1. Hold off on tillage.
As corn comes out of the field, farmers aren't far behind with tillage implements. However, is tilling the best option this fall? Mahdi Al-Kaisi, department of agronomy, Iowa State University, says that it's not really a necessity this fall, given economic and environmental challenges.
Take into consideration your site-specific condition and whether tillage makes economic and environmental sense given the input costs associated with tillage operations as well as the impact on soil and water quality. Even though tillage may be needed in certain situations and field conditions, a well-managed field and proper crop rotation may not call for tillage.
Read more about tillage decisions this fall from ISU
2. Corn, soybean consumption.
With the large U.S. corn and soybean crops this year, we have underscored the importance of consumption and the size of year-ending stocks for longer term price direction, says Darrel Good, ag economist at University of Illinois.
Overall, it appears that corn and soybean consumption early in the marketing year is on pace to reach the USDA's projections, although the pace of corn exports and export sales are of some concern. Without a change in the production estimates, consumption at the projected levels would result in year-ending stocks-to-use ratios of 15.2 percent and 12.6 percent for corn and soybeans, respectively. Stocks at those levels are large relative to the recent period of very high prices, but provide only a modest buffer for smaller crops. Stocks at the projected levels do not point to a multiple year period of very low prices.
Read more about corn and soybean stock projections from U of IL.
3. Conservation stewardship rule comments.
Changes to the Conservation Stewardship Program were recently announced by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, in conjunction with the 2014 Farm Bill. The USDA is seeking public comment on the final rule through Jan. 5, 2015.
“Farmers, ranchers, and non-industrial forestland owners enrolled in the Conservation Stewardship Program are our nation’s conservation leaders as they go the extra mile to conserve our natural resources,” Vilsack said. “This program continues to enable owners and managers of private lands to reach the next level of conservation.”
Read more about the proposed rule and commenting from USDA.
4. Time for cornstalk nitrate testing.
How many farmers feel that nitrogen application rates are a guessing game, since you don’t know the season’s rainfall forecast? Cornstalk nitrate testing tells you whether you applied enough nitrogen this year, based on cornstalk samples’ nitrate levels at black layer stage.
Guided cornstalk nitrate testing has been peace of mind, and wallet, for Art Gudas. It told the Indiana grower that his 175 pounds per acre nitrogen (N) rate was right on the money these past two years. He’d considered bumping up his nitrogen rate before two years’ tests told him otherwise.
Read more about cornstalk nitrate testing.
Photo: Tim Bath
5. What does GMO mean?
Recently, late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel took to the streets to ask people about GMOs and what that even means. "There's just a vibration with GMOs; it's just not something I want to put in my body," said one consumer. And it just gets better. These people aren't making very good hipsters.
Watch the video.
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