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Special Features Section, Superior Express

Jenny's REESources

Straight From the Horse's Mouth

 

Jenny's REESources, by Jenny Rees, UNL Extension
Joint UNL Extension and Farm Service Agency Farm Bill meetings have been set. Landowners and tenants are encouraged to RSVP at the local extension office of the meeting you wish to attend. You may attend more than one meeting if you desire.
· Nov. 17: Thayer Co. Farm Bill Meeting, Belvidere Community Center, 9 a.m.
· Nov. 17: Nuckolls Co. Farm Bill Meeting, Nelson City Auditorium, 2 p.m.
· Nov. 24: Webster Co. Farm Bill Meeting, Blue Hill Community Center, 9 a.m.
· Dec. 9: York Co. Farm Bill Meeting, York County Fairgrounds, 1:30 p.m.
· Dec. 15:  Adams Co. Farm Bill Meeting, Adams Co. Fairgrounds (time TBA).
· Dec. 16:  Fillmore Co. Farm Bill Meeting, Fairgrounds, Geneva, 9 a.m.
· Dec. 16:  Clay County Farm Bill Meeting, Fairgrounds, Clay Center, 1:30 p.m.
How have your soybeans been yielding? I've heard mixed reviews. In general, dryland is yielding well but some producers are disappointed when irrigated beans aren't yielding much more. It sounds like many early planted April soybeans are yielding well. We did have a frost this spring, but it was surprising how well the soybeans took that frost due to their thicker cotyledons. UNL research has shown an average of three bu/ac yield increase when soybeans are planted in April vs. May (range from 1-10 bu/ac increase). That is the one criteria consistently that has proven to increase yields in Nebraska in spite of warm or cold springs. So perhaps consider planting soybeans earlier in your operation next year or conduct an on-farm research study!
Are you noticing pockets or portions of fields where yield tends to drop off compared to the rest of the field? We did see a lot of sudden death syndrome (SDS) again this year, which is a soil-borne disease caused by a fungus. SDS tends to occur in patchy areas or follow movement of water or soil (down rows of gravity irrigated fields). If you had SDS confirmed in your field this year, consider a resistant variety for next year and avoid watering early and especially during flowering.
Areas of the field that are low yielding or in which SDS or brown stem rot have been confirmed, should also be tested for soybean cyst nematode (SCN). Soybean cyst nematode is our No. 1 yield limiting disease in Nebraska, is also soil-borne, and has a synergistic effect on reducing yields with SDS and brown stem rot. So unfortunately, anything that moves soil will move all the soybean diseases I've mentioned here-water, wind, equipment, water fowl, etc. Testing for SCN can be easily done this fall after harvest. It involves taking soil samples from 0 to 8 inches deep from low-yielding areas and mailing the sample in to the Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic in Lincoln. The Nebraska Soybean Board through your check-off dollars is funding free testing for these samples and I have some of the free sample bags in my office if you'd like them. You just have the time in collecting the sample and cost of postage. If you have an agronomist taking soil fertility samples, he or she can simply split the soil sample from a low yielding area and have part go for testing fertility and part go to testing for SCN. Crop consultants or industry agronomists should contact the UNL Plant Pathology Department (402) 472-2559 directly if you intend to take numerous samples for SCN this year. They will run a certain number for free via the check-off dollars and then charge a minimal fee per additional sample.
Check out http://cropwatch.unl.edu/grainstorage2 for all our grain storage information this fall!

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Straight From the Horse's Mouth, by Duane Lienemann, UNL Extension

My eyes are either trained to look for these things, or they just find me. A couple of weeks ago I talked about Dr. Oz's attack on what he called the GMO Pesticide and wanted to talk some more on that, but something else caught my eye so I want to work with that this week. It also involves GMOs.
Last week I was part of the Hastings College Faces of Food Conference during their artist lecture series. Everyone knows I am not much of an artist, but this panel discussion was challenging and a lot of fun. What came out loud and clear to me were the questions on GMOs. I could have talked for hours about it, but we only had an hour. There were some pointed questions and a lot of need for literacy on this topic. There is a lot of misinformation, myths and fear-mongering that has a lot of people questioning their food. Critics of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) claim they pose health risks to the public, but without scientific proof.
There are a lot of agendas out there, many of which I consider hostile to conventional farming and especially what a lot of people call "big ag." Fanning those hostilities and misinformation are blogs and websites that have no barriers and do not have to back up their claims. There was a line in a movie, "Just follow the money!" Unfortunately that applies to the attacks on GMOs, conventional agriculture and the practices of most farmers. I have done just that and it may surprise you where the funding comes from for the websites and bloggers behind a lot of the misinformation.
An item came out recently that bothered me, so I did a little research. You may have seen the news coverage of a Consumer Reports study on GMOs. I was disappointed that it contained misinformation and mislead consumers about the valuable role GMOs play. You would think a group like that would be more science-based and factual in their reporting. I think it's worthwhile to provide you with some resources if you choose to set the record straight and to give ammunition to individuals who may have face-to-face conversations on the topic. I have lost a lot of respect for Consumer Reports. Maybe I just need to "Follow the money!"
First of all, contrary to what was reported by Consumer Reports, GM seeds go through a strict regulatory approval process to ensure they are safe before they come to market, including mandatory reviews by the USDA and EPA. I might point out that only genetically modified or genetically engineered seeds are required to go through the regulatory process. It usually takes 13 years of testing and approval processes before it can be brought to market. Here's a place you can go that describes its journey to market: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/438819557414671607/ .
What all this comes down to for consumers, though, is a misconception of what GMO really means. I found it interesting that Jimmy Kimmel broached the subject on his show the other night. To get the scoop, Kimmel sent a camera crew to a local farmers market to ask real people why they try to avoid GMOs and, more importantly, what GMO even means. The results are both hilarious and troubling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzEr23XJwFY. Is it good for you? Is it bad for you? Or is it just OMG backwards? I, however, don't see the attack on biotech agriculture humorous!
Scientific communities are confident in the progress that can be made using genetically engineered crops throughout the world; drought-tolerant corn, anyone? How about the pesticides and tillage put aside because of BT and Round-up Ready? When it comes to consumer education, there really should not be language that insights fear and further mystifies definition of GMOs altogether. Rather, what is really needed is a conversation based on sound science and practicality. You can go to the internet and find some very good information that will counter the anti-GMO claims or to ease the fears that consumers and the general public has about this topic: http://www.fooddialogues.com/foodsource/gmo has a wealth of information on several topics. I suggest you watch the video located at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-urq3kVhQM and pass it on to those you think may be misinformed and need to learn more about crop innovation. I encourage anyone curious about GMOs to visit GMOAnswers.com or http://factsaboutgmos.org/ and read up.
If we truly want to demystify the GMO, fear and misinformation have no place ­­ in news articles, Facebook ads, and most importantly, legislation. The reason I say this is I just found out that Hawaii passed a bill that prohibits biotech companies from operating on the Big Island and banning farmers from growing any new genetically altered crops. Can you imagine if that happened in Nebraska?
It may interest you that we just passed a major milestone on a global basis. It's no small number ­ four billion acres of biotech crops have now been planted globally. There are, according to detractors, a lot about biotech crops that we don't know, but what is known is that biotech crops have been rapidly adopted and grown by farmers around the world, and safely consumed by billions of consumers over and over again. There have been many studies on humans and livestock to determine any ill-effects and there are no reputable reports or results to back up the claims that fear-mongers generate and bloggers and anti-ag groups proliferate the internet with. I for one will continue to eat my "Frankenfood!"

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