What is today’s news? | Monday, March 21, 2022
At the top of the week, catch up on the news about cover crops, fertilizer, and more.
In case you’ve missed it, here is a roundup.
Crop Production and the Environment
Matt Miles, Kevin Matthews, and Kelly Garrett of the XtremeAg team shared their tips for soybean desiccation, challenges with 2022 inputs, and a few lessons they’ve learned the hard way at a Commodity Classic panel hosted by Editor Natalina Bausch.
During their time on stage, each of the panelists emphasized how much he learned from the others and the value of sharing knowledge. Miles said he wouldn’t want to farm without the team he’s surrounded himself with. “I’ve made more money listening to these guys (XtremeAg peers) and Rob.”
Last week, water experts marked the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act with a dire warning: After evaluating over 700,000 miles of rivers and streams across the country, they concluded that half of those waters are too polluted to fish or swim in — and agriculture is often to blame.
Schaeffer stressed that U.S. water quality has actually dramatically improved under the Clean Water Act. “You have to be as old as I am to understand how bad it was before,” said Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project (EPI). The problem, he says, is that the agricultural industry is largely exempt from it, and that loophole needs to be closed.
Editor Jodi Henke interviews Alison Robertson, plant pathology and microbiology at Iowa State University. Robertson is contributing to a nationwide project with a goal to get more cover crops on the landscape because of their benefits.
Robertson’s research looks at the effect of the right termination timing on corn growth, development, and pest management.
The XtremeAg team checks in this week with an update on their current farm plans.
Chad Henderson, of Madison, Alabama, says, “Our wheat is coming out of dormancy, and we are halfway through putting our second shot of nitrogen on it. It’s been a day-by-day process with regular rains holding us up from finishing. Hoping this weather pattern will break to allow us to finish our nitrogen application and get our planters in the field.”
As corn and soybean harvests wrap up for central Brazil, and with much of the safrinha crop in the ground across this region, the good news is planting primarily fell within the ideal planting window. The bad news is the latter half of March yields drier-than normal-conditions across the region.
In southern Brazil, there is still some harvesting and planting to do but these are more than halfway complete. Argentina is a bit further behind in harvesting corn and soybeans with chances of spotty showers in the days ahead.
In this part of the world, writes Jerry Nelson, the arrival of the vernal equinox doesn’t necessarily mean that spring is here. We must first endure the period that comes between winter and spring, that abomination known as the mud season.
The mud season is by far the cruelest time of the year.
- READ MORE: Smush, squish, and ooze through mud season
Hot Topics in Agriculture
Editor Alex Gray covers John Deere’s announcement to expand access to self-repair resources starting in May.
Planned updates to the service coming in 2023 include a mobile device interface, and the ability to download software updates to embedded controllers on select Deere equipment with 4G data connection. Owners of John Deere equipment will still be able to have the option to visit a dealership, work with an independent repair shop, or repair on their own.
U.S. farmers face sky-high fertilizer prices as the spring planting season approaches, but their supply may be more assured than that of Brazil growers in the wake of economic sanctions on Russia, said three university economists. Brazil imports 85% of its fertilizer, with Russia ordinarily supplying one-fifth of it.
“Supply in the United States should be less of an issue as the United States has robust domestic production,” said economists Joana Colussi and Gary Schnitkey of the University of Illinois, and Carl Zulauf of Ohio State University.
Ag Funder News has put together a list of corporate regenerative agriculture commitments. The list varies considerably in terms of time frames and specific actions from agrifood players.
Some companies, like General Mills, have a specific amount of acreage to which they will apply regenerative agriculture practices by a specific date. Others use more vague language.
A total of 423,524 birds have been depopulated according to the USDA’s most recent update to the avian influenza numbers.
Editor Madelyn Ostendorf reports on the cases across seven counties that were identified between March 18 and March 20.