United States
John Deere grain and cotton harvesting equipment have been honored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) with the AE50 Award for 2018. The AE50 Award highlights the year’s most innovative product-engineering designs in the food and agriculture industry, as chosen by a panel of international engineering experts.

The John Deere S700 Series Combine was recognized for its significant innovations in “smart” technology, improved operator comfort and data capabilities for more efficient grain harvesting, said Matt Badding, John Deere marketing manager for harvesting equipment.

“The S700 Combines integrate new technologies that optimize and automate grain harvesting, making it easier, faster and more efficient for the operator,” Badding said. “By automating more adjustment and calibration tasks, we’ve enhanced the operational intelligence of these machines while improving overall durability and productivity, based on each customer’s crop and field conditions.”

The latest features include the Combine Advisor package that incorporates seven technologies to help operators set, optimize and automate the combine performance as crop conditions change; Auto Maintain and ActiveVision cameras for maximum threshing performance and grain quality; and Active Yield technology that automatically calibrates the mass flow sensor to eliminate the need for manual calibrations and ensure the best data is collected during harvest.

In addition, the CP690 Cotton Picker and CS690 Cotton Stripper were recognized for innovations in precision cotton-harvesting technologies that include moisture sensing, round module weighing, Harvest Identification, Cotton Pro and John Deere Operations Center Field Analyzer.

ASABE is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems. From the many entries submitted each year, an expert panel of engineers selects approximately 50 products for recognition. The award-winning products are those ranked highest in innovation, significant engineering advancement and impact on the market served.
Published in Combines/Harvesters
Imagine being able to harvest an extra eight to 10 bushels per acre of soybeans without spending another dime. According to Kris Ehler, a seed agronomist with Ehler Bros. Seed, a family-owned business based near Thomasboro, Illinois, all you have to do is plant soybeans early.

Ehler Bros. Seed has been doing early planting soybean trials since 2009. Although the Feb. 22 planting date the company experimented with this past season may sound a little extreme, Ehler advocates planting full-season soybeans (normally groups 3.5 to 4.2, with 4.7 soybeans tossed in this year) no later than the end of April. For the full story, click here

RELATED: Dating decisions - How critical is soil temperature for soybean planting date decisions?
Published in Soybeans
Scientists working to increase soybean oil content tend to focus their efforts on genes known to impact the plant’s seeds, but a Purdue University study shows that genes affecting other plant parts deserve more attention.

Wild-type soybeans contain bloom, a powdery substance originating in the pod that can coat seeds. This trait makes the seeds less visible and is believed to be advantageous for their long-term survival in natural environments. But the bloom is enriched with allergens and can be harmful for animals and people if ingested. People domesticating soybeans selected a naturally occurring mutation that makes soybean seeds shiny through eliminating bloom. For the full story, click here
Published in Soybeans
Canada and the United States share deeply integrated economies and enjoy the largest bilateral trade and investment relationship in the world. As negotiations on a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) continue to progress, the Government of Canada is working hard to strengthen the Canada-U.S. trade relationship and create new opportunities for producers and food processors on both sides of the border.

As part of these efforts, Minister MacAulay travelled this week to Nashville, Tennessee, where he delivered a keynote address to the American Farm Bureau Federation's (AFBF) annual convention. Minister MacAulay reiterated the importance of NAFTA as an engine of growth and prosperity for Canada, the United States and Mexico.

While in Nashville, Minister MacAulay participated in a roundtable with key U.S. agricultural producer and business groups to discuss opportunities for cooperation, hosted a breakfast for all State Farm Bureau Presidents, met with Zippy Duvall, President of the AFBF, with Kevin Paap, Minnesota State Farm Bureau President, and with Jai Templeton, Commissioner of Agriculture for Tennessee, to discuss bilateral trade opportunities. He also met with AFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers.
"The Canada-US relationship is strong, balanced and beneficial to both of our great nations. The Government of Canada is committed to continue working with the United States to strengthen our partnership for the good of our businesses, our jobs, our citizens and our economies."
- The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Quick Facts
  • Canada and the United States are each other's largest trade partners for agriculture and agri-food, with bilateral agriculture trade reaching $62 billion (CAD) ($47 billion (USD)) in 2016.
  • Canada is the top agriculture and agri-food export market for 29 states.
  • Canada-United States trade supports millions of middle class jobs on both sides of the border.
  • The AFBF is a non-partisan, non-sectarian national organization that represents farm and ranch families at all levels.
  • The AFBF convention is a gathering of more than 5,000 delegates bringing together agricultural producers from all levels and sectors representatives from the local, state and national levels.
Published in Imports/Exports
Engineers at Rice University’s Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) Center have found a catalyst that cleans toxic nitrates from drinking water by converting them into air and water.

The research is available online in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Catalysis.

“Nitrates come mainly from agricultural runoff, which affects farming communities all over the world,” said Rice chemical engineer Michael Wong, the lead scientist on the study. “Nitrates are both an environmental problem and health problem because they’re toxic. There are ion-exchange filters that can remove them from water, but these need to be flushed every few months to reuse them, and when that happens, the flushed water just returns a concentrated dose of nitrates right back into the water supply.”

Wong’s lab specializes in developing nanoparticle-based catalysts, submicroscopic bits of metal that speed up chemical reactions. In 2013, his group showed that tiny gold spheres dotted with specks of palladium could break apart nitrites, the more toxic chemical cousins of nitrates.

“Nitrates are molecules that have one nitrogen atom and three oxygen atoms,” Wong explained. “Nitrates turn into nitrites if they lose an oxygen, but nitrites are even more toxic than nitrates, so you don’t want to stop with nitrites. Moreover, nitrates are the more prevalent problem.

“Ultimately, the best way to remove nitrates is a catalytic process that breaks them completely apart into nitrogen and oxygen, or in our case, nitrogen and water because we add a little hydrogen,” he said. “More than 75 percent of Earth’s atmosphere is gaseous nitrogen, so we’re really turning nitrates into air and water.”

Nitrates are toxic to infants and pregnant women and may also be carcinogenic. Nitrate pollution is common in agricultural communities, especially in the U.S. Corn Belt and California’s Central Valley, where fertilizers are heavily used, and some studies have shown that nitrate pollution is on the rise due to changing land-use patterns.

Both nitrates and nitrites are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, which sets allowable limits for safe drinking water. In communities with polluted wells and lakes, that typically means pretreating drinking water with ion-exchange resins that trap and remove nitrates and nitrites without destroying them.

From their previous work, Wong’s team knew that gold-palladium nanoparticles were not good catalysts for breaking apart nitrates. Co-author Kim Heck, a research scientist in Wong’s lab, said a search of published scientific literature turned up another possibility: indium and palladium.

“We were able to optimize that, and we found that covering about 40 percent of a palladium sphere’s surface with indium gave us our most active catalyst,” Heck said. “It was about 50 percent more efficient than anything else we found in previously published studies. We could have stopped there, but we were really interested in understanding why it was better, and for that we had to explore the chemistry behind this reaction.”

In collaboration with chemical engineering colleagues Jeffrey Miller of Purdue University and Lars Grabow of the University of Houston, the Rice team found that the indium speeds up the breakdown of nitrates while the palladium apparently keeps the indium from being permanently oxidized.

“Indium likes to be oxidized,” Heck said. “From our in situ studies, we found that exposing the catalysts to solutions containing nitrate caused the indium to become oxidized. But when we added hydrogen-saturated water, the palladium prompted some of that oxygen to bond with the hydrogen and form water, and that resulted in the indium remaining in a reduced state where it’s free to break apart more nitrates.”

Wong said his team will work with industrial partners and other researchers to turn the process into a commercially viable water-treatment system.

“That’s where NEWT comes in,” he said. “NEWT is all about taking basic science discoveries and getting them deployed in real-world conditions. This is going to be an example within NEWT where we have the chemistry figured out, and the next step is to create a flow system to show proof of concept that the technology can be used in the field.”

NEWT is a multi-institutional engineering research center based at Rice that was established by the National Science Foundation in 2015 to develop compact, mobile, off-grid water-treatment systems that can provide clean water to millions of people and make U.S. energy production more sustainable and cost-effective. NEWT is expected to leverage more than $40 million in federal and industrial support by 2025 and is focused on applications for humanitarian emergency response, rural water systems and wastewater treatment and reuse at remote sites, including both onshore and offshore drilling platforms for oil and gas exploration.

Additional study co-authors include Sujin Guo, Huifeng Qian and Zhun Zhao, all of Rice, and Sashank Kasiraju of the University of Houston. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the China Scholarship Council.
Published in Consumer Issues
Scientists say they have made a step forward in the fight against a wheat disease that threatens food security.

Researchers from the UK, U.S. and Australia identified genetic clues that give insights into whether a crop will succumb to stem rust.

They discovered a gene in the fungus that triggers a wheat plant's natural defences. A second pathway has been discovered which switches on a wheat plant's immune response. READ MORE
Published in Cereals
Plant-parasitic nematodes are hidden yield robbers. But research and monitoring efforts are helping to uncover their secrets. Plant pathologist Albert Tenuta conducted a survey of soil-dwelling nematode species in Ontario crops and his ongoing collaborative research looks to improve management strategies for these microscopic, worm-like pests.  
Published in Insect Pests
The highest recorded corn yield is 532 bushels per acre set by David Hula at Charles City, Virginia in 2015 in an annual contest conducted by the National Corn Growers Association in the United States. By comparison, the highest yield in 2016 in Manitoba Corn Growers Association’s annual yield contest was 274 bushels per acre (bu/ac) set by the Baker Colony at MacGregor, Man. Both impressive yields indeed, given growing conditions at those locations. But how can new corn growers reach those yields?
Published in Corn
FarmLead, North America's largest and fastest growing online grain marketplace, recently announced the launch of GrainCents, a digital subscription service that provides specific recommendations to North American farmers on when to sell, hold and/or hedge in various market conditions to improve balance sheets, operations, and grain marketing schedules. GrainCents also educates farmers by providing expert insights on global market conditions and how they impact farm operations for specific crops.

"FarmLead's blog is a great hub for grain marketing information," said Chad Sebulsky of Sebulsky Farms. "Over the past few months, I have grown to trust the insight that Brennan Turner provides on a daily basis, allowing me to sell my wheat, barley and canola at the right time."

Time-constrained North American farmers fulfill a variety of roles on the farms, one of which includes marketing and selling their grain. Many turn to outside consultants who may or may not operate on their schedule, while others look to market analysts who fail to cover all the supply-and-demand factors required for effective grain marketing.

In contrast, GrainCents offers a cost-effective solution to make sense of what is really moving the markets for 12 crops grown in North America, including corn, soybeans, three wheat varieties, and canola.

GrainCents is built on FarmLead President & CEO Brennan Turner's accurate track record of 93 per cent right calls of when to sell, hold or hedge grain over the past two years. The cost for the annual GrainCents subscription ranges from $250 to $450 per crop, and discounted packages for multiple crops are available.

"Too often I hear about 'just-in-time' grain marketing; hoping and wishing for better prices," Turner said. "We think that knowing the market you're in, and the main factors influencing it, can generate a successful grain marketing plan. GrainCents is the first fully transparent tool that weighs all the factors to help farmers make the smartest and timeliest decision when selling grain."

The addition of GrainCents is another step in the company's mission to provide value throughout the grain marketing lifecycle of the North American farmer. From market analysis, grain testing and pricing recommendations, to accessing more qualified buyers and ensuring the best possible price for grain, farmers on FarmLead receive more value than any other grain selling platforms.

For more information, please visit: https://farmlead.com/graincents.
Published in Corporate News
"IDC [iron deficiency chlorosis] was much more of a concern [this year] than in previous years,” says Dennis Lange, pulse specialist with Manitoba Agriculture. Symptoms persisted for 14 to 21 days rather than 10 to 14 in typical years.
Published in Soybeans
The Herbicide Resistance Summit is a bi-annual conference brought to you by Top Crop Manager (TCM) and a group of generous sponsors that aims to facilitate a more unified understanding of herbicide resistance and promote awareness that all industry members have a role to play in managing the growing threat of herbicide resistance.
Published in Herbicides
More farmers are showing interest in and using an approach called bio strip-till, where specific cover crops are planted in individual strips after the harvest of an early season crop.

Goals for using this approach typically include a combination of creating a dark strip in the field with residue to simulate strip till, opening up the soil for cash crop root growth, to keep competitive winter annual species like cereal rye out of the cash crop planting row, and residue management to keep problematic residue out of the planting strip.

For the full story and a few examples of bio strip-till being used by farmers in North Dakota, click here.

Related: Strip tilling for higher yields
Published in Tillage
The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) recognizes the ExactApply Nozzle Control System from John Deere with the AE50 Award for 2018. The AE50 award highlights the year’s most innovative designs in product engineering in the food and agriculture industry, as chosen by a panel of international engineering experts.

Introduced in 2016, the ExactApply Nozzle Control system provides sprayer operators a comprehensive solution that improves the coverage and control of spray applications due to an industry-exclusive Pulse Width Modulation (30 hertz pulsing) and automatic A/B nozzle switching from the sprayer cab.

The system also offers operators turn compensation, individual nozzle on/off control, LED lights in each nozzle body for improved visibility, and smart diagnostics to improve, monitor and document sprayer applications at the nozzle.

According to Doug Felter, product marketing manager for sprayers at John Deere, ExactApply enhances existing technology that is currently in the market and combines it into one innovative product completely integrated into John Deere R-Series Sprayers and rate control systems.

“ExactApply Nozzle Control improves the operator’s ability to manage droplet size and coverage of products being applied, enhancing the accuracy and efficacy of the applied products, and helps producers reduce their input costs by reducing over application or under application in odd-shaped fields,” Felter explains. “It improves the performance of drift-reducing nozzles by controlling the flow rate and pressure through the spray tip over a wider range of field speeds and adjusts the rate by nozzle across the length of the boom during turns and curves to provide more accurate application.”

ASABE is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems.

The awards will be presented at the ASABE Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, in February. Information on all award winners will be included in the January/February 2018 ASABE’s Resource magazine and on the ASABE website. Further information on the Society can be obtained by visiting www.asabe.org/.
Published in Corporate News
AMVAC Chemical Corporation recently announced its new broad spectrum, low use rate corn herbicide, ImpactZ, has received federal registration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ImpactZ herbicide will give growers a new safe and flexible solution for control of tough broadleaf and grass weeds - including glyphosate resistant species - in corn.

ImpactZ herbicide is registered for use in field corn, seed corn, popcorn and sweetcorn, with no restrictions on soil type, tank mix partners or insecticides. ImpactZ herbicide contains both Impact and Atrazine for highly effective control of grass and broadleaf weeds in corn.

"Impact herbicide has long provided value to corn growers as an excellent tool for weed resistance management," said Jim Lappin, AMVAC crop marketing manager, corn and soybeans. "ImpactZ herbicide provides safe, effective broad spectrum control in corn."

ImpactZ herbicide provides excellent control of tough grass weeds, including barnyardgrass, crabgrass and foxtails. It also controls a broad spectrum of broadleaf weeds, including waterhemp, palmer amaranth, lambsquarters and velvetleaf.

Corn growers will have flexibility to apply ImpactZ herbicide from weed emergence until corn reaches 12-inches in height as a sequential, early post or total post emergence program.

"AMVAC recognizes the challenges that corn growers face, and we work to deliver products that offer superior performance, crop safety and flexibility," said Lappin. "ImpactZ herbicide is an excellent tool to take on key grasses and broadleaf weeds that challenge yield potential in corn"

Individual state registrations for ImpactZ herbicide are pending. For more information on ImpactZ herbicide or additional AMVAC products and crop protection technologies, visit www.amvac-chemical.com.
Published in Herbicides
New research has identified genes that control vitamin E content in maize grain, a finding that could lead to improving the nutritional profile of this staple crop.

Cornell University scientists and colleagues from other institutions combined different types of genetic association analyses to identify 14 genes across the genome that were involved in the synthesis of vitamin E.

Six genes were newly discovered to encode proteins that contribute to a class of antioxidant compounds called tocochromanols, collectively known as vitamin E. Along with antioxidant properties, tocochromanols have been associated with good heart health in humans and proper functioning in plants. READ MORE
Published in Genetics/Traits
A large, prospective cohort study conducted among agricultural workers, farmers and their families in Iowa and North Carolina in the United States reports that there are no associations between glyphosate use and overall cancer risk or with total lymphohematopoietic cancers, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and multiple myeloma.

The long term study updated the previous evaluation of glyphosate with cancer incidence, and is part of the Agricultural Health Study (AHS), a large and important project that tracks the health of agricultural workers and their families.

Led by AHS principal investigator Laura Beane Freeman, the study results state that among 54,251 applicators studied, 44,932 (82.8 percent) used glyphosate. "Glyphosate was not statistically significantly associated with cancer at any site," the study said. For the full story, click here.
Published in Seed/Chemical
The New Holland T6.175 Dynamic Command tractor was crowned Machine of the Year 2018 in the Mid Class Tractor category at the Agritechnica trade show in Hanover, Germany.

The machine received the coveted award for its technical innovation and the benefits it brings to customers, with selection criteria focusing on innovative features, performance, productivity, cost of operation, ease of use and operator comfort.

“This award is testament to New Holland’s long-standing leadership of the mixed farming and dairy segment. It is a well-deserved recognition of the hard work and dedication of all those involved in the development of the T6.175 Dynamic Command tractor, who worked tirelessly to produce a tractor that meets the specific requests of our customers,” said Carlo Lambro, President of New Holland Agriculture Brand.

In August 2017, New Holland announced it is expanding its acclaimed T6 Series offering with the new T6 Dynamic Command option. These new T6.145, T6.155, T6.165 and T6.175 are the only tractors in the segment featuring a 24x24 semi powershift transmission on the market. They are versatile tractors that will be an asset to the fleets of dairy, livestock, and hay and forage operations.

For more information, visit: http://www.newholland.com/na
Published in Tractors
Pipeline Foods LLC, the first U.S.-based supply chain solutions company focused exclusively on non-GMO and organic food and feed, recently announced it is building a new state-of-the-art grain terminal in Bowbells, North Dakota.

Pre-winter construction is underway in preparation for a late summer opening in 2018. The Bowbells project complements three other recent elevator acquisitions in North Dakota and Saskatchewan.

Pipeline Foods purchased the land north of Bowbells where it is constructing the new grain terminal. This is the company's first greenfield project, strategically located adjacent to the BNSF main line railway and US Highway 52 to allow for efficient rail and truck transport. READ MORE
Published in Corporate News
A new Montana State University-developed spring wheat that's already attracting attention because of its potential for excellent yields and superior bread-making qualities is making its way through the pipeline toward Montana growers.

Lanning has higher grain protein and stronger gluten than Vida, the most widely grown spring wheat in Montana from 2010 to 2015. It is a hollow-stemmed wheat and has a grain yield that's equivalent to Vida, according to the Journal of Plant Registrations. READ MORE 
Published in Plant Breeding
Prairie potholes are usually small in size, but when farmed, these perennially wet spots on the landscape can have outsize implications for the environment and farm profitability.

The Prairie Pothole Region extends from Canada south and east, and through parts of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. In Iowa, many potholes are found in the Des Moines Lobe, an area that spans the north-central part of the state, ending around the Polk-Story county line and the vast majority of them are farmed.

These areas in crop fields habitually yield poorly and drag field yield averages down, and they are prone to nutrient loss and leaching, raising questions about the benefits of continuing to grow corn and soybeans in them. For the full story, click here
Published in Seeding/Planting
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