Production Blog
Pam Smith DTN\Progressive Farmer Crops Technology Editor

Friday 07/24/15

A Tough Country
A challenging farming season brings reflection and thoughts about what is important.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 3:10PM CDT 07/24/15 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
agriculture requires scientific basis look at you tube ;geoengineering whistleblower
Posted by Jerome Fitzgerald at 9:05PM CDT 07/29/15

Monday 07/13/15

Muddy Boots Muddy Thinking
Corn diseases, dropped soybean pods, yellow crops and overall variability lead to some hard questions on what to do next.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:07PM CDT 07/13/15 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (2)
Pam, You may have read my blog response to Bryce and Joel. I traveled from Michigan to Texas and didn't see many acres I would give much for. I am like you I don't think the corn will recover, not sure you will have any ears to count in a month. I have never seen so much water covering acre after acre in Ill. Ind. and Oh. Came back home though Tenn. and Ky. It was better but not great.We have good looking corn here but beans are in bad shape, stunted and yellow.
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 9:05AM CDT 07/14/15
Thanks for writing Raymond. I must say our crops look fantastic smack in the center of Illinois. I'm heading out in the morning across Missouri and parts of Iowa and Nebraska. I'll cross through my home area in western Illinois where I know for a fact they got smacked around again last night.
Posted by Pamela Smith at 5:54PM CDT 07/14/15

Friday 06/19/15

The Pollinator's Dilemma
The push to help pollinators continues to grow and neonic seed treatments remain at the center of the controversy.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:19PM CDT 06/19/15 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
geoengineering kills bees
Posted by Jerome Fitzgerald at 9:07PM CDT 07/29/15

Friday 06/12/15

Weeds Gone Wild
Post spray timing is critical and sometimes complicated by wet weather and windy conditions.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 4:47PM CDT 06/12/15 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Friday 06/05/15

A Week of Growth
Six days later, the diamond pattern in Bob Wieland's soybean is starting to close. It's soybean season in central Illinois.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 1:11PM CDT 06/05/15 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Monday 06/01/15

Put Crop Theories to Test
Hunting for ways to reduce weed pressure and costs led to an innovative new soybean planting strategy for this Illinois grower.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:58PM CDT 06/01/15 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (7)
Pam,I planted beans that way 8-10 years ago only in no-till. I did it for a couple of years in 2 angling fields, so I planted straight first then followed the angle side. I planted the same final pop. As I did in 30 in. rows and did not see any yield advantage. Just made them harder to spray and also every time the grain head divider crossed the row it would flatten a patch of beans.
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 5:54PM CDT 06/01/15
Nothing wrong with trying, however, this concept doubles the planting time, planting fuel consumption and wear on the equipment.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 7:13AM CDT 06/02/15
Good point on added time/fuel, etc. I have to admit that I found the patterns so much fun to photograph. I was near there yesterday and took another look, they sure are growing fast. I'll post another photo soon. I wonder if a draper head would take care of that harvesting issue Raymond?
Posted by Pamela Smith at 5:51PM CDT 06/03/15
Guess some are lucky enough to make it to the same field twice. Rained in NE Kansas 33 out of last 38 days. would like to plant just once.
Posted by bryan paden at 12:42PM CDT 06/07/15
Pam it is the dividers that mash down the beans on each end of the head. A draper helps feed the material into the machine more efficiently than an auger conveyed machine. What I never will understand is why you would spend the big bucks on a draper then cut beans on an angle but I see it done everywhere. A friend of mine told me it was so he had a purpose for the auto steer he purchased. We split 30 inch rows and did diamonds 20 years ago and they did not yield any different than 30 inch rows. For 20 years now manufacturers and university people have been telling us we need narrower rows on soybeans and I bet I have done 10 side by sides over the years. The yield advantage that you do get {on our farm} does not come close to paying for the extra equipment costs and seed. Jeff Stocks
Posted by Unknown at 12:40PM CDT 06/12/15
Bryan that makes it super tough to get a crop in for sure. Sending good thoughts â?¦please be safe when you do get into the field and start pushing to get it in.
Posted by Pamela Smith at 2:00PM CDT 06/12/15
Jeff--thanks for the observations. I've had a couple of people email me and tell me the same. It's great that you did the side-by-sides and figured it out before investing in a new system.
Posted by Pamela Smith at 7:37PM CDT 06/12/15

Friday 05/22/15

Put Your Scouting Boots On
Black cutworm, pigweed, armyworm and a host of diseases and other agronomic situations are showing up already this spring. Time to take a look.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:23PM CDT 05/22/15 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Friday 05/15/15

Don't Eat These Daisies
That weed turning fields into a beautiful sea of yellow is actually a noxious adversary.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 11:39AM CDT 05/15/15 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Thursday 05/07/15

Weighing Neonics
Two new studies on the effect of neonicotinoids on various types of bees have caught the public's eye. But what do they mean for agriculture and the fate of seed treatments under review by the EPA?[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:29PM CDT 05/07/15 by Emily Unglesbee | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
A study I read claimed that neonic seed treatments only exhibited 2 ppb in the plant's flowers - far below toxic levels. Also, I've always wondered how I can spray insecticide on a field for soybean aphids and still have good pollination - are we placing too much emphasis on a single pollinator? Witch hunters tell us that w/o honeybees life on this planet will become extinct. However, honey bees are actually an invasive species to this country.
Posted by Curt Zingula at 6:49AM CDT 05/08/15

Monday 05/04/15

Separating Wheat From Chaff
Winter wheat prospects dim as disease blows in.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 6:20AM CDT 05/04/15 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (3)
We always get enlightened when we read posts and articles from DTN progressive farmer. Valuable info on wheat farming for our students at of Agriculture and Veterinary Science, University of Nairobi)
Posted by Timothy Miringu at 12:39AM CDT 05/05/15
Nice article Pam. Here in Northwestern OK the wheat is looking good in places but not great. We had little rains during the winter season but spring is bring the rains this year so far on the Hard Red Winter wheat. With the rains also can bring on rust that some farmers have been able to get sprayed with others not so fortunate. With spraying, waiting for the winds to slow down enough,the rains to stop and not being able to spray for wheat rust one month before harvest has been very challenging. Looking forward to see what Rhonda Brooks brings back with her report.
Posted by Gordon Stebens at 8:49AM CDT 05/05/15
So far Rhonda is getting a good shower with lots of rain in central Kansas. Nothing like getting in and out of cars all day and being wet. I'm mentally sending her a strong cup of coffee. Don't forget to monitor her Twitter feeds, they are getting interesting!
Posted by Pamela Smith at 2:08PM CDT 05/05/15

Friday 05/01/15

New Stink Bug Expands Range
The brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive bug, originally from Asia. It was first noticed in the U.S. in 1998. It is now known to exist in 42 states and in two Canadian provinces.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 4:52PM CDT 05/01/15 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Friday 04/24/15

Watching Wheat
Some much-needed rainfall revived some wheat in the Great Plains this past week, but growers are still waiting to see how spring frosts, winter damage, weed pressure and weather will affect the crop in the coming months.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 4:30PM CDT 04/24/15 by Emily Unglesbee | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
No matter how well the one armed man's wife treats him - he will only have one arm. Wheat works a little differently. It is possible with a lot of TLC for wheat to regenerate - compensating for early loses. It is possible but not probable for a total recovery. The challenge - price wise - is there is a lot of supply for most wheat types. Damage to Hard red winter wheat could allow its futures price to earn its carry. But will be hard pressed for a better move unless hard red spring wheat, here and/or in Canada, has a good stubble. High protein wheat will demand premiums. Ninety plus percent of soft white winter wheat (SWWW) is grown in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. That cropâ?™s production could be hurt enough to move it to rationing mode. About half of SWWW is exported - mostly to Asia. There have been indications that Soft Red Winter Wheat (SRWW) has picked up that demand in the past. The gulf SRWW basis might be indicating that increased demand. Europeâ?™s big crop will limit east coast exports allowing SRWW to find the feeding ration in the Carolinas. If wheat does not find its missing arm, wheat prices, could stabilize and grind higher. This might be mildly supportive for corn. Freeport, IL
Posted by Freeport IL at 9:25AM CDT 04/28/15

Thursday 04/16/15

My Own Personal Bee-Gate
Waving the flag for bees happens in the most unlikely places.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:38PM CDT 04/16/15 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (2)
Pam, Forbes carried a very informative report on neonics. The tone of the report was that when politics trumps science we all loose. The EU has banned neonics due to public pressure but allows farmers to substitute organophosphates which are many times more deadly to bees. The report goes on to site mites as the major cause of CCD and also questions the practice of sending 2/3 of our honeybee colonies to California for almond blossoms in Feb. before the colonies have a chance to come out of hibernation and reproduce with healthy new bees. Also reported is the census of increasing bee colony populations that doesn't correlate with the introduction and use of neonics. Apparently the EPA noticed these things and decided in February to not ban neonics. EPA also concluded that there is no evidence of neonics on soybean seed adding to the farmers' bottom line.
Posted by Curt Zingula at 6:59AM CDT 04/22/15
Curt that's a good synopsis of what I understand too. The value of nenonic seed treatments on soybeans depends on where you live to a certain extent. Southern growers have higher pest pressures. I will say that I've seen dramatic in-field examples of how helpful they can be with managing bean leaf beetle in the Midwest. Still, that's not an every year pest in my neck of the woods. One thing that does concern me are hints of nenonic in water. Bees drink more water than might be realized. Have you seen much written about that? One thing that makes writing about bees difficult and sometimes confusing is the pollinator services is quite different business from keeping bees that are not moved. They have challenges unique to that industry for sure.
Posted by Pamela Smith at 8:13AM CDT 04/22/15

Friday 04/10/15

Spring Weed Race
Keep it clean this spring to prevent yield losses.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 6:35PM CDT 04/10/15 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Friday 04/03/15

Untangle Traits
Sort through the alphabet soup of traits on those seed tags. Knowing what's in the bag helps juggle traits and avoid market access issues.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 11:34AM CDT 04/03/15 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
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Recent Blog Posts
  • A Tough Country
  • Muddy Boots Muddy Thinking
  • The Pollinator's Dilemma
  • Weeds Gone Wild
  • A Week of Growth
  • Put Crop Theories to Test
  • Put Your Scouting Boots On
  • Don't Eat These Daisies
  • Weighing Neonics
  • Separating Wheat From Chaff
  • New Stink Bug Expands Range
  • Watching Wheat
  • My Own Personal Bee-Gate
  • Spring Weed Race
  • Untangle Traits
  • Last Call on EPA Rules
  • Avoid Dust-Off to Protect Bees
  • Planting is a Precise Art
  • Will We Swallow GE Potatoes?
  • New Year, New Weeds