A Column for AgNerds

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

ZimmCast 458Welcome to a new regular column I will be publishing on all things AgNerdish. I’m calling it the Cloud since the cloud covers everything and is one of the hottest things developing in the AgNerd world. This week’s ZimmCast gets things started with a discussion I had with Willie Vogt, Editorial Director, Penton Farm Progress. Like me, he loves new technology.

Willie makes a point early in our discussion that although it has been developing, “This is really the year everybody got a smart phone.” Farmers have made the decision that they want to do things mobile, handheld and not be tied to their office. They now have access to information via mobile devices that they never did before.

AgNerd Word CloudIn our program we talk about the most popular and useful new ag gadgets of 2014 and also look ahead to what the trends will be in the coming year. We also discuss a Christmas wish list. A problem both of us have is that we buy our own gadgets and use them for work for the most part. But that doesn’t mean that we have all the gadgets we want!

You’ll need to listen to our discussion to get some ideas for what new gadgets are proving most helpful on the farm and what you should be thinking about for next year: AgNerd Cloud with Willie Vogt

Here is a list of ideas for your gadget giving and receiving. There are way too many to list everything that is available but I’m providing links to a couple for each category.

Smart Phone: iPhone 6/6+, Samsung S5
Tablet: iPad Air 2, Samsung Galaxy Tab S, Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Laptop: Lenovo Yoga Pro 3, Macbook Air
Wearable Tech: LG G Watch, Google Glass
Mobile Power: Hyper Juice, Anker External
Drone: Precision Drone, AgDrone, AgEagle
Camera: GoPro, Polaroid Cube

Subscribe to the ZimmCast podcast here.

The ZimmCast

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AgNerd, Cloud, technology

NSP Announces Annual Yield Contest Winners

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

sorghumNational Sorghum Producers is proud to announce the winners of the 2014 NSP Yield Contest. Farmers from 27 states entered to win this year’s contest. Producer yields are highlighted in nine different categories with this year’s top yield at 246 bushels per acre, just shy of NSP’s 250 bushel per acre yield goal.

“Congratulations to all the 2014 Yield Contest winners,” said NSP board of directors Chairman J.B. Stewart. “The yield contest is a fantastic opportunity for producers to display their achievements while demonstrating the yield potential grain sorghum offers when using good management practices.”

The 2014 first place winners of the NSP Yield Contest were Henson Land & Cattle of Texas in the Conventional-Till Irrigated category with a yield of 245.94 bushels per acre; Cody Sassmann of Missouri in the No-Till Non-Irrigated category with a yield of 207.98 bushels per acre; Weldon Alders of Texas in the Conventional-Till Non-Irrigated category with a yield of 205.74 bushels per acre; Taylor Equipment of Kansas who won the Reduced-Till Irrigated category with a yield of 202.66 bushels per acre; Sam Santini, Jr. of New Jersey in the Double Crop Non-Irrigated category with a yield of 193.33 bushels per acre; Joe Scates of Illinois in the Mulch-Till Non-Irrigated category with a yield of 185.36 bushels per acre; and Fike Farms of Texas in the Double Crop Irrigated category with a yield of 151.63 bushels per acre.

Ki Gamble of Kansas is the Irrigated National Food-Grade category winner with a yield of 177.97 bushels per acre, and Stanley Brandyberry Farms of Kansas won the Non-Irrigated National Food-Grade category with a yield of 118.96 bushels per acre.

“Overall yields in this year’s contest were greatly improved,” said NSP Chairman J.B. Stewart. “and we look forward to reaching the 250 bushel per acre mark next year.”

The national winners will be further recognized at Commodity Classic in Phoenix, Ariz., on Feb. 27, 2015, at an awards dinner sponsored by Dupont Pioneer.

To see a complete list of the NSP Yield Contest national, state and county results, or to learn more about the contest, visit their website.

Ag Group, Contest, Sorghum

Happy Holidays from Seed World Media

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 2.54.24 PMOur friends at Seed World are introducing the 2014 Ugly Sweater Challenge.

We’ve armed our staff with the necessary accessories, tools, and the ultimate incentive – bragging rights for the year. But we need your help to crown our winner.

Watch the video, then vote for your favorite ugly sweater by clicking on your team of choice below.

From all of us to all of you, Happy Holidays and all the best for a prosperous New Year.


Agribusiness, Holiday, seed, Video

Progress Reported With China on Biotech Traits

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

According to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, one of the outcomes of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade meetings this week was in the area of agricultural exports related to biotechnology traits. “China announced that it would approve the importation of new biotechnology varieties of U.S. soybeans and corn ­… and also that it would pursue a regular dialogue with the United States focused on the benefits of the increased use of innovative technologies in agriculture, for both the United States and China.”

NCGA-Logo-3“We see this as an encouraging first step in what needs to be an ongoing process,” said National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair John Linder. “For years, NCGA has advocated for synchronizing international approval processes and thus opening markets for farmers. We hope that progress toward this goal continues.”

The news came out earlier this week that Chinese officials committed to Agriculture Secretary Vilsack that the ban on imports of U.S. corn and distillers grains (DDGs) containing the MIR 162 trait would be dropped.

biotechnology, Corn, trade, USDA

NCGA Announces 2014 Yield Contest Winners

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

NCGA-Logo-3Advanced production techniques, informed growing practices and improved seed varieties helped corn growers achieve high yields in the National Corn Growers Association 2014 National Corn Yield Contest. Entrants continued to far surpass the national average corn yield, setting a contest record with a new all-time high yield of 503 bushels per acre. Additionally, a record six national entries surpassed the 400-plus bushel per acre mark.

The National Corn Yield Contest is now in its 50th year and remains NCGA’s most popular program for members. Participation in the contest remained strong in 2014 with 8,129 entries received.

“While this contest provides individual growers a chance for good-natured competition with their peers, it also advances farming as a whole,” said Don Glenn, chairman of NCGA’s Production and Stewardship Action Team. “The techniques and practices contest winners develop provide the basis for widely used advances that help farmers across the country excel in a variety of situations, including drought. This contest highlights how innovation, from both growers and technology providers, allows us to meet the growing demand for food, feed, fuel and fiber.”

Read More

Ag Group, Contest, Corn, NCGA

BASF Compostable Polymers on Display at CSS

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

asta-css-14-basf-ruthBASF has a biodegradable solution for plastics with ecovio® and ecoflex® technology.

Ruth Watts, product marketing manager for BASF’s Biopolymers Group in North America, was at last week’s ASTA CSS & Seed Expo demonstrating the use of this type of packaging for agricultural applications. “This (ecovio) is new technology by BASF,” Watts explained, adding that ecoflex was the very first polymer presented to the market in 1998. “They then involved the compounding of polylactic acids, which is now branded as ecovio.”

One application for ecovio is a mulch product. “It’s formulated so that when the farmer’s at the end of the harvest season, they get the functionality of weed control and moisture enhancement, and instead of having to worry about pulling it up, we encourage them to till it under the soil,” said Watts. “Then it will break down and become biomass, CO2, and water.”

Listen to Ruth talk more about uses for these compostable polymers in this interview – and see them on display at the BASF Commodity Classic exhibit in 2015: Ruth Watts, BASF


2014 ASTA CSS & Seed Expo photo album

Coverage of CSS 2014 and Seed Expo brought to you by
Coverage of CSS 2014 and Seed Expo brought to you by the American Seed Trade Association and Coverage of CSS 2014 and Seed Expo brought to you by BASF Ag Products
ASTA, Audio, BASF, bioproducts

First the Seed Foundation Update

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

asta-foundationFirst the Seed Foundation (FTSF) is a not-for-profit organization established in 2008 by the American Seed Trade Association with a focus on attracting bright young minds to the industry.

“The seed industry is an exciting, dynamic, high tech industry,” said Foundation chairman Bud Hughes of Verdant Partners during an update at CSS 2014 and Seed Expo last week. “We want people to see that whether their interest is marketing and communications, or computer skills, or back to being a biologist or a plant breeder, that there are many different careers available in this industry.”

asta-css-14-foundationHughes says they have taken on several major initiatives over the past six years, with funding by industry participants. “We’ve put together a product we call ‘Grow’ which is a career kit aimed at high school students,” said Hughes, adding that the program has already reached an estimated 500,000 students.

Another project they call “TomatoSphere” which was originally developed in Canada and is aimed at elementary and middle school students. “TomatoSphere takes tomato seeds as an example of a biology project and puts them into the classroom,” he said.

The Foundation has just developed a seed specific school curriculum for teachers, called “Planting the Seed,” based on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) system. And they also have a Seed Ambassadors program which encourages industry professionals to be spokespersons at their local schools.

Hughes says FTSF has grown to the point now where they have hired their first full-time administrator, Jim Reynolds, who is a former educator, coach and high school principal.

Learn more about FTSF from their website and in this update from Hughes at CSS.
Bud Hughes, First the Seed Foundation chairman


2014 ASTA CSS & Seed Expo photo album

Coverage of CSS 2014 and Seed Expo brought to you by
Coverage of CSS 2014 and Seed Expo brought to you by the American Seed Trade Association and Coverage of CSS 2014 and Seed Expo brought to you by BASF Ag Products
ASTA, Education, seed

Top Ten Favorite Tractors List

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

farm-and-ranch-magFarm & Ranch Living magazine has come up with a Top 10 list of All-Time Favorite Tractors.

The full list is in the magazine’s December/January issue, but we have the top three here – two of which are Farmalls.

#3: FARMALL MODEL M – 270,140 produced from 1939-1952. The retail price for the 4 cylinder machine in it’s last year of production was $2,400. At the time, the M was the largest row crop tractor that International Harvester made.

#2: FORD MODEL 8N – 524,000 produced between 1947 and 1952 with the last listed price at $1,404 in 1952. New Holland remade that popular tractor in 2010 for a limited release as the Boomer 8N, one of which was given to Jay Leno.

#1: FARMALL MODEL H – with 391,227 manufactured between 1939 and 1953, the final price was $2,000 and many H’s are still being used on farms today. It was one of the first projects of industrial designer Raymond Lowey, who was hired to restyle the entire International Harvester line.

To find out which others made the Top 10, check out the December/January issue of Farm & Ranch Living. The special section also includes a timeline of tractor history (1920-1960) and a trivia section to test your old iron IQ.

Machinery, Tractor

Bayer to Fund 2015 FFA Grants for Bee Health

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

bayer-cropscienceBayer CropScience is partnering with the National FFA to inspire interest in agriculture and apiculture professions among America’s youth.

The new grant program will help FFA members develop their unique talents and explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers with a focus on finding solutions that will help honey bees thrive. “I have a real passion for the FFA and I love to support them,” said Dr. Becky Langer, manager of Bayer‘s Bee Care Program. “So, we’re sponsoring $50,000 that can go towards grants – whether individual, chapter, or environmental … these grants will provide funds to develop projects over 2015 and help us arrive at some great solutions for pollinator health.”

Langer provides more details in this interview: Interview with Becky Langer, Bayer CropScience on FFA partnership


2014 ASTA CSS & Seed Expo photo album

Audio, Bayer CropScience, Bees, FFA

Bayer CropScience Soybean Update

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

asta-css-14-bayer-diegoGrower needs drive the Bayer CropScience soybean business according to Diego Angelo, director of US soybean operations, who was at last week’s CSS 2014 and Seed Expo to provide an update.

“Innovation is in our blood and it’s driven by our passion to help growers be productive and profitable long term,” says Angelo. Right now what growers need most to be profitable is weed control options to fight herbicide resistant weeds. “Bayer had a vision a few years ago that this was going to happen and developed a technology called Liberty Link.” said Angelo, adding that they have seen steady growth in adoption of the technology since it was introduced in 2008. “Our expectation that 1 out of 10 acres sees a Liberty Link soybean in 2016.”

This year, Bayer introduced Credenz, their first ever soybean seed brand. “We need to take a more active role in bringing our technologies to the market and Credenz is our commitment to this technology,” said Angelo. “With Credenz we’ll be offering more choice than any other national brand.” Credenz offers wide range of varieties and traits including LibertyLink, as well as glyphosate-tolerant traits, in 27 high-performing varieties developed for Maturity Groups 2-7.

Learn more about Bayer’s soybean commitment here: Diego Angelo at CSS 2014 Bayer CropScience press conference


2014 ASTA CSS & Seed Expo photo album

ASTA, Audio, Bayer CropScience, seed, Soybeans