• John Vogel

    Time and 'Tech' Sure Have Changed Us

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on May 29, 2009

    The other evening I pulled a big black and white photo out of my “family pictures” box. It got my mental cogs a-spinning about how agriculture has changed in just the last 60 years.   That picture showed my Grandpa Henry knocking out weeds in newly-emerged corn with the best technology of the early 1950s – a rotary hoe pulled by a two-popper John Deere A. Grandpa was progressive for his day. His broad-brimmed straw hat is today’s sun-safety standard. The picture was courtesy of the local…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Auditorium Full of Blue Jackets Inspirational

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on May 28, 2009

    It was my absolute joy today to attend the 81st Kansas FFA State Convention in Manhattan, present a proficiency award to an outstanding young man and soak up the promise for the future that filled the atmosphere. Micah Harmon of the Holton FFA Chapter received the Forest Management and Products Proficiency Award this year and it was my honor to present his award. Kansas Farmer traditionally sponsors the Ag Communications award, but there was no state winner in that category this…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Steering Update: More Work Done as Weather Clears

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on May 28, 2009

    Planting season has been going full- or half-tilt for what seems like weeks now, with weather delays and other issues popping up. We have two producers - one near Bourbon, Ind., and another near Palermo, N.D., using lightbars for precision steering for the first time this year. We've been updating you on the Glingles in Indiana and the latest word from son, Shaun, is that his father Randy likes the rig for tillage. It's an especially handy tool on two-pass tillage operations because "the light…

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  • Tim White

    Buckeyes Sit at Carbon Table

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on May 28, 2009

      The National Corn Growers Association recently recognized U.S. Rep. Zack Space, D-Dover, for carrying two important amendments to H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act. The bill was passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week. Space’s participation was certainly influenced by the Ohio Corn Growers Association and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. Both groups have taken the position that legislation on greenhouse gases is inevitable and agriculture needs…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Doggone It

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 27, 2009

    “I’m going to get all but about two passes done here and it’s going to cut loose,” my husband forecasted, a little pessimistically. He was planting a small patch on the backside of a field, and I’d brought him lunch. But he wasn’t exactly right – he had more than two passes left when the rain started to fall.   Like a lot of Illinois farmers, we got a lot of corn in the ground over the Memorial Day weekend. As of Monday, May 18, only 20% of Illinois’ corn crop had been planted. By Tuesday the…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Deals Abound, Market Wants your Business

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on May 26, 2009

    I hesitate to promote buying. You know what equipment you want and when, but the number of 0% deals floating around now is almost too enticing not to at least mention. Whether it's the Case IH promotion with low-cost offers on new equipment or Agco's announced 0% deal or even the low-interest range of offers from Deere, the big equipment makers want your business. They're not the only ones, for sure. You'll find deals on all-terrain vehicles and shortline equipment too. At a time when the…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    We’ve Got Nothing Over Mother Nature

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on May 25, 2009

    We think we’re so smart with biotech crops.   But we really don’t have anything over Mother Nature.   Just imagine if we had her technology. We’d have:   ·    plants that grow back from their roots.   ·    plants that seed themselves.   ·    plants that make their own fertilizer.   ·    plants that will shut down when it's too dry, too hot or too cold and then start growing again when conditions improve.   ·    plants that change themselves to become resistant to herbicide…

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  • Josh Flint

    Don't Wait To Tune Up the Dryer

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on May 22, 2009

    With so many folks out planting, I probably should have saved this blog for later. However, I don't think this reminder can wait.   As soon as you park the tractor, check your dryer! Last week, I spent the morning with Gary Woodruff, GSI product information manager. From top to bottom, Woodruff painstakingly showed me every belt, gas connection, auger and electrical box that needs to be checked.   Woodruff also ran down a list of common problems that occur when the dryer is first fired up…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Steering Toward A Better Life

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on May 21, 2009

    Two South Dakota farmers I rode with during planting in South Dakota raved about auto steer.   David Iverson, Astoria, says he doesn’t get as tired, can start and stop planting anywhere in his field and know the rows will match up, and can keep a closer eye on the planter. Spraying for aphids is easier with auto steer, too, because the rows are hard to make out that time of year, he said.   Kevin Scott, Valley Springs, said he likes all those things plus being able to plant at night if…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Update - Indiana Lightbar User Gets More Experience

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on May 20, 2009

    We've been following Shaun Glingle and his father, Randy, near Bourbon, Ind., as they try out precision steering for the first time. A successful farming pair, they're just now looking at GPS-guided steering using a the new GreenStar Lightbar from John Deere.   Shaun has been sending periodic e-mail updates on his use of the tool when applying anhydrous or for primary tillage. Of course, being in northern Indiana, most of the updates have been about rain. Shaun is getting out there and using…

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  • John Vogel

    Real Dairy Leaders Needed, Wanted

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on May 19, 2009

    After this afternoon’s teleconference hosted by the National Family Farm Coalition, I’m more convinced than ever: America’s dairy industry is suffering greatly because of the lack of cohesive leadership.   I don’t milk cows. But I do perch in a dairy barn “catbird seat”, and listen to what’s going on.   After hearing three Congressmen say this spring that the dairy industry is so fragmented that “we don’t know who to listen to,” I’m convinced that nothing will be done until the industry…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Countdown to Harvest is Under Way

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on May 18, 2009

    Our friends in Oklahoma and Texas have been hard hit by winter drought and late freeze. But even though Kansas has faced some weather challenges with the 2009 wheat crop, things are looking good. So far. As many of my friends keep reminding me you never count the bushels until they are in the bin, but it sure is getting hard not to get excited about a good harvest with pretty decent prices, historically speaking. Plenty of folks paid hefty inputs last fall to get this year's crop in the…

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  • Josh Flint

    A Week Without Rain?

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on May 18, 2009

    Finally, today's weather forecast did not include a chance for rain for the entire week.   Barring a change in fortune, that means Central Illinois farmers will finally be in the field. This is great news for me as well. I finally have a reason to get out of the office.   As you start fieldwork, University of Illinois' crop science professor Fabian Fernandez recommends prioritizing it according to 1. herbicide application 2. planting 3. N application.   While the rain is sure to cause…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Reliving Old Memories Always Fun for Hoosiers

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on May 15, 2009

    Duane Drockelman was just out of the 'wet behind the ears stage' when he came to Johnson County as the district soil conservation with what was then the Soil Conservation Service in the late '70s. That means he was just entering his prime, and for just shy of a decade he helped that district do some of the most innovative conservation measures anywhere. It was key timing, because no-till was just coming on the scene, and Drockleman convinced the conservative district board to not only buy a…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Be Safe in the Rush to Plant

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 14, 2009

    In a lot of ways, it’s hard to believe it’s really the middle of May. There’s not much corn planted, much less ground worked. And beans? What beans?   We had a little taste of what’s (hopefully) to come this past Monday. We’d had enough consecutive dry days for farmers to find a field or two that were ready – or close enough. And boy, were the tractors flying. Tractors, fertilizer trucks, anhydrous tanks and more all buzzed up and down the roads. We were makin’ hay while the sun…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Farm Equipment Sales Slide

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on May 13, 2009

    The Association of Equipment Manufacturers releases monthly industry sale data and the April report shows that year-to-date farm equipment sales are off more than 20% when considering all classes of two-wheel drive tractors.   That doesn't mean you're going to find a log of bargains out there waiting for you to check them out. Instead, you may find the dealer lot a little emptier than before as the industry keeps working down the number of machines on hand. Unsold machines represent a big…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Fun With Faulstichs

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on May 13, 2009

    I had a good time visiting Jim and Carol Faulstich and their son-in-law Adam Roth at Daybreak Ranch near Highmore, S.D., recently.   Daybreak Ranch is in the running for an Environmental Stewardship Award from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.   I went to take a picture of them with their Red Angus cows that had been turned out on the first green grass of the year. It was hard to tell which they were more proud of.   Jim might be a good Think Off contest candidate, too. Think Off…

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  • John Vogel

    How We've Changed!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on May 12, 2009

    Last week, while driving before sun-up, I looked across country – if it can still be called “country” today – at all the lights: House lights, yard lights, street lights, ball field lights, parking lot lights, sign lights, you-name-it lights.   If you listen closely, you can almost hear billions of electric motors and power generators humming as they pump out gazillions of mega-watts to light our world. And if you could take a spin around Mother Earth, you’d be awestruck by the light being…

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  • Josh Flint

    When It Rains It Pours

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on May 8, 2009

    Just when pork producers expected things to turn around, someone decided our newest health scare should include the word "swine."   How bad is it? According to Purdue University Extension economist Chris Hurt, Western Cornbelt hog prices fell 16% between April 24 and May 4. Eastern Cornbelt prices fell 13% during the same time period. When I spoke to him earlier this week, he said this means producers are taking about a $20 per head loss.   According to Hurt, if H1N1 is short lived and the…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Swine Flu Episode Exposes Chinks in Communication Armor

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on May 7, 2009

    "Dad, make me an appointment to go to the doctor. I can leave school early if necessary. I'm so afraid it's the swine flu everyone is talking about."   Everyone indeed, from national and international media to local media, have been talking and talking about swine flu for the past week. Not knowing exactly what they're talking about didn't seem to stop anyone from talking. A radio program on WIBC out of Indianapolis early in the week contained an interview with a health official. Some…

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  • John Vogel

    Recesson Smells of Ag Opportunity

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on May 6, 2009

    One privilege of my job is that I travel a lot of highways and byways to meetings and visit farmers. Visiting farmers and their families and enjoying the rural countryside is the best part of my work.   Those travels also take me around a lot of cities in the Northeast. And, from Washington, D.C., to Bangor, Maine, I’ve seen so many majestic “tombstones” – huge, new corporate and financial buildings – testimony to their executives’ fiscal astuteness – lack thereof.   The businesses that…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Obama Warms Me Up With Biofuel Talk

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on May 5, 2009

    After endorsing his candidacy in October (an act that cost me at least one reader who called and canceled his subscription), I’ve been cool toward President Barack Obama.   In his first 100 days, President Obama didn’t seem to do anything that directly helps the kind of agriculture that involves most people in the Dakotas.   But I might warm up to him now that he has announced steps to rev up biofuels.   Full development of cellulosic biofuels could result in building 192 more ethanol…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Compromise Reached on Coal-Fired Plant for Sunflower

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on May 4, 2009

    After two years of wrangling, Gov. Mark Parkinson and Sunflower Electric Power Corp. CEO Earl Watkins announced today that they have reached an agreement that will allow the construction of one new 895-megawatt coal-fired plant near Holcomb. Sunflower and its partner, Tri-State Electric Cooperative out of Colorado, had hoped to build two 700-megawatt plants. But Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment, Rod Bremby, denied an air permit based on carbon dioxide emissions from the plant…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Move on Auto Industry to Impact Ag?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on May 4, 2009

    The world is watching as U.S. automakers dissolve - or at least two of them. One into bankruptcy last week as Chrysler sought Chapter 11 protection; and General Motors could be headed down the same road. Interestingly, a key name popped up in both stories - Fiat. The giant Italian conglomerate once sold cars in the United States in the past but abandoned the market in the 1980s. Does anyone remember the Fiat Strada? My Dad had one (he was into interesting cars - no Yugo, but a Strada) and it…

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  • Josh Flint

    Lessons Learned From a Year Ago

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on May 3, 2009

    According to the Illinois Dept. of Ag's most recent crop progress report (released May 5), we have 5% of our corn in the ground. Needless to say, we're way behind, even compared to last year. This week in 2008, we had 25% of our corn planted. While that's causing a lot of headaches across the Land of Lincoln, some folks are employing lessons they learned last spring.   I spoke to a Central Illinois farmer last week who said the weather broke briefly a couple weeks ago. He was able to get…

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  • Tim White

    Pork Producers Respond to Flu Outbreak

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on May 1, 2009

    The Ohio Pork Producers Council is reporting that more than 25 different media outlets have contacted them this week regarding the outbreak of H1N1 flu.   “OPPC representatives and Ohio pork producers have participated in a variety of media interviews in the last week, including more than 10 different television stations, newspapers and radio stations,” says Stephanie Stute, speaking on the organization’s behalf. “OPPC has released media statements ensuring consumers that pork is safe to eat…

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