Something to consider before applying Nitrogen

Know Your NitrogenAs the wheat acres throughout Kentucky and Tennessee begin to receive the early application of UAN, it’s important to understand the importance of protecting your investment by adding a Nitrogen stabilizer.

Now, you can never completely eliminate losing some of your Nitrogen thru volatilization, denitrification, immobilization, or leaching.  However, you can drastically reduce the likelihood of it happening by the use of additives.  Although Agrotain may be the most commonly known one, there are many other excellent options, but too many to mention in this post.

In a year where everyone is crunching their calculators, I believe that nitrogen management is one of the most important dollars that we could spend.  Would you purchase a bag of seed corn, only to pour 30% of it on the ground without putting it in the planter?  Of course not.  Why should fertilizer be treated any different?

There’s a New Bid for Syngenta

Syngenta LogoThe rumor mill is heating up again.  Bloomberg is reporting that Syngenta will be sold to ChemChina for 470 Swiss francs per share, or $45 Billion, IN CASH!

Many will remember that BASF and Monsanto had also been discussed as possible suitors for Syngenta, but Monsanto’s offer was for some of the price to be paid in shares.

Syngenta's Current Stock Value
Syngenta’s Current Stock Value

So it appears that the ball is now in Monsanto’s court.  Things should get very interesting very soon.

Use Metribuzin as a Resistance Management Strategy in Wheat

Henbit Seedling Courtesy of Michigan State University

In a recent University of Tennessee Crops News blog, Dr. Steckel discussed henbit’s increasing populations, especially in winter wheat.  Some applications of Grammoxone, and even some tillage, have failed to control it.  Not mentioned is his post was the weed that is also most commonly found alongside of Henbit, Chickweed.

Chickweed is more interesting to me because of it’s most recently developed herbicide resistance to the Group 2, or Sulfonylurea (SU) class of chemistry.  In the past, applications of Harmony Totalsol have effectively and cheaply controlled winter annuals.

Mouseear Chickweed Photo Courtesy of Michigan State University

I continue to state that the use of multiple modes of action is one of the keys to resistance management.  Metribuzin, which is the active ingredient in Sencor, has always proven to be a strong tankmix partner in wheat.  Harmony Totalsol and Metribuzin compliment each other like peas and carrots.  It also doesn’t hurt that 2 oz of Metribuzin is relatively inexpensive.

There is 1 statement in Dr. Steckel’s blog that I would caution against.  I never recommend using 2,4-D in crop on wheat in the fall.  The risk of injury is too great.  Wait until spring.  You will still get excellent control.

Breaking: FDA Approves Genetically Modified Salmon for Human Consumption

This is defiantly good news for farmers and other supporters of the GMO platform.  While I’ll admit, I’m not an expert, this is the first time that I’ve seed the FDA get involved in the GMO debate.  Most of the arguments that I’ve heard area based around regulatory approval from the EPA.

In a press release from the AP 45 minutes ago:

“(It’s a) game changer that brings healthy and nutritious food to consumers in an environmentally responsible manner without damaging the ocean and other marine habitats.”

“There is no evidence that the foods would be unsafe, but for some people, it’s an ethical issue.”

“By altering genetic materials, scientists have proposed — and in some cases, actually created — animals that would be bred to be disease-free, cleaner in their environments or grow more efficiently”

Proponents of this technology have been saying this for a while.  Maybe this time, consumers will listen.

Anaplasmosis Has Become A Problem in Beef Production


Kansas cattle farmers are currently fighting some of their highest anaplasmosis levels in their state’s history, but the disease isn’t exclusive to Kansas.

Several months ago anaplasmosis was in Kentucky.  In fact, I lost a mature cow to the disease myself.  This disease is basically a blood infection that is spread by primarily by ticks, mosquitos, and biting flies.  Once you can identify the symptoms, it’s typically too late.

Anaplasmosis can be combatted by antibiotics such as LA-200, or feed grade antibiotics can also be used.  Since biting flies help spread the disease, fly control thru the summer and fall with fly rubs or IGR in mineral will also be affective.

Breaking News: Syngenta to Discontinue Touchdown Brands

Touchdown LogoSyngenta has just announced that it will discontinue production of its straight goods glyphosate brands, such as Touchdown, in the 4th qtr. of 2015.  No Touchdown will be available from Syngenta after December 31st.

Syngenta will continue to sell its premixed products that include glyphosate, such as Halex GT & Flexstar GT.  This move fits better into resistance management plans on hard to control weeds such as Palmer Pigweed and Marestail.

Many retailers have stocked up on Touchdown already, so there will be enough product in the supply chain to last thru a significant portion of the 2016 growing season.  However, growers will need to begin looking for other options going forward.

Syngenta Logo

We Can Make Beans Better

20140729-202537-73537443.jpgIn today’s news from DTN’s Progressive Farmer online, Barb Baylor Anderson covers “Six Secrets of Soybean Success.” while striving for 100 bushel soybean yields.  Most of us won’t view any of these ideas as secrets, but I feel that she missed a couple of topics that could indeed, “make beans better.”

  1. Weed Control –  Without a strong resistance management plan to fight Palmer Pigweed, Waterhemp, & Marestail, your soybeans will compete for sunlight, water, and nutrients.  Many growers have attempted to cut costs on herbicides in the past, but few actually realize the yield potential that decision costs them.  It’s essential to start clean & stay clean.

    Palmer Pigweed can grow several inches per day.
    Palmer Pigweed can grow several inches per day.
  2. Biological Products – The next big impact in the traditional crop protectant market will be biological products.  All of the Big Six chemical manufacturers have these products into their pipeline, and will be introducing them very soon.  These products work in a variety of different ways, but stress mitigation is often the objective, which will come in hand if we do have a drought next summer.
  3. I’ll slightly disagree on Barb’s analysis of fertility.  There has been lots of research done on foliar applications of nitrogen and potassium on soybeans, with very positive results.  I don’t think all the fertility is required to be applied to the soils.

The Winds of Change are Blowing. Hold on!

As farmers begin to feel the crunch from low commodity prices, many crop protectant manufacturers are feeling the pain also.  As quarterly earnings are being reported, Wall Street is paying attention.

Dow Logo

The most recent development, according to Croplife Magazine, is DOW’s potential exit from the ag sector, despite DOW’s denials.  This is quite the opposite from many of the rumors that are circling the industry.  I had always assumed that DOW would be one of the companies to expand, due to its Enlist Duo platform, commonly know as the 2,4-D trait, which has already received domestic approval.  Dupont and Monsanto were sited as potential buyers.

Dupont LogoMeanwhile, Dupont is having its own troubles.  They have been having power struggles on their board of directors, as activist Nelson Peltz has been attempting to gain control of the company.  Peltz is the founder of Trian Fund Management and self-made billionaire.  Dupont’s CEO, Ellen Kullmann abruptly resigned leading many to speculate that a Dupont – Pioneer split was imminent.

UPDATE:  News broke today that indicates that Dupont may be looking to merge with Syngenta, or could possibly by DOW.  Simply put, it’s now a cluster.

Syngenta Logo

Monsanto’s $47 Billion dollar offer for Syngenta that was turned down hasn’t settled to well with Syngenta’s shareholders.  As a result, their CEO, Mike Mack, has resigned amid the pressure.  This opens the door for speculation about rekindling negotiations between the 2 giants.


Meanwhile, the company at the center of most consolidation rumors is making changes of its own. Earlier this month, they announced that they would cut 2600 jobs and restructure its operations to cut costs. It is my understanding that most of these cuts would come in the seed and research divisions.   Late last week, Monsanto announced that they would close 3 R&D centers in Middleton, WI, Mystic, CT, & Research Triangle Park, NC. 

Honestly, I started writing this post 4 days ago.  There have been so many consolidation/merger/buyout rumors circulating that I’m now having trouble keeping up.  I’ll try to keep the posts about this in the future much shorter.  I feel very confident 1, possibly 2, of the “Big 6″ chemical companies will be consolidating in the very near future.

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