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Articles from 2015 In January


Consumer demand for quality beef still steady

Consumer demand for quality beef still steady

When price skyrockets, and incomes are tight, people still love beef, a new Oklahoma State University research report, "Retail and Foodservice Marketing Trends for Beef," finds.

Co-authors Bailey Harsh and Deb VanOverbeke combined data from major consumer databases to find that even as late as 2013, among consumers who changed their meat purchases 91% were spending less. Most indications show spending is returning to pre-recession levels.

"The majority of consumers today say beef isn't too expensive. But most importantly, 72% of consumers listed beef as their first or top choice of proteins in 2013," the study says.

Beef uses changed with price changes

Which beef consumers select may be changing but the bottom line is that consumers still seek out beef

Still, as drought and other herd-shrinking circumstances helped elevate prices and add to the cash register crunch, many predicted a decline in demand.

"If you look at the trends, beef consumption didn't really fall during that time," says VanOverbeke. "They maybe changed how they used it, maybe using more casserole-type dishes using beef, rather than having steak—but people didn't change beef consumption as a whole."

Trading middle meats for grinds gave home cooks a chance to stretch their food dollars, says John Lundeen, senior executive director of market research for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

"Ground beef is very familiar and you can do a lot of things with it," he says. "I can buy a pound of ground beef and feed my family, so there is a value story there."

It's easy to prepare—a trait most beef eaters are looking for today.

Millennials a beef target
Beef consumption is higher among the "Millennial" generation, those born from 1980 to 2000, than those over 35.

"Millennials are a major target for beef marketing because they consume the most beef both at home and in restaurants of any generation and, given their age, will continue to be a major driver of beef demand," the research says.

A decline in high-school cooking education coupled with more after-school activities taking families out of the kitchen, could lead to a decrease in preparing beef for dinner, Lundeen says.

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"It's not happening at school and it's happening to a smaller degree in the home, so you just don't grow up with it," he says, "but that does not mean that there isn't a desire to cook."

Indeed, this generation has grown up with the Food Network and a greater exposure to a vast array of food choices.

"Cooking is a very social thing and is a common force among people," Lundeen says, noting that the beef industry must equip consumers to work with the product.

In some cases, it's increasing easy-to-prepare options. The paper says in the past four years the number of consumers preparing "convenience meats" has increased 12%.

"We can't assume that folks know how to buy the cut, how to season it, how to prep it and how to know when it's done or what temperature to cook it at," Lundeen says, "but the desire for knowledge is there and people want great food. That's what beef has to deliver on."

The higher quality the beef, the more likely it is to live up to expectations, says Phil Bass, Certified Angus Beef brand meat scientist.

"High quality meat results in the high quality end product," he says, noting marbling increases the three palatability components: tenderness, juiciness and flavor. "Marbling is less dense than protein, so if you have the marbling in that piece of meat it's going to be easier to bite through."

Research also shows the more intramuscular fat, the more intense the "beautiful, buttery-flavor" and the juicer the meat is.

Higher quality beef is also more forgiving. Beef Checkoff studies show nearly 50% of people like their steaks cooked "medium well" to "well done."

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"As a result, if you don't have that marbling in there then it's going to turn out to be a very dry steak," Bass says. "The marbling doesn't evaporate, but the water does cook off."

Keeping up with taste
In all categories, consumers have preferred brands, VanOverbeke said. "We're seeing beef move toward that brand recognition."

Since 2002, CAB demand increased 108%, compared to a 51% increase for USDA Choice or higher, and a decline of 1% for unbranded Choice, according to a Kansas State University demand index in 2014.

"Part of the goal is to get consumers to come back to that section of the meat case over and over again because they are happy with the beef they had the last time," she says

VanOverbeke says the main research message is that beef came through the recession in good shape and poised for growth.

"Consumers ultimately believe the price reflects beef's value and continue to vote with their dollars for beef's flavor, juiciness, tenderness and versatility," the authors say.

Now it's up to the industry to make sure they continue to have reasons to, Lundeen cautions: "We have to produce a great product that, at the end of the day, tastes good. Actually it has to taste more than good. It has to taste great."

Source: CAB

5 Agriculture stories to read, Jan. 30, 2015

In the five ag stories to read this week, you'll find tips for managing corn rootworm this summer, and get an insight into farmland values. Read about production costs for 2015, and whether or not more acreage reduces those per-acre costs. Finally, enjoy a #farmernice video, sharing all the great things farmers do for us, and the products we get from agriculture.

Iowa Soybean Association issues a state legislative alert

Iowa Soybean Association issues a state legislative alert

A 10-cent per gallon increase in the state of Iowa's motor fuel tax is being proposed in the Iowa Legislature as part of a comprehensive plan to address Iowa's infrastructure needs. Currently, gasoline is taxed at 21 cents per gallon, with blends containing at least 10% ethanol taxed at only 19 cents per gallon. Diesel is taxed at 22.5 cents per gallon with no incentive for biodiesel.

CALL TO ACTION: Iowa Soybean Association is lobbying lawmakers at the State Capitol in Des Moines to support an important issue for biodiesel that ISA leaders say will also help repair the state's aging transportation infrastructure.

Farmers are being asked by the Iowa Soybean Association this weekend and early next week to contact their state representative and state senator. "You should do this by Monday, Feb. 2 and urge your legislator to expand the biodiesel market and the biodiesel industry as the Iowa Legislature considers an increase in the fuel tax," says Carol Balvanz, ISA policy director.

"We support the fuel tax increase but as our state legislature considers the issue, we need its support for a significant and meaningful incentive," explains Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board and director of market development for the ISA. "The IBB is committed to include an exemption of at least five cents per gallon for biodiesel blends higher than B10 in any diesel motor fuel tax increase."

Pushing for partial exemption for higher blends of biodiesel
Kimberley, who farms near Maxwell in central Iowa, says doing so would immediately expand the availability and use of biodiesel in the state of Iowa, and help biodiesel businesses during trying times for the industry.

"Iowans should be encouraged to buy an Iowa-produced fuel vs. imported oil," he says.

Kimberley says many legislators will be hosting forums this weekend. "Those venues provide an ideal opportunity to visit with legislators and ask them for their support." Click on the links below to find out additional information and read the ISA issue brief.

Additional information:

View ISA internal talking points

View our issue brief

Legislative web pages with information about weekend forums:

Iowa House website

Iowa Senate website

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For more information, contact ISA policy director Carol Balvanz cbalvanz@iasoybeans.com or Grant Kimberley at grantk@iowabiodiesel.org

National Biodiesel Board calls for EPA to act on RFS
In other news concerning biodiesel, the National Biodiesel Board on Friday asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to immediately establish biodiesel volumes for the Renewable Fuel Standard. The NBB highlighted the fallout from the Obama Administration's ongoing failure to establish a functioning renewable fuels policy for the second straight year.

Industry leaders said the EPA's recent decision to allow streamlined imports of biodiesel from Argentina under the RFS has only added new urgency to the need for stable policy. In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy sent Friday, former biodiesel producer and NBB Governing Board Member Ben Wootton challenged McCarthy's recent comments suggesting that the RFS delays haven't hurt renewable fuels industries. Wootton lost his Pennsylvania biodiesel plant, Keystone Biofuels, in bankruptcy last year as a result of RFS uncertainty. In his letter, he explained to McCarthy how the loss of his plant also forced him to lay off 30 employees and caused him to lose his daughters' college funds and his retirement savings.

Highlights the loss of jobs, bankruptcy as a failed policy
In a statement late last year, McCarthy said: "While I would have preferred to have this rule done earlier, it hasn't slowed down that industry that I can see."

"I would invite EPA administrator McCarthy to come to my shuttered plant and talk to some of the laid off workers, or to visit practically any biodiesel plant across the country to see the damage that is taking place," Wootton says. "It is obvious this administration doesn't understand the severe damage that the uncertainty surrounding this rule has caused our industry and the thousands of employees it represents. It is beyond frustrating that an administration I have strongly supported has inflicted so much harm on an industry it says it supports."

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EPA has failed to establish biodiesel volume requirements under the RFS for 2014, 2015 and 2016. Under federal law, all three years' volumes should have been set. While certain sectors of the renewable fuels industry have fared better in absorbing the RFS uncertainty – particularly more mature industries such as corn ethanol – the delays have been disastrous for new industries still getting off the ground. This is particularly true for biodiesel, the first EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel under the RFS to reach commercial-scale production nationwide.

EPA's decision to allow biodiesel imports adds insult to injury
Aggravating the difficulties facing the industry, the EPA earlier this week approved a streamlined approach for allowing imports of Argentinian biodiesel into the US, fast-tracking foreign imports under the RFS that are subsidized by Argentinian tax policy and are likely to undercut U.S. production. The decision has been perceived by biodiesel producers and the domestic soybean industry as adding insult to injury.

"It is shocking that at a time when our renewable fuels policy is in a shambles, the EPA has essentially greenlighted biodiesel imports from Argentina to qualify for the RFS, with very little oversight or verification that the resources used to make the fuel will be grown under the normal RFS sustainability requirements," says Joe Jobe, NBB CEO. "We've done all we can for two years to help this Administration develop reasonable policy that matches President Obama's stated support for renewable fuels, but we are at wit's end. We are desperately searching for any indication that this support actually exists."

Dozens of biodiesel plants have cut production, laid off workers
Adds Wootton: "Based on years of statements by President Obama and Administrator McCarthy, we all believed we had an ally in this Administration. I and many others in a similar situation are stunned and frustrated by this lack of leadership and failure to act."

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Recent EPA statistics show that the U.S. biodiesel market dropped in 2014, from a high of 1.8 billion gallons in 2013 to 1.75 billion gallon last year. But the total volumes— which remained steady only because EPA last year signaled it would finalize a strong RFS—mask the fact that dozens of biodiesel plants have stopped production or laid off workers in recent months. The most recent casualty was Green Earth Fuels, a large plant outside Houston that filed for bankruptcy earlier this month.

Biodiesel industry has dozens of producers barely hanging on
"Our overall production numbers were down only slightly for 2014, but that is an illusion," Jobe says. "This is an industry hanging on broken promises and leveraging everything waiting for the EPA to comply with the law. We have dozens of biodiesel producers just barely hanging on."

Know your biodiesel: Biodiesel is made from a variety of resources including recycled cooking oil, plant oils such as soybean oil, and animal fats. It is the first EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide. According to EPA, biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 57% to 86% compared to petroleum diesel. With plants in nearly every state in the country, the biodiesel industry supports some 60,000 jobs. For more information on biodiesel, visit biodiesel.org.

Bottom line trumps caution flags as peanuts appear poised for increase

Bottom line trumps caution flags as peanuts appear poised for increase

It was a “parking-on-the-grass” crowd at the recent Georgia Peanut Farm Show on Jan. 15, as producers from throughout the lower Southeast poured into Tifton for the 39th annual event. It’s estimated that more than 2,100 attendees took this prime opportunity to learn more about the latest peanut products, services and research.

And while Extension specialists who spoke at the University of Georgia Production were throwing caution flags left and right – urging proper restraint when making planting decisions this year – it was clear the expectation is that peanut acres will increase in most states, possibly significantly.

Georgia’s new Extension peanut agronomist Scott Monfort advised growers not to shorten their crop rotations, fearing the certain negative impact on yields. And Extension economist Nathan Smith warned about the most immediate impact of overly increasing peanut plantings – glutting a market that’s already struggling to work through oversupply issues.

Smith says avoiding a return to a major oversupply like in 2012 means limiting the increase to 15 percent or less – a tall order for U.S. peanut producers when options are so limited. Increasing plantings above 1.5 million acres will tax current infrastructure for handling and storage, especially if yields are better than trend, he says.

“This would be an even bigger problem for 2016. Overall, 2015 will be a year in which planting decisions will be key for peanuts, and it will be difficult to show positive cash-flow for most crops,” he says.

While urging caution when making planting decisions for 2015, he admits there aren’t many other options available to growers, at least not now.

The University of Georgia 2015 budgets for peanuts, cotton, corn, grain sorghum and soybeans show peanuts in a relatively good position in terms of returns above variable costs.  “However, prices for cotton, corn and soybeans have been in a downtrend and are looking for the bottom. Where they are at planting time may be different, and actual returns would change as price, yield and cost changes,” he says.

A new factor in planting decisions this year is, of course, the 2014 Farm Bill, which will affect about 1.5 million acres in Georgia, says Smith. This is roughly how many generic base acres are in the state.

The generic base acres can be temporarily assigned to a covered commodity base if planted to the covered commodity. There are 21 covered commodities including peanuts, corn, grain sorghum, soybeans and wheat. Other small grains and oilseeds are included. Each of these crops, with the exception of oats, has a good possibility of triggering a payment in 2015.

Peanuts, says Smith, could have a $100-per-ton Price Loss Coverage (PLC) payment. “Peanuts planted on farms with generic base will have a safety net that looks to be between $470 and $500 per ton in 2015, and this will encourage more peanuts to be planted.”

The worry is overplanting peanuts in Georgia and abandoning three and four-year rotations, he says. The average crop mix in the state shows 375,000 acres of corn, 560,000 acres of peanuts, 50,000 acres of grain sorghum, 235,000 acres of soybeans, and 285,000 acres of wheat.

Given the current outlook on costs and returns, the mix is expected to swing towards more peanuts and less corn and wheat, says Smith.

But, the expected Agricultural Risk Coverage-County (ARCO-CO) payment on a statewide basis for Georgia could make some other crops a bit more attractive, hopefully limiting some of the incentive to overplant peanuts, he says.

Most everyone agrees there will be an increase in U.S. peanut acres in 2015, but the trick clearly will be to temper enthusiasm with caution. With improved varieties that’ll average 4,000 pounds per acre even in a drought year and a newly minted reputation as the world’s premier low-cost, high-quality producer, it would appear that the only thing presenting an immediate obstacle for the U.S. peanut industry is its own success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Buzz: February short on days, long on decisions

The Buzz: February short on days, long on decisions

January was lousy for prices, but February is filled with uncertainty. Seasonal trends suggests potential struggles, just as farmers try to finalize acreage  choices and make buying decisions on fuel and fertilizer.

Market Analyst Bryce Knorr goes over the details, with an eye on your bottom line. Watch the report below.

From farm programs to fertilizer, farmers face tough choices.

Bryce Knorr, Senior Market Analyst, Farm Futures, first joined Farm Progress in 1987. In addition to analyzing and writing about the commodity markets, he is a former future introducing broker and is a registered Commodity Trading Advisor. He conducts Farm Futures exclusive surveys on acreage, production and management issues and is one of the analysts regularly contracted by business wire services before major USDA crop reports. Besides the Morning Market Review on FarmFutures.com, he writes weekly reviews for key commodities and crop inputs. A journalist with 38 years of experience, he received the Master Writers Award from the American Agricultural Editors Association.

Commodity price outlook may impact more than farmers’ bottom lines

Commodity price outlook may impact more than farmers’ bottom lines

Will falling grain and cotton prices take a toll on land values and cash rental rates in the Mid-South states?

At the height of the run-up in grain prices in 2012 and 2013, the national average land value for agricultural cropland increased 12 percent, from $3,350 per acre to $3,810, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Some Corn Belt states, such as Illinois and Indiana, saw similar increases in farmland values to those shown nationally, at much higher overall prices, notes Bryon J. Parman, assistant Extension professor, agricultural economics, at Mississippi State University.

“Illinois, between 2012 and 2013, saw land values increase from $6,300 per acre to $7,190 per acre or roughly 12.3 percent, while Indiana had an increase of nearly 13 percent from $6,448 per acre to $7,430 per acre for average farmland during that same period,” said Parman, who has begun compiling similar statistics for agricultural land values and cash rents for the state of Mississippi.

Parman surveyed lenders across Mississippi to gather the information for 2012-13. Participating lenders represented about half of all agricultural land sales taking place in any one year. He’s now compiling a report for sales that occurred in 2014.

Lower prices

“Mississippi cropland values tend to be lower than some of their Corn Belt counterparts,” he writes in the report for 2013. “The highest sales for top-quality irrigated Delta soils neared $5,500 per acre in 2013 and averaged closer to the $4,000-per-acre mark.

“For both 2012 and 2013, quality dryland Delta crop soils were selling for approximately $600 per acre less than flood-irrigated fields, with the poorest-quality Delta cropland soils averaging $1,200 per acre below those being flood/furrow irrigated.”

The cropland values report is separated into irrigated and non-irrigated, soil type and soil quality characteristics. Those include Delta, Brown Loam/Coastal Plain and Black Belt soils. (Small tract sales, assemblage sales and sales with a change in highest and best use have been excluded from the statistics.)

“Quality dryland soils in the Brown Loam and Black Belt areas sold for around $750 per acre less on average than Delta dryland quality soils,” says Parman. “However, 2012 sales show that the value spread between Brown Loam and Delta area dryland crop soils to be much smaller at nearly $200 per acre.”

Between 2012 and 2013, statewide average sales prices for flood/furrow-irrigated, quality dryland and good or fair dryland soils increased, he said. “Flood/furrow-irrigated soils increased 14.5 percent while dryland soils saw more modest increases, with a 5.5-percent increase for quality dryland soils and a 4.2-percent increase for good or fair dryland soils.”

Pivot-irrigated soils saw no change in the statewide average sales price from 2012 to 2013; however, fewer statewide sales in this category may obscure significant differences.

What’s the outlook for the 2014 numbers?

Downward pressure

“Lower row-crop commodity prices toward the end of 2014, combined with the expectation for low-crop commodity prices in 2015, suggest downward pressure on land values in Mississippi and throughout the United States,” says Parman.

“Interest rates on both long- and short-term loans are expected to rise in the future, increasing the downward pressure on land values as principles must adjust to compensate for higher interest rates.”

Surveys from the second quarter by the 8th Federal Reserve District show land values either leveling off or slightly declining from previous quarters and years. (The survey area includes the northern half and Delta region of Mississippi, all of Arkansas, the western portions of Kentucky and Tennessee and the southern portions of Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.)

“A period with low agricultural land sales would also indicate a drop in agricultural property values,” says Parman. “If that happens, landowners will be reluctant to sell for prices below those seen in recent years, while renters will anticipate low or negative returns at current prices.”

In the short term, he said, cash rents for 2015 are expected to be near those of 2014 and 2013, “as many of those contracts were negotiated in advance, and producers are reluctant to relinquish their rights to parcels they are currently farming.

“In the long run, should commodity prices remain low, cash rental rates will likely be reduced to reflect the change in overall returns to farmland.”

For more information on the Agricultural Economics Department at Mississippi State University, visit http://www.agecon.msstate.edu/.

 

Will lower crude oil prices increase soybean sales to China?

soybeans

Soybean bulls were happy to see better than expected weekly export sales to China. The bears, however, wonder if these sales will really equate into more U.S. shipments?

Obviously we're starting to see the Chinese book more South American shipments, from Brazil and now Argentina. The bears are also wondering if the pace of Chinese imports can continue, especially considering the Chinese crush margins are much weaker and meal prices are extremely low?

My question is, how do we know longer-term Chinese demand doesn't aggressively increase on the heels of a rising U.S. dollar and falling crude oil prices? Several analysst are starting to tell me the current environment and shift in landscape could end up being extremely bullish the Chinese economy. An economy that seems to thrive on cheap energy and increased exports. If this plays itself out, I suspect we could end up seeing Chinese economic growth return back to double digit gains? Keep in mind this is a longer-term macro type theory or perspective, so don't expect any massive change or jump in prices nearby.

In fact with the lack of headlines, no significant weather story, talk of another year of record acreage in the U.S., and record production being harvested in South America, it's tough to envision prices nearby doing much but moving lower. As I've mentioned, there are several extremely sharp analysts in the industry who are projecting new-crop ending stocks will jump up to  near 700 million bushels (possibly higher if we have another 47-bushel type yield) and prices could potentially fall to sub-$7.00 following harvest.

From a spec perspective, I continue to believe the herd has taken on a "sell the rallies" type mentality. This will obviously keep a lid on prices and make getting back above $10 near-term a tough task. Similar to corn, those producers still holding old-crop bushels need to give careful consideration to the "time-frame" in which they can continue to hold. Then ask yourself if that's enough time to create a "weather" story or bullish scenario needed to get that price rally you've been waiting for?  

Get my daily report.

New North American Meat Institute selects officers

New North American Meat Institute selects officers

The newly merged North American Meat Institute announced the selection of eight officers at its first-ever Board of Directors meeting at the 2015 International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta, Ga.

Related: AMI Approves North American Meat Association Merger

Dave McDonald, president and COO of OSI Group, LLC, will serve as the first chairman of the new board, while Brian Coelho, president of Central Valley Meat Co., will serve as vice chairman.

The board's treasurer is Mike Townsley, president and interim CEO of Bob Evans Farms, Inc. Cardinal Meat Specialists, Ltd. Vice President of Operations John Vatri assumed the position of secretary.

Eight new board officers selected at meeting held during International Production and Processing Expo

American Foods Group, LLC President and COO Greg Benedict, Beef Products, Inc. Director of Sales Mike Hesse and Gahn Meat Company President Tony Gahn, Jr. will jointly serve as immediate past chairmen.

"I look forward to working with the new officers and the entire Board to respond to key industry priorities in the year ahead," said NAMI President and CEO Barry Carpenter. "Their collective expertise will provide guidance to NAMI and to the entire industry to ensure that we work together to advance our common interests and achieve our shared goals."

The NAMI Board of Directors is comprised of industry leaders representing the organization's packer, processor and supplier member companies.

Source: NAMI

Corn+Soybean Digest

Herbicide options for 2015

Micah Rone of Portageville Mo sprayed a tank mix of glyphosate dicamba and an antidrift agent on a 400acre production field of Roundup Ready to Xtend soybeans ldquoIf you adhere to the application requirements and know your farm this system will kill weeds that have been a headache for five years and control them better than original Roundup didrdquo he says
<p>Micah Rone of Portageville, Mo., sprayed a tank mix of glyphosate, dicamba and an antidrift agent on a 400-acre production field of Roundup Ready to Xtend soybeans. &ldquo;If you adhere to the application requirements and know your farm, this system will kill weeds that have been a headache for five years and control them better than original Roundup did,&rdquo; he says.</p>

New weed control options, which include both veteran and new active ingredients, cleared major milestones on the road to commercialization in 2014.

Dow AgroSciences' Enlist Weed Control System for corn and soybeans was deregulated by USDA in 2014. Enlist Duo, a formulation of glyphosate and Dow’s new 2,4-D choline with Colex D technology, received federal EPA approval for use with Enlist corn and Enlist soybeans this spring.

Monsanto expects 2015 deregulation of its dicamba-tolerant Roundup Ready 2 Xtend trait in soybeans and registration of Roundup Xtend with VaporGrip technology, a premix of glyphosate and dicamba. Monsanto also will offer a straight-goods dicamba – XtendiMax with VaporGrip technology – when Xtend is introduced. Pending registration, Monsanto plans to begin sales of the system in soybeans in 2016.

Also pending registration, Syngenta plans the introduction of its Acuron herbicide, a premix for corn that includes a new active ingredient, in time for the 2015 growing season.

Meanwhile, to the extent regulations would allow, more growers evaluated the new options on-farm during the 2014 growing season.

 

Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist weed control system

Pat Duncanson of Mapleton, Minn., grew a 10-acre test plot of corn with Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Weed Control System in 2014.

“Glyphosate-resistant waterhemp, our number-one truly resistant weed, is very prevalent here in south-central Minnesota,” says Duncanson, who farms more than 1,000 acres of corn, soybeans and processor peas.

“There are other hard-to-control weeds that I suspect may be glyphosate resistant,” he adds. These include common and giant ragweed and lambsquarters. “We’ve always had trouble controlling lambsquarters, especially in dry years.”

Duncanson grew the corn test plot in a rotational field with moderate weed pressure where a cover crop of mixed forages had been planted after pea harvest in 2013. The Enlist Mycogen corn was planted in late May and sprayed with Enlist Duo at the V3 stage.

“The first thing I noticed was that the herbicide had no odor,” Duncanson recalls. He observed that while the plot was within several feet of a non-Enlist crop, they didn’t see any signs of volatility or off-target movement. “Enlist Duo appears to be a much better product relative to off-target movement,” he says. “The new 2,4-D choline is a huge improvement over older forms of 2,4-D.”

Duncanson also notes that Enlist Duo can be used at much higher rates in-crop without crop injury than were typical of previous 2,4-D products. “Plus, the rates allow it to be used as a burndown,” he says.

“Enlist Duo does a great job of covering the gaps of hard-to-control weeds that glyphosate does not control,” Duncanson concludes. “Glyphosate is still very effective on at least 200 broadleaf and grassy weeds. The Enlist system gives us another tool to control weeds that are resistant to glyphosate so we can continue to use it.”

 

Roundup Ready 2 Xtend crop system

Micah Rone of Portageville, Mo., has grown Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 Xtend seed beans for two years. “Glyphosate-tolerant Palmer pigweed (Palmer amaranth) is the resistant weed we birddog in this area,” says Rone, who rotates soybeans and rice in the Missouri Bootheel.

“Roundup is still a very good herbicide. It’s second to none when it comes to grass control,” he adds. “But it seems we hear about more acres with resistance problems every year.”

Rone adds that he is very familiar with dicamba from using Clarity for preplant cleanup in the spring.

His 400 acres of seed beans received a preemergence application of Warrant herbicide. A dicamba/glyphosate tank mix was combined with an antidrift agent and applied at the V4 growth stage.

The seed production field was surrounded by cotton on the north, rice to the east, milo to the west and regular Roundup Ready soybeans to the south.

“The weed control was second to none and we didn’t have any issues with drift in either year,” Rone says. “The new formulation will roast a pigweed. If temperatures are warm the morning you apply it, you likely will see some pretty sick weeds by evening. Roundup is very good on many weeds, and the dicamba lays down everything else.”

Rone stresses the importance of following application directions to avoid possible off-target movement to nontolerant crops. 

“This new technology requires you to continue to respect your neighbor. It is nothing to be afraid of,” he says. “If we’re spraying and the wind comes up, we’ll stop and leave the sprayer in the field until it gets calmer. We have been triple-rinsing spray tanks for years, so that aspect is not new for us.

“If you follow the application requirements and know your farm, this system will kill weeds that have been a headache for five years and control them better than original Roundup did.”

 

Syngenta Acuron

Syngenta is anticipating registration of its new Acuron herbicide for corn in time for the 2015 season. The premix includes bicyclopyrone, a new active ingredient with the HPPD-inhibitor mode of action, along with mesotrione, S-metolachlor, atrazine and a safener.

The proposed label lists more than 70 small- and large-seeded broadleaf weeds and annual grasses, including ragweed (common and giant), Palmer amaranth, waterhemp, marestail, morning glory, common cocklebur, sunflowers, Russian thistle and kochia. The application window ranges from 28 days preplant to 12-inch corn.

“Bicyclopyrone enables Acuron to control a broader spectrum of hard-to-control weeds than other HPPD inhibitors and has season-long residual,” says Brett Miller, technical development lead for Syngenta. “It also has good burndown capability for minimum tillage.”

Syngenta Acuron test plots with herbicide treatment, weed control
Click for larger image.

Kevin Bradley, University of Missouri associate professor of plant science, notes that Acuron is a mix of four products. “I tell our growers it is like Lexar plus with an additional HPPD inhibitor,” he says. “Because it contains four different active ingredients that act at three different sites of action, it has a good fit as a preemergence residual herbicide for the management of resistant weeds such as waterhemp.”

Bradley says they have compared Acuron to other commercially available premixes commonly used in corn, and it provided very good broad-spectrum grass and broadleaf weed control. Pending registration, limited supplies of Acuron will be available for field corn, seed corn, silage corn, sweet corn and yellow popcorn.

 

Enlist corn hybrid stewarded launch

“Corn hybrids that include the Enlist trait will be available from Mycogen, Brodbeck Seeds, Pfister, Dairyland and Prairie Brand in 2015,” says Damon Palmer, U.S. marketing director for Dow AgroSciences’ seed business.

“To plant Enlist hybrids, growers must agree to the terms of the stewarded launch, which require that Enlist grain be fed to the farmer’s own livestock,” Palmer says. “This is a precaution to prevent the corn from entering trade channels before all export clearances have been secured.”

Growers and applicators also must complete the company’s Enlist 360 training program and comply with label requirements for spray pressures, low-drift nozzles, application speeds and other guidelines.

“More than 14,000 people have completed Enlist 360 training,” Palmer says. “For this upcoming season, we will continue to offer in-person training seminars; in-field, experiential training; and online, self-directed tutorials to prepare people to use the system properly.”