Friday, November 11, 2022

Thursday November 10 Ag News

 Rail Update: Potential Stoppage Averted Until December
ASA Newsletter

Yesterday, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division, the third largest rail union in the country, announced the extension of its status quo period (no strike, no lockout), during which the union wants to continue negotiations with the freight rail carriers. The BMWED pushed its cooling off period from Nov. 19 to Dec. 4, the same date on which the Brotherhood of Signalmen Union (BRS) — the other rail union to reject the proposed deal with railroad management recommended by the Biden administration — status quo period ends.

Meanwhile, two major rail unions are set to vote on ratifying the deal on Nov. 21: The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the Smart Transportation Division.

The extended status quo period means any stoppage of hazardous material shipments (like fertilizer) will be delayed until the end of the month, and Congress has more time to prepare for possible intervention after returning from the election recess. With the threat of a national rail stoppage still looming, ASA remains engaged with rail carriers, Congress, and the administration to highlight the impacts that such an event would have on agriculture.

NCBA Hails White House Focus on Protecting Food and Ag Sector

Today, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) hailed the signing of the National Security Memorandum to Strengthen the Security and Resilience of U.S. Food and Agriculture, which will allow the federal government to identify the threats facing our food supply and enhance national preparedness and response.
“Our agricultural sector faces a variety of threats that could inhibit cattle producers’ ability to bring beef from pasture to plate,” said NCBA CEO Colin Woodall. “NCBA appreciates the Biden administration’s focus on identifying threats and developing new ways to mitigate them. Together, we can protect our industry while ensuring that all Americans have access to wholesome foods like beef.”

The memorandum instructs top government officials, including the Secretaries of State, Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security, the Attorney General, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to identify threats to the food and agriculture sector and coordinate with federal, state, local, and tribal governments to develop responses.

Ahead of the memorandum signing, NCBA CEO Colin Woodall attended a pre-briefing at the White House yesterday that included discussion of key security issues for the cattle industry—tools like the National Veterinary Stockpile, which helps prevent the spread of disease and aids recovery, and cybersecurity and worker training programs that support the continued operations of other members of the beef supply chain.

“I am particularly pleased to hear that the administration is making security and resiliency decisions based on data. These data-driven decisions are the ones we can support,” said Woodall.

New Guide Explains How to Measure Soil Organic Carbon

Soil organic carbon plays a wide range of crucial roles in agriculture and in the evolving world of carbon credits and carbon markets.

Soil organic carbon impacts crop productivity, soil health, the movement of water and the removal of contaminants. To help landowners and others better understand soil organic carbon, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach recently published a new resource called “Measuring Soil Organic Carbon: A Crucial Iowa Resource”

This four-page guide defines soil organic carbon, explains how it is measured and the roles it plays in agriculture and the environment.

“Farmers have long been interested in the value of the organic matter in their soils, and this publication specifically looks at the amount of organic carbon in the soil and how it is measured,” said Jim Jordahl, project analyst with the Biorenewables Research Lab at Iowa State University.

“Third-party carbon programs are actively buying carbon credits from farmers who implement improved soil management practices, and in turn they sell those credits to companies interested in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” according to Jordahl.

Roughly half of soil organic matter is organic carbon. Soil carbon is sampled by taking soil probe samples similar to those farmers already take to measure soil fertility, but to measure carbon for carbon credit programs, the probe is usually inserted a full foot, or about six inches deeper than for soil fertility tests. A bulk density test is also taken, to determine the amount (tonnage) of carbon found within a specific area and depth.  

The samples are tested at laboratories equipped for carbon testing, and participating farmers are awarded credits based on farming practices that lead to additional carbon being sequestered.

The publication contains photos and graphics that show how testing is done and at what depth.

From year-to-year, the changes in soil carbon are often small and very difficult to measure, said Jordahl, but over time, they accumulate and can become substantial. In general, the more soil organic matter that a soil has, the darker its color. But soil organic carbon cannot be determined visually.

The publication is part of a broader project that resulted from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Carbon Sequestration Task Force. Other recent publications include the Carbon Sequestration Task Force Summary Brief, and An Introduction to Biochar and its Potential Uses. The full report, Carbon Science for Carbon Markets: Emerging Opportunities in Iowa, is available online.

Iowa Water Summary Update: October 15th Driest on Record

The month of October ended as the 15th driest on record, with a deficit of 1.80 inches of rainfall. This marks the seventh month in a row of below-normal rainfall for the state. A wet weekend in early November helped alleviate some drought, but most of the state is still designated as abnormally dry or in some form of drought. Northwest Iowa remains the driest and most challenging part of the state for water resources in 2022.

"The wet October of 2021 was not repeated this year, so unfortunately the state slipped further into drought during October 2022. Nine of the ten months this year have been below normal for rainfall, with only limited improvement seen in the last week," said Tim Hall, Iowa Department of Natural Resources' coordinator of hydrology resources. "Wetter conditions are needed to help replenish soil moisture, shallow groundwater, and surface water as we head into the winter months."

For a thorough review of Iowa's water resource trends, go to

The report is prepared by technical staff from Iowa DNR, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, IIHR--Hydroscience and Engineering, and the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department.

Iowa Pig Farmers Addressing Food Insecurity

For five years, Iowa pig farmers and those in the pork industry have joined pork producers across the country in a “Give-A-Ham” challenge that typically starts around Thanksgiving and runs through Christmas. Over that time, the challenge has reached 6.3 million people across the U.S. with more than 36 million pounds of ham and other pork products being donated to food banks, food pantries, churches, and other food programs, according to the National Pork Producers Council.

The food donation challenge is passed from one person to the next via social media, and it has made its way from pig farmers to the halls of Congress. In Iowa, we’ve seen Governors and all other manner of elected officials, as well as business leaders, university personnel, and neighbors down the road donating some pork in their efforts to #GiveAHamIowa and show the #PoundsofPork they are donating to the food insecure.

President of the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA), Kevin Rasmussen of Goldfield, challenged others to make donations when he kicked off the Iowa portion of this national giving effort. Rasmussen and his wife Lisa donated ten 4-lb. hams to Upper Des Moines Opportunity, which is a local food bank in Humboldt. Upper Des Moines Opportunity is a network providing food pantries and other services to people in a 12-county area of north-central and northwest Iowa.

“With so many Americans still struggling with financial challenges that have developed since COVID-19 issues hit this world, this year’s ‘Give-A-Ham’ challenge is another way that we can help our communities,” said Rasmussen.

“I’m proud to be part of an industry that has already made significant contributions during the past three years to help the food insecure, just as we did with Pass the Pork and our Thank You tours to eight Iowa communities. We can all pay it forward with pork,” he said. “Giving back to our communities is a core value of pig farmers in Iowa and nationwide. It’s gratifying to come together as an industry this time of year to serve those in need.”

Anyone who would like to join the challenge that continues through December can donate not only ham, but other pork products such as ground pork, pork roast, or other pork cuts. If you are unsure what the best option is, contact your local food-providing organization for their recommendation.

If you participate, please make sure to share your photo or video on social media and tag it with #GiveAHamIowa and/or #PoundsofPork..

IDALS Announces Order Cancelling Live Bird Exhibitions

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship today announced an order cancelling all live bird exhibitions at fairs and other gatherings of birds due to the continued threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

The order also prohibits live birds from being sold or transferred at livestock auction markets, swap meets, and exotic sales. The Department’s order begins immediately and is effective for a minimum of 30 days, and until 30 days has passed without a confirmation of a new infection of HPAI in domestic poultry in the state.

A similar order was put into place on March 23 and was lifted on June 3.

Commercial and backyard flock owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds. Sick birds or unusual deaths among birds should be immediately reported to state or federal officials. Biosecurity resources and best practices are available at If producers suspect signs of HPAI in their flocks, they should contact their veterinarian immediately. Possible cases must also be reported to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at (515) 281-5305.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent HPAI detections in birds do not present a public health concern. It remains safe to eat poultry products. As a reminder, consumers should always utilize the proper handling and cooking of eggs and poultry products. An internal temperature of 165˚F kills bacteria and viruses.

HPAI is highly contagious viral disease affecting bird populations. HPAI can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick, but is often fatal to domestic bird populations, including chickens and turkeys. The virus can spread through droppings or the nasal discharge of an infected bird, which can contaminate dust and soil.

Signs of HPAI include:
    Sudden increase in bird deaths without any clinical signs
    Lethargy and lack of energy and appetite
    Decrease in egg production
    Soft- or thin-shelled or misshapen eggs
    Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks
    Purple/blue discoloration of the wattles, comb, and legs
    Difficulty breathing
    Coughing, sneezing, and/or nasal discharge (runny nose)
    Stumbling or falling down

For additional information on HPAI, please visit

FFAR Grant Develops Additional African Swine Fever Vaccines

African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) is a highly contagious, fatal disease in pigs that spreads rapidly. There is no commercially available vaccine for the virus, and the threat to U.S. swine production is significant. The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) recently awarded a $500,000 Rapid Outcomes from Agriculture Research (ROAR) grant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a $150,000 to Kansas State University to develop safe and rapidly deployable vaccines for ASFV, to mitigate the spread and decrease fatalities in case of an outbreak. National Pork Board and MEDIAN Diagnostics provided matching funds for $1,000,000 and $300,000 total investments, respectively.
“We have seen the devastating effects of ASFV in other countries, and now is the time to invest in pioneering research that will hopefully spare U.S. swine and pig producers should an outbreak occur in the United States,” said FFAR Executive Director, Dr. Saharah Moon Chapotin.
ASFV affects pig populations in many countries globally, but has not yet impacted North America. However, if the virus reaches pigs in the United States, there would be significant economic impacts to the agriculture sector, including the commercial availability of pork products. Developing vaccines to protect swine from ASFV will further protect pigs and producers across the pork supply chain and global food security.
Led by Dr. Douglas Gladue and Dr. Manuel Borca, USDA researchers are identifying the viral proteins involved in immunity and infection to develop a vector-based subunit vaccine, a vaccine that includes a component of the virus to stimulate an immune response. The research team is also pinpointing serological markers, which are antibodies, that can distinguish between vaccinated and infected pigs using the modified-live vaccine candidate already developed by USDA and is currently under production in Vietnam.
“We now have a commercially produced live-attenuated vaccine for ASFV and funding from FFAR will allow us to identify the ASFV proteins involved in immunity to this vaccine,” said Gladue. “Funding will also help USDA researchers to identify targets for potential viral vectored, subunit or mRNA vaccines, as the ASFV proteins required for immunity are currently unknown.”
Using a distinct but complementary approach, Kansas State University scientists led by Dr. Waithaka Mwangi are using an adenovirus vector vaccine, which is a tool used to deliver target antigens to the host, and a paper-based diagnostic test that distinguishes vaccinated from infected animals.
“We are grateful to FFAR for partnering with us to advance ASFV subunit vaccine development efforts,” said Mwangi. “This is an important investment that will support a generation of new knowledge needed to develop a safe and effective counter-measure for the threat posed by the ASFV spread to the pork industry.”
Both projects involve development of appropriate diagnostic evaluations, an important complement to the vaccines. The development of a safe and effective ASFV vaccine is critical for managing the disease in endemic countries and preventing future outbreaks.
FFAR’s ROAR program deploys urgent funding to support research and outreach in response to emerging or unanticipated threats to the nation’s food supply or agricultural systems.

USMEF Conference Examines Export Outlook, Production Constraints, Economic Headwinds

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Strategic Planning Conference got underway Wednesday in Oklahoma City, attracting farmers, ranchers, processors and exporters from throughout the nation. While U.S. red meat exports will likely set a value record approaching $20 billion this year, the industry faces an array of obstacles related to the sluggish global economy, weakening currencies of key trading partners and lingering effects of the COVID pandemic. Challenges are also mounting on the production side, especially for livestock producers impacted by drought.

Keynote speaker Randy Blach, CEO of CattleFax, detailed the larger-than-expected contraction of the cattle herd, which helped drive U.S. beef production and exports to record highs in 2022 but will be a significant constraint for U.S. exporters next year. The drought has also heightened production costs for cattle feeders.

“If you’re putting an animal in a feedyard anywhere in the Central Plains – let’s say Kansas or Oklahoma – your cost to put on a pound of gain is between $1.30 and $1.40,” Blach explained. “We have not seen that historically, not even back in 2008 when we had the ethanol mandate and for a period of time corn was at $8.00 per bushel. This is an interesting time, when the market needs more corn and where it’s needed most, the corn just isn't there.”

But Blach also highlighted the remarkable efficiency and sustainability of the U.S. beef industry, which he maintains is well-positioned for success even in this challenging environment.

“Whenever I ask an audience ‘who's the biggest beef producer in the world?’ – everyone says Brazil because it has 300 million cattle,” Blach said. “But we’re producing more beef than Bazil with only one-third the number of cattle. Why? Because of our high-quality, grain-fed beef. The U.S. has the best carbon footprint of anybody on the list of top beef producers, because of the way our production systems work and the amount of production that we get on a per-head basis.”

Blach added that the U.S. achieved record beef production in 2022 with 30 million fewer cattle than in the 1970s.

“That's what sustainability is – doing more with less, and doing it better with great animal husbandry,” he said. “And I commend each and every one of you who get up every morning to go feed those cows and calves, or feed those fed cattle. You're doing a hell of a job – keep it up.”

Blach also extolled the efficiency of America’s corn and soybean producers, noting that it is a critical factor in the global success of the U.S. meat industry.

“The U.S. is the largest high-quality meat producer on the planet,” he said. “We produce the most beef, the most broiler meat and the third-largest amount of pork in the world. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we cannot achieve this success without the soybean meal and grain products that those of you in the corn and soybean industries produce. It's important that we recognize what a critical ingredient you provide for all of these proteins.”

USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom gave members an update on year-to-date export results and his outlook for coming months. While challenging times lie ahead, Halstrom highlighted the importance of market diversification in keeping beef exports on a record pace through the first three quarters of 2022. Pork exports are also regaining momentum, surpassing year-ago levels the past two months.

“Global demand is strong, even record-breaking, despite rising prices,” said Halstrom, “But at what point do international consumers scale back?”

He listed several mounting obstacles for U.S. exports, including global inflation, ongoing supply chain challenges and the strengthening U.S. dollar. As an example, Halstrom noted that devaluation of the Japanese yen has pushed prices for U.S. meat products 30% higher than a year ago in an extremely competitive market.

Market diversification has long been a top priority for USMEF, and Halstrom praised the U.S. industry’s commitment to developing new and emerging markets for red meat exports. He noted that the often-tense U.S.-China relationship underscores the importance of this strategy. Halstrom explained that while China is a major U.S. red meat customer, on pace to purchase $4 billion in U.S. beef and pork this year, the U.S. is not nearly as dependent on China as most other suppliers.

“Uruguay exports 58% of its beef production to China, New Zealand 44%, Brazil 18% and Australia 14%,” Halstrom said. “But even with our recent growth, just 3% of U.S. beef production is exported to China.”

For pork muscle cuts, just 2.3% of U.S. production currently goes to China. Chile and Brazil ship 17% of their pork muscle cut production to China, while China accounts for 9% of Canada’s production and 6% for the European Union.

Trade barriers often make market diversification more difficult, and Halstrom asked USMEF members to remain vigilant and make their voices heard in Washington.

“Our competitors realize the value of trade and they're not standing still,” Halstrom said. “Hopefully we can encourage more aggressive action, including getting a USTR chief ag negotiator and USDA undersecretary for trade confirmed soon.”

USMEF members also heard from Mark Slupek, deputy administrator of global programs for the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Slupek provided a brief history of USDA’s investment in export market development, explaining that it dates back to the Eisenhower administration. He praised USMEF as one of FAS’s most successful cooperators, noting that USDA and USMEF have had an excellent working relationship for more than 40 years. He added that strong industry support for USMEF, from a diverse range of agricultural sectors, helps ensure consistent funding from USDA.

The USMEF Strategic Planning Conference continues through Friday, Nov. 11. Thursday’s general session will focus on USMEF’s market development efforts in Japan, where the organization recently marked the 45th anniversary of its Tokyo office. This will be followed by breakout sessions for USMEF’s pork, beef, exporter and feedgrain and oilseed sectors. Friday’s closing business session will include an overview of the Biden administration’s current trade initiatives and election of new USMEF officers.

Ranch Group Urges USDA Not to Tie RFID Eartags to Livestock Indemnity Regulations

This week R-CALF USA submitted formal comments to the advance notice issued in September by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) regarding the agency’s intention to propose a rulemaking to restructure its livestock indemnity regulations. The regulations apply when APHIS destroys animals infected by or exposed to foreign animal diseases, emerging diseases and program diseases (such as bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis).

In its advance notice, APHIS expressed its intention to require certain animal identification requirements of the animals that qualify for indemnification. The agency stated that for disease programs that do not already have identification requirements, the agency would refer to the requirements under the Animal Disease Traceability regulations.

In 2019, APHIS attempted to circumvent its Animal Disease Traceability regulations by mandating the exclusive use of radio frequency identification (RFID) eartags when adult cattle are moved interstate. R-CALF USA and four of its individual members filed a lawsuit against APHIS for mandating RFID eartags on the grounds that the Animal Disease Traceability regulations impose no such mandate and, instead, afford cattle producers several options in addition to RFID eartags when identifying animals moved interstate.

In response to the group’s lawsuit, APHIS withdrew its RFID mandate and has not proposed a rulemaking to amend its Animal Disease Traceability regulations.

Under this backdrop, R-CALF USA stated in its comments that it questions the appropriateness of requiring animal identification requirements tied to the Animal Disease Traceability regulations for determining whether animals qualify for indemnification.

The ranch group wrote: “The agency’s Animal Disease Traceability regulations only require identification of certain livestock moved interstate but impose no identification requirements on those certain livestock until and unless they are moved interstate. Our concern is, therefore, that the agency may inappropriately attempt to expand the scope and purpose of its Animal Disease Traceability regulations by incentivizing livestock owners to incur the expense of identifying their livestock in circumstances not required under current law.”

Kenny Fox, R-CALF USA Animal Identification Committee Chair, said, “We will continue monitoring the agency’s livestock indemnification rulemaking process to ensure that APHIS does not attempt to use it to impose yet another unlawful mandate on U.S. cattle producers.”

In addition to its RFID concerns, R-CALF USA pointed out that livestock indemnity payments are contingent upon the availability of federal funds. Consequently, the group wrote, “The U.S. livestock producer’s first line of defense against losses caused by foreign animal diseases is APHIS’ prevention of the introduction of foreign animal diseases into the United States.”

The ranch group stated it has long been concerned that APHIS’ lax import requirements for countries with foreign animal diseases threatens the viability of U.S. livestock producers. As an example, the group stated that U.S. cattle producers are vulnerable to forced depopulations of their herds because of AHPIS’ ongoing practice of allowing imports from countries where bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis are known to exist.

Export Exchange 2022 Leads To $225 Million In Grain and Co-Product Sales

The Export Exchange conference hosted this fall by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is already paying dividends, according to surveys of overseas grain buyers who attended – they purchased $225 million worth of grain and ethanol co-product.

Buyers and end-users were surveyed after the conference to see if they had made any purchase agreements with sellers and if so, how much was purchased. In total, attendees reported sales of just over $225 million with another $128 million under negotiation. That equates to 514,850 metric tons of grains and co-products traded either at the conference or immediately before or after.

The top grain traded during the two-day conference was corn, with 208,800 metric tons collectively purchased, followed by distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), with 156,400 metric tons purchased.

Export Exchange 2022 offered attendees a unique opportunity to meet and build relationships with domestic suppliers of corn, DDGS, sorghum, barley and other commodities. More than 200 international buyers and end-users of coarse grains and co-products from more than 35 countries were in Minneapolis for the conference, held Oct. 12 to 14, and for related tours of U.S. farms, ethanol plants and export infrastructure as part of Council trade teams.

“Trade is absolutely critical to U.S. farmers right now, and these sales show that buyers attending Export Exchange 2022 took the buying opportunities very seriously,” said Ryan LeGrand, president and CEO of the Council. “Putting buyers and sellers together, building and sustaining relationships with our top global grain buyers have been hallmarks of Council activities worldwide. We are thrilled to see how much actual trade was done at the show and in association with it.”

“Exports of U.S. grains and DDGS create jobs here at home while helping international companies satisfy their demand for quality products," said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “The impressive amount of business generated at this year’s Export Exchange is a testament to the strength and ingenuity of U.S. producers and shows just how important this biennial event is to facilitating trade for U.S. products."

“Once again, these numbers show that Export Exchange is where international buyers and sellers go to do business,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “In just three days, buyers purchased enough DDGS to fill three Panamax vessels. We are proud to offer this excellent deal-making opportunity every two years.”

Other grains traded at Export Exchange included:
• Corn Gluten Meal—24,250 metric tons;
• Soybean Meal – 77,000 metric tons;
• Soybeans – 22,000 metric tons.

The Export Exchange conference provides an ideal forum for continued relationship building among trading partners. The conference is held every two years and will next be held in 2024. More information about the recent event is online at

USDA Amends the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances

The USDA organic regulations contain detailed requirements about how to produce and label organic products. Part of the regulations, the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List), describes what can and cannot be used in organic—like what materials are allowed in organic food production and processing.

On Monday, November 14, USDA will publish a final rule that adds two substances to the National List:
-    Paper-based planting aids, also known as “paper pots,” for transplanting crops on organic farms.
-    Low-acyl gellan gum for use as a thickener, stabilizer, or gelling agent in organic products like beverages, icing, dessert fillings and confections, and capsules for supplements.

The rule also corrects a spelling error on the National List, changing “wood resin” to “wood rosin.” Changes to the National List require a recommendation from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and rulemaking by USDA. The NOSB is the federal advisory board that advises USDA leadership about the National List and other policy matters impacting the organic industry. These changes are based on NOSB recommendations from October 2020 and April 2021 and public comment on a proposed rule on this topic.


In partnership with Migrant Clinicians Network (MCN), and with funding from the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network – Northeast (led by Cultivemos), Farm Aid will be providing Spanish-language hotline support through the organization’s new Spanish-speaking hotline operator, Elizabeth Gonzalez-Ibarra.

Gonzalez-Ibarra grew up in a Spanish-speaking household in a farming community and graduated from Texas State University with a B.A. in Spanish and a minor in public health. She currently answers MCN’s hotline and will now be supporting calls on Farm Aid’s Hotline from Spanish-speaking farmers and farmworkers, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. Gonzalez-Ibarra hopes to make a difference within the Latinx community and has a passion for helping those in need, which has led her to where she is today.

“Migrant Clinicians Network is thrilled to partner with Farm Aid on this important initiative,” said Renee AboAshe, program manager at MCN. “Making the Farm Aid Hotline’s resources available to the Spanish-speaking farming community is one step toward dismantling entrenched inequities experienced by this community and can encourage people to seek assistance through mental health services.”

Beginning and established farmers and farmworkers are encouraged to call the Farmer Hotline. Farm Aid’s hotline operators are familiar with agriculture and with resources for farmers around the country; they work with hotline callers to find the best resources for their individual situation, whether they are looking for assistance with farm stress, financial issues, legal questions or business-related questions. The Farm Aid Hotline Staff has an existing database of Spanish resources and they are working to expand this database even further.

“This is a historic moment for Farm Aid; it’s the first time in 37 years that we have been able to offer our farmer hotline services in Spanish,” said Farm Aid’s Hotline Program Manager Caitlin Arnold Stephano. “We are excited to collaborate with Migrant Clinicians Network on this important and timely effort and hope to better help Spanish-speaking farmers and farmworkers in need across the country.”

If your organization has resources to include in Farm Aid’s hotline database that would be helpful to Spanish-speaking farmers and farmworkers, please reach out to Stephano at Through the Farm Aid hotline and email service, Farm Aid’s Hotline Staff refers farmers to an extensive network of family farm and rural support organizations across the country. All farmers can call the hotline at 1-800-FARM-AID (1-800-327-6243).

FMC Launches New Three Mode of Action Foliar Fungicide Targeting Late-Season Diseases – Adastrio™ Fungicide

FMC is launching Adastrio™ fungicide on a limited commercial basis for the 2023 crop season. Adastrio fungicide is a foliar fungicide that combines three modes of action and is the first fungicide to use the newest molecule in the SDHI class, fluindapyr. This fungicide is built to provide broad-spectrum control of key foliar diseases and help protect yield potential all the way through to harvest.

     Adastrio fungicide is labeled for use in corn, grain sorghum, wheat, triticale and barley against anthracnose leaf blight, common rust, gray leaf spot, Northern corn leaf blight and Southern rust.

     “With Adastrio fungicide, we have a unique combination of three active ingredients: fluindapyr (Group 7), flutriafol (Group 3) and azoxystrobin (Group 11). The result of bringing these active ingredients together is a flexible and efficient foliar disease management tool for growers. It has a broad application window in corn, a low use rate and long-lasting residual control,” states Gail Stratman, regional technical service manager for FMC.

Unique combination of active ingredients
     Each active ingredient in the fungicide brings a different layer of activity and protection. Fluindapyr is a new molecule in the SDHI class exclusively from FMC. It provides broad-spectrum activity against a range of foliar diseases, has residual properties, delivers strong rust control and reduces abiotic stress during grain fill after application. Studies have also shown fluindapyr controls pathogens that are resistant to other chemical classes. Flutriafol is the most systemic triazole on the market, and azoxystrobin provides superior rust control.

     “Adastrio fungicide is particularly suited for those corn growers facing late-season foliar diseases. The preventative and curative activity, and long residual activity make it ideal for targeting those diseases that impact grain fill,” Stratman says. “Also, research has shown that fungicides containing an SDHI and strobilurin, like Adastrio fungicide, can help boost plant stress tolerance and provide additional growth benefits.”

     Offering a broad application window, Adastrio fungicide can be applied in early vegetation and from the VT-R3 stages in corn to manage for the specific disease spectrum growers face. When making an application, the labeled use rate is 7-9 fl. oz./A., a low use rate that ensures application, transportation and storage convenience.

Building a strategy for managing early- and late-season foliar diseases
     Corn growers typically face multiple foliar diseases at different stages throughout the growing season. Studies have shown that Xyway® 3D fungicide and Xyway® LFR® fungicide from FMC to be viable solutions to manage early-season foliar diseases like gray leaf spot and Northern corn leaf blight. Given disease spectrum and environmental conditions, growers may require the need for both early- and late-season disease management to protect yield potential.

     “A program built around starting at-plant with Xyway brand fungicides followed later in the season with a foliar application of Adastrio fungicide can help maximize growers’ ability to manage disease all season long,” states Nick Michalisin, fungicide product manager for FMC. “Employing a strategy like this is an effective and efficient approach to proactively manage for yield-robbing diseases.”

     In situations where corn growers choose to apply both Xyway brand fungicides and Adastrio fungicide on the same field in the same season, a reduced use rate of Xyway brand fungicides is recommended. Growers should consult with their local FMC retailer and the Adastrio fungicide product label for specific use rate recommendations.

     “At FMC, we are committed to continuing to develop and introduce novel disease management solutions that help growers address their evolving foliar disease challenges and protect their yield potential,” Stratman says. “Adastrio fungicide is that next step and delivers growers the flexibility and control they need to be successful.”

CLAAS LEXION 8000 Series Combine Receives Refreshed Cab and Boost in Performance

CLAAS announces new updates to the LEXION 8000 series combine, further strengthening the product portfolio for growers looking to maximize their operations. The new features provide an increase in performance and improved looks.

“The LEXION has built a reputation for delivering a mix of efficiency, precision, and convenience,” says Greg Frenzel, CLAAS Combine Product Manager. “These new updates give growers even more tools to achieve the best results while harvesting and make the most out of each hour in the field.”

A New and Improved Cab
“The same new cab first offered in the TRION 740 combine is now featured in the 2023 LEXION 8000 series,” says Frenzel. “It provides greater visibility and added headroom and legroom for the operator.”

The cab’s exterior features a brighter lighting package, maintenance steps for easier cleaning, and improved mirrors. Inside, a fully adjustable, pivoting operator seat and extra wide trainer seat improve operator comfort. Additional touches include a new steering wheel, foot pegs, dual-zone HVAC controls, a high-quality sound system, more integrated storage, and thinner A-pillars for added visibility.

Larger Grain Tank
The LEXION 8000 series includes a new 510-bushel grain tank, larger than other CLAAS models. A one-piece folding design reduces the complexity and hydraulic demand of prior 510-bushel tanks. Also, a built-in walk-through door makes cleaning and maintenance very easy.

New Pivoting Spout
The high-capacity auger features a new pivoting spout tip to help control distribution in the auger cart. The spout is controlled by a finger trigger located on the CMOTION handle inside the cab.

Increased Horsepower for Improved Performance
Each of the three 8000 series machines receive a significant bump in power over 2022 models:
    LEXION 8600
        Rated Power: 483 hp
        Max Power: 542 hp
    LEXION 8700
        Rated Power: 543 hp
        Max Power: 577 hp
    LEXION 8800
        Rated Power: 610 hp
        Max Power: 653 hp

Slow-Feed Feature
Sometimes a “lighter touch” is best when managing crop slugs or accumulations in the header. Now you can slowly engage the feederhouse from the cab to protect drivelines and belts from high-stress loads.

Make those turns at the ends of the rows easier with the new DYNAMIC STEERING feature. Once engaged, the steering wheel requires slightly more than one full rotation (instead of five rotations) for the tightest turning radius possible.

50’ CONVIO 1530 Flex Draper
Take advantage of the latest LEXION 8000 series performance enhancements with an even wider head. The CONVIO line has expanded to include a 50’ version, perfect for small grains and soybeans.

For more information on the updated LEXION 8000 series combine, visit the company website at

Field robot sales will hit $11 billion by 2030, says GlobalData

The global agricultural sector is tackling a multitude of challenges, from climate change to population growth, and the growing demand for food. Robotics offers a much-needed solution, providing answers from vertical farms to drones. This has catalyzed the demand for field robots, which reached sales of $1.1 billion in 2020 and will hit $11 billion by 2030, forecasts GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Robotics in Agriculture’ reveals how robotics is helping to achieve precision agriculture and usher in a technological revolution in the sector. Precision agriculture refers to the application of agrochemicals in a prescriptive manner to minimize waste and pollution. This is an important solution to the growing demand for food and subsequently fertilizers.

Rachel Foster Jones, Thematic Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Robots can harvest crops, pick fruits, weed, milk livestock, apply fertilizers and monitor farm operations. Robotics will, therefore, be key in helping to ease labor shortages, reduce pressure on natural resources and meet the global demand for agricultural products, while also helping the sector adapt to the challenges of climate change.”

GlobalData forecasts that the global robotics market was worth $45.8 billion in 2020 and will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29% between 2020 and 2030, reaching $568 billion by 2030.

The report also reveals that the commercial drone market will overtake military drones and become the largest segment of the drone market by revenue in the next few years and agricultural drones are a key driver. Agricultural drones are unmanned aerial vehicles used in farming for yield optimization and monitoring.

Jones adds: “The Chinese drone industry is the largest in the world, and the country is leading innovation in agricultural drones, with Chinese companies DJI and XAG paving the way. These drones provide imaging and surveying tasks, whilst crop spraying, and terrain monitoring will become key growth areas. Both companies were the most active in terms of patent applications in the agri-drone sector. Between 2018 to 2021, they published 421 patents, reinforcing China’s dominant position in the global drone industry."

The report also shows that hiring for robotics-related roles has risen significantly in the agricultural sector. According to GlobalData’s hiring database, robotics-related vacancies increased by 80% between September 2019 and September 2022.

Jones continues: “Both traditional agricultural companies, such as Cargill and Syngenta, and agricultural start-ups are hiring in robotics. The agricultural sector is becoming increasingly aware of the potential of robotics as traditional companies are trying to improve their internal expertise of this important themes rather than simply forming partnerhsips.. As more traditional agricultural companies try to enhance their robotics expertise, increased acquiring activity will be experienced by the sector.”

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