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Bulk beans here to stay

If you still get your soybeans in 50-pound bags, you may want to hold onto them rather than burn them after the season. The way the shift toward bulk soybeans is moving, paper sacks with various company names printed on them could be collectible someday. Don’t laugh — do you really think your grandfather thought the burlap bags he used for seed and feed would be sold at antique auctions down the road?

Seed corn supply adequate despite difficult season

The story goes that an old gent walked into his own wake, smiled, and said, “The reports of my death were greatly exaggerated.” True or not, it accurately describes the ups and downs of expectations on seed corn this year.

Link up with new soybean system

At the time I penned this article in November, July 2010 soybeans were trading for $9.72 per bushel. Thus, interest in soybean production remains strong. One of the newest weed management tools to hit the market is the LibertyLink soybean system. Many growers are counting on this system to help them control glyphosate- and ALS-resistant weeds. This system can work, but it’s not foolproof. Here are some useful tips based on my experiences.

Ask your seedsmen plenty of questions

We’ve encouraged you to proceed cautiously when adding new hybrids or varieties. Add only a small percentage of new hybrids each year. Make sure you’ve seen the hybrids growing in person. Seek yield data that backs up performance claims.

Wheat, triticale, winter barley add to list of choices

Texas AgriLife Extension state small-grains specialist Robert Duncan of College Station told a capacity crowd at the biannual Big Country Wheat Conference in Abilene that producers should decide if making grain or forage is their main goal — and even then, not placing their hopes all on one variety.

Time for soybean insecticides?

You don’t have to go back very far to when soybean breeders and entomologists were scratching their heads, wondering why soybean seed treated with insecticide produced more. Now it’s becoming an accepted practice. The only flies in the ointment are cost and the fact that payoff is larger in some years than others.

Ask seed suppliers some bold questions

Chances are seedsmen you don’t do business with have already knocked on your door. How do you know which ones might be marketing quality products?

Farmers flock to value, fairly priced seed

The 1990s and early 2000s will be remembered as the era of consolidation and concentration within the seed industry. Large companies developing GMO traits scrambled to acquire seed companies to market those traits. It seemed like anything but the right time to start a seed company from scratch. That’s unless you were Chris Jeffries, a native Hoosier, and Dan Fox, a Buckeye who joined him in the venture.

Know seed industry inside out

Here’s some light on how the U.S. seed industry works.

Avoid planting same genetics twice

Seed genetics and commercial hybrid seed changes hands on many levels within the seed industry. How a company decides on which genetics to plant, how to produce it and how to market it depends partly upon the size of the company.

Put your seed corn dealer to the test

Seed corn dealers are knocking on doors. Bob Nielsen, Purdue University corn specialist, has some advice for how to go about picking hybrids.

Waste no seed

Darin Anderson is using 10% less seed corn than he used to, and is getting the same or higher yields.

Think like a soybean seed planted in soil

Perhaps it’s been a long time since you’ve been asked to pretend. For just a moment, imagine you’re a soybean seed that’s just been planted in the soil. What will trigger the emergence process?

RR alfalfa back in federal court — twice

In January, after nearly four years of federal court delays, Monsanto Co. and co-developer Forage Genetics International got the green light to market Roundup Ready alfalfa. “I think there’s a general sigh of relief in U.S. agriculture that this is the right decision,” remarked Mark McCaslin, Forage Genetics president.

Dry year ideal to test drought tolerance of wheat varieties

While hammering agriculture, the historic Texas drought provided a perfect year to test wheat varieties for drought tolerance.

Oregon finds there’s something about Mary and its yield ability

Oregon State University’s new “Mary” soft white winter wheat release this year will offer only moderate resistance to stripe rust, which was prevalent this year, but comes to growers with a fetching plus: excellent yield potential.

USDA barley grant focuses on creating cold-tolerant breeds

Oregon State University will monitor nearly $850,000 to research cold-tolerant barleys under a new $25 million nationwide USDA National Institute of Food and Technology five-year grant.

Get a handle on new seed traits

It’s been a couple of years since I reviewed the traits that are currently being sold in the market. At that time most of the available traits were only stacked with one other trait, making a “double-stack” product.

NDSU fast-tracks star spud

A new potato line in development at North Dakota State University has the potential to once again make the Red River Valley the major supplier of potatoes to the U.S. and the world, according to Carl Hoverson, a Larimore, N.D., grower.

Rehab saline seeps with new alfalfa

Tim Bernston, Buffalo, N.D., is rehabbing saline soils on his farm using alfalfa — and he has high hopes that he’ll be able to increase production even more with a new salt-tolerant alfalfa from Dairyland Seed.

Saving select Dakota seed

Mike Gartner, from Gartner Seed Farm, Mandan, N.D., is the current chairman of Dakota Select Seeds, a grower group organized by the North Dakota Crop Improvement and Seed Association, or NDCISA. Its objective is to produce, market and promote seed of certain crop varieties that typically struggle to maintain viability in the certified-seed industry.

5 seed-buying tips

Mike Gartner, Gartner Seed Farm, Mandan, N.D., has five seed buying tips.

Meet Mr. Oat

Mike Gartner is “Mr. Oat,” and you should meet him, even if you have never grown oats and don’t ever intend to grow oats.

Keep an eye on Goss’s wilt spread

A new disease to keep in mind when selecting corn hybrids this year is Goss’s wilt. The bacterial leaf disease and blight was found in Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota cornfields this year. Fortunately, it caused minor damage and didn’t significantly reduce yields in most fields.

Latest refuge product fits the North

A regulatory seed corn change was approved by the U.S. EPA in late November, and I predict it will make a huge difference in how farmers in the Northern Plains will handle their corn refuges.

Free your fields: Plant LibertyLink

With weed resistance quietly developing throughout Minnesota and the Dakotas, LibertyLink soybeans are becoming more popular as a rotational tool.

98 reasons not to use glyphosate on seed fields

Are you planning to use saved seed next year for planting? If you used glyphosate as a harvest aid last year, you’d better reconsider.

Don’t be tempted by illegal seed

Shortages of seed in some crop types are almost a certainty leading into the 2012 planting season. Durum, barley and edible bean seed acres were greatly reduced in 2011 due to poor planting conditions. In the case of barley, a reduction in malt contracts over the past two years has also negatively influenced seed production.

Soybean varieties to fit your fields

In real estate, there’s a saying that the three most important factors are location, location and location. Many farmers paraphrase that when selecting seed, saying the three most important factors are yield, yield and yield.

Corn seed supplies ‘tight’

There might be a shortage of the newest lines of seed corn in the Dakotas this year.

Decide what you need in seed

With so many choices available, it’s tough to imagine not being able to find the hybrid you want with the trait package you need.

Making the right choice

When you look at Kevin Gardner, you might think you are looking at a farmer. Well, Kevin is a farmer, but as is the case with a lot of farmers, when you look at him you are also seeing someone who is a bit of an economist, someone who has some scientist in him, someone who is more than a little salesman; you’re looking at a consumer, a capitalist and a politician. He is also someone who is a big advocate for farming.

Deltapine unveils its Class of ’12

Three new Deltapine cotton varieties have “made the grade” for the 2012 marketing season.

Syngenta takes bet

Major agricultural research companies see a world of challenge and opportunity unfolding ahead of them. The world’s population is quickly expanding, while the planet itself seems to get smaller every day.

Baenziger: passion for ag

Take it from a guy who helps feed the world: There’s nothing quite like surveying a field comprised of a healthy new crop variety your research team helped create and recalling, years earlier, when you held all the seed of it in the palm of your hand.

Select herbicides when you buy seed

What herbicides will you be using next summer? I can just hear you saying, “Why in the heck is he asking that when I just parked the tractor in the shed for the winter, and deer hunting is in full swing?”

Follow advice for seeding wheat in fall

According to USDA, the Michigan winter wheat yield is forecast at 72 bushels per acre this year and farmers expect to harvest 540,000 acres.

High-oleic soybeans offer less trans fats

When consumers talk, the food industry listens. And trans fats proved to be no exception. With added consumer pressure in 2006, the U.S. government approved a regulation requiring trans fats be labeled on food products. This prompted food companies to begin reformulating their products to eliminate trans fats from their label, thus removing partially hydrogenated soybean oil from the ingredient list.

Planting recommendations for winter wheat

Much of wheat’s yield potential is determined at planting. To attain top yields, the goal of the planting operation needs to be an even and uniform stand of seedlings. This, along with timely planting, is critically important if improving wheat performance is the goal.

Heirloom seeds yield sweet collards

If you ask George Wooten, he’ll tell you there are collards, and then there are cabbage collards. In his mind’s eye, there is a world of difference. But don’t feel bad if you don’t know the difference right off the bat — neither did he.

Triumph Seeds’ SmartStax corn yields big for South Texas producer

A new corn hybrid shined for a South Texas farmer this year.

Lessons from 2010 to take into this year

You only get 35 to 40 seasons to “get it right.” So you need to learn from every season. The cumulative knowledge should help you become more profitable.

Carefully select alfalfa varieties

Many of us carefully select corn hybrids and soybean varieties, but choose alfalfa varieties based on price, marketer, etc., rather than performance. Yet, the differences among alfalfa varieties are at least as great as those of corn and soybeans.

Strip trials can be deceptive

The crop is in the bin, and if you haven’t yet made your seed selections for next year, now is the time! Sure, some of your plans will change before next spring, but for the most part, you know what acres will go into what crop.

New traits boost Northern corn choices

Protecting the yield potential in new corn hybrids has become easier for Northern producers since the introduction of biotech traits. Syngenta, Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto and Bayer CropScience have all registered various biotech traits for corn and soybeans.

New hybrids tolerate drought

Pioneer Hi-Bred recently announced the release of a new generation of corn hybrids designed for water-limited environments. These hybrids will be branded as Optimum AQUAmax hybrids.

Bayer plans to make major investment in Nebraska wheat

Bayer CropScience’s emergence in the wheat breeding arena is big news for Nebraska. The German-based company recently announced it will establish its first North American wheat breeding station near Lincoln, on a 300-acre site yet to be determined.

Real-world planting requires patience

You’ve planned all winter for spring planting. You know which variety and hybrid will go where. Then, at the last minute, someone makes a bobble and throws a monkey wrench into your plans. Maybe they’re out of the variety you expected to get.

How to decide on seed choices

What do you do when seed companies flood the market with hundreds of new varieties and traits? You can’t test them all in your own replicated plots. So what do you do?

Small-grains farmers urged to comply with PVPA regulations

Soon fall will arrive and small-grains farmers will be seeding a new crop. But producers should be aware of specific regulations regarding the Plant Variety Protection Act, or PVPA.

Late summer can be ideal opportunity to seed an alfalfa crop

It’s late summer already. Kids are going back to school, and soon fall will be in the air. It’s also a prime time to seed alfalfa.

Enlist packs a double punch

By now, most have probably heard of Enlist, Dow AgroSciences’ new weed control cropping system that will launch in corn in 2013 and in soybeans in 2015. For those who haven’t, in a nutshell, it combines glyphosate tolerance with 2,4-D tolerance.

Trials reveal best organic wheat varieties

It takes years for a wheat variety to make it from testing to availability for planting. For organic wheat, the process is tougher because of additional criteria, says Richard Little, University of Nebraska organic wheat breeding specialist and coordinator.

Agricultural advocates take action

Words sometimes aren’t enough to do farming and ranching justice. Sometimes you just have to show people. That’s what several individuals and groups in North Dakota and South Dakota did recently to promote agriculture.

Quick hybrid selection checklist

A 2012, selecting the right hybrids isn’t as automatic as you thought. Use this simple checklist to make sure you cover all the bases.

Impede weeds

Growers across the Southeast wondered what would replace Deltapine’s 555 in their cotton fields.

Killer weeds

When one door closes, another one opens.

Will the right soybean please stand up?

Thomas Carter celebrated his 56th birthday this year. Twenty-eight years ago, half his lifetime to this point, he began a long-range project to find a soybean with drought resistance. Now he’s on the edge of his work coming to fruition. Carter has designed five drought-hardy soybean varieties that appear to have the right kind of drought hardiness. He will release the first of them this winter.

GMO wheat likely 8 years away, KSU breeder says

Transgenic varieties are commonplace now for cotton and corn. But GMO commercial wheat may still be about eight years away for U.S. producers.

Match seed drop to soil

Planting exactly the right amount of seed in the right soil is a big deal to Rich Schlipf, Milford. When it comes to planting, he’s all about planting the number of seeds per acre he thinks the soil can handle. And he’s also all about giving every seed he plants the best environment possible.

Seek better corn stands

Maybe Rich Schlipf wouldn’t feel comfortable flying a 747 jet, but he’s got almost as many tools to control and fine-tune planting as a pilot does to fly his plane. He can adjust seeding rate on the go, but he also knows when he’s planting too fast, when his units have the right down pressure on them, and when his seed is singulated properly.

Grazing cows favor meadow fescue

After being forgotten in the wake of developing tall fescues, meadow fescue is staging a comeback for pasture grazing. “The grass has great potential for grazing-based livestock operations, where it’s adapted,” says Geoffrey Brink, research agronomist at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison, Wis.

Chinese seek higher levels of oil, protein in soybean imports

Lisa Lunz and her husband, Jim, of Wakefield have always considered yield one of their top soybean production goals.

Geneticist seeks a better corn

Pork and poultry producers could one day be the beneficiaries of corn genetic research being conducted at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The research is being led by David Holding, a plant molecular geneticist who came to UNL in 2009 from the University of Arizona.

Farmer moves to grass as cash crop

Despite having grown up on a farm where his dad raised tobacco for more than 50 years, Jason Barbour did not see a bright future for himself in bright leaf.