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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Good Soybean Crop in Mato Grosso

By Eduardo Paim:

Here in Mato Grosso the soybean harvest is going well, the weather forecast said that in February we would have many rains and that would damage the harvest and the quality of the soybean. So far we have not had excessive rains and few producers in the north have lost with the rains that persisted for some days. I believe that Brazil will have a good soybean crop, without reducing its productivity.
Second-crop maize is beginning to be planted and rainfall forecasts indicate that it will be a good crop.

Brazil's soybean productivity is expected to ease Argentina's fall, so South America is going to be average productivity!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Brazillian Soybean Harvest

January 26, 2018
By Eduardo Paim:

Here in Mato Grosso we started the soybean harvest, as we are in a year of La NiƱa in the north of the state we are seeing farm with averages below 50 sacks of soy by HA and in other farms with averages above 70 sacks per HA. The soy that is being harvested is very beautiful! On average there is a good production, and if nothing else disturb I believe that logos averages will rise, we had good rains in the crops between December 2018 and January 2018. There is forecast of much rain in the North for the beginning of February and this worries a little, if we escape these rains we will have a good harvest of grains. In Argentina and South of Brazil we are seeing the weather spoil the crops more, we still have to see what happens there. If the rest of Brazil produce well, that is what we expect we will have a small break in the average of South America.

There were talks of decrease of maize area second crop because the rains were slow to arrive and delayed the planting of soybeans of the first crop. With whom I say they are going to keep the same corn planted area from the year 2017 for the second harvest, if everything goes well with rains we will have lots of corn!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

GMO Labeling

As I was walking through the store this week the label on the "Simply Orange' brand of juice caught my eye.  It was labeled Non-GMO.  This is certainly not a lie, but very misleading labeling because there is no such thing as GMO oranges.  They are trying to get people to buy their product or pay extra for it because of a misleading statement.  I saw their TV ad  a few days later and they were touting their honesty.  I do not consider this an honest way to sell a product. 

Further thought has lead me to consider that we may be better off if this type of labeling was regulated.  In the past, I have said that consumers should educate themselves and buy accordingly.  I think it might be better to have consistent standards rather than let companies mislead their potential customers. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Crop Progress in Brazil

By Eduardo Paim

Here was a big concern for La Nina, but we are having good rains in Brazil in general, I believe we are calmer with the weather than we were 30 days ago. In Argentina, there are predictions of hot flashes starting on January 11.
Here in Brazil, at least for the time being, we have a very good climate for the development of soybeans, but for the second harvest corn there should be a reduction of planted area due to the delay in soybean planting.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Year End Photos

This is the Dicamba year, so we will start off with that. 
Dicamba Damaged Beans

Pineapple Weed was a new one on me

Sometimes you don't know why the rain gauge seems off

Scenic Barn Near Mt. Olive

Pella Iowa Balloon Races

Tulip Time in Pella Iowa

Short Corn didn't seem to affect yield 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Soil Surveys and Precision Agriculture

Winter meeting have begun and we have been busy with them.  Two weeks ago at the 2nd annual AgData Conference in Iowa City we heard two presentations about the shortcomings using soil surveys to define management zones for precision agriculture.  Tom McGraw, consulting soil scientist brought up the issue in his presentation on the Flaw of averages.  Afterward, I had a discussion with him about the topic.  His comment was that the USDA Soil Survey is the best in the world, but it is not good enough in many cases, to make site specific management decisions.  The Veris tool is a popular way to define management zones based on Electrical conductivity and soil color.  I have seen the Veris work very well and I have seen it not work well. 

Shannon Gomes, like me an old USDA soil scientist made a similar presentation later on.  Gomes is using lots of deep soil borings and an EM meter to define ones.  Gomes says that rather than try to use all the standard soil features to define ones, we can narrow it down to a few such as topsoil texture, color and depth, subsoil texture and dept, available water holding capacity,  and cation exchange capacity.  His methodology sounded kind of expensive, but considering that the work should last, until further refinement is necessary, perhaps it is not too bad.  Gomes did mention that he is looking over all at the five factors of soil formation.  They are:

  1. Parent Material
  2. Biota (including native vegetation)
  3. Topography
  4. Climate
  5. Time
We try to refine the soil survey in by using GPS to define the boundaries between soils that have similar management considerations based on the five factors of soil formation.  We sometimes end up with rather large ones that contain similar soils,  The large zones are broken down further to end up with 10 acre or smaller zones.  Our process is not expensive, but require us to be o n the ground, and it requires a trained eye.  The photograph below shows zone boundaries as I have defined them in Pike County.  The purple lines are the Soil Survey lines.  You can see that we are gaining signifigant refinement with a relatively simple process. 

Pike County Soil Survey vs GPS defined zones. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Randy Dowdy Program

Last week were invited to attend a presentation b champion corn grower Randy Dowdy.  Linco-Precision was a co-sponsor and invited us to the program.  dowdy may have made on of the best farmer presentations I have heard.  He had 4 main points.   He uses drainage to remove excess water. He uses irrigation when water is short.  He does a lot of soil testing and tissue testing in order to fine tune his fertility program.  He likes to spread his risks by spreading out his planting dates in a 3 to 4 week period. He pushes his soil fertility to the maximum.  He advocates for 1 pound of nitrogen for every bushel of corn. 

I listened and tried to figure a program that would work in Illinois.  Despite having decent annual rainfall amounts, we really do not have a good source of irrigation water except in the major river bottoms.  I am an advocate for drainage.  We can drain our fields economically.  His discussion about tissue sampling is leading me to consider offering a revised program that includes tissue sampling.

I was surprised that he is not pushing high populations although he is using narrow and twin row spacings to maximize sunlight to the plant. 

Dowdy was thought provoking and interesting,  While I am not sure how to implement his program entirely, I think we can learn some things from him.  If you get a chance to hear him speak, go for it.