Lynn Grooms

E15: The year in review 3

E15 cleared the final regulatory conditions imposed by the EPA in 2012, but its path to market has not been smooth sailing. Earlier this year, the Grocery Manufacturers Association filed a lawsuit against EPA, suggesting that the agency overstepped its authority under the Clean Air Act when it granted partial waivers allowing E15 to be used in certain engines. However, on August 17, the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit sided with the EPA, confirming its partial waiver approval for E15.

New seed treatments lead to improved seed polymers 15

Seed polymers are a bit like force fields: You cannot always see them, but they are there to protect. For instance, Polymers are helping to protect the growing number of active ingredients and biologicals (applied in the form of seed treatments) from dusting off. This not only protects the corn or soybean grower’s investment, but also reduces the seed applicator’s or grower’s exposure to various compounds, say manufacturers of polymers and other seed enhancements.

2013 Buyer's forecast: Crop protection 7

Crop protection costs (not bundled with seed) for the 2013 corn and soybean planting seasons will be slightly higher than they were in 2012, agricultural economists predict.


“Herbicide prices in the aggregate peaked in 2009, then fell somewhat in 2010 and 2011 before starting to edge upward again in 2012,” says Alan Miller, farm business management specialist, Purdue University. “For 2013, I expect herbicide prices to move slightly higher, perhaps by 1% to 4%.”

EPA keeps renewable fuels levels in place 1

The livestock and poultry industry as well as the ethanol industry respond to today's decision by the EPA to keep the Renewable Fuels Standard levels as is despite concerns over high corn prices.

The EPA announced today that it has not found evidence to support a finding of severe “economic harm” that would warrant granting a waiver of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The decision is based on economic analyses and modeling done in conjunction with the USDA and the DOE.

Higher yields may require paying more attention to micronutrients 92

As corn yields continue to climb, more micronutrients are removed from the soil. Depending on the type and pH levels of their soils, growers may be prevented from realizing optimal yield potential due to a micronutrient deficiency.

Self-propelled baler for efficient, speedy bale processing 8

Efficiency and ruggedness—they are two main features that farmers look for in equipment. The case is no different for biomass-handling equipment. It is not surprising, then, that the redesigned Freeman Self-Propelled Baler drew attention last winter at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif.            

Powered by a 115-hp, 4.5L, turbocharged John Deere engine, the side feed baler can travel at speeds of up to 17 mph. The engine’s computer incorporates fuel-saving features.

New commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant constructed in Iowa this fall 39

Construction of one of the country’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants will begin this fall in the heart of Iowa. The new facility, which will be located adjacent to Lincolnway Energy’s existing corn starch ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa, will be capable of producing 25 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year, using technologies developed by DuPont Industrial Biosciences. This will require approximately 350,000 tons of biomass annually, mostly in the form of corn stover.

2012 Drought prompts seed companies to test new drought hybrids 42

If there was ever a good year for drought-tolerant corn research, this year was it. In July, more of the United States suffered moderate or severe drought than at any other time in the 12-year history of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The effects were certainly felt across the Corn Belt, especially in Indiana, which had its driest year since 1988. However, seed developers are working  on hybrids to help growers deal with these conditions.

Seed companies developing hybrids that use nitrogen more efficiently 19

Corn hybrids that could yield better with the same amount of nitrogen or grow with less nitrogen are still several years away from commercialization. But they are progressing along the research pipeline at breeding companies, including Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer and Syngenta.

Biorational products industry expands to help growers increase yield 39

Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 of a two-part article about new biorational products for crop protection. Find part 1 of the article here.

Biorational products important for crop protection, yield potential 11
“Hey, let’s be careful out there.” It’s a phrase that fans of the 80s hit TV program Hill Street Blues remember. With ever-increasing pressure to protect their valuable crops and get the most from every acre, it’s also a phrase that rings true with farmers.
EPA denies petition to revoke 2,4-D 18

After considering public comment and all available studies, EPA has denied the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) petition to revoke all tolerances and cancel all registrations of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), a phenoxy herbicide and plant growth regulator that has been used in the U.S. since the 1940s. It is currently found in approximately 600 products registered for agricultural, residential, industrial and aquatic uses. The NRDC had filed the petition in November 2008.

No comparable replacement for atrazine 6

Atrazine is the second most commonly applied herbicide in the U.S., and according to agronomist David Bridges, there are no comparable replacements.

Bridges, president of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, presented findings from a study he conducted at the recent annual meeting of the Southern Weed Science Society. He pointed to atrazine’s weed control, application flexibility, crop tolerance and tillage compatibility as reasons for the conclusions in his study.

5 recent trends in the ethanol industry 18

The past year was significant for the ethanol industry. EPA approved E15 (15% ethanol blended gasoline) for model year 2001 and newer vehicles. And the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) of $0.45/gal. expired. Ethanol production is expected to increase with E15 entering the market. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has reported that it is working to finalize federal requirements to certify E15 blends. A couple of states are ready to go with E15 as soon as the federal requirements are completed.

Growth of biomass industry dependent on government policy

The biomass industry, and consequently the market for handling equipment, is growing, but just how much will depend a lot on government policy. While federal legislators recently retained funding for energy title programs in the 2012 appropriations “minibus,” there could be cuts to the funding allocated for energy programs in the next farm bill.

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