Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Monday June 24 Ag News


“Good Farmer to Great Manager” record-keeping classes will teach farmers and ranchers to keep accurate records for their operations. Nebraska Extension is offering the classes at three locations across the state in July.

“In this class, you will learn about what information you should have easily available as part of your farm or ranch records. When you have good records, everything from tax preparation, annual loan renewals, and financial analysis become much easier,” said Tina Barret, executive director of Nebraska Farm Business Inc. and course instructor. “More importantly, it will allow you to make financial management decisions that improve your business.”

Keeping good records is less about using a certain software and more about gathering and organizing information, according to Barret. The difference between a good farmer and a great manager often comes down to knowing the true financial position of a farm. Good records make it possible to track an operation’s true financial position. Inaccurate records can lead to misguided management decisions.

Class topics include: What are good records?; getting good tax records; moving to management records; and financial statements and ratios.

Dates and locations are:
    Lincoln, July 18 – 19 at the Lancaster County Extension Office, 444 Cherrycreek Rd
    Bridgeport,  July 25 – 26 at the Prairie Winds Community Center, 428 N Main St
    Grand Island, July 30 - 31 at the Hall County Extension Office, 3180 US-34

Each class will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. the first day, and 8 a.m. until noon the second day. The course fee is $50 per participant; class size is limited to 25 people per location. To register, visit https://wia.unl.edu/GFGM.

The class is hosted by Nebraska Extension and is inspired by Annie's Project. Annie's Project is supported by Farm Credit Services of America in Nebraska.

High Crop Yields Are Compatible with Prescribed Irrigation Levels

New research from University of Nebraska researchers has found that one-third of studied fields achieved high crop yields without surpassing prescribed irrigation levels.

The study shows that it’s possible to nearly maximize yields while adhering to the estimated amounts of irrigation needed to support those yields, the researchers said. Reaching even 80% of potential yields is considered a reasonable goal for U.S. corn, the team said.

Conducted by researchers from the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the study collected data from so-called Natural Resources Districts and via producer surveys. Whereas previous studies relied primarily on data from simulations or research farms, the new study used producer data from more than 500 corn and soybean fields in Nebraska. The researchers then developed a framework to diagnose current irrigation water use in relation to grain production in producer fields.

The team also found that yields did not substantially vary among fields that used different types of irrigation scheduling. One type relied on the technology-intensive measurement of factors such as water balances and soil moisture; another entailed simple visual assessments of plant status; and a third involved rudimentary methods such as fixed calendar dates or following a neighbor’s schedule.

However, fields that used the technology-intensive approach did better adhere to suggested irrigation limits. Those fields represented just 22% of the total studied, indicating ample opportunity to save irrigation water and potentially increase farm profits by adopting newer technologies, the team said.

Actual irrigation was similar to estimated irrigation requirements in more than half of the fields, suggesting that many producers are using their available irrigation wisely, said lead author Kate Gibson, a project manager with the Water for Food Institute. But the remaining proportion could still save a substantial amount of water.

“Potential irrigation water savings are greatest in years with above- or near-average precipitation,” said co-author Patricio Grassini, associate professor of agronomy and horticulture.

Justin Gibson, a postdoctoral researcher with the Water for Food Institute, said that flexible irrigation equipment could help ensure the timely and precise delivery of water. This could also reduce unnecessary water use by excess irrigation, which can adversely affect water quality, contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and burden agricultural producers with unneeded costs, he said.

The team reported its finding in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Funding came from the Water for Food Institute, the Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Soybean Board.

8 Points to Success With Postemergence Herbicide Applications

Greg Kruger - NE Extension Weed Science and Application Technology Specialist

With the wild spring and slow, wet, cool start to the growing season, many fields did not get the early-season residual herbicides they usually would. In many cases, this means a heavier reliance on postemergence herbicide programs. As we start to think about postemergence programs, it is important to remember the following guidelines:

 1.    All pesticide labels are different. Applicators should carefully read each label before applying the product. While I know that I probably write these words in vain for many, I cannot overemphasize how important this is, especially for Enlist One, Enlist Duo, Engenia, FeXapan, and Xtendimax as the labels are more prescriptive and precise than many other labels on the market.

 2.    Start clean; stay clean. While most will think of the weeds in the field when they first see this (and that is a good recommendation for weed management …), in this  case I’m referring to the sprayer. Cleaning the sprayer before and after applications, particularly when going from one product to another, is critical to ensure that unintentional accidents do not occur. When thinking about the new 2,4-D- and dicamba-tolerant systems, it is even more imperative that you are thorough in cleaning all of the potential contamination sources.

 3.    Use BIG droplets. Use as coarse a droplet as possible without compromising the efficacy of the product. If coverage is a concern, default to higher spray volumes (GPAs) instead of smaller droplet sizes. Keep in mind that for the new 2,4-D and dicamba products, there are specific nozzles, pressures, and even tank-mix partners (including adjuvants) stipulated for application.

 4.    Watch the wind. The wind speed and direction are the most critical factors that should be considered for any application. As a general rule, when the wind speed doubles, there is a 700% increase in drift at 90 feet downwind. This general trend holds true if the wind goes from 5 to 10 mph or 10 to 20 mph. Many pesticide labels include information about the maximum wind speed for application and many cap at 10 or 15 mph. Know the product you are applying and the in-field conditions during application.

 5.    Don’t get caught in an inversion. The feared, dreaded, and somewhat mystical temperature inversion is one of the most dangerous conditions for a pesticide applicator. There are numerous ways to check for an inversion, ranging from using apps and weather forecasting websites to setting off smoke. There are even devices you can buy to detect inversions. Use all methods possible to make sure you avoid these dangerous conditions. Once particles and/or vapors are entrapped in inversion layers, there is no telling where or how far the pesticide will go!

 6.    Keep it low and drive it slow. Keep the boom height at the minimum required to get a good overlapping pattern, recognizing that the new dicamba products have a maximum boom height of 24 inches. If you have 30-inch nozzle spacings, this may not be a good sprayer to use for the new dicamba products. Driving at slower speeds will help keep the boom at an appropriate height. In general, we see that the faster the application is, the higher the boom height becomes. Keep driving speeds below 15 mph for applications of the new dicamba products.

 7.    Build in a buffer. For some products, like the new dicamba products, buffers are required. Even when buffers are not required, make sure you take time to know what sensitive areas are around your application area and minimize exposure risks. Scouting the area around the application site before spraying is ALWAYS a good idea!

 8.    Follow through! After the application is made, continue to monitor the field for whatever pest you are targeting. Escapes and pesticide application failures are the first steps toward resistance. Make sure your applications are successful!

While this is not a comprehensive list of things to consider, these checks can help ensure a good start to the mid-summer application season. With the late summer that we are experiencing this year, postemergence applications could be as difficult as ever and it is important to use good judgement and be proactive whenever possible. As we get later into the summer, the temperatures usually rise, making applications even more difficult.

There is one last rule of thumb: When in doubt, sit it out! Remember that every product that is labeled for a particular crop is not necessarily right for every acre. There are high risk situations where we may not want to take a chance spraying a particular product even if it is labeled for that crop and field.

FARM Program Announces New Educational Resources

The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program announced two new manuals and other materials as part of its FARM Workforce Development program area.

The FARM Safety Reference Manual provides straightforward, relevant and useful information on workplace safety and health meant to help dairy owners and employees develop and implement a robust and practical safety program. The FARM Safety Reference Manual is a collaboration between the Idaho Dairymen’s Association, the Idaho Milk Processors Association, and National Milk Producers Federation.

The FARM Human Resources (HR) Reference Manual helps dairy farm owners, managers and other relevant staff develop an on-farm HR program. An effective HR program supports a positive and safe work environment that helps attract and retain a professional, high-quality, and engaged workforce. A downloaded, customizable set of HR templates and a sample Employee Handbook accompany the FARM HR Manual.  The manuals can be found here. Spanish-language versions of the manuals and templates will be available soon.

The National Dairy FARM Program launched its newest component last year, gathering expert and stakeholder input from the entire dairy value chain, including farmers, cooperative staff, academics, and other subject matter experts. This input ensures the Workforce Development materials are technically robust and relevant to today’s dairy industry.

FARM Workforce Development demonstrates that the U.S. dairy industry is proactive and passionate about providing safe and thriving work environments.

Proposed China Tariffs Hurt Farmers and Consumers

Proposed actions to impose new tariffs on China will hurt U.S. farmers and consumers was the key message delivered today by CropLife America (CLA) CEO Chris Novak in front of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Section 301 Panel. As currently proposed at 25 percent, the new List 4 tariffs would increase costs several hundred million dollars per year that would impact CLA members, farmers and consumers.

“While we appreciate the Administration’s willingness to undertake tough measures to discourage trade practices that disadvantage our industry, we believe these proposed tariffs will have immediate, negative effects on farmers, consumers, and our members. After the Administration imposed tariffs last September on certain agrochemicals, the producer price index for these products skyrocketed,” stated Novak. 

Many of the chemicals covered by the proposed tariffs are not produced in the U.S., and it is not easy to resource these products. All new sources for pesticide active ingredients used in the U.S. market are subject to a time-consuming Environmental Protection Agency clearance process. Due to the limited existing capacity outside of China, and the difficulties of bringing new sources online, it is inevitable that the additional tariffs will increase the prices of critical tools for U.S. farmers.

Novak, who testified on behalf of CLA and RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment), added, “Beyond our farm customers, these tariffs will also impact nurseries, lawn and garden companies, and consumers who rely upon our products to protect their homes and businesses. The burden of these tariffs will fall disproportionately on the shoulders of American farmers, businesses, and consumers without truly advancing the cause of free and fair trade.”

CLA is working with its partners in the agricultural community to reach out to members of Congress and officials at USTR to help communicate the impact the proposed tariffs will have on farmers across the U.S.

Commodity Classic Announces 2020 Theme

In a year of challenge and change in agriculture, farmers have the opportunity to learn from the experts, see game-changing equipment and technology, and network with thousands of their fellow farmers during the 2020 Commodity Classic, slated February 27-29 in San Antonio, Texas.

Commodity Classic is America's largest farmer-led, farmer-focused educational and agricultural experience-combining a robust schedule of educational sessions, a huge trade show, inspiring speakers, presentations from nationally-recognized ag thought leaders, first-rate entertainment and the opportunity to network with thousands of farmers from across the nation.

"See Your Future Clearly" is the theme for the 2020 Commodity Classic-and the schedule taking shape is designed to help farmers position themselves for success, especially in times of challenge and change.

Educational sessions at Commodity Classic are expected to include marketing insights, soil health, farm policy, yield-boosting production practices, new products and technologies and more. Speakers will include well-known agricultural experts, industry leaders and a number of innovative farmers from across the United States.

The trade show is expected to feature some 400 exhibitors showcasing the latest technology, equipment and innovation. Farmers consistently rate the trade show highly, citing the quality of the conversations they have with exhibitors as well as the expertise of the company staff in attendance. A continually-updated list of exhibitors is available by clicking the Trade Show tab.

Land O'Lakes, Inc. and Royal Agrifirm Group announce China joint venture focused on dairy nutritional products, services

Two global agricultural cooperatives, U.S.-based Land O'Lakes, Inc. (Land O'Lakes) and The Netherlands-based Royal Agrifirm Group (Agrifirm), today announced that they will be setting up a dairy animal feed joint venture in China. The new company, Agrilakes, will leverage existing market knowledge, insights, technologies and research capability from both Land O'Lakes and Agrifirm to provide world-class service to China-based feed customers and dairy farmers.

"With this new investment in China alongside Agrifirm, we are continuing Land O'Lakes' successful international commercial growth strategy focused on partnering with locally-successful companies and working together to drive market expansion," said Jerry Kaminski, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Land O'Lakes. "Thanks to Agrifirm's established infrastructure and reputation in China, paired with Land O'Lakes' strong research and technology expertise, we are confident this new joint venture is well-positioned to help grow both companies."

"With more than 20 years of market experience in China, this joint venture with Land O'Lakes positions Agrifirm to further implement its growth strategy and continue developing a reliable, responsible food chain for future generations in China," said Dick Hordijk, Chief Executive Officer of Agrifirm. "Agrifirm is proud to bring more than 100 years of experience in the feed and dairy business, and deep experience in China, to this new joint venture. We look forward to leveraging the knowledge, experience and products of both Agrifirm and Land O'Lakes to strengthen our China market presence and help China's dairy farmers on the road to success."

The new joint venture will initially be based in Agrifirm's existing manufacturing plant in Tianjin, with plans to build a new dairy premix and specialty plant on the adjacent property. As dairy farms in this region continue to grow with increased sophistication and production efficiency, evolving dairy feed practices are driving demand for enhanced animal nutrition and productivity. Working together with complementary strengths, Land O'Lakes and Agrifirm are well-suited to fulfill the needs of this promising marketplace.

Both partner companies bring experience operating in China to the joint venture. Land O'Lakes currently leverages capabilities and proprietary products of its subsidiary businesses Purina Animal Nutrition and WinField® United crop protection to help improve dairy productivity in China. It also operates a training facility in China, the Dairy Farming Institute, in partnership with Nestlé. The facility features two training farms, trial fields and a training center to help local forage growers and commercial dairy farmers develop their skills. Nuscience, a wholly owned subsidiary of Agrifirm and their key global animal nutrition entity, has been in China under the brand LVSAI for 20 years and is currently operating two young animal nutrition and premix plants, and a business unit that sells feed ingredients and multi-species feed additives.

The formation and funding of Agrilakes has been approved by the Boards of Directors of both cooperatives and is pending appropriate antitrust and regulatory approvals.

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