A number of states have introduced legislation and three have passed bills prohibiting the use of unmanned aircraft in their states. But there are proponents who say unmanned aircraft could be used for all sorts of good including agriculture. Gretchen West is executive director of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, she says they would like to see the technology move into the commercial market and believes agriculture will be a big user.
University of Missouri corn specialist Brent Myers suggests that corn growers stick with the corn hybrid maturities they had planned on rather than switching to earlier season varieties through the end of the month. Myers says the optimal planting day for corn has already passed and corn’s yield potential has begun to decline slightly because of planting delays.
“Because of the late start to the corn planting season, what we’re seeing is that the large majority of the corn is being planted later than producers would like, beyond probably the optimal yield window,” said Myers.
Myers remains hopeful there is still the opportunity for a good corn growing season, even though excessive rainfall and cold temperatures have resulted in later planting than usual.
Corn planting in Missouri and all over the Corn Belt took a big jump this past week, the result of warmer, drier weather.
Missourinet reporter Mary Farucci contributed to this article.
Imagine if you could change the corn hybrid you’re planting based on the field’s soil type?
Jason Webster, Central Illinois Practical Farm Research Director for Beck’s Hybrids says farmers can – and could see a significant return on investment.
The Wisconsin State Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee has voted to restore funding for County Conservation staff. Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget cuts $998,600 from funding for County Conservationists. The State pays toward three positions in each county, 100% of the first, 70% of the second and 50% of each subsequent position.
The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters program director Anne Sayers praising the Joint Finance Committee for reinstating the funding noting “our lakes, rivers and streams can’t protect themselves. Every day county conservationists are on the front lines working to prevent runoff that leads to polluted water and stinky lakes.” Sayers adds the fuding still faces some hurdles in the state budget process, “but we are grateful to the members of the Joint Finance Committee who stood up for Wisconsin’s County Conservationists.”
“We don’t have foliage growth,” Lonny Duckworth, a cattleman from Butler, Missouri, told Brownfield Ag News Wednesday. “I estimate right now, sitting beside one of my hayfields, I’d be lucky, I’d think, to get a half-crop out of it.”
Duckworth, who farms on Missouri’s western edge, applies plenty of the fertilizer, and he just dumped 2.4 inches of water out the rain gauge, but this season that’s not enough.
“Grass likes, or course, warm humid weather and it likes it day and night,” said Duckworth, “and we just haven’t had it.”
Duckworth is hoping for better conditions to improve subsequent cuttings, but he’s not ready to give up on the first cutting.
“If we would get some warm days and warm nights consecutively here, that could improve, but right now you know, it’s all headed out and it’s going to start putting its energy to seed production,” he said.
“It is interesting; this spring is exactly opposite of last spring,” observed Duckworth. “Last spring we were three weeks to 30 days ahead of normal season, and this time we’re about that much behind.”
Photo: Butler, Mo., cattleman Lonny Duckworth in a Brownfield file photo.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture started spraying for the gypsy moth Tuesday morning. DATCP reports spraying was completed as scheduled in Rock and Green/Dane counties and at several sites in Lafayette and Iowa counties. Under a separate program managed by the Department of Natural Resources, spraying also was completed at Governor Dodge State Park.
Due to deteriorating weather conditions, spraying was not completed at three sites in Lafayette County and one site in Iowa County, nor at any of the scheduled sites in Crawford and Grant counties.
Spraying has been rescheduled for Wednesday in these areas, weather-permitting.
Good progress made in Wisconsin fields last week, the weekly Crop Progress Report from the National Ag Statistics Service Wisconsin Field Office shows 43 percent of the state’s corn crop is planted compared to 14 percent a week ago. That is still 25 points off the five-year average. 7 percent has emerged compared to 22 percent usually out of the ground by now.
By district, 63 percent of the Southwest District corn is planted compared to 24 percent in the North Central.
11 percent of the soybeans are planted compared to 1 percent a week ago and 32 percent for the five-year average. Most of the beans planted are in the three southern districts.
70 percent of the oats are in the ground, double what was planted a week ago. 91 percent of the oats are normally planted by now.
Pastures around the state are rated 45 percent fair and 49 percent good-to-excellent condition. County reporters are getting a little better assessment of winterkill in alfalfa; Chippewa is reporting 40 percent loss, Clark 30 to 40 percent loss.
Spring tillage is 58 percent complete compared to 26 percent a week ago. Topsoil moisture is listed as 79 percent adequate and 18 percent surplus while subsoil moisture is 81 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus.
Read the full NASS report here:
As the farm bills work their way through Congress, there are a number of changes from the last bill including funding for conservation programs. Dave Nomsen is Vice President of Government Affairs with Pheasants Forever; he says “We are going to see a significant drop in expenditures for conservation programs.” He says we are seeing a “significant reduction in CRP land” due to high land and commodity prices and that is just a bigger challenge with less money available.
He is happy that the farm bills continue the CRP, wetlands and habit preservation programs as well as working-lands programs like EQIP. “Farm bill conservation programs are right there with expenditures on commodity programs right now.” He also encourages landowners to take a good look at the CRP program with both a general signup and continuous signup underway.
Meanwhile, organizations such as his need to step-up and help landowners manage sustainable landscapes for agriculture and wildlife. “Overall there’s going to be some substantial reductions in conservation programs period. There’s no way around that given where we are at with deficit, debt reduction, spending levels those types of things. So we are trying to find ways to do more with a little less.”
If your farmland is flat and black, selecting a hybrid that performs well isn’t necessarily a challenge. But, since that is not the case for most farmers, finding the right hybrid for the right soil can be a challenge.
In its second year, Jason Webster, Central Illinois Practical Farm Research Director for Beck’s Hybrids is doing Variable Hybrid Planting field trials. “We’re changing the corn hybrids that we’re planting throughout field based upon management zones or soil type changes in the field,” he says.
Webster tells Brownfield that means planting offensive hybrids on the best soils on the farm. “But, we know on a lot of farms we’ve got good soils on parts of the farm, but there are also some lighter soils, that are prone to stress,” he says. “We probably don’t want to be planting an offensive hybrid in those areas. Our Variable Hybrid Corn Planter that we’ve developed changes hybrids so we can plant the offensive hybrids on the best parts of the farm but then we can back off and plant those defensive hybrids on those tougher soils.”
By planting an offensive hybrid on the best soils, Webster says last year’s trials showed net returns of $100 per acre.
A number of states have introduced legislation and three have passed bills prohibiting the use of unmanned aircraft in their states. But there are proponents who say unmanned aircraft could be used for all sorts of good including agriculture. Gretchen West is executive director of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a non-profit trade association with 7,500 members from around the globe. She says the unmanned aircraft technology started decades ago and has been developed mainly for the military but we are now seeing a shift into the civil market, law enforcement, federal agencies and such. West says they would like to see the technology move into the commercial market and believes agriculture will be a big use.
First off, the Federal Aviation Administration has to clear the commercial use of unmanned aircraft. The first step in that journey could come in September of 2015. Beyond that, the technology would need to be refined for agricultural use but that could evolve quickly. West says Yamaha is already using unmanned helicopters to spray crops in Japan.
West says efforts by states to limit or completely ban unmanned aircraft could become a roadblock to development of the technology.
Visit the AUVSI website here: