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By Staff | Dec 4, 2015

It has been a quiet week as keeping track of what day it was over the long Thanksgiving weekend was difficult. We got that turkey gobbling holiday over with and are now able to get back to work.

As wet as things are and as cold as the nights are getting it does not appear that there will be much more outside work completed. That means many of us will get ready preparing for the 2016 season.


It’s time to get educated into the latest happenings on the ag production scene as well as start getting our thoughts on paper as far as what to do for cropping during the 2016 season.

Many growers across the northern Midwest had one of their best seasons yield wise in their cropping history, which was good in that they were able to register their top corn or bean yields.

But the season left about as many wondering what they omitted from their cropping plan that could have boosted both their bushels produced and income produced in their operations.

The current state of ag is that with the biggest on-farm income drop ever, most operators who rent ground are trying to figure out how to balance the projected input costs with projected incomes.

The big Integrated Crop Management Conference was scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. In previous years they have closed registrations a few days before the event.

With the list of speakers from different states as well as topics covering Iowa items the crowd should be large.

The PFI group is holding its winter conference in Ames in January. The number of attendees has been growing each year.

With its focus on how to develop addition cash flows on individual farms and find their niche rather than try solely to survive in commodity crops more of the younger farmers are checking to see what they might offer in ideas.

One conference I may be speaking at is out in Indiana in January. There are currently three or four outside speakers schedule to present including a world class DVM from Germany, a great soil microbiologist who focuses on the plant microbiome, as well as a host of other topics.

CRW research

In the Nebraska Extension Newsletter the staff presented the facts gathered in a project conducted this summer comparing the CRW survival in fields planted to different CRW traits.

They included VT3, Herculex and Agrisure and then rated the percent survival among larvae when they had to feed on roots of plants possessing those traits.

The particulars with the plots were that they were all corn-on-corn where the VT3 had been planted there the last three to six years.

What they recorded and found surprising was the level of survival on each. In order of those listings they gave the survival range as: 61 to 90 percent, 14 to 37 percent, and 59 to 100 percent.

The testing regime closely resembles real life situations for those corn-on-corn acres produced under irrigation.

The results are going to leave a number of agronomists and growers wondering what their best action will be for next season, as there is really more than one option for next season if the strategy is to rotate traits.

If anyone has any great answers they are likely willing to listen.

In Illinois, about six years ago, such plot work done by Dr. Kevin Steffey, an ISU grad, and Dr. Mike Gray, they found the toxin levels in five different pedigrees varied from two being much above the level needed to kill the CRW larvae, one variety that was border-line, and two that were never high enough to control any larvae, all measured at the V4 growth stage.

When tested for toxin levels at the V8 or V9 growth stage the toxin levels dropped an average of nearly 40 percent leaving all borderline or lower.

In retrospect those findings should have told us that the current cropping practices and variation among CRW populations and hybrids were going to do a good job of selecting for the resistant and late hatching biotypes.

For producers or crop advisors the challenge is to come up with the answers for the farmers who are hoping to make the problem in the next seasons.

A new sorghum

There were a number of growers in Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas who noticed that the export market and U.S. prices for grain sorghum was better than the prices offered for corn.

It’s worth mentioning that there are going to be new sorghum varieties that offer ALS or IMI resistance that had the based resistant germplasm developed at Kansas State University.

DuPont has worked the germplasm into several commercial varieties for the coming season depending on approval.

In the old days of IMI corn, the resistance was done with natural variants that exhibited resistance. The new lines will be called INZEN.

Plans are for these to offer post-emerge grass control with the FOP herbicides.

Fish story

Last week’s hot animal story was the one about the cloned salmon. This week, there was a story about cloned cattle being developed in China to increase beef production.

Apparently there is a company called BoyaLife that plans to produce about 100,000 cattle per year in their lots.

Unfortunately they forgot to tell where they plan to grow the grain or silage for them.

They also erred in saying that number of cattle was six times bigger than the large lots in the U.S.

Apparently the authors had never been to the Dalhart, Garden and Dodge City lots.

Bob Streit is an independent crop consultant and columnist for Farm News. He can be reached at (515) 709-0143.

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