Attendance Up at 2014 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show

farm-gin-14-tim-priceAttendance was up at this year’s Mid-South Farm & Gin Show. Tim Price, Executive Director of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Manager summed up the event with Chuck. He’s proud that farmers make plans to attend the show each year and make it a family affair.

“We don’t have the exact number yet, but we were ahead of last year. We think we will come in somewhere around 18,000 folks who have visited the show over the two-day time period. We always compete with the end of winter and the beginning of the planting season. Here in the south there are people fertilizing winter wheat now. They are anxious after this long winter to get out in the fields and begin tillage and a number of them have. But we find that they carve out time for this.”

Tim gives credit of the record attendance to good marketing and unprecedented years of profitability in American agriculture. He stated that even when the economy is down, people still come out to the show. They are seeking ideas to increase profits and ways to change in order to keep up with technology.

“This region of the country has the assets and the climate to really grow multiple crops. That’s an advantage. In my work representing the cotton ginning sector in the Mid-South, we love to see acreage, we love to see cotton production, we love to see cotton gins. But it’s not economically in the farmers best interest some years. What we have learned is that they are learning constantly how to adjust and adapt to what has really been a decade old process of going toward a market orientation and then an international orientation of our production.”

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Tim here: Interview with Tim Price

2014 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Photo Album

Coverage is sponsored by FMC

Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Packed

Tim PriceThanks to FMC I attended my first Mid-South Farm & Gin Show and met Tim Price. He’s show manager and Executive Director of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association. Tim is very passionate about agriculture and his community. You will hear that in our interview at the start of this year’s show. And for those of you who do not know what a cotton gin is, you will after you listen in.

Tim says that over the two days of the show there will be nearly 20,000 people attend and that it is a family affair. I vouch for that. This is a real down to earth farm show with a relaxed atmosphere and with 400 exhibitors there is a lot to see and learn. I’m going to get a wrap-up interview with Tim before leaving the show which I’ll share later. In the meantime, please listen in and I hope you enjoy our conversation.

You can listen to my interview with Tim here: Interview with Tim Price
2014 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Photo Album

Coverage is sponsored by FMC

Enter to Win Bayer’s 2013 Cotton Belt Challenge

Metallic_Cotton_Belt_LogoThe Cotton Belt Challenge is in its second year, and Bayer CropScience is encouraging FiberMax and Stoneville cotton growers to enter to win great prizes. Growers with the highest yields and highest overall loan values in 12 regions will be recognized for both irrigated and dryland cotton. In addition to regional awards, there will be two grand prize drawings for a custom 4WD Bad Boy Buggies Ambush vehicle.

“FiberMax and Stoneville cotton varieties have the germplasm and trait technologies to help growers produce profitable cotton yields and fiber quality,” said Jeff Brehmer, U.S. product manager for FiberMax and Stoneville cotton. “Cotton production varies across the United States, depending on weather, irrigation, soil type, pest pressure and other factors. We want to recognize successful cotton production in diverse regional scenarios, and the Bayer CropScience Cotton Belt Challenge gives growers a chance to be rewarded by region for producing high-yielding and high-quality cotton.”

Growers enter by filling out an official entry form and submitting their gin receipts. All regional irrigated and dryland winners in the yield and fiber quality categories will receive 10,000 Innovation Plus™ points – a $500 value.

To qualify, growers must submit their yield and quality results from a minimum of 50 acres and verify their production through gin receipts. Yield is based on ginned lint yield, and quality is based on USDA loan value. If any portion of a field is irrigated, then the entry must be in the irrigated category.

FMC Keeps Mid South in High Cotton

nafb-fmc-1FMC has a lot to offer cotton producers and mid-South consultant Bentley Curry was at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) this week in Kansas City to talk about it.

“The cotton market this year used a new product called Display. It’s a harvest aid material. What we do is after the cotton is mature we put it on and take the leaves off the cotton. It normally takes two applications of product to do that. We use Display along with a boll opener with the first application and after that we come back with another FMC product called Aim to finish. We call it to take in the skirt off the cotton and then in about 10 days the harvesting equipment can come into the field and begin picking the cotton.”

Bentley has been an agricultural consultant for 40 years and still lives on the farm he was born on. He started in the private sector and has done contract work with FMC for about the last 20 years. He also welcomes around 50,000 guests to his farm each year where he focuses on agritourism. Guests can take part in holiday activities such as picking pumpkins and finding their own Christmas tree.

Bentley remembers the time when they were only concerned about controlling crab grass. But it didn’t take long for the cotton fields in the South to start to see the appearance of weeds. He shared that the entire South was consumed with cotton fields, soybeans were simply used for hay and corn was used to feed the animals on the farm.

“We’ve gone from big cotton to very little cotton in the mid-South and a multi-crop culture. We’ve gone to banding herbicides to broadcast herbicides. We’ve gone from cotton gins baling six bales an hour to cotton gins that will bale 75-100 per hour. And we’ve gone from cotton being picked by human beings to six row pickers. There have been great changes in agriculture in our area since I was a kid.”

To Bentley the 80′s brought about the most change for the mid-South region. Farmers started using precision technology to level land for drainage and irrigation purposes. Today weather doesn’t affect area as much as it did in the past. During that era the usage of herbicides and then pesticides were more widely seen and then at the tail end of the 80′s farmers began to see GMO’s come on to the scene.

Listen to Bentley’s complete interview here: Interview with Bentley Curry

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Better Test for Glyphosate Resistant Cotton Weeds

Cotton pickerA USDA Agricultural Research Service scientist is working with Monsanto to develop a kit that cotton growers could use to determine whether weeds in their fields are glyphosate resistant. Don Parker, Manager of Integrated Pest Management for the National Cotton Council, explains that early detection is key in managing glyphosate-resistant weeds.

“If a resistant weed is detected early, alternative measures can be employed to try to prevent the spread of that resistance,” he says.

Parker says scientists can determine the resistance to glyphosate in a weed by measuring the amount of the compound shikimate in the tissue. Glyphosate interferes with the production of aromatic amino acids through the shikimate pathways in weeds. “Glyphosate disrupts this pathway, causing shikimate to accumulate so plants susceptible to glyphosate will have high levels of shikimate, while resistant plants will not.”

He says the current detection methods for detecting shikimate takes sophisticated lab work that can take weeks. But this new method can return results in about 24 hours.

New Format for Beltwide Cotton Conference

The National Cotton Council cotton-board.jpgcoordinated Beltwide Cotton Conferences has a new format that no longer includes the production conference component but continues the forum’s technical conferences and adds emphasis to the consultant’s conference.

The 2014 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, set for January 6-8 at the New Orleans Marriott Hotel, will include a half-day Cotton Consultants Conference and the day and a half Cotton Technical Conferences. The 2014 Consultants Conference, set for Monday, January 6, will be more robust, providing technical information desired by consultants and others involved in key production/marketing-related decisions such as Extension specialists/agents, industry sales/support personnel and many producers.

Planned for the 2014 Consultants Conference are new developments from industry, including discussions of new varieties and chemistries. Also included will be special sessions where scientists, from the various disciplines ranging from agronomy to weed science, will interact with attendees to foster a lively exchange of ideas and experiences.

USDA Prospective Plantings Commentary

USDA-LogoA 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

Deere Harvest ID Cotton at Beltwide

bwcc13-deereWe told you about John Deere’s Harvest Identification, Cotton when it was first introduced last year at Beltwide Cotton Conferences.

This year we got an update from Janae (formally Althouse) Tapper on this precision harvest technology and grower adoption of it.

“John Deere harvest identification is really important to the cotton growers so they can understand how many modules are being built with in a field. We are really looking at continuing to reduce labor requirements that are needed in cotton production especially around 7760. We understand that with the introduction of that machine we are building four modules for every one traditional module. So, it increases labor to go out and tag each of those individual modules.”

“In our technology division we saw a use to utilize the RF ID reading technology that we have in the round module wrap to enable them to reduce that manuel labor going out and tagging the modules. We are automatically reading those RF ID tags in the modules and sending that information to the display in the cab of the machine.”

Janae shared that cotton producers are continuing to be on board with the adoption of precision agriculture. And since the launch of time & money saving technology, John Deere’s growers are sending in very positive feedback.

Listen to an interview with Janae here: Janae Tapper interview

2013 Beltwide Cotton photo album


FMC Talks New Product Lines

FMC Corporation shared new product lines during the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s Trade Talks. Chuck talked with Bentley Curry, FMC Representative, about herbicides and harvest aids farmers can take advantage of in the fields.

“This year we had the Authority line of products in combination with Authority XL, Authority MTZ. Probably the product that was best fitted for the Mid South was Authority MTZ. It has a great point when you get resistant management where we got pigweed, water hemp and lambs quarter that has become glyphosate resistant. It is a super fit for that because it gives residual that you can go down at pre planting and at planting with the product and take care of those small seeded resistant type weeds.”

“On the cotton side we are really excited about a new product for the defoliation department called Display. I had the opportunity to look at sizable acreage of it this year. It had just received its label for 2012. We had the opportunity to see it after some rain events had come in. The cotton was getting pretty close to harvest and the cotton had greened back up, had all this second growth and typically that stuff is really hard to get off the cotton plant. But Display is a new PPO type compound that disrupts the cellular action in the leaf and gives you really fast dry down of that juvenal growth. It take that stuff off the plant, shuts the plant down from growing and gets it ready for harvest.”

Listen to my complete interview with Bentley here: Bentley Curry - FMC Corporation

2012 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Creating A Voice For Custom Harvesters

U.S. Custom Harvesters, like many other agricultural organizations, represented themselves well at the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s Trade Talk. Tracy Zeorian, President, and Kent Braathen, Vice President of U.S. Custom Harvesters, shared the history of the organization and how they are providing a voice for custom harvesters across the country.

“Our organization is comprised of all custom harvesters: combines, silage choppers and cotton pickers. We were formed in 1983. Prior to that we really had no voice for our industry. Our industry began basically during WWII’s Harvest Bargade. It was time for somebody to start something and have a voice for custom harvesters.”

“We’ve got an issue we really want to try and get changed with our fuel tanks. We have worked on this for almost 22 years and that is our #1 issue we would like to push forward and try and get changed. We are only able to haul up to 119 gallons of diesel fuel with our class A CDL. We are trying to get it up to 1,000 gallons.”

The mission for this growing organization is to advance the cause of the members of the corporation by representing and promoting the harvesting industry; to positively influence government and regulatory agencies; to enhance the relationship between custom harvesters, their clients, and service providers to the industry and the general public; to manage the changing lanscape within the industry while enhancing the profitability of custom harvesters and their customers.

U.S. Custom Harvesters cover northern Texas in early May, then head to south central Kansas, eastern Colorado, central South Dakota and northern North Dakota. Then it is time to head south again for the fall crop harvest.

Listen to my interview with Tracy & Kent here: Interview with US Custom Harvesters

2012 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Cotton Module Harvest Identification

John Deere talked up its latest application for cotton growers during this year’s Beltwide Cotton Conferences. Harvest Identification Cotton will continue to automate the production of a cotton module. This is tied into the 7760 cotton picker. The application will use the RFID tags that are embedded into the module wrap. These will be captured by an RFID reader on the cotton picker and then that information will be complied along with data from the John Deere Starfire receiver. That will generate a file that can be sent to the ginner and grower. Janae says it will be available soon.

Listen in to my interview with Janae here: Interview with Janae Althouse

2012 Beltwide Cotton Conferences Photo Album

MyModules App From eCotton

At the Beltwide Cotton Conferences I met Joe Wyrick, President, EWR, Inc. His company has a division called eCotton which “is dedicated to supplying the information processing needs of the cotton industry.” One of the new ways they’re doing that is with a brand new smartphone app called MyModules.

Cotton producers can register new cotton modules and have them transmitted to the gin automatically, with GPS coordinates if you like.

View the status of all of your modules.

View summary status of all of your bales.

This caught my attention since it is available for the iPhone and Android platforms. Joe gave me a demonstration on his iPhone.

Joe says the app electronically solves the problem of getting harvested cotton module data from the grower to the gin. It’s a two way flow so the grower also gets information back from the gin. A helpful feature is that the app captures data for later transmission if there is no local mobile carrier signal. That’s pretty handy.

Learn more about this new ag app in my interview with Joe here: Interview with Joe Wyrick

2012 Beltwide Cotton Conferences Photo Album

Precision Farming Technology Takes On Nematodes

Effective control of Southern root knot nematode looks promising with the use of GPS-controlled, variable-rate applications of soil fumigants, according to University of Arizona researchers, as reported by Western Farm Press.

Field trials conducted from 2006 to 2010 tabulated information gathered by global positioning systems and variable rate technology, including the electrical conductivity-based Veris 3100 and EM38 sensors for on-the-go soil mapping, plus harvest yield mapping data.

This technology illustrates that nematicide applications can be applied sparingly in some cases while maintaining good nematode control and trimming chemical costs.

The grower cooperator field trials included six studies with the nematicide Telone II applied at pre-plant in cotton and corn in central and southwestern Arizona conducted by University of Arizona (UA) researchers Randy Norton, Tim Hatch, Mike McClure, and Pedro Andrade.

Norton, UA regional extension cotton specialist based in Safford, shared the findings during the 71st annual Cotton Disease Council meeting at the 2011 Beltwide Cotton Conferences in Atlanta, Ga., in January.

Norton labeled the RKN as the No. 1 nematode species threat in Arizona. The microscopic roundworm damages crops by attacking the young tap and secondary roots which stimulates the production of galls. Galls interfere with the ability of the roots to absorb water and nutrients, and allow other disease-producing organisms to enter the plant.

Arizona hotspots for RKNs include the Coolidge, Casa Grande, Florence, and Buckeye areas in central Arizona and the Bonita area in the Sulphur Springs Valley in southeastern Arizona.

In cotton, the RKN is responsible for a 5 percent lint yield reduction on average across the Cotton Belt, Norton says. Five gallons is the standard Telone II application rate in Arizona to maintain cotton yields in RKN-infected fields.

Read on to learn more…

Precision Gene Technology Stops Cotton Pests

Clemson University entomologists created a nice visual demo field that shows the value of Bt cotton compared to non-Bt.

The furry-looking insects start their development smaller than the head of a pin, but the caterpillars soon develop an appetite for cotton as big as the crop.

To demonstrate the insects’ destructive power, Clemson University entomologist Jeremy Greene planted two cotton varieties — one genetically modified to provide protection from caterpillars, one not — in a demonstration field at the Edisto Research and Education Center.

The non-protected cotton was planted in a pattern that spelled the word “Tigers.” Aerial photographs taken near harvest show that while the genetically modified crop survived intact, the unprotected plants provided three square meals a day for the crop-hungry herbivores.

The demonstration crop was planted in late May last year and grew through the summer.

“We wanted to show the kind of damage caterpillars can do when they’re allowed to eat unprotected cotton freely,” Greene said.

Cotton is a multimillion dollar crop in the Palmetto State involving hundreds of farms and thousands of jobs.

Nearly all cotton varieties planted in South Carolina contain genes found in the naturally occurring Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, that help the plant make its own insecticide.

Bt cotton is genetically modified with specific genes from Bacillus thuringiensis. Think of it as in-plant insecticide, Greene said. This technology has been commercially available since 1996, but improvements over the years have enhanced the control of major pests.

The plant makes the proteins just like the bacterium does. The particular strain of Bacillus thuringiensis available in cotton, which was planted for the demonstration, works only on immature lepidopterans, or caterpillars. Lepidoptera is the insect order for moths and butterflies. The toxic proteins have no ill effects on other organisms.

“During 2010, we had a very high population of bollworm that infested cotton acres at the Edisto research center,” Greene said. “We planted a non-Bt variety where you see the word ‘Tigers’ and a two-gene Bt cotton where you see the fluffy white cotton lint.”

The striking difference in appearance is due to bollworms eating all of the green cotton bolls in the non-Bt variety that did not have protection from the insects.

Greene applied no insecticides to control caterpillars in this field, so the difference between the Bt and non-Bt varieties is illustrated clearly.

A color-coded yield map, produced by precision agriculture specialist Will Henderson at the Edisto center, illustrates the crop after harvest using one of the center’s pickers that is equipped with a yield monitor. The map shows “good” yields in green and “bad” yields in red.

The damage potential of important lepidopteran species, such as bollworm, is not new, Greene said. Moths have flown into fields, laid eggs and hatched as injurious caterpillars for decades.

Transgenic Bt technology and its improvement over the years are relatively recent advances that represent effective, economical and environmentally friendly control of these insects in agriculture, he said.

“We know what they can do to non-Bt cotton versus Bt cotton — the photographs speak for themselves,” Greene said.

Sensor-based Variable-Rate Application on Cotton

A new publication for cotton growers offer insight and details into sensor-based variable-rate application and equipment, written by Oklahoma State University Ag Engineer Randy Taylor and Auburn University Precision Ag Extension Specialist John Fulton, funded by Cotton Incorporated.

There are great opportunities for this technology in cotton production for varying the application of plant growth regulators, harvest aids, and nitrogen. However, the users must understand the limitations of their equipment and the sensors being used in order to maximize the benefits.

Users should understand the agronomy behind prescriptions and be comfortable with the recommendations. Familiarity with these prescriptions can allow users to fine tune them for their environment or to develop their own prescription algorithms. They should also understand their equipment and know how to tune their controller for optimum response. As with all new technologies, users should seek advice from experts and those who are already implementing sensor–based variable rate application.

Learn more here.

And check out the Oklahoma State University Precision Ag Technology webpages.