Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wednesday February 14 Ag News

Fischer Convenes Ag Stakeholders, FMCSA Over Trucking

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) Tuesday assembled a meeting with agriculture stakeholders from Nebraska and the deputy administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Cathy Gautreaux, the agency's acting administrator. The purpose of the meeting, which took place in Fischer's Washington, D.C., Senate office, was to discuss the effect of Hours of Service (HOS) regulations on livestock haulers.

Representatives from Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Pork Producers, and the Livestock Marketing Association attended the meeting.

"I was happy to convene a meeting today where representatives from Nebraska agriculture had the opportunity to share their concerns and suggestions about the Hours of Service regulations with FMCSA Deputy Administrator Gautreaux directly. During the meeting, we talked about how the agency can bring greater flexibility for livestock haulers. I look forward to continuing these conversations and I thank the Nebraskans who came to share their perspective today," said Senator Fischer.

On December 20, 2017, FMCSA issued a 90-day waiver for livestock haulers and opened a notice of proposed regulatory guidance to review HOS guidance. On January 17, 2018, Senator Fischer sent a letter requesting an extension to the comment period to provide for additional comments to be submitted. FMCSA granted the extension, which will close on February 20, 2018.

Comments on FMCSA's proposed guidance on the transportation of agricultural commodities can be submitted here

Upcoming Dicamba Trainings in the Dodge and Washington County Area

Nathan Mueller, Extension Educator in Dodge and Washington Counties

Upcoming UNL in-person trainings for Dicamba:
Thursday, February 22
10:00 a.m.          Pender                Pender Fire Hall
2:00 p.m.            Tekamah            First Northeast Bank of Nebraska
Tentative:  Mueller will host two video trainings on March 19 in Fremont at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

Upcoming BASF Grower in-person trainings, register at:
Wednesday, February 23
9:00 a.m.            Fremont             Holiday Inn Express
1:00 p.m.            West Point         Nielson Community Center

Upcoming Monsanto in-person trainings, more info at:
Wednesday, February 26
9:30 a.m.            West Point         Nielson Community Center
1:30 p.m.            West Point         Nielson Community Center

List of other in-person trainings at
On-line Training option:


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Summer annual grasses often are an important part of many hay and pasture plans.  As you select a variety to plant this coming summer, choose one with a genetic trait that improves animal nutrition.

               Sudangrass.  Cane.  Sorghum-sudan hybrids.  Forage sorghum.  Millet.  These summer annuals can produce much forage even under dry growing conditions.  But they tend to be more stemmy and less digestible than many cattle producers prefer.  Can they be made better?

               These days the answer is – yes.  A natural, genetic trait called bmr is being used in many varieties and hybrids of summer annual grasses to make them more digestible.  This enables your cattle to extract more energy from these forages.

               Bmr stands for ‘brown mid-rib’.  It received this name because the mid-rib or vein that runs down the center of each leaf has a brownish tint in summer annual grasses that have this genetic trait.  Normally this mid-rib is a cream or whitish color.

               Mid-rib color, though, is not what is important.  The important characteristic is how the bmr gene affects forage quality.  Grasses that have the bmr gene produce less lignin than normal plants.  Lignin is a complex compound that attaches to fiber components like cellulose in the plant and make it less digestible.  Since plants with the bmr gene produce less lignin, more of the fiber can be digested by your cattle, increasing the energy or TDN value of this forage.  In addition, animals eat more of the stems, reducing waste.

               The bmr gene has little other affect on these plants, so they respond like normal plants to other management practices, like planting rate, fertilization, and harvest timing.

               Improving forage quality is important for your livestock’s performance.  Give bmr forages a try and I think you will be pleased.

 Study Of U.S. Grains Council ROI: $20 In Tax Revenue For Every $1 In Farm Bill Spending On Export Market Development

Spending on overseas market development for U.S. feed grains and related products increased the value of those exports by an average of $1.71 billion per year from 2010 to 2014 and increased U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by an average of $5 billion per year, returning $19.76 for every $1 spent by taxpayers.

Dr. Harry Kaiser, professor of applied economics and management at Cornell University, rolled out his study of the ROI of USGC's export market development programs.

Those were key takeaways from a review of the full economic value of the Council’s programs presented by Dr. Harry Kaiser, professor of applied economics and management at Cornell University, during the final day of the organization’s 15th International Marketing Conference and 58th Annual Membership Meeting in Houston.

Kaiser recently analyzed the combined effect of USGC member support and funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program, together totally approximately $20 million per year during the study period.

In addition to successes related to export value and GDP, Council activities created 23,699 full-time jobs with $1.12 billion in labor income each year while reducing direct government payments to farmers of U.S. grains by an average of $15.3 million a year.

“Dr. Kaiser has extensive experience in looking at programs like ours and telling stakeholders if they are getting their money’s worth,” said Deb Keller, USGC chairman and farmer from Iowa. “We have a great story to tell in this regard. Our programs are not only working for our members, they are returning many times more to the federal treasury than they cost.”

On the cusp of the debate over the new farm bill, Kaiser also presented his analysis of what would happen to grain exports and the economic benefits they produce if USDA funding for market development were to be cut. He found a 50 percent cut in FAS funding would cause farm receipts to fall by almost $1.7 billion, and government payments through farm safety net programs would increase by $76.6 million annually.

“We know from nearly 60 years of experience that market development works, building close relationships with our customers works, and being active on trade policy issues that stymie growth works,” Keller said. “The study Professor Kaiser presented puts numbers to these outcomes and will help us tell our story to the stakeholders investing in us.”

Also at the Wednesday meeting, a panel of USGC international staff shared their perspectives on ethanol market development and promotion efforts in three key and growing markets, Japan, India and Latin America.

“The Council’s global network of staff, consultants and representatives work every day in more than 50 markets,” Keller said. “The combination of their efforts and the commitment of our members to the Council’s mission of developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives is truly impressive.”

Retail Fertilizer Prices Continue Mostly Higher

Most average retailer fertilizer prices continued their upward trend the first week of February 2018, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

All but one of the eight major fertilizers were higher compared to a month earlier. No fertilizer was up a noteworthy amount.

DAP had an average price of $458 per ton, MAP $493/ton, urea $355/ton, 10-34-0 $415/ton, anhydrous $492/ton, UAN28 $227/ton and UAN32 $261/ton.

One fertilizer was actually slightly lower for the third week in a row compared to the previous month. Potash had an average price of $344 per ton.

Prices for all but three fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices pushing higher in recent months. Both urea and anhydrous are now 1% more expensive, potash is 4% higher, DAP is 6% more expensive and MAP is 10% higher than last year.

Three fertilizers are still lower in price compared to a year prior. UAN32 is 4% lower as is UAN28, and 10-34-0 is 6% less expensive looking back a year.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue Confirmed as Keynote Speaker at 2018 Commodity Classic

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will be the keynote speaker during the General Session at the 2018 Commodity Classic held Feb. 27-March 1 in Anaheim, Calif. The General Session is scheduled for Wednesday morning, Feb. 28 at 9:00 a.m. at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Secretary Perdue is expected to share his vision for the U.S. Department of Agriculture including his thoughts on a new Farm Bill, international trade, rural development and the role of agriculture in America’s food security and economic vitality.

Perdue came by his knowledge of agriculture the old-fashioned way: he was born into a farming family in Bonaire, Georgia. From childhood, and through his life in business and elected office, Perdue has experienced the industry from every possible perspective. Uniquely qualified as a former farmer, agribusinessman, veterinarian, state legislator, and governor of Georgia, he became the 31st United States Secretary of Agriculture on April 25, 2017. 

Perdue has served as a board member for the National Grain & Feed Association, and as President of both the Georgia Feed and Grain Association and the Southeastern Feed and Grain Association. Perdue has long-standing, close relationships with the leadership of the American Farm Bureau and has been recognized by the Georgia 4-H and FFA programs, among others, for his leadership in agriculture.

Perdue has been married to Mary Ruff Perdue for 44 years and has four adult children and fourteen grandchildren. He and his wife have served as foster parents for eight children awaiting adoption.

Following Secretary Perdue’s keynote speech, the audience will hear an inspiring presentation from Army Ranger Keni Thomas, who was a member of the harrowing 1993 military mission in Somalia that was recounted in the movie Blackhawk Down.

The General Session will also include comments from the leaders of the five associations that present Commodity Classic: American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

Education is a hallmark of Commodity Classic. In addition to the General Session, Commodity Classic offers Learning Centers, What’s New Sessions, Mini What’s New Sessions, Early Riser Sessions and the Commodity Classic Main Stage on the trade show floor. Commodity Classic also features a huge trade show, entertainment and the opportunity to network with thousands of America’s best farmers.

Detailed information on all educational sessions, the entire Commodity Classic schedule and online registration are available at  Attendees can register for all three days or choose one-day registration.

Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is produced by the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers, and Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

U.S. Tractor, Combine Sales Rose in January

According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturer's monthly "Flash Report," the sale of all tractors in the U.S. in January 2018, were up 4% compared to the same month last year.

For the month, a total of 11,277 tractors were sold which compares to 10,834 sold thru January 2017 representing a 4% increase for the year.

Two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) were up 6% from last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were down 2%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP were down 2%, while 4-wheel drive tractors were up 21%. Combine sales are up 12% for the month.

For the year, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) are up 6% over last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were up 2%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP are down 2%, while 4-wheel drive tractors are up 21%.  Sales of combines for the year total 229 an increase of 12% from 2017.

EIA: Ethanol Stocks Down 600,000 Bbl

The domestic supply of ethanol was drawn down a steep 600,000 bbl, or 2.6% during the week-ended Feb. 9, according to the Energy Information Administration, continuing the recent trend of volatile weekly changes in U.S. inventory.

The steep draw was joined by a 400,000 bbl build during the comparable year-ago period to narrow the surplus compared with the same week in 2017 by 1.0 million bbl to 400,000 bbl.

The drop in ethanol inventory occurred in the PADD 1 East Coast and PADD 2 Midwest producer region, with supply in the three other PADD regions unchanged on the week.

Ethanol supply along the East Coast dropped 400,000 bbl or 5.0% to 7.6 million bbl, which is 100,000 bbl less than year prior. For the Midwest, ethanol inventory was drawn down 200,000 bbl or 2.4% to 8.2 million bbl, while 500,000 bbl or 6.5% above the same week a year ago. U.S. ethanol plants produced 1.016 million bpd during the week reviewed, down 41,000 bpd or 3.9% from week prior with the output rate 21,000 bpd or 2.3% below year prior. During the four weeks ended Feb. 9, domestic output averaged 1.044 million bpd, down 8,000 bpd against the comparable period in 2017.

Refiner and blender net inputs of ethanol averaged 882,000 bpd during the week reviewed, up 14,000 bpd or 1.6% on the week and 35,000 bpd or 4.1% higher than a year ago. During the four-week period ended Feb. 9, blending demand for ethanol averaged 858,000 bpd, up 10,000 bpd from the 2017 pace.

Does Ag Need Biofuels? - A Recap of Growth Energy's Executive Leadership Conference

Agriculture leaders came together last week to discuss why biofuels are so important to the industry. At Growth Energy's Executive Leadership Conference, NCGA past President and Chairman Chip Bowling was part of a panel to discuss the current state of the farm economy and how biofuels can help.

"If the renewable fuels standard stays intact, we will get higher blends of ethanol in the fuel system and that creates higher demand for our corn," Bowling said. "We also see exports of ethanol as a major way to grind corn immediately. We need to keep pressure on lawmakers in Washington D.C. to strengthen and preserve the RFS. That is the best way to increase profitability for corn farmers!"

Joining Bowling on stage were Mark Poeschl, CEO of the National FFA Organization and National FFA Foundation; Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union; Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation; and panel moderator Jeff Broin, chairman and CEO of POET.

The conference kicked-off with Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor outlining the opportunities and challenges the industry will likely face in 2018. "The goal is market share and that means policy should provide a floor, not a ceiling to biofuel consumption," Skor said. This is our opportunity for a real conversation about how we are expanding domestic and foreign markets, forging new relationships with retailers, and shaping critical policies within the Trump administration and Congress."

"Consumer engagement is our true north," Skor added. "Now more than ever before we are focused on opening a new dialogue with consumers. We now know who to talk to, what to say and where to reach them. We know that meaningful change requires meaningful conversation."

The conference covered a variety of topics ranging from transportation trends to global markets to engine mechanics.

National Dairy FARM Program Now Compliant with International Standards Organization

The National Dairy FARM Program is now the first livestock animal care program in the world to be recognized internationally for its industry-leading animal welfare standards. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) affirmed this week that the program complies with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Animal Welfare Management/General Requirements and Guidance for Organizations in the Food Supply Chain.

USDA’s affirmation that the FARM Program is ISO-compliant “validates the hard work of everyone who has contributed to the FARM Program in the past decade — from the veterinarians and academics who helped design the program, to the farmers and dairy cooperatives who implement it,” said Emily Meredith, NMPF’s chief of staff. “The U.S. dairy industry has worked hard to make the FARM Program a best-in-class animal care program, not just in the United States, but now around the world.”

ISO’s animal welfare technical specification was designed to evaluate if animal welfare programs meet international standards for animal care. ISO, an independent, international standards-setting body, has worked for several years with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to help farmers and animal welfare programs like FARM determine how to implement species-specific animal welfare standards. The OIE, the World Trade Organization-recognized body for setting animal health and welfare standards affecting international trade, adopted dairy cattle welfare standards in 2015. In the United States, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) offers a voluntary marketing program that ensures independent welfare programs meet the specifications of the ISO standard.

“ISO compliance means that dairy customers both here and abroad can safely trust that their products meet the stringent, internationally recognized animal welfare standards set by the OIE,” added Meredith. “What’s more, our dairy farmers can rest assured they only need to comply with one program — FARM — and not a potential myriad of other guidelines. This recognition becomes even more critical as nearly 16 percent of U.S. milk production is exported to foreign customers.”

After a lengthy assessment process, the FARM Program now has a prestigious, independent corroboration that its science-based approach to high-quality animal care sets the standard for the dairy value chain in the United States and around the world. Consumers can trust that the dairy foods they consume came from animals treated under internationally recognized, quality animal care standards.

USDA and Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy Work Jointly to Meet Industry’s Environmental Stewardship Goals

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy to jointly promote and enhance environmental sustainability in the dairy industry. The pact extends and builds upon a MOU originally signed in 2009.

Secretary Perdue signed the MOU with Arizona dairy farmer Paul Rovey, chairman of Dairy Management Inc. and an Innovation Center board member, at DeGroot Dairies in Hanford, Calif.

“USDA and the Innovation Center will continue to work together to accelerate the adoption of innovative technologies and increase energy efficiency improvements on U.S. dairy farms,” Secretary Perdue said. “These improvements will help producers diversify revenues and reduce utility expenses, while they strive to support their families and local communities by operating economically, environmentally sustainable dairy farms.”

“USDA has resources that can help the dairy industry be successful but in many cases they are difficult to find because they are spread out through various agencies,” Secretary Perdue continued. “This MOU hopefully will be a potential navigator to the Innovation Center and give a ‘green light’ to interact with our agencies and centralize our various research and voluntary conservation efforts to reach their goals.”

USDA’s support for agricultural and waste-to-energy research has played a key role in the agreement's success to date. USDA will continue to work on enhancing the application and approval process for Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) programs, to make the process more efficient and tailored for producer convenience. USDA will also continue to examine ways to expand the award of conservation grants for sustainability initiatives by producers, cooperatives, non-governmental organizations and state and local governments.

The Innovation Center agrees to work with its member companies to partner with USDA in communicating and educating producers on the value of sustainable practices while encouraging them to take advantage of conservation program opportunities. 

“Over the years, we have pursued creative and common-sense ways to work together that have allowed us to develop research, technologies, and on-the-ground practices that move us closer to our collective goals,” said Barb O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center. “The Innovation Center is proud of the synergy that has resulted from our collaboration with USDA, and we have no question that this public/private partnership works in the best interest of farmers, our dairy community and, most importantly, consumers of dairy who trust us to produce nutritious products they can feel good about feeding to their families.”

USDA’s national and locally-based teams of subject matter experts and portfolio of programs help improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers, and the quality of life in rural America.

“This MOU allows the dairy industry to continue to build on all of the good work we have done for years with USDA,” Rovey said. “It allows our industry to have a voice and work within a structure where we can continue making progress toward our shared goals and priorities. We are thankful to have USDA at the table with us.”

Previous and current collaborations have resulted in research, resources and a variety of programs that have advanced sustainability within the dairy community, including anaerobic digesters on farms, food waste reduction and the development of nutrient recovery technologies through NRCS and dairy’s Newtrient company.  Additionally, the Farm Smart Project led to the Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Environmental Stewardship module. This voluntary tool empowers farmers to identify opportunities for sustainability improvements on their farm as detailed within the FARM program. Ninety-eight percent of the U.S. milk supply participates in FARM.

Case IH Defines Categories of Autonomy and Announces Pilot Program

Since the reveal of the autonomous concept vehicle, Case IH has been evolving the technology and further defining automation and autonomy as it relates to agriculture. The brand has been in discussions with customers around the world to study how this technology can be implemented for maximum benefit in their operations. Now, through its Autonomy and Automation Program, Case IH is researching and piloting autonomous technology in real-life scenarios.

“While the autonomous concept vehicle reveal in 2016 showed the world what’s possible with autonomous vehicles, it was just that — a concept. This working tractor provided a platform for us to start discussions with farmers and the industry about the technology needed for High-Efficiency Farming operations today and in the future,” said Robert Zemenchik, Case IH AFS global product manager. “We’re ready to show how automation and autonomy applies across agriculture and how it can advance the precision farming solutions our customers are currently using on their farms.”

Five categories of automation for agriculture

Diverse farming operations around the world require varying levels of automation. Through extensive Customer Driven Product Design research, Case IH found that current and future technology needs fall into five categories of automation for agricultural field applications. The categories and types of activities associated with each include:
-    Guidance
-    Coordination & Optimization
-    Operator Assisted Autonomy
-    Supervised Autonomy
-    Full Autonomy

“It’s exciting to explore the efficiencies that automation and, eventually, full autonomy can bring to each farming operation,” Zemenchik said. “The logic behind the categories is to provide a vision of what’s possible. They are not linear, and a given fleet may even fit into more than one category at a time. Today, many of our customers are already operating in the Guidance and/or Operator Assisted Autonomy categories.”

The five categories defined by Case IH start with automating specific tasks on a piece of equipment. Case IH led the way by first providing producers automation technology in the 1990’s with AFS AccuGuide™ autoguidance, and it continues today with more advanced solutions, such as AFS AccuTurn™ automated headland turning technology and AFS Soil Command™ seedbed sensing technology.

Researching and piloting autonomous technology in the field

In 2018, Case IH is collaborating with Bolthouse Farms on an autonomous tractor pilot program. The goal of the program is to understand how new autonomous technology can be used and how it meets real-world, on-farm requirements.

“The only way to validate on-farm uses for autonomous technology is, quite literally, with field pilots where farmers use it on their own farm, integrate it into their own fleet and conduct their everyday activities,” Zemenchik said.

As one of the largest carrot producers in North America, Bolthouse Farms is a year-round operation that farms extensive acreage across four states and Canada. The company’s focus on and openness to advanced technology, coupled with their desire to improve productivity, makes it ideal for the pilot for the Case IH autonomous and automation program.

The pilot program will focus first on primary tillage and deep tillage — both highly repetitive tasks Bolthouse Farms conducts year-round — and a small fleet of autonomous Steiger® Quadtrac® tractors pulling a True-Tandem™ disk harrow or Ecolo-Tiger® disk ripper will be used. This will help evaluate autonomous machine control in a variety of tillage applications, soil types, meteorological conditions and sensing and perception activities.

“One of the primary goals is to receive agronomic and operator feedback on the use of autonomous technology in real-world farm conditions so Case IH can further develop and refine our technological control and machine optimization systems,” Zemenchik said. “Additionally, we will be able to learn from Bolthouse Farms what uses it envision for automation and autonomy that we might not have already thought of.”

Brian Grant, Bolthouse Farms vice president of agriculture, views the autonomous tractor pilot program as an opportunity to find new ways to make the company’s operation more efficient and deliver high-quality food for the growing population.

“We’re just now starting to play the ‘what if?’ game — where we’re asking ourselves and the Case IH engineers the questions about what autonomous tractors are capable of,” Grant said. “And the answers to these questions are not ‘if.’ It’s ‘when.’”

Case IH will provide periodic updates throughout the course of the pilot program.  To learn more, visit

AGCO’s White Planters Brand Introduces Two New Planters During 2018 National Farm Machinery Show

AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, unveiled two new planter models under the White Planters™ brand during the 2018 National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky. The planters offer features conventional and no-till farmers are requesting, so they can accurately plant more acres of corn during the ideal planting window that is so critical for optimum yields.

“Unpredictable weather and increasing acres are making it harder and harder for corn growers to plant most of their acres within that all-important ideal planting window each spring,” says Joe Whorton, tactical marketing manager for Seeding and Tillage at AGCO. “Our customers have been asking us for planters that will help them plant more acres each day and plant more accurately to help boost yields. These two models expand the White Planters offering to meet those needs. Their introduction marks the next phase in White Planters’ VE planter Series featuring Precision Planting technology.”

More acres, less compaction

Growers who want to accurately plant more acres per day while minimizing yield-robbing compaction can turn to the new White Planters 9924VE planter. This 24-row, 30-inch large-frame planter has a 150-bushel, dual tank, central-fill system that allows planting of approximately 300 acres before a refill is needed. It rides on the industry’s best track system, which is 67 inches long and available in 25-inch or 30-inch widths. This extra flotation helps producers get into the field earlier for planting.

The WP9924VE comes from the factory with the proven and reliable vSet® meter, vDrive® electronic drive system and fully integrated 20/20 SeedSense® monitoring from Precision Planting®. SpeedTube from Precision Planting®. SpeedTube®, when combined with the vSet meter, consistently delivers 99+ percent accurate seed placement of corn at speeds nearly double traditional operating speeds. SpeedTube and DeltaForce® automated downforce are available as factory-installed options.

“The 9924VE brings large-acre producers a strong combination of seed placement accuracy, on-board seed capacity, and flotation to get into the fields earlier and cover a lot of acres. It is a planter that will enhance planting productivity for many operations,” says Whorton. The WP9924VE is the fourth model from White Planters on factory-installed tracks. The White Planters brand introduced the industry’s first commercially available planter on tracks, the WP9836-30 in August 2011.

Precision seed placement in no-till, no problem

The WP9222 wing-fold planter has long been a stalwart cornerstone of the planter line, delivering excellent value and White Planters’ renowned simplicity, reliability and seed placement accuracy to producers across the country. With the addition of Precision Planting technology, the new WP9222VE brings the best in seed placement accuracy to no-till planting.

The WP9222VE planter has vSet meters, the vDrive system, 20/20 monitoring and is available in a 12-row, 30-inch configuration. This flex-frame design makes it easy to add row-unit-mounted tillage coulters to cut residue and prepare the seed zone ahead of double disc openers. The planter is built with extra strength in the wing pivot joint and linkage to handle punishing no-till conditions. It also offers liquid fertilizer options with frame-mounted fertilizer openers.

These new planters are the latest to incorporate planting technology from Precision Planting, taking White Planters to an unprecedented level of seed placement performance.

The vSet meter offers the industry’s most consistent seed singulation plus outstanding reliability for minimal downtime. The vDrive system allows row-by-row seed meter control, providing precise population control around headland curves, saving seed and ensuring ideal plant spacing for optimum yields. The vDrive allows multi-hybrid, prescription planting as well as row shut off to eliminate over planting point rows and end rows. The SeedSense monitor tracks and displays population, speed, skips, doubles, row unit ride, down force and ground contact on the go, allowing the operator to adjust as needed to optimize seed placement and troubleshoot mechanical problems.  

Options and attachments fit individual needs

As with other planters from White Planters, the WP9924VE and WP9222VE planters may be equipped to fit the needs of nearly any production system. For full details about the new White Planters, visit your nearest White Planters dealer or

Syngenta acquires FarmShots, Inc., high-resolution satellite imagery innovator

Syngenta today announced it has acquired FarmShots, Inc., a North Carolina-based innovator of high-resolution satellite imagery that detects plant health by analyzing absorbed light from field images.

This service was developed to help farmers, agronomists and retailers quickly and accurately spot field issues caused by planter skips, emergence, insect feeding, poor plant nutrition, crop diseases, weeds, other pests and environmental damage. With this capability, FarmShots enables growers and their trusted advisers to reduce field scouting by as much as 90 percent and helps them focus on areas of need.

“FarmShots is a new and unique service that helps us deliver on our commitment to further develop farm management and crop decision-making tools,” said Dan Burdett, head, Global Digital Agriculture, Syngenta. “We expect to incorporate FarmShots into our digital portfolio and rapidly accelerate growth from the current eight million enrolled acres in the United States, and globally soon after.”

Cloud-based, proprietary software and interfaces developed by FarmShots create high-resolution images, which can be displayed in multiple formats for rapid and accurate indication of field conditions.

The system provides flexibility with growers’ secure data and is optimized for use on multiple devices including tablets, laptops and smart phones. FarmShots offers access anytime, anywhere, in an easy-to-use web-based app, and data are exportable into most agricultural software. The service can notify farmers and their trusted advisers, and provide a prescription map for input application or other actions.

FarmShots will integrate seamlessly into Syngenta’s AgriEdge Excelsior® whole-farm management system in the U.S., and ultimately will be used by growers worldwide. The Syngenta privacy pledge remains intact with FarmShots: growers maintain control of their data, which continues to be securely hosted in a cloud environment.

In January, John Deere honored FarmShots as its “Dealer’s Choice for Innovation”, noting the system is “realizing for users the reduction in time and effort to target field scouting activities, better manage (and many times reduce) fertilizer usage, and provide visual tools both in the field and in the office.”

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