Production Blog
Pam Smith DTN\Progressive Farmer Crops Technology Editor

Monday 03/31/14

Tend Your Traits
The trait trade issue puts the responsibility on the shoulders of the farmer. What's your liability?[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 5:38PM CDT 03/31/14 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Monday 03/17/14

War of the Words
Scientists need to agree on the meaning of the word "resistance," if the government, growers, and industry are ever to find working solutions to slow its evolution in insects.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:36PM CDT 03/17/14 by Emily Unglesbee | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
IMO, Monsanto (and other large chemical/trait producers) don't want this change to happen. If it is let on that within a couple of years of new technology is showing initial resistance and farmers start to switch up their purchasing of the prodcut. This hurts the "bottom line" and stock price. They care more about the short sighted bottom line than the long sighted impact of resistance. It's why Roundup is still used so frequently when for the last 5 to 10 years farmers have witnessed more and more "resistance". We just increase the concentration until Glyphosate is rendered "neutered", and we switch to Liberty Link, and the cycle repeats itself. If we put more time into managing our farms through tough decisions and close monitoring of our crops, we would be better off. However, we can't do that with mega farms. It needs to be a once size fits all program, and it will be the unraveling of our farm industry if science can't outpace mother nature.
Posted by Pedro Sanchez at 9:20AM CDT 03/24/14

Wednesday 02/19/14

Weed Patch Lessons; Diversity is the Key
Understanding basic weed biology is important as resistance issues continue to grow.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 7:02AM CST 02/19/14 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
a lot of farmers used roundup at even lower rates at some dealers advice and it was invinceable and no one said it was no.
Posted by william c at 1:45PM CST 02/21/14

Friday 01/24/14

Rotate Your Thinking
The secret to co-existing with nature is not to try to outsmart it.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:08PM CST 01/24/14 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (3)
We need another rotational crop that will break things up even more. I would love to see the ethanol plants accept milo here in the northern third of the corn belt. We could probably inter-plant milo in standing wheat...raise 90% of a good wheat yield, and 85% of a good milo yield. Lot of guys here in Ohio are trying it with soybeans...but I fear it's raising their nematode levels and soybeans need more water than milo in August to make a yield.....
Posted by Dave Watson at 8:24AM CST 01/27/14
Dave--interesting thought. Are you saying farmers are inter-cropping soybeans into standing wheat?
Posted by Pamela Smith at 4:46AM CST 01/29/14
Last year, in my corner of the world, waterhemp showed up for numerous farmers even where multiple- herbicides have been used and rotation practiced. I'm one of those smug farmers who thought they could fool mother nature and lost! Still, when you farm next to a city (Cedar Rapids) that uses 1.1 million bu of corn daily, and pays well for it, the profitability of growing corn is hard to ignore. I just have to shake my head and roll my eyes when the University "experts" start penciling generic numbers to MY farm!
Posted by Curt Zingula at 7:24AM CST 01/31/14

Tuesday 01/14/14

Caterpillar Droppings
Our government is on the lookout for the armigera caterpillar... should Americans follow suit?[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 4:58PM CST 01/14/14 by Emily Unglesbee | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
The same harmful and unpredictable insect in Hungary. Not only in corn but in beans, vegetables etc. In 2003 it caused a huge problem in sunflover. In light traps can be detected year by year with different peaks of gradation.
Posted by Denes Szieberth at 3:16PM CST 01/24/14

Friday 01/10/14

Cold Stress Test
There's no industry standard for cold stress, but it can be an indication of how well a variety will emerge.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 7:14AM CST 01/10/14 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Friday 12/06/13

Negotiate the Bt Maze
Trait rotation table helps sort Bt traits and head off resistance.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 10:55AM CST 12/06/13 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
The elephant in the room would be root causation for resistance. What is the point at which the advantage of genetically modified plants are outweighed by the inevitability of their failure? I'm confounded at the continued push towards the use Bt traits in seeds. Producers are usually very forward thinking, and as the issue of resistance continues to mount, where is the tipping point? We are seeing similar results to the rampant use of antibiotics on antibiotic resistant bacteria. Compared to antibiotic use, introduction Bt traits are in a relatively infant stage. Perhaps there is still time to mitigate what appears to be inevitable.
Posted by BRYAN BILTOFT at 9:44AM CST 12/09/13

Wednesday 11/27/13

Ag Blessings Abound
Why wait to give thanks for something that touches us every day?[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:34PM CST 11/27/13 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Thursday 11/07/13

Bringing in the Weed Seeds
The fight against Palmer amaranth is ramping up. Are you ready to separate the weeds from the chaff?[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:17PM CST 11/07/13 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (7)
when I was young we had a scour clean on the combine to catch the weed seeds. back to the good old days!
Posted by BRIAN BERGER at 9:41AM CST 11/08/13
Brian--that's an interesting point. You've gone past my knowledge of current combine technology. Do we not still have this feature? You've got my attention and curiosity up!
Posted by Pamela Smith at 9:44AM CST 11/12/13
Instead of collecting the seeds and messing with burning piles, couldn't you simply install some kind of a roller mill or grinder to render the seeds nonviable than scatter the shredded seeds evenly.
Posted by Vince Moye at 6:31AM CST 11/14/13
Vince--they are doing that in Australia. It is called the Harrington Seed Destructor. At this time, it is also a machine that pulls behind the combine, but the engineering is close to incorporating it into the machine. Of course, this adds weight and more power requirements to the combine (not to mention cost), but it is working there in wheat with the main weed problem being Lolium--ryegrass. My point in writing this story wasn't as much to say that chaff carts are the answer as to point out the necessity to control this weed before it gets a foothold--if you are in an area to do so.
Posted by Pamela Smith at 11:23AM CST 11/14/13
Pamela: Read your interesting article in DTN Grains Edition regarding Palmer Amaranth. As a farmer in western Kansas, we have a major problem with this weed and are extremely interested in the research to chemically eradicate this pest. We are having to give up no-till and put tillage equipment back in the field to solve our problem. Would appreciate any news that you may have on this effort. Regards Jack Miller
Posted by Cheri Zagurski at 1:50PM CST 11/14/13
Burning? That will make the Environmentalist' happy.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 6:26AM CST 12/12/13
Bonnie--it's a good point. In Australia, they've also had some problems with fires getting away from them. They've tried baling chaff and recycling it through livestock or using it in other ways, but in the case of pigweed, I'm pretty sure some of the seed would pass through the livestock.
Posted by Pamela Smith at 8:34AM CST 12/21/13

Friday 10/11/13

Meet the Plant Innovators
Scientists are working hard to unlock the secrets within plants that lead to innovation. Our series of articles takes readers inside the lab to meet four plant pioneers.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 12:26PM CDT 10/11/13 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (3)
lock the scientists up big yields equal low prices plus high dollar monopolized seed. the idiot that let this new weed called roundup ready alfalfa turned loose should be held responsible I have noticed several clumps of it in my fields already. the cure dicamba reistant beans.A perennial should never had this technology.who would of thought our seed bill would be as much as our whole operating expence just 10 years ago we have been took to the cleaners.
Posted by Unknown at 12:21PM CDT 10/14/13
And by now we all know "unknown" is just a troll out to spout against any GMO. Not only can he not let it be known who "it" is, I think they are trying to be so cool with the lack of proper punctuation and capitalization, I really doubt they are tending any fields.
Posted by CRAIG MOORE at 10:15AM CDT 10/23/13
Mr. Unknown, take a vist to a third word country, thats the world we would be in if it wasnt for thease people, so consider starving the next time you make a comment like that.
Posted by JAMIE KOUBA at 9:19PM CDT 11/01/13

Tuesday 10/01/13

Cereals and Wine for Breakfast
A morning in a German vineyard proves agriculture the universal language.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 6:11PM CDT 10/01/13 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Wednesday 09/25/13

Rootworm Reunion
Western corn rootworm continues to show an ability to overcome management tactics and scientists are tracking their movements.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 6:42AM CDT 09/25/13 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Thursday 09/05/13

Bayer Builds, Focuses on Soy and Wheat
New investments in agriculture were announced during the Bayer CropScience annual press conference in Monheim, Germany, on September 5. U.S. farmers will be the prime beneficiaries of much of that investment.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 8:25PM CDT 09/05/13 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (2)
Pam: What´s happening in cotton genetics?.. thank you. pablo Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Posted by Pablo Holmberg at 9:45AM CDT 09/21/13
Pablo--we didn't go over cotton on this trip, but Bayer is investing heavily in cotton. I'll have to ask about what's happening in your section of the world, but in the U.S., the company anticipates the launch of its two-gene TwinLink trait package in 2014. TwinLink is a dual Bt system with tolerance to Liberty herbicide stacked with GlyTol, Bayerâ?™s proprietary glyphosate-tolerant trait. This new technology will initially be built into the two GlyTol, LibertyLink, Bollgard II varieties Bayer released in 2013 (ST 4946GLB2 and ST 648GLB2). Let me see if I can find out more information about their efforts in Argentina.
Posted by Pamela Smith at 9:49AM CDT 09/24/13
Putting Ecology to Work, But Weather Still the Master
German farmer hopes sustainable farming practices will help keep his farm in the family for years to come.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 10:46AM CDT 09/05/13 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Monday 08/26/13

Final Take on the 2013 Crop Tour
The 2013 Pro Farmer Crop Tour may go down as one of the most interesting and perplexing.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 12:50PM CDT 08/26/13 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
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Recent Blog Posts
  • Tend Your Traits
  • War of the Words
  • Weed Patch Lessons; Diversity is the Key
  • Rotate Your Thinking
  • Caterpillar Droppings
  • Cold Stress Test
  • Negotiate the Bt Maze
  • Ag Blessings Abound
  • Bringing in the Weed Seeds
  • Meet the Plant Innovators
  • Cereals and Wine for Breakfast
  • Rootworm Reunion
  • Bayer Builds, Focuses on Soy and Wheat
  • Putting Ecology to Work, But Weather Still the Master
  • Final Take on the 2013 Crop Tour
  • Crop Tour Musings: A Matter of Maturity
  • Corn Planting in August?
  • Corn Belt Moves North
  • Tale of Two Seasons
  • Scouting The Back Roads