soybeans

Indiana is partway into a record-setting cash crop harvest – but months of uneven weather conditions have put some farmers behind.

The state’s soybean crop is 42 percent harvested as of this week, about the same as average. But the corn crop lags at just 24 percent.

Purdue University agronomist Bob Nielsen says wet weather earlier this year forced some farmers to plant late or replant their crops, and cool August temperatures lengthened the growing season.

The herbicide dicamba has damaged large swaths of Midwest crops in the past year. But Monsanto, one maker of the weed-killer, says it’s a small-scale problem for a powerful tool.

The agritech giant’s CTO Robb Fraley addressed the issue during a recent talk at Purdue University’s Dawn or Doom tech conference.

Fraley basically invented genetically modified crops – mainly, ones that kill pests or tolerate certain chemicals.

Farmers in Indiana and across the nation are using more of a powerful, but controversial, weed killer this year — dicamba.

Dicamba has been used since at least the 1960s, mostly on corn. Last year, though, the Environmental Protection Agency approved a new type of dicamba to use on cotton and soybean plants genetically engineered to resist the weed killer.

Don Lamb, who operates an 8,800 acre farm in Lebanon, says the new dicamba has created a problem.

Indiana is set to have unexpectedly big corn and soybean harvests this fall. That means continued tight profit margins for farmers and more low food prices for consumers.

Purdue University agronomists made their annual announcement of the state’s crop production forecast at the State Fair Thursday.

They say yields should better than expected, after weeks of wet, patchy weather. But economist Chris Hurt says that extra supply for the same demand will mean bad prices for Hoosier farmers.

Indiana’s top agriculture official has been tapped to oversee global farm trade for the Trump administration.

Indiana Department of Agriculture director Ted McKinney now faces a Senate confirmation to become the USDA’s first-ever trade undersecretary.

He says he’s grateful for the support he’s received since getting the news.

“I am so honored to be nominated by the president, and I look forward to serving if confirmed,” McKinney says.

State Investigating Controversial Herbicide Dicamba

Jul 20, 2017

Indiana farmers are filing complaints about a controversial herbicide, dicamba, that’s allegedly drifting from neighboring fields and damaging their crops.

Monsanto, DuPont, and BASF all released dicamba tolerant soybeans for this planting season. The herbicide is reportedly causing problems, says Dave Scott, the pesticide administrator for the Office of the Indiana State Chemist.

“You can suffer potential crop damage and potential yield loss,” says Scott, “because your beans are being impacted by what your neighbor applied to their beans.”

The $130 billion merger between Dow and DuPont received conditional federal approval Thursday.

The companies still have to address areas where the Department of Justice says they’ll have too big a market share, but those aren’t the areas that have Indiana farmers worried.

In approving the merger, the DOJ says Dow and DuPont have to relinquish control of a few assets – a chemical plant in Texas for Dow, and two of DuPont’s insecticide and herbicide brands.

Indiana’s corn and soybean growers are getting seeds in the ground this week – but more rain on the way could put farmers in a difficult position.

As of Monday, 56 percent of the state’s projected corn crop and 23 percent of the projected soybean crop have been planted.

Hoosiers will see more farm equipment in the fields in the next few weeks, as spring corn and soybean planting ramps up.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects farmers in Indiana and nationwide to plant more soybeans than ever this year, while corn acreage looks to hold steady.

Purdue University agronomist and self-named “corn guy” Bob Nielsen says corn prices are still lackluster, with plenty in storage, and that’s driven soybean prices up.

 

President-elect Donald Trump is doubling down on his criticisms of U.S. trade relationships with China and Mexico, which has some wondering if a trade war is in the works.

Purdue University economist Larry DeBoer says the hallmark of a trade war is retaliation.

For example, higher U.S. taxes on Chinese steel imports could make China chooser to buy fewer American products, including those from Indiana, like soybeans or engine parts.

But DeBoer says even threat of a trade war is already affecting Hoosiers.

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