One more year in agriculture is in the books. As we get ready to flip the calendar to reveal 2017, let's take a moment to remember some of stories we covered this past year online and in the pages of Missouri Ruralist.
Feel free to check out these five stories you might have missed:
- Banking on biomass. Miscanthus harvest at Stegner Farms showed yields up roughly 30% in 2016. The crop, which resembles a small bamboo shoot, continues to offer growers an opportunity to make money on marginal ground. LeRoy and Betty Stegner — along with their grandson, Dalten, and their son, Miles — manage 225 acres of established miscanthus in the gentle prairie land of Cooper County in west-central Missouri. The family's first harvest in 2013 saw yields of 600 tons. Last year, that amount increased to 850 tons.
The crop values increased as well; miscanthus prices went up by $5 per ton over last year's price, to $75 per ton.
- Dicamba-tolerant soybeans make their way to Missouri. Despite that fact that there is no dicamba herbicide product approved for commercial in-crop use with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, Cliff Seward is eager to try out this new technology in his Missouri farm fields. Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans are tolerant to both glyphosate and dicamba. Dicamba-tolerant soybeans allow for the use of dicamba herbicide over the top of Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans to help control problem weeds. The technology has been highly anticipated by farmers, and is now available in the U.S. and Canada in time for the 2016 season.
And since we are on the subject …
- The Missouri Department of Agriculture investigates dicamba drift. Van Fuller had a different take on dicamba this year. When he inspected his soybean fields earlier this summer in southeast Missouri near Kennett, he immediately saw leaves that were cupping. His fear: dicamba drift.
Surrounding all four sides of Fuller's fields was Monsanto's Bollgard II XtendFlex cottonseed, which was approved for planting this season. Farmers in this region of the Missouri Bootheel planted thousands of acres to both dicamba-resistant cotton and soybeans. The technology allows growers to spray dicamba herbicide to control weeds; however, Missouri growers were warned that over-the-top applications of available dicamba products would not be allowed this season. Still, Fuller says, some farmers did not adhere to the warnings. The Missouri Department of Agriculture is continuing its investigation of dicamba drift claims.
Here's to wrapping up 2016 on a couple of positive notes:
- One-hundred-plus-bushel wheat yields break state records. Brian Lehman saw heat this year as yields pushed past the 100-bushel-per-acre mark on his Morgan County farm. "It is definitely a record for us," he said. "It is something I haven't seen in all my years of farming." Farmers in Missouri found record-breaking wheat yields in 2016. And it was a welcome sight after last year, when many farmers were unable to sell their wheat due to vomitoxin.
"Last year, it was just a worthless crop," Lehman recalls. "This year we are making up for it a little."
- Kaiser first Missouri woman appointed to USB. Megan Kaiser was selected as one of 15 new United Soybean Board directors appointed by the USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. She is the first woman appointed from Missouri.
I am looking forward to another great year full of features and photos of Missouri agriculture.