Farm Progress is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Serving: United States


Articles from 2012 In May

California Crop Weather: citrus bloom is complete

California Crop Weather: citrus bloom is complete

The California Crop Weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service Field Office in Sacramento, Calif., released May 29, 2012.


A low pressure system brushed Northern California at the start of the week of May 21 bringing rain to the extreme northern coastal region. The front did not affect the high pressure which was over the southern half of California where very warm temperatures were reported in the southeast interior. 

Light rains persisted across the North Coast Tuesday while the rest of the state remained dry and warm.

The high pressure began to weaken Wednesday as an unusually strong, low-pressure system developed over the British Columbia Coast and began to drive southward. This fast-moving system reached Southern California Thursday and brought cooler temperatures to the state. 

Moisture was somewhat limited with this system so significant precipitation was limited to mountainous regions with some snowfall at the highest elevations. 

Many interior areas reported at least light rain with this system. By the end of the week, the low pressure had moved out of the state but high pressure was slow to develop in its wake. As a result, temperatures remained below normal for most areas.

Field crops

Temperatures cooled off during the week slowing the pace of development. Gusty winds throughout the week aided the dry down of the wheat crop. The crop was rated mostly good to excellent as harvest picked up the pace.

Alfalfa growers allowed the crop to grow in preparation for the third cutting. 

Even though temperatures cooled during the week, cotton responded well and emerged at a rapid pace while some early-planted cotton started to square. Post-emergence fertilizers were applied to the cotton crop. Some producers sprayed for mites and lygus. The cotton crop was rated good to excellent.

Corn showed good development progress. Nearly the entire rice crop was planted.

Fruit crops

Plum, prune, peach, apricot, and nectarine fruit progressed and developed. Prune and peach trees in the Sacramento Valley were thinned due to heavy sets. Harvests continued in early peach, nectarine, and apricot varieties in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV). 

The cherry harvest picked up. The apple and pear blooms were over as fruit developed. Kiwis flowered and bees were in kiwi vineyards for the bloom.

Fruit developed on grape vines. SJV grapes were sprayed for powdery mildew.

Pomegranates were in full bloom. The olive bloom was reportedly heavy. Blueberries and strawberries in the SJV were picked and packed. 

The citrus bloom was complete. Nets were removed from seedless tangerine groves. The Navel orange harvest was nearly complete. The harvests of lemons and Valencia oranges continued. 

Nut crops

The almond crop progressed well as nuts hardened. Walnut fungicide applications continued as the nuts developed. Pistachios developed.

Vegetable crops

Tulare County reported summer vegetables including tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplants progressed well. Squash and other vegetables were harvested. 

Fresno County reported onions and garlic progressed rapidly. Processing tomatoes and carrots were irrigated and fertilized.

In San Joaquin County, the asparagus harvest continued. Onions grew and watermelon was planted.

In Sutter County, tomato transplants grew rapidly. 

May 31 WAOB Summary


All graphics courtesy of USDA, NOAA, Department of Commerce


Appreciable rain fell from the northern Pacific Coast to the upper Midwest, maintaining favorable conditions in the Northwest and improving prospects for winter wheat and spring-sown crops across the northern Plains and northwestern Corn Belt. Weekly rainfall ranged from 2 to 4 in., with locally higher amounts, in much of Minnesota and neighboring areas.

In contrast, short-term drought continued to rapidly expand and intensify from portions of the central and southeastern Plains into the Midsouth and lower Midwest. Weekly temperatures generally averaged 5° to 10° F above normal in the aforementioned regions, compounding the effects of topsoil moisture depletion on summer crops and immature winter wheat.

On the southern Plains, however, hot, dry weather promoted a rapid wheat harvest pace. Farther east, widespread rain eased or eradicated dryness in the Mid-Atlantic States, but hot, dry weather maintained stress on pastures and rain-fed summer crops in the lower Southeast. At week’s end, however, Tropical Storm Beryl formed about 300 miles east of Charleston, SC, and moved southwestward. Beryl made landfall just after midnight on Memorial Day, May 28, near Jacksonville Beach, FL, and more details on Beryl’s drought-easing rainfall will appear next week.

Elsewhere, cool, showery weather covered the Northwest, but hot, dry conditions persisted for much of the week in the Southwest. Crop development remained mostly behind the normal pace in the Northwest, while several wildfires affected southern California and the Four Corners States.


Download the full report PDF.


Higher California wine grape prices expected to continue

Higher California wine grape prices expected to continue

Sustainable prices for California wine grape growers will continue for at least the next three years, said Jeff Bitter of Allied Grape Growers.

“I think California wine grape growers will enjoy good strong prices for the next three years or so. I don’t know if they’ll jump up another 25 to 50 percent (from current prices). That remains to be seen.”

Many wineries believe the wine grape supply will be short for the next three to five years. Over the last decade plus, California’s wine grape industry has mimicked a one-way yo-yo, with lots of downward action with little upward movement. Since last year, this has changed as wine grape growers now enjoy higher prices.

“We’re coming out of a period of a chronic wine grape surplus in California to a position today of balanced inventories,” said Bitter, seated in his leather office chair at Allied’s home office in Fresno, Calif., in mid May.

“In addition, we’re also on the cusp of a shortage. When you apply the law of supply and demand, these factors point to the economically sustainable production of California wine grapes.”

Bitter is a 15-year Allied Grape Growers’ veteran; the last decade serving as vice-president alongside Allied President Nat DiBuduo. Bitter is a fourth-generation Central Valley grape grower, who along with his wife April, owns and operates a 40-acre vineyard in Madera.

Allied is a 61-year-old, grower-owned cooperative which markets wine grapes for about 600 mostly small wine grape growers located across California. The co-op markets members’ grapes to wineries, but does not buy grapes from its members.

Looking at Central Valley wine grape prices, Bitter says varietal grape prices have rebounded to levels last seen in the pre-surplus days in the mid-to-late 1990s.

“We’re not necessarily talking about all-time price highs today for Central Valley growers. Growers are just barely able to make it for the first time in a decade,” Bitter said.

California’s estimated 4,600 wine grape growers continue to pinch their skin to determine if current higher wine grape prices are real or a mere dream. Pinch no more.

Wine grape growers watched prices fall like an anvil from 2000 to 2010 amid times of crop overproduction plus consumer cutbacks during the economy-stifling Great Recession. The premium wine grape industry experienced especially difficult times from late 2008 through 2010.

California growers produce about 10 percent of the world’s wine grape crop – about 3.5 million tons of wine grapes on average annually.

Price breakdown

The current price rebound began last year and future prices appear promising. Bitter broke down his 2012 Central Valley price vision into the varietal, generic, and floral wine grape categories.

Bitter says Central Valley varietals are selling for a minimum of $400 per ton to $600 per ton on the spot market with long-term contracts offered at those prices as well. Specific varietal prices include Chardonnay in the $500 per ton to $600 per ton range, Cabernet Sauvignon from $550 to $600-plus per ton, and Merlot in about the same range.

Generic wine grapes for this crop year (Central Valley) can bring $300 per ton to $400 per ton; prices not seen since the late 1990s. Prices for several generics include French Colombard at $325 per ton to $350 per ton, Barbera/Carignane at about $400 per ton, and Ruby Cabernet at $400 per ton or more.
For floral (light sweet) wine grapes, Bitter predicts Central Valley prices from $400 per ton to $600 per ton. Muscat of Alexander grapes currently fetch $400 to $500 per ton, Muscat Canelli lassos $500 per ton or more, and Symphony grapes deliver $450 per ton to $500 or more per ton.

Floral wines are currently very popular with consumers; especially with the Millennial generation (Generation Y) – those born since the late 1970s. While the varietal Chablis wine was popular in the 1970s and 1980s, floral wines are gaining favor type with Millennials. About half of the Millennial generation is of legal-drinking age today.

“With 12 to 15-tons-per-acre yield potential, floral grapes can generate $4,600 per acre to $6,000 per acre in gross revenue to the grower,” Bitter said. “That’s certainly enough to make a profit.”

Typical grower-winery wine grape contracts are single year or three-to-five-year documents. Some wineries are pursuing production contracts where growers plant additional acres with prices locked in for 12-to-15 years including price minimums.

“Wineries want to lock in their needed supply of wine grapes into a contract to make sure they don’t lose the grapes to a competitor,” Bitter said. “This is the reason for longer-term contracts today with minimum prices. Many growers have five or six wineries bidding for their 2012 crop versus the traditional one or two wineries.”

Today’s prices compare to less than $100 per ton for some varieties from 2001 to 2003. Some grapes were left on the vine and never harvested.

“There were spot markets for $65 per ton to $90 per ton – prices one quarter of today’s prices,” Bitter said. “Those growers suffered tremendously during the three-year period. It didn’t matter if you grew grapes in Fresno or Lodi – that was the value. We’ve rebounded quite a bit today.”

Bitter says today’s higher prices translate to more economic sustainability for growers. “Wine grape prices jumped last year and this year. Current prices are now at the level which most growers consider sustainable. If California has a good-sized wine grape crop this year and re-fills the winery, we’ll probably see prices plateau a little bit."

Consumer demand for wine has jumped 10 percent to 12 percent so far this year. If this growth trend continues, Bitter says grape prices could trend higher.

Bitter says the premium grape industry shows signs of rebound after a decade of financial struggles. Growers and wineries increased Coastal premium grape acreage from 1998 to 2008 to offset consumers’ increased demand for premium wine.

This shifted total California wine grape acreage — estimated at about 525,000 acres today (bearing and non-bearing) — from traditional statewide production at 60 percent in the Central Valley and 40 percent in the Coastal regions to more of a 50-50 split.

Recent consecutive back-to-back years of short crops on the North Coast have helped reduce supplies to bring supply and demand back into sync.

“Now we’re getting back on track on the high end of the market through shorter crops and increased demand for premium wine,” Bitter said. “We hope consumers will continue to respond positively in premium wine consumption.”

Bitter predicts wine grape acreage will shift to 53 percent to 54 percent production in the interior areas and 46 percent to 47 percent in Coastal areas by 2014 or 2015.

Arizona Veg IPM: Bagrada bug, disease resistance, fallow weed control

Arizona Veg IPM: Bagrada bug, disease resistance, fallow weed control

The latest Arizona Vegetable Integrated Pest Management Update from the University of Arizona (UA) Cooperative Extension in Yuma, Ariz. released May 30, 2012.

Bagrada bug impact on desert cole crops in 2010-2011

By John Palumbo, UA Research Scientist and Extension Specialist

The Bagrada bug, Bagrada hilaris, has been a major problem in desert cole crops over the last two fall-growing seasons.

In 2010, widespread infestations were reported throughout the desert growing area in September and October. Stand losses and yield/quality reductions to broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and other Brassica crops were considered economically significant in some growing areas.

In 2011, Bagrada populations did not appear until early October but certainly caused crop losses and required control with insecticides.

In an attempt to document the impact of these outbreaks on desert production, a survey of growers and pest control advisers (PCAs) from the Yuma and Imperial Valley areas was recently conducted to estimate the severity of Bagrada bug infestations on direct-seeded and transplanted cole crops during 2010.

A summary of the survey results can be found at Impact of the Bagrada Bug on Desert Cole Crops: A Survey of PCA/Growers in 2010 and 2011.

In general, the results of surveys in 2010 and 2011 showed that more than 93 percent of direct-seed cole crop acreage (e.g., broccoli) was treated for Bagrada adult infestations with insecticides compared to transplanted cole crops (e.g., cauliflower) where about 86 percent of the acreage was reported treated.

Similarly, estimates showed that direct-seeded cole crops sustained greater stand losses and plant injury from Bagrada feeding than transplanted crops.

When averaged over both years, estimated stand losses and plant injury caused by Bagrada bug feeding exceeded 10 percent in direct-seeded crops.

PCAs also provided information on insecticides that provided effective control through chemigations and foliar sprays. In general, they reported that products that have contact activity (i.e., Pyrethroids, OP/Carbamates) appeared to provide the most effective control against Bagrada adults on both direct-seeded and transplanted cole crops.

Overall, the results of the PCA survey are consistent with results obtained in research trials conducted at the Yuma Agricultural Center last year.

In addition, access to the 1080 database showed that insecticide usage on cole crops has nearly doubled since Bagrada outbreaks first occurred in the fall of 2010.

Contact Palumbo: (928) 782-3836 or

Disease resistance and tolerance

By Mike Matheron, UA Extension Plant Pathologist

An extremely valuable weapon in the battle to manage plant diseases may reside within the genetic composition of the plant.

This plant genetic disease management tool is commonly referred to simply as disease resistance or tolerance. These names are often used interchangeably; however, the definitions of each term denote a significant difference.

Resistance is the ability of a plant to exclude or overcome the effect of a plant pathogen. Tolerance is the ability of a plant infected by a pathogen to grow without dying or sustaining serious injury or yield loss.

Therefore, resistance focuses on infection prevention whereas tolerance permits the plant to grow without serious injury or yield loss after infection.

Disease resistance and tolerance are not all or nothing conditions. For example, resistance can range from its highest level – referred to as immunity - through degrees of useful resistance, and finally to its lowest level when a plant is highly susceptible to a particular pathogen.

Also, resistance and tolerance usually are specific to one or at most a few diseases and not a broad range of plant ailments. The mechanisms within plants that create disease resistance and tolerance are many and varied.

Successful suppression of pathogen activity by a plant is tied to how a particular pathogen gains entrance into a plant to initiate disease, and how a plant defends itself from infection by one or more physiological (biochemical) or morphological (structural) changes.

One key advantage of strong genetic resistance or tolerance is that this disease management tool will be active for the life of the plant without an input by the grower. On the other hand, when products including fungicides are used to manage diseases, the products must be applied to be in place over the entire growth period of the plant when disease is expected.

Also, disease management provided by plant genetics often targets diseases for which no other known effective disease management tools are known.

Building disease resistance or tolerance into plants is an ongoing activity of plant breeders - using classical as well as modern genetic manipulation techniques to achieve this goal.

Contact Matheron: (928) 726-6856 or

Summer fallow weed control for vegetables

By Barry Tickes, UA Area Agriculture Agent

It is much easier to kill weeds when there is no crop in the field. Now is a good time to reduce the seed bank of summer annual weeds in fallow fields.

Weed seeds are buried at variable depths in the soil, some have hard seed coats, and there are other variables that cause germination over a long period of time. If all came up at the same time the weeds would be much easier to control.

It takes time to repeatedly irrigate, germinate, and kill weeds with tillage or herbicides. UA-conducted trials suggest in most years summer annual weeds begin to germinate in February, peak in June, but continue germination into October.

Proper timing of tillage to kill weeds can be important with some species. Some weeds including common Purslane are very succulent and can remain viable for several days after cultivation or hoeing. The weed can re-root at the nodes and continue growing if allowed to grow too large before uprooting.

Growers sometimes allow early emerging weeds to get fairly large in an effort to germinate as many seeds as possible. Incorporating large amounts of organic matter into the soil can also have a negative effect on some pre-emergent herbicides used in vegetables.

Many of the root and shoot inhibitor herbicides including Trifluaralin, Pendimethalin, Benefin, DCPA, and others can bind to organic matter and be less available to kill weeds.

Tillage has the opposite effect on perennial weeds including nutsedge and Bermudagrass than on annual weeds. These weeds are spread vegetatively. Repeatedly irrigation and tillage will spread rather than kill these weeds.

Contact and systemic herbicides are used during fallow periods to control weeds. The contact herbicides include Paraquat (Gramoxone, Firestorm), Carfentrazone (Aim, Shark), Pyraflufen (ET), Pelegonic Acid (Scythe), and others.

Some of the advantages of these are quickness and no soil residual which allows crop planting soon after application. Disadvantages are the effective use primarily is on small weeds.

The most commonly used systemic herbicide for fallow ground is Glyphosate. It is broad spectrum and has no soil residual.

Many of the systemic herbicides registered for fallow use, including Oxyfluorfen (Goal, Galigen) or EPTC (Eptam), require at least 90 days before planting many vegetable crops. If used correctly, Eptam can be very effective in controlling nutsedge during summer fallow.

Only fumigants kill weed seeds including Chloropicrin, Methyl Bromide, Metam Sodium, Dazomet, Telone, and others.

Most pre-emergent herbicides only work after the seed has germinated. Pre-emergent herbicides are often used for fallow weed control only when at least 30 to 45 days or longer are available.

Fumigants are expensive, can be difficult to use, and are often used for disease or nematode control with the added benefit of controlling weeds. Soil solarization and flooding have become increasingly popular in recent years as techniques to control pests during summer fallow.

Few regions are as well suited for these techniques as the low desert. The techniques are used primarily to control diseases, but also have the benefit of controlling some summer annual weeds.

Contact Tickes: (928) 580-9902 or

Arizona Agri-Weekly: cotton plants shift into squaring

Arizona Agri-Weekly: cotton plants shift into squaring

The Arizona Agri-Weekly report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service Field Office in Phoenix released May 29, 2012.

Field crops

Cotton planting is 98 percent complete, 2 percent ahead of last year and 5 percent ahead of the five-year average. Replanting has occurred in a few areas across the state.

Squaring has occurred on almost one fourth of the acreage. The crop is in mostly fair to good condition.

Alfalfa conditions care mostly fair to excellent depending on the location. Harvest occurred in almost all of the state’s growing areas.

The Durum wheat harvest is underway in a few areas.

Vegetable, fruit, and specialty crops

Arizona growers shipped cantaloupes, honeydews, mixed and miscellaneous melons, watermelons, onions, and potatoes.

Weather summary

Temperatures were generally above normal across Arizona for the week ending May 27, ranging from 6 degrees below normal at Paloma to 8 degrees above normal at Grand Canyon, Prescott, Safford, and Willcox.

The highest temperature of the week was 110 degrees at Roll. The lowest reading was 20 degrees at Grand Canyon.

No precipitation was recorded in the 21 weather stations. All weather stations are below 75 percent of normal precipitation to date in 2012. 

Social Security trust funds and Grandma’s bed

A U.S. government annual report now estimates that Social Security trust funds will be exhausted in 2033, three years earlier than projected a year ago. To keep it going, the government will eventually have to raise taxes, cut benefits or borrow or print more money.

Whether reasons for the default lie with retiring Baby Boomers, debt, unemployment, the mortgage crises or people simply living longer, politicians and governments are wrangling with tough questions about the role of government in our lives.

This time around, we have a tug of war between maintaining certain safety nets for citizens (Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) and pushing citizens toward self reliance. (All will have an impact on how farm policy is eventually written). So, do we dig deeper to fund programs, or move Grandma back in the house? Let me explain.

I’m old enough to remember the time when families simply didn’t need much  help from Uncle Sam. My father had an unwritten rule. If something looked like we couldn’t afford it, or afford to keep it up, we simply did not buy it or buy into it.

When my siblings and I complained about this oppressive frugality, my father, whose primary point of reference regarding household budgets was his survival of the Great Depression, would tell his favorite story about three generations of Robinsons living under one roof, in a four-room house with no air-conditioning. My father seemed almost proud of the fact that he had to sleep in the same bed with his grandmother and brother until he was 11.

Despite the ubiquitous cockleburs and coyotes, everything they needed could be found on their farm in east Texas. The most frivolous items in my father’s house were a ringer box telephone and Philco radio.

My father was a teenager when Social Security came along in the 1930s ostensibly to provide for the elderly and retired as the country tried to resuscitate itself from the Great Depression. Who would have thought it would turn into such a mess 80 years later?

Social Security no doubt has altered the landscape of American life. For one, it has allowed my mother to live independently of her children and grandchildren in the home where she has lived most of her life. That is a point of significant pride for her, a perk she richly, and rightly, deserves, especially for all the money she and Dad paid in.

But if future generations are denied Social Security, or have to pay so much in taxes that the benefit is erased or diminished, what will happen? Will government find a way to keep funding it? Or will we have to take a step back in time?

One day, will our children and grandchildren whisper “move over Grandma,” as they slip into their beds as night?

It probably won’t come to that. But it’s something to think about.


Armed Services Committee vote, a negative impact on rural America, Vilsack says


Last week’s vote by the Senate Committee on Armed Services failed to recognize the biofuel industry’s potential to revitalize the rural economy, create jobs, boost farm income and reduce America’s reliance of foreign fuel, said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in a media conference call this morning. That vote prohibits 2013 funding to the Department of Defense (DoD) for the production or purchase of alternative fuel “if the cost of producing or purchasing the alternative fuel exceeds the cost of traditional fossil fuel.”


“I hope that people will understand the negative impact this has on rural America,” Vilsack said. He added that this was a committee vote. (As reported in last week’s blog,

several biofuels organizations, as well as the American Farm Bureau Federation, will step up their efforts to encourage the Senate to restore support within the National Defense Authorization Act for the DoD’s commitment to accelerate the production of biofuels for military use.)


The Obama administration will continue to work collaboratively with the private sector to continue to make biofuels cost competitive with fossil fuels. “Government has a role to provide assistance to get industries up and going,” Vilsack said, adding that the oil industry still receives help from the government.


Vilsack added that the U.S. should not be so overly reliant on foreign fuel, pointing out that the country’s enormous supply of biomass offers tremendous capability for producing biofuels.


Also on the media call, Adam Monroe, president, Nozoymes North America, said that based on the history of technological advances in a very short time, he has no doubt that advanced biofuels will be an important part of the economy moving forward.  


Just yesterday, Novozymes inaugurated its new enzyme production plant in Blair, Neb., creating 100 new career positions. Monroe added that the new facility created 400 construction jobs. The Blair plant is the largest and most advanced enzyme plant in the country dedicated to existing and advanced biofuels.


With a 48C manufacturing tax credit (of $28.4 million) from the federal government, Novozymes had the confidence to move forward with the $200 million facility in Blair, which will help the company bring its technology online more quickly and push the industry further toward commercialization, Monroe said. Because of how far technological advances have come, Monroe expects that advanced biofuels will be much less expensive to produce than fossil fuels in the future.


Europe accepts walnut health claims

Europe accepts walnut health claims

The cardiovascular benefits of walnuts were officially acknowledged by the European Union with the acceptance of one walnut-specific and three generic health claims.  A total of 222 health claims were published in the Official Journal of the EU, and walnuts were the only nut granted a specific health claim.

“Walnuts contribute to the improvement of the elasticity of the blood vessels” is the first and foremost claim and unique to walnuts.  The claim may be used only for food that provides a daily intake of 30 grams of walnuts (approximately one serving/ounce by U.S. Standards). The elasticity of the blood vessels is important for the blood flow and function of the blood vessels, which is one factor of cardiovascular health, a major concern for Americans.

Additionally, California walnuts were granted the use of three generic claims due to their good fatty acid profile.   They primarily contain polyunsaturated fatty acids (13 g of 18 g total fat in one ounce) plus 2.5 grams monounsaturated fatty acids. Walnuts are the only nut providing an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid, the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid (2.5 grams in one ounce).  Omega-3 fatty acids are essential, and the body does not produce them so they must be obtained from the food one eats.

The following generic claims were approved for all food products that meet the respective fatty acid composition requirements.

  • “Alpha-linolenic acid contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.”
  • “Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats in the diet contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.” [MUFA and PUFA are unsaturated fats]
  • “Linoleic acid contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.”

For example in order to bear the ALA claim, a food product must contain at least 15 percent of the EU daily intake of 2 grams of ALA per portion.  However, the thresholds for the nutrient profiles are still forthcoming by the EU. This may further limit products entitled to bear a claim. The regulation requires various additional information to be published on packaging jointly with a health claim. Legal counsel should be sought as to the exact wording and design of the label to ensure that all requirements are met.

“It is good to see that those health benefits specific to walnuts are now also officially accepted in the EU.  We in the scientific community continue to research the health benefits of fatty and amino acids as well as nutrients pertinent to walnuts”, states Emilio Ros, MD, PhD., Lipid Clínic of Hospital Clínico, University of Barcelona, on the publication of the Health Claims. “With over seventy-five published studies to date and an additional thirty projects ongoing, the California Walnut Commission (CWC) remains committed to exploring walnuts role in the diet,” says Dennis A. Balint, CEO of the CWC. “Besides, incorporating walnuts into meals is a simple and convenient way to add variety and taste.”

More information about the European health claims can be found at

To find more ways to add walnuts to the diet, visit for recipes, snacking ideas, nutrition information and much more.

Eye on Crops: May 24, 2012


Ron Haase, Iroquois County, Ilinois

We finished planting corn on May 22.  Other local farmers were finishing up soybean planting or their replanting of corn acres that was drowned out.  Sidedressing of nitrogen in has been another popular activity in cornfields.  We are getting prepared to start sidedressing our corn that was planted in April or the first week of May.  

On Sunday, May 20, a thunderstorm passed through in the evening.  We did not receive any rain, but left the field on account of all the lightning and the threat of rain.  Other local farms received a range of 1-4 in. of rain and had water standing in the fields again.  

Corn in the local area is anywhere from emergence up to V5.  The corn planted last week is now taking six days to emerge.  Soybeans are taking five to six days to emerge.  

The local closing bids for May 23 were $6.31 for nearby corn, $4.91 for new-crop corn, $4.83 for fall 2013 corn, $13.54 for nearby soybeans and $12.25 for new-crop soybeans.  

One major project on our farm was completed yesterday after almost four weeks of work.  We had our 1889 horse barn repaired and covered with metal siding and roofing.  The whole family is excited about the improvements that were made.  In 1962 it was modified with sliding doors to allow it to store machinery instead of livestock.  It has always remained with the name horse barn to differentiate it from the other barn, which is the cow barn.  The last time it had cows was in 1977.

Wine and grape juice both offer health benefits

Wine and grape juice both offer health benefits

A recent nationwide survey of more than 4,000 American adults found that 66 percent of respondents know wine is good for their heart; however, only a fraction connected the heart-health benefits of grapes in wine to the grapes in 100 percent grape juice.

"Over a decade's worth of research suggests that 100 percent grape juice made with Concord grapes can benefit the heart," says Casey Lewis, MS, RD, Welch's Health and Nutrition Lead.

Many of the same heart-healthy plant nutrients in red wine are in grape juice making it a great option for those who choose not to drink alcohol. Like red wine, Concord grapes have a mix of natural plant nutrients called polyphenols. Growing research suggests that certain polyphenols can act as antioxidants and deliver benefits to help promote heart health.

Polyphenols give Concord grapes their vibrant color, making Welch's 100 percent Grape Juice made with Concord grapes an easy way to add a boost of purple fruit to a heart-healthy diet. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, most people don't eat enough colorful fruits and vegetables.

"People aren't getting enough purple and blue fruits, which only account for about 3 percent of total produce intake," comments Lewis. "A multicolored diet helps ensure a broad range of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant nutrients."

For more on the science behind the Concord grape's heart-health benefits, visit