Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday January 28 Ag News


As cattle producers conduct breeding soundness and Trichomoniasis testing this year, State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes would like to remind producers of their responsibilities, if they have a positive Trichomoniasis diagnosis within their herd.

According to Hughes, LB 423 was passed last spring and took effect in September.  The statute has some specific reporting requirements for producers who have a positive Trichomoniasis diagnosis within their herd, including:

1.      The cattle producer or his or her veterinarian must report any positive Trichomoniasis diagnosis to NDA within five business days from knowledge of the formal diagnosis.

2.      After knowledge of a formal diagnosis, the cattle producer will have 14 days to notify their neighbors of the diagnosis.  Neighbor means adjacent landowners or land managers, with land capable of maintaining livestock susceptible to Trichomoniasis, even if cattle are not currently maintained on such owner’s or manager’s land.

3.      The cattle producer must submit a completed Neighbor Notification Form (found on the NDA website) to NDA within 14 days after the diagnosis.  The form is to include the names of adjacent landowners and land managers who were notified and their contact information.

“Trichomoniasis can be devastating to a herd, and while owners of affected herds generally don’t like to talk about it, communication allows other producers to reinforce good biosecurity measures,” said Dr. Hughes.

For more information on the statute, producers can visit www.nda.nebraska.gov or call 800-572-2437.

Reps. Smith, Noem, Costa, and McIntyre Lead 83 Lawmakers in Telling OSHA: Stay Off Small Farms

Reps. Adrian Smith (R-NE), Kristi Noem (R-SD), Jim Costa (D-CA), and Mike McIntyre (D-NC) today led 83 members from both sides of the aisle in sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez urging the agency to stop using funds to regulate small farming operations.

“Farmers and landowners have a strong vested and personal interest in keeping their operations safe and viable, and they are already subject to countless regulations to ensure operational integrity,” the Members wrote.  “We ask you to direct OSHA … to issue an updated memo clarifying OSHA has no authority to regulate any aspect of an agricultural operation with ten or fewer employees.”

Since 1976, Congress has banned OSHA from regulating farming operations with ten or fewer employees.  However, in 2011, OSHA issued a memo indicating the Agency has authority to regulate “post-harvest” activities which could include storage, fumigation, and drying - processes common on farms of all sizes.

To view a copy of the letter, please click here.  You can also view a copy of the text below.


The Honorable Thomas E. Perez, Secretary
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20210

Dear Secretary Perez:

Since 1976, Congress has statutorily prohibited the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from using funds to regulate farming operations with ten or fewer employees under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1976.  We are now receiving reports OSHA has begun taking enforcement action against small farms based on an operations memo issued June 28, 2011, entitled “OSHA’s authority to perform enforcement activities at small farms with grain storage structures involved in postharvest crop activities.”

While the memo, issued by OSHA Director of Enforcement Programs Thomas Galassi, acknowledges current law prohibits OSHA from regulating small farms engaged in growing and harvesting crops and any "related activities,” the memo proceeds to indicate grain “handling,” such as drying and fumigating, is not central to an agricultural operation and is therefore subject to OSHA regulation.  The memo has since been broadly interpreted to provide OSHA inspectors authority to regulate on-farm grain storage and other activities not directly related to growing and harvest.

Farmers and landowners have a strong vested and personal interest in keeping their operations safe and viable, and they are already subject to countless regulations to ensure operational integrity.  If the Administration believes OSHA should be given authority to regulate small farming operations, evidence would need to be presented to Congress and passed through the normal legislative process.

We thank you for your recent acknowledgement of the issue and ask you to direct OSHA to adhere to the intent of Congress by terminating and retroactively dismissing all action taken based on the abovementioned interpretation, and issue an updated memo clarifying OSHA has no authority to regulate any aspect of an agricultural operation with ten or fewer employees.  While the Fiscal Year 2014 Omnibus includes a provision prohibiting enforcement, smaller farmers and ranchers need the certainty of knowing OSHA will continue following the letter of the law in future years.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.  We look forward to a timely response.

Nebraska Farmers Union Says Farm Bill Compromise Helps Livestock Producers

Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) says the Farm Bill compromise brings an estimated $7 billion in Farm Bill benefits for livestock producers in EQIP funding, Livestock Indemnity Programs, Livestock Forage programs, and export assistance programs.  NeFU President John Hansen said:  “As an organization that represents livestock producers, NeFU is in strong support of this Farm Bill and its rancher-friendly provisions.  To do otherwise would not be responsible.”  Some of the livestock provisions include:     

·         Permanent Livestock Disaster Programs authority was restored that provide an emergency safety net for livestock producers from natural disasters.
·         The Farm Bill provides retroactive payments for producers who suffered losses after the previous program expired early in October, 2011.
·         Maintains USDA authority to administer GIPSA regulations that protect the marketing interests of independent livestock producers.
·         The new permanent 10-year baseline provided for livestock disaster programs represents a significant improvement over previous temporary or ad-hoc livestock disaster provisions.
·         The livestock disaster programs are estimated to provide nearly $4 billion of assistance to producers over the next 10 years.
·         The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) provides 75% of fair market value for livestock losses due to adverse weather conditions.
·         Retroactive LIP payments will be made to the ranchers who lost tens of thousands of cattle in the Dakotas and Nebraska due to the blizzards and extreme weather conditions late last fall.
·         The Livestock Forage Program (LFP) provides payments for forage losses due to adverse weather conditions. LFP payments will be made to hundreds of producers who experienced one of the most crippling, severe, and far-reaching droughts our nation has ever seen.
·         Livestock receives a 60% EQIP earmark for livestock amounting to $4.8 billion for livestock producers over the next 5 years.
·         The authorization of Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and EQIP funding that can be used by farmers and ranchers to comply with environmental regulations.
·         Two million acres are set aside for CRP for grazing lands to help ranchers both conserve land and retain economic benefits.
·         Establish more CRP flexibility for increased access to acres for haying and grazing.
·         Eases the restrictions on producers in times of disasters and provides them with the ability to hay, graze, and donate CRP hay to producers in areas hardest hit by natural disasters.
·         Eliminates rental rate reductions for beginning farmers who graze livestock on CRP acres so they can utilize CRP acres without penalty.
·         A first time ever 10-year baseline for Grassland Easements to help ranchers keep their land in active agricultural production is established.

Center for Rural Affairs on Farm Bill Final Passage

Last night, the House and Senate farm bill conference committee sent a compromise bill back to both chambers for a final, up-or-down vote. The Conferees had been working to reconcile the farm bills passed in the two chambers last year.

“We oppose the bill as reported out of conference committee,” said Traci Bruckner, Senior Policy Associate with the Center for Rural Affairs. “The conference report stripped out bipartisan, bicameral actively engaged payment limitation reforms that passed both chambers. Moreover, it actually increases the nominal payment limits nearly threefold over current law.”

At a time of tight budgets, increasing rural poverty and growing income inequality this bill takes rural and small town America in the wrong direction.  Virtually unlimited farm program payments will continue to inure to the nation’s largest and wealthiest mega-farms. Those operations will continue to drive up land prices, drive their smaller neighbors out of business and limit opportunities for beginning and family farmers, Bruckner explained.

“We urge the House to reject the bill as reported out and send it back to conference for inclusion of the payment limit provisions,” said Bruckner.

Bruckner went on to explain that as the President delivers his State of the Union address tonight, he is expected to speak to growing income inequality. But this farm bill serves as an example of legislation that drives up rural income inequality. She called up the Administration to also urge Congress to return this bill to conference and include the provisions on payment limits and closure of loopholes.

Iowa Soybean Association urges continued review, comments on proposed farm bill

Iowa Soybean Association President-Elect Tom Oswald of Cleghorn, Iowa, issued the following statement regarding Monday’s work by House and Senate leadership to forge an agreement on U.S. farm and food legislation.

“While work remains in finalizing a new farm bill, the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) is encouraged with progress made by the House and Senate conferees. The agreement is indeed a compromise.

"It does address many of the issues ISA and American Soybean Association members set as priorities. A particularly strong portion of the bill for soybean farmers includes language that provides an adequate and flexible farm safety net, including improvements to crop insurance and a choice between price-based and revenue-based risk management tools.

“It also maintains decoupled farm support programs (both price and revenue) that will minimize the possibility of planting and production distortions that could trigger new World Trade Organization challenges.

“In addition, the agreement maintains agricultural research, export promotion and energy programs critical to providing domestic and international market opportunities for Iowa-grown soybeans.

“We encourage soybean farmers to continue close review of the bill and to provide input to their respective Congressional leaders. The Iowa Soybean Association will also monitor this important legislation as it moves forward through the House and Senate.”

Farm Bill Moves Forward With Compromise on Dairy Policy

John Wilson, Senior Vice President, Dairy Farmers of America

“We would like to thank our dairy farmer owners, supporters in Congress, the National Milk Producers Federation and other industry leaders for tirelessly working to advocate for change in dairy policy.

"We are disappointed with the announcement that the new Farm Bill will not include the Dairy Security Act (DSA). The DSA was created by farmers for farmers and would have benefited dairy farmers and tax payers alike. With that said, we are encouraged the new bill replaces outdated dairy policy and includes a margin insurance program, similar to that in the DSA. This new program will serve as an important risk management tool in helping the nation’s dairy farm families maintain financial stability.

“While we have not had the opportunity to review the potential impact of the newly negotiated program, we are grateful congressional leaders continued to work toward an agreement on new dairy policy.

“We urge the conferees to complete their work and send the Farm Bill to the House and Senate floors for final passage.

“As a cooperative, we will continue to work toward improvements in dairy policy, regulations and opening new markets to benefit our dairy farmer owners."

Wheat Growers Support Proposed Farm Bill, Urge Quick Action by Congress

A statement from the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) President Bing Von Bergen, a wheat farmer and seedsman from Moccasin, Mont:

“I join my fellow wheat growers in support of the conference committee approved farm bill agreement that strengthens crop insurance and allows growers the necessary safety net to keep a secure, affordable and healthy food supply. In addition, this bill provides funding for important programs in conservation, research and trade that help keep America’s wheat industry productive and competitive on a global scale."

“NAWG and the 22 states we represent appreciate the tireless work of our agriculture leadership to see this bill to the finish line especially the work of our four leaders on the House and Senate agriculture committees.”

"We encourage speedy passage by both houses of Congress and look forward to the implementation of the new law.”

House leaders are expected to vote Wednesday with the Senate following shortly after.

NSP Commends Farm Bill Conference and Urges Quick Adoption

National Sorghum Producers praises the farm bill conference committee for finalizing a conference report that will provide certainty for farmers across the nation and urges Congress to quickly adopt the legislation.

“NSP strongly supports the Agricultural Act of 2014,” said J.B. Stewart, NSP chairman. “This legislation meets NSP’s goals in providing farmers with a number of risk management tools, strengthening and protecting crop insurance, and including strong conservation and energy titles. Alongside the market-oriented reforms found in the bill, the legislation saves taxpayers $24 billion.”

NSP particularly commends Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and their excellent staffs for their hard work, perseverance and commitment to American agriculture.

NCBA Opposes Farm Bill

Today the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association announced that they will oppose the Agricultural Act of 2014, the farm bill conference report. NCBA sent a letter to the Hill, expressing our opposition to the bill. The following is a statement by Scott George, NCBA president and Cody, Wyoming cattleman:

“NCBA has worked on this farm bill for over three years now. First as the 2012 Farm Bill, then the 2013, and now with the actions of a few in Congress, it has become the 2014 Farm Bill. After all of this, the bill that the conference committee released Monday is not one that addresses the priority issues that our members had for this farm bill.

“We are calling on Congress to fix the mistakes they have made, mistakes that are costing cattlemen and women money every day. Mistakes like Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling, which has already resulted in steep discounts to our producers and caused prejudice against our largest trading partners. This program was created without the consent of producers and has been a failure by every measure.

“We are disappointed in all members of Congress and especially the members of the Conference Committee for allowing this process to go this far without a solution. Failure to fix MCOOL at this juncture will lead to retaliatory tariffs on a host of commodities and it is only a matter of time before the World Trade Organization rules in favor of Canada and Mexico. Once that happens, producers will realize the full costs of this failed legislation.

“This farm bill is foundationally flawed and the livestock sector is standing shoulder-to-shoulder in opposition of a farm bill that will only serve to cause greater harm to rural America.”

Different Perspectives on Cattle Basis

Matthew A. Diersen, Professor, Department of Economics, South Dakota State University

Early in the year, a common marketing practice is to take a look at basis levels. You never know when subtle changes can slowly derail your price expectations. The focus here is on fed cattle basis, which has a strong seasonal pattern. There are multiple sources of price and basis information. The LMIC has price tables and often individual states have data available.

The most common way to look at fed cattle basis is to compare a monthly cash price for a given market to the nearby futures price. Typically basis equals the cash price minus the futures price. Such a basis measure would translate directly into a planning price. Adding an average basis for a given month to its nearby futures price gives an expected cash price. The same can be done with a forward basis. In most months the basis is negative, implying a cash price below the futures price. This is because of some transactions costs when delivering cattle - regardless of the market. For par delivery locations the transactions costs should be minimized, but may still be $1-2 per cwt.

Because the fed cattle cash price has a strong seasonal pattern based on both production levels and demand for beef, there is also a seasonal pattern in the basis. The seasonal peak often occurs in April, but it can be anywhere from February through May. Thus, basis for the early half of the year is worth watching every year. A 5-year average basis seems to work pretty well for South Dakota. The average covers enough years to smooth out aberrations, but is short enough to adjust to changing seasonal patterns. Average basis for the coming months are: February at -$3.89, March at -$3.52, April at -$0.52, May at $2.69 and June at $1.34.

The recent rally has pushed up the nearby February contract and the following contract prices decline in price through August. Thus, for planning purposes, you would want to approach the averages with more caution than usual. February's basis might still hold, as it reflects typical basis for a delivery month. March's basis is more suspect, as it should reflect more of the premium the February futures contract trades at relative to the April futures contract. May's basis could be suspect as well, given the very steep slide from the April futures contract to the June futures contract.

The other source to consider is the forward contract market. The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service reports the weekly minimum, maximum and average basis levels on contracted fed cattle: http://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/lm_ct153.txt.  

The basis levels last week for February and March were both around -$1.00, while May was about $3.00. The delivery location of the contracted cattle is not given, but the basis levels suggest that the forward market has adjusted to the unusual futures pattern observed this winter.

Soybean Growers Urge EPA to Maintain Biodiesel’s Progress in Renewable Fuel Standard

American Soybean Association (ASA) President Ray Gaesser, a farmer from Corning, Iowa, urged Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy today to amend EPA’s proposed 2014 and 2015 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume requirements for biomass-based diesel that, if left unchanged, would significantly damage the nation’s growing biodiesel industry and adversely impact soybean growers.

In comments submitted to the agency this morning, Gaesser emphasized that EPA’s proposed biomass-based diesel and total Advanced Biofuels levels “are unnecessarily low, will stifle the growth and job creation potential demonstrated by the biodiesel industry, and squander an opportunity for greater emissions reductions and energy diversity.” Gaesser also noted that the levels are “… entirely inconsistent with this Administration’s clear position over the past five years supporting renewable and Advanced Biofuels for their energy, environmental, and economic benefits.”

ASA urged that EPA adjust the requirements to be consistent with production levels in 2013, which exceeded 1.7 billion gallons. “As was demonstrated in 2013, the U.S. biodiesel industry can produce volumes greater than 1.28 billion gallons without significant cost or disruption to the economy,” said Gaesser. “There are over 2 billion gallons of U.S. biodiesel production capacity already built and operable and there is sufficient feedstock available to produce above the 1.28 billion gallons proposed by EPA. Biodiesel, including biodiesel produced from soybean oil, is the most prevalent advanced biofuel currently produced in the United States. The industry has met or exceeded the RFS biomass-based diesel volume requirements every year they have been in place and 2013 production exceeded 1.7 billion gallons. Gaesser noted that biodiesel provides numerous benefits for consumers and society as a whole, including support for jobs, displacing petroleum, reducing emissions, lowering soy meal costs for livestock producers and providing a market for over 5 billion pounds of soy oil, much of which was displaced from food markets due to trans fat issues.

“There will be both direct and indirect employment benefits in rural areas due to increased biodiesel production,” wrote Gaesser.

While biodiesel is not the only factor involved, the economic benefits are supported by the fact that over the past five years, a period when biofuels production has increased significantly, the U.S. agricultural sector has experienced an increase in cash receipts for both crops and livestock, farm related income, gross cash income, and net cash income.

Biodiesel Industry Celebrates Record Production, Eyes Federal Policy During Conference

Last week more than 1,100 members of the biodiesel industry from across the country gathered in San Diego for the 2014 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo. While industry leaders can point to another year of record growth with more than 1.8 billion gallons of biodiesel produced in 2013, a recent proposal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has producers wary that the market could be dramatically reduced.

“The biodiesel industry hit a grand slam in 2013, hitting an average annualized monthly production rate of 2 billion gallons for the last half of the year – double that of last year’s record,” said Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board. “The EPA’s volume proposal for 2014 would effectively cut the volumes in half from current production levels.  I can’t think of a more unacceptable example of a call for full retreat during such an overwhelming victory.”

In his annual address at the Biodiesel Conference & Expo, Jobe shed light on current industry challenges and exposed cracks in how we think about energy.

He pointed out that biodiesel’s story is not unique, “Biodiesel’s story is an example of how effective government policy can be to jump start a fledgling industry. That is the same story of nearly every new industry that involves technological development. Strong government policy support along with a unique spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship, and risk-taking are the primary reasons that so many major modern industries had their start in America.”

One of the most influential policies in the energy sector is the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2). Jobe explained, “The Renewable Fuel Standard is effective policy that is working. It is fulfilling its intention to establish diversity, competition, and choice in the transportation fuel sector, which is why the incumbent industry is trying to kill it.”

Today is the final day for the industry to submit official comments to EPA on the proposal with thousands of supporters already doing so. The industry is also eagerly awaiting President Obama’s State of the Union speech tonight for additional clarity regarding his position on renewable fuels.

While this critical federal proposal was the topic of general session speakers, breakout sessions, and hallway conversations among attendees, there were many other activities at the industry’s annual event. Attendees heard from automakers, fleet users, and consumers about their biodiesel use and got to test out a number of new diesel models during the Ride-and-Drive and Vehicle Showcase events.

A record number of students from across the country participated as part of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel program. The NBB program has led to increased communication and collaboration between the biodiesel industry and universities involved in biodiesel research. Thirty-six students representing 18 different universities attended the conference with a handful presenting their research during a student-focused breakout session and through a student poster session on the tradeshow floor.

Also, NBB recognized leadership and achievements within the industry with the annual “Eye on Biodiesel” awards. The honorees were: Impact Award, the California Air Resources Board; Innovation Award, General Motors for the B20-approved Chevrolet Cruze; Industry Partnership, Kirk Leeds, Iowa Soybean Association; and Inspiration Award, Len Hering, RADM, USN, California Center for Sustainable Energy.

“The biodiesel industry would not be what it is without champions and supporters like these Eye on Biodiesel honorees,” said Jobe. “We are proud to honor our award winners who have made a substantial impact in getting biodiesel to where it is today, a fully commercialized advanced biofuel that is produced from coast to coast.”

CWT Assists with 7.4 Million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 29 requests for export assistance from Bongards Creameries, Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms USA, Maryland Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 5.758 million pounds (2,612 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack cheese and 551,156 pounds (250 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia, Central America, the Middle East and North Africa. The product will be delivered January through June 2014.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 8.494 million pounds of cheese and 3.542 million pounds of butter to 12 countries on four continents. These sales are the equivalent of 158 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program positively impacts producer milk prices in the short-term by helping to maintain inventories of cheese and butter at desirable levels. In the long-term, CWT’s Export Assistance program helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the farm milk that produces them.

Brazil Sees Asian Soybean Rust Decline; Costs Rise

Timely spraying has allowed Brazilian soybean farmers to effectively control the threat of the Asian rust fungus this season, although it has come at a cost.  Up until Monday, Brazil had registered 226 cases of the disease, down 15% from the same time last year, according to the Anti-Rust Consortium, a monitoring group led by Embrapa, a government research agency.  However, spending on controlling the disease is 14% higher at $2.21 billion, according to Embrapa numbers, which is partially offset by a 6% increase in planted area.

While much attention has been paid to the new threat posed by the spread of the corn earworm this season, Asian rust remains perhaps the biggest threat to the soybean crop. The fungus causes lesions on the leaves of soybean plants, which impede the formation of the bean and can result in massive yield losses. In more extreme cases, the fungus can kill the plant.

However, since it arrived in the first half of the last decade, Brazilian farmers have learned to manage the fungus' threat, spraying on the first reports of cases in their region rather than waiting for the telltale yellow mosaic to appear on their own plants.

While control of the fungus has been generally good across Brazil this season, there has been one black spot, in the southeast of Goias. The No. 4 soybean producing state accounts for 37% of all cases in Brazil this season.

New Hampshire Lawmakers Deny GMO Labeling Bill

The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to deny a bill that would have required foods containing genetically modified organisms to be labeled throughout the state.  Critics of the bill, which was voted down 185-162 on Wednesday, said the federal Food and Drug Administration has not mandated the labeling because it determined the foods are safe.  New Hampshire is the latest state to discuss legislation to label foods containing GMO's following high profile ballot initiatives in other states, such as California and Washington.

Bayer's Annihilator Polyzone Makes Insect Control Easy All Season Long

Bayer HealthCare LLC Animal Health Division has announced the introduction of a broad-spectrum premise spray called Annihilator™ Polyzone®. The product provides livestock producers with long-term control of crawling, flying and wood-infesting pests. Bayer's proprietary technology allows the product to withstand aggressive surfaces, weather and wash-off conditions for up to 90 days. This residual enables users to maintain control with fewer applications which can result in reduced labor.

"Calf facilities in the summer are one of the worst places you could be for flies," said Dairy Manager Benny Rector from Hilmar, Calif. "We sprayed calf pens before we put calves in them, and we sprayed the surrounding area. The residual effects lead to less labor for me to put it on. And, it's a constant, maintained control over those 8-12 weeks — that's the big thing — it's a constant kill."

The proprietary technology within Annihilator Polyzone forms a protective layer between the active ingredient particles and the applied area adhering them to the surface. As the Polyzone crystals erode over time, the active ingredient, deltamethrin, is slowly released, leading to effective control for up to 90 days. This residual gives users the ability to apply the product in many areas, as well as hard-to-spray areas.

"With Annihilator Polyzone, we are providing livestock producers an effective long-term premise spray," says Cary Christensen, DVM, Director, Food Animal Business Unit, Bayer. "This is part of the Bayer Defense Point System, an integrated pest control management system designed to help protect animal operations from pests. Because of the significant economic impact — and health and wellness affect — flies have on livestock operations, producers need additional tools to help manage flies."

Annihilator Polyzone is one of the latest innovations in a portfolio of brands that help make Bayer a leading provider of pest management solutions.

The Evolution of Corn Rootworm Control and Force® Insecticide

Corn insect control is a moving target, and sometimes the answers aren’t as simple as they might seem. In recent years, unpredictable weather, increased pest pressure and unexpected damage in rootworm-traited corn have confounded corn insect control strategies. Although corn rootworm management has evolved over time, one constant in the fight for over 25 years is Force® insecticide.

“Corn rootworm has been a challenge for corn growers since the late 1950s,” said Chuck Foresman, Syngenta global corn crop protection R&D lead. “And since its introduction in the late 1980s, Force has provided farmers with control of corn rootworm and other pests, resulting in reduced lodging, faster and easier harvests, and higher yields.”

Looking Ahead

As farmers plan for the 2014 growing season, Syngenta recommends the following strategies for corn insect control in areas where corn rootworm is expected to be a problem:
-    Taking a multi-year, whole-farm approach
-    Rotating to a non-host crop, where that is an option
-    Integrating multiple measures of control
-    Using corn hybrid stacks with two corn rootworm traits
-    Applying a soil insecticide or seed treatment

“Corn rootworm control is not one-size-fits-all,” Foresman said. “Rotation to a non-host crop is the first option for farmers seeking to break the corn rootworm cycle. Effective corn rootworm management will require a multi-year plan, incorporating the integration of multiple control measures, not merely employing a single technology. Understanding the complexity of corn rootworm will help farmers choose the right approach for their farm.”

Force Insecticide Team: The People Behind the Progress

Foresman has been part of a select group at Syngenta who have worked with Force insecticide since its inception. In the summer of 1980, he spent time digging up corn roots to test the efficacy of Force insecticide as a pre-registration compound. “It’s been a very robust compound, and after nearly three decades, Force remains an effective tool for corn insect control,” he said. “We’re very pleased it’s a product growers continue to rely on.”

Foresman and his colleagues have seen Force evolve from a new control option to a trusted resource, especially now through its use on rootworm-traited hybrids. When applied to hybrids that contain a single mode of action against corn rootworm, for example, Force can help increase corn yields by an average of 10 bushels per acre.

Dave Thomas, Syngenta senior R&D scientist, helped commercialize Force by providing in-house, contract and university technical support for the insecticide. “It was more user-friendly than the older products that were on the market,” Thomas said, adding that farmers also like the fact that Force controls secondary pests, such as cutworm, wireworm and white grub.

Today, Force comes in both liquid and granular formulations. Force 3G is a proven and reliable granular soil-applied insecticide that offers industry-leading control of the toughest corn pests. Force CS liquid soil-applied insecticide offers the same performance as Force 3G but with added convenience, a lower use rate and reduced product exposure.

Craig Nichols, Syngenta senior R&D scientist, also has been heavily involved in the development of Force over the past 20 years, from trial digs to data summary. He took part in developing Force 3G, testing Force on Bt traits and, most recently, testing Force CS. “As control challenges have emerged, farmers have found the need to attack corn rootworm with more than one mode of action,” Nichols said, noting that the application of Force on trait can help farmers control corn rootworms, especially in areas with heavy corn rootworm pressure.

As a leader in corn insect control, Syngenta is working to help farmers develop multi-year, whole-farm solutions for corn rootworm and other yield-robbing pests by taking current and historical insect pressures into account. Led by its “people behind the progress,” Syngenta is able to offer growers more tools to control corn rootworm than ever before, including Force, a product as useful for corn growers today as it was 25 years ago.

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