Here we are now in 2014 where it is a new year, a new planning and growing season, and a set of parameters we get to face in trying to produce crops to sell in what might be a market with increased scrutiny applied to it.
Nearly every producer has expressed the desire to put unlucky 2013 behind us – dead, buried and not to be resuscitated.
There were enough weather and insect challenges, plenty of machinery problems, and collapse of prices that no one wants to revisit the season.
Now it is onto the next season, one with an even-numbered year where since the early 1990s things have gone much more smoothly.
Cross your fingers, do your homework, plan for the worst, but hope for the best and we will see if it all works out.
So what will the markets bring in the coming year?
Crop farmers generally had a good run while livestock farmers tried to survive the last five years.
Luckily meat and animal prices finally increased enough to let hog farmers show a slight profit the past year. It was extremely tough sledding for half a decade.
Turkey growers did a good job of capturing specialty markets.
What has popped up as to newer information is the acknowledgement that there were 8.7 million acres of prevented planting.
Keep an eye on projected corn versus soy acres forecast for 2014.
What are the hot topics to cover this week?
Anything hot or even warm should be well received. It is a bit chilly these days across the Midwest.
Credit the volcanic activity up in the Arctic Circle over the past two years for pushing lots of sunlight blocking particulate matter into the stratosphere which cools the air.
This cold air then slides down into the lower latitudes and impacts us.
The big question is which celestial body(ies) exerts the gravitational pull on the semi-liquid earth core to set off those volcanoes?
That is the $64,000 question among volcanologists and meteorologists.
Controlling maretstail has been a problem in many bean fields.
This weed does not fit the typical large-seeded broadleaf category or that of small-seeded ones.
It can be a fall, winter, or early spring germinating plant.
It can also be resistant to several major herbicides.
Controlling it to a high degree inspite of it being able to shed sprays is important due to its ability to lower bean yields.
Clariva is a new biological nematicides from Syngenta seed treatment group.
The biology and science behind it is very solid. There are both bacteria and fungicide that use nematodes as a food source.
How it works is that the spores are applied to the seed, and those spores inhabit the roots.
When nematodes come in contact with the roots the spores bore through the chitin skin and end up eating out the nematodes.
From there the dead nematode serves as the Typhoid Mary in the root zone with the now numerous spores attaching to all incoming parasites.
What is new with it is that the company decided to forgo university testing before commercializing. If supply is limited this approach makes sense.
Watch for the the crop update sessions scheduled around the state.
Also be aware and get prepped for the Iowa Power Show in late January.
Bob Streit is an independent crop consultant and columnist for Farm News. He can be reached at (515) 709-0143.
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