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FRIDay, MaRCh 22, 2013

www.farm-news.com

FaRM NeWS / FoRt DoDge, IoWa

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What will the weather do? Wet or dry, cool or hot, forget trendline yields for 2013 By LARRY KERSHNER kersh@farm-news.com By KArEn SCHwALLEr kschwaller@evertek.net

Much of north central Iowa was blanketed on March 3 and 4 under 10 inches of snow. Is the drought of the past 20 months broken? No, said Harry Hillaker, state climatologist. Even though the amount of moisture the storm brought to the region equaled 1.6 inches of water, he said, 70 percent of it in snow, it constituted the biggest single storm system over the region since April 15, 2012. But the frozen topsoil will keep the snow from soaking into the ground and will keep the deep subsoil bone dry as each week draws closer to planting time. “Even with the snowstorm,” Hillaker said, “this winter is drier than last year. “The biggest benefit is that the snow will protect the soil from wind erosion.” Area rivers and streams are recharging, he said, a testament to the frozen topsoil preventing soil from absorbing the water. “Overall,” Hillaker said, “snow is generally not Iowa’s savior in times of drought. It amounts to only 10 percent of the annual precipitation total.”

“The crops are going to need every molecule of moisture they can get.” —Bryce Anderson Senior meteorologist, DTN

-Farm News file photo

Dr. S. ELwynn TAyLor, Iowa State University’s climatologist, told an audience in late-February in Dakota City, that he expects weather to help producers realize a larger corn and soybean harvest in 2013, but will still fall short of the 30year trendline. Below-trend yields Despite heading into spring planting with a dry subsoil profile, and despite there being little chance of an El Nino weather pattern bringing cooler and wetter days, this fall’s harvest should be better than 2013. But corn and soybeans will not measure up to the 30-year trendline levels. This was the prognosis of Dr. S. Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University’s climatologist, on Feb. 12

as he spoke to grain producers in Dakota City. Forty farmers from nine counties were in attendance when Taylor said that from 1993 to 1999 yields exceeded trendline each year, the first that happened since 1865. ”Breeders thought they accomplished more than they thought,” Taylor said. “But breeding didn’t do it because from 2010 to 2012 there’s been three straight below-trend years.”

He expects 2013 to also be below the national trend, currently set at just under 160 bushels per acre, but higher than 2012’s average of 123.4 bpa.” Historically,” he said, “it takes two years to get back to trend after a disaster year. He noted that much of the Western corn belt is still in extreme drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, and that Northwest and

North Central Iowa remain in severe drought conditions. The subsoil profile is extremely dry. Some spring precipitation is expected to help in planting time, but timely rains will still be the key throughout the growing season. That would require an El Nino weather pattern, he said, but the near-term pattern seems to be hovering in a neutral position between El Nino and La Nina, which has brought the drought conditions over the past 20 months. It’s the second-worst La Nina on record, Taylor said. He said Eastern Iowa has a better chance for higher yields since it depends on seasonal rains, where north central Iowa depends more on spring rains and soil recharging. Looking specifically at Humboldt County, Taylor said the area usually received 5 inches of precipitation between October and February, and this winter it is well below that

level. “So you’re below-normal,” Taylor told producers, “just like last year.” Wanted: El Nino Bryce Anderson, senior ag meteorologist with Televent DTN, based in Omaha, Neb., told producers in late-February that the Midwestern corn belt is currently classified as being in “extreme drought conditions.” The drought was considered severe last growing season, but now that the subsoil moisture is also depleted, conditions are considered to be even worse. Anderson said this is the fourth-worst drought in U.S. history, being exceeded only by the droughts of the 1930s, 1950s and 1988 — which he called “the hallmark drought.” Iowa is the l1th driest state this year, Anderson said. He said a change in the jet pattern may have happened too late to help the See WEATHER, Page 3C

Recent storms ease the drought in middle of U.S. By JIM SALTER Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — Recent rain and snowstorms have eased the grip of the worst U.S. drought in decades in portions of the nation’s midsection, swelling some major inland rivers to near flood stage and drenching some farmland enough to possibly delay fast-approaching spring planting. But climatologists caution that the moisture — a blessing after a disastrous, bonedry 2012 across much of the nation’s Corn Belt — doesn’t signal the end of the stubborn drought still with a hold on more than half the continental U.S. What happens in the next couple of months, they said, could be more telling. That’s when the frozen ground will

thaw and water that had been running off into the Mississippi or Missouri rivers and their tributaries could sink in. The latest precipitation “is certainly helping, because a lot of it is falling in the heart of the worst drought areas,” National Climatic Data Center scientist Mike Brewer said Monday. “It’s helping to mitigate the impacts of the drought (by helping fill farm ponds and reservoirs), but it’s not necessarily helping the agricultural side of things right now. It’s not getting into the soil, where it needs to go.” Right now, he said, “you have that persistent blob of exceptional drought hanging out over the Plains.” But it appears to be a blob that’s shrinking, ever so slowly. Just over half of the

-AP photo

CATTLE FEED in a snow covered pasture near Lecompton, Kan. Recent rain and snowstorms have eased the grip of the worst U.S. drought in decades in portions of the nation’s midsection, but climatologists caution that the moisture — a blessing after a disastrous, bone-dry 2012 across much of the nation’s Corn Belt — doesn’t signal the end of the stubborn drought still gripping more than half the continental U.S. continental U.S. remains in lowest level since last June points from the drought’s some form of drought — the and down 12 percentage peak in September.

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The Mississippi River has been rising after sinking so low that barge traffic from St. Louis south about 180 miles to Cairo, Ill., had been threatened. Two snowstorms and a drenching rain now have some stretches of the Mississippi approaching flood stage. The National Weather Service said Monday the river was at 24.3 feet in Clarksville, Mo. — less than a foot below technical flood stage — and expected to rise to nearly 2 feet above flood stage by Wednesday. Clarksville is about 70 miles north of St. Louis. The river at nearby Louisiana, Mo., also is expected to climb to about a foot above flood stage on Tuesday. See DROUGHT, Page 3C

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Farm NewS / Fort DoDge, Iowa

www.farm-news.com

FrIDay, marCh 22, 2013

2013 Spring Farm Edition

Will pastures dry up again? ISU: Cattlemen need to develop a plan, just in case By KAREN SCHWALLER kschwaller@evertek.net

Russ Euken said a crystal ball foretelling rainfall would help producers more than anything right now in knowing how to successfully manage their livestock and cash flow issues in the coming year. But since that’s not an option, the next best thing is to have a plan and be willing to do the necessary homework to get it in place. Euken, an Iowa State University livestock specialist for North Central Iowa, said the biggest thing growers will need to consider is risk margin management due to the volatility in prices on both the input and output sides. He said trying to find and lock in manageable feed prices has always been key in having the best bottom line possible, but with the volatility in both feed and livestock market prices due to last year’s drought, it’s going to be more important than ever this year. “If you can work on trying to lock in prices on livestock as well (besides feed prices), you can at least project some kind of profit, or (help control the amount of) loss,� Euken said. Euken said livestock producers will want to keep an eye on the crush margins, which are available

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-Farm News file photo

LAST YEAR’S HOT, dry weather parched pastures across the northern half of Iowa. Spring rains may bring the grass back, but hay supplies may remain tight even if cattlemen can get the first couple of cuttings into storage. on the ISU Extension website at www.econ.iastate.edu/margins. Crush margins are the income returns remaining after accounting for the livestock and corn that is used to cover the other more constant expenses. Managing risk through watching crush margins, he said, could mean the difference between profitability and losses in a year when both could be critical for producers following last year’s drought. Euken said if rainfall is below

needs and the crop is short this year, beef cow operations may need to further reduce or liquidate their herds if they depend on that rain for summer pastures. But if the rain produces adequate forage, then those producers could find themselves expanding their herds. “For swine,� Euken said, “until we get a corn crop, they’re looking at fairly high feed costs, and they’ll need to continue to find a way to manage those costs. “Hog prices have fallen off

quite a bit in the last few months. season. Those guys can’t continue oper“If we’re short on corn, we ating at the current hog prices.� may see a little more liquidation on the swine side, too,� he said. Feed costs “This volatility has put pressure He said managing feed costs is on all of the livestock industry.� always key to a producer’s sucEuken said the same holds true cess, but with the extreme for feedlot cattle producers. volatility happening on the input “They’ve been pushed the side and the market side, produc- hardest for the last few years and ers really must know what their have lost the most money,� he operating costs are. said. “We may see smaller cattle This is coupled with uncer- supplies because of the drought, tainty about weather patterns and adequate rainfall this growing See LIVESTOCK, Page 5C

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FrIdAy, MArCh 22, 2013

www.farm-news.com

FArM NEws / FOrT dOdgE, IOwA

3C

2013 Spring Farm Edition

Weather drought to pass this year. Farmers who irrigate their land will now need to be concerned about having enough water available to do that, as aquifers become more shallow. As it is, last year’s irrigaters put on twice the water as they normally did. This year the soil will not start out with reserve supplies. Anderson said the drought forecast calls for “some improvement� across Iowa and south central Minnesota, which might bring the drought category ratings from stage 3 (extreme) to stage 2 (severe). The Mississippi Valley area subsoil moisture comes in at around 20 percent. Northwest Iowa is at 10 percent and Nebraska’s subsoil moisture is estimated at one percent. The U.S. Palmer Drought Index rates Iowa’s drought severity to be at the “negative four� category.� There have been 12 times

THE NATIONAL Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration predicted on Feb. 21, that western Iowa’s rain probability for the next three months is uncertain. The white space labeled EC indicates even chances for below- or above-normal amounts.

THE NATIONAL Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration predicted on Feb. 21, that Iowa’s temperatures may be slightly above normal during the next three months.

when the U.S. National Palmer Drought Index was at a negative four or under,� said Anderson. “In each time, the minimum length of time it took for that value to get back to zero was 18 months. “We went to a negative four rating in July 2012.

to a neutral reading. Anderson said weather maps indicate that temperatures will not be nearly as warm as they were last year, and that temperatures will be key to the way the drought plays out this summer. Rainfall is expected to be

normal or below normal. “The crops are going to need every molecule of moisture they can get,� he said, explaining why cooler temperatures will be important this growing season to both row crops and pasture acres.� Hay supplies will be

about as short this year as they were in the 1970s,� he said. Anderson said yields have not matched trend lines for the third year in a row. He said that in 2012 growers produced 1.88 billion bushels of corn statewide, which is down 21 percent compared to 2011. He said he expects to see more corn-on-corn in the Eastern corn belt, with irrigation practices increasing in the Western corn belt. “We need to dream of an El Nino weather pattern,� he said, adding that weather patterns in late February are similar to those during the drought of the 1930s. “That’s where we are by comparison today,� he said. With trend line yields questionable this growing season, Anderson said it will be a “tall order� to get back to $8 cash corn, and feels like the low $6 range would be more applicable looking ahead.

day to Sunday combined with warm temperatures to melt what was left of the standing ice and snow and added up to 5 inches of precipitation into the region’s waterways. The Salt, North Fabius and South Fabius rivers near Hannibal are at or near flood stage, with the nearby Mark Twain Lake also rising fast. The deluges, while welcomed by most farmers, have left muddy messes in

some rural areas, potentially slowing the spring planting of corn and soybeans — a reversal from a year ago, when a mild spring enabled growers to get their crops in the ground weeks ahead of schedule. Near St. Elmo in southcentral Illinois, Gary Berg generally likes to start spring sowing about April 10, “but right now it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to go by then� unless the

temperatures rise and the wind kicks in, drying the fields. Berg, 61, hopes for a rebound after a “pretty pathetic� corn harvest last year, when his average ranged wildly from five bushels per acre to 60 — well below the norm. One 60-acre field wasn’t worth harvesting at all, he said. “Corn in our area was pretty much a disaster,� he said.

Drought Smaller rivers also are swelling. The Wabash River this week is projected to rise a foot or two above flood stage from Covington, Ill., to Terre Haute, Ind., while the Skunk River near Sigourney, Iowa, has risen 14 feet since Saturday and is now 2 feet above flood stage. The Blackwater River near Valle City, Mo., is up 21 feet since Friday and is nearly 6 feet above flood stage.

Continued from Page 1C

That means if we apply the 18-month rule, it will be January 2014 before things improve on a national basis.� During the drought of the 1950s, Anderson said, it took 47 months to break. The drought of the 1930s took 51 months to get back

-Submitted graphics

Continued from Page 1C

Several roads, including a few state ones, are closed across portions of Missouri, Illinois, Iowa and Indiana, and thousands of acres of farmland are flooded, though no major damage is anticipated. Most of the water is expected to recede quickly because no significant rain is in the forecast over the next week or so, said Mark Fuchs, a hydrologist with the weather service near St.

Louis. Still, he said, the precipitation has ended concern about the drought in parts of Missouri, given that “really for the last month we’ve been well above average precipitation and catching up in a hurry.� Consider the Hannibal area of northeast Missouri. Snow storms a week apart dumped nearly 20 inches of snow on Mark Twain’s hometown. Rain from Fri-

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FArm NewS / Fort DoDGe, IowA

www.farm-news.com

FrIDAy, mArCh 22. 2013

2013 Spring Farm Edition

Near-, long-term soybean prices look iffy Ag economist: Price weakens as South American bean harvest starts URBANA, ILL. (University of Illinois) — Soybean prices reached record-high levels in late August and early September 2012. Those high prices were generated by a combination of a drought-reduced harvest in South America, drought conditions in much of the United States production region, and ongoing strong Chinese demand for soybeans. Prices declined by about $2 per bushel in September and October as the U.S. crop turned out to be larger than expected, according to University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good. “For the past four months, March 2013 futures have traded between $13.50 and $15 and are currently near the midpoint of that range,” Good said. “Prices have received underlying support from the rapid pace of exports and domestic crush, but have experienced wide swings based on changing expectations for the size of the South American crop. “During the same time period, November 2013 futures traded between about $12.60 and $13.60 and are currently at the bottom of that trading range. Recent price weakness in both old and new crop futures reflects current expec-

Iowa farmers sold $7 corn; $14 soybeans in January Preliminary January price received in Iowa for corn was $7 per bushel, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Agricultural Prices report, issued Feb. 4. This is a $1.01 increase from January 2012. Soybean prices increased to $14.10, up $2.30, compared to January 2012. Oat prices increased 49 cents to $4. All hay prices increased $74 to $209 compared to January 2012. Alfalfa hay prices increased to $232 per ton, up $80, and other hay prices increased to $152, up $54. Iowa dairy farmers received an average of $20.80 per hundredweight for milk sold in January, $1.20 more than one year ago. Iowa ag prices

U.S. ag prices

($s received in January)

-Farm News file photo

With export demand slowing and a moderate harvest in 2013 on a similar number of planted acres as in 2012, supply will likely increase the U.S. carryover stock, and soybeans futures will struggle to rally, said Darrel Good, an ag economist with the university of Illinois. tations that the 2013 South American crop will be record large and will increasingly replace U.S. soybeans in the world market. “While the pace of U.S. soybean exports remained large through the second week of February, recently announced cancellations of some export sales support the expectation of a rapid decline in that pace in coming weeks.” Similarly, the pace of the domestic crush remained large through January, supported by exports of both oil and meal, Good said. The January crush, as estimated by the National Oilseed Processors Association on Feb.15, was not quite as large as expected, and the

“An increase in soybean production and processing in order to meet expanding soybean oil demand could then result in a surplus of soybean meal and lower prices for that product with an indeterminate effect on soybean prices beyond 2014.” —Darrel Good University of illinois ag economist

pace is expected to slow as South American products become available. Good reported that the 2012-13 marketing year is just approaching the halfway point, so there is still uncertainty about how the tight supplies of U.S. soybeans will be allocated.

Prices will remain sensitive to the revealed pace of consumption and South American production prospects. If the South American crop is as large as advertised, a slower pace of consumption of U.S. soybeans along with potential to import soybean products later in the year

($s received in January)

Product 2013 2012 Product 2013 2012 Corn (bu.) 7 5.99 Corn (bu.) 6.98 6.07 Beans (bu.) 14.10 11.80 Beans (bu.) 14.10 11.90 Oats (bu.) 4 3.51 Oats (bu.) 3.93 3.56 Milk (cwt.) 20.80 19.60 Milk (cwt.) 20 19 All hay (ton) 209 135 All hay (ton) 191 172 Alfalfa (ton) 232 152 Alfalfa (ton) 217 193 Other hay 152 98 Other hay 144 132 may mean that higher prices will not be required to ration remaining supplies. “Beyond the next two months, prospects for the 2013 U.S. crop will become an increasingly important price factor,” Good said. “Production prospects will begin with the USDA’s March 28 Prospective Plantings report. “Expectations about planted acreage will likely be in a wide range, but it seems reasonable to expect acreage near that of last year. A return to near-trend yields then, would result in a larger crop and lower prices. “We have suggested that prices would return to the pre-drought levels, around

$11. That is consistent with the recent projections by both the Congressional Budget Office and the USDA. It now appears that the cash price implied by the projected price for crop revenue insurance, the average of November 2013 closing futures prices during February, will be well above $11. “The average futures price during the first 11 days of the averaging period was $13.01 and the average for the month would be $12.85 if the price for the rest of the month remained at the same level as on Feb.15.” One factor that could proSee PRICES, Page 5C

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fridAy, MArch 22. 2013

www.farm-news.com

fArM News / fort dodge, iowA

5c

2013 Spring Farm Edition

Livestock

Continued from Page 3C leaks or water that is being wasted.� Euken said if water supplies are short, hauling water may not be an option for everyone because they don’t know how distribution of the water will be prioritized. “Not every source may be available to them,� he said, adding that plans need to be made today for the needs of tomorrow. “If you’re concerned that water supply is going to be an issue, get that back-up plan in place.�

and limited availability of feeder cattle.�

Animal health Euken said livestock health is as important as ever now, with producers needing to have a good plan in place to reduce illness and disease, and reduce death loss numbers. “Producers need to know what types of health problems there are and to be aware of anything new,� he said, adding that producers will need to act right away if they see anything unusual. “They need to have a good herd health plan in place for control and treatment. Those things are farm specific.� He said taking a “watch and wait� stand could prove disastrous for herd health, as well as in searching for profitability. “You can watch, but you won’t want to wait,� he said. “(Farmers) will need to be on top of every opportunity to lock in some profit or at least minimize loss, and they’ll

Prices

ues — and possibly to a wider area. “They’ll need to plan ahead and know what their sources for water could be,� he said. “Producers should also manage their water use, checking for

production, and soybean oil has accounted for about three-quarters of the vegetable oil feed stocks. As biodiesel production expands, limited supplies of alternative feed stocks would likely increase the proportion of vegetable oils used, particularly soybean oil. “An increase in vegetable oil demand for biodiesel production

could support soybean oil and soybean prices during the 2013-14 marketing year at higher levels than are now anticipated,� Good said. “Such an outcome could result in a very interesting dynamic in future years. “Higher soybean oil and soybean prices relative to other crop prices in 2014 would be expected to stimulate more soybean pro-

duction if biodiesel demand was expected to remain strong. This would be in contrast to the ethanoldriven increase in corn acreage since 2007. “The increase in soybean production and processing in order to meet expanding soybean oil demand could then result in a surplus of soybean meal and lower prices for that product with an indeterminate effect on

-Farm News file photo

CONTENTED CATTLE enjoyed healthy pastures in 2011, which disappeared in 2012. As short-term drought conditions appear to be easing, grass should be more available to cow-calf herds. have to be ready to take action, and make sure it’s the right action. “One strategy does not fit all.� Water supply Euken said that in some

soybean prices beyond 2014.� Good said there is considerable uncertainty about U.S. biodiesel production beyond 2013, because production is primarily policy driven. “That is another factor that can be added to the long list of factors that will impact soybean prices over the next 18 months,� he said.

Continued from Page 4C

vide additional support for soybean prices during the 2013-14 marketing year would be a rapid expansion in biodiesel production. Good said that the EPA has announced a minimum of 1.28 billion gallons of biodiesel to be produced in 2013, up from 1 billion gallons in 2012. Annual increases in the total advanced biofuels mandate of the Renewable Fuels Stan-

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areas around Iowa last growing season, water supplies were somewhat of a concern with the drought bearing down. He said water supplies could be a concern again this year if the drought contin-

Looking ahead Looking ahead in the livestock industry, Euken said, is tricky at best to try to foresee what will happen. “Tell me if we’re going to get some rain and I’ll tell you what could happen,� he said. “Trying to do an outlook even one week ahead is tough because there is so much volatility out there that things can change very quickly — so trying to

look further than that ahead is tougher. “If you don’t take steps to manage that (volatility), you’re at more risk. It doesn’t mean that everything’s bad, it just means that if you don’t lock in something, you take a chance on getting lower prices or just getting what you get.� Last year’s crop, Euken said, though better than expected under the circumstances, was still short. “We saw higher market prices and higher feed cost prices because of it,� he said. “If we get rain, a lot of those things will go away, but it will all balance out in the markets, too.� He said another risk management tool is the “Iowa Farm Outlook Letter,� posted on the ISU website. New letters are posted every month, dealing with current issues and trends in the livestock industry, and how those things affect local producers.

dards (which can be met with biodiesel) in combination with the re-instatement of the $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit for 2013, could propel biodiesel production well above the minimum, particularly in 2014 if the tax credit is extended. In recent periods, vegetable oil has accounted for about three-quarters of the feed stock for biodiesel

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Farm News / Fort DoDge, Iowa

www.farm-news.com

FrIDay, marCh 22. 2013

2013 Spring Farm Edition

ASIA calling Sheep numbers fall 10 percent Breeding stock for more ewes numbers also All sheep and lambs, number by class Iowa and U.S. January 2012-2013

IOWA

The U.S. sheep industry is finding itself amidst an encouraging time, said the American Sheep Industry Association. Lamb and wool prices are at an all-time high and the cull ewe and pelt markets are lucrative, ASIA said in a news release. However, from the farm gate through to the lamb and wool processing level, there is a shared concern about meeting the demand for lamb and wool production in the United States. Lamb processors, from the commercial market channel to the rapidly growing nontraditional markets, are clamoring for a greater supply of lamb. In 2011, two major announcements to carry American lamb in the nation’s grocery stores occurred — Kroger, one of the nation’s largest grocery store chains, launched an American lamb branded campaign, and Walmart made a commitment to exclusively carry American lamb in its stores. And the nontraditional market channels, which include on-farm sales, farmers markets and small processors serving ethnic communities, have grown exponentially over the years. In fact, one-third of the U.S. lamb crop has moved outside the traditional industry infrastructure to feed this nontraditional lamb market. ASIA said the industry must supply the traditional market channel to keep American lamb in the nation’s largest grocery store chains and restaurants, while meeting the emerging demand for American lamb in the nontraditional markets. This robust demand for product is also being experienced in the wool market. The U.S. military, the largest domestic consumer of U.S. wool, announced it will clothe troops in high-performance washable wool products. The equipment that makes washable wool has been installed in the United States and is being used for a variety of domestically produced wool products that are already reaching the military and commercial markets. A strategy to strengthen the lamb and wool industry’s infrastructure by increasing the number of sheep in production is vital for the long-term sustainability of the industry.

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fall from 2012 IOWA All sheep and lambs inventory in Iowa totaled 175,000 head, down 10 percent from last year, according to the latest U.S.Department of Agriculture-National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Sheep and Goats report. Total breeding stock, at 128,000 head, is approximately 10 percent lower than a year ago. Compared to last year, market sheep and lambs decreased 10 percent to 47,000 head, and the lamb crop decreased 3 percent to 150,000. U.S. All sheep and lamb inventory in the United States on Jan. 1 totaled 5.34 million head, down 1 percent from 2012. Breeding sheep inventory decreased to 3.98 million head on Jan. 1, down 1 percent from the 4 million head on Jan. 1, 2012. Ewes one year old and older, at 3.14 million head, were 1 percent below last year. Market sheep and lambs on Jan. 1, totaled 1.36 million head, down 1 percent from Jan. 1, 2012. Market lambs comprised 94 percent of the total market inventory. Twenty-three percent were lambs under 65 pounds, 12 percent were 65 to 84 pounds, 22 percent were 85 to 105 pounds, and 37 percent were more than105 pounds. Market sheep comprised the remaining 6 percent of total market inventory. The 2012 lamb crop of 3.46 million head, was down 2 percent from 2011. The 2012 lambing rate was

2012 (1,000 head)

2013 (1,000 head)

2013 as percent of 2012

All sheep and lambs 195 Total breeding sheep 143 ∫ Ewes 115 ∫ Rams 5 ∫ Rplcmnts 23 lambs Total market: 52 2011 (1,000 head) 155 Lamb crop

(1,000 head) 150

90 2012 as percent of 2011 97

2012 (1,000 head)

2013 (1,000 head)

2013 as percent of 2012

5,335

99

3,975 3,140 175

99 99 103

660

100

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90

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90 87 100

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47 2012

All sheep 5,365 and lambs Total breeding sheep 3,995 ∫ Ewes 3,165 ∫ Rams 170 ∫ Rplcmnts lambs 660 Total market: 1,370 2011 (1,000 head) 3,510 Lamb crop

1,360 2012

99 2012 as percent of 2011 98

(1,000 head) 3,455

109 lambs per 100 ewes one-yea- old and older on Jan. 1, 2012, unchanged from 2011. Shorn wool production in the during 2012 was 28.5 million pounds, down 3 percent from 2011. Sheep and lambs shorn totaled 3.93 million head, also down 2 percent from 2011. The average price paid for wool

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sold in 2012 was $1.53 per pound for a total value of $43.6 million, down 11 percent from $48.9 million in 2011. Sheep death loss during 2012 totaled 229,000 head, a decrease of 5 percent from 2011. Lamb death loss decreased 4 percent from 380,000 head in 2011 to 365,000 in 2012.

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frIDAy, MArcH 22. 2013

www.farm-news.com

fArM NewS / forT DoDGe, IowA

7c

2013 Spring Farm Edition

What diseases will likely crop up in 2013? Scout for root rot, rust, Goss’ wilt during the growing season By CLAYTON RYE crye@wctatel.net

The crop year of 2012 is fresh in many farmers’ memories and among those memories, are the diseases that became problems through the year. Iowa State Extension’s plant pathologists Allison Robertson and Daren Mueller wrote about diseases that were problematic in 2012 for the 2013 Crop Advantage meetings that were held statewide this winter. Corn diseases they identified were Pythium root rot, Southern rust — found in central Iowa — and low levels of Goss’ wilt were problems for corn growers. Aspergillus ear rot was a concern during grain fill as it results in aflatoxin contamination Soybean diseases in 2012 included viruses and charcoal rot. Soybean vein necrosis is a new disease reported in Iowa, according to Robertson and Mueller. It was first identified in Tennessee in 2008 and has spread to 11 states in the East and Southeast. It is carried by thrips, tiny insects only 1/32 to onehalf inch in length that reproduce quickly. They feed primarily on the underside of leaves, especially along the veins and favor dry, hot weather As it is a virus and a new

+

disease, little is known about the control of soybean vein necrosis. Was 2012 such an extreme weather event that it should stand apart from other crop years in making plans for the future? In 2011, Daren Mueller alerted corn growers to be aware of Northern leaf blight, physoderma brown spot, bacterial stalk rot and Goss’ wilt as potential problems. Northern leaf blight and Goss’ wilt can resemble each other, but Northern leaf blight is a fungus, while Goss’ wilt is a bacterium making identification crucial so the proper control can be applied. Physoderma brown spot can be mistaken for Southern rust and is a fungus. The problem with bacterial stalk rot is its resultant lodging and fungicides will not control it. It has a characteristic smell of bad silage which aids in identifying it. Iowa State University has a publication titled, “Corn Field Guide” that can be downloaded to a computer at no charge. The guide aids in identifying diseases, insect pests, and disorders in corn. A printed version is available through ISU Extension offices. ISU has a similar book available for downloading titled, “Soybean Diseases.”

-Submitted photos

GOSS’ WILT was present on 99 percent of the plants in 99 percent of Iowa’s corn fields in 2012, according to Bob Steit, a crop consultant, based in Ames. He recommends scouting and testing small plants six weeks after planting to determine the present of the bacterium. Leaf blight is one of the symptoms it causes. Small, dark, discontinuous water-soaked spots, or freckles, is another. Charcoal rot is described in the book as occurring under hot and dry conditions. It is a fungus and survives in the soil or soybean residue. Its symptoms appear after flowering as patches of stunted or wilted plants. Rotating to corn is not a method of control as it can infect corn plants as well, but to a lesser degree. There are no known charcoal resistant varieties of soybeans available, but soybeans can vary in their susceptibility. A companion guide for soybeans similar to the Corn Field Guide is titled,

“Soybeans Disease and Pest Management.” There are also pocketsized guides for weed identification and aphid management. The perennial problem of soybean cyst nematode gets its own field guide to assist soybean growers in identification and control. It is published by Iowa State Extension and the Iowa Soybean Association using checkoff funds. Two pocket guides are also available to assist soybeans growers, one is “Early Season Soybean Scouting” and the other is “Speed Scouting of Soybean

SOYBEAN VEIN NECROSIS was a new disease for Iowa soybean growers in 2012. Discovered in 2008 in Tennessee, it has now moved into 11 states. Aphids.” scriptions, and a place to Both have pictures, de- record field data.

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8C

Farm NeWs / ForT DoDge, IoWa

www.farm-news.com

FrIDay, marCh 22. 2013

2013 Spring Farm Edition

Weed watch 2013 Keep an eye on giant ragweed, waterhemp By DARCY DOUGHERTY MAULSBY yettergirl@yahoo.com

AMES— Effective weed control remains one of the most important ways to make money in row-crop agriculture. That’s why it’s vital to control two of the biggest threats, including giant ragweed and waterhemp. “Both of these weeds are native species and present an on ongoing challenge,� said Bob Hartzler, an Iowa State University Extension weed specialist. “Giant ragweed especially changes the game, and it’s worth going the extra mile to control it.� Most Iowa fields are not yet infested with giant ragweed, but this yield-robber can get out of hand quickly, he said. “Although giant ragweed is still in the invasion stage, it has been on the increase for some time now,� said Hartzler. It often gets started on the borders of fields. “Once it starts encroaching on fields, it becomes a big headache.� Timing is everything It’s easiest to control giant ragweed when the weeds are still small. If this doesn’t happen, however, the prob-

+

-Contributed photos

A GIANT RAGWEED seedling is shown. This summer annual weed starts on field borders and can rapidly become a long-term nuisance. lem can spread rapidly. Hartzler encourages growers to spot spray at the appropriate time or mow down areas on the borders of fields where giant ragweeds are lurking. “This management used to be done routinely, but it’s has become more difficult as farms have gotten a lot larger,� said Hartzler. Giant ragweed can grow as fast as corn. Fortunately, giant ragweed is fairly sensitive to 2, 4-D, so the weeds can be controlled effectively in corn with few concerns about herbicide drift. Giant ragweed can also be controlled successfully in soybeans with proper management, Hartzler said, emphasizing the importance of following label recommen-

THIS WATERHEMP STAND is well-established in an Iowa soybean field. Waterhemp is a farmer’s bane, since each plant has the capability of releasing 200,000 to 300,000 seeds. dations regarding weed size lion seeds, although most and herbicide applications. produce 200,000 to 300,000 seeds. Control waterhemp This sheer number of While giant ragweed is a seeds increases the probabilformidable weed, it doesn’t ity of waterhemp producing have the ability to produce genetic mutations that can nearly as many seeds as wa- lead to herbicide resistance, terhemp, which has become said Hartzler. As a result, a major challenge for many waterhemp offers an imporIowa growers. Waterhemp, tant history lesson regarding which began its rise to in- resistance. famy in the late 1980s and In a recent survey of Iowa early 1990s, has become farmers, 60 percent reported firmly established on many that waterhemp exhibiting Iowa farms and can present resistance to Group 2 herbiserious herbicide resistance cides — ALS inhibitors — issues. was not present in their ISU studies have shown fields, or they were unsure that one waterhemp plant of its presence. can produce up to five milIndustry representatives

were slightly more aware of Group 2 resistance, with 38 percent saying resistance was widespread and 42 percent reporting it was isolated in their territories. Both groups reported that glyphosate, or Group 9, resistance was more common than Group 2 resistance. “This survey suggests that many people involved in crop production are not aware of the history of herbicide-resistant weeds in Iowa,� Hartzler said. The Group 2 herbicides were introduced in the mid 1980s and were widely used in both corn and soybeans.

In the early-1990s, Pursuit herbicide was used on more than 75 percent of the soybeans in Iowa. The Group 2 herbicides’ popularity was due to broadspectrum weed control, including waterhemp, and flexibility in application timing. The widespread use of Group 2 herbicides resulted in the rapid selection of Group 2-resistant waterhemp. “By the mid 1990s, Group 2-resistant waterhemp was so widespread that the industry essentially stopped recommending Group 2 for this weed,� Hartzler said. “Field surveys in Illinois and Iowa have found that more than 90 percent of waterhemp populations are resistant to Group 2 herbicides.� The loss of Group 2 to manage waterhemp isn’t an isolated incident, and similar problems can happen with other herbicides, Hartzler said. “Current weed management programs rely almost entirely on herbicides,� he said. “This reliance places us in a position where resistance to many herbicide groups could spread rapidly across the region. “To reduce the impact of resistance, it’s important to diversify the types of herbicides used, incorporate other management tactics where feasible, and use cultural practices that enhance the competitiveness of the crop.�

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frIday, March 22. 2013

www.farm-news.com

farM NEws / fort dodgE, Iowa

9c

2013 Spring Farm Edition

Finding the path of least resistance Experts share tips for herbicide weed management Delaying treatment robs yields By DARCY DOUGHERTY MAULSBY

According to Bob Hartzler, an Iowa State University Extension weed specialist, each day weeds are allowed to grow untreated increases yield loses later in the growing season. Hartzler said producers who depend primarily on post-emerge treatment of weeds are most susceptible to losses. He offered the following yield-robbing ratio based on post-programs in fields with high density weeds:

yettergirl@yahoo.com

AMES— Herbicide resistance is one of the biggest issues faccrop ing farmers in 2013, according to Iowa an State University Extension weed specialist who urges farm- Don Porter ers to take a new approach to weed control. “Herbicides will continue to be part of the solution, but we’re going to have to use them in a different way to manage herbicide resistance,” said Mike Owen, who recently traveled to Australia for a global conference on managing herbicide resistance. Weeds have a knack for fighting back against effective herbicides, he added.

-Submitted photo

THIS FIELD SHOWS that weeds were controlled at planting, but something happened afterward. In the foreground is waterhemp, with giant ragweed in the background. Based on ongoing studies that began in 2011, approximately 29 percent of the waterhemp populations that ISU researchers have studied across Iowa have demonstrated resistance to three types of herbicides, in-

cluding glyphosate, atrazine and ALS herbicides. In addition, 4 percent of waterhemp populations in ISU’s studies have shown resistance to five out of five of the most important herbicide classes.

“Even if you don’t have resistance today, it will more than likely become an issue on your farm in the future,” said Don Porter, herbicide technical product lead with Syngenta. “That’s why it’s vital to

z From VE to V2, lose .5 bushel per day. z From V2 to V4, lose 1.1 bushels per day. z From V4 to V6, lose 17 bushels per day. “This represents a worst-case scenario,” Hartzler said, “and there would be few commercial fields with as high of weed density. “But it does illustrate the competitiveness of weeds and the risk of going total post.”

diversify your weed con“When I talk to growers trol program now.” about resistance, one of the first things they say is that Beyond glyphosate the industry has always been The potential cost of inef- able to fix this by coming fective weed control can be out with a new product,” staggering. (See related info Porter said. “There are no on this page.) new modes of action in the Gone are the days when pipeline, however, so we two shots of glyphosate need to maintain the weed would control weeds, Porter control products we have added. While the entire now.” weed control paradigm has changed due to the overuse Use “little hammers” of glyphosate, farmers don’t This will mean using lots always realize what this See RESIST, Page 12C means.

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10C

Farm News / Fort DoDge, Iowa

www.farm-news.com

FrIDay, marCh 22. 2013

2013 Spring Farm Edition

Kossuth led Iowa in corn production

Farm Rescue for farm of the nine lo families

Only 2 count The 5 highest yield

In 2012, Kossuth County was the largest corn-producing county with 52.8 million bushels, according to estimates released Feb. 21 by USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service. Webster and Pottawat-

tamie were second and third, respectively, with more than 33 million bushels produced. Extreme heat and drought reduced yields significantly across the state. Only two counties pro-

duced yields above 170 bushels per acre — Palo Alto at 170.6 and Clay at 170.1. The five highest-yielding counties were in the Northwest district. Joining Palo Alto and

Clay at the top were Osceola, Emmet and Pocahontas, respectively. Appanoose County, in the south central district, recorded the lowest yield, at 44.5 bushels per acre. The second lowest-

yielding county was Davis, in the Southeastern district. Eight of the nine lowestyielding counties were in Eight the south central district and 11 counties recorded average yields below 100.

JAMESTOWN, ND — Farm Rescue Foundation, a new nonprofit organization that helps farm families recovering from injury or illness, has announced that individuals may now apply for assistance in acquiring specialized, non-medical equipment to overcome physical challenges. Temporary volunteer labor is also available to help with physical challenges during the recovery process to a limited number of cases. “Sustaining life on a farm can be a challenge to anyone following an unexpected physical setback,” said Bill Gross, Farm Rescue Foundation president and founder. “The Farm Rescue Foundation is here to help during the recovery process to ensure that families have an opportunity to continue viable operations. “We are pleased to announce this new available assistance to farm families facing unique physical challenges.” On March 9, Gross was inducted into the North Dakota Agriculture Hall of Fame for his contributions to agriculture in the

2012 CORN YIELD Bushels per Harvested Acre

-Source USDA-NASS

See RESCUE, Page 11C

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friday, March 22. 2013

www.farm-news.com

farM News / fort dodge, iowa

11c

2013 Spring Farm Edition Only four counties exceeded 2011 soybean yields b In 2012, Kossuth, Sioux, Tama and Plymouth were the four largest soybean-producing counties with Kossuth the largest producer with 10.3 million bushels, according to the y estimates released by the

U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Agricultural Statistics Service. Dry conditions impacted yields across the state with only eight counties producing a yield as high or higher than

2011. The biggest increase was in Page County, in southwest Iowa, which rose from 38 bushels per acre in 2011 to 45.3 bushels per acre in 2012.

The largest decrease was in Appanoose County, in south central Iowa, which fell from 43.1 bushels per acre in 2011 to 24.3 bushels per acre in 2012. The highest county yields

were in Cedar (56), Marshall (55.6) and Clayton (54.1). The counties showing the lowest yields were Appanoose (24.3) and Wayne (27.8), both located in south central Iowa.

2012 SOYBEAN YIELD Bushels per Harvested Acre



 



 







 



 

 

 



 

 



 

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preservation of the family farm. Gross The is also countie the founder of Farm Rescue, a separate nonprofit organization that provides planting or harvesting assistance to those who have experienced a major illness, or natural disaster. While Farm Rescue provides assistance during crises in the form of fieldwork, the Farm Rescue Foundation provides assistance during the recovery phase consisting of special equipment or physical labor. Applicants for this new assistance need not have received assistance from Farm Rescue. The mission of the Farm Rescue Foundation is to improve the quality of life through charitable services for rural citizens that have experienced a major illness, injury, or natural disaster and provide financial grants to public charities who focus their efforts in rural regions of America. As a result of the assistance provided by the Farm Rescue Foundation, farm  families can survive potentially devastating circumstances, enabling them to remain on the farm while in the recovery process. The Farm Rescue Foundation is supported by donations, grants and endowments. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Farm Rescue Foundation to discuss options for assistance. For additional information contact (701) 2522016 or visit: www.farmrescuefoundation.org.



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12C

Farm News / Fort DoDge, Iowa

www.farm-news.com

FrIDay, marCh 22. 2013

2013 Spring Farm Edition

Hay baler has award-winning cutting-edge style NEW HOLLAND, PA. (NEW HOLLAND) — New Holland’s multi-award winning BigBaler large square baler range has received the 2012 Good Design award by the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies. “This award recognizes that New Holland’s distinctive design and styling are fundamental for efficient agriculture,” said Bob Hatz, product director of hay and forage and crop production at New Holland Agriculture. “From the hallmark sculpted side shields, to the single piece, fully opening hood, the BigBaler represents the perfect distillation of New

Resist

-Submitted photo

NEW HOLLAND HAS released its uniquely designed baler, claiming it has more safety features and is more operator friendly. february in Paris. Industry leader Judges said they were The BigBaler is packed particularly impressed by with a range of productivity the safety features and its enhancing features includoperator-friendly design. ing the MaxiSweep pickup

to ensure constant smooth feeding together with the SmartFill system, which guarantees uniform flake formation, courtesy of a

network of precision sensors. Advanced PLM systems, including ActiveWeigh onthe-go bale weighing technology will enhance yields and profitability. The BigBaler range has offered the world’s largescale farmers and professional hay and forage and biomass contractors the ultimate in large square baling technology for more than a quarter century. Successive generations of New Holland large square balers have pioneered baling firsts which have now become industry standards including double knot technology, electronic proportional density control and the pre-compression chamber.

Continued from Page 9C

of little hammers rather than looking for one solution to address this challenge, said ISU specialists, who recommend: ∫ Including pre-emerge products. Pre-emerge herbicides have become a critical best-management practice to managing resistance. Use pre-emerge weed control products at their labeled rates, Hartzler said. ∫ Considering narrow rows. A crop canopy is nearly as effective as herbicides and a cultivator for controlling late-emerging weeds, said Hartzler. Twenty-inch rows can be better than 30-inch rows. Narrow rows (down to 15 inches) can be especially

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Holland’s harvesting spirit. “The BigBaler has not only increased capacity by up to 20 percent and density by up to 5 percent, it has also revolutionized large square baler styling: increasing productivity and enhancing the operator experience.” The design award, Hatz said, cements the BigBaler’s segment-leading position on both sides of the Atlantic. The recent North American AE50 award focused on the BigBaler’s unsurpassed productivity and efficiency, with outputs as high as 110 bales/hour. A sought-after Silver Innovation Medal was bestowed on the BigBaler by the jury from the Sima Exhibition, which occured in

effective in soybean fields, he added. ∫ Adopting more diverse weed management solutions. Look for ways to rotate effective herbicides with various sites of action to upset the ecological apple cart. “The more diversity you can bring to your weed control program, the better off you’ll be,” Owen said. Syngenta’s pre-emerge herbicide Prefix, for example, offers two modes of action, while Boundary soil-applied herbicide also offers two modes of action to control waterhemp, common ragweed and other troublesome weeds, Porter said.

Gate l a Speci

“If we use new technologies the way we’ve used weed control products in the past by relying on them solely, they will only provide short-term solutions.” —Bob Hartzler ISU Extension weed field specialist

∫ Targeting weed control solutions. Just as growers tailor specific hybrids and fertility programs to their acres, it pays to use field-by-field weed management strategies, since certain fields may require extra care, Owen said. ∫ Don’t view new products as magic bullets. While dicamba-tolerant

soybeans and the Enlist system are two promising options for the future of weed control, they won’t solve all the challenges, Hartzler said. “Waterhemp, for example, has shown that it can figure out how to beat any herbicide we introduce,” he said. “If we use new technologies the way we’ve

used weed control products in the past by relying on them solely, they will only provide short-term solutions.” ∫ Remaining proactive. While these various weed control strategies introduce more costs into crop production and make weed control more complex, Porter urges growers to fo-

cus on the positive. “I’m encouraged that growers appreciate the urgency to diversify their weed control,” he said. “This will help preserve the benefits of glyphosate, which remains a very effective product that has an important fit in growers’ overall weed control strategy.” Above all, remember that the evolution of herbicide resistance is not a herbicide problem—it’s a management issue, Owen saidd. “If you can learn to manage weeds in general more effectively, you’ll also manage herbicide-resistant weeds better,” he said.

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friDAy, MArch 22. 2013

www.farm-news.com

fArM NewS / forT DoDge, iowA

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Marketing in a volatile market By CLAYTON RYE crye@wctatel.net

In addition to being able to grow as many bushels of a crop as possible, a farmer also has to be able to know when to sell to receive the best possible price for those bushels. To do that may require hours in the seat at his desk besides the hours spent in the tractor or combine. Every crop and marketing year has its own specific conditions and no two years are alike. One out-of-the-ordinary condition for 2013 is the narrow basis that exists for both corn and soybeans. Basis is the value difference between the futures price and the local cash price of a commodity. Cash sales are generally below the futures prices since producers don’t have to pay for transportation costs. So a positive basis means local

Lost demand, growing supplies lowering corn prices

cash prices exceed futures prices. Chuck Schafer, manager of the North Iowa Co-op in Thornton, with locations in Portland, Plymouth and Clear Lake, said the current basis levels as “abnormal.” Schafer said normal basis levels are minus 25 cents for corn and minus 40 cents for soybeans with the

basis declining as harvest approaches. North Iowa Co-op is using a positive 31-cent basis for old crop corn and a negative 13-cent basis for old crop soybeans. However, new crop corn basis is minus 43 cents for corn and minus 70 cents for soybeans. Iowa State University’s Ag Decision Maker shows that historically in early March corn, for May delivery has a basis of minus 31 cents for north central Iowa and a minus 61 cent basis for soybeans Schafer said current basis levels indicate “We have a weather market until we see normal weather patterns.” The basis for the 2013 crop means, “We are expecting normal rain and a good crop,” said Schafer. “If we don’t have a normal crop, basis could change drastically.” The narrow basis shows that the remaining 2012 crop in storage, either on farms or commercially, is in strong hands and there is an immediate demand for supplies of last year’s crops.

2013 crop harvests Also on the Ag Decision Makers webpage is a scenario of 2013 crop production by the Agricultural Resource Marketing Resource Center. Its most current numbers are as of Feb. 12. The AgMRC is projecting corn yields from 125 bushels per acre to 161. There is a 64 percent chance of 155 bushels per acre for 2013. To determine the U.S. yield for new crops, AgMRC is using 96.9 million planted acres and 90.1 million harvested acres. The 2013 corn crop could range from 11.67 million bushels to 15.09 million bushels with 14.554 million bushels most likely. Previous years’ corn crops were 13.72 million bushels in 2008-09, 14.77 in 2009-10, 14.182in 2010-11 and 13.517 for 2011-12. Jerry Gulke, of the Gulke Group, a research and analysis firm based in Chicago, writes that growing 125 bushels per acre on 99 million acres will result in a crop that meets last

year’s demand. Any yield over an average of 150 bushels per acre will result in a surplus. World corn supplies are expected to grow in 2013, aided by South America’s harvest. Besides basis, prices are also showing the tight conditions that exist with old crop corn priced at more

than $7 per bushel across northern Iowa. Any farmer wanting to contract today for delivery of 2013 corn next fall is being quoted $2 per bushel less. Farmers can contract their remaining 2012 corn at the North Iowa Co-op for $7.35 and new crop for fall for $5.14, Schafer said. The high prices of recent months may be good for those farmers who have a crop to sell, but those who depend on using that crop for their business have had to make corrections in their business plans reflecting the higher prices. The higher prices have seen a reduction in exports, some ethanol plants shutting down, and livestock producers culling cows and feeding out fewer calves because of lowered profitability. See MARKETS, Page 3D

Anticipating the 2013 planted acres report Markets focus on prospective size of next U.S. corn crop URBANA, ILL. (University of Illinois) — The drought-reduced U.S. corn crop of 2012 suggested that corn prices might behave in a pattern generally described as “short crops have long tails,” said a University of Illinois agricultural economist. “This phrase depicts the expectation of rapidly rising prices that peak near harvest time,” said Darrel Good, “decline in an unspecified pattern over the next several months, and return to pre-drought levels as early as the following marketing year. “The decline in prices is expected as a result of a slowdown in consumption and a return to normal production.” Corn prices this year have generally followed the expected short-crop pattern

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-Farm News file photo

COMMERCIAL TRADERS and commodity brokers are eagerly anticipating the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s intended planted acres report later this month. The trade expects corn acreage to grow to 99 million acres in 2013. as the anticipated consumption and supply responses continue to unfold. The pace of consumption of U.S. corn so far in the 2012-13 marketing year has been slower than last year. However, the slowdown has been modest and has come primarily in the export market and in the production of ethanol rather than in the domestic feed market as was earlier ex-

pected, Good said. “The rapid pace of domestic feed and residual use of corn revealed on Jan. 11 breathed some life back into old-crop corn prices,” he said, “even though the pace of exports and domestic processing remain low.” In addition to a slowdown in consumption of U.S. corn, the USDA projects another large corn harvest in Brazil in 2013 and a rebound in production in

Argentina following the drought-reduced harvest of 2012. Although crops will likely be large, the size of those crops is yet to be determined, and recent dryness in some areas has raised some yield concerns, he said. “Some of the elements that contribute to the price decline following a short crop are clearly occurring,” Good siad. “The final, and

likely the most important element, of the expected price decline is the size of the 2013 corn crop.” The question is whether production will fully rebound from the extremely low level of 2012 as it has following other droughts over the past 50 years. Production prospects begin with expectations for planted acreage. Planted acreage totaled 97.15 million acres in 2012, 5.219

million more than was planted in 2011 and 3.628 million acres more than the recent peak in 2007. “For the most part,” Good said, “analysts are reporting expectations of even larger acreage in 2013. Those expectations appear to be near 99 million acres. “The increase would come from an overall increase in row-crop acreage as some land has come out of the Conservation Reserve Program and from reductions in the acreage of less competitive crops.” Planted acreage of 99 million would point to acreage harvested for grain near 91.5 million acres under non-drought conditions. That would be an increase of just over four million acres from acreage harvested in 2012 when more than the usual amount of acreage was harvested for silage and abandoned, he said. “Such acreage would point to prospects for an extremely large crop in 2013,” Good said. “EarlySee ACRES, Page 3D

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2D

FarM News / ForT DoDge, Iowa

www.farm-news.com

FrIDay, March 22. 2013

2013 Spring Farm Edition

Fixing nitrogen for plants Because corn can’t do it itself By LARRY KERSHNER kersh@farm-news.com

FOSTORIA — Denny Winterboer, a corn/soybean farmer from Fostoria, was scouting his crops in 2011 and wondered why grasses, like corn, couldn’t fix nitrogen like soybeans can. In his constant quest to inDenny crease Winterboer yields, while maintaining sound soil management practices, he knew something was lacking in the corn. Knowing that it’s a bacterium called azospirillum that fixes nitrogen for soybeans, he looked around for a product that would accomplish the same thing for corn. He found TerraMax, based in Bloomington, Minn., that’s been beta testing a product, MicroAZ that contains azospirillum. “It worked,” Winterboer said, following the 2012 growing season. He planted half-mile-long, 24-row test plots including: ∫ 140 pounds top-applied nitrogen with MicroAZ and another row without the product. ∫ 70 pounds top-applied nitrogen with MicroAZ and

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-Submitted photo

A PAIR OF unidentified men stand in soybeans treated with TerraMax in Nebraska. The nitrogen-fixing bacterium interacts with plants at the root level. another row without the product. ∫ 0 pounds nitrogen with MicroAZ. “In the rows where MicroAZ was used,” Winterboer said, “it paid for itself 10 times.” The product comes as an in-furrow or seed treatment options. He plans to increase his use in 2013 and switch to in-furrow applications. He said the cost was $4.17 per acre. “That’s pretty cheap insurance,” Winterboer said. “Since you never know what’s going to happen to the nitrogen, this will pick up the few pounds that would be lost” due to gasification.

“I’m cautious when I’m talking to farmers. I’d rather under-promise and over-deliver.” —Doug Kremer TerraMax chief executive officer

According to Doug Kremer, chief executive officer and founder of TerraMax, the azospirillum works on grasses to stimulate root growth and fixes nitrogen in the soil, making more nutrients available to the plants. In the 1970s, Kremer said, azospirillum’s N-fixing capability was discovered by a Brazilian research team.

“But what’s been missing,” Kremer said, “is how to develop it into a product. It’s hard to keep it alive for more than four to six months. “That’s not very long for packing and shipping to customers. “But we figured out how to do that with a two-year shelf life.” Azospirillum exists natu-

rally in soils around the world, but not in high populations, Kremer said. It develops a symbiotic relationship with grasses by settling in around roots and gets food from the plant, while fixing nitrogen close to the root hairs. TerraMax grows the bacteria, Kremer said, “training them up to do their jobs.” Since the action happens at the roots, Kremer said, the product can survive as both a seed treatment and applied in-furrow. An uphill sales job Kremer said the real trick to getting MicroAZ on the retail market is that hoaxes — “The miracle in a bag,” he called it — have fooled

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farmers for decades. “So we have a hurdle in validating ourselves,” Kremer said. “I mean people can’t look at it and see the bacteria.” He’s hoping that farmers like Winterboer will test the product and others will see the success and trust the product. MicroAZ has been tested by farmers and university test plots around the country on a variety of crops including corn, wheat, canola, date palms, potatoes, strawberries and bell peppers. Horticulture tests have been done on dahlias and petunias and sod. Research documentation in 2012, provided by Kremer, indicated the various tests increased yield, root growth, larger plants and reduced fertilizer applications. Similar test plots were documented in organic crop trials, as well as conventional row-crops with similar results. Kremer said his product “is gaining momentum in the market place.” He’s also working on other microbal products that will stimulate plants to use more phosphorus and potassium. Kremer said MicroAZ may not show it’s effectiveness in a normal weather year, but will show it’s useulness in a stressful year. “I’m cautious when I’m talking to farmers,” Kremer said. “I’d rather underpromise and over-deliver.”

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friDay, March 22. 2013

www.farm-news.com

farM News / fort DoDge, iowa

3D

2013 Spring Farm Edition

Pioneer develops 132 new products for 2013 Doubles availability of corn products MOINES DES (DUPONT) — DuPont Pioneer announced final advancements of 132 new Pioneer brand corn products for 2013, including 36 new genetic platforms. These new products are available to growers for the 2013 planting. “Each of these products

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exemplifies the “right product for the right acre” strategy to help growers across the U.S. address local agronomic challenges and continue to maximize yield in the toughest growing environments,” said Bob Heimbaugh, North American director of corn product evaluation.

The expansive Pioneer product lineup includes 57 new additions to the Optimum AcreMax family of products — providing an innovative single-bag integrated refuge. Of these products, 34 new corn choices, including Optimum AcreMax 1, Optimum AcreMax Xtra and Optimum

AcreMax XTreme products, feature insect protection from above and below ground with the integrated refuge for corn belt acres. Also available are 23 new Optimum AcreMax products with dual mode-of-action for above-ground insect protection with a 95/5 percent integrated blend which satisfies refuge requirements in the corn belt. The introductions include

Although current drought conditions are of concern, those conditions alone do not provide much information about 2013 yield prospects. ing technology and variations in weather conditions. A calculation of the true technological trend in average yields requires that yield observations be corrected for annual variations in weather conditions. “Such correction requires the application of models that separately account for the yield impact of technology and weather.

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Markets

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season acreage expectations, however, are often not a good forecast of actual acreage. “Last year, for example, the USDA’s March Prospective Plantings report indicated intentions to plant 95.86 million acres of corn, nearly 1.4 million more than the average trade guess. Actual planted acreage exceeded early expectations by the trade by nearly 2.7 million acres.” The other consideration in forming production expectations is obviously expectations for the U.S. average yield, he said. Most base their early yield expectations on an analysis of trend yield. “Trend yield analysis, however, is not straightforward,” he said. “First, average yields over any time period reflect both chang-

27 new Optimum AQUAmax products which doubles the availability of these products from Pioneer. Now, growers ranging from the western to the eastern corn belt and north to the Dakotas and Minnesota will have Optimum AQUAmax products to consider for planting. Growers in geographies where Optimum AQUAmax products are available now

A failure to do so can result in a biased estimate of trend.” Following three consecutive years of low corn yields, a trend calculation that does not adjust for variations in weather conditions will understate trend yield for 2013, he said. “A second issue surrounding trend yield calculations is the length of the time period used to calculate the trend,” Good said. “Different periods result in different trend calculations. “We continue to think that 1960 through 2012 is the correct time period for calculating the 2013 trend yield.” A second consideration for some in forming early yield expectations is the state of soil moisture going into the planting season. However, as we learned

again last year, the yield implications of those conditions are dwarfed by the impact of growing-season weather. Although current drought conditions are of concern, those conditions alone do not provide much information about 2013 yield prospects, he said. “Although prices for the 2013 corn crop are currently about 70 cents below the peak reached in September 2012,” he said, “they are well above the level that would be expected if the 2013 crop reached its full potential. “Next month, the USDA will release projections for the U.S. farm sector for the next 10 years. “There will be a lot of interest in the 2013 corn acreage and yield projections contained in that report.”

AgMRC shows corn exports as high as 1.98 million bushels in 2009-10 and as low as .880 million bushels for 2012-13. Corn for ethanol and distiller’s dried grains peaked at 5.01 million bushels in 2010-11 and has declined since to 4.5 million bushels for 2012-13. Corn for ethanol and DDGs used 40.3 percent of the corn crop in 201011and is expected to use 36.9 percent of the 2013 corn crop. This destruction of demand could be slow to return even after prices have gone down from the recent highs. The lowered demand can add to the reduction of prices received by those farmers growing crops. While next fall’s new crop corn, priced at $5 per

Continued from Page 1D

bushel, may not look appealing, destruction of demand and growing supplies could lower the price to less than $5. 2013 weather impact The drought monitor issued on March 5 from the University of NebraskaLincoln showed nearly the northwest third of Iowa in a red zone meaning extreme drought conditions still prevail. This is a slight improvement since Dec. 4, 2012 when 42 percent of the state was in the red zone. Climatologist Elwynn Taylor, of Iowa State University, on Feb. 11 wrote on his Twitter acount, “the U.S. corn outlook is for a slightly below-trend yield, but with a 30 percent chance of El Nino and above-trend yield.”

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Farm News / ForT DoDge, Iowa

www.farm-news.com

FrIDay, march 22. 2013

2013 Spring Farm Edition

Providing a roof for cattle New building design is allIowa product By KRISS NELSON jknelson@frontiernet.net

BOONE â&#x20AC;&#x201D; A lot of focus in animal housing has been put into pig buildings over the last several years. In an attempt to fill a void in the cattle barn construction industry, two Iowa companies have joined to bring a modern beef barn to the market. The collaboration between Agricultural Brookstone Buildings, a division of Brookstone Logistics, in Boone, and Energy Panel Structures, of Graettinger, has created what they say is a more flexible option in modern beef barn construction. Tom Barragy, president of Brookstone, said his company is slowly making its way into the industry with the new design, making everything is constructed properly, with the first barn being built a year and a half ago. Placing cattle inside, Barragy said, brings a lot of benefits for the animal. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You get them out of the elements, which will increase their daily rate of gain,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You can also control feed costs, which is big right now since the cost of feed is so astronomical. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is also a peace of mind knowing the cattle are safe â&#x20AC;&#x201D; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a safety factor.â&#x20AC;? The barns are designed to capture the sunâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s heat during cold winter months. According to Brookstone, the barns create an environment which enables cattle to use their energy to grow rather than to stay warm. In the summer, protection from the sunâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rays encourages continual growth through the hottest periods when feed consumption can be slow, potentially increasing days to market. This design, Barragy said, is due to the buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s roof being set at a mono-slope. What sets this design apart from other cattle barns on the market, Barragy said, is its glue-laminated beam con-

+

-Submitted photos

THE MONOSLOPE design of this cattle building provides shelter for livestock, getting animals out of extreme weather.Two Iowa companies combined resources to design and manufacture the structurers.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;You get them out of the elements, which will increase their daily rate of gain.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Tom Barragy President, Brookstone

struction that offers a clear span of up to 30 feet. This design allows for greater flexibility for pen design, improved working conditions and more options for bedding and manure management. The buildings, Barragy said, are offered in a variety of sizes and the company will accommodate a producerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s operational needs. Barragy said the trusses also reduce the area for birds to roost which lessens the chances for pests and dis-

INSIDE THE BUILDING the environment, said designer Tom Barragy, allows livestock to use energy for growth and development rather than to stay warm or cool off. eases the birds may carry. The design also helps prevent condensation so the roof wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t rust, enhancing the longevity of the roofâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s steel. Other buildings are adaptable to deep bedded, deep pits, flush or scraper systems and are engineered to meet standards of the International Building Code. Gates for the building, Barragy said, are built on site

in Boone. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We build our own gates in our shop and so they can be built to size,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They feature 1 1/2- inch square tubing and all of the humane-safe latches.â&#x20AC;? The slats and feed bunks, Barragy said, come from Cascade. Slats are available in 16- or 20-foot sizes. The rubber mats, which sit on top of the slats are manu-

factured locally and will help increase the animalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s comfort. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Most times the cattle canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stand on concrete very long, so the mats will offer increased greater creature comfort,â&#x20AC;? said Barragy. Barragy said all of the buildingsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; components are Iowa products. Barragy, and his wife Carole, own Brookstone, which

employs 12 people. They have more than 20 yearsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; experience in the livestock industry. They also work in transporting pigs throughout the Midwest and are a dealer site for EPS pig buildings. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We decided to fill a need in a niche market and expand from our hog building experience and take it into the cattle industry,â&#x20AC;? said Barragy.

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frIday, March 22. 2013

www.farm-news.com

farM NewS / fort dodge, Iowa

5d

2013 Spring Farm Edition

So, what if it’s dry again this year? Subsoil moisture depleted throughout Iowa may be looking at needing up to 20 inches of moisture that actually soaks into the soil.” Unfortunately, normal precipitation in Iowa, he said, during March and April can’t provide that much without causing other potentially more disastrous problems such as flooding, ponding and erosion. With that problem, what should producers be doing to prepare for another dry growing year? “Preparation for another potentially dry year includes postponing and reducing full-width tillage,” said Licht. Multiple tillage operations, he said, increase the amount of soil moisture lost due to evaporation. The amount of nitrogen applied can be reduced, as well as the volume of seed planted. “Applications of nitrogen may be reduced some if corn is planted following corn, and yields were depressed in 2012 and no significant leaching rainfall events occurred,” he said. “Also, slightly adjusting corn seeding rates down 2,000 to 4,000 seeds per acre can reduce root competition for available soil moisture.” The tillage that producers choose to do before planting this spring, Licht said,

By KRISS NELSON jknelson@frontiernet.net

Will producers be facing another dry growing season? And if so, what preparations, if any should be made in order to be ready for those conditions for a second year? Mark Licht, a Mark Licht field agronomist for ISU Extension, said he isn’t cetain growers will actually be faced with another dry year, but the already dry conditions may be difficult to overcome. “It seems that weather patterns are starting to change some,” said Licht. “The southern oscillation index is in the neutral range right now which means more variable weather patterns, but in the next couple weeks that could shift in either direction.” One challenge is the subsoil moisture depletion in 2012, Licht said, with water reserves throughout the state are still short and belownormal. Licht said much of central Iowa is at about 5 inches of subsoil moisture with more moisture gains to the south and east and less moisture

HOT AND DRY weather caused kernel abortion, known as die back during the 2012 growing season. gains to the north and west. Because moisture was taken from further depths in the soil last year, Licht predicts a lot of moisture will be needed to make up for that loss. “In 2012, roots went deeper than normal, maybe as deep as 10 feet,” he said. “This means water was taken up from a deeper depth and to get a full recharge we

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6D

Farm NeWS / ForT DoDge, IoWa

www.farm-news.com

FrIDay, march 22. 2013

2013 Spring Farm Edition

The rundown on 2013’s pests You Weather conditions may dictate what insects will attack

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Although Iowa is still weeks away from planting, it is not too early to begin thinking about pest control for the 2013 season and getting re-educated on how to scout for those pests. If the persistent drought does hit Iowa farms again this year, certain pests could cause problems again. Erin Hodgson, an Iowa State University Extension entomologist, said to be on the lookout for a variety of pests in 2013, but in particular, the two-spotted spider mite if dry conditions prevail again. “If crops are droughtstressed again,” Hodgson said, “especially during stand establishment and early vegetative growth, I would expect the two-spotted spider mite to be problematic again.” The northward migration of southern pests, she added, such as black cutworm and the potato leafhopper are unpredictable, so she advised farmers to scout their fields during the entire growing season. “Proactive scouting helps farmers make timely foliar applications when leaf discoloration starts,” said Hodgson. “Spider mites can get out of control with persistent hot and dry weather, so it is a pest that should be monitored during those optimal conditions.” When it comes to treating plants for spider mites, Hodgson said, there are no mite density-based thresholds, instead treatment decisions should be made on increasing mite activity and as-

“Proactive scouting helps farmers make timely foliar applications.” -Submitted photos

SPIDER MITES attack corn plants. The dry weather allowed spider mites to grow exponentially last growing season. The insects feed on plant juices.

THIS STAND OF corn in Iowa was devastated last year by black cutworms. Since migration patterns of the pests are unpredictable, crop scouts and entomologists recommend producers scout their fields during the entire gowing season. sessment of plant quality. to scout without bias, for ex- every 50 acres. It is always advised, she ample, looking for insects in Also be sure, she said to said, that producers walk out particular areas of the field. use the most appropriate into fields and avoid scouting Instead, she recommended sampling tool for the target through the window of their predeterming a walking path pest and to scout often. trucks. like in a “w” or “z” pattern “Beetles and leafhoppers Hodgson suggested trying and stop at least 20 times for are easily collected in sweep

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FRiday, MaRCh 22. 2013

www.farm-news.com

FaRM NewS / FoRt dodge, iowa

7d

2013 Spring Farm Edition

Yield growth depends on new practices Report: Changes must occur in inputs, production tech ST. LOUIS (RABO AGRIFINANCE) â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Increasing plant population density will be critical to growing yields in U.S. corn production, but increasing this density will be dependent on the economics farmers face as they seek to increase yields, according toa new report released Feb. 6 by researchers at the Rabobank International Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory group. The report, titled â&#x20AC;&#x153;Crowding The Fields,â&#x20AC;? finds it likely the U.S. will see one to two years of stagnant plant population growth due to high input costs and dry soils. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Corn yield growth in U.S. is reaching a key milestone as the trend of increasing plant populations per acre is challenged by limitations of the current production processes,â&#x20AC;? said Sterling Liddell, vice president with the Rabobank Food

132

-Farm News file photo

A NEW REPORT, issued Feb. 6, called for a new slate of production technology in the U.S. in order to effectively increase plant populations in order to better meet the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s growing demand for grain. and Agribusiness Research and Advisory group. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We know the confines of current equipment and production techniques will eventually challenge the ability of U.S. farmers to sustain historic yield growth trends. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Trends our global population is demanding. â&#x20AC;? The report finds the key

areas where future problems are becoming measurable in more dense plant populations include: â&#x2C6;Ť A lack of adequate precision in planting equipment. â&#x2C6;Ť Fertilization practices which can encourage nonuniform plant growth. â&#x2C6;Ť Insufficient spacing for

Need Help Planting a Crop?

Continued from Page 3D

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root systems to develop. Each of these factors alone present serious challenges to long term growth in the corn yield curve. However, taken together, these obstacles are capable of severely restricting yield growth potential over the long term. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Changes in production

necessitate increased precision in planting equipment As a result of technology developments, seed and equipment manufacturers have expressed confidence that the rate of growth in yield can double over the next 10 years. Although technology is constantly improving, the only feasible way of accomplishing this goal will be to nearly double the rate of plant population growth. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The burden ultimately lies with farm input and machinery companies being able to demonstrate the positive economic returns of a steeper investment in costs and educate farmers to optimize production practices under much denser conditions,â&#x20AC;? sa id Liddell. Reports such as â&#x20AC;&#x153;Crowding The Fieldsâ&#x20AC;? are available exclusively to clients of Rabobank and Rabo AgriFinance. The full report may be obtained by contacting Lisa Verbeck at Rabo AgriFinance.

methods take place gradually,â&#x20AC;? says Liddell. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As these changes are being implemented, growers continue to be keenly aware of increasing input costs and land values, making each decision more and more critical to maintaining a profitable operation.â&#x20AC;? Much of the equipment needed to drive the industry toward structural change exits. The bottle neck for increasing corn yields rests more on farm economics driving change rather than the technology requirement to produce at more dense population levels. In addition, the report finds a shift toward spring nitrogen application will create additional demand for urea. Specialty fertilizers, particularly nitrogen extenders, are likely to see increased demand as farmers attempt to make nutrients more available throughout the growing season. In addition, decreased plant-to-plant spacing will

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our dedication to robust genetics and long-lasting trait solutions is especially evident this year as our Optimum AQUAmax products were put to the ultimate test in the widespread drought of 2012,â&#x20AC;? Heimbaugh said. For more information about Pioneer corn hybrids and the broad range of topproducing Pioneer products, growers should contact a local Pioneer sales professionals.

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FRIDay, MaRCH 22. 2013

2013 Spring Farm Edition

Better soil management sought from farmers DNR: Iowa must reduce N, P from escaping fields By JIM KRAJEWSKI

and Land Stewardship. A total of 41 states empty WEBSTER CITY — their watersheds into the Farmers from throughout Mississippi River Basin. Lyons Creek Watershed Among them, Iowa, Ohio gathered on March 12 at and Illinois were tagged as Briggs Woods park to dis- the biggest sources of nutricuss soil health and a state- ent loads into the Gulf. sponsored All three volunteer nuthose of trient reduc“If we didn’t do states were tion strategy. this in Iowa, we told they The Lyons reduce would probably be must Creek Waternitrogen shed covers facing regulation at loss by 45 11,000 acres, and some point down percent 75 percent of phosphorus which is crop the road, maybe loss by 29 land. A waor 10 years.” percent, five tershed is an most of that —Adam Kiel reduction area that drains excess Iowa DNR from farm water from fields the area. Lyons Creek Wa- through conservation practershed drains into the tices. The other states have Boone River. lower percentage goals. Adam Kiel, a representaThe reduction is to be a tive from the Iowa Depart- voluntary effort, since the ment of Natural Resources, EPA has no authority from presented the nutrient reduc- the federal Clean Water Act, tion strategy to a couple to regulate what it calls nondozen farmers. This strategy point source pollution, such is designed to reduce the as farm land runoff. amount of nitrogen and Nitrogen leaches from the phosphorus that leaches and soil through tile lines and runsoff Iowa farm land into phosphorus escapes fields surface waters, that eventu- through water erosion. As ally empty into the Missis- these nutrients amass in the sippi River and the Gulf of Gulf, they feed algae Mexico. blooms, which causes water It was originally issued near the bloom to have low by the Gulf Hypoxia Task oxygen levels. Force, an arm of the EnviThe size of those blooms ronmental Protection depends largely on how Agency, and has been taken much nutrient runs off annuon by the DNR and the Iowa ally. Fish and other aquatic Department of Agriculture animals near the bloom die lifestyles@freemanjournal.net

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Farm News photo by Jim Krajewski

AdAm Kiel, of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, spoke on March 12 to more than 20 farmers who work land in the Lyons Creek Watershed in Hamilton County about the need for voluntary efforts to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus from reaching surface waters. from lack of oxygen. In 2010, the GHTF’s call to action led the Natural Resources Conservation Service to institute the Mississippi River Basin Initiative that involved Iowa and 12 other states — Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin. The MRBI was to target watersheds with high levels of nutrients in surface waters including the Boone River Watershed. Within the targeted areas, producers were encouraged to install a number of different land management practices and monitor the success of those

practices in reducing nutrient runoff. “With that comes the need for folks like you and other folks in the Lyons Creek Watershed to do their part to show that voluntary does work in Iowa and that we can do it,” Kiel said. While the drought helped keep nutrients in the soil last year, Kiel said, the Iowa nutrient reduction strategy calls for voluntary adoption of practices that will help reduce nutrient runoff. A side benefit is keeping those nutrient compounds on the field, requiring less expense in replacing them. Conservation practices also benefit local surface waters, said Karl Brooks,

EPA’s region 7 director, based in Kansas City, Mo. The recommended land management measures to meeting the 45 percent statewide reduction includes planting cover crops, striptilling, building terraces and buffer strips between farmland and water sources and installing bioreactors to capture and filter nitrogen from tile lines before the effluent reaches a waterway. “A lot of people in Iowa see this report, this strategy, as avoiding regulation and they’re probably right,” Kiel said. “If we didn’t do this in Iowa, we would probably be facing regulation at some point down the road, maybe five or 10 years.”

soil scientist State Richard Bednarek spoke about soil quality and health. He defined soil health as the capacity of soil to function in cycling nutrients to water and feeding growing plants. Tillage, fertilizer, livestock and pesticides can improve soil health, but can also damage it if not applied correctly. He said disturbing soil less, diversifying crops, soil covered keeping through row crop residue or growing plants, keeping living roots growing through the year helps hold nitrogen in the soil and prevents water and wind erosion.

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2013 Spring Farm  

A publication of Farm News focusing on the agricultural industry and spring farming issues.

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