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Articles from 2010 In May

Add Another to List of Great Tenderloin Restaurants

I won't say the highlight of a day on the road traveling to meet farmers and get information fro articles is lunch, but it ranks right up there. Rich Schlipf gave me a personal planter clinic in his barnyard using his planter, equipped for a variety of conditions. It needs to be, considering he farms everything from clay ground to muck near Milford.

Schlipf is a dealer for Precision Planting, but he insists that he can justify every bell and whistle on his planter. By the end of the long morning workout, I was a believer. From readouts on singulation and seed spacing on his 20/20 SeedSense monitor in the cab to new seed delivery tubes that sense seed drop with a different kind of sensor, mounted a the bottom, not the middle of the tube, I could see the logic of how he was shooting for picket-fence sands.

He also has what's called Row Flow, a new innovation Precision offers that shuts off rows on the end if they're already planted, and shuts off rows in point row situations. Other companies offer row-shut-off features, some as factory options.

Since he's mounted Tru-Count clutches on each row and runs the shaft off hydraulics to do variable-rate seeding, he could program every row to shut off one-by-one. Instead, he typically gangs at least a couple rows together. In fields with lots of point rows and short fields with lots of turning on ends this feature should pencil out paying for itself rather quickly. He even showed me that you can set it to shut off right when the row meets the end row, already planted, 15 inches before it, or 30 inches before it, depending on how you want to configure your field.

Now to those tenderloins. I've found through the years that I get the best, home-cooked, farmer-style food in places in small towns I wouldn't enter without someone with me. Not because they look rough and tough, although a couple of them have, but because they look like hole-in-the-wall places that perhaps even the board of health doesn't know exists.

The one Rich took me too in Milford for lunch after the one-on-one planter session was appealing enough, just a small, white, clapboard diner with a small parking lot. But I didn't expect to find a great breaded tenderloin sandwich in a place called China Sea. They serve Chinese food, but the tenderloin was delicious, large but not too big, meaty and lightly breaded. Rich recommended it, and it was a winner.

There are other great places all over Indiana that serve great breaded tenderloins. If you know of one, let me know. I'll try it next time I'm in the area. And if it's in one of those places I might wonder about if I didn't know better, maybe I'll even ask you to come along! As long as the tenderloin is as good as you say it s and you throw in a visit to your farm, lunch would be on me!

Scout Soybeans for Water-borne Diseases

Scout Soybeans for Water-borne Diseases

Ohio soybean growers should keep an eye on their crops for water-borne diseases that may have cropped up during the recent heavy rains.

Saturated soils and ponding conditions are ideal for the development of diseases such as Pythium seed rot, Phytophthora root and stem rot, Fusarium root rot and Rhizoctonia stem rot, according to Anne Dorrance, an Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist.

"Right now, because of the cooler soils, the crop is most susceptible to Pythium seed rot and damping-off," Dorrance says. "We've been pulling some Pythium from our plots already."

Growers should scout their fields for classic signs of damage from water molds and other soil-resident pathogens.

"When scouting fields, what you'll see are big blank spaces where seedlings have died and plants haven't emerged, or plants will come up and will damp-off--meaning that they turn brown and die," Dorrance says. "If a dead plant has a red canker at the base, it's probably Rhizoctonia. If it's brown and soft, it's Pythium or Phytophthora. If it's pink, then it's probably Fusarium."

In situations where growers have to replant, they should wait until the soil is completely dry for a few days before planting new seed.

"Pathogens tend to go dormant under dry conditions and they have to be re-wetted to get started back up again," she says. "You don't want to re-plant quickly into these fields when the pathogens are active. You may end up having to re-plant two or three times."

In addition, Dorrance highly recommended growers use seed treatments to protect the seedlings.

Despite the risk from water-borne pathogens, Ohio's soybean crop so far is in good shape, says Dorrance.

Millers Honor K-State Associate Professor

Millers Honor K-State Associate Professor

The International Associaton of Operative Millers has honored Jeff Gwirtz, associate professor of milling science and management at Kansas State University with the 2010 Thaddeus Bownik Award.

The IAOM was founded in 1896 and is an international organization of grain millers and allied trades representatives that promotes education and training opportunities in the grain milling industries.

Gwirtz, who has been a member of the International Association of Operative Millers since 1983, has served on several different association committees and has had various roles within the organization.

Gwirtz was working his first job out of high school at a local coop when he learned about the K-State grain science department. On his first vacation, he traveled to Manhattan to learn more and decided to enroll in the milling science and management program at K-State.

Gwirtz said the milling science program at K-State has a strong link with the International Association of Operative Millers.

"Many of our association members and associates have degrees in milling science from K-State or have attended many of the jointly sponsored resident milling short courses that K-State and the association facilitate," he said.

Hager Has Tips for Combating the First Flush of Weeds

Hager Has Tips for Combating the First Flush of Weeds

Ample soil moisture and warm temperatures are resulting in rapid corn growth. Unfortunately, the weeds are growing right along with the crop.

In order to get the most effective results from post-emergence herbicides, University of Illinois Extension Weed Specialist Aaron Hager offers a few recommendations.

"Before you apply, scout corn fields to accurately determine the crop's growth stage," Hager notes. "Adverse environmental conditions can result in corn plants that are physiologically older than their height suggests, so assess the plant's developmental stage by evaluating leaf/collar number in addition to plant height."

Look for the maximum corn stage listed on the respective herbicide label and do not apply the product if corn exceeds the labeled stage. If tank-mixing two or more products, follow the most restrictive corn growth stage listed on any of the tank-mix component labels.

With the increased occurrence of glyphosate-resistant weed populations and weed species that are inherently less sensitive to glyphosate, tank-mixing products with glyphosate to control these challenging species has become a more common practice.

"Tank-mixing broadens the spectrum of weeds that can be controlled," Hager says. "For example, in glyphosate-resistant corn, tank-mixing growth regulators such as dicamba or 2,4-D with glyphosate can improve control of glyphosate-resistant waterhemp and other tough-to-control broadleaf weed species, such as annual morning glory and giant ragweed."

Warm temperatures and relative humidity can also enhance absorption of post-emergence herbicides. Consult product labels when selecting spray additives to include with them, Hager adds.

"Some labels suggest changing from one type of additive to another when the corn crop is under stressful growing conditions," Hager says. "However, attempting to save a trip across the field by applying a post-emergence corn herbicide with a liquid nitrogen fertilizer solution such as UAN as the carrier is not advisable. Applying high rates of UAN by itself can cause corn injury, but adding a post-emergence herbicide can greatly increase corn injury."

Effectiveness of post-emergence herbicides can be reduced if weeds are stressed before or after the application. Labels recommend avoiding inter-row cultivation within a certain number of days before or after application to avoid reducing effectiveness. While side-dressing corn generally does not disturb as much soil as inter-row cultivation, growth of weeds near to where the applicator knives passed could be slowed for a few days following this type of nitrogen application.

Hager also recommends using caution when applying some herbicide formulations on hot days.

"High air temperatures enhance the possibility of volatilization of certain herbicide formulations," he says. "Vapors are easily moved by air currents and could potentially move out of the treated area and cause injury to sensitive vegetation nearby."

Gulf Oil Spill Impact Reaches Beyond Coast

Gulf Oil Spill Impact Reaches Beyond Coast

Economic ripples could spread across the country like oil leaking from the ruptured BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Higher seafood prices and possible disruption of shipping through ports along the Louisiana Gulf might reach consumers and producers in the Midwest, according to an economist with the University of Missouri Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.

"I think when we look at where we are today we haven't seen much of an impact on agriculture to this point, but that isn't to say there won't be a larger impact," says Scott Brown, an economist with the independent congressionally funded think tank. "The longer this goes on and the more oil we have to deal with, the more costly it will be from all standpoints."

Fans of seafood are sure losers from the spill. As the spill spreads, fertile fishing grounds in the Gulf of Mexico will be limited due to environmental concerns. That means higher prices in grocery stores, but it might also benefit Missouri farmers.

"We certainly will see higher seafood prices, but for Midwest agriculture that may mean consumers will turn to beef, pork and chicken instead," Brown says.

Oil and natural gas have been spewing into the Gulf for more than a month from the ruptured well. Estimates of oil leaked range widely, from about 210,000 gallons per day according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to a worst-case scenario of 4.2 million gallons per day estimated by outside experts.

Louisiana's five Mississippi River deepwater ports constitute the busiest port system in the world and are the primary points of origin for U.S. grain exports. Markets can look no further than Hurricane Katrina to find an example of what can happen in this situation.

"After Katrina the rivers shut down and we saw effects on grain prices, but they didn't last very long," Brown notes. "If we're talking about this oil spill affecting grain or barge traffic for months, this will have a much larger effect than if we're just talking about a week or two of curtailment."

Port of New Orleans officials said that oil slicks have not yet become a factor for shipping lanes. However, that might change in the coming weeks if wind and ocean currents shift.

"If shipping lanes are curtailed or slowed, goods that come up the river could become more expensive," Brown adds. "Imported things like bananas, rubber and fertilizer all can see higher prices if shipping is disrupted. Exported grain could ultimately add costs to the foreign buyers and potentially reduce the price of that product for our producers here in Missouri and throughout the Midwest.

Brown cautions that at this point it's hard to tell what the long-term effect of the oil spill will be. "Figuring out how the oil will spread and whether it will get in the shipping lanes seems to be important in determining the effects," he says. "Until then, it's far too early in the game to know the larger impact on consumers."

Source: MU Cooperative Media Group

Quarantine to Protect Michigan Chestnut Trees

Quarantine to Protect Michigan Chestnut Trees

A new plant pest quarantine against the Chestnut Gall Wasp has been instituted to protect the state's growing chestnut industry from the devastating effects of an exotic insect pest found elsewhere in the U.S.  Effective immediately, shipments of chestnut nursery stock coming from infested states is prohibited unless certain regulatory requirements are met. 

"Michigan's growing chestnut industry is at risk.  We rank number one in the country for number of chestnut farms; 54 farms encompassing 813 acres. Not to mention, chestnuts are among the many different specialty crops grown in Michigan," says Michigan Department of Agriculture Director Don Koivisto. "We want to prevent the introduction of chestnut gall wasp into our state to ensure the continued health and viability of chestnut groves across Michigan." 

MDA's exterior state quarantine places restrictions on the movement of chestnut nursery stock from the following quarantined states - Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia.

The chestnut gall wasp is a tiny insect that can cause chestnut trees to produce less nuts and often causes the tree to die. These wasps damage both the Asiatic and European chestnut which are grown commercially for food and the remaining American chestnut, which were largely destroyed due to chestnut blight.  The gall wasp does not affect horse chestnut, which is not a true chestnut. 

"Our ability to regulate the movement of chestnut nursery stock is crucial to preventing the artificial introduction and spread of chestnut gall wasp into the state," says Koivisto. "It's going to take a team effort from chestnut growers and homeowners to ensure chestnut nursery stock meets our quarantine requirements."

This exotic insect, a native of China, was first introduced into North America in 1974 on imported chestnut cuttings.  It's generally spread to new areas due to the transport of infested seedlings and exchange of infested scion wood which is used to graft new trees. The chestnut gall wasp lays eggs in the buds of chestnut shoots and the galls develop on the shoot tips, leaves, and flowers. The gall severely reduces nut production and hinders shoot growth.  Once the adult insects emerge, the dried and blackened galls then become woody and have the ability to live on the older tree limbs for years.  More severe gall wasp infestations diminish the tree canopy and causes tree mortality.

Individuals or businesses found violating the state's chestnut gall wasp quarantine are subject to fines ranging from $1,000 to $250,000 and jail time of up to five years for moving uninspected or improperly certified chestnut trees and scionwood cuttings.

Additional information about chestnut gall wasp is available on the MDA website at

How to Count Stands Using the Hula-Hoop

How to Count Stands Using the Hula-Hoop

My wife spent $5 for a large-size hula-hoop at a major department store. My daughter bought me one for a buck at a dollar store. It's only 27 inches in diameter, but it will still work, developing stand count information in soybean fields. Now that the weather has cleared some and soybeans planted in early to mid-May have had an opportunity to emerge, this is likely a good time to visit fields and determine counts. If you're going to do any replanting, the sooner, it's done, the better the odds that it might return a positive return. That's a story for another day.

Right now concentrate on getting good counts. Shaun Casteel at Purdue University says you can use the hula-hoop on both solid stands and 15-inch rows. If you don't have an actual hoop, you can make one out of number nine wire. The key is to have it perfectly round, and know the diameter of the hoop.

The Purdue University Corn & Soybean Field Guide developed by the Purdue Diagnostic Training Clinic contains instructions and tables on how to sue the hoop. Find them on page 108 in the 2010 edition. Here's an example.

Suppose I roll my 27-inch bargain hoop five times at random location in a 15-inch row field and find an average of 13 soybean plants per hoop. The conversion factor for turning that count into average stand count for plants counted inside a 27-inch diameter hoop is 10,961. So my average population is 13 times 10,961 equals 142,493.

That's still far more than the charts say will return top yield potential. In fact, there are people pushing the planting population down near 140,000 plants per acre. In the field where I took these counts, the planting population averaged 168,500 per acre. At 90% germination and 90% emergence, the variables assumed for years by soybean specialists, the expected stand count would be 136,485. So in this example, there was obviously better germination and or emergence than the twin 90's to produce this stand.

Suppose we used a 30-inch hoop and counted 18 plants. Since the hoop contains more square inches, the multiplication factor will be smaller. For a 30-inch hoop, the factor to multiply the average count of plants inside the hoop by is 8,878. That means that in this case, the expected count would be 159,400.

In either case, both stands are far more than is needed to achieve 100% yield potential.

Hula-Hoop Still Works for Fifteen Inch Rows

Hula-Hoop Still Works for Fifteen Inch Rows

Some fertilizer dealers are apparently spreading the word that the hula-hoop method for measuring soybean stands only works if you are in 7.5 inch rows. Many people today are in 15-inch rows, using split-row planters. Shaun Casteel, Purdue University Extension specialist and soybean information specialist, says the hula-hoop method still works in 15-inch rows, regardless of what you may have heard.

"Sure, you can use the hula-hoop method on 15-inch rows," he says. "It will still work."

Using the method requires knowing the diameter of the hoop. Diameters can range from 27 to 36 inches. The larger hoops may get a better distribution, especially in 15-inch rows. The difference in diameter is accounted for in the factors that are used to determine how many thousand plants per acre are in the spots that you check.

The secret to the hula-hoop method or any other cou8ntign method is to take several counts, and take them at random. That's why many crop consultants have a set pattern. They pace to a certain spot in the field, then roll the hoop and do the count where it lands. Otherwise, it might be easy to bias the results by placing it down on good on good spots rather than counting at random.

The other important factor, specialists say, is to do a number of counts in any one field. If only part of a field is having stand problems, you may want to take several counts in that one spot, then average them to arrive at a reasonable estimate of the population there.

If you don't want to use the hula-hoop, you can count off feet of row, as many people do when estimating corn yield, Casteel says. Again, it's important to pick the spots that you count at random.

One method is to count off 17 feet and 5 inches, which represents one/ one thousandth of an acre in 30-inch rows. Lay out the tape between two soybean rows, then count both sides, since rows are only 15 inches apart. Or if that's more measuring and counting than you want to do, use half of 17 feet, 5 inches to compute your counts, counting plants on both sides of the tape. Then double the average count.

However you do it, you should come out at about the same estimated population, the specialist says.

Colorado State U Gets $15 Million for Climate Change Livestock Impact Study

Colorado State U Gets $15 Million for Climate Change Livestock Impact Study

Colorado State University is using a new $15 million U.S. Agency for International Development Collaborative Research Support Program grant to probe the impact of climate change on livestock around the globe.

The focus will be on developing nations.

CSU will manage the grant and for the next five years develop partnerships for multiple research programs in Africa and Asia. The grant is given to the university's Animal Population Health Institute and CSU's Institute for Livestock and the Environment.

The fund will pay for CSU oversight for the project and CSU research in developing nations. Research will focus on ways to help manage livestock under changing climate conditions in nations where the population depends on farm animals for a significant portion of income.

The goal is not just to study these processes but to help producers adapt to climate change and improve their livelihoods.

"The risks to livestock and developing livestock industries in these countries as a result of climate change encompass a broad range of issues and challenges – more than may meet the eye of the general observer," says Mo Salman, CSU's principal investigator for the grant.

"As just one example, we know that climate change may drive changes in precipitation and temperature in many regions which are already arid or semi-arid," notes the veterinary college professor. "That leads to reduced crop yields and pasture productivity for livestock, which makes it difficult for farmers and herders to support their livelihood."

Because these producers can no longer survive off the land, they may migrate to urban areas, he adds, changing the social fabric of communities, altering cultural identity and increasing political instability.

Like some regions of Africa,  Colorado is also a semi-arid region in areas where livestock industries are important economically and culturally. The information gained from the study could eventually help Coloradans adjust to similar climate-related changes.

Brag About Ag Video Contest

Brag About Ag Video Contest

One-thousand dollars in prize money will be divided among the winners of the "BRAG about AG" Video Contest sponsored by the CropLife Ambassador Network.

The contest is open to college students in any agriculture related field of study. The top winner in each category will receive $200.00. Submission deadline is July 30.

Videos five-minutes or less may be submitted in any of the following categories:

1. Ag Makes My Day

Depict how modern agriculture affects our daily life by showcasing the variety of products provided by agriculture.

2. Cutting Edge Agriculture

Highlight your family farm's use of modern technology.

3. Stewards of the Land

Highlight actual modern practices being used on your farm to ensure sustainability.

4. Our Family Farm

Show off your modern farm! What is your farm's history, what crops you grow, how much land you farm, yields, show daily activities, etc? Be creative!

5. Videographer's Choice

What would you like to tell the public about modern agriculture?

Entrants may submit videos and win in multiple categories. Video must be five minutes or less, include narrative, depict a personal side of ag and include your family farm. Submit videos via a YouTube account and share by email to All submissions become property of Mid America CropLife Association.

Submissions should include contest category, name, college, email, phone, address, state and zip. Winners will be announced on August 16 and listed on

The CropLife Ambassador Network is the outreach education program of the Mid America CropLife Association. Our volunteer ambassadors speak with fourth through sixth grade students across the Midwest about the benefits of modern agriculture. The videos will be used to supplement our ambassador program by sharing our message on the benefits of modern agriculture through young adults using a medium popular with today's youth.

For complete contest details visit the CropLife Ambassador Network's website at