Crop insurance deadline nears for Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin

Producers need to make insurance decisions soon

Last year’s hurricanes, wildfires, and droughts, devastated parts of the South, Midwest, Northern Plains, and California, and were a stark reminder that agriculture is an inherently risky business. Federal crop insurance indemnities for these disasters totaled more than $1 billion in 2017.

“The prosperity of the rural economy depends on our farmers and ranchers and their ability to bounce back from adverse conditions,” said Farm Production and Conservation Acting Deputy Under Secretary Robert Johansson. “Crop insurance is central to a strong farm safety net, and producers should talk with their agents to purchase their coverage before the sales closing date.” Read more


Tools of the Trade: Managing RR canola, glyphosate resistance and scouring rush

Kris Folland, an MSR&PC director from Kittson County, contacted me last growing season with a few problem weeds found in soybean fields in his native northwest Minnesota. 

The common trait, glyphosate (Roundup) was not controlling the problem. For each, the number of post emergent (POST) control options is limited. 

So the question becomes: what are your options?

Volunteer Roundup Ready Canola: Canola is both a crop and weed. It fits the old definition of weed; a plant out of place. Canola, like soybeans, is grown for oil and meal production, and is an annual broadleaf crop and has similar herbicide sensitivities as soybeans.  

“Volunteer RR canola is in many fields spread from fertilizer, wildlife, wind, etc.,” Kris says. “Most of it is in fields where canola has never been grown. Post spray includes flexstar, raptor, and similar chemicals. Low rates of each prior to soybeans flowering. Crop oil seems to help. Research on chemical control and affect on soybean yield are needed. The beans always turn yellow after spraying rates of flexstar as low as 3-6oz. It does not appear to affect yield though.”

Recently, canola has been found invading soybean fields that have not included canola in the rotation.  It is thought canola was introduced as a contaminate of bulk fertilizer shipped from Canada. Most of the over-the-top material that will kill canola will damage/kill soybeans.  It is far easier to practice prevention (crop rotation, pre-emergent herbicides, etc.) than to rescue the soybean crop.  This is an instance when alternative GMO crops (Liberty Link, Dicamba tolerant or 2, 4-D tolerant soybeans) may shine.                             

David Kee, Minnesota Soybean director of research

According to this website, the best management practices for volunteer Canola are to reduce canola harvest loss, use no-till or delayed tillage after canola harvest, plant competitive rotational crops (wheat, corn, etc.) where diverse herbicide sites of action can be used, remove volunteer canola early with pre-plant burndown herbicides, PRE residual herbicides and early POST herbicides, control canola before it reaches the 4 leaf growth stage.

If you are following canola with conventional or Roundup Ready soybeans, use 2,4D LVE or saflufenacil as a burndown, use a burndown with a PRE (2,4-D LVE + flumioxazin or saflufenacil + imazethapyr)  Imazamox is the POST option, but is only effective for volunteer canola at less than the 4 leaf growth stage.  Once volunteer canola is past the 4 leaf stage, mechanical control and hand weeding become the primary option for conventional or Roundup Ready soybeans.

Glyphosate Resistant Marestail: Marestail (Conyza Canadensis), aka horseweed or Canada fleabane, is an annual broadleaf plant, native to much of North America, frequently found in waste areas, fence rows and fallow cropland.  Like waterhemp, this weed can germinate over a long window, is a prolific seed producer and biotypes have become resistant to a number of herbicides.  Marestail population increase is associated with increased no-till acreage over time.

As an annual broadleaf, once established, marestail is difficult to control in soybeans.  If glyphosate resistant marestail is known to exist, rotating to a grass crop (wheat, corn, etc.) will allow more control options.  Also, as with volunteer canola, use of a glufosinate, 2,4-D or dicamba tolerant soybean variety may show immediate results. 

Similar to control of volunteer canola, tillage can be helpful. BMT’s for marestail are used as a herbicide application for emerged plants in the fall, or early spring, to reduce heavy populations (additional applications may be required closer to planting).  Use a spring burndown, including a residual herbicide, to control <4 inch tall marestail to prepare a clean seedbed.  Always use full labeled rates of herbicides for all (PRE and POST) herbicide applications to control herbicide resistant weeds such as marestail.  Use multiple modes of action in all areas, especially in areas with known herbicide resistant marestail.  Include a POST program to control escapes.  Rotate crops and include tillage in your program to reduce heavy marestail infestations.  Consult product labels for precautions and cropping restrictions to manage carryover crop damage. 

Scouring rush (Equisetum hyemale): is a perennial weed commonly found in wetter areas of a no-till field.  This plant is more closely related to ferns than it is to a rush.  It can spread by roots (rhizomes) and spores.  Once established, it forms a dense, extremely competitive sod that tolerates high moisture levels and limits herbicide effectiveness.  The absence of leaves (reducing surface area), the thick cuticle and the accumulation of high concentrations of silica on its surface makes it nearly completely tolerant to herbicides.  Once established, this weed can be tough to control.

In noncropland area, repeated mowing and/or tillage has been used to control Scouring rush.  However, no scientific literature has been found to document the intensity required for effective control.  It appears the area should be mowed or tilled whenever new growth is evident to deplete the carbohydrate reserves in the roots.  This process should be repeated until no growth is evident. 

Herbicide options are available, but knowledge of efficacy is limited.  MCPA has been reported to suppress scouring rush, but the plant will not be found on the label.  Chlorsulfuron, halosulfuron dicholbenil and triclopyr, all labeled for non-cropland use, have also been reported to be active on it.  Foliar applied glyphosate has been found to be ineffective; however a research project has shown injection of concentrated (41 percent) glyphosate directly into the root was very effective in controlling scouring rush, albeit extremely labor intensive.

In cropland, tillage will prevent establishment of scouring rush, however, light tillage, much like with nutsedge, will actually spread the rhizomes creating a bigger problem.  Flumetsulam has been shown to have fair to good control.  Be sure to check the label as not all products containing flumetsulam are labeled for use in soybeans.

Scouring rush, while not an overly competitive weed, is resistant to control. Persistence is required. 

For all three weed species, prevention is by far and away the most profitable option.

Get to Know Your Checkoff Leader – Jim Call

The checkoff is an investment, and as with any investment, Jim Call wanted to know where his contribution was going. This curiosity led to Call becoming a familiar face of the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC). Call, a corn and soybean farmer in Lac qui Parle County, previously served as the chairman for MSR&PC as well as the United Soybean Board (USB). He currently serves as one of the District 4 representatives on the Council.

Through his experience with both MSR&PC and USB, Call has stressed the knowledge gained from involvement. Read more

Ten MN soybean farmers complete mission to Chile and Colombia

Ten Minnesota and three North Dakota soybean farmers returned this week from a week-long mission to Chile and Colombia. Hosted by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (MSR&PC), participants were able to meet large buyers of U.S. soybeans, tour emerging markets and see for themselves where soybean checkoff dollars are invested overseas.

“As a soybean farmer, we bring our soybeans to the local elevator and don’t know exactly where they end up,” said Rodd Beyer, a Wheaton, Minn., farmer and participant on this year’s MSR&PC See For Yourself mission. “Being a part of this trip allowed me to meet those who rely on our quality product and see what my checkoff dollars are doing to promote our product in other countries.” Read more

MN soybean farmers are California dreamin’

California is the nation’s largest biodiesel market, consuming about a quarter of the biodiesel used in the United States. But that distinction didn’t happen overnight, Tom Verry, director of outreach and development for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), told a group of state soybean leaders during an NBB-sponsored agricultural tour of California. 

“We’ve put extensive money and time and research into creating a biodiesel market demand in California,” Verry said. “After all those investments and resources, California is now on track to use a third of the nation’s biodiesel. This provides additional value for your investment in biodiesel.” 

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minnesota soybeans chile

MN soybean farmers complete first leg of See For Yourself mission

Minnesota’s soybean farmers may know a thing or two about growing a valuable crop, but beyond the elevator, many don’t know where their soybeans are headed.

Ten Minnesota and three North Dakota soybean farmers are getting the chance to see international end-users and markets on the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council’s 2018 See For Yourself mission to Chile and Colombia.

“Most of us farmers harvest our soybeans and we deliver them to a local elevator, and that’s it for us,” says Wheaton, Minn. farmer and See For Yourself participant Rodd Beyer. “We know they may end up on a train, headed to the Pacific Northwest, but we don’t think beyond that. This mission has allowed us to meet with our end-users and learn about the international markets and customers buying our soybeans.” Read more

st. paul capitol building

Biodiesel a top MSGA legislative priority in 2018

Ditch mowing, soil loss regulations, N fertilizer rule also among MSGA priorities

As May 1, 2018 approaches, the build up to Minnesota’s final leg of the current biodiesel mandate could go in two very different directions, but there is cause to remain upbeat.

“I’m very confident that, come May 1, we’re going to make history in Minnesota with B20,” says Cory Bennett, a Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) lobbyist.

The nation’s first biodiesel mandate, passed in 2002 to require a 2 percent biodiesel blend in diesel fuel, is nearing its latest milestone, moving to a 20 percent blend come May. But the mandate comes with potential roadblocks. Read more

farmer healthcare

Soybean Business: Affordable Care on life support

Farmers adapt to health insurance crisis

This article first appeared in the January-February 2018 issue of Soybean Business. Click here to view the digital version of this issue.

When the price of Theresia Gillie’s family health insurance plan rose by 67 percent in 2016, it stopped being just another expense on the ledger. Paying for health care was fast becoming an existential threat to the farm.

A couple on her plan would pay $30,000 on premiums and deductibles before insurance started covering major claims. To put this cost in perspective, Gillie did a simple math calculation.

To pay only for a couple’s health care bill, a person would have to earn a full-time wage of at least $14.20 per hour.

Gillie, a past Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) president, had already been asking questions before the massive 2016 rate hikes, which averaged above 50 percent in Minnesota.

“There were no answers, it was ‘This is what you get,’” said Gillie, who farms near Hallock. “It’s crippling.” Read more

Gov. Mark Dayton appointed vice chair of Governors’ Biofuels Coalition

The Governors’ Biofuels Coalition announced today that Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will serve as chair and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton will serve as vice chair of the Coalition through 2018. Read more

goodyear tires

Goodyear tires tread new ground

Harold Stanislawski is such a big fan of Goodyear’s new Assurance WeatherReady tires, he decided to buy a set for each of his Buicks. 

“When I found out these were made from soy oil, I had to have them,” he said during a visit to Goodyear’s store in Fergus Falls. “I hope to have them on my Harley one day. The formulation of the soybean is magical, and you have to support agriculture.” 

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