Production Blog
Pam Smith DTN\Progressive Farmer Crops Technology Editor

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 | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

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 Pamela.smith@dtn.com.
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: http://qz.com/107970/scientists-discover-whats-killing-the-bees-and-its-worse-than-you-thought/
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
 

Monday 05/12/14

Droning On In the Cab
Exploring the use of drones brings up some serious questions in the tractor cab. Will it affect our caloric consumption?[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 9:37AM CDT 05/12/14 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Tuesday 04/29/14

Corn Takes Off
A delayed spring has had some concerned about crappy stands of corn, but so far establishment looks good in planted areas.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 12:58PM CDT 04/29/14 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

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 (4)
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
That true Curt. Cash rents dictate other realities too.
Posted by Pamela Smith at 11:42AM CDT 04/29/14
 

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
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Recent Blog Posts
  • 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
  • Rotate Your Thinking
  • Caterpillar Droppings
  • Cold Stress Test
  • Negotiate the Bt Maze
  • Ag Blessings Abound
  • Bringing in the Weed Seeds
  • Meet the Plant Innovators