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Articles from 2000 In August


Treating seeds

Check out two new insecticide treatments available for 2001 seed buys.

Growers visiting seed company corn plots this summer can learn about two new seed insecticide treatments called Gaucho and Prescribe. Both treatments protect against a wide variety of insects ranging from flea beetles and wireworms to cutworms and corn rootworms.

Thirty-two seed companies are testing the treatments this year on plots throughout the Midwest. Growers will have the option to buy seed treated with the insecticides for the 2001 crop.

Gustafson manufactures the new seed insecticide treatments. Gaucho, available for sorghum and other crops the past couple of years, was just approved for use on corn. Prescribe is a new label, also just approved for use on corn.

Easy planting. Seed treated with the new insecticides was used in many different planters this spring without problems, according to Ray Knake, northern product development manager for Gustafson.

Both Gaucho and Prescribe contain the active ingredient Imidacloprid, a relatively safe chemical for humans and seeds, Knake says. Bayer, part owner of Gustafson, provided the molecule for the chemical.

The seed treatments protect against a wide range of insects because Imidacloprid uses a systemic mode of action, moving throughout the plant and not relying on plant surface coverage.

Two treatment levels. Prescribe contains the highest level of the active ingredient, thereby providing a greater level of insect protection than Gaucho. Knake reports growers should select Prescribe when anticipating problems with early season cutworm, corn rootworm and wireworm. The product remains active throughout rootworm attack.

This summer, Gustafson offered Prescribe to seed companies and universities for field trials. Knake says it was used to treat seed for 5,000 acres. Last year in a limited number of university and company trials, Prescribe showed control similar to that of Lorsban and Regent.

Gaucho costs less and treats to the two-leaf stage. Knake suggests using it as a secondary insect control product. Citing trials conducted at universities, he says Gaucho is competitive with hopper box products for wireworm activity.

Both products also provide some control for seed maggot, chinch bug, corn leaf aphid, fire ants, thrips and southern corn leaf beetle. The products also are compatible with seed treatment fungicides.

Accurate application. Gustafson uses a computerized batch treatment method to apply Prescribe on the seeds. Knake says this method carefully controls the amount sprayed on each seed and then dries the insecticide to a hard coating. The coating keeps the seeds from bridging or sticking in planters, a problem with some seed treatments. Growers also do not have to contend with an irritating dust or odor from the treated seed, he adds.

When the seed is planted, the insecticide comes off and is then gradually picked up by the plant's root system, Knake explains. Because the chemical has low water solubility, it stays in the root zone for quite a while.

An advantage of the new products is how little chemical is needed for treatment. "It is a very efficient way to use the product," Knake says. Prescribe requires only 1.4 oz. of active ingredient to treat one acre of corn planted with 30,000 seeds. Gaucho requires only 5 g of active ingredient for one acre planted at the same rate.

For more information, contact Gustafson Inc., Dept. FIN, 1400 Preston Rd., Suite 400, Plano, TX 75093, 800/248-6907.

Set up for strip till

Illinois no-till farmer Roger Kennell will never forget the spring of 1992. It was cool and wet, and he was forced to plant corn in less than ideal conditions just to get his crop in on time. A dry spell followed. And without any rain to soften the soil, the seed channel hardened like concrete, preventing nodal roots from developing.

"We had corn plants falling over and dying, literally," Kennell recalls of the year that cost him a significant amount in yield. That fall a representative from local equipment maker Case-DMI visited Kennell and asked him if he wanted to try a prototype machine designed to prevent such problems from happening again on his no-till corn acres. "That's when I started strip tilling," Kennell says.

The machine was basically an anhydrous toolbar equipped with regular anhydrous knives and 14-in. closing discs. It was designed to till a narrow strip of soil, about 8 in. wide, in the fall, into which Kennell could plant his corn seed the following spring. Behind the toolbar he pulled a dry fertilizer cart and an anhydrous tank to band nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous all in one pass while tilling the strips.

"I was real pleased with what I saw," Kennell says. "And we're getting better yields than with straight no till."

Kennell is part of a growing wave of no-till corn farmers who are buying strip-till equipment to combat low yields, inconsistent stands and slow early growth on poorly drained soils, especially in cool wet springs. The number of strip-till acres is still quite small - a fraction of the 16% of Midwest acres planted to no-till corn, according to Dan Towery, natural resources specialist with the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC).

However, experts expect that number to boom as more equipment becomes available, more dealers and co-ops step up to offer custom services, and more farmers look to combine the warming and drying benefits of tillage with the soil conservation benefits of no till.

Fools the corn

The concept of strip till is simple. By tilling a small strip you are putting more air in the soil, which makes the soil dry faster than in a conventional no-till system. But because only a third of the row width is being tilled, the system is still considered no till.

"It fools the corn into thinking it was field cultivated," says John Wolf, director of marketing for Progressive Farm Products, which makes strip-till equipment.

The result? Earlier planting, in extreme cases up to three weeks compared to a no-till system, less time to work the ground compared to conventional tillage, better stands, better early growth, and often higher yields in those years when weather conditions are adverse, says CTIC's Towery.

Yield data collected by universities in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa show that strip till holds up to a 10% advantage over conventional no till, depending on soil, year and residue cover. In addition, it usually yields within 3% of conventional tillage, which uses a chisel plow in fall followed by spring secondary tillage, according to Dr. Tony Vyn, cropping systems agronomist at Purdue University. "So from a profitability standpoint, we are probably able to do strip tillage with a greater return on investment than conventional till," Vyn says.

Strip-till essentials

Until recently, few companies made strip-till equipment. And those that did all but sold out in the last four years.

However, now more companies are stepping into the game in response to rising demand. And they are offering fully equipped rigs as opposed to just add-ons that farmers would have to retrofit themselves, according to Frank Lessiter, editor and publisher of No-Till Farmer. "A lot of the equipment up until the last year or so were homemade modifications," he says. "Now you can buy complete strip-till rigs."

These rigs typically come in 6-, 8-, 12- and 16-row configurations, sized to match the width of your planter, and come with or without the ability to apply fertilizer at the same time you are tilling the strips.

Regardless of whether you buy a complete rig or put together your own, there are basically four essential components to any strip-till unit, according to Purdue's Vyn.

The first essential is a heavy-duty toolbar equipped with row markers that will allow you to lay out the strips in such a way that you can match up your planter in the spring.

Second is a coulter to cut through residue on the soil surface. Some recently developed strip-tillage tools also have row cleaners in front of the coulters.

Third is an anhydrous-type shank and knife assembly of moderate aggressiveness that is capable of loosening soil to depths from 4 to 8 in. Vyn says the shank should be capable of being equipped with a fertilizer tube assembly to allow for deep banding of phosphorous, potassium and anhydrous at the same time you are tilling the strips. This results in a greater economic return because you are accomplishing two operations (tillage and fertilizer placement) in one pass.

"Our rule of thumb is to run [the knives] 6__1/2 in. deep at 6__1/2 mph to get good fracturing of the soil," says Progressive's Wolf.

Finally, you'll need covering discs (also called disc sealers or disc closers) mounted immediately behind the shank to capture the soil being displaced by the knife and put it back in the strip to build a 3- to 4-in.-high berm on which to plant the following spring. The berm mellows to 2 in. or less by spring.

Can you afford?

The price of a strip-till machine starts at $5,000 to $7,000 for a 12-row basic setup without nutrient placement and goes up to $50,000, depending on how it's equipped.

For example, Kennell paid around $50,000 list price for his latest rig, which he bought from Case-DMI. It consists of a 3250 toolbar in a 12-row narrow (30-in.) configuration. The toolbar is attached to a NP9000 dry fertilizer caddy with a 9,000-lb. tank, auger meters and an air delivery system to apply potash and potassium. Behind the caddy is an anhydrous bar for banding anhydrous.

The toolbar is equipped with Mole knives as opposed to regular anhydrous knives, which Kennell says "heave" the ground rather than just opening it. "I wouldn't go back to regular knives if you paid me," Kennell says. "There's a bit more soil action so you can build a better berm." For more information about Mole knives, contact Hi-Pro Mfg., Dept. FIN, Rt. 24 W., Watseka, IL 60970, 815/432-5271.

Kennell also switched from 14- to 18-in. disc closers, which he says are needed to contain the additional soil kicked up by the Mole knives. The closers are non-sharpened to prevent them from cutting a groove on the side of the berm, which could cause it to wash out.

Kennell strip tills around 480 acres of corn and custom farms another 450, also strip tilled. Over the years he has compared conventional no till, strip till without nutrient placement and strip till with nutrient placement. Based on a five-year average, Kennell reports a 6-bu./acre advantage in strip till without nutrient placement and a 10-bu./acre advantage in strip till with nutrient placement over no till.

Factoring in the yield differences along with equipment costs, labor and other input expenses, he figures his profit per acre for strip till to be $38.84 with nutrient placement (N, P and K banded in the strip) and $27.92 without nutrient placement (broadcast P and K). This compares to $24.66 for no till (broadcast P and K and sidedress N) and $22.50 for conventional.

Progressive's Wolf says the easiest and cheapest way to get started is to use an existing anhydrous type toolbar and add a set of row markers. "We've had a lot of people start out like that," Wolf says. "Usually they do that for a couple of years and then decide to get more advanced and get into some fertilizer placement along with doing the strips."

If you do decide to retrofit an existing bar, Cary Sizelove, representative of Case-DMI, says to make sure the toolbar is made of heavy-duty 4- x 6-in. tubing instead of 4- x 4-in., which is needed to withstand the strength of the higher trip force shanks being built today.

For example, Case-DMI makes a heavy-duty, spring-bundle shank with a 850-lb. trip force ($120/shank) and just this year it is coming out with a new High Clearance Shank with 1,150-lb. trip force and 7__1/2-in. trip height ($290/shank). Contact Case-DMI, Dept. FIN, Box 65, Goodfield, IL 61742-0065, 309/965-2233. Sizelove says the shank you buy should have a starting trip force of at least 800 lbs. to ensure the knife stays in the ground and cuts at a constant depth so that you end up with a uniform berm for planting.

Custom an option

At a time when commodity prices are low, many farmers will not have the money to invest in a different tillage system. For that reason, more fertilizer dealers, co-ops and farmers who already own their own strip-till rigs are offering to rent out their equipment or do the work for you.

Costs can range anywhere from $9/acre for just equipment usage up to $14/acre to have someone do the work for you and furnish the tillage rig, tractor and fuel.

Although this new custom trend may be a good way to test strip-till equipment, some large-acreage farmers may be able to justify buying their own equipment. However, Case-DMI's Sizelove says farmers probably need at least 700 acres of corn. "And then you probably also need to do a little custom application," Sizelove says.

For example, Mark Freed, a no tiller from Lexington, IL, who farms 1,000 acres of corn in addition to doing custom work, says he was able to pay for his $40,000 rig in a single season. His fields were showing signs of sidewall compaction due to wetter, cooler soils before he switched from conventional no till to strip till in the late 1980s.

The compaction was costing him 5 to 10 bu./acre in those years when there wasn't rain for one to three weeks after planting to soften his silty clay-loam soil. With strip till, Freed has been able to recapture that yield loss.

Freed owns a 6200 Dual Placement Unit built by Progressive Farm Equipment, which, like Kennell's, can apply dry P and K along with anhydrous ammonia all in one pass. Contact Progressive Farm Products, Dept. FIN, Rt. 1, Box 17, Hudson, IL 61748, 309/454-1564.

Both DMI and Progressive also sell rigs that can apply liquid P and K along with anhydrous ammonia.

The downside of strips

Even though strip till works well, farmers still have to look at the possible downside, cautions CTIC's Towery. For example, he says your toolbar and planter have to match up exactly, and it takes a knack to see the strip. "Sometimes it takes a half of a day to get on it," he says.

Another potential drawback is that you never know when the window for getting your strips made will close in the fall. Anhydrous ammonia is the limiting factor. If it is applied too early in the fall, it could leach or volatilize. If you wait too long, the ground could freeze up, preventing application. To avoid this problem, some farmers are making their strips in the spring before planting instead of in the heat of harvest.

Another disadvantage with strip till may be size. Until recently, a 16-row was the largest strip-till toolbar you could buy, and you would have to special order it. However, just this year, Progressive has come out with a 60-ft., 24-row toolbar, model 7200, to meet the needs of farmers with 24-row planters.

Finally, strip tilling requires more horsepower than no till due to the depth of tillage for each strip and the weight and rolling resistance of the fertilizer tanks, according to Dr. Gyles Randall, soil scientist with the University of Minnesota's Southern Research and Outreach Center. "If you are pulling an ammonia tank or dry fertilizer caddy to supply N, P and K, between 20 and 30 hp/knife is needed," Randall says. However, horsepower requirements can vary by soil conditions, and in most areas, 12 to 15 hp/shank is oftentimes sufficient, according to Wolf and Sizelove.

Despite these challenges, Freed and no-till farmer Kennell say they are glad they switched tillage systems. Says Kennell, "It has allowed me to accomplish a lot of the objectives I had for no till yet get my yields back up to where I wanted them to be to be competitive."

For more information, order No-Till Farmer's 24-page special report on strip till. Cost is $9.95. Contact Lessiter Publications Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 624, Brookfield, WI 53008-0624, 262/782-4480.

New tool cut fall work

Speed up tillage and harvest operations with new equipment

Tillage

Bed builder Get the hardpan-shattering action of ripper-bedders with the bed-building features of disc bedders, all in one pass, with Unverferth's new BDR 3600 bed-building implement. Angle-adjustable front-disc gangs lead the implement through the field and feature 24-in. notched blades that cut heavy crop residue and plant roots while breaking up the soil. Following the front gangs are three in-furrow, depth-adjustable parabolic subsoil shanks that shatter hardpan from 8 to 16 in. Next are three in-bed shanks with hard-faced reversible points to ensure total bed tillage. They are followed by a second row of disc gangs equipped with heavy-duty, 24-in. solid blades whose angle and pitch can be adjusted to fine-tune soil conditioning and bed forming. Finally, four 10-in. furrowing shovels that are pitch- and depth-adjustable provide final bed-building touches. Available in 3-row, 60- or 66-in. models. Suggested list price: 18,500. Contact Unverferth Mfg. Co. Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 357, Kalida, OH 45853, 800/322-6301.

Chisel plows Break up shallow compaction, manage residue and level fields with two new chisel plows from Case IH. The 6700 coulter chisel plow is designed for light to moderate residue and compaction conditions. Its chisel shanks fracture soils and mix residue to create good soil tilth. Suggested list price: $9,782 for the 7-shank model to $17,862 for the 13-shank model.

The 6750 parabolic chisel plow uses deep tillage parabolic shanks mounted on the rear bar to shatter deep compaction. They operate 4 in. deeper than the chisel shanks on the front two ranks. Suggested list price: $10,239 for the 7-shank model to $18,620 for the 13-shank model.

The frames of both these models are constructed of 4- x 6-in. metal tubing for added strength. The plows are available in 7-, 9-, 11- and 13-shank models with working widths from 8 ft. 9 in. to 16 ft. 3 in. Choose from a variety of chisel points, coulter options and disc attachments, including a Hydraulic Disk Level'r that berms soil over the shank furrow after tillage. Contact Case IH, Dept. FIN, 700 State St., Racine WI 53404, 262/636-6011.

Harvest

V-rakes and tedders Rake two windrows at once or gather tedded or mown crop into a windrow with Worksaver's new carted-style V-rakes. The raking wheels are mounted on oscillating arms to allow the rakes to follow almost any ground contour and be used in most terrain. A hydraulic lift system lets you lift the rakes into transport position from the tractor seat.

Choose between two models: the WR-8 with eight raking wheels and a 20-ft. working width, and the WR-10SE with 10 raking wheels and a 23-ft. working width. Both come with 195-70/15 tires. Suggested list price: $2,800 to $3,300.

Also new from Worksaver are pull-type rotary tedders, designed to evenly spread, gently turn and air all types of mown crops to speed drydown and harvest. The rotary tedders, which the company claims work in almost any terrain, feature tines that pick upa small quantity of crop with every turn of the rotor and lay it gently on the ground, reducing crop damage and dirt collection.

The tedders are available in three models. Model RT-210 has a 10-ft. working width, an 8-ft. 9-in. transport width, and two rotors, each with six arms, and requires 15 hp to pull. Models RT-417 and RT-417H feature four rotors, each with six arms, have a working width of 17 ft. 1 in. and a transport width of 10 ft., and require a minimum of 25 hp. Suggested list price: $1,700 to $3,800. Contact Worksaver Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 100, Litchfield, IL 62056-0100, 217/324-5973.

Windrower header Get the durability and versatility needed for harvesting canola, grass seed, barley, mint and other specialty and hay crops with the new Case IH 325 Multi-Crop Special windrower header, designed for use with the Case IH 8860, 8860HP and 8870 self-propelled windrowers.

Case claims that the header features the most vertical discharge clearance in the industry for optimum crop flow, even in high-volume, fluffy crops. The company also claims that a hydraulic header-tilt feature on the 8860 enables the header to quickly adjust to any downed crop, pick it up and cut it cleanly. Other features include a tough pickup reel with heavy-duty reel bats, hardware and a hydraulic reel drive for power and durability; a durable, dual-sickle swaybar knife drive system designed for cutting tough green forage and small grains; and an advanced twin auger that uses a hydraulic motor to power each of four stub augers. Available in 15- and 18-ft. widths. Suggested list price: $17,550 for the 15-ft. model to $18,652 for the 18-ft. model. Contact Case IH, Dept. FIN, 700 State St., Racine WI 53404, 262/636-6011.

Bale stabbers and grabbers Safely handle up to three square bales at once by equipping your loader with MDS Manufacturing's new 4-Tine Bale Stabbers with bulkhead extension. The tapered tines are made of forged steel and are available in various lengths and a lift capacity of 6,000 lbs. Other features include a high-tensile tubular steel frame, anti-rollover spears and excellent see-through visibility, according to the company. Choose between a standard manual unit and hydraulic push-off models to suit your operation. Suggested list price: starts at $910.

Also new from MDS is the Sur-Grip Bale Grabber, designed to grasp bales gently but firmly while eliminating punctures to the plastic wrap. It can handle bales with diameters of 4 to 6 ft. from any direction - side or end - and has a lift capacity of 2,200 lbs. Recommended for use on wide front-end tractors only. Suggested list price: starts at $1,295. Contact MDS Mfg., Dept. FIN, 1301 S. South Dakota Hwy. 37, Parkston, SD 57366, 800/658-4703.

Mower conditioners Pick up, cut, condition and windrow down and tangled hay for quick drying with the new 2000 Series M-C Rotary Scythe Flail Mower-Conditioner. It is billed as a dependable, affordable machine to help producers make premium-quality hay. Features include quick-change knife hangers for easy maintenance, a driveline with constant velocity PTO, an over-running clutch for machine and tractor driveline protection, and a hydraulically controlled tongue for field-to-transport position. Suggested list price: starts at $10,800. Contact Mathews Co., Dept. FIN, Box 70, Crystal Lake, IL 60039, 815/459-2210.

The new John Deere 6 Series Rotary Mower Conditioners (MoCo's) offer improvements in cutting speed, quality, serviceability and overall cutterbar strength. Made up of five models (916, 926, 936, 946 and 956), they range in cutting width from 8 ft. 2 in. to 14 ft. 6 in. Key features include a new low-profile, nodular-iron cutterbar, which gives increased strength and impact resistance while allowing cutting as low as .63 in. to the ground; crop accelerators on the end discs to help speed plants to the conditioning area; and a combination sight glass/drain plug located on the ends of the cutterbar to make it easier to check oil. Choose from among three conditioning options - urethane rolls, steel rolls or the impeller design - depending on the model. Suggested list price: $15,701 to $31,575. Contact John Deere North American Agricultural Marketing Center, Dept. FIN, 11145 Thompson Ave., Lenexa, KS 66219.

Balers This round baler is one of eight models in John Deere's new 7 Series Round Balers designed for every size of operation. These balers can produce bales from 4 ft. wide and up to 6 ft. tall and weighing from 750 to 2,200 lbs., depending on the model. Two of the models are designed for silage: 457 Silage Special and 467 Silage Special.

Available as an option on all models is the MegaWide pickup, which features up to 120 aggressive teeth and an exclusive new rotor-feeding mechanism that feeds crop smoothly and evenly and allows the baler to take in a greater volume while reaching as wide as 87 in. A new process called John Deere CoverEdge net wrap protects the round bales better than old-style surface wrap, the company claims, by increasing the surface area covered by more than 15%. Suggested list price: $14,800 to $26,000. CoverEdge net-wrap option is $4,500, and the MegaWide pickup option is $2,490. Contact John Deere at the address given at left.

Grain carts and weigh carts Parker Industries' new 514 Series II grain cart with 500-bu. capacity and its 614 Series II with 600-bu. capacity are heavier duty and more reliable versions of the 514 and 614 models they replace to meet the needs of the custom applicator. The 14-in. auger ensures fast unloading and has a male to female auger tube connection supported by 1/4-in. plates for increased strength. The whole unit has been repositioned to reduce tractor tongue weight. Other changes include a one-piece belting material boot with seam and bolts on top, expandable D.O.T. lighting and spring-loaded upper auger bearing that ensures quick engagement with the lower section. Suggested list price: $15,500 to $17,400.

Also new from Parker is this 1555 weigh cart designed to do double duty: Use it in the fall to test yields and in the spring to deliver bulk seed with new features such as flow control for adjusting auger speed and an electric-over-hydraulic pendant control that allows for one-person operation while augering seed into an auger wagon or planter. The new model is more user-friendly than the 1550 it replaces with such features as a repositioned ladder that makes it easier to inspect inside the box. Suggested list price: $10,500. Contact Parker Industries, Dept. FIN, 900 E. Hwy. 30, Jefferson, IA 50129-1218, 800/526-3492.

Grain vac Transfer up to 4,500 bu. of grain/hr. from bin to truck with the new Grain Vac 4500EX, built for large-acreage farmers and custom haulers. This redesigned model replaces the 4000 and incorporates many of the changes farmers were asking for, including thicker flighting and tubing, adjustable wheel tracks, quick hitches and adjustable vent slides on the hood for lighter grain crops. Requires 70 hp to operate. Suggested list price: $11,861. Contact Brandt Industries, Dept. FIN, Box 317, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada S4P 3A1, 306/525-1314.

More nematode control

New soybean variety with CystX offers protection from all nematode races.

Growers plagued by soybean cyst nematode (SCN) troubles should look at a new line of SCN-resistant soybeans. The line will be available in limited supply for purchase this fall. Purdue University and Midland Genetics Group research shows the variety is resistant to SCN. No cysts have developed on the roots of the new line.

The SCN-resistant characteristic is offered in a conventional Midland variety for the 2001 crop. Clyde Sylvester, member/owner of Midland, says Roundup Ready varieties should be available in 2002.

Midland's six member companies will be the first to offer a soybean variety bearing the SCN-resistant technology called CystX. The CystX technology was developed at Purdue University and is available for license to seed companies to cross with elite soybean varieties. It is not a genetically modified organism.

Good yielder. Soybean varieties with the CystX technology perform well. "It has very good yield potential," reports Purdue researcher Rick Veirling. "Our data show no yield loss or yield cost with the resistance. Plus, it is a far better resistance than what farmers are currently being sold."

Veirling anticipates that many varieties in the future will contain the CystX resistance. "I don't think the seed supply will be enormous this fall," he adds. "But in the future, it will be widely available. It will be out in test plots this summer."

SCN has spread widely throughout the Midwest. Researchers report that about 40% of Indiana soybean fields are infested with the nematodes. They estimate that infestation rates run higher in Illinois at 80% and in Iowa at 70%.

Typical treatment for yield-robbing nematodes includes crop rotation and use of the varieties exhibiting some SCN-resistance. But most resistant varieties still exhibit cysts on the roots.

"CystX is extremely important because of its complete resistance and high yield potential," Veirling says. "You can use it and be relatively sure you will get SCN resistance."

Research payoff. The CystX technology represents the culmination of many years of intense research. The Purdue team developing it included Veirling, Jamal Faghihi, Virginia Ferris and the late John Ferris.

During the lengthy research, partially funded by the Indiana Soybean Board, the Purdue team screened 7,000 individual plants, seeking the genetic event that combined high yield and complete resistance. The single event discovered has become CystX.

The researchers used the Hartwig source of SCN resistance in CystX. Hartwig has been identified as a source of resistance but was not widely used because it did not produce good yields. The Purdue researchers were able to move the genes for SCN resistance into high-yielding genetic plants. A new genetic-event detection method made it possible for the researchers to accomplish this. Before, Faghihi says, looking for the genetic event was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

"We used some alternative methods that are unique to our group," Veirling explains. "It is not quite a traditional breeding system, but a combination of genetic experiments and plant breeding."

Once the event was identified, the researchers were able to quickly make the material available to plant breeders.

Work doesn't end. Today, the Purdue researchers are looking at other sources of SCN resistance. "This is not the end of SCN, of course," Veirling reports.

So the researchers are seeking other sources of resistance to broaden the SCN resistance sources available to growers.

For more information about CystX, contact Midland Genetics Group, Dept. FIN, 1906 Kingman Rd., Ottawa, KS 66067, 785/242-3598, e-mail midland@kanza.net.

Business of buying department

Remove the blinders A recent letter that crossed my desk from an Iowa farmer clamped down on a raw nerve of mine. It struck one of those electrical pathways that reminds me to keep an open mind.

I'm not assaulting one farmer's opinion. In fact I wish more farmers were outspoken on issues, because controversy livens the debate and can be a teacher for those who can listen as well as express. I'm addressing a group that, bottom line, seems to fear change and wants to live in the past.

At issue: organic farming. To paraphrase the letter (which is reprinted in this issue, page 48, and is in response to a story we published on organic standards), it calls organic farming a "fad" and a "fraud," it labels consumers who buy such "inferior" products "suckers" and it defines those who grow them "radicals of the 'green' movement."

This viewpoint is certainly not new. But hold it up to a mirror and you may be able to see how the "green movement" is using such attitudinal banter to its advantage, while spewing some of its own.

As a Midwest farm magazine, we're certainly not proponents of organic farming because, simply put, the technology isn't there to make this practice feed the world, which the reader's letter aptly stated. But we're not opponents of this practice either because we see some Midwest farmers profiting from this niche market.

To succeed in the future of farming, you must deliver what customers want. Although the majority of consumers believe our food supply is safe, there is a growing segment that simply demands organic, for whatever reason, and will pay dearly for it.

The point is, you can love or hate this organic segment or any other value-added niche, but don't ignore the message behind it - growing what consumers want.

Remove the blinders and keep an open mind to exploring niches that may help keep you and your loved ones down on the farm, and in the black.

Merger musings American Home Products has completed the sale of its Cyanamid Ag Products business to BASF. BASF's purchase doubles its crop protection business and moves it up into the world's top three leading manufacturers. And BASF plans to move its global crop protection headquarters from Germany to New Jersey.

CNH (Case New Holland) has sold its Versatile, Genesis and G/70 series 4-wd and 2-wd tractor lines, along with a Canadian manufacturing plant, to Buhler Versatile. Under the agreement, Buhler will supply these tractors to New Holland through October 2001 and will supply tractor parts on an ongoing basis. CNH retained the patented SuperSteer design technology and licensed it to Buhler, and it retained all commercial rights for exclusive distribution of the New Holland Bidirectional TV140 tractor.

Zeneca, in addressing U.S. Justice Department concerns regarding its merger with Novartis (to become Syngenta), plans to sell its acetochlor line of herbicides (Surpass, TopNotch, FulTime) to a yet unnamed major ag chem company.

Optimum Quality Grains has been renamed DuPont Specialty Grains and has been given a new mission to develop more end-use tailored grains and oilseeds. Where Optimum was focused mainly on feed and related livestock environment and quality issues, Specialty Grains will work increasingly with food companies.

Dot.com dealings CyberCrop.com applauded recent passage of the bill making electronic signatures equal in weight to pen-and-ink signed contracts. "The new e-signatures law will make the registration process (for grain transactions) simpler, faster, less onerous and less intrusive for farmers to do business on the Internet," says Scott Deeter, CEO of the company.

A lesson learned With biotech wheat preparing to hit the market in 2003, the U.S. Wheat Association board of directors has declared that the customer comes first. The board plans to develop a system to ensure that global wheat importers will always be able to get non-genetically modified U.S. wheat, if that is what the buyer wants. It strongly urges biotech companies to "ensure customer acceptance prior to commercialization" of biotech wheat.

Dream sprayer

Last spring, Bill Coppess had his doubts about the new double-nozzle sprayer prototype he was about to try. It looked too simple to deliver on its developer's claim to reduce standard herbicide rates by half while still providing equal or better weed control. But after 1,500 acres and nearly a 50% total reduction in herbicide use, the no-till corn and soybean grower happily acknowledges that the seemingly simple system works.

"It's pretty exciting," says Coppess of Darke County, OH. "The more I used it in my fields, the more confident I got; plus, it saved me quite a bit of money."

Coppess says he went from $40/ acre for post herbicides to about $20/acre this year and adds, "If I'm lucky, I may be able to get costs down below that and still achieve acceptable weed control."

That goal is feasible, according to Robin Taylor, a research scientist at Ohio State University and one of the chief developers of the double-nozzle system. Taylor says each of the six Ohio farmers who used the prototype this year achieved a 50% reduction in herbicide use. Some were even able to secure acceptable weed control with as little as 33% of their typical product use rates.

Simple design. The new double-nozzle system uses two tanks, one to hold water, the second to carry the herbicide. It also requires a set of parallel hydraulic units. One carries a set of flat-fan nozzles used to spray water in large, coarse droplets at about 30 to 40 psi. The second hydraulic unit holds nozzles that spray a pattern of very fine herbicide droplets at a flow rate that equals about one-fourth that of the coarse nozzles.

Mounted on a spray rig, the two parallel rows of nozzles are angled to face each other. When the sprayer is in full operation, the larger water droplets coming from the coarse nozzles intersect and capture the smaller herbicide droplets sprayed by the fine nozzles. Where the water and herbicide meet, roughly 7 to 10 in. out from the nozzles, the spray clouds mix and the water droplets pull the herbicide droplets onto the weeds. As the water droplets hit the plant surface, they shatter, which releases the herbicide droplets and propels them by kinetic energy into the plant canopy where they then go to work.

"The effect of the kinetic energy is kind of like race car drivers who tuck their cars in behind each other to take advantage of the low pressure that's created by the car ahead," Taylor explains. However, he says that same analogy using a bus and a bicycle better demonstrates the difference in size between the water and herbicide droplets. He adds that the two vastly different-sized droplets are critical to the system's design.

To ensure that the herbicide used fully meets and meshes with the water, the fine nozzles are mounted on the hydraulic unit to face in the direction the spray rig is traveling. This practice also helps minimize any potential herbicide drift and the opportunity for evaporation.

For now, the double-nozzle system works only with postemergence products that are broadcast applied. Coppess used the system this year for both burndown and postemergence applications with six or more grass and broadleaf products, both alone and in tankmix combinations. He reports good results across the board on weeds ranging from grasses to Canada thistle, ragweed, lambs-quarters, waterhemp and velvetleaf.

Fall introduction. Ohio State holds the patent on the device and has licensed Spray Redux, based in Cleveland, to manufacture it. The company plans a full-scale introduction of the system during the Ohio State University Farm Science Review this fall.

Sales are projected to be $200 million over the next five years. Spray Redux says its target market is growers with between 400 and 3,000 acres. "That's where the system has its best fit," Taylor says.

Fast payback. In most cases, farmers can retrofit their existing hydraulic sprayers for as little as $2,500 with a top-end cost of $5,500, depending on their specific needs. The base price covers a standard nozzle bracket assembly kit, with a standard unit being about 20 nozzles, plus an extra pump. Taylor says if a grower is unable to use two pumps on his sprayer, he will need to purchase an injector, which will jump the cost to that top end. Either way, the investment pays for itself quickly, Taylor explains.

"A grower with 400 acres typically spends between $3,000 and $6,000 on herbicides each year," he estimates. "With a standard hydraulic sprayer retrofitted with the double-nozzle kit, the grower may invest $2,500 but should only need half as much product that year, so it's possible the system will pay for itself in one year."

Coppess believes the investment is sound for any grower, especially since the sprayer can always be used for conventional applications again if the double-nozzle system doesn't work out for some reason. He adds that it takes only a couple of days' labor to retrofit a sprayer: "It makes for a good wintertime project."

Environmental bonus. Another big plus for the double-nozzle system is that it fits well with farmers' increasing need to exhibit good environmental stewardship, says Roger Bender, extension agent for Shelby County, OH. Bender, along with a small group of concerned farmers, worked last year to submit a grant to the state EPA that will offer area growers an equipment buy-down plan. EPA approved the grant, and now farmers operating in the Upper Great Miami River watershed and the Loramie Creek watershed, which together impact more than 500,000 Ohio acres, can receive a 20% refund when they buy the double-nozzle sprayer kit.

"They turn in their receipts to us, and if they spent $2,500, we refund them $500," Bender says. "It makes the financial risk minimal, and the potential economic and environmental returns significant."

While Bender is a proponent of the system, he does advise growers to approach the use of it, as with any new technology, with caution until it becomes a more proven entity. Because the one set of nozzles sprays a fine droplet pattern, Bender encourages growers to "watch the wind factor."

Coppess agrees. "I haven't seen any drift, but I'm still cautious," he says. "We had one day when we were running about 9 mph across the field into a 3 mph wind, and that concerned me, although I didn't see any drift problems occur."

Bender says the potential advantages from the double-nozzle system prob-ably outweigh any concerns. He states: "This is another movement in agricultural technology that allows farmers to responsibly use herbicides, along with filter strips and other stewardship practices, to achieve good weed control while maintaining good environmental practices."

For more information contact Robin Taylor at 330/263-3961 or taylor.5@osu.edu.

New from the 3I show

This annual High Plains show in the heart of Kansas kicks off the spring show season. Here's a glimpse of the new products we found.

Ultrawide and compact drills The new 3S-4000 40-ft. Min-Till grain drill is the largest model in Great Plains' series of advanced folding rigs. This three-section drill has active hydraulic down pressure on the openers, which can be adjusted separately between sections, for even penetration in uneven ground. Wing sections flex 20 degrees up and 15 degrees down, and sub-frames flex to conform to ground contours whether seeding in 6-, 7__1/2- or 10-in. row spacing. Optional point-row clutches stop overseeding by allowing you to turn off individual sections. Seedbox capacity is 129.6 bu., and price range is $42,000 to $50,000.

For smaller fields or to handle such jobs as pasture renovation or wildlife feed plots, the company offers a new 6-ft. no-till or conventional drill in a 3-pt. or pull-type mount. They feature ground-driven metering, four-position speed change gearbox, double-disc openers, 12-bu. seed capacity and the option to handle small seeds and native grasses. Price range: $8,000 to $12,000. Contact Great Plains Mfg. Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 5060, Salina, KS 67402, 785/823-3276.

Minimum-till ripper For minimum soil disturbance and deep-till performance, take a look at Krause's new 3-pt.-mount 4830 series minimum-till ripper to fit 30-, 36-, 38- or 40-in. row spacings. Rigid or folding models are available with three to nine shanks that feature either spring or shear bolt reset. Other features include 22-in. coulters and ratchet adjustable depth gauge wheels. Price is not yet available. Contact Krause Corp., Dept. FIN, Box 2707, Hutchinson, KS 67504-2707, 316/663-6161.

Disc ripper A new-generation disc ripper from Krause, the 4880 series Landbuilder II, is offered as a five- or seven-shank model. New features include heavier mainframe front and rear beams, cross members and A-frame hitch beams; heavy-duty pivoting hitch clevis on a longer tongue; stronger shank beams and attachment mounts; chromium carbide wear plates on subsoil points, wing mounts and dorsal fin; stronger disc gang angle adjustment; and improved self-leveling linkage. Other features include 40-in. underframe clearance; 30-in. shank spacing; adjustable disc gang angles of 10 degrees, 15 degrees or 20 degrees; cutting width of 12__1/2 or 17__1/2 ft.; and a choiceof spring reset or shear bolt subsoil shanks. Price range: $21,121 to $28,560. Contact Krause Corp., Dept. FIN, Box 2707, Hutchinson, KS 67504-2707, 316/663-6161.

Bed protection John Schuckman offers a new cargo secure rack that fits behind the cab and protects it and secures cargo. Made of 1__1/2-in. square aluminum tubing and 14-gauge tread plate, it offers eight 5/8-in. dowels to attach tie-downs or cords. It fastens to the bed with angle iron, has optional cargo lamps and is available in white or aluminum. Price range: $193 to $305. Contact John Schuckman Enterprises, Dept. FIN, Box 1534, Hays, KS 67601, 785/628-2752.

Mid-mount loaders For a custom fit on the latest 50- to 140-hp tractors, Great Bend offers four new 2100 series front-end loaders. A new Posi-Lock pedestal mount offers one-step attaching/detaching, which secures with a heavy-duty 1-in. eyebolt. The rugged mounting kit is constructed to form a 31/4- and 33/4-in. steel tower that cushions and distributes loader forces over the tractor frame, while allowing a shorter turning radius on front-wheel-assist tractors. Price range: $7,100 to $8,000. Contact Great Bend Mfg., Dept. FIN, Box 829, Great Bend, KS 67530, 800/825-1701.

Seed mover New at 3i was a bulk seed tender from CrustBuster/Speed King that will hold either 65, 240 or 540 bu. in a 12-gauge steel box. To gently move any grain, a 5__1/2-hp Honda manual start engine moves product through a 6-in.-dia. tube, with easy filling from a flexible telescoping discharge spout. Price for the small model is $3,389; price on the larger models remains to be set. Contact CrustBuster/Speed King Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 1438, Dodge City, KS 67801, 316/227-7106.

Tall ATV transport If you want to carry two ATVs in your pickup without towing a trailer, check out the ATV-Rac invented by John Schuckman. Built from aluminum square tubing, the rack consists of bed caps that bolt into the four stake pockets and four 16-in.-wide tracks that go across the bed to hold the ATVs. A pair of folding ramps are offered in either 9- or 11-ft. lengths. Schuckman says interest in his product has grown because it allows you to retain bed storage space and will handle any ATV that's not longer than the width of a truck bed. Price: $995 to $1,015. Contact John Schuckman Enterprises, Dept. FIN, Box 1534, Hays, KS 67601, 785/628-2752.

For the Farm

Ag lubricants Castrol introduces a new line of lubricants formulated specifically for agricultural equipment.

Agri Multitrans, a tractor hydraulic fluid, protects equipment against corrosion that occurs when lubricants drain from vital components, exposing the internal drivetrain. Multitrans coats the drivetrain to protect it from condensation when the implement is idle.

Agri Powermax is a universal engine oil that provides stay-in-grade performance during high-power applications.

Agri Pyroplex Green is a tractor and implement grease that becomes tackier and more adhesive when exposed to moisture.

Agri Gearmax, a gear and drivetrain oil, adds thermal stability for proper flow in high-power applications.

Agri Hydroblue is an antiwear hydraulic fluid that helps improve hydraulic efficiency by reducing sludge and varnish buildup during high-temperature operation. Hydroblue also protects against corrosion and wear caused by moisture exposure.

Contact Castrol Heavy Duty Lubricants, Dept. FIN, 9300 Pulaski Hwy., Baltimore, MD 21220, 800/777-1466.

Crops department

Fungicide gets green light North Dakota wheat and barley growers can use Bayer Corporation's Folicur 3.6F fungicide for Fusarium head blight this summer. The EPA granted a specific exemption for use of the fungicide through August 25.

The exemption allows a single application of 4 oz. of active ingredient/acre in 3 gal. of water for aerial application, and 10 gal. of water for ground application.

First online cash grain exchange site Producers throughout the Corn Belt can execute a secure online grain contract any hour of the day or night on the CyberCrop. com Web site by the end of this summer. This first site of its kind provides current news, weather and market data. Customers will have the advantage of updated real-time bids. The site serves corn, soybean, wheat and milo producers at www.CyberCrop.com.

Value-enhanced corn prices dip U.S. Grains Council projections show a modest decrease in price premium for value-enhanced corn this year. The 4 million acres of specialty grains are expected to account for 5% of U.S. corn acreage.