Sifting through the glyphosate (mis)information

There have been some whispers in the back corners of winter meetings, conversations amongst friends in the coffee shops and an occasional bold outright assertion that the use (and over-use) of glyphosate is resulting in unintended consequences. Animal health concerns, plant disease development, nutrient deficiencies and a myriad of other glyphosate conspiracy theories have surfaced in recent months. The fantastic team at Ohio State University has done some investigation into these concerns and compiled several articles in the most recent C.O.R.N. Newsletter. Here is one of them written by Mark Loux, Robert Mullen and Anne Dorrance.

Recent claims about the possible negative impacts of glyphosate have many growers asking whether they are overusing this herbicide and causing deleterious effects to their crops. Extension specialists across the Midwest have been asked about these claims for the past year or so, and have responded in part with newsletter articles and similar pieces recently to address the issue.… Continue reading

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March 1 corn and soybean stocks worth discussion

On March 31, the USDA will release two important reports, the Prospective Plantings and March 1 Grain Stocks reports. A lot of discussion has focused on the Prospective Plantings report and the importance of farmers’ intentions for total planted acreage and the acreage of individual crops. There has been less discussion of the estimate of March 1 grain stocks, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“Expectations for very small inventories of corn and soybeans at the end of the current marketing year put additional importance on the mid-year stocks estimate. The estimates will provide an opportunity to evaluate the pace of consumption that can be supported during the last half of the 2010-11 marketing year,” he said.

Forming expectations about the level of March 1 inventories is limited by incomplete data on the consumption categories that are reported on a weekly or monthly basis and the lack of any ongoing estimates of feed and residual use of corn.… Continue reading

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ASA sets policy at Commodity Classic

Soybean producers from all U.S. soybean growing regions gathered in Tampa, Fla., last week to review and revise the policy direction of the American Soybean Association (ASA). One hundred thirty two producers from ASA’s 26 state affiliates served as Voting Delegates in this annual process that guides the ASA as it pursues future initiatives to improve U.S. soybean farmer profitability.

The voting delegates session was held on Saturday, March 5, following conclusion of the annual Commodity Classic Convention and Trade Show. What follows are some of the most significant additions and modifications covering a variety of important soybean issues.

Tariffs and Trade

ASA strongly supports swift Congressional passage of the pending Colombia, Panama, and South Korea Free Trade Agreements. ASA supports free trade agreements that help to increase soybean and meat exports.

ASA opposes actions by Congress to impose greater tariffs on Chinese products without multi-lateral agreements. ASA believes that unilateral Chinese currency legislation by Congress would create retaliatory actions that would negatively affect soybean trade with China.… Continue reading

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Study determining best practices to manage burcucumber in corn

Burcucumber can be one of the most difficult weeds to manage in corn. It can emerge well into the growing season and its vines can spread up to 25 feet and twine around corn plants.

“It can drag down the corn and make it difficult to harvest, impacting yields,” said Mark Loux, weed scientist for the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Loux is in the middle of a two-year study to determine the most effective way to manage burcucumber in corn.

“While we previously had an idea of the relative effectiveness of various pre- and post-emergent herbicides, we weren’t sure what would be the most effective combinations of herbicides and application timings to provide the most consistently effective late-season control,” said Loux, who is also a weed science specialist for Ohio State University Extension. “Late-season emergence varies from year to year based on rainfall patterns and other factors, but when burcucumber emerges in big numbers after post-emergent herbicides have been applied, it can create a mess.”… Continue reading

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Examine wheat and forages for ice damage

Farmers should examine winter wheat and forages as the crops emerge from dormancy to determine if they have been damaged from the recent sleet and ice storms, two Purdue Extension specialists say.

“The snow that fell was not the normal, powdery snow but a combination of ice and rain acting as a natural concrete,” he said.

Ice can surround the crown of alfalfa plants and allow toxic metabolites to build up, preventing the natural exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen during respiration – essentially smothering the plant.

Wheat specialist Shaun Casteel said ice in wheat can permanently damage the crown or kill the plant.

Farmers won’t know whether ice caused winter damage to their crops until they go out and check their fields, Johnson said.

“As a good management practice, producers should always check plants when crops break winter dormancy,” he said. “Farmers who delay a field check until mid-April because they assume everything is okay can go into panic mode when they discover a winter-damaged crop.… Continue reading

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Commodity Classic kicks off in Tampa

Soybean, corn, wheat and sorghum growers from around the country have gathered at Commodity Classic in Tampa, Fla., for an experience that will educate, enlighten and entertain. It’s an event that provides benefits for a grower’s farm operation and profitability for years to come.
The 16th Annual Commodity Classic will help growers set sail for a successful 2011 by offering educational sessions on topics such as the new pesticide application permits, crop insurance and sustainability.
“There is no better time to improve one’s marketing skills then now with record commodity price levels,” said Commodity Classic Co-chair Charles Cannatella. “Growers can increase their profitability from attending one of the marketing sessions during Commodity Classic.”
In addition to educational opportunities, attendees will enjoy exhibits from over 220 companies in 870 booths at the trade show. Escape the winter blues and embrace the sun while learning from ag industry experts, networking with fellow growers, and attending association banquets and events.… Continue reading

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New growth inhibitors more effective in plants, less toxic to people

A Purdue University scientist and researchers in Japan have produced a new class of improved plant growth regulators that are expected to be less toxic to humans.
Angus Murphy, a professor of horticulture, said the growth inhibitors block the transport of auxin, a plant hormone that, when transported throughout the plant, controls growth processes. Current growth regulators that inhibit auxin transport are inefficient because they also have hormonelike activity or affect other important plant processes. Current growth inhibitors also are often toxic.
Growth regulators are important in ornamental plants and horticultural crops that would require labor-intensive manipulation and pruning. The inhibitors are used to keep plants a desired size and shape and control fruit formation.
“These regulators would be used primarily on ornamental plants, flowers and trees that aren’t going to be genetically changed easily,” Murphy said. “Growth regulators are used regularly on this type of plant. Inhibition of auxin transport with these new compounds is also an alternative to the use of more toxic regulators like 2,4-D.”… Continue reading

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More than 150 grassroots groups oppose House budget cuts to sustainable agriculture programs

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) was one of more than 150 organizations to sign on to a letter to the U.S. Senate in opposition to a House budget bill (H.R.1) that would cut more than $60 billion dollars from the federal budget over the remainder of this fiscal year. H.R. 1 slashes a disproportional amount from the agriculture budget (22 %) relative to other budget sections. Worse, it unfairly targets programs that serve sustainable, organic, beginning, and minority farmers.
H.R. 1 makes deep cuts to conservation and renewable energy funding provided by the 2008 Farm Bill—a combined $500 million would be cut under the House bill from programs including the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and Wetland Reserve Program (WRP).
While Conservation, Renewable Energy, Farm Services Agency direct farm lending, and feeding programs for low income families took big hits, no cuts were proposed for commodity payments or crop insurance, two of the biggest line items in the agriculture budget after nutrition programs.… Continue reading

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Nematodes in corn

By Pierce Paul and Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University Extension

Over the last few years, interest in nematodes and the use of nematicide seed treatments in corn have increased among producers all across the Midwest. When present and in high numbers, nematodes can indeed cause considerable yield loss in corn, and quite often these losses may go undetected or may be attributed to other causes. In corn, nematode problems are usually very difficult to detect because these pathogens usually cause uneven growth, without any clear above-ground symptoms. Uneven growth could be the result of several factors including other soil borne pathogens, poor drainage, soil compaction, and herbicide carry over; nematodes are rarely ever considered the cause of such a problem.
Several different types of nematode can attack corn including spiral, lesion, cyst (this is not the soybean cyst), stubby root, needle, lance, and dagger nematodes, and the level of damage and yield loss depend on the type of nematode present and the population level.… Continue reading

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Roundup Ready alfalfa available for planting in 2011

Mark Sulc, Forage Extension Specialist, The Ohio State University

In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the deregulation of Roundup Ready alfalfa after a 46-month environmental impact assessment process. The ruling means that U.S. farmers are free to proceed with planting the genetically altered alfalfa with no restrictions.

Opponents to this ruling have been vocal in their disapproval. They have voiced concerns that without any restrictions the biotech alfalfa will easily contaminate organic and conventional alfalfa seed production and increase the occurrence of glyphosate-resistant weeds. Based on their response, further court battles over this product may be in store.

Whether you agree or disagree with this decision, the fact remains that Roundup Ready alfalfa has been approved for planted this spring. For those considering use of this new technology, what factors should be considered? Where might Roundup Ready alfalfa be of benefit?

We know that good managers have been able to control weeds in alfalfa to acceptable levels with current herbicides and best management practices for years.… Continue reading

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Syngenta receives import approval from South Korea for the Agrisure Viptera 3111 Trait Stack

Syngenta Seeds, Inc. announced it has received import approval from regulatory authorities in South Korea for hybrids containing the Agrisure Viptera 3111 trait stack.

The Agrisure Viptera 3111 trait stack combines the Agrisure Viptera trait with the Agrisure 3000GT trait stack to provide unprecedented control of 14 above- and below-ground corn pests, more than any other commercially available product in corn trait history. This approval allows the importation of U.S. corn grown from hybrids containing the Agrisure Viptera 3111 trait stack into South Korea for food, feed or processing use. South Korean authorities previously approved the single Agrisure Viptera trait in October 2010.

“Import approval from South Korea provides U.S. corn growers access to yet another valuable market,” said David Morgan, president of Syngenta Seeds. “With corn prices expected to remain at near-record levels this year, the advantages of growers enjoying more yield from the same number of acres are plain to see.”… Continue reading

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Grain market lecture series breaks down commodity reports

Agricultural economists at Ohio State University are holding a series of free, monthly online workshops that will cover grain forecasts, policy, futures markets, supply and demand, and long-term analysis.

The goal of the webinars is to help those interested in the grain market understand how world events and world grain supplies affect local markets, said Stan Ernst, Ohio State University Extension program leader in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics.

“Basically, what we are doing every month is looking at the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report in-depth and seeing where the markets may be going,” he said.

Carl Zulauf, senior economist and Ohio State agricultural economics professor, will present the webinars and challenge producers’ traditional thinking about grain markets.

“Hopefully, the listeners will get an idea for marketing opportunities and do some planning as they look ahead into planting season,” Ernst said.

The webinars are scheduled for March 15, April 12, May 12, June 13 and July 13 at 9 a.m.… Continue reading

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Ohio wheat update

By Pierce Paul, Katelyn Willyerd and Dennis Mills, Ohio State University Extension

This past fall, most of our wheat was planted at the recommended time due to early soybean harvest, however, dry conditions in late-fall and early-winter, prevented adequate growth and tiller development going into to dormancy. This could potentially result is higher-than-usual winter kill and poor stands. So, some growers are understandably concerned about this year’s wheat crop. However, it is still too early to tell what will happen.
One positive is the fact that the crop has had very good snow cover during most of the winter. What happens over the next few months or so will be critical. Rapid and repeated freezing and thawing could cause heaving and damage to the crop, but a more gradual transition could see the crop going into the spring in decent shape. Tillering will resume in the spike, making up for poor fall growth.… Continue reading

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Costs and profits up for grain production

Farmers will spend more to produce their 2011 crops but they’re likely to make that up — and then some — from higher grain prices, say two Purdue University Extension specialists.

Which crops farmers choose to plant this season also will play a factor in the returns they’ll earn, said Craig Dobbins and Bruce Erickson of Purdue’s Department of Agricultural Economics. The numbers suggest a corn-soybean rotation is the best choice, with double-crop soybeans/wheat a good option for those farmers living in areas where that cropping system is viable.

“At this point in time, contribution margins — the difference between gross revenue and production costs — are really quite large,” Dobbins said. “If one is looking for a place to expend energy from now until you can get out into the field and plant, I think one ought to focus that energy on protecting the margin that you’ve got in crop production today.”… Continue reading

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House votes to block E15

Growth Energy leaders say they continue to oppose provisions – approved by the House of Representatives – that would block the Administration from implementing policies that would reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs and strengthen our national security.

Two amendments offered by Reps. John Sullivan, R-Okla. and Jeff Flake R-Ariz. would block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from implementing its approved waiver for E15 ethanol blends in America’s fuel supply and prohibit construction of blender pumps and ethanol storage facilities.

In a landmark regulatory decision, the EPA had approved E15 for all vehicles built in the last decade – about 151 million cars, or 67% of the country’s vehicles, which together consume 75% of the country’s fuel. The decision, in response to Growth Energy’s Green Jobs Waiver, was based solely on data collected from a rigorous, lengthy and extreme standard of testing on performance of engines, emissions systems and automobile drivability; E15 was found to work fine in all automobiles tested, from model year 2001 and newer.… Continue reading

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Ohio State shares in $20 million USDA grant for sustainability of corn production in the Midwest

Ohio Sate University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) is one of 11 institutions awarded a $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA), which aims to keep Midwest corn-based cropping systems resilient in the face of future climate uncertainties.

Ohio State’s share in the grant is $3 million. The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), OSU Extension, and the School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) — all part of CFAES — will be involved in various research and outreach components of the project. The grant was announced today (2/18) in Washington D.C.

The comprehensive, five-year initiative brings together 42 scientists from nine land-grant universities and two USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) institutions in eight states in the country’s north-central region –which produces 8 billion bushels of corn, or 64 percent of the annual harvest in the United States.

… Continue reading

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Meeting New Fruit, veggie safety standards: OSU workshops set

Ohio State University’s Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team will offer its first-ever Produce Safety Education Program four times in three places over the next two months.

The first will take place on March 1 in Clayton, about 20 miles northwest of Dayton, with the sign-up deadline on Feb. 22.

Also set are two offerings on March 21 in Ottawa west of Findlay (March 14 deadline) and one on April 7 in Piketon south of Chillicothe (March 28 deadline).

Organizers say the program is timed to the approaching growing season and to the recent passage of the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act, which emphasizes prevention and science-based standards.

“It’s for any fruit and vegetable grower who grows from one acre and sells at a farm stand all the way up to a large-scale grower shipping out of state,” said Ashley Kulhanek, the team’s education associate and one of the program’s planners. “It’s also aimed at any farmer who may be interested in participating in the Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement, which is currently being drafted.… Continue reading

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ASA concerned about ag cuts

The American Soybean Association is concerned with the disproportionate cuts in agriculture spending in H.R. 1, the Continuing Resolution for Fiscal Year 2011. ASA believes the proposed cuts to agriculture are more than double the amount proposed to be cut in overall non-defense discretionary spending. H.R. 1 would cut 5.21-billion dollars, or 22.4 percent, from agriculture-related programs and operating budgets during the remaining seven months of FY-2011. This is more than double the 10.3 percent cut proposed in overall non-defense discretionary spending.

ASA President Alan Kemper, a soybean farmer from Lafayette, Indiana, says – while we understand the bill’s efforts to decrease discretionary spending, we are concerned that agriculture is being required to absorb a disproportionate amount of the cuts.  Given the importance that agriculture plays in America’s food security and economic recovery, it is unclear how such disproportionate cuts are warranted or wise.  ASA is strongly encouraging Congress to reconsider the balance of funding cuts for the remainder of FY-2011.… Continue reading

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The battle for acres in 2011

By Matt Reese

As spring planting draws near, the demand-driven market has put crop producers amid as hotly a contested acreage battle as there has ever been. The stakes and the risks are high for the 2011 growing season.

“When you’re talking to the banker, the volatility we’re seeing in the markets is a challenging thing,” said Mitch Welty, grain manager for the Blanchard Valley Farmers Coop. “There are a lot of unknowns still out there, and I think volatility is going to be here to stay. I think this is something we’re going to have to deal with from here on out and it will be a challenge for everybody. I think guys are getting very nervous about if they sell today what they are giving up tomorrow. It makes people want to start micro-managing things instead of looking at the big picture and locking in a profit.”

Welty said the weather, the conditions in South America, cotton acres, the quality of wheat stands, and the growing appetite of China are all important factors to consider as the acreage battle plays out this spring.… Continue reading

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Syngenta Seeds submits EPA applications for two refuge-in-a-bag products

Syngenta Seeds, Inc., announced it has submitted to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) an application for the registration of its Agrisure Viptera 3220 E-Z refuge trait stack and its Agrisure 3122 E-Z refuge trait stack, both featuring a blended 5% refuge or “refuge-in-a-bag” component.

Once approved, the Agrisure Viptera 3220 E-Z refuge trait stack will offer growers dual modes of action on above-ground lepidopteran corn pests. This revolutionary stack includes the breakthrough Agrisure Viptera trait, featuring a completely new mode of action in corn with the first Vip3A insect control protein.  The Agrisure Viptera trait is the industry’s first “non-Cry” (non-crystalline) insect control protein. In addition, the stack contains the trusted and tested Agrisure CB/LL trait, the Bt11 event, which has been protecting corn from European corn borer for more than 10 years. The Agrisure GT trait for glyphosate tolerance and the Herculex I trait for corn borer round out this stack, which is designed specifically for areas where corn rootworm is either negligible or can be managed through crop rotation.… Continue reading

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