Tag Archives: Farming

Many farms in China infected with African swine fever are not restocking with pigs. Bloomberg News reports that 80 percent of farms infected with the deadly virus are not restocking, leaving a significant gap in production.

China is the world’s largest pork producer, but agriculture officials in China say production has dropped 21 percent since African swine fever was first reported last August. And, a new outbreak on an island province was reported over the weekend. The declining hog production in China will result in lower demand for soybeans and feed products, but an increase in the need for pork products. Officials in China say, “if confidence among breeders fails to recover, it will hurt consumers.”

They predict pork supplies could start to tighten and prices may hit record levels in the second half of the year, before tightening further in 2020. Pork accounts for more than 60 percent of meat consumption in China.

Back for its fourth consecutive year,  Culver’s #FarmingFridays return April 26, 2019. Created in 2016, the social media series profiles influential people who are passionate about educating others about agricultural.

The influencers will share their stories on Culver’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat accounts. Different folks that represent and work in agriculture will participate in April, June, August, September and October. A Culver’s spokesperson says the restaurant chain “feels it’s important to celebrate and support the hard work that goes into providing our country with food.”

#FarmingFridays is part of Culver’s Thank You Farmers Project, which supports agricultural education programs. To date, Culver’s and its guests have donated over $2 million to agricultural education efforts, such as the National FFA Organization. Find the dates and list of influences who will participate at www.culvers.com.

For the past three years, researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Wisconsin-Madison collected survey data from producer soybean fields planted in four growing seasons (2014-2017) in Nebraska and nine other states in the North Central region (WI, MI, IN, IL, IA, ND, OH, KS, and MN). The work was led by Associate Professor of Agronomy and Cropping System Specialist Patricio Grassini (UNL) and Professor of Agronomy and State Soybean and Small Grain Specialist Shawn Conley (UW) and supported by the North-Central Soybean Research Program (NCSRP), the Nebraska Soybean Board, and the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board.

The goal of the project was to identify key management practices explaining the gap between current yield and yield potential as determined by climate, soil, and genetics. This information can help producers understand what factors are preventing them from fully realizing the potential of their soybean fields and fine-tune their current management to increase yield and profit.

The UNL-WU team collected data on soybean yield and management practices from 9,133 fields across the north-central US (Figure 1), including 2,447 Nebraska fields (irrigated and dryland). UNL researchers partnered with Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) to reach out to producers to take the surveys. We especially want to thank the many Nebraska farmers for the time they devoted to taking our surveys.

 

Chart showing soybean yield resposne to planting date in dryland and irrigated fields in Nebraska.
Figure 2. Soybean yield response to planting date in dryland and irrigated fields in Nebraska. The line represents the yield potential along the range of planting dates.

 

Major Findings

First, we found that the average yield gap (the difference between potential and current yield) in Nebraska ranged from 11% in irrigated fields in south-central Nebraska to 21% in dryland fields in eastern Nebraska.

 

Second, we found that planting date is the most consistent management factor explaining the current yield gap. Delay in planting date after late April leads to a yield penalty of about 1/4 bushel per acre per day in both dryland and irrigated fields (Figure 2). Foliar fungicide application and tillage were other practices explaining the yield gap.

Planting season is here and many fields are very wet. As producers watch the calendar, they’ll be headed to fields that may be less than ideal for planting. Wet soils are easily compacted and sidewall compaction during planting can be a problem, especially if the crop is “mudded in” and a dry spell occurs after planting. Patience is required for waiting for the soil to dry, but if the next rain is coming or the yield penalty for late planting is growing, it’s hard to wait.

Contributing Factors

Shallow Planting

Shallow planting can cause roots to horizontally
Figure 1. These roots had difficulty penetrating the soil as the seeds were planted too shallow, only about 1 inch deep. The angled press wheels, designed for 2- to 3-inch planting depths, packed below the shallow planted seed, forcing the roots to grow laterally down the seed-vee. (Photos by Paul Jasa)

Many factors contribute to sidewall compaction. While opening a seed-vee in wet soil is often given as the main reason, planting too shallow is the primary problem. In most conditions, corn seed should be planted 2 to 3 inches deep for proper root development. Most corn planters were designed for this planting depth, especially those with angled closing wheels. When the seed-vee is properly closed, the sidewalls of the furrow will be fractured as the soil closes around the seed, eliminating the sidewall compaction and providing seed-to-soil contact.

Most sidewall compaction problems occur when the press wheels are set with too much downpressure, overpacking the seeds into the wet soil. When planting shallow, this press wheel compaction is below the seeding depth, making it difficult for the seedling roots to penetrate the soil (Figure 1). If you look at the angled press wheels from the rear, they intersect at an imaginary point about 2 inches below the soil surface. This provides seed-to-soil contact at seeding depth while closing the seed-vee. As such, downpressure on the press wheels should be checked at seeding depth, not at the top of the seed-vee. If the seed-to-soil contact is adequate, don’t tighten the downpressure springs trying to close the top of the seed-vee. Make sure that the planter is properly leveled, or even slightly tail down, for the angled closing wheels to have a pinching action to close the seed-vee.

Seed-vee Closing Wheels

A planter setting with spiked and solid closing wheels
Figure 2. By replacing one solid closing wheel with a spiked one, closing the seed-vee becomes easier in a variety of conditions. The spiked wheel fractures the sidewall and provides some loose soil while the solid one provides some seed firming and depth control. (If the closing wheels can be staggered, mount the spiked one in front.)

A variety of attachments are available to help close the seed-vee if the standard closing wheels cannot. Some producers use coulters or intermeshing row cleaners to till the soil in front of the planting unit to provide loose soil for closing the seed-vee. However, this loosened soil often sticks to the depth gauge wheels in wet conditions or the tillage dries out the seed zone in dry weather. A better way to provide loose soil for closing the seed-vee is to do it after the seed has been placed in the furrow. There are several brands of spiked closing wheels available to replace the standard press wheels with ones that till in the sidewall around the seed.

The less aggressive spoked wheels provide some seed-to-soil contact while closing the seed-vee and reducing air pockets around the seed. The more aggressive spoked wheels tend to dry the soil more and typically require a seed firmer to provide seed-to-soil contact and a drag chain behind them to level the soil. As the soils become drier and more seed-to-soil contact is needed, some producers remove the spiked wheels and put the standard closing wheels back on to reduce overdrying the seed zone. If the downpressure is set too high on some of these spiked wheels, they may “till” the seed out of the seed-vee, especially when planting on curves or contours. To reduce the aggressiveness of the tillage and to provide some soil firming and depth control, some producers run one spoked closing wheel and one standard wheel (Figure 2). This combination works well in a wide variety of conditions.

Too Much Downpressure

Smeared sidewall to planting seed-vee
Figure 3. The seed furrow opener may smear the soil in wet planting conditions, but the closing devices should fracture the sidewall when closing the seed-vee. If not, the smeared soil may harden when it drys, making root penetration difficult.

While the seed furrow closing devices are important, too much downpressure on the depth gauge wheels will also create sidewall compaction as the disk openers form the seed furrow. The disk openers may create some sidewall smearing while pushing the soil outward to form the seed-vee. If there is too much downpressure on the depth gauge wheels, they will pack the soil downward at the same time, causing compaction that may be too dense for the closing devices to fracture (Figure 3). When this occurs, producers typically put more pressure on the press wheels trying to close the seed-vee, making the compaction around the seed worse yet. Downpressure on both the row unit (depth gauge wheels) and the press wheels should be reduced in wet soil conditions.

Soil Structure

Seed-vees in heavy clay soils can dry out, creating an open trench
Figure 4. While the seedvee was closed at planting time when the soil was wet, it dried out where there was no residue to conserve moisture. As it dried, the heavy clay soil shrunk and the seedvee opened back up. Staggering the closing wheels, one in front of the other if possible, will help reduce the seedvee from opening back up.

Another contributor to sidewall compaction is the lack of soil structure in many tilled fields. Producers may put extra pressure on the closing devices to close the seed-vee when in wet conditions. Without soil structure, the standard closing wheels “pinch” the sidewalls closed over the seed, particularly in heavier soils. However, as the soil dries, it shrinks and the seed-vee may open back up, exposing the seeds. This often occurs when there is a hot, windy period after planting, drying out the seed zone and reducing the stand (Figure 4). This is less of a problem in higher organic matter soils and in continuous no-till soils with improved soil structure.

If the angled closing wheels can be remounted, one in front of the other, this will reduce the pinching effect and compaction over the seed. If there is a dry layer on top of the soil at planting time and good soil moisture at planting depth, don’t use residue movers to remove the dry soil because it has already shrunk. Also, when possible, leave residue over the row to reduce drying of the soil and to protect the seed zone from raindrop impact.

Seven states appeared to have come to an agreement on how to deal with a drought and falling water levels along the Colorado River. However, the LA Times says the river’s biggest user brought the agreement to a halt. Southern California’s Imperial Irrigation District filed suit, asking a state court to block the plan until more analysis is done on the environmental impact of the agreement.

The district is attempting to halt the agreement until the federal government ponies up $200 million to restore the shrinking Salton Sea. Imperial holds the senior rights to the single-biggest allocation of river water along the entire length of the Colorado River. The Imperial district threatened legal action and followed through on the same day that President Trump signed federal legislation that authorized the agreement.

Henry Martinez, General Manager of the Imperial district, says, “This legal challenge will put the focus of the agreement back where it should have been all along, right on the Salton Sea.” Imperial contends the agreement violated the California Environmental Quality Act by not analyzing the environmental impact of cutting river water usage without considering how the agency would make up for the shortfall.

LINCOLN, NE– To help manage cropland damaged by Nebraska’s severe spring weather, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is providing funds to plant cover crops on cropland acres. Producers are encouraged to apply by May 17, 2019, or June 21, 2019 at their local USDA Service Center.

Nebraska NRCS State Conservationist Craig Derickson said, “This funding will address resource concerns like erosion and water quality, resulting directly from the March 2019 severe weather damage on cropland acres. Cover crops are an excellent way to provide protection to cropland after conservation work has been completed.  Cover crops can stabilize the soil and improve soil health.”

This funding is available statewide in order to assist the widespread recovery work on cropland acres directly impacted by the severe weather in March.  The highest priority cropland includes land which is unable to be planted with a cash crop and/or harvested in 2019.

Cover crops prevent erosion, improve soil’s physical and biological properties, supply nutrients, suppress weeds, improve the availability of soil water, and break pest cycles along with various other benefits. Cover crops can also potentially be grazed.

Work currently being done to maintain conservation structures as well as sediment removal, debris removal or grading and reshaping can be stabilized and protected from further erosion and damage by planting a cover crop.

Derickson said, “For Nebraska’s cropland that suffered significant damage, planting a cover crop can be a great way to help protect fields and help restore productivity.”

For more information, visit NRCS at a USDA Service Center, or visit www.ne.nrcs.usda.gov

GREENSBORO, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Apr 18, 2019–Wrangler®, a global icon in jeanswear and casual apparel, is taking another groundbreaking step in its sustainability efforts, working with local farmers to create a traceable, locally-sourced denim collection that honors land stewardship and champions state pride. The Wrangler Rooted Collection™ is a limited, premium line made from 100 percent sustainable, local cotton. Each piece was grown, milled, cut and sewn in the United States, helping to ensure America’s denim heritage for future generations.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190418005545/en/

The Rooted Collection features five state-specific pairs of jeans: the Alabama Jean, the Georgia Jean, the North Carolina Jean, the Tennessee Jean, and the Texas Jean. The sustainable cotton used for each state’s jean is fully traceable to a family farm in that state. Each state’s design includes a unique wash, as well as trim and patch details featuring the state’s silhouette and other embellishments. The collection will also include two T-shirt designs for each state, as well as three national designs.

“The Wrangler Rooted Collection™ reflects our commitment to strengthening local communities and supporting U.S. farmers,” said Tom Waldron, President of Wrangler. “Equally important, the introduction of this collection aligns with our goal to continually improve the environmental performance and traceability of our products.”

The family farms supplying cotton to the Rooted Collection are the first growers in the Wrangler Science and Conservation program, which advocates for land stewardship and soil health best practices. These science-backed methods build crop resilience to weather disruptions while improving yield, reducing water and energy inputs, fighting erosion, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Wrangler aims to source 100 percent of its cotton from farms using land stewardship practices by 2025.

The Wrangler Rooted Collection™ is all-American, from the farm to the fabric to the cut and sew operations. The family farms that provided the sustainably-sourced cotton for each state’s collection are:

Mount Vernon Mills in Trion, Georgia, makes the denim fabric and the jeans are cut and sewn by Excel Manufacturing in El Paso, Texas.

The Rooted Collection T-shirts were made exclusively with sustainable cotton grown by Vance and Mandie Smith and were manufactured throughout the Carolinas:

  • Spinning at Patrick Yarns in Kings Mountain, North Carolina
  • Knitting by Contempora Fabrics in Lumberton, North Carolina
  • Dyeing by Carolina Cotton Works in Gaffney, South Carolina
  • Cut and sewn by Palmetto Apparel Service in Andrews, South Carolina
  • Printed by TS Designs in Burlington, North Carolina

The Wrangler Rooted Collection™ initially will be available through Wrangler.com and participating retailers. Jeans will retail for approximately $100 per piece, with T-shirts priced from $30 per piece.

Washington, D.C. April 19, 2019.  While the International Trade Commission (ITC) report on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) demonstrated marginal increases in agricultural exports, the value of USMCA to soybean producers goes beyond the pages released yesterday. The report is a good tool, yet it does not account for valuable non-tariff provisions in the “new NAFTA” –or look back historically on the myriad benefits to agriculture since NAFTA’s inception.

Davie Stephens, soy grower from Clinton, Kentucky, and American Soybean Association (ASA) president said, “USMCA builds upon the strong foundation set by the original NAFTA. Under NAFTA, the value of agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico increased to roughly $43 billion each year. Soybean exports to Mexico quadrupled under NAFTA, making Mexico the number two market for U.S. soybeans, meal and oil. We also saw a doubling of soybean exports to Canada, making it the number four market for soybean meal and the number seven market for soybean oil.”

Stephens continued, “We know that the modernizations included in USMCA will make trade with our North American neighbors even smoother. These non-tariff enhancements include the highest enforceable sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards of any trade deal to date, an enforceable biotechnology chapter that supports 21st century innovations, and create a rapid response mechanism to address trade challenges. These provisions not only serve to update the North American agreement but set a paradigm for future free trade agreements.”

While continuing to review and assess the ITC, the American Soybean Association reaffirms its support for USMCA and urges Congress to pass the agreement once the bill arrives. Passage of USMCA is vital to ensuring continued trade with two of U.S. soybeans’ top trading partners, Canada and Mexico.

MANHATTAN, Kan – Kansas’s number of farms and ranches increased during 2018, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The number of farms and ranches in the State, at 58,900, was up 300 farms from 2017.

Numbers of farms and ranches in Kansas with less than $100,000 in agricultural sales increased 200 farms from a year earlier while operations with more than $100,000 in agricultural sales increased 100 farms.

Land in farms and ranches in Kansas totaled 45.8 million acres, unchanged from 2017. The average size of operation, at 778 acres, was down 4 acres from a year earlier.

Nebraska’s number of farms and ranches declined during 2018, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The number of farms and ranches in the State, at 45,900, was down 400 farms from 2017. Numbers of farms and ranches in Nebraska with less than $100,000 in agricultural sales decreased 200 farms from a year earlier while operations with more than $100,000 in agricultural sales decreased 200 farms.

Land in farms and ranches in Nebraska totaled 45.0 million acres, unchanged from 2017. The average size of operation, at 980 acres, was up 8 acres from a year earlier.

Access the National publication for this release at:
https://usda.library.cornell.edu/concern/publications/5712m6524

Find agricultural statistics for your county, State, and the Nation at www.nass.usda.gov

The National Sorghum Producers Nominating Committee is now accepting applications from members for the 2020 board of directors.

Each director can serve two consecutive three-year terms and is charged with representing, leading, advising and supporting NSP goals and objectives. Information is available online that provides requirements, responsibilities and deadlines. NSP board members represent the organization by improving the sorghum industry through advocacy and leadership.

Applications are due Friday, May 10.