Scientists stress diversity in weed management

Efforts continue nationwide to educate producers about herbicide resistance and weed management. At a weed management field day near Lincoln, Nebraska, we discussed the challenges with Extension weed scientists Vince Davis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Lowell Sandell from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

AUDIO: Vince Davis and Lowell Sandell (3:00 MP3)

Oklahoma cattle official blasts EPA’s water rule

Region Six EPA officials traveled to Oklahoma to discuss the agency’s Clean Water Act rule with that state’s ag industry leaders. But their visit did nothing to change the opinion of Richard Gebhart, president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association.

“I’ve studied this rule at least three or four times and I cannot imagine a piece of land in the United States of America that’s involved in agriculture that will not be regulated by this rule,” Gebhart says.

Gebhart, who holds a law degree, takes issue with EPA administrator Gina McCarthy’s claim that the EPA is not out to regulate ditches.

“She and I must be reading two different documents,” he says, “because it’s clear to me, if a ditch drains anything and gets into a stream or anything else, it is regulated.”

Gebhart calls the rule “a dream come true for litigators”.

“If this rule gets through and Congress is unable to rein this rule in, then we are going to be in the courts—and the ones who are going to win with this are going to be the lawyers that are arguing both sides.”

Gebhart also serves as treasurer of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. He urges cattlemen to submit their comments on the water rule at beefusa.org.

Texas producers approve state beef checkoff

Beef producers in Texas have approved a new state beef checkoff.

Just over two-thirds of the seven-thousand cattlemen who voted in the referendum voted for the one dollar per head state checkoff. Collection of the new fee will begin in October.

The money will be used to support promotion, marketing, research and educational efforts for beef and beef products in Texas, across the U.S. and overseas. The state checkoff is independent from the national Beef Checkoff program, which also collects one dollar per head.

UNL study: Zilmax has no noticeable detrimental effect

A research study conducted in Nebraska concludes that the cattle feed additive Zilmax has no noticeable detrimental effect on cattle health or well-being.

The study was conducted by scientists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. The study was undertaken after the maker of Zilmax, Merck Animal Health, temporarily suspended sales of the beta-agonist last year when concerns emerged that it might cause lameness in cattle.

During the 26-day study, scientists collected blood, via catheters; body temperature; and video images from 20 heifers. They were divided into two groups, with half receiving Zilmax at the recommended dose and half not receiving it. On the last day of the trial, four days after Zilmax supplementation was discontinued, heifers were exposed to a simulated stress event to mimic the stress response that would be anticipated in cattle being shipped from the feedlot to packing plant.  At the conclusion of the trial, heifers were harvested at UNL and their hearts, liver, lungs, kidneys and adrenal glands were studied.

“Overall, the results of this trial indicate that while there are variations in the body temperature, endocrine and metabolic parameters and histopathology of major organs of Zilmax supplemented heifers, these differences are minor and show no indication that supplementation of Zilmax is detrimental to the health or well-being of cattle,” says UNL animal scientist Ty Schmidt.

Schmidt discusses the study and the results in this interview with Brownfield.

AUDIO: Ty Schmidt (5:57 MP3)

Link to UNL news release

Study: Zilmax has no apparent detrimental effect

A research study conducted in Nebraska concludes that the cattle feed additive Zilmax has no noticeable detrimental effect on cattle health or well-being.

The study was conducted by scientists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. The study was undertaken after the maker of Zilmax, Merck Animal Health, temporarily suspended sales of the beta-agonist last year when concerns emerged that it might cause lameness in cattle.

During the 26-day study, scientists collected blood, via catheters; body temperature; and video images from 20 heifers. They were divided into two groups, with half receiving Zilmax at the recommended dose and half not receiving it. On the last day of the trial, four days after Zilmax supplementation was discontinued, heifers were exposed to a simulated stress event to mimic the stress response that would be anticipated in cattle being shipped from the feedlot to packing plant.  At the conclusion of the trial, heifers were harvested at UNL and their hearts, liver, lungs, kidneys and adrenal glands were studied.

“Overall, the results of this trial indicate that while there are variations in the body temperature, endocrine and metabolic parameters and histopathology of major organs of Zilmax supplemented heifers, these differences are minor and show no indication that supplementation of Zilmax is detrimental to the health or well-being of cattle,” says UNL animal scientist Ty Schmidt.

Link to news release on the UNL web site

Nebraska’s wheat harvest advances

Nebraska’s winter wheat harvest continued to progress northward last week and is near one-third complete.

As of Sunday, 31 percent of the wheat crop was harvested, a little behind the 40 percent average for this time of year. The wheat crop is rated 51 percent good to excellent, 29 percent fair and 20 percent poor to very poor.

Row crops in Nebraska continued to make good progress with 74 percent of the corn and 71 percent of the soybeans rated good to excellent.

The second cutting of alfalfa was 53 percent complete, but the hay harvest continued to be difficult due to frequent rains. The alfalfa crop was rated 60 percent good to excellent.

Pasture and range conditions rated 55 percent good to excellent, a slight improvement over last week.

Iowa welcomes drier weather

Iowa farmers welcomed drier weather last week, which allowed them to get back in the fields. Activities for the week included herbicide applications, replanting drowned-out crops, and cutting hay.

“The drier weather last week was very welcome as it allowed farmers to start getting back in the fields to get needed work done,” says Bill Northey, Iowa secretary of agriculture.  “Much of the crop remains in good to excellent condition even as some of the damage from the extremely wet weather and strong storms earlier in the growing season was becoming even more apparent.”

As of Sunday, 76 percent of corn and 73 percent of soybeans were rated in good to excellent condition, both unchanged from the previous week. Twenty-six percent of the corn acreage was silking and 45 percent of soybeans were blooming, both near normal for mid-July.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay was 27 percent complete and 68 percent of all hay was rated in good to excellent condition. Pasture condition rated 75 percent good to excellent.

Iowa’s June was 4th wettest month on record

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports that June 2014 ranks as the fourth wettest month in the state in 141 years of record-keeping.

Iowa’s statewide average rainfall in June was almost ten inches.

Although some fields suffered flood or storm damage, Iowa Corn Growers Association president Roger Zylstra of Lynnville says most farmers welcomed the extra moisture.

“With it being dry when we started, there was a lot of room in the subsoil—so that helped us out quite a bit,” Zylstra says. “Things are looking very, very good for us.”

Iowa’s subsoil moisture ratings have improved from 60 percent short to very short in early April to just eight percent short to very short in early July.

AUDIO: Roger Zylstra (1:00 MP3)

NCGA calls for water rule withdrawal

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is calling on the EPA to withdraw its interpretative rule on Waters of the U.S.

In comments submitted to the agency, NCGA said it has serious concerns over the impact of the rule regarding the exemption from permitting under the Clean Water Act. NCGA also voiced strong concerns over the potential legal liabilities which could arise as result of the rule.

NCGA asked the EPA to withdraw the rule and work with the ag community to develop an alternative approach that would allow for farmer comment and an opportunity to protect their interests.

An update on Sygenta’s Enogen corn trait technology

Syngenta’s Enogen trait technology is the industry’s only corn output trait bioengineered specifically to enhance ethanol production. In this interview with Brownfield, Jack Bernens, head of Enogen marketing and stakeholder relations for Syngenta, talks about growing interest in the product from both ethanol producers and farmers. He also discusses Syngenta’s collaboration with Cellulosic Ethanol Technologies LLC. That company recently began producing commercial-scale quantities of cellulosic ethanol—the first of its kind in Iowa—at the Quad County Corn Processors ethanol plant in Galva, Iowa.

AUDIO: Jack Bernens (8:33 MP3)