As Corn Belt farmers face challenges to reduce nitrate loss in surface and groundwater by 40-45%, Iowa State University (ISU) research confirms what many growers fear: “The right application of nitrogen (N) is [just] the first step,” says Matt Helmers, ISU associate professor, agricultural and biosystems engineering.
In the drive to manage nitrogen (N) more effectively, active crop-canopy sensors may become an option in your toolbox. But John Sawyer, Iowa State University agronomy professor, warns that they still have limitations, and more research is needed.
After 17 years at the United Soybean Board (USB), John Becherer’s job as chief executive officer continues to get more challenging. “The most critical aspect of the job is being trusted with the dollars of fellow farmers who pay into the checkoff,” says Becherer. “Then the challenge is to invest them wisely.”
A list of cover crop benefits came easily for more than 50 farmers at the Iowa Crop Advantage workshop: erosion control, weed control, improved soil organic matter, nutrient retention, better water infiltration and reduced nitrogen losses.
Hardly more than a year since Russia and Ukraine shook the world grain trade by halting grain exports, both nations are back competing for sales. And not just in traditional export markets for wheat and barley; Black Sea grain is beating out U.S. corn with some customers.
When Stephen Censky became CEO of the American Soybean Association in 1996, ASA was emerging from an unsettled sequence of chief executives who came and went quickly. “Steve was a welcome solution,” remembers Ron Heck, an Iowa soybean grower who has worked with Censky almost from the start.
In the middle of the 2011 harvest, a 220,000-lb. guard gate fell into Lock 19 at Keokuk, IA, which plugged commodity movement down the Mississippi to New Orleans for six days. While Lock 19 was closed, 35 tows were backed up – which idled 27.6 million bushels of corn-hauling capacity.
Ask Rick Tolman what he has achieved in 11 years as CEO for the National Corn Growers Association, and instead he will tell you what the NCGA has achieved. That is in character. Tolman, who came to NCGA with a reputation for strategic thinking and effective resource management at the U.S. Grains Council, shifts the talk to grower leadership as a defining strength that drives the corn growers’ successes.
When grandson Darren asked Glen and Marilyn Riekhof about getting into farming, it was good news. Keeping the farm in the family was important to both Riekhofs, but with two children and three other grandchildren not interested, it presented a challenge.
Five years later, Darren, Glen and Marilyn are one year into their formal succession plan and the farm’s future looks good, but it hasn’t been easy getting there.
Look south to Mexico if you want to see the No. 2 export market for U.S. soybeans. Yet it doesn’t get much press here. From zero in the early 1980s, Mexican soybean purchases have grown solidly, passing 152 million bushels (mbu) by 2002-2003.