Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Expect decent harvest weather

Jean Caspers-Simmet, simmet@agrinews.com

Expect decent harvest weather — not sopping wet and not bone dry, Extension climatologist Elwyn Taylor said during the recent field day at Iowa State University's Northern Research Farm.

"The length of the harvest season should be about average," Taylor said.

With north central Iowa behind about 300 growing degree days, he said farmers can expect to spend some money drying corn.

With an El Nino weather pattern establishing itself, Taylor said farmers should see a close to normal frost date, which is Oct. 10 for Kanawha. El Nino means a more average winter will replace the extremes seen the past few years.

Taylor is forecasting a 170 bushel national average corn yield.

He summarized how growing degree days, precipitation and heat stress work together to affect yield. Corn and soybeans develop fastest at 86 degrees. If water is ample, that number may increase to 92 degrees. Corn does best if GDDs get 100 or so ahead of normal between planting and silking, but 300 ahead becomes a strain. After silking yields increase with diminished GDDs.

Know Before You Grow

Harvest is nearly underway. Approximately 42 percent of all U.S. corn grown is fed to domestic livestock, leaving 58 percent for ethanol, exports and corn processing for food and industrial uses.

Bob Bowman, chairman of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and a farmer from DeWitt, reminds farmers to know and understand all of their seed choices and what markets they’re accepted in. “You can hurt your own operation, your neighbor’s and the entire U.S. industry by not following proper protocol.”

Iowa Corn recommends farmers educate themselves to see if the biotech seeds they harvest are approved in key U.S. export markets. With international markets for corn and corn-products (Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles) evolving, a full knowledge of biotech traits is vital for farmers. Trait approval around the world isn’t synchronous, which adds to the complication.

Introduced by Syngenta in 2014, Agrisure Durcade™ is an example of a trait not approved by the European Union or Chinese markets. Iowa Corn firmly supports compliance with the regulations on biotechnology in place throughout major U.S. corn export markets. Iowa Corn urges farmers, handlers and exporters to strictly adhere to the stewardship program for the Syngenta seed trait Agrisure Duracade to minimize the risk of export trade disruption.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Director of Iowa corn group prioritizes education

Courtesy Iowa Farmer Today
Bruce Rohwer checks corn he planted in 15-inch rows on his farm.
Rohwer has been an Iowa corn leader after being in politics before farming.
PAULLINA — Bruce Rohwer is following in the family history of farming and education. He has combined those to become a commodity group leader.

Rohwer, who grows corn and soybeans and raises hogs in Northwest Iowa, says his great-grandfather farmed just east of town. His grandfather settled here in 1905.

His father, who had a Ph.D. in rural sociology and had taught at Iowa State University and Oklahoma State University, returned to the farm in 1951. For years, his father taught an anthropology course at the nearby colleges while he farmed.

“I grew up here,” he says. Rohwer attended high school at the Scattergood School in West Branch.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Wildly Misunderstood Buzzwords of Agriculture

Food is important.  We have an intimate relationship with it at least three times a day.  But, going to the grocery store can be really confusing when you are trying to find healthy, delicious, nutritious and affordable ways to feed your family.

There are so many terms flying around that tout benefits or warn us of dangers.  Marketers have really muddied the waters of understanding and agriculture and food is not clear cut.

“To many consumers and some producers there are only two sides:  the organic/sustainable farms and the big agribusiness/corporations,” said Megan Brown.

“This false dichotomy that society has bought into has created problems.  Unfortunately, agriculture is not as simple as the buzzwords we use to describe it.  Organic doesn’t always equate to being more sustainable than conventional farming, and convention does not always equal mega corporation.  By reducing agriculture to buzzwords, we make an extremely complex and diverse industry appear simple—black and white—when there are actually thousands of shades of grey.”

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

USDA forecasts 2015 agricultural exports to be down from record 2014

Economic Research Service (ERS) reports: 

Fiscal 2015 U.S. agricultural exports are projected at $144.5 billion, down $8 billion from the record $152.5 billion forecast for fiscal 2014, primarily because of the outlook for lower commodity prices. 

Lower prices are projected to reduce fiscal 2015 exports of oilseeds and products by $5.1 billion and cotton by $600 million, while lower prices and volumes reduce grain and feed exports by $4.9 billion, compared with fiscal 2014. 

Horticultural exports are, however, projected to rise $2.9 billion to a record $37.0 billion in fiscal 2015, eclipsing exports of grains and feeds for the first time. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Midwest Temps Dip; Frost Chances Remain Low

The system that brought monsoon-type rainfall to parts of the Midwest over the last few days has moved out of the region, unfolding into an air mass that's brought unseasonably cool temperatures that will likely persist through the weekend, though frost chances remain on the low side.

Temperatures will range from the 50s to the 70s in much of the Corn Belt through early next week. And, aside from a string of light showers through Friday, things should stay on the dry side through the next week to 10 days, according to Harvey Freese of Freese-Notis Weather, Inc.

"A new system will bring light showers to the west late Thursday into Friday and farther east late Friday into early Saturday with most amounts under .25 inch. Otherwise, it looks dry this weekend with unseasonably cool temps," Freese says. "Weekend highs will be mostly in the 60s, a few low 70s far south and southwest on Sunday. Not much change into early next week. No changes for the frost potential Saturday morning as most lows in the northern Corn Belt will be in the mid- to upper-30s range, but isolated spots in northern Iowa, southern Minnesota, and western Wisconsin could get close to 32 degrees."

Friday, September 12, 2014

U.S. Producers Lend Expertise to Meat Trade Seminar in Japan

Producers from the U.S. beef, pork, corn and soybean industries traveled to Japan this week for meetings with key players in the Japanese meat trade. Two members of the delegation – Dean Black of the Iowa Beef Industry Council and Wayne Humphreys of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board – gave presentations on U.S. farming practices at a USMEF seminar in Tokyo, which was attended by more than 600 meat buyers from across all sectors of the Japanese food industry. Black and Humphreys explained the history and development of their family farm operations, sharing their deep passion for agriculture and commitment to producing safe and wholesome food. Dr. Robert Thaler, professor and extension specialist with the South Dakota State University Department of Animal Science, also offered details on feed formulations used by the U.S. pork and beef industries.
A delegation of U.S. producers joined USMEF in hosting more than 600 buyers for an educational seminar and tasting session in Tokyo
A delegation of U.S. producers joined USMEF in hosting more than 600 buyers for
an educational seminar and tasting session in Tokyo