Indiana corn crop well ahead of last year

Dry conditions last week had farmers hoping for a late July rain shower as corn and soybean plants were rolling up to conserve moisture.

Overall – 75 percent of the corn crop is rated good to excellent with 14 percent of the crop in the dough stage and 88 percent silked.  By region, corn doughing is 23% in South, 14% in Central, and 6% in North.   Soybeans are rated 71 percent good to excellent with 84 percent of the crop blooming and 51 percent setting pods.  By region, soybeans setting pods is 59% in North, 53% in South, and 45% in Central.

In other crops around the state, nearly all of the winter wheat has been harvested with 98 percent complete.  Eighty-eight percent of the second cutting of alfalfa hay is complete and 63 percent of range and pastures are rated good to excellent.

Eighty percent of the top soil and 85 percent of the subsoil are rated adequate to surplus.

Many farmers are fixing machinery, hauling grain, and cleaning bins in preparation for fall harvest.

A successful pollination

This July is on pace to be one of the coolest on record and Purdue Extension corn specialist Bob Nielsen says overall he doesn’t anticipate it hindering the crop.  “I don’t think the temperatures have been low enough to cause an actual negative impact on the crop,” he says.  “And it represents very, very moderate heat stress and so I think it really bodes well for a successful pollination and the initial survival of those young, developing kernels.”

He tells Brownfield the corn crop is pretty far along and this growing season has definitely set the stage for pretty good yields. “But clearly, the impact for August can be very strong in terms of rainfall and temperature,” he says.  “We need to hope we continue to have moderation in both categories in order to finish off this crop.”

Nielsen adds one issue farmer should keep an eye on during the month of August is stalk rot.

AUDIO: Bob Nielsen, Purdue Extension, (1:15mp3)

Learning more about Indiana Beef

Rick Davis of Thorntown, Ind. is the president of the Indiana Beef Cattle Association.  During a recent conversation with Brownfield, Davis outlined some of the activities the association does on behalf of its members.

On the consumer side, he says some of what they do is education through promotional efforts in different parts of the state.  On the member side – they work to keep producers educated about the issues that could affect their operations.

To learn more about the Indiana Beef Cattle Association visit

AUDIO: Rick Davis, President – Indiana Beef Cattle Association (6:30mp3)


Beck’s Hybrids launches FARMserver

Precision agriculture technologies provide farmers with useful data sets to make decisions on their farming operations.  As that information is collected, farmers also want complete control of the information.  Today, Beck’s Hybrids launched FARMserver.

Craig Rogers, FARMserver technical lead says it’s a secure place for customers to store and view their on-farm data.  “We have some added features of our Crop Health Imagery,” he says.  “We have some weather information and the ability to view multiple fields at one time instead of just viewing one field at a time.”

Rogers tells Brownfield FARMserver also allows farmers to select who has access to the information.  “We want the customer to have complete control over who uses it,” he says.  “The customer can choose to invite – let’s say ‘Craig Roberts at Beck’s Hybrids’ to look at his field and help make decisions and then he can cut me off of those privileges.”

FARMserver provides farmers access to their information from any web connected device, at any time.  In addition to the website – FARMserver also has a mobile app allowing farmers to record information from the field.

More information is available at

AUDIO: Craig Roberts, Beck’s Hybrids (5:30mp3)

Nominations sought for Hovde Award

Nominations are now being accepted for this year’s Frederick L. Hovde Award of Excellence.  The award is given annually to a member of Purdue University’s faculty or staff who has displayed outstanding education service to rural Indiana.  Contributions may have been in the classroom, in counseling, in research, or through Purdue Extension.

Any active member of the faculty or staff is eligible.

The nomination deadline is September 22nd.  A link to forms and guidelines can be found HERE.

Growth Energy CEO says “we’re still waiting”

The Environmental Protection Agency has yet to issue their ruling on the Renewable Fuel Standard Required Volume Obligation.  Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis says, “We’re still waiting.  Still waiting.”

But, he says they’ll continue to wait, because it isn’t about when they rule. It is what the ruling says that’s important.  “You know their proposed rule went backwards, not forwards,” he says.  “We want to see changes in the rule and we’ve certainly articulated those.  We hope they reverse it because that can go a long way in how quick we get E-15 and higher blends into the marketplace.”

​Buis was in Indianapolis on Friday to celebrate NASCAR reaching the 6 million mile mark running on Sonoco Green E-15.

Late season weed control

Farmers seeing weeds in crop fields this late in the growing season may have to resort to pulling them by hand to remove them.  Purdue Extension weed scientist Travis Legleiter says the majority of weeds in corn and soybean fields right now are much higher than the ideal 4-8 inch height.  “Our herbicide applications are going to be pretty marginal,” he says.  “We just don’t have products that are going to be able to kill a weed that is that big.

The most common uncontrolled weeds this time in the season is Palmer amaranth, common waterhemp, giant ragweed, and marestail.

Legleiter tells Brownfield there are some risks if farmers continue to apply herbicide this late in the season.  “We have a segregating population,” he says.  “All we’re really doing is selecting out those individual weeds that are the most resistant and they are going to be the ones that continue to reproduce and build a resistant weed population.”

At this point – Legleiter still says hand-pulling weeds may be the most effective way to control weeds.

AUDIO: Travis Legleiter, Purdue (2:00mp3)

NASCAR reaches 6 million miles on E15

This weekend the partnership with NASCAR racing series and American Ethanol will reach 6 million miles on E15 during the running of the 2014 Brickyard 400.

Racing legend Richard Childress, president of Richard Childress Racing, says E15 has been great.  “With us testing it, running over 6 million miles on this fuel and we know we can run all the way up to E-30, it’s going to be positive for NASCAR, it’s going to be positive for the country, and the consumer as well,” he says.

AUDIO: Richard Childress, Richard Childress Racing (:35mp3)

Tom Buis, president and CEO of Growth Energy says the partnership validates what a great field E-15 is.  “These guys wouldn’t be racing with it if it wasn’t,” he says.  “The same thing is for the consumer.  We now have 6 million miles in NASCAR; EPA and DOE tested 86 vehicles for 6 million miles.  We now have real-world experience of consumers buying E15 in the marketplace over 50 million miles without any problems.”

AUDIO: Tom Buis, Growth Energy (3:00mp3)

Ken Parrent, biofuels director for the Indiana Corn Marketing Council says the partnership between NASCAR and American Ethanol creates a huge demand for Indiana corn.  “We have 12 ethanol plants operating with 2 more about to come online,” he says.  “Combined they produce about 1 billion gallons of ethanol each year.  That contributes about $500 million to the state’s economy and supports 4,100 full-time jobs.”

AUDIO: Ken Parrent, Indiana Corn Marketing Council (1:30mp3)

The 2014 Brickyard 400 is this weekend in Indianapolis.


Managing risk also means lowering cost

When it comes to managing risk, an agriculture economist says the first thing farmers need to figure is how much it costs them to raise their crop.  Purdue’s Mike Boehlje says farmers need to have a tighter handle on their cost structure.  “We need to know how much of cost is fertilizer, seed, and chemical,” he says.  “We need to figure our cost not per acre in my judgment – but per bushel.”  And farmers figure up cost per bushel, he says, because that’s how they market grain.

In this type of economic environment Boehlje tells Brownfield farmers have to look at ways of lowering their input costs.

One of which, is evaluating cash rents.  “They are sticky moving downward,” he says. “It’s really hard, but we shouldn’t put it off the list of costs we need to think about lowering.  Farmers need to explain to the landlord why we can’t pay the rents that we paid in the past.  Maybe negotiate an arrangement that says if prices go back up – ‘I’m willing to pay more’ in form of a flexible cash rent.”

Boehlje says the most important marketing decision farmers make isn’t the price at which they sell their crops, it’s actually what they pay for their inputs.  Because, he says, what farmers pay for their inputs sets cost structure for the operation.

AUDIO: Mike Boehlje, Purdue Ag Economist (1:00mp3)

EPA official working to educating farmers on rule

The debate over the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the US rule isn’t letting up.  Ellen Gilinsky, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Administrator for water at the EPA says there are no special requirements for farmers in the rule and it serves a clarification of the definition.

However, she tells Brownfield there has been confusion over what EPA calls its “interpretive rule”.  “We worked with USDA and NRCS on it,” she says.  “What it says is that we are guaranteeing that certain conservation practices will not require a permit and they can continue to do them.  There are no additional requirements.”

Gilinsky says she’s been all over the country clarifying the Waters of the US rule to farmers.  “We just try to keep sticking to the facts and hope they listen to them rather than the misinformation that’s swirling around,” she says.  “We’re not regulating raindrops, we’re not regulating puddles, we’re not regulating rain gardens in people’s yards.”

She says the rule will allow farmers to continue to do business as usual – but with cleaner water.

AUDIO: Ellen Galinsky, EPA (3:40mp3)