Jim Ruen

Is IPM dead or different?

"I think we've gotten away from IPM," says Iowa farmer Blake Crawford. "For my customers, integrated traits in hybrids are the No. 1 option as they are easy to use and affordable versus scouting and using IPM, and give good control of most problem pests."

Realistic environmental groups understand value of working with farmers

As crop producers come under increasing pressure over water quality and other environmental issues, conservation and environmental organizations can be valuable partners.

Conventional corn increase

Conventional (non-GMO) seed planting is on the rise, even as grain price premiums fade away. Tight margins and profit-making opportunities are driving the trend. Scott Apple started his transition to conventional corn when commodity prices were still at an all-time high, and he didn't do it to capture premiums.

Can twin-row corn payoff? 2

Marty Derks is on a mission to maximize corn and soybean yields in a harsh climate. Twin-row planting combined with precise seed placement are enabling higher planting rates in corn and lower rates in soybeans.

Can seeding cover crops at sidedress work? 3

New equipment options and growers willing to experiment are opening the door to early season cover crop interseeding. Growers who try it are finding lower costs and in-season benefits.

New farm pond recycles drainage water

With the installation of an 18-acre pond in mid-December 2014, eastern Iowa grower Jim Sladek married the pattern drainage and irrigation. By April 1, the pond was full, ready and waiting for use by center pivots. Ninety-five percent of its water came from drain tile.

Can conservation cut insurance rates?

Tying conservation practices to federal crop insurance rules and rates requires turning field experience into public policy, and that requires data. AGree, a collaborative effort founded and funded by nine of the world's leading foundations committed to food and agriculture, is attempting to make that connection.

High land leases up for grabs 1

Like any high-stakes card game, knowing when to hold or fold is vital to your farm business. That is especially true today for land leases – with input costs holding, crop prices folding and operators dangling from record high rents.

Farming for water 2

While many farmers rely on spring tillage to dry out wet soils, Jerry Ackerman goes the other way. His cover crop/no-till program helps him handle heavy rains and wet soils better than tillage and drain tiles. In 2013, it even helped him fight waterhemp thanks to the strips of cereal rye he seeded the previous fall in soybeans and corn.

Sweeten soybean yields

Alabama soybean grower Annie Dee is working with nature on her 2,500 acres. The United Soybean Board member has seen the benefit of beneficial insects in her own fields and is supplementing native populations with honeybees.

Automated core collection improves soil sampling

Speed, repeatability and ability to sample odd shaped zones are major benefits to using automated soil sampling. With some machines, farmers can collect up to 40 cores in as many seconds, traveling at 5 mph.

Get proactive on water quality

Iowa farmer Blake Hollis prefers to be part of the water quality solution. While the Des Moines Water Works lawsuit on farm-sourced nitrogen in watersheds that lead to the Raccoon River have drawn controversy, efforts to the east where Hollis farms are drawing praise...and money.

Finding a common language for the term resistance

From weeds to insect pests to disease, resistance to efficient, economical crop protection products is threatening their efficacy and raising costs for crop producers. So why do regulations or the chemical industry always seem to have a delayed reaction to resistance? A big part of the problem involves dueling definitions, suggests Tim Dennehy, manager, Global Insect Resistance Management, Bayer Seeds.

Bt corn borer trait needed?

Control of European corn borer (ECB) with Bt traits has been a resounding success. While growers fight trait-tolerant corn rootworms and herbicide-tolerant weeds, control of European corn borer remains constant. Control has been so effective that John Tooker, associate professor, department of entomology, Pennsylvania State University, suggests European corn borer may not be the problem it once was.

Early-season weed stress impact on corn genetics 1

Early-season corn and weeds don’t just compete; they also interact on a genetic level. Weeds grow bigger while corn plants grow less. Sharon Clay, professor of plant science, South Dakota State University (SDSU), used genetic mapping technologies to disclose what happens in the plant.

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