• Curt Arens

    Close Calls

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on August 31, 2011

    Be careful on the farm and in the fields.   Every farmer can recall specific occasions out in the field or in the cattle or hog yard when their dangerous profession nearly did them in. I have a litany of close calls and near misses on the farm, when an inch or a split second could have meant a very tragic outcome. It is something we don’t like to discuss with anyone, especially our spouses. But farming is dangerous. Sometimes we get so comfortable with potentially dangerous…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Making a Statement

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on August 31, 2011

    We're three years from full implementation of the final level - Tier 4b (or Tier 4 final) - emission standards for high-horsepower off-highway equipment. Companies are just launching their Tier 4a or Tier 4 interim machines across their lines this year (we see plenty here at the 2011 Farm Progress Show) yet at least one company is confirming its final strategy for emissions. At a media event during the show Tuesday  night, Case IH confirmed that selective catalytic reduction technology…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    $9 corn?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on August 30, 2011

    You probably could tell that I haven’t been out of the Dakotas for a while when I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the fields in Illinois. From 8,000 feet up, in the commuter plane I was riding from Chicago to Decatur, Ill., to work at our company’s Farm Progress Show, I could pick out the hay fields easy enough. The windrows were as clear as a bell. But there were deep green fields and light green fields. Obviously, one was corn and the other was soybeans. But which…

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  • Josh Flint

    The Farm Progress Show Begins

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on August 29, 2011

    Tomorrow the Farm Progress Show kicks off full bore. What started as an expanse of land with a checker board of paved streets has transformed into a city of tents, tractors and combines. It’s also the beginning of a grueling three days of newsgathering for me and nine other editors. Between press events and scheduled interviews, I’ll be gathering info and photos of new products at the show. If you get a chance, please come by and see me in the Hospitality Tent. I’ll be…

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  • Tom Bechman

    What Will You Do on Labor Day?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on August 29, 2011

    For those who work 8 to 4 jobs or work in town at other hours, Monday, Sept. 5 is a holiday. If you farm and can take the time off, great. It can be a chance to get in last-minute trips with the kids, and maybe hit that last-minute summer-type resort or favorite fishing hole before fall moves in. For many it's another day to work. That's especially true for an increasing breed- the part-time farmer. There's a reason why stores like Lowe's, Menards and Home Depot, or whatever the big-box lumber…

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  • Holly Spangler

    See You at the Show

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on August 28, 2011

    It's late on Sunday evening as I write this. The camera bag is packed and so is my laptop, but the rest? Not so much. It will be soon, or at least by some point on Monday, when I head out the door for the Farm Progress Show. Our first-grader, Nathan, is tagging along. He thinks he's staying through Thursday but he's wrong. A day and a half of skipping school is probably enough. Although, it's kind of appropriate; I skipped school for a day in the fourth grade to attend my first Farm…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Roberts, Stabenow Show Rare Quality for Today's Washington: Congeniality

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on August 28, 2011

    Sens. Pat Roberts and Debbie Stabenow demonstrated a quality in extremely short supply in today's politics in a field hearing in Wichita last Thursday. They were congenial, respectful of differences of opinion and resolute about working together to come up with the best possible 2012 Farm Bill. And comfortable enough to joke easily. Roberts said that in the first field hearing on the 2012 Farm Bill on May 31 in Michigan, he learned to appreciate specialty crops. "Now, I have a Bing…

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  • Curt Arens

    What I Learned While Walking Beans

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on August 25, 2011

    I’m reminded of the summers of my youth, spent mostly in soybean fields with a corn knife in my hand.   My, how things have changed? At the soybean management field day last week in Bancroft, I sat in on the weed management talk, and heard a lot about preventing spray drift and fighting herbicide-resistant weeds. Herbicide-resistant weeds, did you say? Thirty years ago, there were only a few, very expensive herbicides available for use in soybeans. The only sure-fired way to…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Here's to Hoping Washington Gets the Message

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on August 24, 2011

    If ever there was an argument for an agriculture safety net, this year's drought devastation covering more than two-thirds of Kansas should make it. On Wednesday, Sen. Pat Roberts was the guest of Reno County farmer Chad Basinger and his wife, Cassondra, for a tour of south central Kansas, where the only thing that's green is under irrigation and most of it isn't doing too well. The temperature hit 107 degrees as the Senator's tour bus traversed the county roads. Roberts joked about…

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  • John Vogel

    Did You Feel That?!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on August 24, 2011

      Last night, I returned home after a two-day run down into Delaware and Eastern Shore Maryland. It was memorable for three reasons. First, I visited with a lot of very good people – all in agriculture. Didn't meet a sole I didn't like and didn't have something in common with. And when you talk with people outside of agriculture, you get an idea of how unusual it is. Second, as I pulled up next to the farm shop at Chesapeake Farms about 1 p.m., near Chestertown, Md., my SUV was…

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  • Willie Vogt

    A Farm Show Mindset

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on August 24, 2011

    Had a colleague make a request the other day and my first response was: "Can this wait until after the show?" You hear that a lot around Farm Progress these days as we immerse ourselves into the once-a-year event that is the Farm Progress Show - followed soon after by Husker Harvest Days. I'm lucky that I get paid to attend this great event and can spend THREE days looking at technology, talking to farmers and enjoying what our exhibitors have to offer. We're less than a week from the big…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    A Kernel of Truth in Political Rhetoric

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on August 23, 2011

    Just when I thought this political season couldn't get any more nuts, Michelle Bachman takes the podium and guarantees that under her presidency, prices will come crashing down. Gas will be a $1.79, maybe $1.29. Candy bars will be a nickel and a loaf of bread 15 cents. Considering the political policies she advocates -- Warren Harding is a hero -- she just might do it. Plunge the U.S. into a depression that makes the 1930s  look like good times and you'll see deflation push those…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Triple Digits Back; No Real End in Sight

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on August 23, 2011

    The temperature hit 104 today and 108 is in the forecast for tomorrow. The long cooker that has been the summer of 2008 is going to be remembered for a long time to come. Sen. Pat Roberts is in south-central Kansas tomorrow for a drought tour in Kingman and Reno Counties. It looks like he couldn't have picked a better day if he wants to experience this summer first…

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  • Josh Flint

    Think You've Seen Weed Pressure? Think Again.

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on August 22, 2011

    There are some things in life you have to see for yourself to really appreciate them. Unfortunately, Arkansas’ invasion of Palmer Amaranth, commonly called pigweed, is just such a situation. As part of Dow AgroScience’s Crop Technology Media Summit, we flew to Batesville, Ark. to witness the pigweed problem. At a farm near Newport, Ark., farmer Malcolm Haigwood explained the situation. In 2005, the first pigweed problem was identified in eastern Arkansas, near the Tennessee…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Livestock Cheating Needs to End, Period!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on August 22, 2011

    As I sit down to write this week, I have two pertinent topics to Indiana youth and the livestock industry to choose from. One stems form the terrible tragedy that occurred at the Indiana State Fair when the stage collapsed during a concert and killed six people, injuring dozens more. It was indeed a tragedy, requiring quick decisions. One of those decisions was to cancel 4-H shows on Sunday and not reschedule them, which wiped out part of the dairy and sheep shows. Personally, this seems…

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  • Tim White

    A Visit to the Church of SOM

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on August 19, 2011

    Farmers just about filled the new metal building at Dave Brandt’s farm near Lancaster  for a Soil Health and Cover Crops Workshop this week. There the apostles of Soil Organic Matter held forth preaching the value of no-till, cover crops, micro-organisms, year-round roots, earth worms, biotic glues and biodiversity. Demonstrations of water holding capacity for soils from various crop production systems drove home the concepts. At one point Ray Archleta, agronomist for the Natural…

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  • Curt Arens

    Soybean Prices, Policy and Pests

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on August 19, 2011

    Everyone was there yesterday at Dallas and Matt Breitbarth’s farm west of Bancroft. Right out in the middle of soybean fields, University of Nebraska Extension specialists shared the latest in technology and management research with soybean producers, young and old, from around the region.   BIOSTIMULANTS: UNL Extension educator, Michael Rethwisch, explains soybean biostimulant research trials to farmers attending Soybean Management Field Days at a farm near…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    High Times In Central Dakota

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on August 18, 2011

    Farmers I talked to this week on a trip through central North Dakota and South Dakota – from Wimbledon and Windsor, N.D., to Selby, Gettysburg and Mitchell, S.D. -- were in a pretty good mood. Winter wheat and spring wheat yields were lower than average, “but it wasn’t a train wreck,” said one of guys working the unloading pit at a big elevator outside on Bowdle, S.D. Corn was looking good. “We could be looking at our best corn crop ever,” said Mark…

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  • Holly Spangler

    POTUS

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on August 18, 2011

    So you may have heard, the President came to Wyffels Hybrids this week. The President. Of the United States. I have said it before, but no matter your politics, it was just cool. As I drove across I-80 and neared Geneseo, I began to see IDOT dump trucks strategically parked across median turn-arounds. At each overpass were two uniformed officers. Armed, I'm sure. MIDWEST SWING: President Barack Obama wrapped up his three-day swing through the Upper Midwest with a stop at Wyffels…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Equipment Maker Acquired

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on August 17, 2011

    A popular Illinois brand is being merged into Blount International. Woods Equipment Company, a manufacturer and marketer of farm equipment and replacement parts based in Oregon, Ill., will become part of Portland, Ore., based Blount. According to the press release, Blount will get a range of benefits including the following: * Increased distribution for Blount's farm, ranch and agriculture end-market business - especially equipment dealers. Blount markets the following lines: Oregon, ICS…

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  • Josh Flint

    Are Pre-Pay Fertilizer Contracts Pushing Farmers Toward Poor Agronomic Practices?

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on August 15, 2011

    Last week, I conducted one of the most enlightening interviews of my career. I spoke with a fertilizer analyst. He was extremely candid about the current state of crop inputs. In short, yes, they are following crop prices, not gas prices. Our conversation eventually got on the topic of pre-paying for fertilizer. Rather than “securing supply”, he sees the practice as little more than a clever sales tactic and a way for retailers to offload risk on the farmer. I’m sure a…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    And Now, For A Few Milestones

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on August 15, 2011

    It's hard to believe but school starts in just a couple of days. We have milestones this year: Jaime starts first grade, Michele starts kindergarten, Jackson starts pre-K and Chloe starts her last year in elementary school. Where, oh where, has all the time gone? Wasn't it just yesterday that we first learned Chloe was joining our family? Now she's so big -- taking care of her siblings, practicing her piano, obsessing about horses and wanting to become an astronaut. And if that's not…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Just When We Were Beginning To Green, Back to 100 Degrees

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on August 15, 2011

    The rain came with the price -- high winds and hail and power outages. But it was so worth it to see temperatures drop out of the persistent triple-digit range that marked most of July and early August. Now the party is over. Just as a little tinge of green here and there began to appear, we are back to the triple-digit forecasts, with highs flirting with the low 100s for the next several days. One thing I know for sure.  Most of Kansas will be happy to say goodbye to the summer…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Indiana's Best Soybeans May Be At the State Fair!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on August 15, 2011

    I was walking along at the Indiana State Fair near the 4-H Building when I finally saw what I expected to see- soybeans growing in a flower bed. When it was the year of corn, corn was planted and growing everywhere. So naturally, soybeans should be growing this year. What struck me next was how good the soybeans looked! No doubt they were planted relatively early and watered, but maybe Greg Preston and the boys at the Indiana Ag Statistics Service should have checked out the state fairgrounds…

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  • Curt Arens

    Tough Lessons to Learn

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on August 11, 2011

    My daughters learned more than they bargained for in their 4-H bucket calf projects this year. Today was supposed to be entry day for livestock at the Knox County Fair. For most 4-H and FFA members in the county, it was. But for my daughters, unfortunately, it was not. Both daughters have been caring for bucket calves all summer. The baby calves, named Memorial and Maple, have been partners in their pens. Daughters, Lauren and Taylor, have been feeding the calves and in recent weeks have…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Farm Moms Hit the Road

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on August 10, 2011

    I'm guest blogging today at the Illinois Farm Families website today! Here's a snippet: Who doesn't love a road trip? I have been game for hitting the open road with a girlfriend since, well, since I turned 16 and could. My first was but days after my 16th birthday, when my best friend and I loaded up in my mom's Caprice Classic and headed to the big city, where we each got a second hole pierced in just one of our ears. We were total rebels. So when the opportunity arose to travel to…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Is Your Post Office Closing?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on August 10, 2011

    The U.S. Postal Service wants to close thousands of post offices around the country to save money. That sounds reasonable, until you look at the number they want to close and how the cuts are centered in rural areas. Here’s a list of offices in North Dakota and South Dakota that are on the closing “study” list. NORTH…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    AGCO Product Launch Is Good Show With Touching Announcement

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on August 8, 2011

    I'm in Kansas City, Mo. for the biggest new product launch ever for Agco Corp., which has a special place in my heart because of what the Hesston manufacturing plant means to the economy of South Central Kansas. This launch is quite the show; the culmination of five years of research and development for Agco, with 15 new products, some of them ground-up redesigns, being announced. But the big moment of the night for me didn't come with the parade of impressive new tractor, combine…

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  • John Vogel

    Stock Market 'Bust': It Had To Happen!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on August 8, 2011

      I won’t say, “I told you so.” But many stock market analysts have predicted an “economic armageddon” for several years. And I write this amid a market melt-down that makes the U.S. federal deficit look like pennies. And the finger-pointers are everywhere. Blame Bush? Nope, President Obama has done that too much to be effective. Blame the Greeks? Sorry, the media has been hearing that one for too long as well. Then blame Standard & Poors for knocking…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Phone in Those Tire Pressure Numbers

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on August 8, 2011

    Running the latest machines these days can really boost your profitability helping you cover more acres in a day. But do you have your tire pressure set right? Chances are you don't, and if you're using the newest radials you're not getting all the money out you may have invested. Inflation pressure is a big deal and you can run lower than ever before, reducing compaction and improving tractive efficiency if you're set up right. Now comes a new website - built for smart phones - called…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Country Sale Barn Is Rural Melting Pot

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on August 8, 2011

    If you think everyone in agriculture is on the same page, educated the same, with the same goals, take time to attend a weekly auction at the old-time livestock sale barn nearest to you. Odds are you may come away with a different opinion. After my most recent visit to the Johnson County Sales Pavilion near Amity to sell lambs and a steer, I would say that rural America is a melting pot of full-time farmers, with plenty of part-timers mixed in. The part-timers may be just as passionate about…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Rain At Last, But With A Price -- And Little Relief From Heat

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on August 7, 2011

    Wichita and most of south central Kansas finally got rain this week. Almost two inches fell in the Wichita metro area on Aug. 3 and we've had another round of storms with at least some rain since then. But the water came with a price. Hail and power outages came with the storms that hit with 60 to 70 mph winds about 10 p.m. Wednesday night. Tree limbs are down all over town and the silver maple at the side of my driveway lost a big limb right out of the center of the tree. The wisteria was…

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  • Curt Arens

    Keep Your Cool

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on August 6, 2011

    When uncertainty and difficulty hit the farm, my Dad would always say, “Keep your cool.”   A few years back, I was having a really bad day. A truck came to load corn in the morning from our aged granary bins. The night before, I checked all of the electrical cords on the auger motors, fueled up my auger tractor and made sure everything was in working order. When the truck arrived, I wanted to get it loaded and get the driver down the road in short order, because the weather…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Things Happen for a Reason

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on August 3, 2011

    If you believe that there is a higher power in charge, which I do, than it's only a short leap of faith to believe that sometimes things happen for a reason, even if they're not what you thought you wanted to happen at the time. You just have to be willing to remember that the sun comes up in the morning, hold your head high, and focus on what you do best. If something is supposed to come your way, it will. Earlier this summer I helped a young FFA person prepare to run for state FFA office…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Meeting in the Middle

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on August 2, 2011

    On Monday and Tuesday this week, our county Farm Bureau hosted our adopted urban legislator and her family on a little tour of Fulton County agriculture. It was a fun time, despite heat indexes of 116 degrees. No kidding. Our farm was among the stops on Tuesday, and we packed in as much as we could. Other stops included but were not limited to: Randy Farr's cattle operation, Western Illinois Grain and rail shuttle, Greg and Randall Leigh's hog operation, and Bill Carlberg's dairy. And let…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Ag Dodges First-Round Bullet

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on August 2, 2011

    Agriculture cuts were not part of the debt reduction agreement pounded out in Congress at the last minute today, says Tyler Lund, an aide in the office of Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran. That doesn't mean cuts aren't coming, however, he warned. He said program reductions are very likely to come in the future when the "super committee" in charge of identifying more spending reductions gets to work. Moran voted against the bill raising the debt ceiling and reducing spending, saying it was not…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    The Heat Goes On

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on August 1, 2011

    Blistering Kansas was supposed to get a "respite" Sunday from 100-degree heat, with a forecast high of "only" 96. It hit 101. Things heated up more today, topping out at 108 and Tuesday is expected to be hotter still with highs around 112. That's air temperature for the folks accustomed to talk about "heat index." The stats for July were tallied over the weekend, making it officially the second hottest July on record, with an average temperature of 89.3 degrees, topped only by the heat of…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Road Travel and Hot Topics

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on August 1, 2011

    Saw something interesting last week when driving east as part of a vacation trip - I saw a lot of westbound combines and noted one key fact: none were Class VI machines. I saw plenty of Class VII and VIII machines - in fact my wife wanted to start counting how many we saw (that’s her thing). Yet this simple fact speaks volumes about how this industry is changing. The move to larger combines means you’re enhancing your harvest efficiency. Note that combine makers don’t usually…

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