview with Lori Thomas
Farmers are accustomed to adjusting to the twists and turns of growing seasons on a short-term basis, but long-term planning is more difficult, according to climate field specialist Laura Edwards from South Dakota State University’s Extension office in Aberdeen.
The Climate and Corn-based Cropping Systems Coordinated Agricultural Project explores ways that corn growers can adjust their cropping practices to make their operations more sustainable. It is also aimed at limiting or reducing the vulnerability of farmers to short term climate events, such as the 2012 drought. The $20 million grant, headed by Iowa State University, brings together 140 experts from 10 land-grant institutions and a USDA research unit in the Corn Belt.
A smaller more applied project, Useful2Usable, seeks to give farmers the soil, crop and climate data they need to make shorter-term and long-range decisions. The $5 million project is headed by Purdue University.
Growers across the Corn Belt are either anxiously waiting to get into their fields or are in the early stages of planting their 2013 corn crop. If cool, wet weather continues, planting will be delayed for many growers and prompt questions about switching to earlier season hybrids.
Long-term research studies from DuPont Pioneer and several universities show that adapted, full-season corn hybrids usually offer the best yield and profit advantage when planting delays are not extreme.
Full-season hybrids typically make full use of a growing season. Even when planted late, these hybrids often outperform early maturing hybrids, adjusting their growth and development to reach maturity in a shortened growing season.
Long-term studies by both Pioneer and universities which included a range of hybrid maturities across planting dates extending from April through June have shown a clear yield and profit advantage for full-season hybrids.
You’ve spent some good money to treat those seeds before you plant them in the ground. But the dust that forms when the treated seeds rub together and rub off those expensive treatments is more than a loss of protection and an irritant for workers – it’s like money blowing away in the wind. Charlie Hale, marketing strategy and support lead for Becker Underwood says that’s why having the right polymer is so important.
“You might think of the polymers as glues that glue those solids on to the seed surface, but they are also designed these days to help fill in the spaces between the particles to make the seed smoother,” cutting down on that friction that creates that dust. Charlie adds that Becker Underwood’s new Flo Rite® 1706 plantability polymer does all that and gives you more uniform plant distribution out in the field. He also points out that losing protection for that seed also means a loss in yield potential. “With today’s prices for grain, we lose significant amounts of money, just because we haven’t kept that protection on the seed.”
Charlie says Becker Underwood has two formulations for legumes, two for corn and another one on the way for cotton. He says this is the third generation of the Flo Rite products for soybeans and corn, so his company has some experience to bring to the table. They’ve got it down to producing almost no dust, no matter how aggressively it gets rubbed.
He cautions that growers who think they can cut down on dust really aren’t gaining anything. “Yeah, [a half rate] does [cut down on dust]. But you still are losing protection.” You want to put on and keep on everything that you’ve invested. And he thinks the latest Flo Rite polymer will be near zero dust. “You get pretty close to that.”
Listen to Cindy’s interview with Charlie here: Charlie Hale, Becker Underwood marketing and support lead
Becker Underwood media tour photo album
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. The only states even close are North Carolina and Texas. Every state should be showing progress in the double digits, but only six are and five have nothing in the ground yet. Another half dozen have less than 3-4% planted.
Meanwhile, the conditions and slow planting pace are impacting emergence. Just 2% of total U.S. corn has emerged, compared to 14% last year at this time and 6% on average.
Planting is definitely running behind normal in the Corn Belt, but it’s nothing to worry about just yet.
“Just stick to the original plan” when it comes to nutrient management,” says John Grandin, Senior Field Sales Agronomist at GROWMARK, Inc. “If the original plan calls for spring-applied anhydrous ammonia, then stick with spring-applied anhydrous ammonia.”
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.”
Listen to this interview with Grandin to find out more: GROWMARK agronomist John Grandin
A little more corn, a little less soybeans, more wheat and a lot less cotton – that summarizes the USDA 2013 Prospective Plantings report out today.
Corn growers intend to plant 97.3 million acres of corn for all purposes in 2013, up slightly from last year and 6 percent higher than in 2011. If realized, this will represent the highest planted acreage in the United States since 1936 when an estimated 102 million acres were planted.
Soybean acres are estimated at 77.1 million acres, down slightly from last year but the fourth highest on record. All wheat acreage is forecast at 56.4 million, up one percent, and cotton is expected to total 10 million acres, down 19 percent from last year.
The Minneapolis Grain Exchange held its usual crop conference call with reporters when the report was released today, with commentary by Brian Basting of Advance Trading.
Listen to the MGEX call here: MGEX Prospective Plantings call
Teams of Purdue University students who created fiber insulation from soybeans and a fireworks casing from corn won the top prizes in the annual Student Soybean and Corn Innovation Contests. The awards were announced at a reception March 20th, 2013 in Indianapolis.
The competitions, sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council, teach students how to be innovative entrepreneurs with soybeans and corn. Both teams received a $20,000 prize for their work.
The winning soybean team produced Nature Loft, a soy protein fiber insulation that can be used in bedding, including sleeping bags; apparel such as hats, gloves and footwear; and other products such as headphones.
The winning corn team created Sky Maize, a biodegradable fireworks casing that is lighter and less expensive than what is now commercially available.
Winning $10,000 the second-place soybean team developed water-soluble Double Eyelid Glue.
The second-place corn team also winning $10,000 created Fog-Away, an anti-fog glass and mirror cleansing solution.
Strip-Till Systems Provide Key Benefits for Corn
Evidence has shown that strip-till systems combine many of the best aspects of no-till and conventional tillage systems. The advantages of strip-till are generally most pronounced for corn following corn, where strip-till can help improve seedbed uniformity and reduce plant-to-plant variability compared to no-till.
Benefits Over No-Till Systems
Strip tillage encourages more favorable soil temperature, moisture and aeration conditions for germinating seeds and seedling plants. This can translate to improved crop establishment and early season performance. Strip-till also offers the opportunity to place fertilizers directly into the root zone, away from crop residues that could otherwise intercept or immobilize nutrients.
Benefits Over Conventional Tillage Systems
Strip-till can provide conservation and efficiency benefits over conventional tillage practices. By leaving the interrow untilled, crop residues are retained on the soil surface providing increased erosion resistance and organic inputs. Strip-till can also reduce field passes and input costs compared to conventional tillage.
Tips for Successful Strip-Till
To successfully implement strip-till into your operation, it is important to consider field selection, tillage timing, and strip placement. Guidance systems and strip-till units with parallel linkage help ensure accurate seed placement and consistent depth control. It may take a season or two to become skilled at staying on the strips—so give it time and stick with it.
A highlight of the general session of Commodity Classic is moderator Mark Mayfield’s “visit with the Presidents.” Left to right are Mayfield, Terry Swanson, National Sorghum Producers; Erik Younggren, National Association of Wheat Growers; Pam Johnson, National Corn Growers Association and Danny Murphy, American Soybean Association.
Mayfield kicked off the session by asking each of the presidents what “sustainability” means to them.
Listen to Danny Murphy’s comments here: ASA Danny Murphy
Listen to Pam Johnson’s comments here: NCGA Pam Johnson
Listen to Erik Younggren’s comments here: NAWG Eric Younggren
Listen to Terry Swanson’s comments here: NSP Terry Swanson
2013 Commodity Classic Photo Album
Increasing plant population density will be critical to growing yields in U.S. corn production, but increasing this density will be dependent on the economics farmers face as they seek to increase yields, according to a new report released today by researchers at the Rabobank International Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory group. The report, titled “Crowding The Fields,” finds it likely we’ll see one to two years of stagnant plant population growth due to high input costs and dry soils in the U.S.
The report finds the key areas where future problems are becoming measurable in more dense plant populations include: a lack of adequate precision in planting equipment, fertilization practices which can encourage non-uniform plant growth, and insufficient spacing for root systems to develop. Each of these factors alone present serious challenges to long term growth in the corn yield curve. However, taken together, these obstacles are capable of severely restricting yield growth potential over the long term.
The 18th Annual Commodity Classic has launched their first-ever mobile app for this year’s event in Kissimmee, Fl. The app will allow attendees to access information, receive messages and engage in social media from their smart phones and tablets. You can even make your own schedules, take notes, lookup session and event times and navigate with maps.
Visit www.commondityclassic.com/app to download it now or check out the App Store on your mobile device and search Commodity Classic. I just did and can’t wait to attend my first ever Commodity Classic. And the best part about it is it’s free!
In less than two weeks, soybean, corn, wheat and sorghum growers will be traveling to the far Southeast from across the county to take in the sights of Kissimmee, Fl. Producers will be educated about important agricultural issues, enlightened by new product rollouts and entertained by all the events coordinators have planned.
“The innovation you’ll witness and information you’ll gather at Commodity Classic will absolutely change the way you farm,” said Commodity Classic co-Chair Bob Worth. “Agriculture faces new challenges every year, and Commodity Classic’s educational sessions and opportunities to speak with other growers and industry leaders will arm attendees with the tools they need to overcome these challenges and increase the profitability of their farming operation.”
The 2013 Commodity Classic takes place February 28-March 2 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center and the Orlando World Center Marriott in Kissimmee, Fla., and is presented annually by the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers.
A popular Purdue Extension pocket reference guide for corn and soybean producers has been updated and is now available.
The 2013 Corn and Soybean Field Guide is an in-field reference to help farmers quickly identify and manage crop problems, such as weeds, diseases and insects.
The 324-page guide has information useful from planting to harvest and features color photographs and reference tables to help farmers make fertilizer and pesticide application decisions. Other topics include crop development, nutrient deficiencies, planting decisions, soil fertility and herbicide injuries.
Growers can use the guide to help them apply appropriate amounts of fertilizers for soil nutrient deficiencies or pesticides for pest management, which could save them money, said Corey Gerber, director of Purdue’s Crop Diagnostic Training and Research Center.
Updates from last year’s guide include improved photographs and new information about soybean vein necrosis virus, which was first confirmed in Indiana in 2012.
Guides are available individually or in bulk from Purdue Extension’s The Education Store. Individual copies are $7 each, or boxes of 25 can be ordered for $157.50.
CropLife Foundation (CLF) announces that it will publish a comprehensive report in spring 2013 entitled “The Role of Precision Seed Protection in Modern Crop Production.” The report closely examines research from case studies conducted throughout the U.S. and outlines the benefits of using pesticides for sustainable crop production. Preliminary findings of the report were presented at the American Seed Trade Association Corn & Sorghum and Soybean Seed Research Conference and Seed Expo 2012.
The report cites many specific benefits for modern crop production as a result of precision seed protection, including:
• Research demonstrates that the use of precision seed protection in corn results in improved plant health and stress tolerance under drought conditions;
• Soybean seed treatments reduce the damage caused by soybean cyst nematodes, which can decrease yields by 15 to 30 percent;
• Modern precision equipment is highly computerized and ensures that seed protection products are applied at the correct rates and leave minimal environmental impact;
• Precision seed protection increases crop yields, decreases operating costs and encourages other sustainable practices such as no-till farming.
The report states that global precision seed protection sales grew from $700 million in 1997 to $2.25 billion in 2010 and are projected to exceed $3 billion in 2016.