Study Shows Ag Retailers Face Cover Crop Challenges

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A new study shows growing demand for cover crops, but agricultural retailers continue to face challenges when it comes to expanding that market.

The study, conducted by Datu Research, LLC, found 89 percent of ag retailers have offered cover crops and services in the past two years to farmers who use them to anchor the soil between growing seasons. The practice has shown benefits in the areas of soil erosion, fertility, water retention, weed and pest control.

“Ag retailers and Certified Crop Advisers are a trusted go-to source for farmers,” said Dr. Angel Cruz, lead author of the study. “We wanted to understand their role in promoting cover crops and see what it would take to expand that role.”

The survey, developed in cooperation with the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), was distributed to ARA members and Certified Crop Advisers in the Midwest. Many respondents reported offering their customers cover crop advisory services (83%), selling cover crop seed (56%) and cover crop termination services (44%).

Still, these products and services account for less than five percent of total revenue, the study found. Many respondents described mutually reinforcing challenges: a lack of customer demand, insufficient evidence of cover crop benefits in their region, and “uncertain or negative profitability.”

Despite the low revenue they generate, cover crop services were cited by 60 percent of respondents as a way “to diversify your product and service offerings.” Respondents also cited “to stay ahead of the competition” (40%), and “to grow your customer base” (39%) as justification for incorporating cover crop products into their business model.

“We apparently have a long way to go,” said Cruz. “These results will be useful in developing a business case for ag retailers to integrate cover crops.”

The study recommends engaging state agribusiness associations, along with increased collaboration between agricultural retailers and agricultural conservation professionals such as local soil and water conservation districts and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Even more important, to increase customer demand will likely require providing farmers more solid answers on the economics of cover crops and how to manage them for local conditions.

“Ag retailers have always worked to assist their farmer customers in conservation practice implementation,” said ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock. “The adoption of cover crops will continue at a slower rate until farmers can see the true value in the practice. Our retailer members appreciate the survey results and any subsequent findings to work with their customers in making the best decisions for their operations and the environment.”

ARA will launch its Sustainability Programming for Agricultural Retailers and CCAs (SPARC) initiative, which includes the utilization of cover crops and other conservation practices, at its upcoming Conference and Expo on Thursday, November 29. For more information, please visit

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Bayer Crop Science President Talks Glyphosate

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Glyphosate was on the table as U.S. agricultural journalists attending the Bayer Future of Farming event in Germany had the chance to sit down with Liam Condon, Bayer AG Board of Management member and Crop Science division president.

It was the very end of a very long day and Condon was able to joke about the jury verdict that came out a week before Day One of the new company formed with the acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer. Comparing August 21 to opening up gifts on Christmas, Condon said the verdict was a “gift they hadn’t asked for” like a sweater they really don’t want to wear, but now they just have to deal with it.

“Our position is unequivocal” regarding the safety of glyphosate, said Condon. “Any product we sell has got to be safe.”

Moving forward, Condon says he is just excited about the potential of the new company.

Listen to Condon’s comments here: Interview with Bayer President Crop Science Liam Condon

Bayer Future of Farming Dialogue 2018 Photo Album

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Bayer Defends Glyphosate at Future of Farming

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The $289 million glyphosate jury verdict just before the Bayer-Monsanto deal was finalized last month was a big topic of discussion this week at the Bayer Future of Farming Dialogue at the company’s global headquarters in Monheim, Germany. In fact, a last minute panel scheduled at the very end of a full day of presentations was standing room only – as Bayer AG announced on Tuesday it is asking the California state court judge to overturn the verdict.

The panel included (LtoR) UK farmer Guy Smith, Deputy President for the British National Farmers Union; Jesus Madrazo, Bayer Head of Agricultural Affairs and Sustainability, Crop Science; and Bill Reeves, Bayer Regulatory Policy and Scientific Affairs.

“We are very confident about the safety of glyphosate,” Madrazo said emphatically. “This product has an impeccable safety record.”

It was a very lively discussion with some very tough questions – good and timely content here: Bayer Future of Farming Glyphosate Panel

Bayer Future of Farming Dialogue 2018 Photo Album

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2019 National Ag Day Announced

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The Agriculture Council of America (ACA) will host the 46th anniversary of National Agriculture Day on March 19, 2019. This year’s theme is “Agriculture: Food for Life.”

Major events happening in conjunction with National Ag Day will include a program at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. and a Taste of Agriculture Celebration in the nation’s capitol.

These events honor National Agriculture Day and mark a nationwide effort to tell the true story of American agriculture and remind citizens that agriculture is a part of all of us. A number of agricultural associations, corporations, students and government organizations involved in agriculture are expected to participate.

National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America. The ACA is a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public’s awareness of agriculture’s role in modern society.

The National Ag Day program encourages every American to:

· Understand how food and fiber products are produced
· Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products
· Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy
· Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry

In addition to the events in Washington, DC on March 19, the ACA will once again feature the Ag Day Essay Contest. The winning essay will be presented on National Ag Day.

Visit for more information on National Ag Day in 2019.

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Precision Ag Bytes 9/19

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  • Registration is now open for AgGateway’s Annual Conference, “Get Plugged In”, coming November 12-14 to the Sheraton Austin Hotel at The Capitol, Austin, Texas. More information is available on AgGateway’s 2018 Annual Conference webpage, found under “Events” at
  • Sakata Seed America announces phase one completion of the Sakata Seed America Woodland Innovation Center: a new research and production facility in Woodland, California. The Sakata Seed America Woodland Innovation Center is an $18.5M investment comprised of 219 acres in Yolo county.
  • Registration is open for the 30th Independent Professional Seed Association Annual Conference in Indian Wells, CA for January 8-10, 2018. The 2019 IPSA Conference will host over 400 independent professional seed providers, representing nearly 100 seed companies from more than 25 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico.
  • The Plant Genomics & Gene Editing Congress: USA takes place in just two weeks time and will be closing registrations soon. Discover more about the meeting in Philadelphia here:
  • U.S. sales of tractors and combines remained positive in August, according to the latest report from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. Here is a link to the full report online.
  • The latest English edition of New AG International magazine is now available online.
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Bayer Outlines Vision for Future of Farming

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Joined by farmers, reporters, influencers and other agricultural stakeholders from around the globe, Bayer outlined its vision for the future of agriculture at the 2018 Future of Farming Dialogue, focusing on its commitment to innovation, sustainability and digital transformation.

In the global company’s first major event since the finalization of its acquisition of Monsanto on August 21st, the Future of Farming Dialogue is discussing ways to make the world’s food system more sustainable for the benefit of farmers, consumers and the planet.

“Farmers are hungry for innovation that will help them grow more with less and help ensure adequate access to safe, nutritious and affordable food now and in the future,” said Liam Condon, a member of the Bayer Board of Management and President of the Crop Science Division, during his presentation at the Future of Farming Dialogue 2018.

“We now have thousands of employees dedicated to research and development around the world with market-leading expertise in breeding, biology, chemistry and data science,” said Bob Reiter, the new Head of Research & Development for the Crop Science Division. “I know their combined creativity, collaborative spirit and passion for discovery will help drive tailored solutions for farmers while also driving our business. Breakthrough innovation always happens at the intersection of various scientific disciplines.”

Listen to remarks from both Condon and Reiter here –Bayer executives Liam Condon and Bob Reiter

Bayer Future of Farming Dialogue 2018 Photo Album

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#Harvest18 Reminders from ASTA

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As #Harvest18 gets into full swing, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) reminds farmers about the importance of taking precautions to keep any treated seed from entering the grain supply.

“Seed treatments provide farmers with an economical means of protecting seeds and seedlings against early-season insect pests and diseases—resulting in stronger and more uniform stands, healthier plants and higher crop yields,” said ASTA President & CEO Andrew LaVigne. “Farmers and applicators know the importance of proper management to minimize the risk of pesticide exposure to humans and the environment. This includes removing all treated seed left in containers and equipment used to handle harvested grain, and disposing of it properly.”

ASTA and other stakeholder groups have developed resources to assist those involved in the process of treating, handling, transporting, or planting treated seeds, which can be found on the Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship website.

In this interview, LaVigne talks about the importance of taking proper precautions at harvest to avoid any potential grain shipment contamination. Interview with ASTA CEO Andy LaVigne on Harvest18 reminders

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ILeVO Seed Treatment in BASF Portfolio

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One of the new products to join the BASF portfolio is ILeVO® seed treatment which offers effective protection against sudden death syndrome (SDS) and soybean cyst nematode (SCN), two of the top pests in soybean production.

On hand at the Farm Progress Show to talk about ILeVO was Jeremiah Mullock, BASF Product Development Manager, so he sat down with Chuck in the portable ZimmComm outdoor studio – otherwise known as a golf cart.

“ILeVO provides yield potential protection from SDS as well as nematodes throughout the growing season,” said Mullock. “SDS is a disease that we can’t always predict the severity of later on in the season, but it’s important to pair that tolerant SDS variety with ILeVO seed treatment, which has that direct efficacy against the disease early on in the season.”

Learn more about ILeVO in this interview with Jeremiah – FPS18 BASF interview with Jeremiah Mullock, ILeVO seed treatment

BASF at the 2018 Farm Progress Show

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AMVAC’s Roots Run Deep

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Visitors to the Farm Progress Show were able to see how AMVAC Chemical products like AZTEC and INDEX help improve corn root systems.

AMVAC Crop Marketing Manager for Corn and Soy Jim Lappin explained results of trials on how different products perform on various corn trait hybrids and seed treatments. “Our products, added to your trait packages, can give you bigger root mass and ultimately higher yields,” said Lappin. “Our ten year average is close to 10 bushel per acre advantage.”

Listen here or watch the video below as Lappin walks us through their corn root trial display. FPS18 Jim Lappin discusses AMVAC offerings

Click here to find more photos, videos and audio from AMVAC at the 2018 Farm Progress Show

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Bayer Fluency Agency Advanced for Sustainability

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Bayer Fluency Agent Advanced, which was introduced in 2017, helped more farmers plant more sustainably this year than ever before.

Bayer developed Fluency Agent Advanced to replace standard seed lubricants made of talc, graphite or a talc-graphite blend for corn and soybean seeds. In addition to improving planter performance, Fluency Agent Advanced helps reduce the amount of total dust released in treated seed dust during planting, reducing the potential risk of exposure to foraging honey bees and other pollinators if they come in direct contact with the dust.

“The whole idea is stewardship – to make sure we keep the active ingredient where it needs to be,” said Bill Striegel, Bayer Seed Growth Product Development Manager, during a Farm Progress Show interview. “Besides the dust-reducing benefit, it provides easier clean-up, good simulation so we’re not seeing skips and doubles.”

Find out more in this interview – FPS18 Bayer interview with Bill Striegel, Fluency Agent Advanced

Bayer at the 2018 Farm Progress Show Photo Album

Content Creation at the Farm Progress Show brought to you by Farm Progress Show content creation courtesy of John DeereCoverage of the Farm Progress Show is sponsored by GrowmarkCoverage of the Farm Progress Show is sponsored by Bayer CropScience
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