USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) representatives were on hand at NAFB Trade Talk last month to discuss the 2013 crop and the 2012 census.
The 2013 harvest is considered completed at this point and Lance Honig with NASS says with a record corn crop and near record soybean crop forecast it’s turned out to be a pretty good year, despite the weather challenges.
“We started one way, we kind of went another way. It’s just the weather shifting throughout the season, but apparently we had enough moisture at the right times to produce a good crop this year”
The November crop production forecast was the final one of the season so Honig says NASS is beginning the process this week of surveying some 80,000 farmers for the final end-of-season numbers coming out January 10.
Listen to my complete interview with Lance here: USDA NASS, Lance Honig
Meanwhile, NASS is also gearing up to release the first numbers from the 2012 Census of Agriculture soon. However, that release is running a little behind schedule due to the two week government shutdown in October. According to Donald Buysse with NASS, the preliminary results are scheduled for release on February 20, 2014 at the Ag Outlook Forum, with the bulk of the data to come later.
Listen to my complete interview with Donald here: USDA NASS, Donald Buysse
2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album
Rabo AgriFinance was present for the recent Trade Talk during the 2013 NAFB Convention. The company is the leading U.S. ag lender and specializes in protein to produce and inputs to oilseeds. Their expert team monitors and evaluates the global market that influences agriculture around the world.
I spoke with one of the team’s analysts at the event and he shed some insight into the upcoming 2014 futures and recapped how growers and producers faired in 2013. John Grettenburg is a Relationships Manager in Western and Southwest Iowa and specializes in the corn and soybean market.
John hit on on-farm storage of grains and how it can benefit growers.
“I think it gives the producer the opportunity to mange it from one tax year to the next from an income tax perspective. Historically we have had some increases and bumps in the market through the spring months and early summer. It allows farmers to increase the speed of their harvest if they have their own drying facility and by not have to wait in lines at local elevators. It gives them that flexibility to move that crop to market when the price dictates.”
Listen to my complete interview with John here: Interview with John Grettenburg
Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album
Using NASA satellite data, Genscape has released an updated October corn yield forecast of 13.3 billion bushels. The company has noted that other analysts, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), have wide gaps in their predictions ranging from 13.2 billion bushels of corn produced during the 2013 growing season, to 14.2 billion bushels of corn.
Genscape said a unique combination of spring floods and flash droughts, coupled with an unusually long growing season, have conspired to make this year’s annual corn forecast the most difficult on record. However, the company said through its Landviewer technology that utilizes precision agriculture tools, is able to simplify the complexity of predicting forecasts.
“Given the unusual circumstances around this year’s growing season, we feel our NASA satellite and big data initiatives are even more important,” said Dr. Steffen Mueller, director of spatial grain analytics at Genscape. “We are back to our original prediction of 13.3 billion bushels, and we have the hard data to back it up.”
Genscape said its LandViewer model offers next generation data acquisition techniques, integrates NASA satellite imagery, and the industry’s most unified ground-based crop yield verification – called “ground truthing – coupled with extensive analysis by experienced soil/agricultural scientists, to offer corn crop forecasting.
The company notes that normally at this time of year, the USDA incorporates Farm Service Agency (FSA) lost acreage data; however, this year that analysis has not available to market participants because of the temporary government shutdown. As a result, and because the company is able to incorporate NASA satellite imagery with best-in-the-industry ground truthing data, their latest forecast is the only known model to currently account for lost acreage data.
Farmers who provide corn for ethanol plants can get special discounts on New Holland equipment and help the ethanol industry at the same time.
New Holland district sales manager Bob Kacher says their American Ethanol Producers Club is an initiative they developed two years ago with Growth Energy to help both growers and the ethanol industry. “It offers the opportunity to reinvest back into the ethanol industry through the purchase of New Holland products,” he explained during an event last week at the Absolute Energy biorefinery near Lyle, Minnesota. “The producers are part of the club by their contracts and the amount of grain they sell to the ethanol producing plants and that membership allows them discounts off New Holland equipment that they purchase through their local dealer, and in turn New Holland reinvests back into the support and promotion of ethanol.”
Producers can qualify for club membership if they have a current contract with an ethanol plant for at least 10,000 bushels, supply at least 50,000 bushels per year or purchase at least 280 tons of distillers grain, or be a board member or major investor in an ethanol plant. Bob suggests producers contact their local ethanol plant or Growth Energy for more information.
Find out more in this interview: Interview with Bob Kacher, New Holland
New Holland American Ethanol Producers Club photo album
Maximizing field yield is the goal of every grower, but is easier said than done. However, Monsanto’s FieldScripts program might be the answer. During the 2013 Farm Progress Show, Monsanto invited the media out to field to discuss the new opportunity and talk with FieldScripts Ground Breaker Growers.
Dale Sorensen, Integrated Farming Systems Field Research Lead, shared with the group the basics of what FieldScripts can offer in terms of precise seed placement and seeding rates. And how genetic and environmental components come into play.
“In 2013 we had our ground breakers program for FieldScripts. We had 150 growers from Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota. Those 150 growers had three to five fields on average. They basically shared the field boundaries, prior yield history and soil test results. And then we developed what we call out FieldScripts Management Zones and created a variable rate seeding zone within that field with the genetics that the dealer and grower had chosen.”
Listen to my interview with Dale here: Interview with Dale Sorensen
GRAINCO FS dealer, John Walsh, was also on hand to share his insights from the dealer perspective. John went through the steps to become FieldScripts certified to add specific value to his customers.
“It’s not a dealership certification. Each individual gets certified. My main job is with the seed portion and this was going to differentiate us from a lot of other seed dealers. You can buy that same bag of seed at several different places. We try every year to come up with something to add value to our dealership.”
Listen to my interview with John here: Interview with John Walsh
I also took the opportunity to talk with one of John’s growers, Doug and Justin Durdan. The father and son team farm about 100 miles from the Farm Progress Show location and shared why they jumped at the chance to increase yields with this new technology.
“We always just try and stay on top of new technologies and we thought that this was a good avenue for use to stay ahead.”
“The biggest benefit is putting the proper plants in the proper areas. We really felt we were over populating our lighter soil, which we were. Now we feel we can get a better averaged yield.”
Listen to my interview with Doug & Justin here: Interview with Doug & Justin Durdan
Check out photos from the event here: 2013 Monsanto Ground Breakers Media Event Photo Album
Syngenta announced that the EPA has approved the Agrisure Duracade™ 5122, E-Z Refuge® and Agrisure Duracade 5222, E-Z Refuge trait stacks. These single-bag refuge products will provide growers with unmatched corn rootworm protection plus a convenient 5 percent integrated refuge.
The Agrisure Duracade 5122, E-Z Refuge product combines the Agrisure Duracade trait with the trusted Agrisure® RW trait for dual modes of action against corn rootworm. This single-bag refuge product also contains the Agrisure CB/LL trait for corn borer control, the Herculex® I trait for an additional mode of action against corn borer plus broad lepidopteran control, and the Agrisure GT trait for glyphosate tolerance. It is conveniently packaged in a 5 percent integrated refuge.
Agrisure Duracade 5222, E-Z Refuge contains all of the same traits found in the Agrisure Duracade 5122, E-Z Refuge product plus the Agrisure Viptera® trait for breakthrough control of the multi-pest complex, a collection of highly destructive lepidopteran corn pests. It is also conveniently packaged in a 5 percent integrated refuge.
The Agrisure Duracade trait expresses a unique engineered protein (eCry3.1Ab) that protects against Western corn rootworm, Northern corn rootworm and Mexican corn rootworm. Syngenta and university research trials have shown the Agrisure Duracade trait is highly effective in controlling corn rootworm. Research by the US Department of Agriculture reports that the trait has the highest reduction in beetle emergence (99.79 percent) of any commercial CRW trait.*
*Field measures of Western corn rootworm mortality caused by transgenic corn expressing the mCry3A (MIR604) and eCry3.1Ab (5307) proteins. (Hibbard et al. ESA Meeting December 2010)
“Without soil, we’re out of business.”
That is the simple reason why corn growers support cutting edge conservation practices, according to Illinois farmer Dan Cole, a member of the National Corn Growers Association Production & Stewardship Action Team (PSAT) who took part in the recent Conservation Technology Information Center 2013 Conservation in Action Tour. “PSAT is in charge of water quality and sustainability,” he said. “We also do the corn grower contest, river transportation, but today we’re focused more on soil health.”
“This is cutting edge,” Dan told Chuck Zimmerman during the event. “We went from the mold board plow to the chisel plow, now we’re looking at more sustainable cover crops, no-till, strip till. Everything is to make that organic matter cycle quicker in production agriculture.”
Listen to Chuck’s interview with Dan here: Interview with Illinois farmer Dan Cole
Syngenta and Lindsay Corporation formally announced a collaborative agreement to provide corn farmers with a more efficient way to grow and manage irrigated corn acres. This collaboration will provide farmers with access to a proven combination of best-in-class products, technology, expertise, analysis, automation and service. The two companies have been working in recent years to develop projects and will deliver an entire agronomic system in one easy solution.
If the past two seasons are any indication—with both drought then excess rain—water will remain unpredictable. During the next 15 years, nearly 40 percent of the global population will be experiencing severe water limitations, and a typical U.S. corn grower will face water issues in two to three out of every five years. One of the major issues on irrigated acres is making the best use of available water, and the Syngenta and Lindsay initiative brings together a comprehensive approach that allows water to be most efficiently used in irrigated programs.
“Syngenta realizes that it’s time to rethink water. Water is the lifeblood of agriculture and one of the most critical elements in growing a corn crop,” said David Morgan, North America regional director for Syngenta. “Although weather and water are variable, corn growers can mitigate risk and achieve higher yield potential in water-stressed situations through a combination of technologies, products and services. We are pleased to be working with Lindsay, a leading provider of irrigation technology and water management systems, to deliver a complete platform custom-designed to help farmers grow more corn with less water.”
Barry Ruffalo, President, Irrigation at Lindsay Corporation said the collaborative agreement will enable Lindsay and Syngenta to integrate industry-leading offerings to provide farmers with unprecedented control over their irrigated corn acres.
“Our approach will include helping growers identify the most critical limiting variables and putting a program in place to better measure, analyze, track and predict their impact in real time,” Ruffalo said. “Integrating the Growsmart soil and weather sensors into the FieldNET monitoring and control platform creates a simple plug-and-play solution that is easy to use, yet very powerful. We look forward to working with Syngenta to help farmers save time, manage their irrigated acres more efficiently and improve their return on investment potential.”
The 2013 Summer Corn Conference will feature full-day sessions at which high-yield growers and agronomists can learn about the latest developments and technologies that lead to the best possible yields. Each day will consist of sessions that focus on field scouting, row cleaners and closing systems, down force and population management, and in-cab technologies.
Dates for the conference – held at the Precision Planting operation in Tremont, Illinois – are August 6-9, 2013. Admission is free but spaces are limited and advance registration is required. Those interested may learn more and register for a specific date at www.precisionplanting.com/conference or by calling 800-660-9573.
As in previous summer conferences, attendees will get hands-on field explanations of planting errors and their impact, see planters in action, and watch demonstrations of cutting-edge planting and monitoring technologies. There will be a special presentation of the improved accuracy of the new YieldSense harvest monitor. All sessions are geared toward giving growers information they can use in their own operations to improve decision-making and boost yields.
The drought tolerance trait in Monsanto’s Genuity® DroughtGard® hybrids recently received final import approval from China, a major market for U.S. corn grain and dried distillers grain solubles (DDGS).
The approval was granted last week = as part of a broader series of approvals and represents a significant step forward for technology approvals in China, according to Monsanto officials.
“The import approval of this trait is great news for U.S. farmers,” said Lisa Safarian, U.S. Row Crops Lead for Monsanto. “With full import approvals in key export markets, farmers can market their grain more broadly this year and plant with confidence in 2014.” Safarian added, “This approval also provides expanded access to another tool that can help farmers more sustainably manage their risk.”
More than 250 farmers in the Western Great Plains planted DroughtGard Hybrids last year on their farms as a part of Monsanto’s Ground Breakers® program. This year, the product was introduced in the Western Great Plains under stewardship requirements. Farmers who purchased DroughtGard Hybrids for planting in 2013 signed a grain stewardship agreement committing to use the grain as on-farm feed or to sell the grain for domestic use due to pending import approvals in key export markets. With the approval in China, Monsanto will remove the grain stewardship requirements, and grain will no longer be required to remain in the domestic market.
Read more from Monsanto press release.
The 2012 corn crop delivered many of the problems that were foreseen throughout last year’s growing season. Decreased yields, variable quality and mycotoxins have affected livestock production throughout North America. However, this crop may still be causing trouble as we dig deeper into the storage bins.
Alltech’s 37+ Program surveyed 329 samples from July 1 through Dec. 31, 2012. Only one percent of the samples analyzed were free of mycotoxin contamination; 94 percent were contaminated with two to 10 mycotoxins. In corn grain samples, 95 percent contained Fumonisin and 48 percent contained DON. In corn silage, 90 percent contained Fumonisin and 84 percent contained DON. The DDG samples contained 100 percent of both Fumonisin and DON. In all samples tested, aflatoxin was present in 18 percent.
At harvest time, it was recommended for mycotoxin contaminated grain to be dried to 14 percent moisture within 24 to 48 hours to stabilize mold growth and ensure adequate grain storage. By limiting mold growth, mycotoxin production can be stabilized, but any mycotoxins already present would remain.
For the fifth year in a row, policymakers in our nation’s capital are learning about the U.S. family farmers who produce corn, our nation’s top crop, as part of the Corn Farmers Coalition program. Once again, the program, which is sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association and its state affiliates, showcases how innovative and high-tech corn farmers have become by introducing a foundation of facts about farmers and farming.
“This has always been a crucial time of year in Washington to make sure our lawmakers and those who influence them remember the importance of corn farming to our nation and our economy,” said Pam Johnson, NCGA president and a corn grower in Iowa. “Our state corn checkoff programs have seen the importance of this program each year for educating a very important audience about this essential crop and its high value.”
The Corn Farmers Coalition program launched June 1 with a major advertising presence in Washington that puts prominent facts about family farmers in front of thousands on Capitol Hill, starting with “station domination” at Union Station through the month of June. The large-format ads will travel to the Capitol South Metro station for July. In addition, online advertising will appear in publications such as Politico, Washington Post, the New York Times, Roll Call, National Journal, and Congressional Quarterly.
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.