corn

There’s a genetic technology that scientists are eager to apply to food, touting its possibilities for things like mushrooms that don’t brown and pigs that are resistant to deadly diseases.

And food industry groups, still reeling from widespread protests against genetically engineered corn and soybeans (aka GMOs) that have made it difficult to get genetically engineered food to grocery store shelves, are looking to influence public opinion.

Harry Wood / Wikimedia Commons

The Mexican government has raised the amount of ethanol allowed in a gallon of gasoline, in a move that could have a big effect on the oil and corn producers of the High Plains.

As The Houston Chronicle reports, Mexico has upped the allowable percentage of ethanol from 5.8 percent to 10 percent, which is also the level currently allowed in the U.S. Now, some of the world's biggest biofuels companies are jockeying for a position within what is the world's fourth largest gasoline market.

CCO Creative Commons

It’s a blue-sky day as hired hand Mike Apfel sits in the cab of a combine, gliding through 12 rows at a time in big field near South Hutchinson.

If all goes well this last field of corn of the season might be done by nightfall - well before thunderstorms halt machinery this week.

Not that there isn’t plenty to do in autumn on the farm.

It’s October. While corn is done, the marathon of autumn continues.

Lawsuits brought by farmers against one of the world’s leading seed companies will end in settlements.

 

Local Farmers Cash In On Corn Tortillas

Sep 12, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

Many in the High Plains region regularly enjoy the tortilla chips – an item more local than what might think - that, along with a bowl of salsa, typically precede Mexican meals.

As The High Plains Journal reports, Leon and Nancy Winfrey of Plains, Kansas own Southwest Tortillas – made with food grade white corn grown on their farm. The family sells fresh corn tortillas to restaurants in Kansas and Oklahoma.

This story was updated at 3:12 p.m.

A federal jury in Kansas City, Kansas, awarded nearly $218 million to Kansas corn farmers after finding seed giant Syngenta AG was negligent when it introduced strains of genetically engineered corn seed into the marketplace that were not approved for import by the Chinese government.  

The eight-member jury returned its $217,700,000 verdict after an 18-day-long trial, the first of eight certified class actions lawsuits against Syngenta brought in state court.

USDA boosts forecast for wheat production

Jun 12, 2017
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday boosted its forecast for wheat production.

As Reuters reports, the USDA raised its forecast for overall winter wheat production from 1.246 billion bushels to 1.250 billion bushels

The report was expected to reflect a decrease in overall production to 1.239 billion bushels.

Lorne Matalon / Marfa Public Radio

Mexico is considering a boycott of corn from the United States, in response to repeated economic threats made by President Donald Trump, reports Texas Standard.

Drought-tolerant corn hybrids: Yield benefits

Apr 20, 2017

Figure 1. Yield for the DT versus non-DT corn hybrids across site-years for the 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 growing seasons. DT vs. non-DT corn hybrids: Yield Environment Analysis Edit | Remove

In recent years, drought conditions have raised questions about the utilization of corn as the main crop for maximizing yield production per unit of available water in dryland environments.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

President Donald Trump has nominated former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as Agriculture Secretary, bucking a recent trend of Midwest leadership at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and making many in the farm country of the Midwest and Great Plains a little leery.

Coupled with the appointments of leaders from Oklahoma and Texas to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy, respectively, there looks to be a shift in the power center of the parts of the federal government that most directly impact agriculture.

An international study published in the journal, Nature Communications, reports that harvests in the United States are likely to shrink by a between one-fifth to half their current sizes due to rising temperatures over the next century.

Down times in farm country persist, but not yet a ‘crisis’

Jan 17, 2017
Elliot Chapman

Farmers across the Midwest are trying to figure out how to get by at a time when expected prices for commodities from corn, to wheat, to cattle, to hogs mean they’ll be struggling just to break even.

“Prices are low, bins are full, and the dollar is strengthening as we speak and that’s just making the export thing a little more challenging,” says Paul Burgener of Platte Valley Bank in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

A new U.S. government study claims ethanol is better for the environment than most scientists initially expected, boosting an industry that is a boon to Midwest farmers but challenged by many environmental groups and the oil industry.

Watch: Down times have farmers looking to cut costs

Jan 9, 2017
Harvest Public Media

The federal government expected net farm income and farm profits to fall in 2016, the third-straight year of declines. That means farmers and ranchers are taking a closer look at their finances, and many aren’t very optimistic about their prospects for 2017.

Two local farming families from Amarillo and a non-profit organization partnered together to provide weekend snack packs for kids at risk for hunger across the Texas Panhandle and San Antonio a few years ago, and now feeds over 7000 students per week.

Brian McGuirk / Flickr Creative Commons

Kansas Agland is taking a look at the agriculture economy from the perspective of farmers and farm implement dealers, who are finding ways to adapt.

An overabundant supply in wheat, corn and every other crop has pushed the prices of those commodities below what many farmers need to break even.

Southwest Kansas farmers develop dual disc cutter

Nov 21, 2016
Kopper Kutter, LLC

A Cimarron farmer, a custom cutter and a Manhattan agriculture consultant have designed, built, patented and distributed a new type of dual disc cutter that converts corn heads to harvest sorghum, sunflowers and cellulose, and other row crops.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

Science’s hottest new tool looks like it will be coming soon to the Corn Belt.

Kathleen Masterson / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

Midwest farmers are expected to plant a huge corn crop this year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts farmers will plant nearly 94 million acres of corn this season. That’s up 6 percent from last year’s planted acreage and would be the third-highest planted acreage in the U.S. since the 1940s.

agriculture.com

When the USDA released its March Prospective Plantings report, some ag experts and grain markets were baffled by the large shift toward corn acres. The report listed a prospective 94 million acres of the crop nationwide. That’s a six percent increase over last year, and would add another 941 million bushels to an already well supplied market, according to agriculture.com.

So, what’s happening here?

iowaenvironmentalfocus.org

The High Plains isn’t ideal for growing the new wave of biofuel crops, according to eurekalert.com. That’s because precipitation on the plains is less frequent and predictable than in other areas of the US, like the Midwest.

childrenshospital.vanderbilt.org

This week we'll visit about companion planting, and more specifically about what's probably the most famous coupling of a threesome of vegetables.  Based on an ancient Native American technique called the Three Sisters, we'll explore the support system provided when you plant beans, corn, and squash together.  And we'll throw in a couple of extra 'sisters' for good measure.   

Sandra J. Milburn / The Hutchinson News

Kansas Agland has reported on the return of an old corn-popping method. The Atom Pop Corn Popper was invented in the 1950s, at the height of America’s science fiction era. Hence its resemblance to a flying saucer. The Atom Popper fell out of favor in the US with the advent of microwave popcorn. But in the small Kansas community of Bushton, the Orth brothers are trying to bring back the Cold War-era popping device.

Farmers Upset Over New EPA Ethanol Requirements

Jul 20, 2015
Brandi Korte / Flickr Creative Commons

The EPA proposal to reduce ethanol requirements has raised the hackles of Kansas farmers, reports Kansas AgLand. Nearly 300 farmers rallied on Capitol Hill Wednesday to protest the measure, which would cut renewable fuel requirements by almost 4 billion gallons this year, and 5 billion next year.

Panhandle Corn Crops May Recover from Wet Conditions

Jun 23, 2015
killermart / Flickr Creative Commons

Many Texas and Oklahoma panhandle corn producers have had to delay planting due to wet conditions produced by record levels of rain in recent months.  The High Plains Journal reports that corn farmers are considering planting corn hybrids that mature earlier, or perhaps planting other crops such as grain sorghum.

When it comes to crops, corn is thirstiest

Feb 17, 2015
USDA

Agriculture drinks up 80 percent of the freshwater in America every year.  Every five years the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports just how much that is, for what crops, and at what cost reports the National Geographic.

The latest survey shows corn is still king, using 14 percent more irrigation than the last report. 

Six things Kansas producers learned at Corn School

Feb 9, 2015
kscorn.com/

Hundreds of corn farmers across the state of Kansas attended Corn School this year reports Seedbuzz.  If you wonder what producers learn at corn school, here are some lessons they took away:

  • You have to soil test.  David Mengel is a soil fertility specialist at KSU.  He shared this quote from North Dakota counterparts, "Producers would not dare go to the field without checking the oil in their tractor engine. One should approach soil testing in the same manner."
     

Bumper crop could result in big farm bill costs

Nov 24, 2014
Quentin Hope

Payments to farmers under the new farm bill could soar as high as $8-10 billion for this year’s crop, according to some economists quoted in an article by Reuters. That would be more than double the forecast by the Congressional Budget Office and more than 10 times the U.S. Department of Agriculture's working estimate.

laboratoryequipment.com

Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists are wrapping up a two-year study to determine the best combination of corn hybrids, planting dates and maturity to maintain yield and maximize water-use efficiency reported Laboratory Equipment.  The lead researcher is Dr. Qingwu Xue.  He’s a crop stress physiologist.  He says the overall goal of the study is to determine if irrigation water can be saved while preserving yields. 

A bumper crop of “big data”

Nov 13, 2014
Quentin Hope

Farmers are racing to finish harvest, but corn and soybeans aren’t all they’re pulling out of their fields. Farmers are also pulling in bushels of data – yield data that can be mashed up with soil maps and climate records to make precise prescriptions next year for planting seeds, applying fertilizer, and spraying herbicides.

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