Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wednesday May 28 Ag News


Nebraska's number of farms and ranches declined during 2013, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  The number of farms and ranches in the State, at 49,600, was down 400 farms from 2012.  Numbers of farms and ranches in Nebraska with less than $100,000 in agricultural sales declined 400 farms from the year earlier while operations with more than $100,000 were unchanged from 2012.

Land in farms and ranches in Nebraska totaled 45.3 million acres, unchanged from 2012. The average size of operation, at 913 acres, was up 7 acres from the year earlier. 

Iowa Farms and Land in Farms

The  total  number  of  farms  in  Iowa  in  2013  was  88,500,  down 100 farms  compared  to  a  year  ago,  according  to  the  USDA National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service,  Iowa  Field Office.    The number  of  farms  with  sales  of  agricultural  products  and government payments in the $500,000 and over range increased by 700 farms  in 2013.
Total  land  in  farms  in  Iowa  in  2013  was  30.6  million  acres, unchanged since 2010.  Farms in the $500,000 and over sales class showed  an  increase  over  the  past  five  years,  from  13.1 million acres in 2008  to 18.3 million acres in 2013.  

The average farm size in Iowa in 2013 was 346 acres, up one acre from  last  year.   The  average  farm  size  in  the  $500,000  and  over sales class decreased by 37 acres from 2012.  

NASS  estimates  are  revised  periodically  to  provide  a  better foundation  for  current  and  future  estimates.  Revisions  are  made when sufficient data become available to check the accuracy of the original estimates. Revisions may also be based on a re-evaluation of previous  survey data when making current estimates  to  improve  survey-to-survey  relationships. When  the Census of Agriculture becomes available every 5 years, all estimates made during these 5 years are reviewed for possible revisions. 

USDA: 2013 Number of Farms and Land in Farms Highlights

The number of farms in the United States in 2013 was estimated at 2.10 million, down 7 thousand farms from 2012. Total land in farms, at 914 million acres, decreased 360 thousand acres from 2012. The average farm size in 2013 was 435 acres, up 2 acres from the previous year.

Farm numbers and land in farms are differentiated by five economic sales classes. Farms and ranches are classified into these five sales classes by summing the sales of agricultural products and government program payments. Sales class breaks occur at $10,000, $100,000, $250,000 and $500,000. Production or commodity price changes in 2013 caused the total value for most livestock and livestock products to increase while the value of many crops declined.

Point Farms are farms that did not have the required minimum $1,000 sales for the year, but had sufficient crops and livestock to normally have sales of $1,000 or more. Point Farms were assigned a sales class based on the sum of the agricultural point (dollar) values assigned to the quantity of commodities produced, but not sold. The 2012 Census of Agriculture showed that 428,810 farms or 20.3 percent of the 2.11 million farms were Point Farms. These Point Farms operated 63.0 million acres or 6.9 percent of the 914.5 million acres of farmland.

Farm numbers decreased by 7 thousand farms during 2013. The number of farms in Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999 declined while all other sales classes were unchanged or increased slightly. Fifty-one percent of all farms have sales less than $10,000. Only eight percent of all farms have sales over $500,000. 

Changes in the number of farms by sales class were:
*    Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999 at 1.08 million farms, declined by 10 thousand farms.
*    Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999 at 620.6 thousand farms was unchanged.
*    Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999 at 144.3 thousand farms, increased by 1 thousand farms.
*    Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999 at 96.6 thousand farms, increased by 420 farms.
*    Sales Class $500,000 or more at 161.2 thousand farms, increased by 1.9 thousand farms.

The percentage of all farms by sales class were:
*    Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999: 51.4%.
*    Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999: 29.5%.
*    Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999: 6.9%.
*    Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999: 4.6%.
*    Sales Class $500,000 or more: 7.7%. 

Land in farms, at 914.2 million acres, was down 360 thousand acres from 2012. The biggest change was 3.15 million more acres operated by farms in Sales Class $500,000 or more.  The percentage of all farmland operated by farms in Sales Class $500,000 or more was 40 percent. 

Changes in farmland by sales class were:
*    Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999 at 94.6 million acres, declined by 1.45 million acres.
*    Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999 at 194.4 million acres, declined by 940 thousand acres.
*    Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999 at 131.6 million acres, increased by 360 thousand acres.
*    Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999 at 125.5 million acres, declined by 1.48 million acres.
*    Sales Class $500,000 or more at 368.2 million acres, increased by 3.15 million acres.

The percentage of all farmland by sales class were:
*    Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999: 10.3%.
*    Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999: 21.3%.
*    Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999: 14.4%.
*    Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999: 13.7%.
*    Sales Class $500,000 or more: 40.3%. 

The average farm size increased in 2013 by 2 acres to 435 acres per farm. However, average farm sizes declined in all but the smallest sales class partially due to smaller farms moving up to higher sales classes.

The average size of farms by sales class were:
*    Sales Class $1,000 - $9,999: 88 acres.
*    Sales Class $10,000 - $99,999: 313 acres.
*    Sales Class $100,000 - $249,999: 912 acres.
*    Sales Class $250,000 - $499,999: 1,298 acres.
*    Sales Class $500,000 or more: 2,284 acres. 


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               East versus west.  Wet versus dry.  Looks like we are starting this year with very different conditions depending on where you live.

               If you pay any attention to weather reports, you probably have noticed that we Nebraskans are experiencing two very different worlds of weather.  Much of eastern Nebraska as well as the Panhandle have received relatively abundant precipitation this past month, maybe not enough to fully recharge soil moisture but at least enough to give us a good start.  Unfortunately, much of southwestern, central, and far southern Nebraska still remain locked in the drought.

               Why is this important?  I think it’s important for you to realize this when you read or listen to farm and ranch advice – advice in magazines, in newspapers, even on the radio like from me.  Most advice assumes certain kinds of growing conditions.  Advice for good moisture locations usually isn’t suitable for dry areas and recommendations dealing with drought rarely optimize production where rainfall is good.

               I know you recognize this difference, but sometimes when advice is given it isn’t all that clear what weather conditions are required for that advice to be useful.  For example, I often discuss fertilizing grasses during spring but sometimes I don’t comment much on fertilizing relative to spring soil moisture conditions.  That advice assumes that moisture will be adequate to take advantage of the potential growth stimulation by the fertilizer.  So – the advice is good for folks in areas with adequate moisture but should be ignored or at least modified if you are in drought.

               This kind of confusion or apparently misleading advice is likely to continue until either everyone is in full drought again or the entire region is back to good moisture.

               Until then, only use the advice that fits your conditions.

Survey Shows How Candidates Stack Up on Key Agriculture Issues

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), the state’s largest grassroots general farm organization, wants to make sure Iowa voters know where their U.S. Senate and U.S. House candidates stand on major agriculture issues, before they make their choice in the June 3rd primaries.   IFBF sent the same questionnaire to all candidates, so they could have the opportunity to share their positions on a variety of agriculture, trade, regulatory and food safety issues; issues which affect farmers and all Iowans.            

IFBF invites all Iowans to check out candidate responses by clicking this link...  Nearly all candidates answered the IFBF questionnaire, but some did not answer with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ position, but extended answers.            

For more information about farming, conservation or food safety issues which are important to farmers and all Iowans, contact IFBF at

Record Number of Iowa Farmers Voluntarily Implement New Conservation Practices and Technologies  

Farm Bureau members urge Governor Branstad to sign legislation authorizing additional one-time investments approved by lawmakers this year, including appropriations to the Water Quality Initiative, Soil Conservation Cost-Share Program, and the Ag Drainage Well Closure Program.  A commitment to these important conservation programs will leverage private funds and are ideal areas to invest in Iowa’s water quality and soil conservation so improvements can continue to be achieved.  Governor Branstad has until June 2nd to sign or veto any remaining legislation.           

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), the state’s largest grassroots farm organization, requests Governor Branstad’s continued leadership and support advancing Iowa’s water quality and soil conservation efforts as farmers across the state implement new production practices and technologies to continually improve their conservation efforts.               

In addition to improving water quality and soil conservation, these one-time investments are vital to expedite conservation work.  Historically, these programs are not adequately funded, and in recent years, high farmer participation has created a backlog of unfunded projects.  Use of the legislature’s one-time conservation funding will allow the implementation of new conservation measures on hundreds of farms around the state while facilitating continued improvement in water quality and soil health.           

IFBF commends Governor Branstad for his leadership in advancing Iowa’s water quality and soil conservation efforts, and urges the state to continue to partner with farmers in advancing their conservation efforts.  

Iowa State's Ag College Graduates Largest Class in its History

More graduates are walking out of college and into a job in their field, according to a recent survey. The National Association of Colleges and Employers found that companies plan to hire nearly 9% more graduates from the class of 2014 than they did last year.

In Iowa, it appears college grads who are pursuing careers in agriculture are having the best luck finding work. Mike Gaul is director of Iowa State University's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

"College is a big investment and anytime you look at investment, you look at the return on that investment. In terms of a prosperous career, right now, agriculture is king," Gaul says.

A whopping 98-percent of graduates from the ISU College of Ag and Life Sciences are "placed" within six months of graduation. Gaul says that figure includes students who are pursuing further education, such as veterinary school, and those who have military obligations.

ISU's College of Ag and Life Sciences graduated its largest class ever, around 600 students, on May 10. Gaul says the primary major for 75 of those grads was Agriculture Business. "I think 69 of them have jobs...for a 90-plus-percent at-graduation placement rate," Gaul says. "I guarantee you, there are very few majors in this country that can claim that type of success."

Agriculture Groups Urge TPP Deal Without Japan

The National Pork Producers Council today joined the International Dairy Foods Association, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the USA Rice Federation and the U.S. Wheat Association in calling on the Obama administration to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations without Japan unless that nation agrees to provide significant market access for the United States. For U.S. pork that means elimination of Japan’s gate price system and all tariffs.

The TPP is a regional negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.

According to reports from the recent TPP trade ministerial meeting in Singapore, Japanese Minister of the Economy Akira Amari said Japan will not abolish tariffs in the agricultural sectors it considers “sacred” – dairy, sugar, rice, beef, pork, wheat and barley.

“The U.S. pork industry is very disappointed that Japan continues to refuse to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade,” said NPPC President Dr. Howard Hill, a pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa, who pointed out that the U.S. meat sector strongly supported Japan’s entry into the TPP talks, as did most of American agriculture. “A country can’t shield its primary agricultural products from competition and still claim to be committed to a high-standard agreement that liberalizes essentially all goods.”

Japan is demanding special treatment for its agricultural sector, including exempting pork and other “sensitive” products from tariff elimination. The United States never has agreed to let a trading partner exempt as many tariff lines as Japan is requesting – 586. In fact, in the 17 free trade agreements the United States has concluded since 2000, only 233 tariff lines combined have been exempted from having tariff elimination.

“Allowing Japan to exempt products from going to a zero tariff and preserving the gate price on pork sets a horrible precedent,” Hill said. “Other TPP countries may demand similar treatment, which could jeopardize the entire agreement, and that precedent would make it much harder to obtain a good outcome for pork and other agricultural products in future trade deals.”

Joint Statement on TPP Negotiations

Minister Amari’s statement in Singapore that none of Japan’s sensitive agricultural items will be fully liberalized may signal the end of hopes for the Trans-Pacific Partnership to become a truly comprehensive and forward-looking 21st century agreement. A country cannot shield its primary agricultural products from competition and still claim to be committed to a high-standard agreement liberalizing essentially all goods.

When Japan joined the TPP negotiations, it agreed to “to pursue an agreement that is comprehensive and ambitious in all areas, eliminating tariffs and other barriers to trade and investment,” as stated in the earlier (November 12, 2011) TPP Trade Ministers’ Report to Leaders.  Yet according to several reports from the TPP Ministerial meeting just completed in Singapore, Japanese Minister of the Economy Akira Amari has now flatly told the other negotiating countries that Japan will not abolish tariffs in the five agricultural sectors it considers “sacred.” Those five sectors include seven basic agricultural products, covering most of agricultural production: dairy, sugar, rice, beef, pork, wheat and barley. They also include many downstream products made from those seven items, such as flour and flour mixes made from wheat and rice.

The broad exemption that Japan is demanding will encourage other partner countries to withhold their sensitive sectors as well. The result would fall far short of a truly comprehensive agreement that would set a new standard for future trade agreements. In fact the TPP envisioned by Japan, if it stands, would be the least comprehensive agreement the U.S. has negotiated since the 21st century began. 

U.S. negotiators still have a chance to push Japan to provide meaningful agricultural market access in the agreement. Failing that, the alternative is suspending negotiations with Japan for now and concluding a truly comprehensive agreement with those TPP partners that are willing to meet the originally contemplated level of ambition. It is a big step but one that will be justified if Japan continues to refuse to open its agricultural sector to meaningful competition.

Apply proper testing protocols to verify PEDV status

Biosecurity remains the focus of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) prevention and control, but some producers are looking to eliminate the virus from a herd or site. However the prospects for a successful outcome, so far, are unclear.

Among the complicating factors is that PEDV is a highly contagious enteric pathogen, requiring such a minute amount of virus to expose an entire herd that reinfection is always a lingering possibility. Answers regarding the level and duration of immunity are still being studied, and the introduction of porcine deltacoronavirus (PDCoV), another enteric pathogen, to the U.S. herd raises even more questions.   

“Swine researchers and veterinarians believe that it’s possible to take a PEDV-positive herd to a negative status through viral elimination and increased attention to biosecurity,” says Dave Pyburn, DVM, assistant vice president, science and technology for Pork Checkoff. He advises producers to regularly review biosecurity practices with their herd veterinarian along with PEDV monitoring/testing protocols.

“With the current number of farms infected with PEDV, a reintroduction of the virus is very possible unless all biosecurity protocols for the farm remain in place and are followed vigilantly,” he adds. Recommended biosecurity practices are available at

Whether you want to verify the PEDV status of your herd or are looking for replacement breeding stock, there are specific testing steps required to ensure an accurate outcome. The Pork Checkoff’s Biocontainment Working Group, which includes researchers and university diagnosticians, have outlined testing protocols to verify virus elimination and a farm’s PEDV-negative status as well as testing for replacement breeding stock. Here are the basic steps:

To verify PEDV-negative herd status:
-    Secure PEDV-negative, unexposed replacement animals.
-    Once on the farm, expose replacements to mature sows for at least 30 days, and begin testing.
-    Start by collecting feces from replacement gilts at one and three weeks post-placement for PCR testing. Oral fluids also can be used—allot one rope per pen.
-    Next, conduct serological testing over four consecutive months by sampling 30 gilts each month.

To test suckling pigs:
-    Select piglets most likely to be shedding—unthrifty or scouring.
-    Collect and pool fecal samples by litter.
-    If there is no evidence of diarrhea, collect four “Swiffer” samples of piglet feces from farrowing stalls (no more than 12 stalls).
-    PCR test at least 12 pooled samples per month (or three per week).

Work with a diagnostic laboratory to interpret the testing results. For both animal groups, if test results always come up negative over a minimum of four months, consider that PEDV has been eliminated. The next step is to work with your veterinarian to develop a PEDV monitoring plan.

For more testing details, including specific details on collecting “Swiffer” samples, check out Pork Checkoff’s new fact sheet.

Another Pork Checkoff fact sheet, illustrates the testing steps to determine that replacement animals are PEDV-negative as well as protocols to ensure that replacements exposed to PEDV are no longer shedding the virus.
“The testing protocols do take time, but it is not an area where you can cut corners if you want to detect the true status of the farm and make sure that virus is not brought back through the replacement breeding stock,” Pyburn says. “Overall, the most important element is to maintain farm biosecurity to keep PEDV and other disease threats out of the farm.”

For more guidance on addressing PEDV-related concerns, check out Pork Checkoff’s wide range of fact sheets, available online....

USDA PEDV reporting requirements; a work in progress

For the past year, all segments of the U.S. pork industry have been committed to finding answers regarding porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV)-a unique and challenging production disease facing producers. While PEDV is not an international reportable disease, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has announced his intention to mandate reporting of PEDV infections in the United States by veterinary diagnostic labs, veterinarians and producers. The exact start date and implementation plan have yet to be determined.

"Industry feedback to USDA has included very specific comments to emphasize how the proposed program could be simplified and practical, benefitting the industry while protecting producers' and veterinarians' information and livelihood," says Paul Sundberg, DVM, senior vice president, science and technology for the Pork Checkoff. His advice is to stay tuned for future developments.

Jackson County, Oregon Votes to Ban GE Crops

By almost a 2-1 margin, the residents of Jackson County, Oregon passed a ballot initiative to ban GE crops in the southwestern Oregon county. As passed, the ordinance bans any person from propagating, cultivating, raising or growing genetically engineered plants in Jackson County.

Barry Bushue, president of the Oregon Farm Bureau, said, "Regrettably ideology defeated sound science and common sense in Jackson County."

Garnering national attention, almost $1 million was raised to defeat the proposed ban.

"The voters here have many generations of fruit and vegetable growing, so they're among the most educated voters," said Chuck Burr, president of the Southern Oregon Seed Growers Association. "The opposition spent a million dollars and couldn't convince the people."

Nearby Josephine County had a similar vote with a similar outcome. However, because the Oregon legislature passed a pre-emption law last session, the courts will ultimately decide the validity of that vote. Jackson County was specifically exempted in the bill because the ballot initiative was already underway when the law went into effect. Three other counties plan to have similar initiatives in the near future, defying the state pre-emption law.

Enforcement by the county is estimated to cost $219,000 per year. Farmers are required to harvest, destroy or remove all genetically engineered plants within 12 months.

USBCA Continues Progress toward Value Chain Cooperation

Last week, the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, held its inaugural board meeting in Washington. The culmination of years of effort, USBCA members elected a formal executive committee and adopted its Business Plan and Operating Structure during the meeting.

The original Executive Committee was expanded in the formation of the official structure to include additional representation for growers and representation for processors. The 2014-2015 Executive Committee now includes eight: Barry Bushue, American Farm Bureau Federation; Andrew LaVigne, American Seed Trade Association; Steve Censky, American Soybean Association; Cathleen Enright, Biotechnology Industry Organization; Rick Tolman, National Corn Growers Association; Tom Hammer, National Oilseed Producers Association; Gary Martin, North American Export Grain Association; and Tom Sleight, U.S. Grains Council.

Through the business plan, USBCA formalized its overarching goal: "Improve the environment for technology innovation and the market for U.S agricultural products."

Additionally, the plan formalized the mission statement: "Successfully execute USBCA plans by coordinating and informing U.S. value chain efforts that encourage policy and commercial practices affecting the development, purchase, marketing and shipment of agricultural products derived from biotechnology."

The two main working groups within the organization, the International Working Group and the Domestic Working Group, plan to meet in June and July respectively to continue work towards agreement on principles moving forward under the business plan.

Established under a memorandum of understanding signed in 2012, the USBCA already has developed and is working to implement consensus positions on key policy issues designed to improve the introduction, stewardship, domestic and international regulatory policy, and distribution in U.S. and export markets of commodities and processed products containing or derived from modern biotechnology.

The USBCA's founding organizations are the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, American Seed Trade Association, Biotechnology Industry Organization, National Grain and Feed Association, and North American Export Grain Association.  Other national organizations that subsequently have become participants in the USBCA include American Farm Bureau Federation, Corn Refiners Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Oilseed Processors Association, North American Millers' Association, United Sorghum Checkoff Program, U.S. Canola Association, U.S. Grains Council and U.S. Soybean Export Council.

DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends - Lower Prices Return

Although the majority of retail fertilizer prices continued to rise during the third week of May, there were some that posted lower prices. According to retail fertilizer locations tracked by DTN, this marks the first time in 14 consecutive weeks that a fertilizer posted a lower retail price.

Six of the eight major fertilizers were higher compared to a month earlier. Only one fertilizer was up any significant amount. 10-34-0 was up 5% compared to the previous month. The starter fertilizer had an average price of $556/ton.  The remaining five fertilizers with higher prices posted fairly slight moves. DAP had an average price of $596/ton, MAP $631/ton, potash $480/ton, anhydrous $698/ton and UAN32 $406/ton.

Two fertilizers were slightly lower in price compared to last month, but again the shift was fairly small. Urea had an average price of $553/ton and UAN28 $355/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was $0.60/lb.N, anhydrous $0.43/lb.N, UAN28 $0.63/lb.N and UAN32 $0.64/lb.N.

With fertilizers moving higher in recent months, only half of the eight major fertilizers are now double-digits lower in price compared to May of 2013.  Urea is now down 2%, DAP is 3% lower and MAP 4% less expensive. 10-34-0 is now down 9%, UAN32 is down 10% and UAN28 has dropped 11%. Anhydrous is now 17% less expensive than a year earlier while potash is 18% lower.

Quality, Not Quantity, Counts In Pork Production Today

While it is difficult to predict the future, it’s inevitable that it will take the swine industry some time to recover. With more than 6,600 cases of PEDv confirmed in 30 states thus far, March hog inventories were 3.7 percent lower than a year ago, and this drop came despite farrowings that were 2.8 percent higher than last year. The recent USDA report showed April total pork inventories at 584.1 million pounds, up 8.6 million from March but down 116.9 million from April last year. Even though the industry continues to produce larger litters, the number of pigs reaching market weight has been severely impacted by the disease outbreak.

With the goal of getting more piglets per sow, piglet quality is often sacrificed. More often, producers must contend with piglets that have lower birth weights, and as a direct result, require extra care and effort to reach full value in the market. Pushing piglets along quickly can also leave them with lower immune strength and greater susceptibility to health challenges. Lower quality pigs stay in production longer, adding to the cost of producing meat.

“We have to stay focused on producing pigs of higher value if we are to maintain optimum sow productivity,” said Russell Gilliam, U.S. swine business manager for Alltech. “We need to be careful not to produce pigs that require additional feed, care and costs.”

Starting with a quality piglet can make a vast difference in health care costs, additional feed, and the increased cost of extra days before market. As the saying goes “you are what your mother ate,” piglet quality begins with sow nutrition. One of the staples in proper sow nutrition is mineral management. The fundamental objective of mineral nutrition is to build optimum reserves that will support the pig in times of stress, prevent inadequacies and maximize health and performance (Mahan, 2006).

While inorganic minerals are poorly absorbed, stored and utilized in the animal, organic minerals offer a more natural form for the animal and can perform even when supplemented at lower levels. Recent studies on the inclusion of Alltech’s organic trace minerals in sow diets showed considerable gain in performance and profitability for both sows and piglets. Data has shown that pigs with enhanced mineral status at birth and weaning, have reduced pre-wean mortality, higher piglet performance and weaning weight, and increased immune status. The trial work also showed a response in a mineral enhanced sow improves productivity and reduces mating intervals (Pickard and Close, 2010).

“When efficiency and value matter most, it is good to know that less can equal more, and it can be done the natural way,” Gilliam said. “The application of Alltech’s Mineral Management Program consistently delivers optimal results in swine operations in North America and around the world, while being a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly program.” 

World Pork Expo attendees will have a chance to find out more about Mineral Management at Alltech’s booth #215 during Alltech’s Happy Hour from 4 to 5 p.m. on June 4 and 5. For more information about trace mineral nutrition and other Alltech Pig Solutions, please visit or call toll-free (855) 7ON-FARM.

Soybeans Can Overcome Thin Stands to Yield Well

Despite months of planning, and careful planting, soybean growers often face replant decisions. DuPont Pioneer agronomists say it’s worthwhile to review several factors before deciding whether or not to replant soybeans.

First, stand assessment is often deceptive shortly after emergence. Soybeans add a new trifoliate leaf every three to five days and can fill in gaps in a short period of time.

Next, consider that seed treatments have an extra level of protection against early season insects and disease for the plants that did or will emerge. Biological seed treatments stimulate root growth and increase nodulation to enhance nutrient availability and uptake, plant health and yield potential.

Counting plants is the only way to calculate the difference between the current plant population compared to the goal. When determining stands, count questionable plants as one-half. After a potential surviving stand population is determined, yield potential can be estimated.
-    Soybeans in the vegetative stage can compensate well for thin stands.
-    One-half of a stand may produce close to 90 percent of a normal yield.
-    One-fourth of a stand may produce 75 percent of a normal yield.
-    In 30-inch rows, a stand of 3-4 plants per foot is acceptable if there are no large gaps and weeds are controlled.

Overcome weather delays with SureStart® herbicide

Plant first, spray later. Growers tend to rely on this routine when untimely rain makes it difficult to plant on schedule. And when weather delays planting, growers don’t have time for a preemergence herbicide application, which can put yield at risk.

During wet springs, like the ones growers have experienced this year and last season, spraying flexibility is even more important to growers, says Brittany Loewen, corn herbicides product manager at Dow AgroSciences.

“When there’s wet weather early in the planting season, a grower’s first priority is to get corn in the ground and spray later,” Loewen says. “SureStart herbicide allows more time to spray, with flexibility from preemergence to 11-inch corn.”

Mother Nature runs on her own schedule, and so do weeds. Early season weed competition can significantly reduce yield by robbing developing corn plants of sun, water and nutrients. And once yield is diminished, it’s not coming back.

“Today, some of the toughest weeds are able to survive glyphosate-only applications, including giant ragweed, waterhemp and marestail,” Loewen says. “Without the use of a residual herbicide before a glyphosate application, these weeds have a head start on reducing yield potential.”

Loewen recommends a two-pass weed control program containing a residual herbicide with multiple modes of action, such as SureStart® herbicide, which is proven to stop weeds more effectively than glyphosate alone.

This year wasn’t the first time weather delayed corn planting, and it won’t be the last. Overcome weather delays by choosing a herbicide with broad-spectrum control of weeds and flexible application timing.

Survey Finds Continued Strong Support for FDA’s Biotech Foods Labeling Policy

Despite public controversy as states debate mandatory labeling of foods produced through biotechnology, a significant majority of consumers support the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) current labeling policy for foods produced using biotechnology, according to the 2014 International Food Information Council (IFIC) “Consumer Perceptions of Food Technology” Survey.

Many also report they are likely to purchase foods produced through biotechnology for certain benefits such as nutrition.  The survey has consistently shown for more than 16 years that, when made aware of the health and agronomic benefits of food biotechnology, most Americans are receptive, indicating that accurate information about the technology is important to promoting informed food choices.


Americans’ general satisfaction with current food labels remains high. Seventy-four percent of consumers could not think of any additional information that they would like added to food labels. Among all survey respondents, 8 percent wanted additional nutritional information, 5 percent wanted more ingredient information, and only 4 percent wanted information about biotechnology or related terms, which is low, especially given how much attention state labeling efforts have received.

Consistent with previous years, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of consumers support the FDA’s current labeling policy for foods produced using biotechnology, which calls for labeling only when biotechnology substantially changes the food’s nutritional content or composition, or when a potential safety issue (such as a food allergen) is identified.  However, there is a slight increase in consumers indicating opposition to the policy (19 percent) compared to 2012 (14 percent).

“Years of legislation, ballot measures, and mischaracterization of food biotechnology have not affected overall support of FDA’s biotech labeling policy,” said IFIC President and CEO David Schmidt. “However, they have likely played a role in the modest increase we’re seeing in those who oppose it.”

Perceptions of Food Biotechnology

The majority of Americans, 71 percent, have some awareness of plant biotechnology. Twenty-eight percent are favorable toward plant biotechnology, with significantly more consumers this year (28 percent) reporting being unfavorable than in 2012 (20 percent). However, 43 percent of consumers are neutral or say they don’t know enough to form an opinion. Interestingly, Millennials (ages 18-34) have significantly more favorable impressions of food biotechnology – with nearly four in ten (38 percent) being favorable – compared to one-quarter of consumers ages 35-54 (25 percent) and 55 and older (24 percent).

The majority say they would be likely to purchase foods modified by biotechnology for various nutrition and health-related benefits. Seventy-two percent would be likely to purchase food products made with oils that were modified by biotechnology to provide more healthful fats, such as Omega-3 fatty acids. More than two-thirds of Americans say they would be likely to purchase foods improved with biotechnology to reduce the potential for carcinogens (69 percent), be protected from insect damage and require fewer pesticide applications (69 percent), enhance nutritional benefits (67 percent), and eliminate the trans fat content in foods (67 percent).

Modern Agriculture

More than seven in ten consumers agree that modern agriculture (that is, conventional farming using today’s modern tools and equipment) can be sustainable (74 percent), produce high-quality foods (72 percent), and produce nutritious foods (71 percent). More than two-thirds also agree that modern agriculture produces safe foods (68 percent). Slightly more than half agree that modern agriculture farms are still primarily family-run (52 percent), highlighting a lack of awareness of the family-run nature of most of today’s small- and large-scale farms.


The 2014 survey found that awareness of sustainability in food production remains relatively high, with 57 percent who have heard or read something about sustainability in food production. Millennials have a higher awareness of sustainability (61 percent) than other age groups.

Only one-quarter (26 percent) of consumers are willing to pay more for foods that fit their perception of sustainability, down from 33 percent in 2012. This number goes up again when looking at Millennials: 43 percent would be willing to pay more for sustainable foods and beverages. However, two-thirds of consumers (66 percent) say it is important that the foods they purchase or consume are produced in a sustainable way (with sustainability being defined as “meeting long-term food needs by producing more food affordably with the same or fewer resources, in a way that is better for the environment and keeps food affordable and accessible for consumers).”

The majority of consumers ranking the following factors of sustainability as important also believe that biotechnology can have a role in: ensuring a sufficient food supply for a growing global population (72 percent), producing more food with less use of natural resources (70 percent), conserving the natural habitat (68 percent), and reducing carbon footprint (68 percent).

“When consumers understand the potential benefits that technology in food production can have for both people and the planet, they can get behind it. People need to know what’s in it for them,” said Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA, FAND, Senior Vice President of Nutrition and Food Safety at IFIC.

Additional insights from the 2014 “Consumer Perceptions of Food Technology” Survey include:
-    Availability of foods produced with biotechnology in the grocery store
-    Trusted sources of information on plant/animal biotechnology and sustainability
-    Perceptions of animal biotechnology and consumer favorability toward genetically engineered meat, fish, and dairy products
-    Comparisons of moms and Millennials to the general population on awareness and perceptions of biotechnology and sustainability

Visit the Executive Summary for these insights and more at


The 16th “Consumer Perceptions of Food Technology” survey was fielded by Market Strategies International of Livonia, Mich., between March 28 and April 7, 2014, and involved 1,000 U.S. adults polled using an online survey tool.  Results were weighted based on gender, age, race, education, region, income, and marital status to reflect the U.S. population. Results can be reported at a 95 percent confidence level.  Formerly the “IFIC Survey of Consumer Attitudinal Trends toward Food Biotechnology,” this survey is part of a series that has been conducted since 1997.

No comments:

Post a Comment