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Articles from 2017 In July

dicamba related crop injury dicamba related crop injury
A lot of possible reasons for soybean injury in non-Xtend soybeans have been suggested. Missouri plant scientist Kevin Bradley reports that the majority of the injured soybean fields he visited this summer exhibited injury from one end to the other with no discernable difference in soybean symptomology. "This suggests problems with off-site movement through volatility," he says.

Seeking dicamba answers

Think Different

·         If you suspect dicamba-related injury to your non-Xtend soybeans, report it to your extension service, retailer, department of ag and the companies involved, even if you are not seeking to recover losses.

·         If you applied new generation dicamba products and no crop injury occurred to nearby non-Xtend soybeans, report that as well.

·         Document when, where and extent of damage.

·         Gather yield data from injured and non-injured areas.

·         Ask your retailer, his supplier and involved seed and chemical companies to share their data: complaints numbers, amount of product sold/sprayed, acres planted, etc.

·         If answers are to be found, data must be gathered.

·         The more data, the better the answers and the better prepared everyone will be for 2018.



The total acres of non-Xtend soybeans damaged by drift, volatilization, off-label tank mixes with unapproved products and failing to follow the label this cropping year may never be known. To the growers who suffered damage on tens, hundreds or thousands of acres outright, it is devastating.

"We have entire fields that have dicamba injury," says Jason Hamlin, agronomist, Hopper Farms, Tiptonville, Tennessee. "While I can't say it is every field that doesn't have Xtend traits, it is a high percentage of our fields and we don't know why. The new products weren't supposed to be as volatile as the old dicamba. This has us all kind of scratching our heads."


Lack of independent testing

To Kevin Bradley, it is a disaster that might have been avoided.

"Up until this year, I know of no independent weed scientists that have been allowed to do any work on volatilization with these new formulations of dicamba," says the associate professor, Division of Plant Sciences, University of Missouri. "Or if they have, they are now under confidentiality agreements.  If I am wrong, I would love to see them come forward with this information. Now we have commercial release and all we have to go on is a company statement that their product is 70 or even 90 percent less volatile than generic dicamba. But we don't know what 30 percent or even 10 percent volatility means to soybeans without the Xtend trait."

Ty Witten, crop protection product lead, Monsanto, acknowledges the company did not allow independent testing, but rather followed accepted protocols and submitted company and third party research to the EPA – research he says is available to the public.

"Limiting research doesn't sound like a great way to introduce a new chemical," says Hamlin. "In the real world plots are different from thousands of acres sprayed."

Bradley admits that unbiased university research carried out this year will be available, but that means nothing to those affected in what he describes as a 25 to 30 million-acre experiment. Without questioning the efficacy of company-sponsored research, he points to growers he has visited who have unanswered questions after claiming to follow all label recommendations.


Issues despite following the label

"I've had growers and applicators show me records that indicate they applied product with the wind blowing away from fields that later showed injury," says Bradley. "They want to know why. Is it a volume issue? Is it a cumulative effect of vapor from multiple fields? We simply don't know enough."

Gary Wheeler is looking for answers on behalf of Missouri soybean growers. The CEO of Missouri Soybean Association, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council and the Mid-America Research Development Foundation has lots of questions, but answers are hard to come by, especially with so little information to go on.

"We don't even necessarily know what the exact issue is, and that is the crux of the matter," says Wheeler. "We had 24 days out of 30 with inversions. Is the injury drift? Is it inversion? Is it generic forms of dicamba or volatilization of the new products and how they move? Due to research restraints, we don't know."

Images courtesy University of Missouri


Farmers are divided

When the Missouri agriculture director issued a Stop-Sale order on all dicamba products on July 7th, it was with the support of Missouri Soy, but not of all its members. Wheeler had angry members on both sides of the issue. 

"On the one hand, we have a grower who lost his premium on 2,200 acres of seed soybeans, potential yield and possibly being able to sell what he does harvest. On the other hand is the grower who says, this is the technology we will plant and spray, so get on board," says Wheeler. "We do know that the technology works great and cleans up the fields. God forbid we lose this technology to fight weed pressure."

With no easy answer in hand, Wheeler says the organization endorsed the temporary stay as a way to get the companies to the table to work on the issue now and through the winter. Missouri Soy is also committed to supporting researchers like Bradley.


Need to sustain this technology

"On behalf of our farmers, we think that independent research is critical," says Wheeler. "We helped these companies get their products through the regulatory process. We need to work with them to sustain this technology for the long term. However, we believe opening the door to independent research is critical."

By mid July, Monsanto’s Witten was looking for answers as well. With a reported billion-dollar investment in a production facility alone, not to mention years of research into products and traits, the company is not likely to close the door on Xtend technologies.


Unapproved dicamba applied

"We believe there are fields that are misdiagnosed with cupping symptomology by other herbicides, other fields that show damage symptomatic of volatilization, inversion movement and some that show physical drift patterns," says Witten. "We are seeing all of these things come together in the market. We do know there has been a considerable amount of unapproved dicamba sold as well."

Images courtesy University of Missouri

The independent research Bradley is running this year includes field experiments collecting air samples and using indicator plants placed at intervals after treatment. They are applying Banvel, Engenia and Xtendimax, sprayed in separate geographical areas in June, July and August. In a second set of experiments, Bradley is taking air samples and using indicator plants after spraying Xtendimax in one area in mid-afternoon and a second application at another area once an inversion sets in, during the evening/night.

With that disclaimer, Witten acknowledges that what he has seen in the field has been disheartening and discouraging. "We definitely have to understand what the grower is seeing and encourage growers with suspected dicamba related crop injury to call our 1-844-RRXTEND hotline," he says.


Much education about labels

That said, he argues that Monsanto has done everything it could to educate growers on the importance of following the label exactly, a label that is likely the most exacting and detailed yet seen.

BASF responded to queries by indicating the company was "using a number of analytical and investigative tools to determine whether Engenia herbicide or some other dicamba product was used and applied properly."

Steve Smith, director of agriculture, Red Gold (an Indiana/Ohio tomato processor), gives a lot of credit for the exacting labels to the organization he helped found. Since 2011, Save Our Crops Coalition has been lobbying the EPA and anyone who would listen about the dangers inherent in a dicamba soybean technology release, both trait and product.  They led the fight to require an environmental impact statement and require application around sensitive crops only when the wind is blowing away from them. He also suggests that the label can work.

"We worked extremely hard with our contract growers, encouraging them to be in contact with neighbors about following the label," says Smith. "As of early July, while I saw soybean injury as I drove across the state, we hadn't suffered any to our growers' fields."


Data sharing a must

Bradley admits that Missouri is the Show Me State, and its farmers seem to need to see for themselves how sensitive non-Xtend trait soybeans are to the new products and how any little thing wrong with the sprayer or off-label can cause problems. "Unfortunately, they are seeing the results," he says.


Images courtesy University of Missouri

When Kevin Bradley talks to farmers about crop injury in non-Xtend soybeans, the audience likely includes enthusiastic users of the new technology. Farmers worry they could lose it, so they seeking answers as to why crops suffered in order to prevent it in the future.

Like Wheeler, Bradley is in a lose-lose situation. When he addresses the crop injuries that have taken place, he is challenged by growers who see the new technology as vital. What he does know is more information is needed.

"Companies need to share their data so we have a better idea what this technology means," he says. "If they are interested in helping their growers, we need to know how much product was sold and sprayed so we can understand what may have happened where there wasn't a problem and where there was."

Yellow, white lines on golden market background. maciek905/Thinkstock

Crop-friendly weather forecasts weigh on markets

A lack of threatening weather for Midwest crops pressured the corn, soybean and wheat on Monday, with those markets trading a little lower.

This week’s forecasts have light showers for the northern Plains and Midwest. Next week’s outlook favors cool but dry weather for the Midwest, which could help corn and soybeans as they move through their seed production phases.

USDA’s weekly condition ratings come out later on Monday and Farm Futures expects small improvement in the corn and soybeans, while spring wheat may be unchanged.

Listen to the report using the audio link on this page.

Farm Futures Senior Editor Bob Burgdorfer comes to Penton Farm Progress with experience as a reporter covering grain markets and other global news with Reuters, Inc. A journalism graduate from Kansas State University, Bob has also worked at daily newspapers and Knight-Ridder as a commodity reporter, covering grains and livestock. He has earned five writing awards for his coverage of Mad Cow Disease, immigration issues and other international breaking news stories.

For more corn, wheat and soy news, commodity marketing recommendations and daily commodity charts, subscribe to Farm Futures' free e-newsletter, Farm Futures Daily, and keep up during the day with Farm Futures on Twitter.

$100BillTree bestdesigns/ThinkstockPhotos

Laguarda selected as Farm Credit inspector general

Wendy R. Laguarda has been selected as inspector general of the Farm Credit Administration. The appointment is effective Aug. 1. She succeeds Elizabeth Dean, who retired July 31.

“It is indeed a pleasure to announce Wendy’s selection for this important position. She has ably served as my executive assistant since May 2015 and previously served in the Office of General Counsel for 25 years,” said FCA Board Chairman and CEO Dallas P. Tonsager. “She has proven herself to be a highly skilled professional and will represent the agency well as inspector general.”

Laguarda joined the Office of General Counsel in 1990, eventually becoming assistant general counsel and the designated agency ethics official. She served as legal counsel for personnel issues and undertook assignments on rulemaking and policymaking. She has particular expertise in administrative law and issues related to serving the credit needs of young, beginning, and small farmers and ranchers.

Before coming to FCA, Laguarda was an attorney adviser at the Office of Thrift Supervision and its predecessor agency, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. In 1995 and again in 2004, she was detailed to the White House Counsel’s Office for brief periods to work on ethics issues.

A graduate of Tufts University and George Washington University National Law Center, she is a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia Bars and is a mediator certified by the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Source: Farm Credit Administration

Max Armstrong's Daily Updates


The killing of doctor last week is latest sign of how deadly the opiate crisis has become. Dr. Todd Graham was killed. There's good reasons for physicians to limit opioid prescriptions. There are high addictions in several states. Rural areas seem to be hit especially hard. 

They are out in the field now and on the phone, compiling information for the August Crop Report due on Aug. 10. There's tendency for USDA to underestimate soybean crop. It was under 14 of past 20 years.

There were 15,500 airplane movements during the week at Osk Kosh. Weather was stunning. Reunion of Apollo astronauts too.


Car thief bogs down in muddy corn field trying to escape

Not a lot happens on Saturday evening here in Marshall County, Ind. So, when you see even one police car jet past on the county road, something must be happening. Well they ended up with 6 to 8 emergency vehicles not a quarter mile from mom and dads’ house, beside one of the fields I rent.

Apparently, there was a runner. He stole a car, led police up and down backroads, and through yards. Then he thought it would be a great idea to try and drive through my cornfield to escape law enforcement. Fortunately, nobody got hurt as he blew through the intersection. He also didn’t factor in the 2-inch rain we had overnight. The car only made it about three hundred feet into the field before it stopped. Eventually he was tased and apprehended. It was our own real-life episode of Live PD.

Trespasser policy

Our policy on trespassers intentionally damaging crops or soil is to have their vehicle impounded when they get stuck out in the fields. Usually there is no other repercussion to them other than having to pay the impound fees. We have never seen a dime out of any of them.

Real accidents usually end up getting turned over to insurance. Sometimes they will call. We usually report the damage, but don’t push the issue - after all, it was an accident. This time we don’t know how it will play out. Dad had to recover the vehicle with the backhoe because a tow truck wrecker would have knocked down a lot more corn winching the car out (because the path the driver took was not straight).

As it is, there was about $500 of damage.

Someone is chopping our corn

While we’re on the issue of crop damage, there seems to be a trend this year where county residents take it into their own hands to cut back corn on intersections. Most farmers around here are pretty good and keep the roads mowed back to the crop line. The county also mows back 6 to 8 ft. from the road and maintains area around road signs. I have seen in several locations where someone has cut corn off 7-10 feet inside the corner posts or fences. This is ridiculous.

I’ll speculate these are the same people who think it is unnecessary to stop at the stop signs at intersections. Or maybe they pull out right in front you because their time is more important and waiting a few seconds would inconvenience them. They are likely also the reason a neighbor has to put up a sign that states ‘drive like your child lives here’.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.

Bobby Coats and Bert Greenwalt attend Ag council of Arkansas meeting
Bobby Coats and Bert Greenwalt, agricultural economists with the University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University, catch up at the Agricultural Council of Arkansas annual meeting in Little Rock.

Rice maintains price firmness; soybeans, corn consolidating

What to expect from the markets this week, July 31, 2017

Note: Click download button at the bottom of this file to see this week’s commodity analysis charts.

Market “Near Term” Snap Shot

  • Rice: Bullish bias remains, but corrective price action desirable
  • Cotton: Bottoming process underway
  • Soybeans: Likely consolidating before moving higher
  • Corn: As long as corn remains above 3.69 given global economic dynamics this market near term is more bullish than bearish
  • Wheat: Global macro dynamics a key consideration in not being overly bearish wheat, soybeans, corn and rice
  • 10-year Treasury Yield: Range bound, but bullish bias or lower yield remains
  • S. Dollar: Near term some correction of downside move should be anticipated before moving lower
  • Oil $WTIC: An interesting week ahead for oil. Geopolitical considerations and building possibilities of a Venezuelan civil war moved oil prices back above 48-dollars
  • Commodity Index: Will global reflation efforts be enough to keep this index from revisiting previous lows? Do not rule out a revisit to previous lows, but this index is building a base to move higher
  • S&P 500: Prices still moving higher, but a cautionary time period
  • Global Equities: A cautionary time period, trend remains up
  • Feeder and Live Cattle: Consolidating before moving higher   

In addition to the following “Expanded near Term Market Outlook Considerations for Week Beginning July 31, 2017”

  • Download Slide Show for charts and expanded details, Click Download button.

This Week’s Select Summary Considerations:

  • 10-Year US Treasury Yield:
    • Range bound, but bullish bias or lower yield remains
    • We enter the week with the 10 Year US Treasury Yield slightly bullish with a potentially lower yield
    • The larger trend remaining bullish or lower yield
    • Most likely Demand, Economic Weakness, Event Risk Concerns, or Other Market Concerns/Factors will take yields lower to 2 or below before significant move higher
  • US Dollar Index:
    • In search of a bottom with a near term potential of 92 and then increasingly likely lower to 87 or lower
    • Near term some correction of downside move should be anticipated
    • Bigger picture assuming no significant global anomaly event this index may have some serious weakness
  • CRB Index:
    • Will global reflation efforts be enough to keep this index from revisiting previous lows? Do not rule out a revisit to previous lows, but this index is building a base to move higher
    • Bigger Picture: Though spastic, global macro and growth forces in general remain supportive of the commodity sector
    • Between Fed off-again and on-again accommodation and/or misdirectional verbal guidance, building uncertainties surrounding fiscal, trade and regulatory policy simulative activities, the $CRB Commodity Index: a key economic indicator, has struggled
  • $WTIC Light Crude Oil:
    • An interesting week ahead for oil. Geopolitical considerations and building possibilities of a Venezuelan civil war moved oil prices back above 48-dollars
    • A complex, volatile and an uncertain market that deserves a great deal of respect in a world with building economic, social, political and homeland security uncertainties
  • Soybeans:
    • Likely consolidating before moving higher
    • Global macro forces possibly price supportive, a price move through $10.21 and holding opens the door to higher prices
  • Corn:
    • As long as corn remains above 3.69 given global economic dynamics this market near term is more bullish than bearish
    • Cautionary Note: Oil prices have rebounded, but sustained oil price weakness could possibly be problematic for corn prices
  • Long Grain Rice:
    • Bullish bias remains, but corrective price action desirable
    • This is a highly complex market with an array of factors impacting price from 2017/2018 beginning stocks; 2017 acreage, production and quality uncertainties; present underlying aggregate commodity sector dynamics; problematic global economic momentum, geopolitical uncertainties, and/or global agronomic outlook
  • Cotton:
    • Bottoming process underway
  • Wheat:
    • Global macro dynamics a key consideration in not being overly bearish wheat, soybeans, corn and rice
  • SPY SPDR S&P 500 ETF:
    • Prices still moving higher, but a cautionary time period
    • Allow price action to provide guidance
  • QQQ NASDAQ Power Shares:
    • Technology continues to perform, remain cautious
    • Allow price action to provide guidance
  • EFA iShares ETF - Global Equities Excluding U.S. and Canada:
    • A cautionary time period
    • Trend remains up
    • Allow price action to provide guidance
  • EEM iShares ETF, Emerging Market Equities:
    • A cautionary time period
    • Trend remains up
    • Allow price action to provide guidance
  1. Bobby Coats is a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas System. E-mail:



Max Armstrong's Daily Updates


That doctor who was shot and killed by a patient's husband in northern Indiana was very well liked by his patients. He was given online rating of 4.3 out of possible 5 online. Dr. Todd Graham would not prescribe opiate drug for Michael Jarvis' wife's chronic pain. Rural areas of our nation seem to be the hardest hit by opiate drug crisis.

Chipolte Mexican grill chain is the one they love to hate.  Chain went through bunch of food safety problems and those are not stopping. One of worst performing stocks in restaurant industry.

After 64 years, Rev. Keil is retiring from the pulpit. He's also retiring from giving the Friday evening invocation at the Grand Forks' River Cities Speedway on Friday evenings. He's given the prayer before the race for seven years.

Max Armstrong's Daily Updates

Farm Progress America, July 31, 2017

Max Armstrong shares background on the current work to gather information about the 2017 crop and how it is progress. The final information will be released in a USDA report on August. 10.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: Willie Vogt/Farm Progress

Soybean, corn and wheat field planted next to one another. fotokostic/ThinkstockPhotos

Feedback From The Field - July 31, 2017

Trade estimates for 2017 corn and soybean production start hitting the market this week, ahead of the Aug. 10 USDA report that features the agency’s first projections based on data from farmers and their fields. Farm Futures releases results of its latest grower survey Aug. 3, but producers reporting Feedback From the Field last week already have their verdict: Crops are still deteriorating, with corn and soybeans slipping again in their assessments.

Some of the worst conditions this summer are hitting the northern Plains. A grower in the western part of North Dakota started spring wheat harvest last week, reporting low yields but good test weights, with protein above 14%.

While drought conditions in the Dakotas are well-known, farmers as far away as the eastern Midwest continue to raise alarms. Even those with some good fields aren’t convinced.

“Extreme variations in crop conditions in just about every farmer’s operation,” wrote a producer in northwestern Ohio. “I have mostly nice corn and some nice soybeans but also some fields of beans on poor ground that just aren’t growing well and show no sign of improving. They were planted late and have been overwhelmed by the heavy rains of the last weeks.”

While the jury is still out on soybeans, growers rated corn in below average condition after a stressful pollination.

“Corn is filling,” said a producer in southwest Illinois who noted blanks at the tips of ears. ” The late rains will not help. What is out there is out there.”

A farmer near McCook in southwest Nebraska also cited insect pressure from the weather.

“Dry conditions have led to the highest count of cutworm and rootworm beetles in corn I've seen in the last decade,” the producer wrote, adding that BT corn and an in-furrow insecticide appeared ineffective. “Bad timing as corn is silking at this point.”

Click this Feedback From The Field link to rate crops in your area. We’ll update reports with the interactive map below that lets you see what other growers are saying around the country. Click the box in the upper left-hand corner to bring up the weekly index; scroll down to see the most current week.

Follow season progress by clicking on the links below.

Feedback from the field - April 24, 2017 - Growers report slow start in northwest Corn Belt.

Feedback from the Field - April 28, 2017 - ‘Baby it’s cold outside’ isn’t the song farmers want to hear.

Feedback from the Field - May 8, 2017 - Emergence sputters as planting slows

Feedback from the Field - May 12, 2017 - Farms make progress but weather still an issue

Feedback from the Field - May 17, 2017 - Growers wary of this week’s new storms

Feedback from the Field - May 19, 2017 - Farmers face cold, wet end to May

Feedback from the Field - May 23, 2017 - Planting proceeds, questions remain

Feedback from the Field - May 26, 2017 - Some growers wonder if it will ever stop raining

Feedback from the Field - June 5, 2017 - Emerging drought threatens spring wheat crop

Feedback from the Field - June 7, 2017 - Progress, problems noted in early growing season

Feedback from the Field - June 12, 2017 - Conditions turned hot and dry last week

Feedback from the Field - June 19, 2017 - Rains improve conditions, but challenges remain

Feedback from the Field - June 26, 2017 - Crops improve but remain below average in year of extremes

Feedback from the Field - July 3, 2017 - Farmers report dire conditions on the northern Plains

Feedback from the Field - July 10, 2017 - Growers still say conditions are below USDA’s crop ratings

Feedback From The Field - July 17, 2017 - Too much or too little: No Goldilocks moment for U.S. crops

bucking cautious tide

Forecast cools off markets

Grain markets sold off across the board overnight, resuming last week’s bearish tone on forecasts for decent rains and much cooler weather over the next two weeks. While crops still show stress in many areas, traders appear convinced yields won’t be low enough to shrink supplies swelled by record production in 2016. End-of-the-month position squaring could come into play today, but expect the market to spend much of this week debating what USDA could report in its key Aug. 10 estimates.

Check out Bryce's comments in a special Facebook live post below. Note this is from our new Facebook page at On that page we'll be posting new alerts and other updates regularly.

Bryce Knorr first joined Farm Futures Magazine in 1987. In addition to analyzing and writing about the commodity markets, he is a former futures 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 Call on he writes weekly reviews for corn, soybeans, and wheat that include selling price targets, charts and seasonal trends. He also produces regular outlook reports on basis, energy, fertilizer and financial markets and feature price forecasts for key crop inputs.