Celebrating Soil and Water Conservation Week

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iowa-ag-deptIowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is highlighting this week, April 24 through May 1.  The state as designed this week as Soil and Water Conservation Week.  He is taking this opportunity to recognized the importance of conservation practices to Iowa’s agriculture.

“Iowans in our towns and on our farms continue to engage in water quality and soil conservation efforts. This week is an opportunity to celebrate all the work that has been done and highlight the efforts currently underway to prevent erosion and improve water quality,” Northey said. “It is vital that we preserve the soil and water resources that help make Iowa agriculture so productive and such a key driver of our state’s economy.”

Monday was a visit by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds to Iowa State Univeristy to see updates to the Nutrient Research Center.  Branstad also signed a proclamation recognizing the week as Iowa Soil and Water Conservation Week.  Wednesday includes an update on the Iowa Water Quality Initiative Demonstration Projects, as well as a tour.  Thursday Northey will visit Storm Lake to hear about activities in the community.  He will also participate in a groundbreaking a the new Water Quality Initiative Urban project designed to convert old lime lagoons into stromwater treatment wetlands.

This event is held in coordination with the National Stewardship Week, sponsored by the National Association of Conservation Districts. The theme for this year is “We all need Trees.”

More information can be found at www.iowaagriculture.gov/conservationweek.asp.

Conservation, Soil, water

Trimble Offers End-to-End Field Service Management Suite

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Trimble PULSETrimble has just launched a comprehensive portfolio of end-to-end field service management solutions.  The Trimble PULSE suite offers solutions for professions in agriculture, as well as construction, telecommunications and utilities.

The PULSE suite is both cloud-based and modular, enabling businesses to preform critical field service operations effectively.

“The Trimble PULSE suite enables businesses to manage all of their field service operations in one place, with one provider,” said John Cameron, general manager of Trimble’s Field Service Management Division. “Our combination of telematics, back-office, scheduling and mobile workforce solutions allow us to offer the most complete set of end-to-end capabilities on the market today.”

The suite offers many capabilities to manage, schedule, mobilize and monitor business operations in real-time, including:

Managing back office operations – Provides back office support that allows for streamlined business processes that are repeatable and predictable. Organizations can easily manage customers, calls, service contracts, estimates and work orders along with asset history, inventory and billing.

Scheduling and dispatching – Offers an extensive range of scheduling, dispatch and optimization tools to manage tasks, appointments, parts, shifts, routing and crew support.

Mobilizing the workforce – Provides end-to-end data access and information collaboration through configurable and customizable mobile applications.

Monitoring the work, workers and assets – Offers organizations the ability to monitor work status, view the location of their workers, as well as all their mobile assets and vehicles. Businesses can quickly analyze work in process, utilization, monitor performance, improve driver safety as well as ensure compliance is met.

“We recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all field service management solution and more businesses are continually seeking tailored solutions to address their individual pain points and priorities,” said Cameron. “The modular set of capabilities that characterize the Trimble PULSE suite allows businesses to tailor a solution based on their needs to streamline operations and achieve field service excellence.”

Agribusiness, Trimble

Used Equipment Value Calculator Released

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

ironguides_logo-1Iron Solutions has announced a new online product.  The company that created IRON Guides®, IRON HQ® and a full suite of equipment data and software products has now launched the IRON Guides Residual Value Calculator® for Used Equipment.  This new offering will be sold separetly from their current lineup of products.

With historically high levels of used agricultural equipment being purchased, this new product was designed to meet a growing need in the equipment marketplace for the valuation of inventory.  The Calculator can help dealers forecast wholesale values of the equipment in their inventory.  This should assist dealers in gaining a better understand of the market value of their machines and help them make more informed transaction decisions.

The IRON Guides Residual Value Calculator is the latest in a portfolio of advanced reporting and software products from Iron Solutions. In addition to sophisticated industry data, the calculator includes input from Iron Solutions’ staff of industry-leading analysts who have equipped the Residual Value Calculator to account for market, industry and geographic variables that can be customized for each user.

The IRON Guides Residual Value Calculator for Used Equipment is available now in the U.S. and is expected to be available later this year in Canada.

Agribusiness, Equipment, Machinery

Tolero Increases Efficacy of Crop Protection Products

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

precision-laboratories-logo1New studies show that Tolero TM can play in important role in the performance of nematicides, fungicides and herbicides.

Precision Laboratories recently announced that results showed the application of the irrigation injection surfactant at a rate of 32 ounces per acres in creased the efficacy of pesticides by an indicator of 20.3 percent in the reduction of root gall formation and 33.1 percent in total fruit weight of cucumbers when used after Nimitz nematicide.  Results also showed more uniform soil moisture in the plant root zone.

“Most of the crop protection manufacturers recognize the role that uniform soil moisture plays in the performance of soil-applied products. These products use water as a vehicle to move efficiently throughout the plant root zone,” said Don Spier, vice president of Precision Laboratories. “Our trials indicate including Tolero in a program with pesticides, such as Nimitz, enhances the performance of the plant protectants.”

Applying Tolero after Quadris fungicide also showed positive results, with a 37 percent decrease in plant disease versus using Quadris alone.  Total fruit weight was also increased by 3.27 percent.

“We believe these results occurred because Tolero provided more uniform soil moisture for the fungicide and reduced periods of plant stress, allowing the plant to reach its potential,” said Spier.

These studies were conducted in 2014 and 2015 on a variety of crops and locations.  Visit Precision Laboratories website for more information.

Agribusiness, Crop Protection, Fungicides, Herbicides, Irrigation

Alltech Acquires Ireland’s Leader of Farm Solutions

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

alltech logoAlltech has agreed to acquire Keenan, a leading farming solutions company in Ireland. Keenan is the 14th acquisition for Alltech globally since 2011.

“The Keenan group has long been a friend of Alltech. This is a story about two great Irish; globally-minded companies coming together. As an Irishman, I am delighted to welcome Keenan to our family, because together we can deliver greater value to our global farming customers with a wider variety of technological solutions,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech. “Between Alltech’s primacy in science and Keenan’s manufacturing strength and technological know-how, we have a winning combination for delivering greater farm efficiency and profitability direct to our farming customers.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 6.31.26 PMAlltech and Keenan have identified possible growth opportunities together, which may include nutritional technologies and feeding programs focused on feed efficiency and herd health as well as advanced ration formulation.

“This is an exciting time for Keenan to join us here at Alltech,” stated Alric Blake, CEO of Alltech. “Alltech is looking for avenues to better deliver the Alltech brand to farmers and provide nutritional solutions to those who directly benefit from their use, whether in animal or crop production. Science and technology are at the forefront of everything we do. This new journey with Keenan further strengthens our ability to deliver on-farm nutrition solutions.”

Keenan will continue to be headquartered in Borris, Co. Carlow, Ireland. Together, Alltech and Keenan employ nearly 300 people in Ireland and close to 5,000 globally.

Agribusiness, Alltech

Videos Demonstrate Ways Farmers Protect Water

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

IFBFIowa farmers are known for not just growing food, fiber and fuel, but for doing it well.  Their fertile soils, combined with varied terrain and a lot of Mother Nature mean farmers face challenges when it comes to keeping nitrates where they belong.  The Iowa Water Quality Initiative has been a big part of helping farm families use innovative, science-proven solutions to prevent nitrates from being washed into the watershed.  Now the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is showcasing those efforts with a series of fun videos called Conservation Q&A.

“Farmers have a good story to tell, but sometimes showing how it all comes together is best,” says IFBF President, Craig Hill.  “To do that, you have to get on the farm, meet the farmer, and see how they’re making progress. The practices in the Nutrient Reduction Strategy are a proven guide, so farmers start there and work with several experts to find practices that work best on their farm; it’s quite varied, depending upon topography, soil and slope. Safeguarding our water, doing more with less; it’s a learning process that never ends.”

“For example, in some areas, cover crops are the best approach to holding nitrogen in place, so many farmers are putting their own dollars to work to put in cover crops; in fact, cover crop plantings are up 4,625% in Iowa in the last seven years,” says Iowa State University (ISU) associate professor of agronomy, Mike Castellano.

Other areas benefit from putting in a wetland, so Iowa farmers have restored vast areas of farmland into wetlands; according to the latest information from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) & Farm Service Agency (FSA), the equivalent wetland acreage of more than 303,000 football fields have been put into place in Iowa in just the last two years. Combined, these conservation practices are bringing measurable progress in many watersheds. A 2014 report from the Iowa Soybean Association On-Farm Network Conference shows over the past 15 years, nitrate levels have trended lower in the Raccoon River by nearly 25%, despite having more acres of corn being grown in the Raccoon watershed. 

“Farmers have been implementing conservation practices on their farms for decades, investing as much as $2.2 billion in conservation improvements over the past decade (http://tinyurl.com/j4koscz), and the Nutrient Reduction Strategy has accelerated their efforts,” says Hill. “Conservation is important to farmers. It’s important to get the facts, and there’s none better than a farmer to ask, when it comes to seeing how these practices are working in Iowa today. We’re proud to show them all, on www.ConservationCountsIowa.com.”

So far the project has produced seven videos, but new ideas are being planned to help tell the conservation story.

Ag Group, Conservation, Farm Bureau, Video

Camso, Agro Maquinas Bring Conversion Track to Brazil

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

CamsoCamso, formerly Camoplast Solideal, and Agro Maquinas are partnering to manufacture Camso’s Conversion Track Systems (CTS) for the Brazilian market.

Brazil is an important market for Camso, a world leader in off-road tires, wheels, rubber tracks and undercarriage systems.    The nation is the 5th largest exporter in the world with a sizable population of large horsepower equipment.  “This is a next generation move for us. The market has potential and we believe our CTS product is a perfect aftermarket bolt on solution for farmers looking to maximize the overall efficiency and quality of work of a combine,” says Martin Lunkenbein, Business Line Executive Director, Systems – Agriculture. “Our OEM customers are also looking to set up shop in this region. We want to make sure we can support their track and track system development needs in Brazil.”

Agro Maquinas is an ideal partner to help expand Camso’s Agricultural manufacturing operations. They have a long history in the region and have built a valuable knowledge of the industry after their 35 years of business. They have the people and teams to source components and manufacture the system locally as well as promote the product through an already established dealer and distribution network. Conversion Track Systems will be ready in time for Brazil’s 2016 harvest.

camso-2“Wet weather plays a large factor in a growers’ ability to get into the field and harvest their crop when its ready. The CTS is a low maintenance solution offering more traction and larger footprint than a dual tire set up. The benefit: a reduction in ground pressure by as much as 60%, less field damage and ultimately a better yield. We’re very excited to team up with Agro Maquinas to bring this solution to market,” concludes Lunkenbein.

The two companies will be at the Agrishow, April 25-29 in Sao Paulo.  Camso engineers will be there, along with product displays so potential customers can learn about the features and benefits of the Conversion Track System.

To help generate awareness of this new partnership, Camso and Agro Maquinas will be present at the Agrishow on April 25-29 in Ribeirão Preto, Sao Paulo at booth # E9d1. The booth will have on-site Camso engineers and product displays so visitors and dealers alike can gain first hand knowledge of the features and benefits of Camso’s Conversion Track System on a combine.

Agribusiness, Company Announcement, Equipment

Small Farmers Show Concern Over FSMA Regs

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

In 2011, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was introduced by the FDA. The program serves as a new method of regulating the growth, harvesting, and processing of agricultural goods. While the aim of this new regulatory system is to increase food safety and reduce the prevalence of foodborne illness, there are some aspects that have become a burden on smaller farms that don’t have a large budget to work with.

Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

According to the FDC, nearly 50 million Americans are sickened by food poisoning each year, with almost 130,000 of them needing to be hospitalized. Many of these cases are reported to the FDA and result in a costly recall of the product from store shelves. Furthermore, the ensuing lawsuits are costing the food industry billions. In the past, the FDA has taken a reactionary approach to food contamination – if a problem was reported, they investigated it. Now, the implementation of the FSMA means that the FDA will be setting mandatory regulations that aim to proactively prevent contaminants from reaching the market.

As of 2018, any farms that gross more than $25,000 per year in produce sales will be subject to a long list of requirements and will need to have each of their crops individually certified as food safety compliant. A number of analysts have estimated that the cost of complying could be anywhere from $50 up to more than $12,000 per acre, depending on the current condition and practices of the farm. Of course, such additional expenses could be too much to bare for many small farms, allowing corporate interests to take up a larger share of the market.

chives-1287096_960_720Many small farms sell their produce locally at farmer’s markets, through co-ops, or by networking on online farm directory sites that connect suppliers with distributors. Under the new regulations, farms that sell less than $25,000 in produce per year will not be subject FSMA rules. Thus, the smallest farms won’t feel the impact as much. Furthermore, it’s unclear whether the FDA plans to set regulations for the growth of herbs and other alternative crops. For example, the companies that you find listed in a dispensary directory will probably not be subjected to the scrutiny as a directory of agricultural suppliers, despite the fact that many states are currently developing legislation in that area.

A number of outspoken critics have expressed the concern that, although the new regulations look great on paper, the authorities might be overlooking the economic impact of their implementation. Still, FSMA proponents provide the rebuttal that the new system is being rolled out gradually over the course of the next four years, arguing that such a time frame should be generous enough to allow for farms to obtain the necessary financing to make the transition.

Agribusiness, Food, Vegetables

Reat Joins FMC as Corn Segment Manager

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

Chris ReatFMC Agricultural Solutions has selected Chris Reat as their new corn segment manager.  Reat will be directing the corn segment for the company, including the brands Anthem herbicides, Solstice Herbicide, Cate herbicide, Crusher herbicide, Hero insecticide and Preemptor SC fungicide.

“The addition of Chris to our team strengthens our go-to-market plan for the corn segment,” said Aaron Locker, FMC Agricultural Solutions North America marketing director. “We are excited to have Chris leading our efforts in the corn segment, as he has the experience and insight to meet our customers’ needs.”

Reat previously served a variety of marketing, sales and leadership roles at the Monsanto Company. Most recently, he was the Roundup Ready PLUS® herbicides marketing manager for Monsanto. Reat has a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Development from Texas A&M University. He is a Certified Crop Advisor and has been the recipient of various sales and marketing awards, including the National Agricultural Marketing Association.

“FMC is a significant player in the U.S. corn herbicide, insecticide and fungicide businesses with significant growth opportunity in each market segment. I am excited for the opportunity to work with the innovative and dynamic team at FMC to identify and develop more products that bring value to growers,” said Reat.

Agribusiness, Corn, FMC

Folta Earns Borlaug CAST Communication Award

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

Kevin Folta, associate professor of Horticultural Sciences. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) is pleased to announce Dr. Kevin Folta as the winner of this year’s prestigious Borlaug CAST Communication Award.  Dr. Folta serves as the Chair of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Services.  He is a teacher, mentor, researcher and organizer and has a talent for relating to the non-scientific crowd.  He focuses on clear, credible information and trains scientists, farmers, physicians and students to reach out on confusing scientific and controversial topics.

As a Department Chair, Folta provides statewide administrative leadership in the University of Florida’s teaching, research, and extension fruit and vegetable programs. He coordinates and supports efforts in more than 50 research programs at seven locations, ranging from citrus breeding and biotechnology to organic and sustainable production. His laboratory examines how plants sense light signals and how different parts of the light spectrum can affect shelf life and high-value fruit and vegetable traits. His group also uses novel genomics approaches to identify genes related to flavor and disease resistance.

Although he is an accomplished scientist, Folta is respected by his peers and many others for his ability to communicate in a polite, thoughtful, and provocative manner. As one colleague stated, “He treats everyone with tremendous respect. He often transforms conflict-riddled situations into true learning moments.” With his passion for science, knowledge, and understanding, Dr. Folta is a worthy recipient of the Borlaug CAST Communication Award.

Folta’s blog is a reflection of his passion for communicating science, as are his weekly podcasts.  He is a highly regarded speaker around the world and he has designed a workshop to teach scientist how to engage a skeptical public.  Julie Borlaug notes that, “He has not shied away from controversial subjects and has often been the number one target of the anti-science movement on behalf of all of us who support biotechnology.”

Folta will receive the award at a breakfast event hosted by Dupont and CAST at the World Food Prize Symposium in October.

Ag Group, Award, Dupont Pioneer