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friday, March 21, 2014

farM News / fort dodge, iowa



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Prevailing weather ‘still up in the air’ expect slow planting start throughout northern iowa By KAREN SCHWALLER and


Will 2014 crops be under an El Nino, neutral or La Nina weather pattern? Depending on who is asked and on what day, all three have been predicted since mid-February. On March 11, Bryce Anderson, senior meteorologist for DTN, said the 30day Southern Oscillation Index, the formula used as an indication of the development and intensity of El Nino or La Nina events in the Pacific Ocean, has indicated an El Nino pattern since mid-February. El Nino tends to bring moderate and wetter weather to the Corn Belt, and La Nina brings volatile wideshifting weather conditions, as it did for 18 months in 2011 and 2012. 2013’s crop season was under neutral conditions. Before mid-February, Anderson said, the SOI was indicating La Nina. On March 12, Dr. Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University’s climatologist, asserted that “many of the factors we have today tend to be moving toward a weak La Nina. “We don’t really know before April 15 because things can change so suddenly as spring arrives,” he said. He said with indicators moving toward La Nina the start of the season could feature volatile weather. Taylor has predicted a return to La Nina conditions since January. If he’s right, Taylor said the Corn Belt can expect a fifth consecutive belowtrend yield year. “La Nina means we’re under highly volatile and variable weather conditions,” he said. “We should expect extremes where the highs are higher, lows are lower, dry conditions are dryer,and wet conditions are wetter.” According to the International Research Institute for

Bryce Anderson

Elwynn Taylor

Climate and Society, based at Columbia University, in New York, the SOI is showing: ∫ A 50 percent chance of a neutral weather pattern from early-March through June. ∫ A 50 percent chance the neutral pattern will persist from June through August, but a 45 percent chance for El Nino. ∫ A 50 percent chance of El Nino and 45 percent chance of neutral for September. ∫ A 53 percent chance for El Nino and 41 percent chance for neutral through the end of harvest season. “The forecasts for late summer hint toward El Nino,” Taylor said, “and if it takes 30 to 45 days for the weather patterns to develop El Nino-like all the way through the Corn Belt, it’s too late to be helpful for our row crops in the Midwest “It would be helpful to our forage crops, pastures and for our last cuttings of hay, perhaps, and definitely helpful to our crops for 2015.” Anderson said the uncertainty is due to rapid SOI fluctuations. “We’ve seen the Pacific go back and forth quite a bit in the past two years,” he said. “It’s a perplexing state of affairs to have a series of head fakes in these trends. “It’s not been a factor historically.” Late planting? Anderson said a broad trough across Canada will likely keep temperatures and precipitation below normal through today. He expects the northern half of Iowa will see a slow start to planting since the

-Farm News photo by Larry Kershner

THE SNOW COVER across north central iowa has ben thin enough it fails to cover corn stubble. with the extreme cold temperatures from the winter, the frost level in areas is well below the 2-foot mark, meaning planting may be delayed while the deep frost thaws, coupled with whatever rains falls in april.

Ninth coldest winter

-Graphic courtesy of U.S. Drought Monitor

THE LATEST DROUGHT monitor map for iowa, released on March 13, shows that much of the farm News coverage area has improved from the previous month with severe drought areas in dark brown comprising of the counties of southeast sac, all of calhoun, southwest webster and northern halves of carroll and greene. the bright yellow area indicates abnormally dry conditions and the light brown indicates moderate drought conditions. frost levels go as deep in regions as 4 feet. “The biggest issue,” Anderson said, “is there’s more concern to plant on time. “A situation developing over south central Canada will bring a few rains to hold things back. “I’m not expecting the hardships of 2013 planting, but it’s going to be one of those years where more planting will be done in May, not so much in April.” Taylor said June is typi-

cally the wettest month of the growing season, and during years when extremes are part of the weather pattern, rains could be heavy, washing out seedlings and soil. He said spring freezing conditions are also more prevalent during extreme years. “The soils have been very cold because of all the cold nights we’ve had,” Taylor said. “We’ve measured frost as deep as 4 feet in over two-thirds of the

state of Iowa.” Taylor said the spring warm-up occurs from two ways. The first is from the sun shining on top of the ground, helping to warm the earth from the top down, and the second is from the warm earth below the frozen ground — warming the ground from the bottom up. “The earth is 50 degrees down below the frost,” said See WEATHER, Page 3C

According to Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, the 2013-2014 winter is the ninth-coldest on record in Iowa. “We’ve got 141 years of statewide winter temperature averages,” Hillaker said, “from Dec. 1 to Feb 28, that begin with the winter of 18731874.” The top 10 coldest winters are: Avg. Year temp ∫ 1874-1875 11.5 ∫ 1935-1936 12.3 ∫ 1884-1885 12.5 ∫ 1978-1979 12.5 ∫ 1886-1887 13.2 ∫ 1880-1881 14.0 ∫ 1977-1978 14.2 ∫ 1892-1893 14.5 ∫ 2013-2014 14.6 ∫ 1887-1888 15.1 The 141-year average temperature, Hillaker said, is 21.9 degrees. The warmest winter was 1877-1878 at an average 32.0 degrees. The state ranking may differ from other sources, Hillaker said, since federal stats only go back to 1895.

Alfalfa production and winter injury due to cold temperatures BROOKINGS, S.D. (SDSU) — Cold temperatures and lack of snow cover are the two issues concerning alfalfa growers as they consider their 2014 crop. Their worries may be for naught, said Karla Hernandez, SDSU Extension forages field specialist. “Although the alfalfa plant could die if exposed to extremely cold temperatures,” she said. “In general, alfalfa plants can tolerate up to three weeks of winter injury before the plants are killed. She added that the window of safety shrinks if soil


-Contributed photo

THERE MAY BE less alfalfa winter kill than hay producers are fearing, said Karla hernandez, a south dakota state University extension forage specialist. fields that aren’t too old and were not cut late in the season have a good chance of surviving the 20132014 brutal cold temperatures, she said. temperatures are near freezing, but is longer if the soil is colder. “This is primarily due to the plant being forced into a

deeper dormancy when the soil is colder,” she said. “The plant is therefore less likely to leave dormancy in early-spring conditions, and

hence becoming susceptible to an early frost. Factors that could negatively affect alfalfa plants this winter include: ∫ Stand age: Older stands are more likely to winterkill than younger plants. ∫ Soil pH: Stands in soils with a pH above 6.6 are less likely to experience winter injury. ∫ Soil fertility: Stands planted in soils with high natural fertility are less likely to experience winter injury than those with low fertility. ∫ Variety: Alfalfa varieties with superior winter

hardiness ratings and a high disease resistance index are less likely to experience winter injury. ∫ Cutting management: Harvest frequency and timing of fall cutting will affect alfalfa winter hardiness. The general trend shows that the shorter the interval between cuttings during the growing season, the greater risk of winter injury. An aggressive harvest schedule prevents the plant from storing carbohydrates in its root structure which it will need to maintain health as it regrows. Stands in which last cutting is taken between Sept.

1 and Oct. 15 are at greatest risk, as plants did not have enough time to accumulate adequate carbohydrate levels in the root system before winter. ∫ Snow cover: Snow provides insulation to the plants and the crown. The crucial temperature region is 2 to 4 inches below the soil surface where a large part of the root structure is located. Stands that have at least 6 inches of stubble left will be able to retain more snow cover and be less susceptible to winter injury. See ALFALFA, Page 3C

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Farm News / Fort DoDge, Iowa

FrIDay, marCh 21, 2014

2014 Spring Farm Edition

USDA: Pork industry in modest expansion Despite lower numbers, market weights are heavier URBANA, Ill. (University of Illinois) — According to Purdue University Extension economist Chris Hurt, much cheaper feed has led the pork industry to begin an expansion that is expected to continue throughout this year. This current expansion means that pork supplies will begin to grow more rapidly in the last half of 2014. Feed prices are expected to remain moderate with corn prices only increasing seasonally into the summer and then dropping again with a normal 2014 harvest. Soybean meal prices should move downward for most of the year as South American supplies come to market in the latewinter and spring, and then as larger U.S. soybean acreage continues to put downward pressure on meal prices through the fall. What will pork supplies be in 2014? USDA reports the current number of market hogs to be down fractionally, but weights are expected to run about 2 percent higher and result in a 1 to 2 percent increase in pork production for the first half of 2014. “Farrowing intentions for this winter and coming spring are up 1 to 2 percent,” Hurt said. “With pigs per litter about 1.5 percent higher and heavier weights, pork production in the last half of 2014

will be up nearly 4 percent. Pork production is likely to continue to expand into 2015.” Hurt said that while farrowing intentions are up, USDA’s estimate of the breeding herd was down by 62,000 head, or 1 percent. The declines were led by western Corn Belt states of Iowa (-30,000 head), Minnesota (-10,000) and Missouri (-5,000). A possible explanation for why pork producers were not as optimistic in those areas is reduced corn yields in those states. Most states east of the Mississippi had record corn yields in 2013. “Pork demand in 2014 should remain strong based on limited competitive domestic meats and strong export demand,” Hurt said. Total meat supplies (beef, pork, chicken, and turkey) will undergo little change in 2014, Hurt said. Chicken production will rise about 3 percent and turkey about 2 percent. However, beef supplies are expected to drop 6 percent as a small calf crop and heifer retention will drag down beef slaughter numbers. Retail pork prices will be much lower than beef and will thus continue to pull some consumption away from beef at the retail counter. USDA analysts expect pork export demand to increase by 4 percent and

-Farm News file photo

AS WEATHER WARMS and the spread of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus is expected to slow, the pork industry is expected to see an expansion in numbers to take advantage of rising market places.

“Pork demand in 2014 should remain strong based on limited competitive domestic meats and strong export demand.” —Chris Hurt Purdue University Extension economist

represent nearly 22 percent of total production. Live hog prices averaged about $65 in 2013 and are expected to increase to about $66 for 2014. The highest prices are expected in the second and

third quarters with averages of $69 and $71, respectively. With the increasing production in the late summer and fall, hog prices will drop back below year-previous levels. “Much lower costs of

protein soybean meal averaged about $440 a ton last year dropping to an estimated $395 a ton in 2014. “Profits for 2014 are estimated at $27 per head, the most profitable year since 2005 for pork producers,” Hurt said. “Profit margins are expected to narrow in the fall of 2014 and into 2015 as pork supplies increase. However, returns still look to be profitable at least until the fall of 2015. This positive outlook should provide the foundation for additional expansion throughout 2014.”


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friday, march 21, 2014

farm NewS / fort dodge, iowa


2014 Spring Farm Edition

ILF hosting spring cover crops workshop, field day Speakers include farmers’ experiences managing cover crops ARCADIA — Iowa Learning Farms, as part of the Iowa Cover Crops Working Group, will host four cover crop workshops across Iowa in March and April, including one in the Farm News coverage area. That event is set from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on April

8 at the Neil Vonnahme farm, 13628 220th St., in Arcadia. Preregistration is required by Tuesday by calling the Carroll County Natural Resources Conservation Service office at (712) 7921212, Ext. 3. The event is free. A complimentary lunch

Weather Taylor. “That’s why places that have been lucky enough to have a foot of snow on the ground have an insulating blanket of sorts, and the ground will warm up faster, reaching 50 degrees. “The soil has to be at 50 degrees before corn and soybeans can germinate — that’s the soil threshold temperature.” On Feb. 10 in Dakota City and on Feb. 13 in Fort Dodge, Taylor told audiences that there is water warming in the North Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Alaska. This warming, he said, tends to push moisture in the form of snow and rain up through the Yukon, lessening Iowa’s chances for rain. On Feb. 17 reported a La Nina pattern is developing and will reveal itself after a wet-

Alfalfa In scouting for winter injury, Henderson said, “Once the snow cover melts walk through pastures and assess them for potential problems.” Stands which are slow to green up, she said, compare to other fields in the area. “If you notice that some areas are starting to grow and other areas of your al-


will be served. When added to a cornsoybean rotation, cover crops can help reduce nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering surface water, increase soil organic matter, and reduce soil erosion. As part of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy,

when cover crops are used in combination with other conservation management practices, point and nonpoint source pollution is reduced. Other conservation management practices include strip-tillage or no-tillage, grassed waterways, extended crop rotations, installing

buffers, wetlands and bioreactors. Topics at the workshops range from using cover crop mixtures, selecting the right cover crop for the farm operation, using them to enhance soil and water quality and effects on soil health. Speakers include farmers who plant cover crops and experts from Iowa State University Extension, NRCS

and Practical Farmers of Iowa. The Iowa Cover Crop Working Group’s goal is to increase the amount of living cover on Iowa agricultural lands. The group provides a unified voice from academia, non-profit and industry sectors on the importance of cover crops and use in cropping systems.

possibilities. “There’s not a La Nina or El Nino in place yet,” Taylor said, “but with soil moisture conditions and activity going on over the oceans, indications show the possibility of an above-trendline yield for the first time in four years.” Trendline yield for 2014 corn is 160 bushels per acre across the nation. Soybeans, he said, are difficult to predict since latesummer precipitation heavily dictates the way they yield. “If we see ourselves getting into a La Nina pattern by mid-April, then chances of an above-trendline yield for corn and soybeans becomes increasingly remote, and it sets us up for the fifth summer of below-trendline,” Taylor said. He added that there is still

plenty of time for the pattern to turn around. The sun needs to be in the Northern Hemisphere for a couple of weeks in order for the pattern to come into place and control the weather.

Continued from Page 1C

ter-than-normal spring. Taylor told both gatherings that if the La Nina pattern develops after planting he expects a national yield average in corn at 166 bushels per acre. That would be 4 bushels higher than trendline. If the La Nina develops prior to planting, the national yield had a 70 percent chance of being below trendline. If that happens, it will be the fifth consecurtive year of below-trend yields. Anderson said he sees no problems ahead for harvest that adversely affect marketing. “It’s really hard to see a (late-season) weather concern that would make the trade concerned more than a day or two,” he said. “The trade has had so much thrown at it over the past few years, it kind of

“We can now expect 100-year flood levels every 17 years.” —Dr. Elwynn Taylor ISU climatolgist

shrugs it off.” Taylor said the 20132014 winter is the third year of an 18-year trend of volatile winters. “The weather,” he said of the next decade or so, “will resemble the weather we had in the 1950s.” All this is leading to a Dust Bowl-like year in 2025. Drought monitor Taylor said as California sees its way through its worst drought on record, the

U.S. Drought Monitor shows the Midwest to be in an “insipient” drought — “just on the edge of being real,” he said. “We’re not out of the woods on the possibility that we could still experience a drought.” He said extreme years could provide any number of outcomes once the rain starts, or once it stops. Taylor said because weather predictors don’t yet have a definitive forecast for the year, it makes it difficult to predict Corn Belt yield

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Continued from Page 1C falfa field still brown,” she said, “it is time to check those brown stands for injury or death. “Winter-killed roots will have a gray appearance. “If the root is soft and water can be easily squeezed from it, or it has a brown color, it is a probable sign of winter cold-related death.” Asymmetrical growth


New Corn Belt But in the meantime, climate change has created more water in rivers and creeks. “We can now expect 100-year flood levels every 17 years,” Taylor said. Looking at a map of corn production, Taylor said climate change altered the traditional Corn Belt in 2013. He said 18 states harvested record corn yields — all of them were east of the Mississippi River. Traditional Corn Belt states west of the river harvested below their states’ average yields.

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and uneven growth are also two indicators of winter injury. “Compare the shoots on the same plant,” Hernandez said. “If you notice that one set of the shoots seems to be drastically outperforming another in terms of growth, it could be that winter cold damaged the bud structure of your plants.”

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FaRM NEWs / FoRt DoDgE, IoWa

FRIDay, MaRCH 21, 2014

2014 Spring Farm Edition

New cost-share set for nutrient reduction By LARRY KERSHNER

Fertilizer calculator available

CLARION — Cover crops, reduced tillage, bioreactors, wetlands, buffer strips — none of these land management practices are new ideas for Iowa farmers — but a new cost-share program designed to get farmers to use them, or expand their use, was introduced Feb. 27 and Feb. 28 in two north central Iowa locations. Just in time for 2014 crop season planning, a total of $4.1 million over the next three years was state-funded in December 2013 for farmers to meet the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy goals — reduce the rates of nitrate and phosphorus escaping into surface waters. A total of eight small watersheds were targeted as demonstration projects including three in the Farm News coverage area — the West Branch of the Floyd River in Sioux County; Prairie Creek in Kossuth County and Eagle Creek in Wright County. Eagle Creek, said Bruce Voigts, project coordinator for the Boone River Watershed Nutrient Management Initiative, is primarily contained within Wright County, but also drains two Hamilton County sections. The Prairie and Eagle Creek projects are part of the Boone River initiative, Voigts said, who works out of the Clarion office of the Natural Resources and Conservation Service. The Feb. 27 meeting in Algona and the Feb. 28 meeting in Clarion outlined for producers, who farm along both creeks, the costshare available to them for implementing land management practices that are known to reduce nutrients from getting into rivers. In Clarion, Mike Naig, Iowa’s deputy secretary of agriculture, said the effort attracted 30 other organizations as partners that added another $8 million to the state’s funds to kickstart the eight demonstration projects. Noting agriculture is an essential part of the state’s economy — it’s responsible for one-fourth of the state’s gross domestic product and for one in every six jobs — Naig said Iowa is a national leader in ag products produced and in ag sales volumes. “But soil is our No. 1 natural resource,” he said. The INRS was introduced to

-Farm News photos by Larry Kershner

SIXTY-SIX PEOPLE attended the Feb. 28 Boone River Watershed Nutrient Management Initiative meeting in Clarion, hosted by Hagie Manufacturing Co.

BRUCE VOIGTS, project coordinator for the Eagle Creek Initiative, holds a sample of how deep winter rye roots go to explain to producers the benefits of planting cover crops just ahead of or following fall harvest.

AMBER KOHLHAAS, communications manager for Hagie Manufacturing Co., in Clarion, discusses one of two cover crop drills Hagie has been testing for two years. Kohlhaas said Hagie plans to make a handful of this models for retail sale in 2014 for custom-seeding work. It features rollers to get better seed-tosoil contact.

Iowans in March 2013. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave all 30 states drained by the Mississippi River Basin certain goals for reducing nitrates and phosphorus in the river system. Iowa, Illinois and Indiana were identified as the three worst states

for nitrate escapes, while Missouri and Illinois were the two worst states for phosphorus escapes with Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas as the second-worst states for phosphorus pollution. Iowa’s goal for nitrate reduc-

tion is 45 percent and phosphorus reduction by 29 percent. “This is a voluntary, sciencebased approach,” Naig said of the cost-share efforts to meet EPA’s nutrient reduction goals for Iowa. “You get to choose the practices on your farm.

Mark Johnson, ISU agronomist for ISU Extension’s Region 7, told farmers at a Feb. 28 meeting in Clarion of an online corn and nitrogen calculator Mark to help them de- Johnson termine how much fertilizer to apply. “It shows the optimal rate,” Johnson said, “compared to the cost of fertilizer, compared to the anticipated corn price at point of sale. The web address is “Regional and operational needs differ, and this give you flexibility,” he said. If Iowa fails to meet the EPA’s nutrient reduction goals, it will lead to heavy-handed, one-sizefits all regulations that will be detrimental to many farming operations, Naig said. Practices Leading the list of practices is cover crops, said Iowa Soybean Association’s Adam Kiel. Iowa State University tests have proven that with cover crops, especially winter rye, reduces nitrates escape through tile lines by 30 percent; and phosphorus escapes through less soil erosion between 29 and 37 percent. Cover crops alone, Kiel said, “won’t match the INRS goals, but they are part of a suite of practices that can reach the goal when used in combination.” For nitrate reduction these include: ∫ Bioreactors — 43 percent. ∫ Buffers — 91 percent. ∫ Wetlands — 52 percent. ∫ Split fertilizer applications — 10 percent. See COST SHARE, Page 5C

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fRIday, maRch 21, 2014

faRm NewS / foRt dodge, Iowa


2014 Spring Farm Edition

Eight watershed demonstration projects sited in Iowa Projects will focus on adoption of practices outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy DES MOINES — Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced in December 2013 that eight watershed demonstration projects have been selected to receive $4.1 million in funding through the Iowa water quality initiative over the next three years. In addition to the state funds, the eight projects will provide more than $8 million in matching funds to support water quality improvement efforts. The eight projects are within the large priority watersheds identified by the Iowa Water Resources Coordinating Council, which include the Floyd, Boone, South Skunk, Skunk, Middle Cedar and Turkey rivers. The demonstration watersheds selected drain 605,774 acres. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received a total of 17 demonstration project applications. All were reviewed by a

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THIS MAP SHOWS the eight impaired watersheds being targeted for cost-share funds for holding and diverting nitrate and phosphorus from getting into Iowa’s surface waters. committee including repre- Department of Natural Re- vice, University of Northern sentatives from IDALS, sources, USDA-Natural Re- Iowa, and the University of Iowa State University, Iowa sources Conservation Ser- Iowa.

Cost share ∫ Nitrification inhibitors — 9 percent. ∫ Living mulches — 41 percent. For phosphorus reduction these include: ∫ No till with 70 percent residue — 90 percent. ∫ Buffers — 58 percent. ∫ Pasture conversion — 59 percent. Retiring land from grain production will also meet the INRS requirement. Karen Wilke, of the Nature Conservancy, said her organization has funding for restoring five oxbow lakes in 2014 along the two watersheds. “Oxbows work to filter nitrates similar to wetlands,” Wilke said. An oxbow refurbishing project along White Fox Creek was completed in December 2011, just north



The committee made recommendations that were used by IDALS in selecting the projects to be funded. Additional rounds of funding for new watershed demonstration projects are expected next year. The projects within the Farm News coverage area are: ∫ Boone River Watershed Nutrient Management Initiative: Grant award: $1 million; total project: $1.85 million. Wright County Soil and Water Conservation District, has assembled a broad group of partners to help implement a demonstration project in two watersheds. Public and private groups will demonstrate practices and approaches outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. The foundation of the project will be to develop and promote “Farmer Champions” as advocates of implementing conservation practices by providing an example for others to follow.

∫ West Branch of the Floyd River Water Quality Initiative. Grant award: $360,000; total project: $608,000. The project leader is Sioux County SWCD. The West Branch of the Floyd River Water Quality Initiative will showcase nutrient reduction practices with a special emphasis on accelerating the adoption across a broad cross-section of the agricultural community. The project engages both public and private agricultural entities to foster adoption of a variety of conservation practices. This watershed boasts the largest concentration of livestock production in the state. The practices outlined will help address livestockrelated concerns by comparing conventional practices to implemented conservation practices to increase awareness and foster adoption.

Continued from Page 4C

Cost sharing available for nutrient reduction practices Farmers living along Prairie Creek (in Kossuth County) and Eagle Creek (in Wright County) watersheds within the Boone River Initiative can get cost-share for implementing land management practices to reduce the loads of nitrogen and phosphorus reaching the Boone River. This includes: ∫ Cover crops: $35 per acre for one-year; $38.89 per acre for multiple years. ∫ Cover crops with nutrient management: $58.34 or more per acre for a one-year payment. ∫ Strip-till/no-till: $35 per acre for one-year; $9.29 per acre for multiple years. ∫ Nutrient management planning: $12.44 per acre. ∫ Bioreactors: $4,000 per site ∫ Wetlands: Varies by design. ∫ Nitrogen stabilizers: $3 per acre. ∫ Buffers: Varies by design. ∫ Waterways: Varies by design. ∫ Pasture management: Varies by design. of the Hamilton and Wright county line, three miles east of Woolstock. Wilke said oxbow

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“What happens here will be instructive to farmers across the state.” —Mike Naig Iowa deputy secretary of agriculture

vancy will be contacting producers who have oxbow lakes to determine their interest in restoring them. “They generally do not compete with production crop land,” she said. Example for others “There’s an opportunity here,” said Naig, for farmers “to learn how best to implement these practices and take ownership for the nutrients that escape their fields. “What happens here will

be instructive to farmers across the state.” When asked how to convince farmers there are better practices compared to their long-held farming practices, Naig said: “The major selling point is the economics of these practices,” he said. “It’s these incentives that get them started.” With more nitrogen and phosphorus being retained in fields, the less inputs farmers will need and still produce good yields.


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FRIDAy, MARCh 21, 2014

2014 Spring Farm Edition

Panel: Serious challenges face farming Calls for farmers to good marketing, consumer education, be conservation minded By KAREN SCHWALLER

SPENCER — A group of ag commodity leaders gathered Feb. 18 at the 30th annual Northwest Iowa Ag Outlook, in Spencer, to encourage producers to speak out and become active in educating people about agriculture. They outlined challenges as diseases, livestock management practices, competition for corn and soybeans from other countries, getting young farmers established in their careers and seeing the threat of commodity crops becoming vertically integrated. Panelists included leaders from both state and national grain and livestock commodities, along with a representative from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. As a whole, the panelists encouraged producers to: âˆŤ Get involved in educating consumers. âˆŤ Follow existing regulatory laws. âˆŤ Seek ways to solve problems before the government sets one-size-fits-all regulations. âˆŤ Continue to produce high-quality grain and livestock so export demand will remain high. âˆŤ Make agriculture attractive to draw young generations back to the farm. âˆŤ Contribute toward finding ways to make farms more profitable for everyone. âˆŤ Use technology to their benefit. âˆŤ Tell the story of agriculture.

-Farm News photos by Karen Schwaller

SPONSORED BY THE Ag Committee of the Spencer Area Chamber of Commerce, seven grain and livestock state and national leaders gathered on Feb. 18 to speak about issues in their industries. From left are Brian Kemp, Jim Stillman, Greg Lear, Ed Greiman, Bruce Rohwer, Steve Roe and Pam Johnson.

THREE NORTHWEST IOWA area commodity leaders were among seven repof resented at the Northwest Iowa Ag Outlook, Feb. 18, in Spencer. From left are GREG LEAR, Brian Kemp, president of the Iowa Soybean Association; Jim Stillman, past chair Spencer, immediate past president of the Iow Pork of the United Soybean Association. Producers Association, meeting future demands for won’t reclaim those acres, He said Third World said the U.S. Meat Export U.S. soybeans. but we’ll be focusing on our countries are steadily devel- Federation is doing “a “We see a boom in popu- involvement with research oping their production agri- great job of promoting lation in China and South- and management practices.� culture practices, and it cre- U.S. pork overseas.� east Asia and other counProducers and ISA need ates more competition for tries,� Kemp said, “and as to be proactive to determine U.S. soybean exports. selecting seeds that are high the standard of living raises what it takes to meet the American Soybean Asso- not only in yield, but oil in a society, they tend to Iowa Nutrient Reduction ciation officials who have content, because that’s what have a higher demand for Strategy requirements, toured overseas markets other countries want most. pork and soybeans. Kemp said. emphasize to those leaders “We want to do this in an “If we don’t do that,� he that U.S. soybeans are “the Pork environmentally friendly said, “we’ll more than like- best in the world� because Greg Lear, of Spencer, standard.� ly be regulated, and regulat- of it high oil and protein immediate past president of Kemp said Iowa has lost ing is not the answer.� content. the Iowa Pork Producers 1.6 million acres of soyJim Stillman, of EmmetsStillman said it makes Association, said challenges beans since 2001. burg and past chairman of U.S. soybeans No. 1 in facing the pork industry are “It’s one of those things the United Soybean Board, amino acids. consumers who are not eduthat creep up on you, and said animal agriculture is Stillman said U.S. soy- cated on American pork you don’t know it’s happen- Iowa’s No. 1 domestic and bean producers should production practices and ing,� he said. “We probably international program. choose their seed carefully, food safety, along with

Soybeans Brian Kemp, a grain grower from Sibley and president of the Iowa Soybean Association, said the main concern of ISA is



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Beef cattle Ed Greiman, a Garner cattleman and president of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, said steady growth is occurring in the cattle industry in the northern U.S., but cow-calf producers are seeing challenges in finding enough grassland. “Everywhere I go,� Greiman said, “our No. 1




porcine epidemic diarrhea virus. “PED has been raising Cain in sow units,� Lear said. “If you have 1,000 sows, take that times 2.1 and that’s the approximate number of pigs you will lose. “Today, Isowean pigs are worth $90, so that’s a lot of money left on the table for our producers.� Isowean is a term referring to a protocol of management that includes medicating the sow and the piglets, an early weaning age, movement of pigs to an offsite nursery and maintaining a strict all-in-all-out protocol in the nursery barns. Lear said the industry is also challenged by the Humane Society of United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who question animal agriculture practices. He said activists started with the chicken industry and went directly into hogs, and guessed the cattle industry will most likely be next. Lear said the positive side is the U.S. Meat Export Federation is doing “a good job of promoting U.S. pork overseas,� saying they are “our boots on the ground� in foreign countries. About 25 percent of all U.S. pork products are exported.









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friday, March 21, 2014

farM NEwS / fort dodgE, iowa


2014 Spring Farm Edition


Continued from Page 6C

competitor to grassland is the government,” he said. the Conservation Reserve Program “is hard on our cow-calf guys, so one of my goals is to figure out a way to work on that.” Greiman said cow-calf operations are a good way for young producers to get into the cattle industry, but they will need both adequate grassland and working capital. “It’s so hard to enter the industry,” he said, adding that young farmers need to have access to capital, and knowledge of — and access to — guaranteed government loan programs. Bruce Rohwer, of Paullina and chairman of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, told producers the information revolution of today can help or hurt them. Integrating crops “As we move forward

“(People) are getting scared because all they’re hearing is from that small, loud voice of the activists, turning them against agriculture and eating meat.” —Pam Johnson Past president, Iowa Corn Growers Association

with improved technology we open the door to a different economic structure,” Rohwer said. “We’ve seen it in the hog industry. “When times get tight, the ability of advanced technology to solve problems enables margins to be shrunk on a per-unit basis to the point where you can be economically viable through increased volume, and it takes a lot of capital. “therefore, in tough times, you could have large corporations say we’ll give you so much an acre for our corn plant,

and we would be down the road to vertical integration, just like we’ve seen in livestock.” Rohwer said market edges could be affected if field data was absorbed immediately into supercomputers in real time. “We need to make sure we have a system that each one of us can utilize,” Rohwer said. “We need to make sure it’s a system that’s open so we can get the benefit just as much as the ABCs of the grain world, because if we are given the opportunity to compete, we won’t

have to be the servant — we can continue to be the entrepreneur.” Renewable fuels Steve Roe, of Marcus, general manager of little Sioux Corn Processors, and board member of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, said agriculture’s challenge is that the farming community is less populated and has less support than it used to have. “People really, truly don’t think we have much value to them,” he said. “(People in large metropolitan areas) don’t under-

stand what we do and don’t understand how important agriculture is to the well-being of this country. “We have to keep educating people up and down the line, to what we do.” Roe said the Renewable Fuels Standard is important to agriculture, saying it’s about 10 percent of the nation’s fuel supply on the gasoline side. “We continue to get more efficient — we’re going to have to,” he said. “We’re fortunate this year to have a market overseas for our ethanol. “Exports have been recently good at 700 to 750 million gallons for this calendar year. If it wasn’t for exports, this industry wouldn’t be doing as well as it is. “We’re extremely competitive in the world market.”

Corn Pam Johnson, of Floyd and past president of the national Corn Growers Association, said as producers continue to grow more corn, demand growth needs to keep pace. She said farm women and men need to speak out in order to quiet the fear factor that has been created by those who are not knowledgeable about animal and grain production. “(People) are getting scared because all they’re hearing is from that small, loud voice of the activists, turning them against agriculture and eating meat,” she said. “Every one of us needs to use your voice to speak up.” the event took place at the Clay County Regional Events Center and was sponsored by the Spencer Area Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee.

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Elkton, Md. — MidAtlantic Services announced on Jan. 22 the addition of the CdS-John Blue Electronic liquid Blockage Monitoring System to its product line. this monitoring system alerts the operator to noflow and low-flow problems in the tractor without having to turn around to inspect gauges. this allows for immediate correction which saves money, before yields are diminished. A flow monitor in the cab delivers both a visual cue as well as an audible alarm. A flashing lEd light points out the row where the problem exists. MAS President Mike Boyle described this as a valuable device. -Contributed photo “By identifying the probThe CDS-John Blue Electronic Liquid Blockage Monitoring System alerts operators to liquid application lem as it happens,” Boyle problems for immediate correction. said, “farmers can make the


correction right away during liquid application. “the CdS-John Blue monitoring system can be used with cloudy or dark liquids. “this is a huge improvement that will have a significant impact for our customers when placing liquid fertilizer while planting or sidedressing.” the lBMS can be shown on a standard-wired display in the cab. A free app for the iPad is also available from the Apple App Store. Established in 1986, MidAtlantic Services designs, manufactures and supports a large array of liquid handling products for the agriculture, lawn care, golf course, and highway maintenance industries. It also offers a complete pump repair facility with skilled service technicians and fast turn around.

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FaRM News / FoRt DoDge, Iowa

FRIDay, MaRCh 21, 2014

2014 Spring Farm Edition Grain outlook —

Party’s over, but farming continues Commodities see modest gains since early January By CLAYTON RYE


MASON CITY — In the words of Willie Nelson in 1967, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.” This wouldn’t be the first time grain producers have heard that the party is over as they make plans for 2014. A year ago, corn growers could contract their remaining 2012 corn for $7.35 and new crop fall 2013 for $5.14 at the North Iowa Co-op locations around the Mason City area. A year ago, farmers enjoyed the combination of a positive basis and high prices. Today, basis levels are negative and prices are well below a year ago. Farmers are aware that those record high markets they enjoyed since 2004 had to end sometime. Market data from North Iowa Co-op’s website at, shows as of March 5 corn had a 3year average price of $5.95. Soybeans’ average 3-year price was $13.61. However, markets have improved since harvest. March 2014 delivery corn had a low of $3.94 on Nov. 18, 2013. The North Iowa Co-op has corn priced as of March 5 at $4.58 cash and $4.38 for new crop fall delivery. New crop corn for this fall had a low of $3.91 on Jan. 9 and was $4.38 on March 5. March 2014 delivery soybeans as of March 6 was at $13.73 after a low of $11.12 on Aug. 7, 2103. New crop beans for fall delivery are $11.13. With prices rebounding, the next question to ask is how high will they go and how long will the rebound last? Virg Robinson, of

-Farm News file photos

MARKET ANALYSTS say a $2 jump in soybeans THE CRISIS IN Ukraine is credited for a bump in corn since January is indicative of the commodity being exports, adding 30 cents per bushel, since Russian over bought, which may slow export demands. troops invaded the country on March 1.

Farmers need more than just crop insurance Risk management includes smart marketing as well JOHNSTON — According to Virg Robinson, of DuPont Pioneer, based in Johnston, quoting Iowa State University climatologist Dr. Elwynn Taylor, there is concern about the prospect of below-trend yields created by adverse weather in the mid-region of the Corn Belt. “When you listen to Dr. Taylor,” Robinson said, “it speaks volumes about the importance of crop insurance. “It has to be employed with whatever risk-mitigation tools producers use. “It’s been my experience over the last many years, most producers do not employ many risk-management tools, beside crop insurance.” He said such risk-management tools include futures marketing — buying puts and calls and hedges. “It’s a lack of education,” he said, “they sound inhibiting, but they aren’t as complicated as one might believe. DuPont Pioneer, based in Johnston, thinks market signals in general are bearish overall. “A lot of things can happen between now and the availability of the crop we’re blessed to grow this season,” Robinson said, “all of which evolves around weather. “Based on data we can all look at and speak to is this

recent USDA Ag Outlook Forum their balance sheets in both corn and soybeans — planted and harvested acres, yield factor, and their total disappearance — both (commodities) look for a year-over-year increase in ending stocks. “So at face value, those are not bullish, but rather bearish.”

However, they do require an effort to become educated.” Using options on the futures markets in combination with crop insurance can help mitigate risks and lock in margins. “When you move from an era of tight supplies,” Robinson said, “to one of larger supplies, historically margins get tighter. And I think that’s the area we’re headed toward, tighter margins. “We have some folks with unusually high inputs and fixed costs, like high land rents, that can be much more challenging for someone who is more leveraged. “But increasing productivity is still a major way for farmers to cover the gaps of their input costs. If that gap’s not covered, they’ll have trouble servicing their debt, thus putting lenders at risk.” Soybeans Craig Backhaus, grain merchandiser for North Iowa Co-op, working out of Thornton, said the grain market is currently “on fire” and that the “market is over bought.” Soybeans have gone from $12.60 at the end of January to $14.60 as of the close on March 11. “Old crop soybeans are


on a mission to slow export demand,” said Backhaus. Backhaus said a correction is due anytime. The funds, he said, have been long for weeks in beans and continue to build a big position. For soybeans, he is cautious for the near-term and cautiously optimistic longterm. According to Robinson,

the price jump is due primarily because since midFebruary private analysts have taken the top off the South American soybean harvest due to weather events. What was once deemed a large number, record Robinson said, is now whittled to large. Weather events, Robinson said, hit in select Brazilian regions with copious amounts of rain. As a result, “the private industry has lopped off 500 million metric tons from what the USDA has suggested in February at 90 mmt,” he said. That’s a significant amount, he said, especially in a market where U.S. supplies are not categorized as burdensome, which are tight by historic measurements. Backhaus said he was cautious about new crop soybeans because of the large South America yield, plus a cool, wet spring could add to U.S. soybean acres. Robinson said tight old crop supplies, coupled with expectations of “quite a few acres this spring being sown with soybeans and the prospect of what could be in the U.S. a record large crop” created an inverse market. When a market loses its carry, occurring when spot prices, or inter crop prices become higher in the nearer months, than the future crops, this is described as a market inverse, or backwardation, or bull spreads Analysts are expecting farmers to plant 79.5 million soybean acres this year, according to USDA’s Ag Outlook Forum, which would be 3 million above last year. “Most private analysts,” Robinson said, “including the majority of ag econ-type folks, are suggesting the soybean acres will be even larger than that, somewhere in the low 80-million-acre level.” That prospect, he said, is keeping new crop futures prices “more in line and in See GRAIN, Page 9C

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Farm News / Fort dodge, Iowa


2014 Spring Farm Edition


Continued from Page 8C

check and significantly below the old-crop value.” The price ratios in the futures between new corn and new soybeans, he said, “is suggesting more soybean acres, hands down.” With established insurance prices for 2014 — corn at $4.62 and beans at $11.65 — “I think we’ll see a significant increase in soybean acres in the U.S,” Robinson said. He expects most of the soybean acres will be planted in the Corn Belt. “So we have in the marketplace a price inverse,” Robinson said. “I’ve witnessed many inverses in soybeans and corn, and it’s been my experience that all those inverses eventually give way to a significant increase in supply and the market adjusts back to its more normal state — which is a state of carry. “The signal here is clear. The market’s discouraging immediate delivery and paying a premium for delivery at a later date in the crop year.”

Corn Corn has been benefiting from strong exports, said Backhaus, with recent developments in Ukraine adding 30 cents to a bushel of corn. Ukraine is the third-largest exporter of corn and until its situation is settled, the world will come to the U.S. for corn, according to Backhaus. Robinson agrees. The market is, he said, “concerned about not being able to originate, move to the port, lift at the port, fill vessels and move them on a timely basis. “If that’s jeopardized, those who have contracts with those folks will have to fine products elsewhere and will bring the U.S.

Iowa corn yields 2.21 billion bushels soybean harvest totals 415 mb By USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service

Iowa corn, soybean 2013 official district yield Corn 2013 Yield/acre Production District (Bushels) (1K bushels) Northwest 178 354,313 North central 168 284,193 West central 166 350,156 Central 164 314,168 State average 169 2,213,900

CORN Corn harvested for grain acreage in Iowa was estimated at 13.1 million acres on Nov. 1. Production was forecast at 2.21 billion bushels, 18 percent above the 2012 production and 1 percent above the September forecast. Based on Nov. 1 conditions, Iowa corn yields were expected to average 169 bushels per acre, up 32 bushels from 2012 and 7 bushels above the September forecast. Based on the Nov. 1 forecast, yields are expected to be higher than last year in all 9 districts. The highest forecasted yield is expected in the northwest district, where the average yield was forecasted at 178 bushels per acre.

SOYBEANS Iowa soybean harvested acreage is estimated at 9.23 million acres. Production is estimated at 415 million bushels, slightly above 2012’s 414 million bushels. Soybean yield is forecast at 45 bushels per acre, up 2 bushels from the Sept. 1 forecast. Based on the Nov. 1 forecast, yields are

more into play.” Another price factor is the funds, Backhaus said.

The funds are major market movers, he said, when they decide to either buy or sell. They are looking at a cool, wet spring and

Feb. 2013

The south central district has the lowest forecasted yield at 144 bushels per acre.

February value slips 7 cents; soybeans at $13 per bushel

Corn (bu) Soybeans (bu) Oats (bu) All hay baled (ton) Milk (cwt)

7.01 14.60 4.03 223.00 20.00

Jan. Feb. 2014 2014 ---Dollars--4.43 4.50 12.80 13.00 4.05 4.10 176.00 167.00 23.90 25.00

By USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service

Prices received by U.S. farmers Feb. 2013 Corn (bu) Soybeans (bu) Oats (bu) All hay baled (ton) All hogs (cwt) Beef cattle (cwt) Milk (cwt)


7.04 14.60 4.14 192.00 64.50 123.00 19.50

Jan. Feb. 2014 2014 ---Dollars--4.42 4.47 12.90 13.10 3.70 3.60 165.00 168.00 61.20 63.30 138.00 144.00 23.50 24.70 -Source USDA-NASS

Yield/acre District (Bushels) Northwest 47.0 North central 42.5 West central 47.0 Central 42.5 State average 45.0

Production (1K bushels) 67,700 46,500 66,500 56,900 415,350


Iowa corn price at $4.50; beans $13 Prices received by Iowa farmers

Soybeans 2013

The preliminary February 2014 average price received by farmers for corn in Iowa is $4.50 per bushel. This is up 7 cents from the January price, but $2.51 lower than February 2013. The preliminary February Iowa average soybean price, at $13 per bushel, is up 20 cents from the January price, but $1.60 lower than the previous February. The preliminary February oat price is $4.10 per bushel, up 5 cents from January and 7 cents above February 2013. All hay prices in Iowa averaged $167 per ton in February, down $9 from the January price, and $56 per ton less than February 2013. Alfalfa hay prices fell $60 per ton from one year ago, to $180 and other hay prices were $40 per ton lower than last year, at $115. Iowa dairy farmers received an average of $25 per hundredweight for milk sold in February, up $1.10 from January, and $5 per cwt above one year ago.

expected to be higher than last year in 7 districts. Lower yields are forecasted for the central and southeast districts. The highest forecasted yield is expected in the east central district, where the average yield is forecasted at 49 bushels per acre. The south central district has the lowest forecasted yield at 39 bushels per acre. All crop forecasts in this report were based on conditions on Nov. 1 and do not reflect weather effects since that time. decided to buy. “Funds are your friends when buying.” At one time, Backhaus said, the funds were short in the corn market and have been building long positions since. Other factors adding to the run up in grain prices are logistical problems in moving grain. For instance, oats in Canada are at a record high because of hauling logistics, said Backhaus. Railcar tankers are moving oil, creating a railcar shortage for transporting ethanol. For the corn market in general, Backhaus said he is pessimistic for the near-term and uncertain for the long-term. Backhaus’ concern is that a combination of a large number of planted acres with a good yield will add to ending stocks this year. Dr. Chad Hart, an Iowa State University ag economist, during a March 5 presentation at the Hawkeye Farm Show in Cedar Falls, acknowledged the rebounding grain markets are saying, “So far, so good.” Hart said the markets are favoring soybeans in the short-term and corn in the longterm. So, while the party is over for grain producers, it is just beginning for the livestock industry. Cattlemen, in particular, as cattle numbers are down, Hart said, and the PED virus in hogs is affecting market supply, keeping prices up. Toop-performing Delta Force Hybrids from Renze Seeds are bred to improvise, adapt and overcome the challenges of your fields. Born from elite lines of germplasm and tested in proving grounds right here in the Midwestern Corn Belt, Delta Force Hybrids outrank the competition by an average of 5 bu./A. It’ss like they’re on a mission to grow.


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FaRM NewS / FoRt DoDGe, Iowa

FRIDay, MaRCh 21, 2014

2014 Spring Farm Edition

Even crop scouts getting ready, too

150 refresh on weeds, pests, diseases By LARRY KERSHNER

AMES — As farmers make their plans and prepare machines for spring field work, 150 crop scouts refreshed their skills in identifying weeds, working up integrated pest management plans and reviewing diseases likely to harass row crops and pastures. Iowa State University hosted the 2014 crop scouting school on March 8 at the Scheman Building in the ISU Center. Bob Hartzler, an ISU weed specialist, said the school — limited to 150 participants — sold out quickly. “We talked about doing two sessions next year,” he said, “because we turned so many people away.” The interest of farmers wanting crop scouting services, said Larry Eeckhoff, of Webster City, is growing. This led him to open his own crop consulting service, Agronomy RX, six months ago, he said. “I’m here as a refresher,” he said, “and my son is part of the business, so it’s training for him.” Eeckhoff is a former crop scout and soil fertility specialist for NEW Cooperative. “I can’t believe all the in-

-Farm News photos by Larry Kershner

WORKING THROUGH a weed identification exercise on March 8 at the crop scouting school are Kevin Lauver, in green hat looking in, of Rockwell City; Brenan Green, of Somers, and Charles Peters, of Palmer. terest out there in crop scouting,” Eeckhoff said. He’ll be advising clients on mixing their modes of action to manage weeds and avoid more weeds from developing resistance to herbicides. “Many of the younger farmers,” Eeckhoff said,

“have only known Roundup. “We need to go back to the 1980s and 1990s. You have to know the weed and know the products to deal with them.” Luke Wielenga, a Syngenta seed advisor, from Sioux Center, said water-

hemp and marestail are the biggest concerns for row crops in northwest Iowa. He too said working up multiple modes of action will be the most effective

way to attack weeds. Hartzler told three groups of 50 people that identifying weeds is relatively easy. “Few plants have what it takes to be a weed,” he said.

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He suggested using hand lens to be able to see fine fibers on leaves and stems that make specific identification of weeds possible. Other tools include books and pamphlets, Internet, apps and knowledgeable people. “In all the fields you scout this summer,” Hartzler said, “fewer than nine will be grasses, mostly giant foxtail.” He demonstrated the location of the ligule, plus the types and location of fibrous hairs will help distinguish what grass is being examined. For weeds with just a few leaves, he suggested pulling the plant and examining the seed to determine the type. Showing one slide with two leaves that appear to be identical, he showed how one is identified as cocklebur and the other as a sunflower. Erin Hodgson, an ISU entomologist, offered a refresher on identifying bugs and advising how and when to deal with them. “There are a million insect species,” Hodgson said. “They are the most populous living system in the world. “One out of five animals in the world are a beetle.” She said it’s essential to

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frIDay, MarCh 21, 2014

farM NEWS / fOrT DODgE, IOWa


2014 Spring Farm Edition


Farm Rescue adds haying assistance

Continued from Page 10C

start looking for pests before they are expected, so that the crop advisor has a good idea of how rapidly the population is growing once spotted. “Sample regularly,� she said, “Cover the field using a defined walking pattern.� But when it comes to treatment, Hodgson said, scouts need to be sure there’s an economic threshold before pulling the trigger to spray. For instance, finding 250 or more aphids per soybean plant, is enough to trigger spraying. Less than 250, she said, will not preserve enough yield to cover the spraying cost, is an unnecessary attack on beneficial insects and pollinators, and could lead to a genetic resistance to the product. She said she expects there will be some bugs that failed to survive the winter — seventh-coldest on record for Iowa — for those bugs that over-winter above ground. However, those underground, especially where there is residue and or cover crops will survive well. “Aphids,� she said, “are cold hardy to minus-29 degrees. “There will be plenty of (pests) surviving the winter.�

By BLAKE NICHOLSON Associated Press

-Farm News photos by Larry Kershner

BOB HARTZLER, holding plants, discusses the differences in identifying young pigweed and Palmer amaranth, to Nick Warner, left, of Woodbine; Brady Eeckhoff and Larry Eeckhoff, both of Webster City.

ERIN HODGSON, and ISU entomologist, works through a power point presentation on identifying pests and their characteristics, during March 8’s scouting school.

New app simplifies injection pump calibration

YUMA, COLORADO (Agri-Inject)—Whether one is calibrating a planter, crop sprayer or injection pump for chemigation, it seems there is always too much time and math involved, making the process an often unwelcomed necessity. Fortunately, Agri-Inject has made the process of injection pump calibration a snap with a new “Apply Your self� app that is appropriate for a wide range of industries. for both AnAvailable in versions  droid and iOS devices,  the app is de signed to take the frustration and guesswork out of calibrating an injection pump for virtually all agricultural, nursery, turf or green industry application. “To calibrate any Agri-Inject pump,�


said Neal Saxton, director of global sales for Agri-Inject, “the producer simply selects the appropriate pump in the app and enters the basic details of the chemical application. “The Apply Yourself app immediately gives him the proper setting of the pump and the amount of liquid product that pump should deliver during calibration.�  To make it even easier, Saxton said, the Apply Yourself app includes a timer handy   function with  both visual and  audio alerts to time the calibration event, all the while displaying the exact target volume the user is trying to hit. No more calibration worksheets. No more stopwatches.

“Now, the only thing you need to choose a pump and get it calibrated,� Saxton said, “is a smart phone or tablet and the Apply Yourself app, which we provide free of charge on our website. “The programmers have even simplified multiple calibration events with easy reset and time entry functions. “Plus, calibration data is provided in three common time settings.� To download a free version of the Apply Yourself app, which also includes a function that makes pump -Farm News file photo calibration quick and easy, visit FARM RESCUE, based in Jamestown, N.D., served, fill out the injured farmer Chad Sorenson, of Dickens, in October form and download the app to your 2013. The organization said it is extending its aid to device. farmers from planting and harvesting grain to haying.

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BISMARCK, N.D. — A regional nonprofit group that plants crops for farmers in need in the spring and harvests crops in the fall is now adding some summertime work. Dakota-based North Farm Rescue is accepting applications for summer hay-baling assistance from farmers in its service territory of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and eastern Montana. “We’ll see how many applications we get and we’ll help as many as possible, just like we started Farm Rescue in the beginning,� said founder Bill Gross, a North Dakota farm boy who now makes a living flying a cargo plane out of Alaska and still finds time to serve as president and chief executive officer of Farm Rescue. The organization doesn’t hand out cash — it brings volunteers to a farm to do the actual physical labor. As with planting and harvesting assistance, farmers must have suffered a major injury, illness or natural disaster to qualify for haying help, which likely will be done in June and July. Farm Rescue has helped more than 250 farm families with planting and har-

vesting since its inception in 2006, and has received many requests for haying assistance. Gross said it is finally possible because Fargobased RDO Equipment Co. — which owns and operates more than 60 farm and implement construction dealerships and is Farm Rescue’s biggest sponsor — is supplying a tractor and baler. It’s a way to help more farmers, RDO Executive Vice President Keith Kreps said. Farm Rescue has a database of nearly 1,000 volunteers, but it could use more with the addition of the haying operation, Gross said. “We have more coming nationally than we do locally� in the five service states, he said. People who want to volunteer can sign up through the Farm Rescue website. People also can sponsor a volunteer, paying for their lodging and meal expenses, Gross said. “We’re not a social club — volunteers are working hard, working long hours,� he said. “The money is well spent.� Farm Rescue is operating on a cash budget of between $400,000 and $450,000 this year, down slightly from last year.

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FrIDAy, mArCh 21, 2014

2014 Spring Farm Edition

What disease management needed for 2014? DeJong: Field history, hybrid selections are best defenses By JOLENE STEVENS

Weather will likely be a determining factor in 2014 corn, soybean and alfalfa fields when it comes to warding off plant disease problems. This assessment came from Joel DeJong, Iowa State University Extension agronomist. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Among the concerns weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been dealing with as we look ahead to planting season,â&#x20AC;? DeJong said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;is the cold temperatures weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve presently been having. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If this situation continues into spring and we get moisture, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the risk of several seedling diseases that increase under cool, wet conditions.â&#x20AC;? Included in the possible diseases to watch, he explained, are â&#x20AC;&#x153;damping offâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D; including pythium and phytophthora. He noted that a variety of fungicide seed treatments are available to producers to help reduce this risk â&#x20AC;&#x201C; emphasizing the producersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; need to understand this risk is less in well-drained fields and with soil temperatures of more than 50 degrees. DeJong said itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a â&#x20AC;&#x153;who knows?â&#x20AC;? situation when it comes to predicting weather following this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s planting. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Soil moisture is,â&#x20AC;? he said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;about average at the present time in much of northwest Iowa. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This means that with average rains we may be having fewer acres with excessive moisture and therefore fewer with a disease risk.â&#x20AC;? In northwest Iowa, DeJong said, the areaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s welldrained fields and not planting too early is another risk managing factor to this regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s soil type â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Des Moines lobe. DeJong cautioned that a heavy rain at the wrong time

SOYBEANâ&#x20AC;&#x2C6;WHITEâ&#x20AC;&#x2C6;MOLD,â&#x20AC;&#x2C6;also known as Sclerotinia stem rot, is caused by a soil-borne fungus which is known to survive in a field for upward to seven years.

-Farm News file photos

THEâ&#x20AC;&#x2C6;BROWNâ&#x20AC;&#x2C6;ROOTS of this young corn plant were attacked by a phytophthora pathogen capable of causing enormous economic losses on crops. About 100 species have been identified, and hundreds more are suspected to exist. can change this scenario Recurring diseases rapidly if producers find Among recurring disease themselves facing a cool, wet problems, DeJong said, such and post-planting weather as sudden death syndrome in situation. soybeans, which he terms an issue for producers within

the past 10 years. The disease has been found in northwest Iowa, but not to the degree prevalent in central Iowa. Setting the stage for SDS

continuing to show seed treatment resistance, he added, would be over-abundant soil moisture and presence of the pathogen. Taking a broader look at the plant disease picture with continued development of seed varieties, DeJong recommends producers take a close look at resistant traits in making their hybrid selections.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new varieties are screened carefully by seed developers,â&#x20AC;? he said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;before they hit the market with most companies having comprehensive data on their resistance to many diseases. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The field history of planting acres should also be carefully considered in selecting seed varieties. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Matching varieties to potential known field problems is an important consideration in that new varieties may have a better tolerance package for a specific field.â&#x20AC;? Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s essential for producers to know what diseases are a risk in their fields and to match traits to reduce this risk, Dejong said. If preplanning for a highrisk field with poor drainage and a disease history, fungicide seed treatments are essential, he said. Taking into consideration the narrow planting-time window, DeJong advises growers try to assure that planting conditions are good for the high-risk fields. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If seedling disease are not managed well,â&#x20AC;? DeJong said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;a producerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bottom-line profit sheet can be reduced even in a good year, and the environment allows it to really take off. â&#x20AC;&#x153;An adequate number of plants well-spaced are extremely important in order to maximize a fieldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s full yield potential.â&#x20AC;?

Septoria brown rot, frogeye leaf spot common in 2013 RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, (BASF) â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Despite the weather odds stacked against them, growers who applied BASF fungicides to their corn and soybean acres in 2013 experienced effective disease control. A wet spring created a difficult start to the growing season for growers in 2013. Increased disease pressures and crop stress due to extreme weather pattern shifts â&#x20AC;&#x201D; including rare diseases â&#x20AC;&#x201D; spread in many new regions, challenging growers. Diseases including Septoria brown spot and frogeye leaf spot in soybeans, and common rust and Southern rust in corn, spread to new regions throughout the U.S. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The substantial amount of wet weather early in the season also caused more disease, leading to late-season foliar diseases,â&#x20AC;? said Dr. Caren Schmidt, BASFâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s technical market manager. Corn and soybean growers reported that timely applications of Priaxor and Headline fungicides benefited their crops, including disease control, growth efficiency and stress tolerance.

-Farm News file photos

FROGEYEâ&#x20AC;&#x2C6;LEAFâ&#x20AC;&#x2C6;SPOT on a soybean plant. Priaxor provides long-lasting protection, post-infection disease control and consistent performance in soybeans and pre-tassel corn, delivering higher yields and high-quality crops. In soybeans, growers found the best response after applying Priaxor during

the R3 growth stage. Even with extreme rain in 2013, Midwest soybean growers found that applying Priaxor increased growth efficiency and disease control as well as greener plant leaves. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Soybeans and other crops can become stressed in wet weather situations,â&#x20AC;? said Dr. Brianne Reeves, a technical marketing specialist for BASF. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Stressed plants have less energy to use in the reproductive stages and, as a result, both photosynthesis and growth efficiency are negatively impacted.â&#x20AC;? A sequential fungicide program is a key part of many high-yield, total-management programs in corn. BASF recommends sequential fungicide applications for growers managing no-till, corn-on-corn and/or continuous corn acres to minimize stress caused by disease pressures. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Applying Priaxor fungicide on soybeans and Headline on corn is the best way to ensure a successful growing season,â&#x20AC;? Reeves said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;increase yield potential and combat any potential disease issues.â&#x20AC;?

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Cattle, swine outlooks look positive

-Farm News file photos

CATTLE PRODUCERS are urged to be patient before sending their cows out on pasture. Due to a dry fall and harsh winter, grass may have a late start.

Sheep industry seeks balance between supply and demand By KAREN SCHWALLER

The 2014 livestock outlook has cattle and swine producers trying to fill a demand with reduced numbers and getting a premium for getting hogs to market weight. Russ Beth The sheep industry, howEuken Doran ever, is seeking a supplyand-demand balance, while eyeing a potential wet be as time goes on. spring and herd health chal- Dave Stender, an ISU swine field specialist, based lenges that brings. in Cherokee, said there are 2 million sows that have Swine been infected to date, and 4 As farmers gear up for all that lies ahead this spring, million sows that have not those producing pigs may been infected, so he said, be the ones with the most on ongoing surveillance will be their minds, said Russ Eu- paramount. ken, an Iowa State Univer- With warmer temperatures sity Extension livestock in spring, he said, producers field specialist, serving can do a better job of washing and disinfecting facilinorth central Iowa. Euken said the crucial is- ties and trucks. sue in the industry is Stender said ISU has creporcine epidemic diarrhea ated a rope test, whereby virus and that pork produc- producers can order a speers will need to continue cific rope to hang in sow vigilant efforts to protect pens. Sows will chew on the the health of their herds. rope, and producers can col“It’s the biggest talkedabout issue,” he said, “rela- lect their saliva for analysis. tive to the number of pigs Stender said the virus is coming to market, and how similar to a 24-hour flu for the virus responds when we the sows, but kills baby pigs because they become too get warmer weather. “Right now we’re having dehydrated too quickly lots of spread, and we’re since they don’t have looking to see if warmer enough body mass. Stender said there are weather will help that out.” three known strains of PEDHe said the virus survives well in cold, damp weather. V, but producers should be PED-V was first recog- looking for yellow scours nized in the United States in and vomiting, and “should April 2013. Euken said the be upping the ante on biosespread kicked into higher curity. “You have to do it 100 gear last fall. The virus has killed mil- percent of the time,” he lions of young pigs in 23 af- said. “You can’t do a great fected states and areas in job of biosecurity 399 days out of 400. Canada. On Feb. 6, Global “You have to be diligent AgriTrends reported the about it every single day. sickness may kill as many The devil’s in the details.” as 5 million pigs, or about Producers must stop cross4.5 percent of the animals contamination traffic besent to processing plants cause the virus can be picked up in a parking lot last year in the U.S. and walked onto the farm. Euken said it will be interesting to continue watching Stender spoke of biosecuthe hog markets to see how rity boots and multiple entry far-reaching its effects will systems that producers can

SHEEP PRODUCERS will likely be contending with wet spring conditions, meaning keeping their bred ewes healthy will be a challenge.

“Producers should be upping the ante on biosecurity. You have to do it 100 percent of the time.” —Dave Stender ISU Extension swine specialist

use to ward off disease entry into their facilities. He said producers must think about every area where boots could cross with street shoes — a common form of disease introduction. An outbreak, Stender said, could happen from a simple microscopic piece of infected manure falling from the back of a truck, being stepped in, followed by entry into a hog facility. Beef cattle The biggest concern on the beef side is that numbers are lower than they’ve been in many years, and producers are continuing their efforts to find out where the price levels will go. “We’ve seen record prices,” Euken said, “and how consumers react to that as far as buying beef—and the export issue (with importers eying beef

prices) is a big thing.” Beth Doran, an ISU beef specialist, agreed, saying, “If spring rains are plentiful, cattle producers could likely keep heifers, putting them back into their herds. “The thing that concerns me is if we don’t see as many feeder calves coming through the feedyard and some go back into the herds, I’m expecting the prices at grocery stores are going up. “How long will the consumer continue to want to buy beef at high prices?” As calving season continues from January through mid-May, Euken said the most important part is to keep animals in good condition. If calving is taking place during the cold winter months, he encouraged producers to feed cows a more calories to make up for what they burn in maintaining

body temperature. “Calves and cows can take a lot of cold if they’re in good body condition score,” he said. “Wet, damp, mud — all those kinds of things affect that, so having a good area for calving is important.” Ed Greiman, a Garner cattleman and president of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, said steady growth is occurring in the cattle industry in the northern U.S., but cow-calf producers are seeing challenges in finding enough grassland. Greiman said cow-calf operations are a good way for young producers to get into the cattle industry, but they will need both adequate grassland and working capital. Doran said cattle producers face numerous issues with over-grazed pastures from 2013 and low numbers of cattle reported throughout the Midwest. “It’s no surprise that we’re short on cow numbers,” Doran said. “We’re at the lowest we’ve been since the 1950s. “When you’re short on cattle numbers you’re short on feeder calves, and where we’re low on feeder calves, it puts increased pressure on feed lots.”

Doran said feed prices have settled back, easing the financial crunch, but corn prices for the coming year will also hinge on weather. Currently, she said only 16 percent of Iowa cropland is not under any sort of drought or abnormally dry conditions. Cattle producers are finishing beeves at heavier weights than ever before. Doran said she’s concerned that pastures have been overgrazed for two years. She said producers should wait to graze their cows until pastures show 4 to 6 inches of growth to give the pasture a good, strong base. “We’ve had a long, cold winter and pastures are going to be slow coming back,” she said, adding that patience will give grass time to synthesize and produce nutrient-rich leaves. Trichomoniasis, or trich, is another concern, with a handful of cases of the bull reproductive disease reported in Iowa. Trich results in abortions and infertility. The economic loss is a reduced calf crop or lower overall weaning weights. Currently, the only way to See STOCK, Page 3D

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farm News / fort dodge, iowa


2014 Spring Farm Edition


Continued from Page 1D

confirm trich is by testing, and there is no approved treatment or vaccination to use on bulls. “Missouri is currently the primary risk of trich in Iowa,” said Grant Dewell, an ISU Extension beef veterinarian. “Although we should be on the lookout all over the state, the southern tier of counties in Iowa are most at risk.” Dewell said trich is serious, and added he knows of one herd with more than 50 percent open cows from this disease. He said cows that fail to get bred are usually delayed on their next freshening, so calves can be 40 to 60 days younger than usual, resulting in lighter calves at weaning. “If a herd is identified as positive,” Dewell said, “it will be quarantined until it tests clean. “In order to clear quarantine, most bulls and some cows will need to be culled.” Producers can mitigate trich risk through vigilant use of clean bulls and increasing biosecurity. Dewell said keeping a herd closed as much as possible is a good practice, while using only virgin bulls or heifers. “If buying older, bred heifers, they should be at

least 120 days pregnant and from a reputable source,” said Dewell. “(Never) buy open cows or older bulls.” He advised assuring fences are in good shape to prevent herds from mixing, especially if pastures are in a high-risk area. Extension information shows trich is short lived, and cows are susceptible to re-infection and abortion the following season. Bulls become infected with the protozoa when breeding infected females. Bulls younger than 3 years of age may clear the infection, but bulls older than 3 years are generally permanently infected. Lee Schulz, assistant professor and ISU Extension livestock economist, said cow-calf producers have a growing incentive for herd expansion with strong profit prospects and in improved forage situation. “The Livestock Marketing Information Center,” Schulz said, “forecasts for 2014 suggest returns may set a new record high, exceeding $350 per cow, as the uptrend in calf and cull animal sale prices are expected to significantly outpace production costs.” He said backgrounding and stocker producers (including cow-calf producers

retaining calves) continue to see enhanced market signals to add additional weight to feeder cattle. Schulz said the feedlot sector continues to have excess capacity concerns and the longer the industry delays rebuilding the cattle herd, the greater the issue of tight feeder cattle supplies there will be in the future. Overall, forecasts suggest a net reduction in beef production in total and per capita areas in 2014 and 2015, Schulz said. Sheep Euken said sheep producers’ concern going into spring is trying to figure out where the supply and demand balance will be, along with efficiency in production and saving every lamb if possible. “Supply and demand will determine where the price levels will be, and whether or not they can afford to expand,” he said. Most sheep meat produced in the Midwest ends up on the East Coast, he said For livestock producers as a whole, Euken said he expects markets to continue to respond according to industry demands, and that as long as exports stay strong, so will the livestock

industry as it moves ahead. “As people’s’ incomes go up (both here and around the world), they like meat in their diet,” he said. “We have enough grain in the United States that we can continue to feed it to livestock and continue exporting meat. “We can produce it cheaper than anyone else.” Dan Morrical, an ISU Extension sheep specialist, said producers should anticipate working through wet spring conditions. Foot rot and mastitis could become issues stemming from wet environments. “If we have wet pens we can have problems with coccidiosis in lambs,” Morrical said, “as well as scours on the new lambs.” Morrical said producers can ward off these potential issues by using more bedding and keeping animals dry. He said if a producer kneels in the sheep pen and gets a wet knee, there is not enough bedding in the pen. “I would speculate maybe 80 percent of the flocks don’t bed that heavily,” Morrical said, “so that’s a challenge for everybody. “Our other challenge is being wetter than (western producers), and it’s an issue we’ll fight this spring.”

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Morrical said over-grazed pastures is also a sheep issue and suggests applying nitrogen and spraying for weeds. Droughts, he said, have “weakened the stand, so spraying this year might be a good way to get those pastures back in better shape.” Morrical said the industry is currently in a profit situation, and he said he doesn’t see any reason for the lamb market to deteriorate. He said the sheep industry is small enough that it doesn’t take much to “glut” the market, but currently, demand and supply are proportionate to each other, and he sees good markets for sheep for the entire year. “In less than 24 months, our lamb market has increased by 100 percent,” he said. “The market was(price-wise) in the mid80-cent per pound range last time it crashed. It’s currently at $1.60. “Our real challenge,” he said, “is that it’s hard for

new sheep people to get enthused about sheep when we have those kinds of wild swings.” Morrical said he hears concerns from producers wondering if PED-V will cross into sheep. He said it will not, at least with what is currently known about the disease. Producers’ primary concerns are controlling mastitis, assuring ewes are on poor quality feed for a week after weaning to stop milk production, and keeping them out of mud to prevent bacteria entering through udders that are trying to close. “We’ve done research on mastitis and it’s amazing,” he said. “We’ve sampled ewes 60 days after weaning, and when you look at that milk sample, some look like normal milk— and when you have normal milk in there, you can have bacteria, too. “With other ewes at that same time it can be clear, so they’re dried up and there’s nothing for the bugs to grow on.”


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FrIDay, marCH 21, 2014

2014 Spring Farm Edition

Managing soil after stover removal Soil testing essential to determine potassium loss By LARRY KERSHNER kersh@farm-news .com

JOHNSTON â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Contrary to producersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; fear about hurting their soil with harvesting stover, Dr. Antonio Mallarino, an Iowa State University agronomist, says stover harvesting is not a new farming practice. Because corn has been chopped for generations as a dairy and beef cattle feed, taking the stalks, leaves and cobs off corn ground is an old practice. However, Mallarino said, stover harvesting can be less traumatic to soil replenishing than silage, since the latter takes 100 percent of plant material off the land. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Stover removes less biomass than silage,â&#x20AC;? Mallarino told ag journalists at a Feb. 18 meeting in DuPont Pioneerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s campus in Johnston, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and silage removes more nitrogen than stover harvesting.â&#x20AC;? The biggest concern over stover harvesting is the loss of potassium. Even before corn harvesting, Mallarino said, plants are returning nitrogen and phosphorus to the soil as they reach maturity and die. But potassium is locked in the plant material and lost


-Farm News file photos

THESE SQUARE BALES of stover sit along both sides of Iowa Highway 17, just north of Webster City. Harvested in 2013, they were sold to DuPont Pioneer which is building a cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada. Pioneer is still fine-tuning its stover collection and transportation protocols. when stover is removed. Not as much is lost as with silage, but it is a loss all the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Soil testing is key in knowing same. how much to apply in spring. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And this is the nutrient Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s essential for P,N,K mostly affected by stover harvest,â&#x20AC;? Mallarino said. management.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Soil testing is key in knowâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Anthony Mallarino ing how much to apply in ISU agronomist spring. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s essential for P,N,K management.â&#x20AC;? genetics have developed Corn growers within the tougher stalks for better marketing regions of POET, Removing biomass standability. in Emmetsburg, and As plant populations Those stalks, however, DuPont Pioneer, in Nevada, have increased over the past take longer to break down are seeing cellulosic ethanol two decades, more stover is and are often still present in providing them an extra left behind. the spring. Tilling and revenue stream for stover; Managing the excessive planting through the bio- plus, removing excess biomass has become a mass often plugs equipment stover helps in getting the headache for farmers since and slows field work. next crop planted earlier


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If too much stover is removed, the soil is subject to wind erosion for upward to seven months before the next crop is planted. Mallarino said field tests are showing that with onehalf the volume of stover is removed, and nitrogen applied with chisel plowing there seems to be a slight yield drag of 2 bushels per acre. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This tells us weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not having to put as much nitrogen back on,â&#x20AC;? he said. However, with one-half volume of stover removed and no-tilling the next See STOVER, Page 5D


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and plants emerging more quickly. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very important to accurately determine how much stover is to be removed,â&#x20AC;? Mallarino said. Both DuPont Pioneer and POET have conducted studies to determine the optimum amount of stover to be taken from a field without denying soil the nutrients required for the next crop. Stover will not be removed on sloping fields. Less stover will be taken if the next crop is soybeans. Even on fields with continuous corn, stover is expected to be removed on alternative years.

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march 21, 2014

Farm News / Fort DoDge, Iowa


2014 Spring Farm Edition

If you grow it ... they will build a plant portation protocol for DuPont Pioneer at ISU’s BioCentury Research Farm for the past three years With more stover, Darr said, “we won’t have to travel as far and transport it as far, By LARRY KERSHNER “There won’t be as many as corn-based ethanol JOHNSTON — AccordJohn Matt plants, but there will be ing to Dr. Matt Darr, an Pieper Darr more than two as there are Iowa State University ag now.” and biosystems engineer, as be available for biofuel proDarr worked with John corn yields climb — mean- cessing. Pieper, DuPont’s stover Darr has been conducting feedstock ing plant populations inworkstream crease — more stover will the stover harvest and trans- leader, overseeing the harvesting of 60,000 acres of stover in 35 days, working directly behind 224 farmers so they could get back into fields for fall fieldwork. When the Nevada plant goes active, Pieper said, Pioneer will be working with as many as 450 farmers. Its testing is going out in a 50-mile radius of the plant to get stover, but in reality, Pioneer will be buying New Jet Co. Grain Trailers, Drop Deck, Flatbed, Side within a 30-mile radius. Dump Trailers, R-Way Trailers and Circle R Side Dumps His research showed that large square bales can be “High Performance baled more densely than round, and offers safer han-

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dling and transportation. Stover research is developing algorithms to determine the amount of stover than can safely be removed, based on yield. For instance in a field of 180 bushels per acre, there will be roughly 5 tons of stover per acre left behind and at least half of that can be taken off. Researchers are also looking at variable rate harvesting, changing the amount of stover being baled as operators move from higher- to lower-yield-


Logistics challenge Darr said when the Nevada plant goes into full production the logistic challenge will be in how to har-

vest 900,000 bales of stover, using 25,000 semi truck loads and dealing with 45,000 tons of ash byproduct. “This will be a tremendous logistics balancing act with producer stability and profitability,” transport Darr said. “It’ll require 300 tractors alone for stover harvesting.” Each stover bale can render 80 gallons of biofuel, he said, adding, “A fuel-efficient car can get 1,000 miles from one bale of corn stover.”

Continued from Page 4D

spring, there appears a yield bump from 162 bpa to 170 bpa. Removal costs Mallarino said replacing the nutrients lost to soil by stover harvesting must compared with the cost of re-applying those nutrients. He said twice as much


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nitrogen and phosphorus is lost by harvesting grain than stover. However, stover contains one-third more potassium than grain. “So when you are considering stover harvest,” Mallarino said, “consider the fertilizer price. “As it gets higher, you may want to see less stover removed.”

To date, the affect of stover removal keeping micronutrients from returning to soil is not an issue, Mallarino said, for Iowa fields, “because there are so many micronutrients out there. “But as stover removal becomes a consistent management tool, we’ll have to watch this.”

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FarM News / FOrt DODge, IOwa

FrIDay, March 21, 2014

2014 Spring Farm Edition

Scout early to prevent weed resistance Owen: Most farmers donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know how to spot it By DAWN BLISS

AMES â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Effective weed control takes due diligence and an educated eye. Walking away from a field after a spray and a cursory glance can cost growers in the long run when they are trying to thwart weeds and maximize yields, said Mike Owen, an Iowa State University Extension weed specialist. This is especially true when growers are trying to tackle returning challengers. The most common and problematic weeds dealt with by Iowa growers are waterhemp followed a little farther down on the list by marestail, or horseweed, and giant ragweed. Although, Owen said, a new contender has emerged this year. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve now officially recognized Palmer amaranth in the state of Iowa and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something to be aware of,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s likely a lot more widely distributed than what was officially discovered.â&#x20AC;? Palmer amaranth, a cousin to pigweed, is native to the southwestern portion

A YOUNG GIANT ragweed plant gets a start in a corn field. of the United States, but has been expanding its presence over the past 50 years. It has most recently been identified in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin and now Iowa. According to an ISU Extension study, the first confirmed finding of Palmer amaranth in Iowa was in Harrison County in August 2013, followed by sites in Fremont, Page and Davis counties. The weed has plagued southern cotton and soybean crops in the past by quickly spreading via its



prolific seed production, Owen said. Single plants can yield more than 500,000 seeds, and officials said because of their small size the seeds are easily transported from field to field by wind, wildlife and transference on farm machinery. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you look at all the hype and hyperbole, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s particularly pernicious,â&#x20AC;? Owen said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;but in all likelihood, it is not as bad as waterhemp.â&#x20AC;? An annual broadleaf, waterhemp has been developing resistance to herbicides over the past 20 years, he said. Waterhemp first emerged as a challenge for Iowa growers in the 1980s and â&#x20AC;&#x2122;90s and quickly became a formidable presence due to its ability to produce between 200,000 and 300,000 seeds per plant. With such a high production rate, the likelihood of

-Contributed photos

HERBICIDE RESISTANT marestail grows with impunity in this field. Farmers reported in 2013 that they had to physically pull and carry such resistant weeds out because some weeds have developed resistance to more than one herbicide.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;First and foremost, growers have to do some serious scouting as to what they have out there.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Mike Owen ISU Extension weed specialist

genetic mutations that lead to herbicide resistance is probable, Owen said. Another part of the resistance problem is that growers donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t understand what resistance looks like in their fields, Owen said. They imagine a train wreck and over growth, but in reality the image is more of scattered plants and pockets of plants peeking above the canopy of the soybeans in September. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If not managed proper-

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ly,â&#x20AC;? Owen said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;those plants will evolve into train wrecks though.â&#x20AC;? Regardless whether itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s waterhemp or Palmer amaranth, the key to prevention is to get into the field and identify what shoots are popping up along with the beans. â&#x20AC;&#x153;First and foremost,â&#x20AC;? Owen said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;growers have to do some serious scouting as to what they have out there. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got to recognize

it and catch it early. Most growers donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t recognize the weed until 35 percent of the population has developed distinctive characteristics. â&#x20AC;&#x153;By that time the field has undergone several reproductive cycles and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got a problem, possibly a problem for life.â&#x20AC;? Growers need to take into account each fieldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s history and make objective assessments, he said. They need to diversify their strategies and realize nothing about weed control is overly simple or convenient. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The issue here is, it takes time,â&#x20AC;? Owen said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and possibly some cost. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have the data, though, that shows if they spend the time and money up front it will pay off in the end.â&#x20AC;?

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FrIdAy, mArCH 21, 2014

FArm News / Fort dodge, IowA


2014 Spring Farm Edition

Specialists offer tips to optimize planters too much pressure. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have enough pressure,â&#x20AC;? he said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;the planting unit can come out of the ground. Uneven planting depth is worse than having some sidewall smearing.â&#x20AC;? King agreed. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you do err on the side of too much pressure,â&#x20AC;? King said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;you at least want to do it without causing compaction, which contributes to root stress.â&#x20AC;?


â&#x20AC;&#x201D;It WOODWARD pays to plant with precision. Even with todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;smartâ&#x20AC;? planters, there are a number of steps that help fine-tune the process to boost yield potential. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are a lot of little things you can do to get anywhere from two to 10 or 15 extra bushels,â&#x20AC;? said Brandon King, a precision planting specialist with BK Acres Inc. in Boone. â&#x20AC;&#x153;For example, I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t emphasize how important it is to manage down pressure.â&#x20AC;? Applying only enough pressure for proper seed placement is the key. Too much pressure can slick the sides of the seed trench, which stresses the plants at emergence and can rob the crop of its topend yield potential. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You only want to apply enough pressure to get the seed at the right planting depth,â&#x20AC;? King said. The amount of pressure depends on soil conditions, the speed of the planter and other factors, said Ken Ferrie, a field agronomist at Farm Journalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Corn College. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You want to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;teach the planter to dance.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? Tuck seed into seedbed First, look for a uniform footprint from one end of the field to the other. This helps ensure a uniform depth of seed placement. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Over-applying down pressure happens way more often in conventional tillage than in no-till,â&#x20AC;? Ferrie said. If 400 pounds of pressure per square inch are


Equipment options There are a number of options for managing down pressure and increasing yield potential. Tests near Boone have shown a 6- to 10-bushel yield advantage with an automated air-bag system -Farm News photos by Darcy Dougherty Maulsby versus a static system, BRANDON KING, a precision planting specialist with BK Acres Inc, in Boone, talks about proper down pres- King said. Tools for managing sure on settings for planters depending on field conditions and planter speed. He said the yield bumps with down pressure are availproper settings can be as high as 10 or bushels per acre. able in a range of price points. applied when 100 PSI will Precision Plantingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s do, for example, it will AirForce system provides change the way corn automatic down force conemerges from the soil. trol for about $250 to Early in the season, Fer$500 per row, Ferrie said. rie said, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s has seen corn Precision Plantingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in test strips with 100 PSI DeltaForce down force stand 5 inches taller, comcontrol system delivers pared to corn planted in row-by-row, hydraulic test strips with 400 PSI. control for about $1,300 â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to find per row, he said. the sweet spot with PSI,â&#x20AC;? This hydraulic control Ferrie said. can provide lift on some The focus should be on rows and down pressure on maintaining good seed-toothers, depending on the soil contact. Avoid formconditions. ing air pockets above the King said heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s seen a seed or creating a seam 15-bushel-per-acre swing above the seed. where the DeltaForce sysAlso, dry soil should not tem is used. flow into the area around KEN FERRIE, a field agronomist at Fam Journalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Corn College, said the goal is â&#x20AC;&#x153;The benefits of indethe seed, because this can to think of tucking the seed into its seedbed pendently managing the cause the seed to dry out. planterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s down pressure â&#x20AC;&#x153;Creating a good micro- ing how water moves to added that too much down soil. can offer some big yield environment around the the seed and how the roots pressure also hinders propThat being said, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still seed and avoiding com- grow,â&#x20AC;? said Ferrie, who er microbial action in the better to err on the side of See PLANTER, Page 8D paction is key to influenc-


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The new SunflowerÂŽ 4412 Disc Ripper Disc combines deep tillage with a proven disc harrow design for unsurpassed residue management and soil preparation. Staggered overlapping disc gangs slice through tough residue and trash, providing optimum soil inversion. Parabolic shanks rip deep to 14 or 18 inches, breaking up even heavily compacted soil zones. Staggered rear gangs smooth and level the deep-tilled ground, leaving your field a full step closer to seedbed smooth.

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FarM News / ForT DoDge, Iowa

FrIDay, March 21, 2014

2014 Spring Farm Edition

World’s first multi-hybrid planter Technology allows farmers to change the seed hybrid automatically WILLIAMSBURG — In order to help farmers optimize their seed hybrids and increase their yields, Kinze Manufacturing Inc., announces in December the world’s first electric multihybrid concept planter. Multi-hybrid technology provides farmers with the ability to change the seed hybrid they are planting automatically as the planter moves through the field. Instead of selecting an average seed variety for use across an entire field, seed hybrids can be selected and automatically planted to suit different field management zones. For example, in parts of the field with high productivity soil, a “racehorse”


results,” he said. “It doesn’t take long to recoup this investment.”

Slow down Planter speed also plays a role in teaching the planter to dance and achieving the correct down pressure. “While the job of the row unit is to stay in the ground,” Ferrie said, “row units are like water skis. “The faster you pull them, the more they want to come up out of the soil.” It’s a good idea to slow down, so the pressure can be backed down, he said. This will help prevent dry soil from infiltrating the area around the seed and will help get the crop off to a strong start. Throughout the field, managing down pressure involves adapting to soil conditions to give each

-Contributed photo

THE KINZE 4900 multi-hybrid concept planter is the world’s first offered for retail. Farmers can plant and chance hybrids automatically, matching the variety to soil type and growing conditions. yield in every part of their field, and not have to make compromises. “The yield gains in our trials varied from 2 bushels per acre to more than 10 bushels per acre by utilizing multi-hybrid planting.

seed variety can be used, whereas a “workhorse” seed variety can be used in the less productive areas. In fields with poor drainage, a variety that can handle moisture can be planted in the lower areas,

with a more productive variety used in field locations with a higher elevation. “The electric multi-hybrid planter,” said Rhett Schildroth, Kinze’s senior product manager, “will allow farmers to maximize

Continued from Page 7D

Agronomy apps provide practical solutions

More farmers download tools for “Managing down better crop management decisions

pressure, is king and is one of the keys to achieving higher yields moving forward.”

—Brandon King BK Acres Inc.

seed the best chance for success. “Managing down pressure,” King said, “is king and is one of the keys to achieving higher yields moving forward.”

JOHNSTON (DuPont Pioneer)— Many livestock and crop farmers have added a new word to their business vocabulary. “silage,” Alongside “pickup,” and “section,” they are using the word “app.” Wikipedia describes an app as application software that causes a computer (or mobile device) to perform useful tasks. Growers can find agronomy-related apps to help them with just about any chore, and app develop-

ment is being driven by grower use of these hightech tools. “Rapid adoption of mobile devices among farmers is incredible,” said Matt Snyder, product manager, digital marketing platforms for DuPont Pioneer. “With convenient apps, growers have practical solutions literally in their pockets, accessible anytime, anywhere.” sophisticated Highly apps enable growers to record crop observations, including text, photos and

“And unlike other crop practices that seem to have good results one year and negative results the next, every trial we’ve conducted with multi-hybrid planting has resulted in a yield increase.”

The new Kinze electric multi-hybrid planter has new row units that incorporate 2 meters for every row. The meters feed a single seed tube, so the row unit gauge wheels, openers and closing wheels are identical to a standard Kinze 4000 series row unit. “This was only possible,” Schildroth said, “by using the new electric drive option on the Kinze 4000 series meters. “By eliminating the drive chain and clutch, we were able to orient the meters close together so that they feed a single seed tube. “It is a very elegant way to add the multi-hybrid planting capability.” Kinze will be partnering with Midwestern farmers during spring 2014 to showcase the technology in the field on several electric multi-hybrid concept planters. Visit for more information on multi-hybrid planting or Kinze Manufacturing.

field boundary information, on a phone or iPad. Users can then immediately share with others in the app or via e-mail. Snyder shared several of the apps he frequently recommends for growers: ∫ Pioneer Field360 Tools, which tracks and predicts growing degree units and precipitation during the growing season. ∫ Pioneer Planting Rate Estimator, which helps gauge optimal planting rates for Pioneer seed products. ∫ Pioneer Plantability, which uses specific seed batch data to help growers calibrate their planter

equipment accurately. ∫ Pioneer Inoculant Calculator, which is a useful calculator to determine inoculant amounts and costs. ∫ Pioneer Canola Seed Rate Calculator, which helps estimate the amount of canola seed needed for planting. ∫ SoilWeb, which is a simple tool that shows the soil type “under” the device’s location. ∫ Purdue Extension Corn & Soybean Field Guide, which is a thorough and useful resource. ∫ ID Weeds, which is a weed identification guide by University of Missouri Extension.

Reminder Classified Deadline is NOON on Friday before publication (Published every Friday) Fax: 515-574-4448 • Phone: 800-622-6613 ext. 451


This highly acclaimed workhorse bales more tons per day, making it the baler of choice for operators in the biomass industry. The addition of the optional Inline™ Ramp lets you line up bales for easy loading – without having to drive across rows and stalks – saving you valuable time in the field. So no matter what the color of tractor, PROS PULL YELLOW. Vermeer, the Vermeer logo, Inline and Equipped to Do More are trademarks of Vermeer Manufacturing Company in the U.S. and/or other countries. © 2014 Vermeer Corporation. All Rights Reserved.



2014 Spring Farm