iCropTrak Getting Ready for InfoAg Conference

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

iCropTrakThe InfoAg Conference is only four weeks away and companies like iCropTrak are getting excited to showcase their products to a record setting crowd in St. Louis. iCropTrak has been a supporter of ours for several years now and I look forward to visiting with them in the trade show and during a session I will be moderating that includes iCropTrak on the program.

I just spoke with Aaron Hutchinson, iCropTrak, about what’s new and what we can expect to see when visiting the company during InfoAg. They’ll be in booth 85. Aaron says they’ll be showing the new 6.1 release of their software. He says the key word this year is reporting with customers needing pixel perfect government forms and the ability to create them faster. So there’s a new software plugin that allows that to happen.

Listen to my interview with Aaron to learn more about what’s new with iCropTrak: Aaron Hutchinson, iCropTrak

Agribusiness, Audio, iCropTrak, InfoAg

Land O’Lakes to Merge Inputs with United Suppliers

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

land o lakesLand O’Lakes, Inc. and United Suppliers, Inc. are announcing a merger of their crop inputs businesses. The organizations will provide expanded product offerings, enhanced precision agriculture services, tools and technologies, improved product insights, and consulting services among others.

“This move comes at a time when scale is increasingly important in addressing changing industry dynamics, including rapid consolidation on the supplier, retailer and grower levels, fast-paced technological innovation and the need for increasing and expanded service offerings for customers,” said Chris Policinski, President and CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “We are excited to come together with United Suppliers and expect our members, owners and customers will benefit greatly from this merger.”

united suppliers logoThe first goal of the merger is to combine the seed and crop protection businesses, followed by bringing together the crop nutrient businesses.  The organizations hope to build on their individual successes and create a single, strong entity.  Both groups will move forward with their existing marketing strategies and will work together to gain better expertise for meeting customer demands.

“United Suppliers is excited to join with Land O’Lakes, Inc.,” said Brad Oelmann, President and CEO of United Suppliers. “We are both experiencing great growth in this industry and together we view this merger as a continuation of that journey.”

Member/owners must vote to approve the merger before the deal is finalized.  Ballots are scheduled to be cast in August of 2015, with closing anticipated for October 2015.

Agribusiness, Crop Protection, seed

AgMag Fertilizer Approved for Organic Farming

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

AgMag-Infographic-smallInnovative Surface Solutions has a new option for farmers striving to meet the demand for organic crops.  Ag, Mag has become the first magnesium chloride-based fertilizer approved for organic farming in North America.  Magnesium chloride has been shown to improve quality and yields for crops including corn, wheat and small grains, soybeans, and potatoes.

“The demand for organic foods continues to grow and farmers are looking for cost-effective solutions,” said Greg Baun, President and CEO, Innovative Surface Solutions. “We are proud to offer North American farmers access to a liquid organic fertilizer that will increase quality and yields across a range of crop types and also contains natural fungal suppressant properties. We continue to see excellent results from our trials with Cornell University; 2015 will be the fourth year and most comprehensive trials yet with more farms participating in New York and New England.”

Innovative’s AgMag™ is a high performance magnesium chloride liquid that is approved for organic production as a crop fertilizer and soil amendment to help increase quality and yield in row crops. It has just been listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) in both Canada and the United States. AgMag™ is listed for use in certified organic production, food processing and handling according to the USDA National Organic Program Rule and Canadian Organic Standards.

AgMag™ is the base material for Innovative’s family of value added agriculture blends, which include NutriMag™. The magnesium chloride used in AgMag™ also forms the base for Innovative’s broad line of de-icing, dust control and industrial products.

“Innovative’s AgMag™ provides farmers with an organic option to strengthen their crops that is superior to traditional Epsom salts used by many organic farmers as a source of magnesium,” said Ray McDonald, General Manager of Cangrow Crop Solutions and Innovative’s Canadian distribution partner. “This magnesium chloride solution gives organic farmers access to the same benefits of this fertilizer that have been available to non-organic farmers in North America for more than 20 years.”

“The organic certification of Ag Mag will be great for organic farmers,” said John Van Heusen, operator of Sugar Creek Farm in Ossian, New York. “I have seen year-over-year increases in both yield and quality by using AgMag on conventional crops. Now the same benefits can be experienced on organic farms.”

An OMRI Listed seal shows that Innovative AgMag™ may be used in the Generic Material Listing.   You can find the product in the OMRI Products List© available on the website and will be released in the next print version. Look for more information regarding the OMRI status of AgMag™ in the next OMRI update.

AgMag is also approved for organic use by NOFA-NY and Baystate Organic Certifiers.

Agribusiness, Fertilizer, Organic

AGree Report Calls for Food & Ag Research Reform

John Davis Leave a Comment

AGree1A new report calls for reforms in food and ag research. AGree, a group that’s supported by leading foundations that fund food and agriculture, international development, and health and well-being, unveiled its comprehensive report on food and ag research, “Research & Innovation: Strengthening Agricultural Research,” which includes nine recommendations to strengthen the impact of public research dollars by reforming the system and also makes the case for increased research funding.

“We need to make a smart investment even smarter,” said Deborah Atwood, Executive Director of AGree. “The need to modernize our research system has long been discussed behind closed doors – now it’s time to have an open national conversation about needed changes.”

The recommendations were developed based on meetings held across the country throughout a two year period involving more than 100 people. They were further informed by five Point of View papers commissioned by AGree, and guided by the direct engagement and insight of AGree Co-Chairs and Advisors. They are:

– Scrutinize and modernize federal funding mechanisms for public research, education, and extension to foster innovation and maximize public benefits.
– Review and reset publicly-funded research priorities periodically, employing a transparent process with input from multiple stakeholders and end users to ensure that funds are focused on high-impact areas.
– Minimize duplicative efforts and unnecessary costs by assessing the existing research infrastructure and improving grant monitoring and tracking systems.
– Target public research funding to areas unlikely to be addressed by private industry.
– Increase Congressional oversight of the U.S. agricultural research enterprise.
– Make data, information, and findings from publicly-funded research accessible.
– Strengthen the role of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Chief Scientist to help ensure the U.S. continues to serve as a global leader on food and agricultural research and innovation.
– Integrate research, education, and extension activities to promote coordination across each of these three interconnected elements at the university level.
– Maintain U.S. leadership and engagement in international food and agricultural research.

The next steps for AGree include convening a diverse coalition of thought leaders to coalesce around smart, long-term changes to the public food and agricultural research enterprise.

Ag Group, Agribusiness, Research

Crop Health Labs Offers Sap Analysis Webinars

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

crophealthlabsGrowers looking to reduce crop inputs and increase profits now have access to a program to achieve both – Plant Sap Analysis. The technology is offered by Crop Health Labs, in partnership with NovaCropControl Laboratories, and upcoming webinars can provide more information for interested farmers and crop consultants.

Crop Health Labs Executive Director Michelle Gregg says growers have seen significant financial benefits with Plant Sap Analysis. “We have a database of long-term, trend data from 10 years of sap analysis study,” said Gregg. “Growers report saving most on reserved nitrogen, up to 40 percent of their nitrogen costs, by modifying applications of macro and micro-nutrients in key ratios identified for optimum plant health. The technology is a systems balancer that can be applied to any production system.”

Crop Health Labs is offering three webinars for crop consultants, growers, and one specific to soybean producers. All webinars will be recorded and available for viewing or purchase following the event.

June 30, 2015 hosted in partnership with the American Society of Agronomy
1:00-2:00 PM EST
“Best Practices for Sap Analysis Application: Consultants and Clients Review ”
Daniel Davidson, PhD and Sjoerd Smits, co-founder of NovaCropControl Laboratory
Registration available at www.agronomy.org/education/online-courses/sap-analysis-webinar

July 7, 2015: Hosted in partnership with the American Soybean Association
2:00 PM EST
Sap Analysis Application for Soybean Producers
Daniel Davidson, PhD
Registration available at www.crophealthlabs.com

July 14, 2015
7:00 PM EST
Hosted in partnership with Advancing Eco Agriculture
John Kempf, CEO of Advancing Eco Agriculture
“Sap Analysis: The Competitive Edge Consulting Firms”
Registration available at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8180054616796989953

Visit Crop Health Labs’ website for more information and to register. To speak with a trained Plant Sap Analyst, call 1-800-495-7938 or email: info@crophealthlabs.com.

agronomy, Nitrogen, Nutrient Management, Soybeans

New Precision Air 5 Air Cart Offered from CIH

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

CIH air cartCase IH is introducing a new Precision Air 5 series air cart to seed with the highest level of confidence.  The air cart is designed to provide highly accurate seed and fertilizer placement and boasts next-gen boost capacity and AccuSection section control.

The modular metering system is appropriately named AccuSection, since the 5 series’ uses individual electronic meter drives, giving primary run control on a per meter basis.

“The new modular system is easy to use yet offers industry-leading precision and accuracy by metering each primary run on an individual basis,” Dan Klein, Case IH Crop Production Marketing Manager said. “This reduces or eliminates overlap to help avoid expensive over-application of seed and fertilizer.”

Other key design enhancements of the new Precision Air 5 series air carts include:

Greater capacity. From 350 to 950 bushels with larger openings, the 5 series allows operators to blend any tank with any other tank to cover more acres between fills. 

Faster filling. The fill system for the fourth tank lets the producer load from the ground, and a new master shut-off feature allows for meter servicing without having to empty the air cart’s contents. 

Reliability. Producers can trust corrosion-resistant tanks and meters in addition to a beefed-up LED lighting package for easier nighttime filling. 

Enhanced flexibility. The new meter design uses a modular cartridge system, making it easier to adjust for different seed or fertilizer types and sizes. As an added benefit, simple-to-insert, color-coded cartridges quickly tell operators whether they have the right size for the job.

“Whether working with small grains, pulse crops, dry fertilizers or a range of seeds from canola and rice to soybeans and milo, producers will appreciate the durability, ease of use and improved capacity of the 5 series,” Klein said.

Klein notes growers of small grain, pulse crops, dry fertilizers, or a range of seeds from conola and rice to soybeans and milo will benefit from the key design components of the 5 series.  Ease of use, improved capacity, durability, and more precision to match up with larger drills and higher-horsepower tractors will meet the demands of today’s producers.

Agribusiness, Case IH, Equipment, Planting

EPA Rejects Glyphosate Limits, Seeks Butterfly Comments

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

epaAfter more than a year of review, the Environmental Protection Agency has rejected a petition to limit the use of the herbicide glyphosate claiming that it causes harm to monarch butterflies.

EPA responded to the petition filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council saying the agency “has not determined that glyphosate causes unreasonable adverse effects to the monarch butterfly.”

At the same time, EPA noted concern about the dwindling population of monarch butterflies and has identified actions to protect the monarch and the milkweed plant, an important resource for the pollinator. The agency has issued a Risk Management Approach to Identifying Options for Protecting the Monarch Butterfly, and is soliciting public comment on which potential action or a combination of actions would be most effective in reducing the impacts of herbicides on the monarch butterfly and its habitat. The agency is also requesting additional suggestions for protection measures for the monarch.

EPA’s efforts will be informed by input from stakeholders, while also balancing the needs of landowners for weed and vegetation management in varied landscapes.

Government, Herbicides, pollinators

Farmers Union Backs Declaration on Food & Sustainability

John Davis Leave a Comment

national-farmers-union-logoThe National Farmers Union (NFU) is backing a declaration on feeding the growing world population in a sustainable way. This NFU news release says the group backs the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) General Assembly’s pronouncement on the need to produce a food supply sufficient for the 9.2 billion people who will inhabit our planet in 2050 in a sustainable and environmentally-conscious way.

“American family farmers and ranchers play a tremendous role in both addressing global food security needs and properly stewarding the land for a cleaner, safer environment for future generations,” said National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson. “NFU thanks the Farmers Union delegation and the WFO for producing a declaration that ensures the farmers’ perspective is considered in the global conversation on food production and protecting the environment.”

The Farmers’ Declaration is meant to ensure the farmers’ perspective will be represented at Expo Milano 2015, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” a six-month, universal exhibition focused on being able to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the planet and its equilibrium.

“We, farmers of the world, men, women and youth, taking care of small, medium and large-scale farms and cooperatives, recognize that Agriculture, including crops, horticulture, feedstock, livestock, breeding, fisheries and forestry, is at the heart of sustainable development,” states the declaration. “Farmers feed the planet, producing Energy for Life, transportation and heat and are integral to support sustainable development, globally. However, we also feel humble facing the responsibilities that come with the tasks of feeding the world and caring for the earth.”

Dave Velde, NFU vice president of international relations, Mark Watne, North Dakota Farmers Union president, and Robert Carlson, former North Dakota Farmers Union president and first president of the WFO made up the NFU delegation.

Ag Group, Food, International

New Holland T9 Goes BIG

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

New Holland T9 TractorsLooking for a big boy tractor for those large acre row crop applications? Take a look at this New Holland T9 Series tractor that was on display for ag media on La Belotta Sustainable Farm near Turin, Italy. Darragh Mullin, CNH Industrial, APAC Product Marketing Tractors gave us a walk around tour of the machine.

New T9 4WD tractors give you the power you need and the comfort you want. If the engine and hydraulic power doesn’t turn your head, the sleek design and the largest cab in the industry certainly will. Six new models are ready to fit your farming needs. For those who want a row-crop ready articulated tractor, take a look at one of the four standard 36-inch-wide frame models up to 507 engine horsepower. The slim T9 engine hood provides improved forward visibility and the inboard planetary drive axles allow for narrow wheel width settings. For broad acre work, check out the two higher-horsepower, wide-frame models in the line-up. Their top-level performance is packaged in a new, beautifully balanced chassis that delivers more power to the wheels for improved productivity. Brain and brawn. New Holland knows it takes both to get the job done right.

You’ll get a lot of information on the T9 from Darragh in the video:

New Holland Expo Milano 2015 Photos

Agribusiness, Equipment, New Holland, Tractor

New Holland Honors Heroes with True Blue Salute

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

TrueBlueSalute_logoNew Holland has expanded the True Blue Salute program in honor of the bravery, service, and sacrifice of America and Canada’s military and first responders.  This program provides equipment incentives to all current and retired United States and Canadian military and first responders.

“New Holland is honored to show our appreciation and support of our military and first responders through the True Blue Salute program. It’s our way of saying thanks to the heroes in North America who serve and protect us,” says Mark Hooper, Senior Director Marketing for New Holland in North America.

New Holland is extending a special equipment offer to active, reserve, retired military and honorably discharged veterans, and current or retired first responders, including police officers, fire fighters, and emergency medical technicians. New Holland will offer $500 off the purchase of select new New Holland tractors, light construction equipment, and hay and forage products purchased from an authorized New Holland dealer in the United States or Canada. A valid, government-issued military ID card or other proof of service is required. Information on eligible equipment is available from local, authorized New Holland dealers.

Agribusiness, New Holland