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Midwest ground zero for glyphosate resistance

Stephen Powles calls the Midwest the Glyphosate BeltUnless action is taken – and soon – farmers may lose a key tool in fighting weeds.

Weed resistance is a challenge for farmers around the world.  Stephen Powles, grain farmer and Professor at the University of Western Australia says nowhere is it a greater problem than for farmers in the Midwestern United States.

“They’ve had it really good for the last 15 years; that’s in the form of Round-up Ready crops.  They’ve overused that great technology – way overused it – and it’s gonna fail.”

If it’s still working on your farm, Powles advises that you do everything that you can to keep it going.

“Give it a rest.  There’s way over-use of glyphosate in U.S. agriculture.  The weeds are fighting back.”

Powles tells Brownfield glyphosate is at risk across much of the U.S.  “Sixty million acres of U.S. cropland is infested with glyphosate resistant weeds.”

He told those attending the Bayer CropScience Corn Soybean Future Forum in Frankfurt, Germany that weeds remember that they are resistant to chemicals used before.  He cited examples of ALS and atrazine.

U.S. farmers, said Powles, have doubled their herbicide spend in the last few years.

Powles calls glyphosate the world’s greatest herbicide. He said it is a 1 in 100 year discovery.  Never will we see another chemical so good.

“We’ve forgotten the basic principles,” said Powles.  “If you use the same ting all of the time, nature will fight back.”

AUDIO: Conversation with Stephen Powles



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Holistic, integrated solutions for farming

Mathias KremerMathias Kremer, Head of Strategy for Bayer CropScience welcomed attendees to the Corn Soybean Future Forum in Frankfurt, Germany Thursday by laying out his company’s commitment to the future of these crops.

“The strategic focus for Bayer,” said Kremer, “is to be a solution provider.”

He said Bayer CropScience remains committed to innovation and to holistic, integrated solutions in chemical and biological crop protection, seed and traits.

Kremer told attendees Bayer is investing heavily in research and development.  “There is no problem we are not touching with our R & D.”

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An open arms approach to membership


National FFA Officer candidate and Illinois state FFA President Sam Detweiler wasn’t your typical FFA member. In fact, Detwiler was more your typical teenage young man, hoping athletics would pay off in the long run. But, in an instant, that all changed. “In my Junior year, when I tore my ACL – that really put a halt to that plan,” he says.  “From there – it was a life changing moment for me.  I had to reevaluate my life and that’s when I found the FFA.”

He tells Brownfield he has an open arms approach to membership. “Anybody and everybody can join the FFA – as long as you have a passion for agriculture,” he says.  “Or even an interest.  You don’t necessarily have to grow up on a farm.  You can come from the suburbs of New York and still have that passion for agriculture and join the FFA.”

Detwiler made the first cut in the National FFA Officer selection process. And along with about 20 other FFA members and the rest of us – will have to wait until Saturday find out if he’s been slated as a national officer.

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Growing ag leaders


Monsanto president Brett Begemann says there’s no better place to see the future of agriculture than the National FFA convention.

In front of more than 60,000 FFA members, Begemann announced Monsanto’s new America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders program.  “The Ag Leaders program is about helping these young people here become leaders in the community and for agriculture,” he says.  “There are 350 scholarships at $1,500 a piece for students nationally, once a year, to encourage students to pursue careers in agriculture.”

He tells Brownfield it’s an exciting time to be involved in the agriculture industry.  “All of the science, technology, math, and engineering is all necessary in agriculture,” he says.  “Along with the agronomy, soils, and plant sciences – the things we more traditionally think of.  There is plenty of opportunity for people in agriculture – and really in all walks of life.”

To learn more about America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders click HERE.

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Dairy trending higher

Dairy markets quietly nudging higher on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange this week.  On Thursday the cash cheese barrels were steady but blocks increased 2 cents, butter gained 4 cents on 6 sales.  Seems the holiday buying is picking-up.

Milk production in the Central U.S. is running ahead of year-ago levels and Dairy Market News says supplies are starting to outpace demand.  Spot loads are going for as much as $2.50 under class.  More milk also means more cream but demand is actually picking up as buyers are taking advantage of the lower prices to fill holiday orders.  Cream premiums are still ranging from $1.15 to $1.30.

Milk production is steady in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.  The Southeast production is also steady but that means Florida is still importing milk, 170 loads brought into the Sunshine State this week, 10 more than last week.

Cooler temperatures and more comfortable cows has California production steady to higher.  Supplies of high-quality alfalfa are tight; recent sales for delivered alfalfa ranged from $320 to $350 per ton.  Dry cow hay is $220 to $235.  Milk production is also picking-up in Arizona and New Mexico as fall brings more comfortable temperatures for the cows.

Production in the Pacific Northwest is above year-ago levels but declining week-to-week.  Dairy plant operators say they are moving milk to keep some plants running at full capacity at the expense of others.

Dairy cow slaughter for the week ending October 11 was 55,300 head down 5,000 from the same week a year ago.

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Soybeans sell-off

Markets Featured Image 600x500_edited-2

Soybeans were lower on fund and technical selling. Harvest is progressing in many areas, so we’re seeing an increased amount of available soybeans. Still, the record crop’s being balanced out by record demand, with China buying another 132,000 tons of 2014/15 U.S. beans. Soybean meal was lower and bean oil was higher, adjusting product spreads.

Corn was lower on fund and technical selling. Corn’s also watching harvest activity and the long term fundamentals continue to look bearish. The weekly export numbers look bearish, following a significant cancellation by unknown. Ethanol futures were mixed. Unknown picked up 113,000 tons of 2014/15 U.S. grain sorghum. ADM projects the European Union corn crop at 73.6 million tons.

The wheat complex was lower on fund and technical selling. Improved corn and soybean harvest progress is allowing producers to finish winter wheat planting. Fundamentals remain bearish, with a neutral week for the export numbers; sales were strong, but shipments were not. Jordan bought 100,000 tons of feed wheat from multiple origins. USDA’s ag attache in Moscow estimates 2014/15 wheat production for Russia at 57.5 million tons, with exports of 21 million tons.

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Beef and pork values end lower

A few bids on the cattle were reported by private sources in Kansas on Thursday afternoon from 165.00 to 167.00. But overall the market was generally quiet. Buying apathy suggests significant trade will be delayed until Friday. Asking prices are around 172.00 to 173.00 in the South and 270.00 plus in the North. Cattle slaughter was estimated at 110,000 head 2,000 more than last week, but 13,000 less than last year.

Boxed beef cutout values were weak on light demand and offerings. Choice beef was down .28 at 253.35, and select was .36 lower at 239.41.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 10 to 150 points higher. Movement in the live pit was all over the place through the morning on Thursday. This created both a sense of stability given that prices were unable to move significantly in any direction, but it also created a lot of nervousness as traders waited for the next big market break to develop. The nearby issues outperformed the deferred and all closed higher. October was up 1.50 at 170.50 and December was up .57 at 167.32.

Feeder cattle ended the session 22 to 117 points higher Front month contracts held strong gains based on initial support and lack of additional volume seen through the complex. The market came back from what was thought to be a certain demise several times over the last several months, only to draw more attention and push prices even higher. October was up .90 at 239.75, and November was 1.17 higher at 234.22.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Huss Platte Valley Auction at Kearney, Nebraska totaled 1760 head on Wednesday. Compared to last week, 600 to 700 pound steers were 2.00 higher. Not enough other steers for a market comparison. Heifer calves sold unevenly steady. Demand was moderate to good, with very good demand for F1 baldy replacement heifers. 226 head of feeder steer calves averaging 632 pounds averaged 267.81 per hundredweight. 156 heifer calves weighing 626 brought 242.28.

Lean hogs settled unchanged to 140 points lower. Strong pressure redeveloped across the lean trade as any stability seen in nearby prices quickly eroded. December contracts led the plunge lower. The additional weakness in both cash and pork cutout markets was no surprise to futures traders, but there was little long term support expected to redevelop over the near future which could help to give support to both deferred and nearby price levels. December was 1.40 lower at 87.20, and February settled down 1.10 at 86.95.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .55 higher at 86.77 weighted average on a carcass basis, the West was up .44 at 86.56 and the East was not reported due to confidentiality. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was steady to 2.00 lower from 78.00 to 80.00. Midwest hogs on a live basis closed steady from 56.00 to 77.00.

The pork carcass cutout value FOB plant was down 1.51 at 97.84. Only loins and bellies were higher.

The number of new cases of PEDv as tracked in the Swine Monitoring Project has declined sharply since June and it has remained at near zero levels through the end of October.

The Thursday hog kill was estimated at 432,000 head, 3,000 more than last week, but the same as last year.


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Harvest is good time to evaluate herbicide program

corn harvest-nebraska corn board 10-14Harvest is a good time to evaluate your herbicide program and look for resistant weeds, according to Dawn Refsel, a field market development specialist with Valent.

“You’re covering every acre with your combine, going back and forth, and so you get a really good sense of scale of what’s escaped through your herbicide program that you had this year,” Refsel says. “It may only be carcasses, but you still can determine if you have a grass problem—and the waterhemp plants are still out there.”

And Refsel says there’s another factor to consider.

“Now what you’ve just harvested, you’ve just spread all those seeds all over your field—and so now you have a sense going into next year what your weed problems are going to be, based on what escaped through this year and what you saw at harvest,” she says.

If a herbicide-resistant weed population is present or suspected in a particular field, University of Illinois weed specialist Aaron Hager suggests you should consider harvesting that field last. That will prevent introducing the seed from the resistant plants into the combine and spreading it to other fields. Another option, Hager says, is to avoid patches of weeds during harvest operations.

(Photo courtesy Nebraska Corn Board)


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Closing Grain and Livestock Futures: October 30, 2014


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Dec. corn closed at $3.74, down 1 and 1/4 cents
Nov. soybeans closed at $10.24 and 1/4, up down 1/ and 3/4 cents
Dec. soybean meal closed at $380.00, down $17.20
Dec. soybean oil closed at 34.31, up 13 points
Dec. wheat closed at $5.36, down 2 and 1/4 cents
Oct. live cattle closed at $170.50, up $1.50
Dec. lean hogs closed at $87.20, down $1.40
Nov. crude oil closed at $82.20, up 72 cents
Dec. cotton closed at 64.50, down 85 points
Nov. Class III milk closed at $21.25, down 12 cents
Nov. gold closed at $1,198.10, down $26.20
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 17,195.42, up 221.11 points


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GMO advocate: Science always wins in the end

shopperGMO labeling initiatives will be on ballots next week in two states—Colorado and Oregon.

They are just the latest efforts by anti-GMO activists to require the labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients.

Bill Horan, a farmer from Rockwell City, Iowa and chairman of the organization Truth About Trade and Technology, says although the anti-GMO movement makes a lot of noise, he’s convinced that science always wins in the end.

“We’ve had three decades of GMOs being produced—and not one human being anywhere in the world has ever been harmed by GMOs after three decades,” Horan says. “The other thing that gives me confidence is that the activist groups have literally spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to find one thing wrong with GMOs—and they have not found a single thing wrong yet.”

Horan says once consumers learn the facts about GMOs, their concerns are usually alleviated.

“Consumers will understand that this is a technology that’s good, it’s safe, it’s good for the environment and good for rural places—and it will win out in the end.”

AUDIO: Bill Horan

A recent poll conducted by the Oregonian newspaper showed that Oregon’s GMO labeling initiative is trailing 48 to 42 percent among likely voters.  That’s a wide swing from an Oregon Public Broadcasting poll back in July that put support for the initiative at 77 percent with only 12 percent expressing opposition.

Supporters of the Colorado labeling initiative admit that they also face an uphill battle. Larry Cooper, campaign chair for Right to Know Colorado, says they have not been able to compete with the “massive contributions” from labeling opponents such as Monsanto, Kraft Foods and PepsiCo.

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