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BIG data: What are the advantages, dangers for ag By tom block

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revolution in collecting and analyzing farm data can be cause for both celebration and concern for farmers, says Dave Miller, Iowa Farm Bureau director of research and commodity services. Access to mountains of information on yields, weather data and other agronomic indicators can help farmers fine-tune their practices to save on input costs while improving yields, leading to improved profitability. But there are worries about who has access to that kind of “big data,” which is sent directly from planters, sprayers and combines to a computer server in some unknown location, and how it will be used. “Certainly there can be benefits. The question is how big do you have to be to get those benefits.” Miller says. “Another over-arching question is what role should big data have in government regulations.” Big data could change the structure and scale of farming by reducing variability and risk in yield performance, Miller says. With big data, it seems, bigger is better. “That may be the biggest unknown,” he says. “Anyone’s individual data is miniscule compared to the whole set of data. Where does that value lie? Is it on the individual farm, at the cooperative level or somewhere higher up the chain?” For starters, farmers have to make a significant up-front investment in tractors and implements to collect the data and put it to use. “To clearly get benefits, not only do you need GPS, you need individual row controllers on your planter, variable rate controls for fertilizer and sprayers, and those kinds of things,” he says. Farmers likely need at least 1,000 to 1,500 acres to cover the fixed costs of the equipment, and there is little additional cost to cover even more acres, Miller says. “One of the questions is what does that mean to the guy at 300 acres. Will

Second section February 12, 2014 NE

he ever see the advantage to big data? It has a scale of economics to it. We may not know where the upper end levels off,” he says. Among the first farms to see sizable benefits of big data will be the behemoth 500,000-acre to 1-million-acre farms like those in Ukraine, where Miller and a group of Iowa Farm Bureau members traveled last year to get an up-close look at that country’s emerging farm sector. Ukraine farmers own very little or, in some cases, none of the land they farm, but aggregate huge tracts of farmland through long-term lease agreements with entire communities. “Much of big data is about the law of larger numbers and statistical probabilities. Bigger numbers equal more chances to come out ahead,” explains Miller. “If applying a fungicide pays 90 percent of the time, there is a scale of economics to it. If you apply that to 500,000 to 1 million acres, you’ll realize the benefits of it.” The statistical certainty of success will knock down barriers to investment capital that has generally viewed agriculture investments as too risky, Miller predicts. “Big data can help quantify the risk in agriculture. It may increase the average return and reduce the variability,” he says. “That will remove a huge barrier to access to capital.” He points to the hog and poultry sectors as examples where data analysis and performance tracking have reduced risks and attracted large capital investments. “The hog and poultry producers started early with data analysis and had less risk than unanalyzed producers,” Miller says. “It allowed them to get the money to put together 50,000 sows.

Seed companies at forefront Seed and equipment companies are among those at the forefront of collecting big data, allowing them to aggregate and analyze the performance of their products from thousands of farmers over millions of acres. That helps them place the right

products on specific farms and improve the operation of their machines, providing benefits for farmers of all sizes, Miller notes. But farmers also have concerns that the data could be misapplied, he says. “One of the concerns farmers have is providing that data could lead to applying it to market-moving decisions,” he says. “If you have real-time access to 1,000 combines moving across the field, you could predict the national corn yield within 1 to 2 percent. “Over 10,000 acres, you could predict the national corn yield within one-half of a percent. From 100,000 acres, you could probably predict the national corn yield with almost exact certainty. If there is insider use of that data, it could move the market.”

Protecting personal info Farmers are also concerned about whether their personal information will remain private under large-scale data aggregation efforts. Delegates at the American Farm Bur­ eau annual convention last month adopted new policy stating that such information should remain property of the farmer and warrants protection. Members said companies have an obligation to fully disclose how they use data, compensate farmers when information is shared with third parties and prevent such information from being subject to federal Freedom of Information Act requests. Also, farmers should have the right to ask for their data back from a private company. One of the chief concerns among farmers is whether the government or other interest groups will seek to use data regarding practices such as fertilizer applied to a specific piece of land to prosecute farmers over environmental concerns, Miller says. “If that record exists, and a problem occurs that can be linked to that piece of ground, could a farmer’s records be subpoenaed in a lawsuit?” Miller says. “That is one of the costs or questions that opens up with big data.”


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february 12, 2014 Iowa farm bureau spokesman

Expert: big data can be tamed and used by farmers By gary fandel

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o just what is “big data”? It’s an evolving database management application that every farmer and rancher needs to keep up with to maximize the success of their business. While the “big” in big data may cast a formidable shadow over its utilization, Matt Bechdol knows it can be done. “It’s just data. Once you figure it out, it’s just data,” said Bechdol, president of GeoSilos, an Indiana-based consulting firm specializing in data applications and technologies for agriculture. Bechdol isn’t down-playing the “big” part of data, or the impact on agriculture and the food system. He knows the volume of data is very big, and so is the hype that surrounds it. He just doesn’t think data has to be scary. “There’s a lot of data out there,” said Bechdol during a workshop at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting earlier this year in San Antonio, “It’s important to ask questions. We need to read the documents and contracts we sign.”

Data collection is endless

Data sets have grown in size largely due to advancing methods of gathering it, including cell phones and mobile devices, satellite systems, cameras and wireless networks. “Each day the world generates 2.5 quintillion bytes of electronic data. On a 32 GB iPad, that would be 57.5 billion iPads for today’s data. You need 57.5 billion iPads for tomorrow’s data, and the next day, and the next day,” said Bechdol. Bechdol, who began his career as a consultant at NASA investigating imaging, wireless and GIS technologies for precision agriculture, is also a partner in

Matt Bechdol, who operates an Indiana-based ag consulting firm, says that farmers need to find ways to add value to the huge amounts of data that is being collected today by a wide range of devices. PHOTO/ GARY FANDEL

the operations and management team of Bechdol Farms, his family’s 2,600-acre corn, soybean and wheat farm founded in 1864. “There’s a rule of thumb that 80 percent of all data has a geospatial component. “Think about all the data at your home, at your work, you organization, your school — you can tie it to geography, and geography is an underutilized asset. “That’s my specialty area, I focus in the geography part — I’m a map geek. I use that in big data,” said Bechdol.

Adding value to your data

Bechdol considers data a modern agricultural commodity. “When you think about that, corn, beans, wheat, whatever it is, it’s sitting in the silo.

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If you don’t take care of it, if you don’t value add it, one, it’s probably going to spoil and, two, you’re not going to reap all the value out of it. Data is the same way: You have to value-add it so you can go from those data positions to dollars,” said Bechdol Security, privacy and ownership of data will be important as technology moves ahead, “and technology is moving ahead, with or without you,” adds Bechdol. There’s no perfect definition of big data. Bechdol said it typically gets framed as the “Vs” of big data: volume, velocity, veracity and value. Bechdol also added “ag-informatics” to the list. “It’s about moving from being reactive to being proactive,” he said. An example would be collecting weather data in advance and changing seed hybrids

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after analyzing the data. “If big data is the what, aginformatics is the why,” Bechdol explained. “There’s a sea-change coming,” said Bechdol. “Everything we do will be driven by data.” He also noted advancements in “little data,” which includes cell phones, weather sensors, soil sensors and wearable computers, like Googleglass. And let’s not forget drones, estimated to be a $5 billion industry, half supported by agriculture by 2015. “Technology enables us, it doesn’t replace us,” said Bechdol. “Data will drive decisions and that’s going to drive dollars.” Bechdol said what we need to do is educate, advocate and evacuate. “Evacuate, because innovators don’t want someone in the way,” he said.

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FEBRUARY 12, 2014 19A

Drought-tolerant seed in demand after dry summers Finding consistent performance

BY AMY KORT

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fter the dry growing season of 2012 and the irregular growing season in 2013, more farmers are turning to drought-tolerant seed. Several companies offer this trait, including DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto. In 2012, DuPont Pioneer developed Optimum AQUAmax for “the western Cornbelt, which includes Kansas, western Nebraska, Colorado and South Dakota — specifically some of the non-irrigated acres,” said Brent Wilson, technical product manager with DuPont Pioneer. “Since rain is limited each year, (producers) were looking for consistency in yield performance.” Through a very extensive process of testing and breeding corn, the company identified hybrid lines that did particularly well in these drought-induced yield levels — those that produce about 100 bushels less than places in Iowa. “The product became popular in the central Cornbelt, including Iowa, because of its stability in drought-like and even more normal conditions. What started out as a specific concept works beyond what the original target was,” he said. Mark Licht, field agronomist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, agrees that producers are looking for drought-tolerant seed again this growing season. “2012 was a dry year and that was the first year drought-tolerant seed was really available. I talked to a lot of farmers who used it in 2012, and they said they’d definitely get a hold of some for 2013. I’ve heard other farmers say that if they can get the right maturity group or type of seed for their fields, that they’ll move that direction. I take it as a sign that drought-tolerant seeds are performing very well,” he said.

Tom Eickhoff, corn traits manager with Monsanto, said their seed sales show them that farmers have adopted that technology very quickly. “It’s in demand because it’s a new option and something they haven’t had before.

We launched Genuity DroughtGard in the western Great Plains in 2012 and plan on expanding east as the geography demands it. Growers remember the drought of 2012, so this can give them a five bushel an acre advantage,” he said.

Wilson said consistency is key. “Consumers tend to gravitate toward products they see perform well, either themselves or through a feed supplier, neighbor, coworker or a colleague in the industry. And that’s what’s driven the demand in Iowa for AquaMax. The product performed well and showed its superiority. While we had some really stressful growing environments in 2013, some parts of northern Iowa had very good yields because they got some very timely rain in August. They were also outside of the areas that had delayed planting. He said they have the “right product, right acre. We know that some corn hybrids perform better in some growing conditions than they do others. It’s the grower knowing their own farming operation – the strengths and opportunities to optimize yield potential. A lot of growers are looking for consistency, and we use testing systems across the country in high and low yield environments to get an idea of how stable they are.” Kort is a freelance writer in Ankeny.

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“The YieldLeader placement tool allows our growers to better use the field data they have collected over the years, combine it with all the great genetics and choices that NuTech offers, and use this information to make better decisions on their hybrid placement,” says Gene Kassmeyer, director of products for NuTech Seed. “Growers can use this tool and technology to get suggestions on hybrids in minutes rather than hours. Time is valuable to farmers, and every minute counts.” “With ever increasing access to new

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FEBRUARY 12, 2014 IOWA FARM BUREAU SPOKESMAN

Crop exports hold the key to price patterns in 2014 BY CHAD HART

U.S. corn exports

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s we started the year this January, the agricultural markets knew crop supplies were fairly robust. With a record corn crop and a very strong soybean crop, U.S. producers have finally created enough supply to meet crop demands. The issue is that not only do the supplies meet the demands; they exceed them. One of the keys to the 2014 markets will be the rebound and strength in HART crop demand as we move through 2014. At the start, the demand numbers going into 2014 are strong across the board, but not strong enough to lift prices. For corn, feed and residual use is projected to be above 5 billion bushels for the first time since the 2009-10 marketing year. Ethanol use is expected to reach nearly 5 billion bushels as many ethanol plants have geared up with the lower-priced corn. Food and industrial use is projected at 1.45 billion bushels, the highest level in five years. For soybeans, domestic crush demand is expected to edge slightly higher. Seed and residual use of soybeans also is expected to increase this marketing year. But the main sector in the demand recovery for both crops has been exports. As the chart at the right shows, the corn export market has continued to chug right along. Lower priced U.S. corn has been very attractive in many international markets and the current pace of corn exports is running nearly 200 million bushels ahead of the export pace we had for the 2011/12 crop. Compared to 2012/13, the corn export pace has basically doubled. And the demand has a

this year, exports into each of those countries are up by at least 15 percent. Mexico has been our largest market this year as corn exports have increased 165 percent. And Mexico has also been aggressive locking in some 2014/15 corn already.

Soybean exports also strong

Lower priced U.S. soybeans have also been very attractive in many international markets. As the lower chart shows, the current pace of soybean exports is running 600 million bushels ahead of the export pace we had for the 2011/12 crop. Compared to 2012/13, the soybean export pace is up 300 million bushels. As with corn, the demand has a very broad base. Last year, the top six markets for U.S. soybean exports were China, the European Union, Mexico, Japan, Indonesia and Taiwan. Out of those countries, only Japan has pulled back on soybean purchases (and only by -0.4 percent). In the other countries, soybean export growth is in the double digits. Mexico and Indonesia have been the largest growing markets this year as soybean exports have increased more than 40 percent there. But China is still the leading market. China has already purchased nearly 250 million bushels of U.S. soybeans. That’s up 35 percent from last year. So there’s been plenty of positive news on the demand side. But with the South American crops coming into focus, the crop markets will likely shift down again over the next couple of months. Once the South American harvest begins, the good news from the export markets will be in our rear view mirror. And the markets

U.S. soybean exports

very broad base. Last year, the top six markets for U.S.

corn exports were Japan, Mexico, China, Venezuela, Taiwan and South Korea. So far

MARKET PAGE 21A

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IOWA FARM BUREAU SPOKESMAN

MARKET will concentrate on 2014 planting decisions and the resulting potential for another year of strong production and building stocks

Acreage trends for 2014

Over the past couple of decades, the trend has been for less acreage to be used for crop production. However, within the past seven years, high crop prices have created a couple of acreage spikes, enticing land back into crop production. The experience in 2009 shows that acreage can disappear from crop production as prices slide. But there are a couple of reasons why that may not happen again for 2014. The first is that the recent rebound in crop acreage has persisted for two years, as opposed to the one year spike back in 2008. Since the new land has been worked a couple of times, it should be easier to maintain in crop production. The second reason has to do with the 2013 crop. Many states set yield records in 2013. Based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s January yield numbers, 18 states set corn yield records and nine states set soybean yield records. That excellent production experience in 2013, especially in the Southeast where some of the recent acreage growth came from, will likely hold additional land in corn and soybean production. Corn and soybeans have been pulling significant acreage from other crops. While the drop in corn and soybean prices should push acreage away, the prices for competing crops are not really pulling acreage toward them.

Margin outlook for 2014

Looking at projected crop margins in Iowa for the 2014 crops, the profit outlook has drastically changed for both crops in

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that would represent nearly 84 million acres of corn production and 78.4 million acres of soybean production. Then let’s say yields come in just above trend, say 166 bushels per acre for corn and 45 bushels per acre for soybeans. That combination would lead to another 13.9 billion bushel corn crop and a 3.5 billion bushel soybean crop. At their largest, crop demands topped out at 13.15 billion bushels for corn and 3.36 billion bushels for soybeans. That scenario would push corn prices well back into the $3 range and knock soybean prices below $10.

Corn and soybean margins

FROM PAGE 20A

FEBRUARY 12, 2014

Marketing is critical

comparison to the last few years. For the last four years, projected crop margins at this point in the year were in the triple digits. This year, the margin projections are below breakeven. Corn has suffered the larger drop, but soybean margins have moved negative recently as well. But while Iowa margins are negative, we will likely see an increase in our crop acreage as prevented planting land, especially in north central Iowa, returns to production. There’s been a lot of chatter about corn holding in the 91-92 million acre range, with soybean acreage moving above 80 million acres. Plantings of those sizes would definitely allow for the possibility of very large corn and soybean crops in 2014. And that will keep prices lower unless Mother Nature interferes again.

Crop insurance decisions

Given the lack of positive margins and the continuing pressure on crop prices, the

crop insurance price election for 2014 will be critical. Based on rough 2014 production cost estimates of $4.50 for corn and $11 for soybeans, the potential exists for crop insurance prices to cover production costs. As we move into 2014, the December corn futures are hovering around $4.50, while the November soybean futures top $11.25. Over the past couple of years, crop insurance usage could essentially lock in a profit. This coming year, there will be no such guarantee. Crop marketing this coming year will be more like the years 2000 to 2005 than 2006 to 2012. We’re back to our normal competitive business. And if 2014 yields are around trend, that means supplies well exceeding demands, larger ending stocks, and lower prices. Let’s walk through a scenario. If the U.S. plants 91 million acres to corn and 80 million acres to soybeans and harvests those acres at our average rate (92 percent for corn, 98 percent for soybeans),

Given this outlook, crop marketing plans take on added importance. For the past few years, marketing was fairly easy. Prices were well above production costs pretty much everywhere you looked. Now, it’s somewhat hard to find a price above production cost estimates for 2014. And while I believe there will be opportunities during 2014 for producers to lock in some profits, those opportunities will be short-lived and producers will need to be quick to catch them before they disappear. The biggest key to knowing when you have a good price in front of you is knowing your production costs. It’s hard to figure a profit if you don’t know your costs. The next item to recall is that just because you may have sold some $7 corn last year doesn’t mean you’ll get to do it again this year. Too often, we’ll let good marketing opportunities fade away, because they were as good as last year’s opportunities. Don’t let the last few years’ worth of profits cloud your judgment as evaluating this year’s marketing opportunities. Hart is crop market specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

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FebrUary 12, 2014 Iowa farm bureau spokesman

Some analysts say economics will mean more soybean acres By matthew wilde creage will be a key consideration for Iowa farmers this year. And there are different opinions on whether farmers in the state will increase soybean acres in 2014 at the expense of corn. Some analysts expect soybean acres to increase statewide this year, possibly to heights not seen in nearly a decade. Iowa State University (ISU) grain economist Chad Hart predicts soybean plantings will exceed 10 million acres, which hasn’t occurred in Iowa since 2006, up from 9.3 million last year. Economics, disappointing continuous corn yields last year and agronomic factors are the major drivers behind a projected 900,000-acre jump, he said. Nationally, a record 80 million acres of soybeans are predicted. Though many decisions will weigh on farmers’ minds when making final planting decisions, Hart said it will ultimately come down to revenue potential. After years of corn winning the battle over soybeans, Hart said the tables have turned. Taking into account cost-of-production figures and November futures prices at the beginning of January, Hart said soybeans have a $30 to $40 advantage per acre over corn in Iowa – about the exact opposite from a year ago. Economists from Purdue University, based in Indiana, said soybeans will likely generate $100 more per acre. “From an economic standpoint, beans have a better return,� Hart said. “Beans are (also) the lower cost crop. When you add those pieces together, I think we see some major shifting.� That’s good news, according to Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) officials. A more balanced crop rotation is better for the land and the state, soybean experts say. Iowa soybean acreage declined about 1.65 million acres from 2001-2012, while

“I think farmers will use this pause in the market to straighten some production issues out,� Hart said. “The reason you have a corn/ soybean rotation is it does help agronomic (wise). It puts nitrogen back in the soil and knocks down rootworm problems.�

A

Some don’t see switch

corn acres increased 20 percent. Economics drove many producers to plant more corn than soybeans, especially after the ethanol boom in 2005.

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The drop in soybean acres was so alarming, the ISA commissioned a study to explore and possibly reverse the troubling trend. CEO Kirk Leeds said a continued downward spiral could lead to an exodus of the state’s soybean crushing facilities and lower prices. “It’s less jobs and economic development in the state. I don’t think farmers want to be dependent on one crop,� he said. Based on conversations with industry officials and farmers, Hart said the southern two-thirds of Iowa will plant less corn-oncorn and return to a more traditional rotation. Areas of central and north central Iowa, though, will still favor continuous corn. Plus, corn will likely dominate last year’s prevent plant acres. ISA at-large director Lindsay Greiner of Keota said he plans to plant about 5 percent more soybeans this year, totaling 40 percent

of his acres, primarily due to profit potential and falling continuous corn yields. Last year, corn-on-corn averaged 30 bushels less than rotated corn, he said. Other ISA members reported similar results. Continuous corn usually averages about 15 bushels less than first-year corn, according to ISU data. Corn-on-corn yields even less when stressed. Last year’s growing season was marred by the wettest spring on record and a flash drought in the summer. “Just talking with my neighbors, I don’t think people will be doing anything really drastic. Some are leaning more toward beans,� Greiner said. Kyle Maas, a farmer, ISA Farm and Food ambassador and DuPont Pioneer seed salesman from Duncombe, expects a 5 to 10 percent increase in soybean acres in his area. Mass said “challenging� growing conditions for continuous acres the last two years, increased corn rootworm pressure and income potential are prompting many farmers like himself to plant more soybeans. Hart said old crop soybeans have a 3-to-1 price ratio advantage over corn. The upcoming crop is 2.5-to-1. A 2-to-1 ratio favors corn.

Not everyone foresees a major jump in Iowa soybean acres, though. Steve Johnson, an ISU Extension farm and ag business management specialist based in Polk County, expects soybean numbers to remain relatively stable. Other states like Indiana and South Dakota will contribute more to record soybean plantings nationwide than Iowa, he said. “It has everything to do with the fact Iowa farmers are pretty much geared up to grow corn. It’s nothing against soybeans,â€? Johnson said. “They’ve invested in infrastructure like equipment and grain storage. “It’s basis. Iowa farmers get paid a lot more, on average, for cash corn than (farmers) across the Corn Belt ‌ because of the number of processors (ethanol plants),â€? he added. “They’ve got a market year round. Beans are becoming more of a six month market because of South America.â€? Johnson doesn’t believe farmers pay too close attention to the price ratio that currently favors soybeans. Until cash rents retreat, he said farmers will still plant corn because it grosses more dollars per acre. Jim Cisco, Monsanto’s regional agronomy lead in Iowa, doesn’t expect a big shift to soybeans either. “It wouldn’t hurt our feelings if farmers plant more soybeans,â€? Cisco said. “Some areas in the state are dealing with heavy rootworm pressure. It would help to get a non-host crop out there to slow it down.â€? Wilde is a writer for the Iowa Soybean Association, which supplied this article.

        

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23A

Herbicide resistance puts the focus on management ing time. • Applying post treatments at weed height of 3 inches or less on amaranth and many other weeds. • Being aggressive with spraying of herbicides: gallons per acre, pounds per square inch, nozzle selection and use of adjuvants. • Scouting often. Plan on multiple preemergence and post-spray passes if you have tough-to-control weeds. • Applying residual herbicides early-post (Remember: the crop canopy will intercept/ tie up residual herbicides). Mechanical control may be necessary for some fields: cultivation, walking beans, etc. • Implementing crop rotation and being able to use weed control products with more herbicide SOAs will help. Full-width tillage may also help fight against some weeds, but McGrath added that “tillage is probably not the long-term answer for most soils in Iowa.â€?

by doug schmitz

W

ith certain weeds becoming more resistant than ever to even the most advanced herbicides as evidenced in last year’s growing season, Iowa farmers have had to become more proactive to ensure the insidious plants are killed off – not just more effectively, but quickly. “More fields showed problems [in 2013] with waterhemp resistance to glyphosate than we have ever seen before,� said Jim Fawcett, former Iowa State University (ISU) Extension field agronomist, who retired in December. “Unfortunately, surveys that Mike Owen (ISU Extension weed specialist) conducted have shown that there are populations of waterhemp not only resistant to glyphosate, but also resistant to atrazine, the HPPDinhibitors, such as Callisto and Impact, and with most fields having populations resistant to the ALS-inhibitors, such as Pursuit.� Fawcett said there are also marestail populations in Iowa that have become resistant to glyphosate, “which would be more of an issue with the burn down applications, since waterhemp usually hasn’t emerged before planting.� “I was surprised to learn in a waterhemp management trial I had at the research farm in Crawfordsville last spring that we had populations of waterhemp that could no longer be controlled by the full rate of Roundup,� he added. Clarke McGrath, ISU Extension field agronomist, said since 2013 was either too wet or too windy, residual herbicides are no longer optional for most fields. “In some cases, growers were able to keep a lid on problem weeds with timely post-emerge applications,� he said. On the other hand, he said, the office received a lot of calls from farmers asking when they could

Diverse control strategies

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“As for spring burn downs, we can only hope that this spring is more normal and we can spray under more favorable conditions,� he said.

Staying a step ahead

However, McGrath said there are ways Iowa farmers can stay a step ahead in the fight against weeds – whether they are glyphosate-resistant or non-resistant weeds. He suggested: • Using herbicides that have multiple, effective sites of action (SOA). • Applying the full-labeled rate of residual pre-emergence herbicides, close to plant-

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Other methods for weed control include equipment sanitation, harvest timing of fields with weed escapes and “zero tolerance� of weed escapes,� which are among other discussions McGrath said he and his colleagues will be having as they discuss weed management this winter, preparing for 2014. To maintain the effectiveness of these strategies, Virgil Schmitt, ISU Extension field agronomist, said it is also important to not rely solely on one strategy. “Rotating strategies prevents pests that are resistant to an individual strategy from building to a level of concern because a different strategy will be effective on those individuals,� he said. Schmitz is a freelance writer in Cedar Rapids.

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24A

FebrUary 12, 2014 Iowa farm bureau spokesman

Iowa Corn Board pushes for more focused research

S

uccessful businessman, investor, computer programmer, turned philanthropist, Bill Gates, once said. “I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts.” The Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) is driving innovation by looking at current production and stewardship practices to improve the corn crop of tomorrow. Today, ICPB research investments are targeted to commercialize new products that consume corn as well as new traits for growing corn. Prior to 2000, the Iowa Corn Promotion Board funded many small projects submitted from universities, but many of these projects did not result in the adoption of new innovations.

Iowa Corn Promotion Board patents Isosorbide Production – Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) and Mid Atlantic Technology, Research & Innovation Center (MATRIC) Methods for dehydration of sugars and sugar alcohols Method of performing sugar dehydration and catalyst treatment Two stage dehydration of sugars Method of forming a dianhydrosugar alcohol Dianhydrosugar production process Recovery and refining of dianhydrosugars Isosorbide Applications – New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Polyester ethers derived from asymmetrical monomers based upon bisanhydrohexitols Polyesters from asymmetrical monomers based upon bisanhydrohexitols Polyoxazolidones derived from bisanhydrohexitols Ultraviolet absorber for cosmetic and polymeric materials Ethers of bisanhydrohexitols Esters of anhydrosugar alcohols as plasticizers Thermoset epoxy polymers from renewable resources Hemicellulose Degradation – PNNL, Dyadic Corp. Methods and compositions of degradation of lignocellulosic material Nitrogen Use Efficiency – Athenix Corp., Iowa State University Plants with improved nitrogen utilization and stress tolerance #1 Plants with improved nitrogen utilization and stress tolerance #2 Plant genes involved in nitrate uptake and metabolism

Strategic research

To mirror the rapidly changing corn industry, it became necessary to change the way the Iowa Corn Promotion Board funded research. “We knew the research projects needed to be more focused and strategic,” said Pam Johnson, a farmer from Floyd, plus former past ICPB chair and past National Corn Growers Association president. “We face a barrage of issues that could threaten our ability to farm the best way we know how. We need research to help produce a crop for those who rely upon us and to do so efficiently and sustainably managing resources.”  The strategy for Iowa Corn Promotion Board Research is driven by the farmer leaders like Johnson who are elected to serve on the board of directors as well as those farmers who volunteer to serve on the Research and Business Development Committee specifically. The checkoff funds invested by the Iowa Corn Promotion Board are ultimately finding new ways to use corn and are allocated by farmers.  

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“Once we identify there’s a product or issue that needs to be solved, we say, ‘who’s the expert in that field and where are they doing research? We aren’t afraid to collaborate with universities, private companies or contract research labs,” said Rod Williamson, Iowa Corn research and business development director. Today, the research funded by the ICPB is targeted to develop patented technology to further license to companies for commercialization. A company must license each of the relevant patents before they can manufacture or sell a product, making the patents valuable because they offer a unique product for a company to sell and the ICPB isn’t duplicating research. Recently, research has focused on inno-

vation through bio-plastics made with corn, called isosorbide. In this area the ICPB has developed specific patents with the goal to license that technology to companies. Many private companies look for ideas that will result in a 2-3 year turnaround. In this arena, the ICPB is able to invest in the early research allowing the private companies a quicker return on investment. The ICPB focuses on new improvements in technology with a strategy to overcome the key obstacles when introducing new products to the market. This plan gives the Iowa Corn Promotion Board the ability to collaborate with private companies, research organizations and universities all around the world. To date, the ICPB has filed patents in the U.S. and in foreign countries to protect our research inventions. (see list at left.) When a project is basic research and a key strategic importance to corn growers, the ICPB makes sure the discoveries are published and shared as public information. This was the case when the corn genome was sequenced. Farmer leaders of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board believe that basic research will result in new knowledge to help researchers and companies understand the basic science of growing corn. Recent investments include an endowed chair position in corn genetics at Iowa State University. Dr. Pat Schnable holds the inaugural position. The most fundamental goal of the program is to develop higher-value industrial uses for corn that increase the demand and the value of corn as a raw material. The Iowa Corn Promotion Board will invest $2 million in 2014 on research and business development. Since the checkoff began in 1979 nearly $29 million has been invested in research projects. Article courtesy of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board.

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Iowa farm bureau spokesman

fEBRUARY 12, 2014

25A

ISU testing infrared sensors to determine soil nitrate Another advantage to this technology is the ability to quickly determine the “spatial variability” of nitrate, in which one part of the field may have more than enough nitrogen, and another part of the field may be deficient. “The late spring nitrate test can do that, but it takes an army of people with soil probes to gather samples, which then have to be analyzed in the lab,” said Laird. “If you could short circuit all of that using a spectroscopic technique that allows us in real time to assess the current status of the soil’s nitrate level it would greatly benefit precision nitrogen management.”

by ed adcock

A

team of Iowa State University (ISU) scientists have measured nitrate in soil with a unique infrared sensor system opening the possibility of determining the level of this vital nutrient in real time as fertilizer is being applied to fields. “We were actually surprised that we could get in the parts per million range with the soil moving past the analyzer,” said John McClelland, a research scientist with the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology and Ames Laboratory-U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE). The team used a technology, invented at Ames Laboratory, called transient infrared spectroscopy (TIRS) to measure nitrate in soil and then compared those values to ones obtained using traditional soil testing. TIRS works by measuring light emissions in the infrared spectrum after hot air is applied to the surface of the moving soil. The research was published in the journal Applied Spectroscopy.

Early research

The research team stressed that this was a preliminary study in the lab and many steps are necessary before a possible commercial tester could be available. “There are a lot of steps up that ladder before we’d have any hope of commercialization. The breakthrough here is that no one has been able to come up with a plausible tool for effectively measuring nitrate in the field,” said David Laird, a professor of agronomy. He and McClelland did the work with Roger Jones, a research scientist with the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology and

Testing different soil types

The TIRS soil analysis in the laboratory starts with the spinning dish (foreground) with a soil sample spread out along its rim. A nozzle (in the middle of the photo) directs a stream of hot air onto the soil as it spins past making the soil glow in the infrared. The small box above where the hot air stream strikes the soil contains a mirror that directs this infrared light into the spectrometer for analysis. The spectrum of the infrared glow is displayed on the computer monitor at the far right. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Ames Laboratory-USDOE and Sam Rathke, an agronomy research associate.

Nitrate measured

Laird emphasized that nitrate was measured as opposed to total nitrogen. He said nitrate measurement is especially important because it is the dominant available form of nitrogen for growing crops, but is very mobile in the soil. “Agricultural soils in Iowa are leaky; that’s why we have so much nitrate going down the Mississippi and contributing to the zone of hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico,”

he said. “One of the best ways to improve nitrogen use efficiency in agricultural production is to spoon-feed nitrogen to the crop while it is growing. To do this, you need to be able to diagnose what the situation is at the critical time; does the crop need more nitrogen or not.” Some technologies propose determining nitrogen needs by analyzing the color of the growing crop’s canopy. Laird said that approach is complicated by alternative reasons the canopy could start to yellow or not have the right colors, such as disease or environmental conditions.

McClelland said the next step for the research is to test several soil types to see if they are able to obtain the same quality of data, and would help simulate field conditions because soil types vary continuously. The initial tests in the lab were on one type of soil that was placed on a disc that rotated under the analyzer’s probe. “If we get good results on additional soil samples that would be impetus to go on and get funding to go on beyond that,” he said. If the research progresses to field tests, McClelland said it should be feasible to design a cost effective tool that just looks at the necessary wavelengths instead of the more expensive test machine they used. He has been in touch with French researchers who are working on commercializing a smaller, more compact detector. Laird said a field model also would need an attachment that would remove any plant material from in front of the probe and open the soil so that the probe could be viewing a fresh patch of soil an inch or two beneath the soil’s surface. Adcock is a writer for the ISU Agriculture and Life Sciences Communication Service.

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28A

FebrUary 12, 2014 Iowa farm bureau spokesman

Monsanto provides agronomy tips for top yields

I

t’s crucial that Iowa farmers tap all available resources and follow important best management practices in order to maximize the yield potential of their crops. According to Jim McDermott, Iowa technical agronomist for Asgrow and DEKALB, many area corn and soybean farmers can improve their yield potential by practicing just a few key techniques.

For corn-on-corn farmers who have had rootworm challenges for more than three seasons, McDermott recommends returning to a soybean rotation to break the pest’s life cycle. For heavy pressure, plant a product that has dual modes of above and below ground insect protection and proven performance in Iowa, such as DEKALB® brand Genuity® SmartStax® RIB Complete® corn blend. For areas experiencing moderate corn rootworm pressure, plant a product with a single mode of action, such as DEKALB® brand Genuity® VT Triple PRO® RIB Complete® corn blend and treat fields with insecticide. Scout fields regularly, particularly for adult corn rootworm beetles feeding on silks midseason – this provides the opportunity to apply foliar insecticide and assess rootworm infestation potential for the following season. Visit the online corn yield optimization guide, Acres of Gold, at DEKALB.com/acresofgold – learn about the potential impacts of each yield factor throughout the development of a corn crop and identify opportunities to optimize your production system.

Soybean management solutions

McDermott explains that weed management should be the first priority for Iowa soybean farmers. Effectively controlling weeds, such as common waterhemp, is one of the best ways to maximize soybean yield potential. According to McDermott, 2-3 percent of yield is potentially lost for every one inch of weed growth that exceeds four inches in height. To combat this particularly troublesome weed, McDermott recommends following these tips: • Begin by selecting the correct product for your acres (germplasm and trait). • Plan on multiple modes of action from several herbicide families. • Plant early, not just after the corn has been planted. This can help reduce weed growth by creating an earlier canopy of shade that makes for a less conducive environment for late emerging weeds, like common waterhemp. Use row spacing of 20 inches or less for soybeans. Research suggests that yield advantages of 5 percent are often seen with a narrower row compared to 30-inch rows, plus the advantage of earlier canopy. Administer a timely program of preemergence herbicide followed by post-emergence treatment that contains a residual. Waterhemp has a long emergence window, and in-season residual control is needed. The concept of overlapping residuals can be key to waterhemp control. With a rapidly

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fEBRUARY 12, 2014

29A

Ample corn and soybeans seed supplies expected in 2014 the herbicide-resistant waterhemp, giant ragweed and lambsquarters that have shown up in many parts of Iowa. LibertyLink also offers an alternate method of weed control that can extend the useful life of glyphosate and Roundup Ready technology, Sweeney said. Beyond soybeans, Sweeney and Latham continue to see a lot of interest in SmartStax corn, especially as rootworm pressure poses a bigger challenge, and dual modes of action attract more attention. Sogn noted that growers in his area want to know more about the Duracade trait in NK brand hybrids to control rootworms. “More farmers are also willing to go with higher levels of seed treatments, as they see more root damage and standability issues,� he added. The challenges of herbicide resistance are also influencing growers’ 2014 seed choices. As resistance has intensified in the last two years, Sogn said farmers in his area are looking into multiple modes of action and fully-traited corn with the maximum amount of stacked traits.

by darcy maulsby

N

ot only are corn and soybean seed supplies available for this spring much better than last year at this time, but seed dealers agree that the seed quality is impressive, too. “Last summer, I thought our beans would probably be the size of BB’s, as dry as it was, but it turned out that our soybeans are bigger than average,� said John Latham, president of Latham Hi-Tech Seeds. “The quality of the beans is also really good.� Paul Sogn, an agronomy sales specialist with Farmers Cooperative Company (FCC) in Hinton, has seen similar trends. “Seed quality is also good, and supplies are better than last year,� added Sogn, who sells NK, DEKALB/Asgrow and CROPLAN seed through FCC. While some of the most popular numbers are sold out, there are still adequate supplies of many hybrids and varieties, Latham said. Greg Sweeney, seed team leader at MaxYield Cooperative in Meservey, added that substitutions should be minimal. “Firstchoice hybrids and varieties are available, although some are very tight.�

What’s ahead

Switching to beans

Some growers are thinking about planting more soybeans in 2014 and are assessing their options, noted Tom McClue, a Pioneer dealer with Southern Calhoun Ag Services Inc., near Lohrville. “Beans are becoming more of a player this year, due to economics,� said McClue, who noted that 2014 seed supplies and seed quality are good. “Also, some growers are planting more beans to break the corn-on-corn cycle.� DuPont Pioneer has introduced its new T Series soybean varieties, which combine improved yield potential with the agronomic

Tom McClue, left, and Doug Baumhover with Southern Calhoun Ag Services noted that some of their customers in west-central Iowa are thinking about planting more soybeans in 2014. SUBMITTED PHOTO

and defensive traits needed to protect this potential. While T Series supplies are limited this year, McClue said, the T Series lineup includes a diverse range of defensive traits growers can tailor to the localized challenges in their individual fields. “The goal

is to continue helping growers obtain consistently higher yields in their fields,� added Andre Trepanier, a DuPont Pioneer soybean marketing manager. In MaxYield’s trade territory, Sweeney is seeing an increased interest in LibertyLink soybeans. LibertyLink can help manage

Looking beyond the 2014 growing season, soybeans offer one of the most exciting avenues for new seed technology, Sweeney said. Seed companies are investing in many new products, including dicamba-resistant soybeans. In addition, the seed genetics of the near future will off resistance to 2,4-D. Companies are waiting on approval from the federal agencies before these seed traits become available to growers. “Hopefully we’ll start to see some of these things coming to market for 2015 crop year,� Sweeney said. Maulsby is a freelance writer in Lake City.

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IOWA FARM BUREAU SPOKESMAN

FEBRUARY 12, 2014

31A

Average cost of production from Iowa State University Extension Corn Corn following following Corn Corn

Corn following Soybeans 160 180 bu. per acre bu. per acre Fixed Variable Fixed Variable Preharvest Machinery $21.00 Seed, Chemical, etc. Units Seed @ $3.78/1000 k. 25,000 Nitrogen @ $0.44/ per lb. 131 Phosphate @ $0.43 per lb. 60 Potash @ $0.41 per lb. 48 Lime (yearly cost) Herbicide Crop insurance Miscellaneous Interest on preharvest variable costs (8 mos. @ 5.0%)

$19.80 $94.60 57.64 25.80 19.68 10.00 26.00 18.00 9.00 9.35

$21.00 $19.80 Units 30,000 $113.50 131 57.64 68 29.24 54 22.14 10.00 26.00 20.00 10.00 10.28

$________ $________ $________ $________ $________ $________ $________ $________ $________ $________

$270.07

$298.80

$________

Total Harvest Machinery Combine Grain Cart Haul Dry (LP Gas @ $1.75/gal.) Handle (auger)

$20.80 6.50 7.20 8.00 2.88

$11.30 3.40 6.40 33.60 3.68

$20.80 $11.30 6.50 3.40 8.10 7.20 9.00 37.80 3.24 4.14

$________ $________ $ _______ $________ $________

Total

$45.38

$58.38

$47.64 $63.84

$________

Labor 2.6 hours @ $13.00

$33.80

$33.80

$________

Land Cash rent equivalent Total fixed, variable Per acre Per bushel Total cost per acre Total cost per bushel

$244.00

$287.00

$________

$344.18 $348.25 $389.44 $382.44 $2.15 $2.18 $2.16 $2.12 $692.43 $4.33

$771.88 $4.29

145 165 bu. per acre bu. per acre Fixed Variable Fixed

Your Estimate

Yield: bu./acre $________ $________

Variable Preharvest Machinery $25.00 Seed, Chemical, etc. Units Seed @ $3.78 per 1000 k. 25,000 Nitrogen @ $0.44 per lb. 186 Phosphate @ $0.43 per lb. 54 Potash @ $0.41 per lb. 44 Lime (yearly cost) Herbicide Insecticide Crop insurance Miscellaneous Interest on preharvest variable costs (8 mos. @ 5.0%)

$94.60 84.81 23.22 18.04 10.00 26.00 20.00 18.00 9.00 10.84

$25.00 $24.60 Units 30,000 $113.50 186 81.84 62 26.66 50 20.50 10.00 26.00 20.00 20.00 10.00 11.77

$________ $________ $________ $________ $________ $________ $________ $________ $________ $________

$311.54

$340.27

$________

Harvest Machinery Combine Grain Cart Haul Dry (LP Gas @ $1.75/gal.) Handle (auger)

$20.80 $ 11.30 6.50 3.40 6.53 5.80 7.25 30.45 2.61 3.34

$20.80 $ 11.30 6.50 3.40 7.43 6.60 8.25 34.65 2.97 3.80

$________ $________ $________ $________ $________

Total

$43.69

$45.95 $59.75

$________

Labor 2.85 hours @ $13.00

$37.05

$37.05

$________

Land Cash rent equivalent

$244.00

$287.00

$________

Total fixed, variable Per acre Per bushel

$349.74 $390.43 $395.00 $424.62 $2.41 $2.69 $2.39 $2.57

Total

Total cost per acre

$24.60

$54.29

$740.16

The estimated costs of corn and soybeans in this report are based on data from several sources. They include the annual Iowa Farm Business Association record summaries, production and cost data from the Departments of Economics, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, and Agronomy at Iowa State University and a survey of selected agricultural cooperatives and other input suppliers around the state. These costs estimates are representative of average costs for farms in Iowa. Due to differences in soil potential, quantity of inputs used and other factors, production costs will vary from farm to farm.

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Yield: bu./acre

$819.61

$________

See soybean cost of production page 32A

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32A

FEBRUARY 12,2014 IOWA FARM BUREAU SPOKESMAN

Seed bed preparation is important for establishing forages BY DAVE GENTRY

O

n a daily basis farmers have to deal with things that they have little or no control over. One thing growers can control and have a tremendous impact on the success of their crop is planting and seed bed preparation. This is particularly true when planting alfalfa and other forage crops.

One thing we can control is the soil fertility in the field. The best time to deal with soil fertility concerns for a perennial crop like hay or pasture is before planting. Soil pH is important in any crop, but it is critical when planting an alfalfa crop. Applying the required lime and working it into the soil profile is more effective than trying to take corrective measures after the crop is established. Building soil tests to

Herbicide Tolerant Soybeans following Corn 45 50 bu. per acre bu. per acre Fixed Variable Fixed Variable Preharvest Machinery $22.10$21.10 $22.10 $21.10 Seed, Chemical, etc. Units Units Seed @ $51.00 per 140 k. 140 $51.00 140 $51.00 Phosphate @ $0.43 per lb. 36 15.48 40 17.20 Potash @ $0.41 per lb. 68 27.88 75 30.75 Lime (yearly cost) 10.00 10.00 Herbicide 17.50 17.50 Crop insurance 12.00 13.50 Miscellaneous 9.00 10.00 Interest on preharvest 5.47 5.70 variable costs (8 mos. @ 5.0%) Total

$148.33

Harvest Machinery Combine Grain Cart Haul Handle (auger)

$16.60 6.50 2.03 .81

$8.70 3.40 1.80 1.04

Total

$25.94

$14.94

Your Estimate $________

$________

$8.70 3.40 2.00 1.15

$________ $________ $________ $________

$26.25 $15.25

$________

Labor 2.25 hours @ $13.00 Land Cash rent equivalent

$29.25

$29.25

$244.00

$287.00

Total fixed, variable Per acre Per bushel

$321.29 $184.36 $364.60 $192.00 $7.14 $4.10 $7.29 $3.84

Yield: bu./acre

Total cost per acre Total cost per bushel

$505.64 $11.24

$________

$556.00 $11.13

nificantly reduce emergence. A consistent shallow planting depth encourages uniform emergence. After planting, one or two more passes with a roller or cultipacker will improve seed to soil contact and promote germination. A little extra time and effort in seed bed preparation pays big dividends and it is a critical part of stand establishment. Planter preparation is another part of farming that can be controlled. Cleaning the drill or Brillion seeder allows seed to flow freely. Checking that all parts are in good working order help assure that the seed gets placed at the correct depth and seeding rate. Gentry is GROWMARK’s agronomy technical manager. His email address is dgentry@growmark.com.

$________ $________ $________ $________ $________ $________ $________ $________

$155.65 $16.60 6.50 2.25 .90

recommended levels prior to planting is in the farmer’s control and will improve yield and stand life. When planting alfalfa and other forages, seedbed preparation is critical to good emergence. A firm, clod-free seedbed is the objective. Cultivating the field to break up clods and reduce surface trash will improve seed to soil contact. After cultivation, the soil needs to be rolled to provide a firm seedbed. A good method to judge firmness is to walk on the field. If the footprint is more than a half inch deep, roll the field again. A firm seedbed helps maintain a shallow planting depth. Planting small seeds like alfalfa deeper than three quarters of an inch deep will sig-

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Iowa farm bureau spokesman

fEBRUARY 12, 2014

33A

Saturated buffers show promise in removing nutrients By laura Miller

F

airly simple modifications to an existing riparian buffer could be one of the best bets yet for Iowa farmers who want to improve water quality in streams near crop land. The modifications create what is called a “saturated buffer,” a conservation practice that removes nutrients both from surface water coming from nearby crop fields, as well as groundwater flowing through underground tile lines in those same crop fields. “It’s just a matter of re-plumbing an existing riparian buffer to help you get the most bang for your buck from that buffer,” said Dan Jaynes, a soil scientist at the USDA’s National Laboratory for

Agriculture and the Environment in Ames. Jaynes is leading a research project that began in 2010, when two existing buffers along Bear Creek in central Iowa were retooled into a saturated buffer. A saturated buffer is created when field tile lines are directed into an existing riparian buffer before they empty into the stream. This is accomplished by connecting the field tile lines to an interceptor line, which runs parallel to the stream at the field edge of the buffer. “From the water we were able to infiltrate into the buffer, there was 100 percent efficiency of nitrogen removal,” he said. “The other surprise was that the buffer could take a substantial amount of tile flow – about 50 percent of tile flow in 2011 and 2012. We didn’t think the permeability of the soil would

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Agricultural specialist Carl Pederson adjusts settings on a new line that redirects tile water into a nearby riparian buffer along Bear Creek on the Hansen farm in Story County. SUBMITTED PHOTO

allow that much.” Jaynes explained how a saturated buffer treats only a portion of the water flowing through tile lines. “Water has to infiltrate into the soil, so it’s limited by the infiltration capacity of the soil,” he said. “We’re draining 15- to 20-acre fields and can’t expect a 1,000-foot-long buffer to absorb all that water.”

Handling tile flow

Even during wetter years, such as was experienced in 2013, the saturated buffer was able to handle about one-third of the tile water flow. The rest of the tile water flowed directly into the stream. These findings are from two central Iowa sites. The original riparian buffer was constructed in the 1990s as part of the Bear Creek Buffer Demonstration project funded by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. The re-tooling of one of those buffers in 2010 – and data collection for the saturated buffer research – also was funded by Leopold Center grants. Jaynes is now working on a multi-state project that will collect data during the 2014 growing season from 15 demonstration sites in Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana. He said the Iowa Nutrient Research Center is funding installation of six additional sites in

targeted Iowa watersheds in 2014.

Efficient removal tool

“We hope these additional sites will give us a better idea of the overall performance of saturated buffers in different areas and landscapes,” he said. “We are estimating cost over 20 years to be about $250 per year. Based on what we found at these sites, that cost is about $1 per pound of nitrogen removed, which is pretty efficient compared to most other practices.” The team recently received a $489,191 grant from the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative to continue their work. They hope to learn what happens in the denitrification process and how to improve the design and location for saturated buffers. In Iowa, saturated buffers are included in an interim conservation practice, Code 739 for Vegetated Subsurface Drain Outlets. Jaynes said saturated buffers have captured the attention of other researchers as well as farmers. “I get questions all the time,” he said. “But the research is so new and we’re only just starting to learn about how they work and where they will work best.” Miller is a communications specialist at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

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34A february 12, 2014 Iowa farm bureau spokesman

Prospective plantings report will provide key insights

W

ith crop prices expected to hover at or near breakeven levels, farmers are facing some tough decisions for the upcoming growing season. This year it will be more important than ever for producers to have unbiased informa­ tion to make good production and marketing decisions. They need information that will allow them or their market advisor to get a sense of what is driving prices. Are markets being influenced by uncer­ tainty and speculation or by true supply and demand fundamentals? That’s where USDA’s National Agri­ cultural Statistics Service (NASS) can help. NASS’s mission is to provide unbiased, reliable and useful information to farmers and others involved in agriculture. As usual,

NASS’s first installment of the survey based information for the new crop year comes in the Prospective Plantings report, which will be published on March 31. According to Greg Thessen, Director of the NASS, Upper Midwest Regional Office, “Prior to this report, most information about the upcoming crop from the USDA and other sources has been based on economic models and forecasting rather than a survey of the farmers who will actually plant the crop. For this report, NASS will contact over 82,000 farmers nationwide, including 3,000 in Iowa, between late February and the middle of March by mail, phone and per­ sonal interview.” From the time this information is col­ lected, it will be nearly six weeks before

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A look ahead for farmers

This report can be extremely useful, especially for producers who have not begun planting yet, like farmers in Iowa. By tak­ ing a few minutes to respond to the survey, selected farmers provide the collective infor­ mation that NASS aggregates to state and national acreage intentions. This not only provides a look at what other Iowa farmers intend to plant but what farmers across the country are thinking given current costs and prices. With this informa­

tion, farmers can adjust their planting deci­ sions and develop a marketing plan for the year even though some acreage may already be locked in to a certain crop. The information will also be critically important for livestock producers who will need to make decisions about hedging their feed supplies for the year. In uncertain times, it is important to have as much information as possible to make good decisions, so farmers should be watch­ ing for the Prospective Plantings report on March 31 and feel confident that it is the most reliable source of planting intentions because it is based on information gathered from farmers themselves. The Prospective Plantings as well as many other reports are available on the NASS website at www.nass.usda.gov.

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Route 84 South Fulton IL 61252 815-589-4960 800-445-3149 4WD Tractors 9510R PST, 800R38, ATR, AS, 124 H, ’13........ April 9460R PST, 800R38, ATR, AS, 685 H, ‘12 $269,900 9460R PST, 800R38, ATR, AS, 822 H, ‘12 ..$263,900 9410R PST, 710R42, ATR, AS, 812 H, ’12 ..$254,900 9630 PST, 800R38, ATR, AS, 708 H, ‘11.....$264,900 9430 PST, 710R42, ATR, ActSt, 1057 H, ‘10..$239,900 9430 PST, 710R42, ATR, ActSt, 2136 H, ‘09..$209,900 9330 PST, 620R46, ATR, ActSt, 2126 H, ‘09..$191,900 9230 PST, 520R46, PTO, ActSt, 725 H, ‘10 $212,900 9220 PST, 620R42, PTO, DL, 2595 H, 04 $159,900 Row Crop Tractors 8360R ILS, IVT, FD, 710’s, ActSt, 461 H, ‘12..$285,900 8320R ILS, PST, FD, ActSt, 1338 H, ‘12 ...$254,900 8310R ILS, PST, FD, ActSt, 1295 H, ‘11 ...$222,900 8285R MF, PST, FD, ActSt, HID, 101 H, ‘13 .......Rntl 8235R MF, PST, ActSt, 540/1000, ’13.................Rntl 8530 ILS, PST, FS, ATR, ActSt, 2027 H, ‘09...$209,900 8330 MF, PST, ActSt, ATR, 2900 H, ’09 ............ April 8230 MF, PST, 46”, ATR, 4305 H, ‘06 .......$131,900 8130 MF, PST, 46”, ATR, 3900 H, ’07 ............... April 8130 MF, PST, 46”, ATR, 5146 H, ‘07 .......$126,900 8420 ILS, PST, FD, ATR, ActSt, 3537 H, ‘04 $149,900 8420 ILS, PST, FD, ATR, ActSt, 2446, ’04.$154,900 8320 MF, ActSt, BigHyd, 4372 H, ’02 ............Just In 8320 MF, ActSt, BigHyd, 5409 H, ‘02 .......$119,500 8120 MF, ActSt, DlPTO, 2163 H, ’05.........$139,900 8120 MF, BigHyd, DlPTO, 2241H,’03 .......$133,900 8400MF, 46”, Dls, 4H, DC, 4600 H, ’98..............Feb 8400 MF, 46”, Dls, 3H, DC, 7997 H, ’97..... $79,900 7215R MF, AQT20, Dls, HID, 370 H, ’12 ..$162,900 4760 2wd, 18.4R42, Dls, Nice, 8082 H, ’94 $43,500 4555 2wd, QRT, Dls, 5667 H, ’91 ................ $39,900 4650 MF, PST, 42”, Dls, FF, 7570 H, ’84..... $41,900 4640 QRT, 18.4R42, Dls, 2 H, 9765 H, ’81 . $21,900 4630 PST, 20.8x38, Dls, 3H, ’78 ................. $16,900 4430 QRT, 2H, UnderHaul, 8700 H, ’76 ...... $15,900 4430 QRT, 2H, 725 Ldr, 5249 H, ’75 ........... $17,900 Loader / Utility Tractors 7830 MF, PQ16, ATR, ActSt, 4H,825 H, ’11w/ FF, 3 PTO, 741SL, EPTW, More..................$159,900 7520-MF, Cab, MF, 3H, FF, 3596 H, ’04 w/ RH Door, 741SL, 3Fn, More ...................... $89,900 6190R-MF, Cab, IVT, 4H, Loaded, 300 H, ‘13 w/ RH Door, H380, E-ICV 3F, Warr .........................Jun 6170R AQ24, 46”, 3PTO, LdrPrp, 19 H, ’12 ..$131,900 6140R, MF, Cab, AQ20+, 540/1000, 50 H, ‘13 w/ H340NSL, Warr, More................................. Mar 6125R MF, Cab, AQ24+, 2H, 540/1000, 387 H, ’11 w/ H340SL, E-ICV, 3Fn, Warr, More.......Just In

Iowa farmers even begin to plant. That’s why the Prospective Plantings report is a current look at what farmers intend to plant for the year rather than an estimate of final acreage that NASS provides in later reports.

6430 MF, Cab, Prem, LHR, AQT24, 850 H, ‘09, w/ 673SL, ElecICV, HG, InstSt, More ....... $85,500 6430 MF, Cab, PQ24, LHR, 2030 H, ’08..... $59,900 w/ New JD H340 Ldr.................................... $69,900 6100D 2wd, OS, Rvsr, RG & Canopy, 100HP, 16.9R38, AM/FM, Fndrs, 745 H, ’10... $31,500 5115M MF, OS, 16/16PRT, 3H, 272 H, ’13 w/ 540/1000, H310, 3Fn, Warr................. $59,900 5105M MF, Cab, 16/16PRT, 2H, 55 H, ’12 w/ Air Seat, H310, More, Warr........................ $64,750 5525 MF, Cab, 12/12PRT, 3H, 1100 H, ‘06 w/ 540/1000, 542SL, 3Fn, More ......................Feb 2755 2wd, OS, Hi-Lo, 146 Ldr, 5464 H, ’89$16,900 2555 MF, OS, 245 Ldr, 9035 H, ’87............. $16,900 4720 Cab, MF, Hydro, 400CX, 80 H, ’11 .... $41,500 Planters 1770NT-24RN, CCS, Clutches, more, ’11 1770NT-24RN, CCS, Clutches, more, ‘10 1770NT-24RN, CCS, Clutches, more, ’09 1770-24RN, Vac, NT, HD Springs, more, ’01 1770NT-16RN, CCS, Clutches, Ins, more, ’13 1770NT-16RN, CCS, Clutches, more, ’12 1770NT-16RN, Clutches, PS, more, ’12 1770NT-16RN, Clutches, PS, more, ’12 1770NT-16RN, CCS, Clutches, PS, ’11 1770NT-16RN, PnDP, NT, TW, Ins, ’03 1770-16RN, NT, TW, Ins, Hyd, SS, ’98 1770NT-12RN, CCS, PS, TW, PnDp, more, ’08 1760-12RN, Flex, Vac, Ins, 250 Mon, ’98 1760-12RN, Rigid, Vac, Clutches, more, ’97 Combines S680 RWD, CM, 375-300 H, ’13 ........................Call S680 RWD, CM, 450-350 H, ’12 ........................Call S670 RWD, CM, 274-225 H, ’13 ........................Call S670 RWD, CM, 247-200 H, ’13 ........................Call S670 2WD, CM, 321-250 H, ’12.........................Call S670 2WD, CM, 488-308 H, ’12.........................Call S660 2WD, CM, 100-75 H, ’13...........................Call S660 RWD, CM, 455-360 H, ’13 ........................Call S660 RWD, CM, 335-260 H, ’13 ........................Call S660 RWD, CM, 506-387 H, ’12 ........................Call 9770STS CM, 740-500 H, ’11 ............................Call 9770STS CM, ProDrv, 809-607 H, ’10...............Call 9770STS CM, ProDrv, 1100-805 H, ’10.............Call 9770STS CM, ProDrv, 821-586 H, ’10...............Call 9760STS CM, 1500-958 H, ’07 ..........................Call 9760STS CM, 1571-1178 H, ’06 ........................Call 9760STS CM, GS, 2450-1640 H, ’04.................Call 9670STS CM, GS, 600-487 H, ’11 .....................Call 9670STS CM, GS, 997-681 H, ’09 .....................Call

9660STS CM, 1697-1214 H, ’05 ........................Call 9660STS CM, 1923-1450 H, ’05 ........................Call 9650STS RWD, CM, 2400-1750 H, ‘02. ............Call 9650STS CM, GS, 38”, 3206-2345 H, ’01 .........Call 9610 LL, 18.4x38, 2894-2000 H, ’98 .................Call 9570STS CM, 30.5R32, GS, 932-731 H, ’10.....Call 9570STS RWD, CM, 30.5, 1461-1130 H, ’09....Call 9550 LL, 30.5x32, GS, 2298-1611, ’02 ..............Call 9550 LL, 30.5x32, 2797-1836 H, ’00 .................Call Headers 612C CM, SP, ‘12.................................................Call 612C CM, StalkMaster, SP, ‘11............................Call 612C CM, SP, RowSense, ‘10 .............................Call 608C CM, SP - 10+ to choose from ...................Call 1293 CM - 6+ to choose from.............................Call 893 CM - 12+ to choose from.............................Call 635F CM - 2 to choose from...............................Call 630F CM - 6+ to choose from.............................Call Balers / MoCo’s / Rotary Cutters 568 MegaWide+, Wrap, 1472 B, ‘12........... $37,900 568 MegaWide+, Wrap, 5260 B, ‘10........... $29,900 567 MegaWide, Wrap, 7879 B, ‘03 ............. $19,500 945 MoCo, 13’, Urethane, Hyd Tilt, ‘99...............Call Woods 3180 Chains, New Blades/PTOshaft. $5,590 Bush Hog 2615L, 540pto, 6 Whls, As Is ...... $2,500 Land Pride 45180, 1000PTO, good .............. $5,950 Tillage Great Plains 8333 DIscOVator, 33’, ‘12 ....... $42,500 726 Mulch FIn, Hyd, Spike, TS, 27’9”, ‘04.. $31,900 724 Mulch Fin, Spike Harrow, 19’9” ........... $11,900 512 Ripper 7S, A/R, McFarlane Spike Harrow, ‘10 .. ............................................................... $27,900 512 Ripper 7 Shnk, A/R, low acres, ‘01....... $16,900 2700 Ripper, 7 Shnk, A/R, Leveler, ‘07 ........ $34,900 2700 Ripper, 7 Shnk, A/R, Leveler, ‘04 ........ $28,900 2210 F/C 43’6”, 6” Space, CT Harrow/RollBkt, ’09 .. ..................................................................Just In 2100 Ripper, 7S, Cltrs, GgWhls, ‘04 ........... $10,500 845 RC Cult, 12RN, Fold, Gg Whls, ‘82........ $3,950 Grain Carts & Wagons Kinze 840, Tarp, Scale, 30.5x32, ‘96 .......... $24,900 Kinze 640, 24.5x32, No Tarp, Sharp, ’00 Just Traded Kill Bros 110, 1100 Bu, Tarp, DirSpout, ‘09 $42,900 Kill Bros 1800, 975 Bu, Tarp, 30.5x32, ‘02 ..Coming Kill Bros 1800, 975 Bu, Tarp, Scale, ‘01.......Coming Kill Bros 1400, 780 Bu, Tarp, 30.5x32, ‘01 . $16,900 Kill Bros 1400, 780 Bu, Tarp, 30.5x32, ‘01 . $16,900 Kill Bros 1200, 600 Bu, Tarp, 24.5x32, ‘xx. $10,500

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36A

FebrUary 12, 2014 Iowa farm bureau spokesman

NRCS: manure too valuable to risk winter runoff By jason Johnson

his local NRCS office to prepare a manure disposal plan.

he Natural Resources Con­ servation Service (NRCS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture is reminding Iowa farmers to refrain from surface applying manure and fertilizer to frozen, snow-covered or saturated soils. Eric Hurley, nutrient management specialist for NRCS in Des Moines, says manure applied to snow-covered or frozen soil can easily wash away during a rapid snowmelt or during early spring rains. “Manure is too valuable of a resource and fertilizer is too expensive to risk runoff,” he said. “Not to mention the environmental impacts it would cause.”  Hurley says potash is not considered a water pollutant, but since it is such an expensive fertilizer to apply, winter application may be a risky investment that could be lost through runoff.

Benefits of manure

T

Updated NRCS standards

Iowa NRCS released its updated Nutrient Management Standard in 2013, which included new language for manure application during cold weather months. Hurley says the new standard more clearly states that manure and fertilizer storage

Livestock bedding and manure are applied to a crop field covered in snow. Solid manure is best applied in the fall to allow time for soil incorporation. Liquid manure is best injected into the soil or applied as close to spring planting as possible to reduce the risk of runoff. SUBMITTED PHOTO

and management systems, should avoid surface applying nutrients when the risk of runoff is high — when soils are frozen and/ or snow-covered, or when the top two inches of the soil are saturated.  “The new standard also added fertilizer to this section of the standard, which only included manure nutrients before,” said Hurley. Municipal and industrial biosolids are also subject to the same winter management considerations as manure.  For liquid swine manure or wastewater — in which most of the nitrogen is readily available — farmers should apply the manure as close to when crops need it as possible. “This generally means a spring application during a corn year in the

rotation,” says Hurley. For manures that release nitrogen more slowly — such as solid beef and dairy manures, manure mixed with bedding or feedlot scrapings — fall application can be more desirable since it takes time for the nutrients to be released. “In the case of surface application, there is also less risk of phosphorus runoff,” said Hurley. Manure may be surface applied to snowcovered or frozen ground on an emergency basis if storage capacity becomes insufficient due to a natural disaster, unusual weather conditions, equipment or structural failure or other situation that creates a risk of an uncontrolled manure release. Hurley says if a farmer has or anticipates an emergency situation, he should contact

Manure provides many benefits to the soil as it is incorporated, especially as a valuable source of plant nutrients. It also helps build soil structure and resistance to compaction. When manure becomes part of the soil, it reduces runoff and erosion by helping to increase the soil’s water infiltration and water holding capacity. Livestock operations subject to Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) rules have different application specifications. Contact your local Iowa DNR field office for details. Johnson is a Public Affairs Specialist at USDA-NRCS

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Spring Planting 2014