Lynn Grooms

Moves to commercialize cellulosic ethanol march ahead
The cellulosic ethanol industry is close to real-world plants with commercial production volumes. The Renewable Fuel Standard is important for supporting advanced biofuel development. Major plants from DuPont and POET come on line in 2014.
The A to Z of technology changing agriculture 1
The complete A to Z list of technology changing the agriculture industry.
United Soybean Board infuses millions into development of high-oleic soybeans


Getting to the heart of the matter—that is what the United Soybean Board (USB) is doing in forming an industry partnership to develop soybean varieties with healthier oil profiles and healthier market prospects.


New biologicals enter mainstream market for corn and soybeans


The global market for biologicals is between $1.4 billion and $1.6 billion and is projected to grow to approximately $3 billion by 2020, according to the industry analysis firm Frost & Sullivan. While there is confusion over the product category itself, which includes biorationals, biostimulants and biopesticides, there is no dought it will grow.More biological products, like those mentioned below, are being incorporated into conventional corn and soybean farming as part of a pest management and/or plant health program.

Valent BioSciences

Growers achieve top yield by adding fungicides to crop care

Corn and soybean growers are using many tools to optimize yields, including fungicides. As a result, the acres of fungicide-treated crops have greatly expanded. In response, fungicide makers have been building their portfolios to help farmers manage disease throughout the growing season. Here is a snapshot of what to expect over the next 24 months.

E15: The year in review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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