Production Blog
Pam Smith DTN\Progressive Farmer Crops Technology Editor

Monday 03/23/15

Last Call on EPA Rules
The EPA extended the public comment period on its proposed rules for Bt-corn users and here's why all farmers -- not just those with rootworm problems -- should take the time to read them and comment.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:17PM CDT 03/23/15 by Emily Unglesbee | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday 03/17/15

Avoid Dust-Off to Protect Bees
Are you "bee-ing" a farm-friendly neighbor? There are things to do to help your beekeeping community this spring.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 12:30PM CDT 03/17/15 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Monday 02/23/15

Planting is a Precise Art
Use this series of articles to germinate some new ideas to make planting more efficient.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 12:43PM CST 02/23/15 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Wednesday 02/11/15

Will We Swallow GE Potatoes?
Acres of genetically engineered crops continue to grow, but so do consumer concerns. Farmers need a voice in the discussion.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 1:25PM CST 02/11/15 by Pam Smith | Post a Comment
Comments (13)
Pam: I am involved in both grain and beef operations. I have put much thought into the issue of GMOs, and I must say, that I remain skeptical of their future. I have seen many food developments over the years and have always been skeptical of so-called "scientific foods." I have successfully predicted the mediocre acceptance, or actual demise, of so many scientific foods over the years. As a young college student, I took an early stand against cyclamates. They are now gone. I have been skeptical of aspartame, and that sweetener has stagnated if not bombed in the marketplace. When the much-touted Olestra came out, I predicted it would be a huge market failure...and it is. Most recently, I predicted the demise of rBGH, and most of the dairy suppliers in my area have abandoned the hormone supplement. Pam, I see the same fate for GMOs. Most of my partner farmers do not use GMOs...and my farmers are outstanding, well-informed, and highly educated professionals. I predict by the end of the decade, GMOs will be on the way out of our food supplies. When consumers become informed, the will vote with their dollars and avoid GMO foods.
Posted by tom vogel at 9:12PM CST 02/12/15
I agree whole heartedly with you Pam - farmers need to educate themselves so they can help educate the public. Several are already doing this with on- line social networks. I've prided myself in knowing a lot about GMOs but just learned this past week that Bt only works on alkaline guts, not the acid guts of mammals and humans. With the folly of vaccine paranoia, we now have an open door to doubt the anti-science community. Add to that the governments change of position on cholesterol and acceptance of eggs as a dietary benefit. Most consumers don't want/don't understand scientific lingo. We have to approach the GMO concern from another angle. The fact that millions of wildlife and livestock flourish on GMOs gives pause to consider. National Geographic has accepted GMOs as a necessity to deal with endless pests and pesticides. Nat Geo believes GMOs will help feed mega-billions of people in the future. Then there's the anti-corp crowd that can be silenced with the the Golden Rice story. Golden Rice was developed with a beta-carotene gene from corn by non-corporate interests. Radical anti-science groups destroyed and propagandized against Golden Rice even though it would have prevented blindness in millions of children. I ask anti-GMO people if they want to be a part of that?! Then there's the fact that over 1,000 plant and genetic scientists have given GMOs a clean bill of health. Ask the anti-GMO person if they believe 1,000 scientists claiming man-made global warming. The list of support goes on and on, but the challenge is to deal with people who are susceptable to paranoia in the first place.
Posted by Curt Zingula at 7:35AM CST 02/13/15
BTW Tom, don't I recall that you were switching over to padding your pockets with organic produce dollars? People like to point at corporations benefiting from GMO dollars but ignore that the organic industry is 62 billion dollars strong. Kudos to those of you who figured out how to sell yourselves as holy-than-thou but at the same time make it difficult for the 46+ million people who already need food aid to afford what you grow!!
Posted by Curt Zingula at 7:40AM CST 02/13/15
Curt: I am not certified organic and don't intend to be such. However, my partner farmers and I attempt to avoid the GMOs. A lot of my thinking has developed over the years as I have learned to listen to the wisdom of my Amish farmer friends. I may be proven wrong, and I do recognize that food volumes must increase, but I am not convinced GMOs are the way to go. Ultimately it will be consumers who make these decisions, just as they have with rBGH...which they obviously don't like.
Posted by tom vogel at 7:57AM CST 02/13/15
Boy o boy, Tom. Wisdom from those who do not accept many modern practices, but hide behind the barn to talk on their cell-phone. I thought I had heard all.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 7:48PM CST 02/13/15
It gets better Bonnie, The Atlantic published an article (against GMOs) that an Amish boy discovered that good soil fertility leads to good plant health and that in turn reduces/eliminates the need for genetic engineering. Kudos to the Atlantic for realizing that the public is stupid about agronomy and scare tactics work.
Posted by Curt Zingula at 7:01AM CST 02/14/15
The Atlantic article appeared on Facebook. I responded to it with some common sense and a friend of the person who posted it responded back with a graph showing that increased Roundup use matches the linear uptrend with the increase of world wide disease. I'm not real good at cut and paste or I would have attached the graph showing how well the increase in organic sales matches with autism!!
Posted by Curt Zingula at 7:12AM CST 02/14/15
I think that in regard to GMO food, Americans are taking a page from the European anti-GMO playbook (or the whole playbook for that matter). What most advocates of "safe science" and GE traits in food plants and animals is that they ignore the science that exists alongside the GMO- antiGMO debate. The science of psychology. While psychology uses statical methods itself, the irony is that the fear and skepticsim in the human brain and mind doesn't use the "second standard deviation." Put together with the trend that more and more consumers are perceiving that they are always "being sold something" and more general mistrust (the government records our phone calls) it should not be hard to see that advertising and "education" are becoming a tough sell.
Posted by Lonnie Leake at 1:51PM CST 02/14/15
I think what is really missing is balance. Why is it that one is right and the other wrong. Usually when I see comments about GMO's all I see is bickering. Its to bad. I'm pretty sure not every new biotech food is safe. And I'm pretty sure the GMO's are not going anywhere they are here to stay. Intention is every thing. If we make food to help people in third world countries be able to access nutrients that's good intentions I think. If we make GMO's so we can spray carcinogens on them so we can control weeds and insects. Poison is poison I don't care what anyone says. I am a farmer and some times I burn off in the spring with round up, then herbicide, fungicide and desiccate with round up again. That's lots of carcinogens on one crop. So I hope the consumer educates them selves and starts to pay attention to what how and why the crop is being modified. Because intention is everything in my opinion.
Posted by MICHAEL BOISSONNEAULT at 11:17PM CST 02/18/15
All this is food for thought. Thank's Pam and Commenters
Posted by Raymond Haas at 11:13AM CST 02/19/15
Some of the issues get cloudy, such as genetic engineering of traits native to the plant, such as it appears is the case with potatoes versus transgenetics using non-native genetics. The disconnect that I see is that many people opposed to GMO are passionate advocates for the science behind anthropogenic global warming. But then farmers want to appeal to science to defend GMOs yet reject the science for global warming! :). Me, I'm skeptical of the science claims for both!
Posted by LeeFarms at 12:09PM CST 02/19/15
I'm enjoying this dialogue--keep it coming. We now have apples to throw into the GE discussion. I had a fascinating discussion with the Arctic apple folks this week. Stay tuned.
Posted by Pamela Smith at 7:58AM CST 02/20/15
"You are what you eat!" is the old saying. I personally choose to avoid any genetically modified foods and crops. Everything was created perfect and we have destroyed it. I don't know if GE crops have caused the increase in cancer but I can guarantee that there will never be a cure! There is too much money made off of it. As for GE crops, they won't go away either until there is proof they are harmful. Two decades or 20 years is not long enough to prove safety. It will take generations! I am glad that there are two sides to all this debating. Someday one side will find out which side failed, They will be the ones still living! Monsanto and the others own the ag communities and the farmers HAVE to do what they say to plant their crops. But really its all about money. My advise is do your own homework, form your own opinion, and keep an open mind. This is part of the free world. I'm glad that not all people think like I do. However, while some farmers are getting $3.50 for a bushel of corn there are others receiving $11.00 a bushel for corn. One last comment to fuel your fire!! Why are we trying to feed the world cheep food? It should be that we are trying to provide the healthiest food at a reasonable price, and if we are trying to feed the world, then why do we care about ethanol? It appears to me that we are trying to starve the world so we can put their food in our gas tanks.
Posted by edward bowman at 7:09AM CDT 03/24/15

Tuesday 01/13/15

New Year, New Weeds
Two new weeds, burcucumber and toothed spurge, are causing problems for many Missouri farmers (and at least one Missouri gardener).[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 10:19AM CST 01/13/15 by Emily Unglesbee | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday 12/30/14

Year for Record Books
Good yields dominated the landscape with a few slaps from Mother Nature. The challenge for 2015 will be balancing inputs in a weaker market.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 3:21PM CST 12/30/14 by Pam Smith | 0 Comments | Post a Comment

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 (5)
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
Guess what Monsanto no matter what lies you try to portray to the consumer will only expose how power hungry and money hungry your corporation really is. Why don't you explain the enormous amount of tech fees that are l involved with your products that are paid for by the producer and the consumer. Also your involvement in destroying rain forests all over the world for more "safe food production" is out of control, will there ever be enough? So setting up shops in South America, Russia, Ukraine etc. will only result in overproduction and cheap commodity prices for the producers with the USDA on top of markets with "REPORTS" that only benefit corporations and not consumers. Be honest for a change the lies are getting old.
Posted by DAVID/KEVIN GRUENHAGEN at 9:05AM CST 01/28/15

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
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Recent Blog Posts
  • 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
  • Year for Record Books
  • 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