Precision Ag Bytes 5/29

carrie muehling

  • The Soil Health Institute invites applications to give a poster presentation at its Fourth Annual Meeting “Soil Health: A Global Imperative” to be held July 16-18, 2019 in Sacramento, CA. Presenters should plan to be present from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., July 16, to discuss their work with other attendees.
  • The 2019 InfoAg Program is once again filled with industry experts willing to share their experience. Three keynote presentations will get participants thinking about the future of the industry. Ranveer Chandra from Microsoft will launch the conference with discussion of their FarmBeats, TV White Space and other initiatives followed by the PrecisionAg Awards of Excellence. Futurist Thomas Frey will be the Wednesday keynote. And Ivan Dozier of NRCS will close the conference with a close look at precision ag initiatives for environmental stewardship. Register online here.
  • The 2019 4R Summit agenda is now available, including Dorothy Pelanda, the Ohio Director of the Department of Agriculture as keynote speaker. Click here to register.
  • The National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers to register early for NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest and save big on entry fees. Until June 30, fees will be reduced to $75. Enter today online.
  • The Iowa AgriTech Accelerator announces it has selected five agtech startups for this year’s program. The Accelerator’s Class of 2019 includes: Otrafy (Vancouver, Canada); droneSAR (Des Moines, Iowa); Vitalgia (Heerlen, Netherlands); Raks Agricultural Technology (São Leopoldo, Brazil); and FarmatroniX (College Park, Maryland).
  • New farm trial results for Mycogen® brand Unified™ corn silage with SilaSoft™ technology show the advantages can extend beyond improved digestibility and include significant feed cost savings and profit potential. Producers interested in learning more about Unified™ corn silage with SilaSoft™ technology should talk with their local Mycogen Seeds dealer, sales representative or nutritionist, or visit
  • Gin Out™, a leading cotton plant growth regulator brand from Nufarm Americas, has been approved for use as a tank mix partner for Enlist™ One and Enlist™ Duo herbicides.
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Bayer Youth Ag Summit Participants Chosen

cindy zimmerman

Bayer has selected the 100 participants from 45 countries for the fourth edition of the Youth Ag Summit in Brasilia, Brazil November 4-6, in partnership with Nuffield Brazil.

The Youth Ag Summit, part of the Bayer Agricultural Education Program, brings together young change-makers aged 18-25 to tackle the challenges of how to feed a growing population by 2050. For this year’s application process, each prospective participant pitched an idea to tackle food insecurity in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In total, Bayer received over 2,800 applications from more than 140 countries.

For the 100 chosen delegates, the Youth Ag Summit will function as an idea incubator: helping them turn their ideas into reality and equipping them with the skills needed to realize their projects. They will also hear from expert speakers and participate in field trips to learn more about the agricultural industry in Brazil.

The delegates hail from the following countries:
Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Ethiopia, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, Ghana, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Canada, USA, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Mexico, Egypt, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Malaysia, Nepal and Cambodia.

The Youth Ag Summit is held every two years in a different location. Check out photos and interviews from the 2017 summit in Belgium – Third Youth Ag Summit virtual newsroom.

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Alltech Accelerator 1 – Biome Makers

carrie muehling

Biome Makers is one of eight startup companies participating in the Pearse Lyons Accelerator run by Alltech and Dogpatch Labs. The agri-tech accelerator aims to address a diverse set of challenges facing agriculture today. California-based Biome Makers is using DNA sequencing to profile the whole spectrum of microbes living in the soil, according to Adrian Ferraro, co-founder and CEO.

“The goal that we have is really help growers to choose the right products for their soil needs. The first thing we are doing is to unveil what the soil needs at different levels,” said Ferraro.

Ferraro said customers order a sample kit that directs them how to sample the soil for microbes, and then send that sample back to the lab. Results are available via an online tool including downloadable PDF files in less than three weeks time. He said discovering the microbial diversity of the soil is the first step. Analyzing available products comes next, and looking at nutritional pathways to connect soil needs with the right products is the final step. Ferraro said a new layer of qualitative data will help growers to optimize expenses by reducing inputs or spending smarter.

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Adrian here: Interview with Adrian Ferraro, Biome Makers

Alltech Ideas Conference – ONE19 Photo Album

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Trump Welcomes Farmers to White House

cindy zimmerman

President Donald Trump welcomed representatives from a number of agricultural organizations to the White House Thursday to talk about the $16 billion in trade assistance announced by the administration.

“I have directed Secretary Perdue to provide $16 billion in assistance to America’s farmers and ranchers. It all comes from China. We’ll be taking in, over a period of time, hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs and charges to China. And our farmers will be greatly helped. We want to get them back to the point where they would have had if they had a good year.”

Listen to President Trump’s remarks here:
President Trump announces trade aid for farmers

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Alltech Working Together for a Planet of Plenty™

cindy zimmerman

ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference wrapped up Tuesday with president and CEO Dr. Mark Lyons sharing his new vision for the company and inviting more than 3,500 attendees to join in “Working Together for a Planet of Plenty™.”

Thirty years ago, his father, Alltech’s founder Dr. Pearse Lyons, took the stage at the same conference. He had committed Alltech to a guiding ACE principle, emphasizing the importance of delivering benefit to animals, consumers and the environment. He fervently believed that the well-being of each depended on maintaining harmony between all three. It was a radical idea at the time — so radical, that some customers walked out of the conference.

Yet, against a backdrop of diminishing natural resources, a changing climate and a growing population, sustainability is quickly becoming a non-negotiable for businesses and for agriculture. Every business and individual has a role to play, moving us closer to a planet of peril or of plenty.

“With the adoption of new technologies and management practices, and, most of all, human ingenuity, we believe a Planet of Plenty is possible,” said Lyons. “Our Planet of Plenty vision propels our founding ACE principle into a new world of possibility, where anyone and everyone can make a positive impact on our shared planet.”

A new website has been launched for the initiative. provides examples of agricultural methods that can improve the environment as well as inspiring stories of the people and technologies making a planet of plenty possible. Stories can be shared on the Planet of Plenty website or on social media with the hashtag #PlanetofPlenty.

Listen to Dr. Lyons’ closing remarks.
Alltech ONE19 Dr. Mark Lyons closing remarks

2019 Alltech Ideas Conference Photo Album

Find more content from ONE19 on the conference virtual newsroom on AgNewsWire.

AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, Alltech, Audio

USDA Announces More Trade Aid for Farmers

cindy zimmerman

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced several actions that USDA will be taking to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation and trade disruption.

President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a relief strategy to support American agricultural producers while the Administration continues to work on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally. Specifically, the President has authorized USDA to provide up to $16 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. These programs will assist agricultural producers while President Trump works to address long-standing market access barriers.

Details of the aid package were announced in a press call with USDA officials, including:

• U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue
• USDA’s Chief Economist, Dr. Rob Johannson
• Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, Bill Northey
• Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Greg Ibach
• Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Ted McKinney
• Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, Brandon Lipps
• USDA’s Trade Counsel Jason Hafemeister

Listen or download here:
USDA Announces Trade Aid Package

AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, Audio, trade, USDA

FCA Board Chairman Dallas Tonsager Dies

cindy zimmerman

Farm Credit Administration board chairman and former USDA under secretary Dallas Tonsager died Tuesday of lymphoma in Falls Church, Virginia. He was 64.

Tonsager was appointed to the FCA board by President Barack Obama in 2015 and was designated chairman and CEO in 2016. Prior to that, he served as under secretary for rural development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 2009 to 2013. Tonsager grew up on a dairy farm near Oldham, South Dakota and was a graduate of South Dakota State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture in 1976.

FCA Board Member Jeff Hall has been designated acting CEO. “Dallas dedicated his life to helping farmers, ranchers, and other rural Americans,” said Hall. “Both at USDA and FCA, he worked hard to promote investments in rural communities. As chairman of FCA, he urged the Farm Credit System to work with borrowers experiencing stress as a result of the current downturn in the farm economy.”

“He worked especially hard to ensure the success of the biofuels industry, as well as highlighting the healthcare and broadband needs of rural America,” said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota. “His leadership and dedication to rural communities will be greatly missed.”

The Tonsager family plans to host a funeral service in South Dakota and a memorial service in Washington.

AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, Farm Credit

IBM Expands Global Agriculture Platform

carrie muehling

IBM is forging into the global agriculture industry, using predictive technology to provide solutions for farmers in various geographies.

IBM announced the global expansion of Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture, with AI technology tailored for new crops and specific regions to help feed a growing population. For the first time, IBM is providing a global agriculture solution that combines predictive technology with data from The Weather Company, an IBM Business, and IoT data to help give farmers around the world greater insights about planning, plowing, planting, spraying and harvesting.

By 2050, the world will need to feed two billion more people without an increase of arable land[1]. IBM is combining power weather data – including historical, current and forecast data and weather prediction models from The Weather Company – with crop models to help improve yield forecast accuracy, generate value, and increase both farm production and profitability.

“As a farmer, the wild card is always weather. IBM overlays weather details with my own data and historical information to help me apply, verify, and make decisions,” said Roric Paulman, owner/operator of Paulman Farms in Southwest Nebraska. “For example, our farm is in a highly restricted water basin, so the ability to better anticipate rain not only saves me money but also helps me save precious natural resources.”

New crop models include corn, wheat, soy, cotton, sorghum, barley, sugar cane and potato, with more coming soon. These models will now be available in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Brazil, as well as new markets across Europe, Africa and Australia.

“These days farmers don’t just farm food, they also cultivate data – from drones flying over fields to smart irrigation systems, and IoT sensors affixed to combines, seeders, sprayers and other equipment,” said Kristen Lauria, general manager of Watson Media and Weather Solutions, IBM. “Most of the time, this data is left on the vine — never analyzed or used to derive insights. Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture aims to change that by offering tools and solutions to help growers make more informed decisions about their crops.”

The average farm generates an estimated 500,000 data points per day, which will grow to 4 million data points by 2036[2]. Applying AI and analysis to aggregated field, machine and environmental data can help improve shared insights between growers and enterprises across the agriculture ecosystem. With a better view of the fields, growers can see what’s working on certain farms and share best practices with other farmers.

The platform assesses data in an electronic field record to identify and communicate crop management patterns and insights. Enterprise businesses such as food companies, grain processors, or produce distributors can then work with farmers to leverage those insights. It helps track crop yield as well as the environmental, weather and plant biologic conditions that go into a good or bad yield, such as irrigation management, pest and disease risk analysis and cohort analysis for comparing similar subsets of fields.

The result isn’t just more productive farmers. Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture could help a livestock company eliminate a certain mold or fungus from feed supply grains or help identify the best crop irrigation practices for farmers to use in drought-stricken areas like California. It could help deliver the perfect French fry for a fast food chain that needs longer – not fatter – potatoes from its network of growers. Or it could help a beer distributor produce a more affordable premium beer by growing higher quality barley that meets the standard required to become malting barley.

Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture is built on IBM PAIRS Geoscope from IBM Research, which quickly processes massive, complex geospatial and time-based datasets collected by satellites, drones, aerial flights, millions of IoT sensors and weather models. It crunches large, complex data and creates insights quickly and easily so farmers and food companies can focus on growing crops for global communities.

IBM and The Weather Company help the agriculture industry find value in weather insights. IBM Research collaborates with startup Hello Tractor to integrate The Weather Company data, remote sensing data (e.g., satellite), and IoT data from tractors. IBM also works with crop nutrition leader Yara to include hyperlocal weather forecasts in its digital platform for real-time recommendations, tailored to specific fields or crops.

IBM acquired The Weather Company in 2016 and has since been helping clients better understand and mitigate the cost of weather on their businesses. The global expansion of Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture is the latest innovation in IBM’s efforts to make weather a more predictable business consideration. Also just announced, Weather Signals is a new AI-based tool that merges The Weather Company data with a company’s own operations data to reveal how minor fluctuations in weather affects business.

The combination of rich weather forecast data from The Weather Company and IBM’s AI and Cloud technologies is designed to provide a unique capability, which is being leveraged by agriculture, energy and utility companies, airlines, retailers and many others to make informed business decisions.

[1] The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, “World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision”
[1] Business Insider Intelligence, 2016 report:

AgWired Precision, Precision Agriculture, weather

Precision Ag Bytes 5/22

carrie muehling

  • While farmers struggle to get crops in the ground, barge traffic ferrying fertilizer north is at a standstill. As concerns about fertilizer availability intensify, Helena Agri-Enterprises, LLC is working with farmers to find alternative ways to meet the nutritional demands of their crops this season, especially nitrogen. Helena recommends adding a nitrogen stabilizer to stretch supply as far as possible, spreading out applications, and applying nitrogen as close to uptake as possible to minimize the amount of time nitrogen is susceptible to loss in the soil.
  • IBM has announced the global expansion of Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture, with AI technology tailored for new crops and specific regions to help feed a growing population. For the first time, IBM is providing a global agriculture solution that combines predictive technology with data from The Weather Company, an IBM Business, and IoT data to help give farmers around the world greater insights about planning, plowing, planting, spraying and harvesting.
  • The 2019 Farm Progress Show will host a competitive soil judging contest for Illinois and Indiana FFA chapters at its show site near Decatur, IL. The contest will be held Tuesday, August 27, the first day of the show. The 2019 show dates are August 27, 28 and 29. FFA chapter advisors should pre-register their teams by Aug. 14.
  • To enable the Soil Health Partnership to fully leverage its unique data set, SHP established Data Supporters as a new sponsorship level. Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) is the first organization to earn the title. The SHP Data Supporters are investing in the SHP as the organization builds its infrastructure, knowledge and analytical might in data creation, collection, management and analysis.
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