Karen McMahon


Karen McMahon has been a well-respected and award-winning agricultural journalist for more than three decades. In 2000, she served as president of the American Agricultural Editors' Association (AAEA), a group of more than 400 professional farm writers. She also is active in the Agricultural Media Summit (AMS) and served as chairman in 2001 and chair of the sponsorship committee for several years. She has attained the top Master Writer Award level from AAEA and won various writing awards from the Am. Society of Business Publication Editors and Minnesota Monthly Publications Association.

Karen joined Farm Industry News as senior editor in 1998 and was named editor two years later. Prior to that, she was managing editor for five years of another Penton publication, National Hog Farmer. She grew up on a diversified crop and livestock farm near LeMars, IA, and earned her degree in journalism from South Dakota State University. Since then, Karen has worked in agricultural communications.

Her experience on magazines and organizations includes work on Hog Farm Management, the National Pork Producers Council, and Hogs Today/Farm Journal.

Karen may be reached at 9520851-4680

Innovative solutions needed to feed the world’s growing population

Food experts say that U.S. farmers need to grow an average 300 bu. of corn/acre by 2030 to help feed the world’s growing population. It doesn’t take an expert to see that this goal won’t be reached at our current rate of corn yield improvement. It has taken more than 40 years for corn yields to increase from 100 bu./acre in 1978 to 150 bu./acre, which was first reached in 2007. U.S. growers now have 18 years to double their yield to reach 300 bu./acre.

New silage bagger for better compaction and mobility
Forage making has come full circle with Pacbag’s new Track-Pack machine. This multi-midsize silage bagger (10-, 12- or 14-foot tunnel) with hydraulic drive and track system instead of tires allows for excellent compaction, easier mobility and simpler operation.
BASF’s Priaxor fungicide for soybeans approved

BASF just received EPA registration for a new soybean fungicide called Priaxor for the prevention and control of a broad spectrum of crop diseases. The company also received registration for its new Merivon fungicide, used in pome and stone fruit crops.

BASF reports that Priaxor is expected to provide excellent disease protection and post-infection disease control from some of the toughest fungal diseases in soybeans, as well as several other crops.

Weed resistance is a hot topic at Commodity Classic 2012

Weed resistance issues were top of mind for many people attending the 2012 Commodity Classic held last month in Nashville, Tenn. University of Tennessee’s Larry Steckel spoke to members of the media at a Bayer CropScience event about the glyphosate-resistant weed problems in his area.

“On June 21, 2011, I got a lot of calls – 80 of them,” reported Steckel. “Most of the calls were about resistant Palmer pigweed and that’s when it dawned on me just how big of an issue this has become.”

Swivel drawers for storage in the shop

Swivel Storage Solutions offers a complete line of tool cabinets and workbenches with drawers that swivel. The drawers swing completely out of the cabinet so all the contents may be seen, and then swivel gently back into place. Corner units are equipped with drawers that swivel completely around like a Lazy Susan. The drawers operate on greaseable door hinges and may be closed with one hand.

Week in Puerto Rico series: Move over Hawaii – Puerto Rico takes over U.S. winter seed work

Puerto Rico has become the new Hawaii in the corn and soybean seed business. This small Caribbean island is the new winter home for major seed companies including AgReliant, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences’ Mycogen, Monsanto, Pioneer Hi-Bred and Syngenta.

The attraction of Puerto Rico over Hawaii involves the tropical climate, the country’s location and its positive business environment.


Geringhoff unveils revolutionary corn head

Geringhoff, manufacturer of harvesting equipment, unveiled a “concept” corn head that promises to revolutionize how farmers harvest corn. The corn head can combine crops including corn from any direction and regardless of row spacing, opening the way for solid-seeded corn.

Two products make nitrogen in manure more available to growing plants

Farmers can now find more products to make the nitrogen in manure more available to plants. This winter SFP introduced the newest product, called More Than Manure (MTM). Dow AgroSciences introduced Instinct two years ago.

Both products stabilize nitrogen in manure, which means the nitrogen will not leach into soil and water. Denitrification into the atmosphere also is minimized. As a result, more nitrogen is available to plants when they need it for growth. 

Pioneer’s latest single-bag refuge product approved

DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred just received approval to market its latest single-bag corn product for corn borer and corn rootworm protection. Optimum AcreMax XTreme will be sold for the 2013 season and contains the full refuge requirement in the bag for above and below ground insect protection in corn.

Methods for handling corn residue without tillage


Corn residue cumulated after high-yielding crops should someday make a great source of cellulosic ethanol. “University research suggests that at a high yield level (200 bu./acre or more), growers can remove 40% of stover without negatively impacting soil organic matter,” reports Andy Heggenstaller, Pioneer Hi-Bred agronomy research manager. “As we move forward, cellulosic ethanol production may become a common form of residue management.”

MANA offers Paradigm insecticide with new safety features
MANA Crop Protection has developed a new insecticide called Paradigm for control of armyworms, cutworms, loopers, beetles and aphids in corn and soybeans. It has received approval by the EPA.
Top 7 ingredients for 300-bushel corn

The ability to produce 300-bu. corn rests on seven factors, according to Fred Below, professor of plant physiology at the University of Illinois. Below saw his first field of 300-bu. corn 25 years ago and has since studied the factors that contribute most to high-yielding corn. Here is Below’s list, which he calls the “Seven wonders of high-yield corn production,” starting with the ones that affect corn yield the most.


1. Weather

The best U.S. and international farm shows 1
The National Farm Machinery Show, World Ag Expo, Farm Progress Show, Commodity Classic, Farm Science Review, and Ag Connect Expo in the United States and Agritechnica, SIMA, and EIMA International in Europe draw thousands of farmers to see the newest products and latest technologies in agriculture.
Monsanto to add dicamba-tolerant trait to RR soybeans
Monsanto announced at the 2012 Commodity Classic a dicamba-tolerant trait that will be stacked with Genuity RR 2Yield soybeans. The new soybean line will be called RR 2 Xtend. Accompanying the new trait will be a dicamba and glyphosate herbicide premix called Roundup Xtend for pre and post applications.
Surge in seed treatments, crop protection
Very soon, 100% of corn and soybean seed will be sold with seed treatments. While corn already is at 100%, soybeans are expected to reach that level soon as companies perfect just-in-time seed treating for beans.

Continuing Education
New Course
The 2,000 member Weed Science Society of America’s (WSSA) Herbicide Resistance Action...
Keeping crop protection chemicals on the crop for which they are intended has been a...