Special Issue of Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

NGWAThe National Ground Water Association’s technical journal, Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation®, has published a special issue focusing on the monitoring and remediation of agricultural impacts to groundwater quality.

Agricultural land use represents the largest nonpoint source threat to groundwater quality on a global scale. As a result of decades of fertilizer application and surface spreading of animal manure, chronic increases in nitrate concentrations have been documented within the shallow and deep groundwater environments, and with increasing frequency in both private and public supply wells.

Beneficial management practices (BMPs) designed to reduce the risk of groundwater quality impacts are being adopted worldwide, yet very little data are available to assess the performance of these BMPs.

The special issue, which comprises the Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation Winter 2015 issue, is a coordination of recent research results from a team of more than 40 authors who have expertise in the area of agricultural BMP design, performance assessment, and field monitoring in the agricultural landscape.

Their collective research findings “…highlight the understanding that can be gleaned from careful monitoring of field sites where nutrient BMPs have been implemented, and demonstrate the necessity of long-term monitoring programs in these settings,” says Neil Thomson, Ph.D., the editor-in-chief of Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation.

The guest editor of this special issue was David L. Rudolph, Ph.D., PE, who presented the 2013 National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation’s Henry Darcy Distinguished Lecture in Groundwater Science, “Managing Groundwater Beneath the Agricultural Landscape.”

Ag Group, Conservation, water, Water Management

FMC Introduces Anthem® Maxx Herbicide

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

anthem-maxx-herbicide-logoAnthem® Maxx herbicide, a new and stronger concentration of Anthem herbicide by FMC, is now available to corn and soybean growers.

“Anthem Maxx herbicide has the same benefits that growers are familiar with getting from our Anthem herbicides with a decreased use rate, cutting the rate in half,” said Matt Hancock, FMC Agricultural Solutions North America corn segment manager. “With its higher concentration, the convenience of Anthem Maxx herbicide becomes even greater due to the lower use rates required.”

Use rates range from 2.0-6.5 oz/A on corn and 2.0-5.7 oz/A on soybeans. These rates are half the rates of Anthem herbicide that was introduced by FMC in 2013. Featuring a liquid formulation, Anthem Maxx herbicide provides ease of handling. A 2.5 gallon container could treat approximately 80-100 acres, resulting in less mixing, less cleanup and less packaging disposal.

Anthem Maxx herbicide provides strong control of broadleaf weeds such as waterhemp, Palmer amaranth, lambsquarters and redroot pigweed with long residual performance. The herbicide also suppresses other key broadleaf weeds including morningglories, velvetleaf and kochia. Additionally, Anthem Maxx herbicide provides control of annual grasses like foxtails, crabgrass and fall panicum with strong suppression on other tough grass weeds.

Agribusiness, FMC, Herbicides, Soybeans

Agnition Debuts Soybean Seed Treatment

John Davis Leave a Comment

commenceA new microbial catalyst seed treatment for soybeans is promising healthier soils and a superior growth environment. Agnition has launched Commence® for Soybeans, a product the company says will increase microbial activity near the seed, thus liberating nutrients that get soybeans off to a faster start and nurtures them throughout the growing season.

“We consistently see faster emergence and healthier and more robust soybean plants that stay ahead all year long,” said Agnition senior research manager Evan Johnson. “We bring value to the market through better plant health, and because our seed treatment stimulates microbial activity we provide value through healthier soil. Commence® not only provides an advantage to this year’s crop but also long-term value through increased soil health.”

Typical seed treatments are defensive and provide passive protection that is effective only when insect or disease pressure is present. Also, Commence® for Soybeans is not an inoculant. The active ingredients in Commence® for Soybeans are released in the soil after planting where they stimulate naturally occurring microorganisms to improve stand count, root structure and overall plant health.

“Our soybean seed treatment is active and goes out into the rhizosphere, the area around the root, and that’s where the plant gets all its nutrients for a much larger root structure. Commence® is an offensive seed treatment that positively affects the rhizosphere rather than a treatment that sits on the seed and waits for something to attack,” Johnson said.

The company says Commence® for Soybeans is built on two exclusive technologies: a patented microbial catalyst to increase the number and activity of soil microorganism and the company’s ProCoat™ encapsulation technology that adheres the active ingredients in Commence® to the seed and then releases them after planting for maximum benefit.

Agribusiness, Soybeans

Verdesian Can Help Plants Take-Off

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

verdesianAt Commodity Classic, Verdesian Life Sciences was showcasing nitrogen enhancement technology developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) that can really help plants Take-Off.

According to Kurt Seevers with Verdesian technical services, Take Off® crop nitrogen assimilator helps improve photosynthesis by increasing carbon flow into a plant’s metabolism. “This enhances the formation of amino acids, which perform multiple functions in plant metabolism and are critical to healthy plant growth,” said Seevers. “Testing shows the new innovation not only enhances vegetative growth, but also impacts reproductive growth.”

In this interview with Ken Rahjes, Seevers explains the results they have seen with corn, soybeans and wheat with Take-Off. Interview with Kurt Seevers, Verdesian

Audio, Commodity Classic, Corn, Nitrogen, Soybeans

Reaction to Prospective Plantings Report

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

USDAThe much-anticipated 2015 Prospective Plantings released by USDA Tuesday shows declines expected in corn, wheat and cotton acres this year, with only a modest increase in soybean acreage.

Corn planted area for all purposes in 2015 is estimated at 89.2 million acres, down 2 percent from last year. If realized, this will be the third consecutive year of an acreage decline and would be the lowest planted acreage in the United States since 2010.

Soybean planted area for 2015 is estimated at a record high 84.6 million acres, up 1 percent from last year. Compared with last year, planted acreage intentions are up or unchanged in 21 of the 31 major producing States.

All wheat for 2015 is estimated at 55.4 million acres, down three percent from 2014, and all cotton is estimated at 9.55 million acres, 13 percent below last year.

Randy Martinson with Progressive Ag, who provided commentary on the report for the Minneapolis Grain Exchange crop call, was surprised by some of the numbers. “For corn, we’re looking at acres coming in much higher than what was anticipated by the trade, about a half million more than expected,” said Martinson. MGEX crop conference call on 2015 prospective plantings

USDA raised its estimates on both corn and soybean acreage from the numbers released at the annual outlook forum in February. “The increase in corn was a bit of a surprise, and the market has not responded favorably,” said John Anderson, American Farm Bureau’s deputy chief economist. Corn futures dropped by around 15 cents a bushel with this news, but the soybean market has remained relatively stable. But “it’s not too late for late acreage shifts,” Anderson noted. “So if corn is down that affects soybeans prices as well.”

National Corn Growers Association
president Chip Bowling notes that even the lowest planted acreage since 2010 would still be the sixth-largest U.S. corn acreage planted since 1944. Assuming the five-year average 91.4 percent harvest rate and the projected 25-year trend yield of 162.3 bushels per acre is achieved, farmers will harvest 13.23 billion bushels. “U.S. farmers produced a record crop in 2014 with supplies abundant enough to meet all needs and provide an ample carry over into 2015,” Bowling said.


Ag Conservation Easement Funding Announced

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

acepAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Natural Resources Conservation Service chief Jason Weller today announced the availability of $332 million in financial and technical assistance through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).

“Conservation easements are an important tool to help these landowners and partners voluntarily provide long-term protection of our nation’s farmland, ranchland, wetlands and grasslands for future generations,” said Vilsack.

“What’s great about these easements is that you can also have permanent protection of vulnerable habitat…but these are also working land conservation easements,” Weller added. “The easements are a critical tool for us.”

The 2014 Farm Bill consolidated three previous conservation easement programs into ACEP to make it easier for diverse agricultural landowners to fully benefit from conservation initiatives. ACEP applications may be submitted at any time to NRCS; however, applications for the current funding round must be submitted on or before May 15, 2015.

USDA NRCS easement program funding announcement
Audio, Conservation, NRCS, USDA

2015 World Backup Day

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

World Backup DayHey AgNerds when was the last time you backed up your computer? Your phone? Your tablet? Your memory cards? All your field data? Hopefully you know the answer to that.

If you haven’t then do it today – World Backup Day. This infographic was sent to me by Cloudwards. Click on it to see the rest of the graphic.

World Backup DayMarch 31st has been declared World Backup Day. With so much of our lives, photos, and videos being stored in digital form, it is important that we begin to make backups of our precious data. Backing up your data is one of those easy-to-do procedures that many people ignore.

People now create and generate over 1.8 zettabytes of data per year.¹ That’s a lot of data that we need to protect! Unfortunately, nearly 30% of people have never even backed up their data.² Backing up your data will protect your life’s work when that hard drive fails. If you are a small business, a data backup can be what saves your company. World Backup Day is here to make sure that people actually start backing up.

Invest in a small portable hard drive. Connect it to your computer and use software like Time Machine for a Mac or SyncBack for a PC. Invest in a cloud storage account like BackBlaze. Have the peace of mind of the best of both worlds!

AgNerd, computers, Gadgets, technology

Momentum Growing for Non-GMO Labels

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

wpMomentum and support appear to be growing for a voluntary federal food labeling standard with a Washington Post editorial out this week saying GMO food labeling is unnecessary.

“The GM-food debate is a classic example of activists overstating risk based on fear of what might be unknown and on a distrust of corporations,” writes the WP editorial board, which noted recent research highlights the difference between “informed opinion and popular anxiety.” In January, the Pew Research Center found that 88 percent of scientists polled believe genetically modified food is generally safe to eat, while only 37 percent of the general public shares that view.

The WP editorial supports the House bill introduced last week would provide for a voluntary federal labeling system for non-GMO products. “Yes, food industry interests back the bill. That doesn’t make it wrong,” the editorial concludes.

Read the WP editorial here.

biotechnology, GMO, Government

Doane Planting Intentions Survey Results

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

doaneWhile USDA is due out with the 2015 planting intentions report on March 31, Doane Advisory Services released its planting intentions report to subscribers and clients on Friday, March 20th, showing a continuation of recent trends toward more soybeans and less corn acreage.

Last year’s corn acreage declined significantly in 2014, down 4.8 million acres from the 2013 level, just a bit more than the 4.5 million acre decline implied by Doane’s 2014 survey results and more accurate than USDA’s March Prospective Plantings report last year which showed only a 3.7 million acre decline.

The 2015 results show another big decline in corn acreage in the works for this year, to 87 million acres which is the lowest level since 2009. While traders are expecting a slight drop in 2015 based on USDA’s preliminary estimate of 89 million acres at its February Outlook Forum, the Doane survey would most likely prove bullish if confirmed by USDA’s March 31 Prospective Plantings report.

Soybean acreage on the other hand will rise sharply according to Doane survey results, which imply national acreage of a record 87 million acres, with largest increases percentage-wise for the Northern Plains states. The Doane survey results imply a significant increase in sorghum acreage this year.

While some forecasts show significant year-over-year declines in total crop acreage planted to the principle crops for 2015, Doane results suggest otherwise. Expected declines for corn, cotton, and winter wheat acreage will be offset with more acres of sorghum, barley, durum wheat, soybeans, sunflower, canola and hay.

Link to full release here.

Corn, Planting, Soybeans

Study Shows DuPont Pioneer Corn Performs in Drought

John Davis Leave a Comment

dupontpioneerA new study in the Journal of Crop Science shows how well DuPont Pioneer corn hybrids perform in drought conditions. This company news release says the multi-year study demonstrated the efficacy of Pioneer brand Optimum® AQUAmax® maize hybrid seeds.

“Through these and related research efforts, we are making real progress in understanding what contributes to drought tolerance,” said Mark Cooper, research director, trait characterization and development at DuPont Pioneer, and one of the study’s authors. “This will help DuPont Pioneer continue to deliver strong maize hybrids to growers around the world.”

Key Findings from the Study

The multi-year study included comprehensive managed-environment research experiments, on-farm industry evaluation experiments and planting density studies. More than 10,700 U.S. farms provided extensive data comparing 78 of the Optimum® AQUAmax® hybrids to a sample of 4,200 industry-leading hybrids used by growers throughout the Corn Belt.

In the on-farm experiments, the Optimum® AQUAmax® hybrids were, on average, 6.5 percent higher yielding under water-limited conditions and 1.9 percent higher yielding under favorable growing conditions.
Under water-limited conditions, the Optimum® AQUAmax® hybrids yielded better in higher plant population situations (i.e., more plants per acre) when compared to the other hybrids. The yield advantage of Optimum® AQUAmax® hybrids compared to other hybrids became greater as plant populations increased.

DuPont Pioneer points out that water is the most limiting factor to agricultural and food productivity, causing annual crop losses of $13 billion due to drought globally. In the U.S. alone, since 1980, major droughts and heat waves have produced losses exceeding $100 billion, and in 2012, a severe drought contributed to historically high grain prices in the United States.

Agribusiness, Corn, Dupont Pioneer