Production Blog
Pam Smith DTN\Progressive Farmer Crops Technology Editor

Wednesday 12/10/14

Need To Bee Accurate
A news story had the wires buzzing Tuesday afternoon after a report that EPA was set to restrict the use of neonicotinoids, but it turned out to be incorrect.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 3:45PM CST 12/10/14 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Wednesday 12/03/14

Monsanto Wants to be Part of the Conversation
The Monsanto Company has launched a new consumer-focused campaign in an effort to improve its image with consumers.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 4:38PM CST 12/03/14 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (4)
I'm not particularly in love with Monsanto but this Monsanto hate thing has gone too far! While my wife and I were biking in Colorado this summer, a retired couple and their son stopped to rest and talk with us. Upon learning that we farmed the son immediately asked if we did business with Monsanto. When my wife replied "yes" the guy groaned, shook his head in disgust and rode off. I guess its gotten to the point we farmers have to hide what we do for a living.
Posted by Curt Zingula at 8:17AM CST 12/05/14
Curt--I've had the same experience in all kinds of scenarios. Yet, when I ask the same individuals about other companies that participate in genetic engineering, for example, they seem shocked. Why is it so easy to be negative and against? Thanks for the feedback.
Posted by Pamela Smith at 10:23AM CST 12/06/14
The debate mentioned above can be watched at:
Posted by Pamela Smith at 5:32AM CST 12/10/14
Part of their image problem stems from the fact that the Big M wants to own so much of the future profits of anyone connected to them.
Posted by Vince Moye at 6:43AM CST 12/10/14

Wednesday 11/26/14

Dow's Gutsy Decision
Dow's decision to launch Enlist offers some hand-selected growers a chance to test drive new technology.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:49PM CST 11/26/14 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (2)
Any idea what the actual loss per bu. per year would be to corn growers in the Syngenta law suit? I think we all got shot in the foot over that issue! Plus it just gave the Chinese cheaper corn! They are shrewd!
Posted by Roger Cooper at 8:45AM CST 12/02/14
Roger--thanks for the question. NGFA says its 11 cents per bushel â?“ thatâ?™s what most of the lawsuits are based on.
Posted by Pamela Smith at 12:06AM CST 12/05/14

Friday 11/21/14

Bringing Down the Bee Barrier
The tiny bee may not seem like a big deal, but the future of seed treatments are on the line.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 3:29PM CST 11/21/14 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (3)
Pam. I interseeded a pasture mix[ mostly red clover] into a two acre patch of grass on the heritage farmstead where I recently relocated. We let this grow without mowing. We had a huge array of pollinators and other beneficial insects. It was a joy to watch the transformation from this over groomed patch of grass which I have now seen depreciate a couple of generations of expensive lawn mowers into a small sea of multi-species activity. It is amazing how quickly this transformation occurred. Amazing also was the reaction of my farming peers. Every comment from" surely you are going to bale that" to "I'll bet your father is disappointed with the way you are caring for that". Luckily the latter statement was nowhere near the truth. After many years of mowing he for sure gets my approach. There are many areas that could be reverted to flowering species very quickly with absolutely no harm to the land or the cash crops growing there. It is just a matter of cosmetics. The only way this will happen is if there is a clear financial incentive to do so. The comment heard often is "if you are going to pay $1x,000 dollars for this ground you want someone to mow around it. Many producers spend many dollars to appease this attitude. The responsibility lies with those who own the land.
Posted by Unknown at 9:54AM CST 11/22/14
"It was a joy to watch the transformationâ?¦." What a wonderful image that is. Thanks for your comment, for reading and for taking a step to do something remarkable.
Posted by Pamela Smith at 4:52PM CST 11/22/14
A lot of good points, Pamela. Not only some farmers are arrogant though. Included should be the general public, especially shore land owners and occupants. Some cities are so blasted with chemicals, one has difficulty breathing. It is amazing, Unknown, what nature can do if helped out a bit.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 6:17AM CST 11/25/14

Tuesday 10/07/14

Let's Tend Those Traits
Trait acceptance continues to be a problem as China keeps the doors locked on certain genetically engineered traits.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 3:50PM CDT 10/07/14 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Friday 09/19/14

Corn Is Still Wet, But Clock Ticks
Harvest gets under way in the Midwest and it's a good one. The challenge is to get it before the crop goes down.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:15PM CDT 09/19/14 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (12)
2 dollar corn u need leave it in the field its not worth it
Posted by Unknown at 8:56PM CDT 09/19/14
Who is he kidding? Rent-$300.00 Potash-$45.00 Seed-$100 Starter$45.00 Herbicides-$35.00 Nitrogen-$60.00 thats $585.00 an acre with no fuel or equipment cost not to mention interest and deprecation.If he's only 40 he hasn't farmed in hard times yet. But he will soon.So corn at $2.90 minus .40 cents drying .08 trucking leaves 2.42 corn x 250 =$605.00 minus $585 leaves him $20.00 an acre to pay for equipment and feed his family.Plant More Corn!!!
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 8:18PM CDT 09/21/14
Oh I forgot crop insurance! Good bye $20.00.Nothing left to buy Obamacare!
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 9:26AM CDT 09/22/14
Nebraska yield report on beans lower than expected after being told how great they were a trend I expect too see more
Posted by andrew mohlman at 8:51AM CDT 09/24/14
Nobody will answer that one will they?
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 7:47PM CDT 09/26/14
There's no question that we saw production problems in several regions of Nebraska, western Iowa and Minnesota while crop touring in August. However, the regional problems we saw there don't erase the fact that there are many pockets of outstanding crops this year.
Posted by Pamela Smith at 6:14AM CDT 09/28/14
No! I mean how is Matt Bennett making any money with todays prices!
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 11:55AM CDT 09/28/14
Matt Bennett owns the land. Matt Bennett more than likely has already sold his crop. Matt Bennett is making money. Matt Bennett didn't squander his profits from previous years. Quit whinning
Posted by Mark Dieringer at 10:27PM CDT 09/29/14
Mark No one is whinning just reality!You still didn't answer the question.Show me some figures.I showed the numbers it takes to produce a crop.If he didn't save any money that's not good, this is not going to be a one year thing. You say more than likely so you don't know for sure.We farmers are our own enemies,we don't like to admitt that we are not making money.
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 7:49AM CDT 09/30/14
thank you Ray, the truth is we are all screwed, should have PP'ed the whole crop this year cause with these prices we can't afford to do that either next year. There is no way crop insurance will be worth crap in 15'
Posted by JAMIE KOUBA at 12:59AM CDT 10/06/14
Raymond I work with quite a few producers managing risk...I farm full time and broker full time. Every guy I work with made good money this year, but we did have our crops hedged well in advance of harvest. I agree many guys are struggling, especially if they didn't manage their price risk, but just because the harvest lows were setting in when you were posting doesn't mean people didn't make money this year. It's going to be tough to make money in the next few years, but it will definitely force guys to become much better businessmen.
Posted by matthew bennett at 1:57PM CST 11/20/14
Thanks Matt. You always stir up a conversation!
Posted by Pamela Smith at 5:53PM CST 11/22/14

Thursday 09/04/14

Get In the Mode
An online herbicide "site of action" guide helps growers rotate chemistries and discourage herbicide resistance in weeds.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 6:19AM CDT 09/04/14 by Emily Unglesbee | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Thursday 08/28/14

Filling Out a Big Crop
Crop scouts missed the really big yielding fields last week. Here's where the big crop grows.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:40PM CDT 08/28/14 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (5)
I dont remember such coverage when crops look poor over use of word s record, monster, bin buster gets old when heard at some point every year gets less believable as time goes on.
Posted by andrew mohlman at 3:32PM CDT 08/29/14
No bin buster yields in our part of southern Mi. and northern Ohio.Corn is burnt up and beans are short.We have beans that are dropping leaves and will probably run in two to three weeks.I was in them last night and there is alot of 3 and 4 bean pods with 1 or 2 beans in them. So pod count may not mean much.We have only had 1.3 in of rain since the 25th of June. Even corn that has been irrigated every day since June figures in the 180s by pro farmers equation.Funny how crop tour followed the same path across corn belt as the rains did. The guys in ILL. that paid 15000 an acre for land better hope for more than 250 bu. corn.
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 11:12AM CDT 09/02/14
I live on the Missouri iowa border. Sudden death is taking over. Where does this come into play?
Posted by Michael Graves at 9:14PM CDT 09/08/14
Yes, SDS is starting to show up Michael and also white mold in areas experiencing heavy rainfall. Both could certainly take a toll on yield and soybean quality. The rain we're experiencing is definitely a concern to bringing this crop--regardless of whether it is big or not.
Posted by Pamela Smith at 7:56AM CDT 09/10/14
chemtrails geoengineeringwatch .org
Posted by Jerome Fitzgerald at 2:41PM CDT 10/07/14

Monday 08/25/14

The Trouble With Time
One of the biggest problems for rootworm researchers is the sheer amount of time it takes to officially confirm Bt-resistance in the field, so don't wait for the official word to change management tactics.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 11:07AM CDT 08/25/14 by Emily Unglesbee | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Friday 08/15/14

Yield Countdown
Ready, set ... scout. Why I'll take a calculator to the 2014 Midwest Crop Tour.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:13PM CDT 08/15/14 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (2)
I would like someones opinion on what average yields might be in northeast mo. with out naming names a reliable source told me low corn yields would still be around 150 bu. per acre, I personally i haven't had yields like that in ten years. I wouldn't consider myself to be an effective corn grower for this reason. I feel like i throw a lot of money towards growing an above average crop. My corn usually looks better than average. when I go to the coffee shop I find most corn yields were better than mine. you might laugh when you read this, but conscientiously I know I should be taking more soil samples and probably be adding some micro nutrients. From an educated standpoint I don't know how to aproach this. Soil samples from the fertilizer companies say one thing. sample from the ext. service say another. Recent lime aplications might not show true ph levels. My soils vary dramaticaly as well as slopes in the same fields. Planting dates with in the same field for optimum emerence could very as much as eight days. Any help woud be appreciated. I know each person may have different theory, but lots of information is the only way to come up with something that might work for me.
Posted by doug hawes at 6:32PM CDT 08/17/14
Doug I think there are a lot of good questions in your post. I'm on the crop tour at the moment, but promise I will dig into this for you. Can you email me at
Posted by Pamela Smith at 2:37AM CDT 08/19/14

Thursday 07/17/14

Four-Leaf Soy Surprise
It was my lucky day to find several four-leaf soybeans growing in a test plot, but what does it really mean?[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 6:54AM CDT 07/17/14 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Thursday 07/10/14

Sprayer Tracks Cut Yield
The window is closing for limiting sprayer wheel track damage in soybeans. Yield losses depend on a number of factors -- including spray boom widths.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 3:46PM CDT 07/10/14 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday 07/01/14

Wild Weather Woes
While much of the central Corn Belt crop conditions appear good, there are regions that have struggled. The growing corn crop is also at a critical stage for greensnap and leaf disease.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:24PM CDT 07/01/14 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Friday 06/13/14

Evaluate Soybean Emergence
Uneven soybean emergence may not be as bad as you think.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:44PM CDT 06/13/14 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Thursday 05/15/14

May Bee Mystery
The loss of a few beehives may not seem like a big deal unless they are yours. Honey, this is a tough business.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:22PM CDT 05/15/14 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (2)
The warning klaxons regarding the loss of bees, the relationship with Ag Chemicals, and the consequences have been sounding for a few years-in the EU for longer yet. However, those of us pointing this out generally get dismissed as "Anti-Science", Conspiracy Theorists, or simply unqualified to offer an opinion. Yet, here again we are being justified for our alarm. Simply put-no bees-no crops. Of course, since you CAN buy NEW seeds next year, AND make a profit from subsidies and crop insurance, the Corn and Beans will be fine. It's EVERYTHING else that's at risk. As this excerpt from a recent study posted in the online magazine Quartz suggests: "Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch�s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once. When researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast pollinating cranberry, watermelon and other crops and fed it to healthy bees, those bees showed a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite called Nosema ceranae. The parasite has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder though scientists took pains to point out that their findings do not directly link the pesticides to CCD. The pollen was contaminated on average with nine different pesticides and fungicides though scientists discovered 21 agricultural chemicals in one sample. Scientists identified eight ag chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by the parasite. Most disturbing, bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. Widely used, fungicides had been thought to be harmless for bees as they�re designed to kill fungus, not insects, on crops like apples. �There�s growing evidence that fungicides may be affecting the bees on their own and I think what it highlights is a need to reassess how we label these agricultural chemicals,� Dennis van Engelsdorp, the study�s lead author, told Quartz. Labels on pesticides warn farmers not to spray when pollinating bees are in the vicinity but such precautions have not applied to fungicides. Bee populations are so low in the US that it now takes 60% of the country�s surviving colonies just to pollinate one California crop, almonds. And that�s not just a west coast problem�California supplies 80% of the world�s almonds, a market worth $4 billion. In recent years, a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids has been linked to bee deaths and in April regulators banned the use of the pesticide for two years in Europe where bee populations have also plummeted. But van Engelsdorp, an assistant research scientist at the University of Maryland, says the new study shows that the interaction of multiple pesticides is affecting bee health. �The pesticide issue in itself is much more complex than we have led to be believe,� he says. �It�s a lot more complicated than just one product, which means of course the solution does not lie in just banning one class of product.� The study found another complication in efforts to save the bees: US honey bees, which are descendants of European bees, do not bring home pollen from native North American crops but collect bee chow from nearby weeds and wildflowers. That pollen, however, was also contaminated with pesticides even though those plants were not the target of spraying. �It�s not clear whether the pesticides are drifting over to those plants but we need take a new look at agricultural spraying practices,� says van Engelsdorp." Perhaps it's time to take some of this seriously as we see the number and potency of resistance increasing and the American Farmer being forced to purchase escalating amounts of chemicals and fertilizers to produce a crop. Ask your friendly Agronomist to explain HOW this can ever be sustainable, and how you make a cherry pie from corn and beans? Article Excerpted from Quartz:
Posted by Ric Ohge at 12:54PM CDT 05/20/14
Maybe I am misremembering something but it seems years ago you could not import bees into the US. When other countries were pushing for import they finally succeeded in getting the right to import. About the same time Israel and Australia were working on a big problem with hive collapse and could not come up with a solution. Anyone else remember that? And what did they do about the problem, if anything.
Posted by CRAIG MOORE at 8:59AM CDT 05/22/14
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Recent Blog Posts
  • Need To Bee Accurate
  • Monsanto Wants to be Part of the Conversation
  • Dow's Gutsy Decision
  • Bringing Down the Bee Barrier
  • Let's Tend Those Traits
  • Corn Is Still Wet, But Clock Ticks
  • Get In the Mode
  • Filling Out a Big Crop
  • The Trouble With Time
  • Yield Countdown
  • Four-Leaf Soy Surprise
  • Sprayer Tracks Cut Yield
  • Wild Weather Woes
  • Evaluate Soybean Emergence
  • May Bee Mystery
  • Droning On In the Cab
  • Corn Takes Off
  • Tend Your Traits
  • War of the Words
  • Weed Patch Lessons; Diversity is the Key