Valley’s Irrigation Exchange

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 11.49.29 AMDue to the growing demand for increased food production to feed the expanding population, along with rising land prices and increasing fertilizer and fuel costs, making precise choices about irrigation and nutrient management is more critical than ever.

Valley® Irrigation has developed a way to share precision irrigation data that facilitates data-driven decisions and simplifies irrigation management. The first of its kind, Irrigation Exchange™ is cutting-edge technology that provides for the seamless transfer of precision data to other ag companies from BaseStation3™, the new Valley remote irrigation management product.

“Valley is working with major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of agriculture equipment, seed and fertilizer companies, and leading agronomy service companies to design and develop the next level of integrated farm management,” said Craig Malsam, vice president of global engineering and strategic technical development. “OEMs are invited to create application programing interfaces (API) that link into BaseStation3 to synchronize irrigation with other critical and interdependent farm operations.”

Irrigation Exchange allows for data retrieval, data-based decision-making and implementation through mechanized irrigation during the most critical phase – the growing season, Malsam said. It also gives growers complete control over their data and who has access to it.

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Agribusiness, Irrigation

Issues on the Plate of NCGA President

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

nafb14-ncga-chipBiotechnology and GMO labeling, Waters of the U.S., and soil health were just a few of the issues on the mind of National Corn Growers Association president Chip Bowling at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention last week.

Bowling says corn growers are very concerned about the growing number of initiatives nationwide called for labeling of GMO products, and passage of a temporary ban on biotech crop production in Maui where many agribusiness companies do research on new traits. “The issue in Hawaii is critical,” he said. “We Hawaii is a place we can grow crops all year long and the companies that test their traits out there needs to have the accessibility to those areas.” Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences have filed suit over the ban, which was passed by a slim margin, and a judge has blocked its implementation.

One of the most important issues facing farmers right now, in Bowling’s opinion, is the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule. “It’s not going to go away,” he said. “We need them to withdraw the interpretive rule and clarify what they mean to regulate and we need to make sure that it’s not overreaching.” Bowling recently had officials from EPA out to his farm in Maryland to take a look at ditches and ponds and get their opinions on how they would interpret the rule.

Bowling is pleased with NCGA’s participation in the Soil Health Partnership (SHP). “We understand that we need to be good stewards of the land,” said Bowling. “It’s all about doing the right thing at the right time and we want to make sure that the farmers that we represent have all the information that they can get.”

Bowling talks about a variety of other issues in this interview: Interview with Chip Bowling, NCGA president

2014 NAFB Convention Photos

Coverage of the NAFB convention is sponsored by
NAFB Convention is sponsored by FMC
Ag Group, Audio, biotechnology, Conservation, Corn, Cover Crops, NAFB, NCGA

Weed Science Society Looks to Future

John Davis Leave a Comment

WSSA1Some upcoming meetings for the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) and its sister regional organizations will address a wide range of topics vital to the future of weed science. This WSSA news release says they’ll look at subjects ranging from how to manage herbicide-resistant weeds to new developments in weed research and expect to draw hundreds of scientists, students, educators and other individuals interested in sustainable weed management practices and the conservation.

The 55th annual meeting of WSSA will be held February 9-12, 2015, in Lexington, Kentucky. Rosalind James, Ph.D., a national program leader in USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, will deliver a keynote address on the future of the agency’s weed science research initiatives.

More than 300 presentations and poster sessions are on the annual meeting agenda, as well as two special symposia. The first will summarize a recent national-level Herbicide Resistance Summit sponsored by WSSA, while the second will explore the future of molecular-level weed research. Graduate students in weed science are organizing a special student-oriented workshop on how to prepare for jobs in weed science. For more details and registration information, visit

Several regional meetings are coming up as well, including the North Central Weed Science Society getting together December 1-4, 2014 in Minneapolis, Minnesota; the Northeastern Weed Science Society meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia, January 5-8, 2015; the Southern Weed Science Society annual meeting taking place in Savannah, Georgia, January 26-28, 2015; and the Western Society of Weed Science to meet March 9-12, 2015, in Portland, Oregon.

More information is available here.

Ag Group, Weed control

Corn Growers’ Soil Health Partnership Fosters Conversations

John Davis Leave a Comment

SHP1Farmers in the Midwest are talking about more than just the weather these past few weeks. The National Corn Growers Associaton’s Soil Health Partnership (SHP) has been busy lately holding field days in Nebraska, Illinois and Indiana, the Soil Health Partnership was busy holding field days, encouraging some real farmer-to-farmer conversations on how to best take care of soil health in different areas.

“The soil samples I take help me identify what soil management practices contribute to water efficiency in each of the fields where I want to make a change. After participating in this program, I expect to be better able to assess the interplay of yield with compaction and water filtration, organic matter, the nutrient cycle, and other chemical, physical and biological attributes,” [said SHP demonstration farmer Greg Whitmore from Shelby, Nebraska].

At the Forrest, Illinois field day, Mike Trainor talked about his past experience with cover crops and what he hopes to gain by participating in the Soil Health Partnership. “What is attractive about this program is the attention it places on the economic benefits of using cover crops,” said Trainor.

Leon Corzine, another SHP demonstration farmer, invited his neighbors in Assumption, Illinois to hear how soil health benefits farmers’ operations. “My son Craig now farms with me. Leaving the farm to him in better shape than I got it is important to me,” said Corzine. “I’m interested in growing cover crops but, like other farmers, I’m not quite sure what will work best. Working with Soil Health Partnership is a way for me to learn more about what I can do.”

More information on the Soil Health Partnership is available at

Ag Group, Corn, NCGA, Soil

Crop Protection Products & Global Food Demand

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 12.37.39 PMA panel of authors from academic institutions and the CropLife Foundation concludes that crop protection products will play a key role in supporting long-term global food production in both developed and developing countries, when paired with effective policies, proper regulations and responsible use training. The findings are published in the newest Issue Paper, “The Contributions of Pesticides to Pest Management in Meeting the Global Need for Food Production by 2050,” released Nov. 17 by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST).

Authors Albert Culbreath of the University of Georgia; Leonard Gianessi of the Crop Protection Research Institute and consultant for the CropLife Foundation; Larry Godfrey of the University of California, Davis; and Stephen C. Weller of Purdue University examine the role of pesticides in yield production and conclude that crop protection products will be important in helping farmers provide for a growing population.

This report demonstrates that agricultural technology plays a significant role in the production of nutritious food for communities, both in the U.S. and around the world,” said Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CropLife America. “The global CropLife network thanks CAST for this critical examination of how crop protection can support a sustainable future.”

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Ag Group, Crop Protection, Food

Polar Tractor Lands in Antarctica

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

antarctica2The Massey Ferguson tractor set to spearhead an expedition to the South Pole has touched down in the Antarctic.

The ambitious Antarctica2 mission to reach the Pole by tractor is scheduled to depart on its 5000 km journey across the ice this weekend (22/23 November) depending on weather conditions.

Transported in a IL76 heavy-cargo aircraft, the tractor landed at Novo Runway from Cape Town where it has been undergoing some final preparations for its polar adventure.

“It’s wonderful to see the first pictures of our MF 5610 tractor in Antarctica which will be its place of work for the next few weeks,” says Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson, Director Sales Engineering and Brand Development. “The arrival of the MF 5610 at this time is highly appropriate as it coincides with the official birth of the Massey Ferguson brand name on 19th November 1957.”

“We are really looking forward to the start of the mission and following the progress of the Antarctica2 expedition team as it makes its way to the Geographical South Pole. “

Together with Massey Ferguson which is supplying the tractor, Antarctica2 has enlisted the help of leading industry partners including Trelleborg, Castrol, AGCO Finance, AGCO Parts, Fuse Technologies and Mechatrac.

Agribusiness, environment, Machinery

Bug’s Eye View of Sap Analysis

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

chl-14-120-editedNic Ellis is an entomologist with a strong background in the science and research of insect and plant interactions and formed Norden Agricultural to pursue independent advising to conventional and organic growers. During the Crop Health Laboratories’ seminar on plant sap analysis, Nic shared his expertise with growers and explained how vegetable producers in the eastern part of the U.S. have taken advantage of the new sap testing.

Nic provided his initial observations of four of his clients in Pennsylvania’s use of plant sap analysis. He studied Emerald Crown Broccoli, Romanesco Cauliflower, Jolly Elf Cherry Tomatoes and John Boy Peaches. He said that different crop families have difference nutrient profiles, but the nutrient requirements are the same. His end goal is to gather a better understanding of the practical implications of the sap analysis and then develop recommendations for growers.

He also shared with attendees where he sees the future of sap analysis going. “First of all we need to understand these different nutrient profiles in the different cropping systems. That will entail a lot of sampling in crops we don’t have good information on. That is a huge area where we can make gains in 2015. The other area I’m particularly interested in because I am an entomologist, is learning how the nutrients in the plants are effecting the plants physiology.”

Listen to or download my complete interview with Nic here: Interview with Dr. Nicolas Ellis, Norden Agricultural

Find photos from the event here: 2014 Crop Health Labs Power Growers Seminar Photo Album

Agribusiness, Audio, Crop Health Labs, Entomology

DICKEY-john’s Hy Rate Plus Wins Innovation Award

John Davis Leave a Comment

Hy Rate Plus_w Seed TubeRevolutionary ag technology maker DICKEY-john is being recognized for innovative design. This company news release says DICKEY-john’s Hy Rate Plus™ LED Seed Sensor won the award from American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).

The Hy Rate Plus LED Seed Sensor is a highly accurate and intelligent seed-tube-mounted sensor for detecting row-crop planting populations at high rates on a wide variety of seeds. The sensor utilizes a first of its kind advanced proprietary software algorithm and an improved light emitting source in order to detect virtually every seed that passes through the sensing area.

“We are truly honored to receive the AE50 award for our Hy Rate Plus LED Seed Sensor. The development and release of the Hy Rate Plus is indicative of DICKEY-john’s continued commitment to the creation of technologically innovative products through the use of engineering excellence. These are the very attributes that are embodied in the AE50 award,” states Nolan Bangert, DICKEY-john Applications Engineer.

DICKEY-john competed against companies from around the world in the annual AE50 competition. The Hy Rate Plus will be featured in the January/February 2015 special AE50 issue of ASABE’s magazine Resource: Engineering & Technology for a Sustainable World.

Agribusiness, Award

FarmLink Introduces TrueHarvest

Leah Guffey 1 Comment

15596518389_72f07a5261_mMachineryLink has just wrapped up their 14th harvest and they have expanded their operation from machines into data. TrueHarvest is another component of FarmLink where growers can compare their data that they have gathered through their yield monitors to see how their fields compare with another field with very similar conditions as their own. TrueHarvest is the first and only yield benchmarking service that uses objective, unique and accurate data to show a farm’s full range of performance potential, down to a 150 square foot area they call a micro-field. By comparing to other land with comparable conditions, the grower can make better investment decisions on where to focus resources and inputs.

Mark Gabrick is regional sales manager with FarmLink. I spoke with him at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Trade Talk last week where he told me they are gathering more information from the grower as how to best utilize TrueHarvest and continue to expand the program. He says they “won’t stand still” as this will forever be evolving and they want to make it better for the farmer in the field through their programs.

You can listen to my interview with Mark here: Interview with Mark Gabrick, FarmLink Regional Sales Manager
2014 NAFB Convention Photos

Coverage of the NAFB convention is sponsored by
NAFB Convention is sponsored by FMC
Audio, Data, FarmLink, Harvesting, NAFB

Old, New Tech Policies Spur Ag Innovations

John Davis Leave a Comment

futurefoodA report from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) says a mix of old and new technologies policies are spurring agricultural innovations. This news release from the group says its FutureFood 2050 publishing initiative explores the expanding array of agricultural innovations that will help feed the world’s projected 9 billion-plus people in 2050, making researchers and policy makers look far beyond the traditional bounds of agriculture to accelerate food production by using technology to improve—rather than replace—natural processes.

“We have a massive opportunity,” says Charlie Price, a UK-based proponent of small-scale ecosystems using aquaponics—the marriage of hydroponics and aquaculture. “We are potentially taking a natural system [fish and plants sharing a habitat] that’s evolved over millions of years and we are just copying it, rather than exploiting it. While it can be seen as complex, it is incredibly simple.”

FutureFood 2050’s multi-year program highlights the people and stories leading the efforts in finding solutions to a healthier, safer and better nourished planet to feed 9 billion-plus people by 2050. This is the second part in the series. Part 1 explored sustainability, women in food science, food waste, food security and nutrition in Africa, aquaculture, futurists on food, and innovative agriculture.

Food, International