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By Staff | Feb 19, 2016

The half way point of the month is here already and it seems it just arrived. So here is a belated happy Valentine Day greeting to all the ag women in the state who work alongside their partners in running their farming operation and helping to keep things under control.

Hopefully you had the opportunity to go out to a nice dinner or good movie to celebrate a bit.

Now we can recognize that March is only two weeks away, and with it longer days, warmer temps and the realization that the new planting season is getting nearer.

And for those who are looking at the calendar and thinking they have way too many tasks to complete yet in preparation for 2016 it seems that a high percentage of growers are running about four to six weeks behind due to not having all the pieces falling together to finish the financial work.

Selling grain at a loss never seems like a good thing to do. We need a bump in prices soon to shake grain lose. As we hear more about the Brazilian harvest size we will be able to form a more complete picture of the bushels that could come from them.

What I know now about Argentina is its growers have been storing grain for years in the big poly bags hoping for an easing of the 35 percent export tax. The tax disappeared for corn and was reduced to 30 percent for beans.

Since they sell in dollars they would love to see the AR peso dive to 18 to 19 per U.S. dollar to capitalize on the currency exchange.

Saab’s engine

I would like to appoint Dave Kruse and Monte Shaw to investigate an engine that Saab had several years ago and the Environmental Protection Agency never allowed to be imported into the U.S.

Most of us recognize that it was the leaders of the ethanol business and many local farmers and businessmen who decided that investing in their production ability by finding a way to process the excess bushels of grain we were producing into a fuel that could be burned in our cars and trucks.

It helped to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, which is why we have found ourselves in many counties were we are too often considered the enemy. Anyhow, initially, we were supposed to burn hydrogen in our vehicles, but its need to be compressed to high PSI was deemed unsafe.

Saab had countered that problem in Europe by creating turbos that adjusted the pitch of their rotor blades automatically based on the octane in the fuel. Thus the compression could remain the same and there was no drop off if the BTUs of the fuel was lower, thus the gas mileage stayed the same.

I visited with a Saab mechanic and dealer who had driven those cars in his trips over there and had been trying to get the engine in cars that were being shipped to his dealership on Iowa.

He was continually told the EPA would not allow it though it made complete sense. Is there any possibility this could still happen? Wouldn’t GM now own the patents as well?

N2 management

Every fertilizer dealer knows they are under a microscope this next season as far as nitrogen management goes. Any tool or any management idea that might boost efficiency and cut potential losses is being looked at.

This is at a time when cost control by all growers is a huge item and when urea is priced equal to 82 percent.

It is also following several years with very wet springs and major, early summer showers that formed ponds that sat for a week or more.

So how does a person plan for the unexpected and create a plan that can be executed that could boost efficiencies a high percentage of the time. For that a grower needs to think in terms of multiple years.

A plan to side-dress early and follow with Y drops at V10 may not beat all 82 percent up front in 2016, but should in most of the next five years. Include a stabilizer and the bet becomes even more of a sure thing.

There are quite a few additional growers who are equipping themselves with the tools needed to sidedress N or make a pass through the corn after it one of the later V stages.

Use of stabilizers will also be increasing, as the emphasis will be on avoiding the loss of N down the creeks or a runoff. The well-informed and educated growers will recognized that even if no corn was grown on the fields and no N had been applied, the continued cropping of the fields and oxidization of the organic matter allows N to flow from the fields.

It is part of nature. The best tools will include the use of cover crops to temporarily hold the N bound to the organic crops organic matter and prevent soil and water runoff.

Zika virus

By now most U.S. citizens have heard the news reports about this strange virus. A group of us began following the disease late last year and it had been tough to gather all the facts to allow us to separate the reality from the government agency fiction.

It was reported that about 2,400 Brazilian babies had been born with serious head and brain defects that had been caused by this new virus that had been transported from Africa. However the virus had never before created those symptoms.

Plus there were some strange engineered mosquitoes that had been released in the disease infected area, with large gaps in knowing what the exact justification in the release of the mosquitoes.

The reaction among the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization personnel was rapid and loud and the advice was given for travel to those areas had to be limited and women were advised to not conceive for fear of being infected.

Then last week a well-known physician from the region, who has contacts in the field, put the pieces of the puzzle together.

What he found was that someone in Brazil was so fixed on stopping the mosquitoes from spreading the Dengue fever, which is a real virus, from spreading they okayed the application of a juvenile hormone disrupting larvacide called Priproxyfen into the water supplies in certain districts where Dengue has gotten bad.

When so called “imperfect insects” have dramatically different forms as juveniles versus adults the changes are controlled by their internally produced hormones. These hormones can be altered by these so called insect development inhibitors.

Cotton growers use a lot of them as they carry much higher LD50s and are much safer to non-target organisms. In this case it appears that some government official authorized thought process on how to produce food crops. His message is to use plant nutrition as a high level of “off label” use and ended up causing a big human health problem.

The labels exclusively state do not contaminate any water supplies. There is more attention being paid to Dengue with the Olympics being scheduled there this summer, so there had to be pressure to remove that threat.

Now does our president continue to call for $1.8 billion to be spent to develop a vaccine for a disease that was blown out of proportion and worry people in this country?

Next week

One meeting or training session that is planned for next week is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday in Nevada.

The main speaker is going to be the young Amish fellow who has a different way of controlling diseases and insects rather than hard rescue chemistry.

In the end some of the suggestions and ideas he has could be incorporated into our cropping plans and benefit us.

Please preregister or log onto the website for Advancing Eco Agriculture to reserve a spot.

I will try next week to tell you what I learned and saw while on my trip through Argentina and Uruguay.

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

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