MFA offers "Made For Agriculture" podcast

MadeForAgriculturePodcastHosts of MFA’s “Made for Agriculture” podcast, Adam Jones, left, and Cameron Horine, third from left, record an episode with MFA District Sales Manager D.J. Vollrath and Recruitment Training Specialist Scott Morfeld on the current job market and finding talent for the ag industry.As many road-warriors know, podcasts have seen a resur­gence in recent years. They are streamable and downloadable audio entertainment, easy for on-demand listening. Podcasts work well for commuters or farmers who spend lots of time in the cab. Like audiobooks, podcasts can accommodate long-form recordings and in-depth treatments of complex topics that are hard to address in other media.

MFA Natural Resources Conservation Specialist Adam Jones and Staff Agronomist Cameron Horine have teamed up to host a new podcast, “Made for Agriculture.” In the podcast, Jones and Horine interview experts and discuss timely topics over the growing season and livestock calendar.

Episodes currently in the podcast library include precision ag tech­nology, winter hay feeding and stockpiling, growing profitable wheat, grain marketing, carbon credits, foliar fungicides and many more. A new podcast is released approximately every two weeks.

The “Made for Agriculture” podcast is currently available on Android and Apple mobile devices and desktop computers. Listen and subscribe through any of these popular platforms: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Podcast Addict.

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Scientists rank Palmer amaranth as most difficult weed, foxtail most widespread

foxtail palmeramaranth bluegrassThree of the most troublesome plants for row-crop and pasture producers are, from left, foxtail, Palmer amaranth and bluegrass, as listed by the Weed Science Society of America.Weed control may feel like a continuous—and often frustrating—battle, but there are ways to develop more effective management strategies. It starts with identifying which types are the most problematic.

A recent survey from the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) categorizes the most common and troublesome weeds found in grass crops, pasture and turf. Conducted in 2020, the survey includes input from more than 315 weed scientists in the U.S. and Canada. Seven categories of grass crops were included in addition to pastureland, rangeland and other hay.

Foxtail was identified as the most prevalent species. These grasses, characterized by their fuzzy seed head, are typically found during the spring and summer months. In Missouri, the most common types are yellow, green and giant foxtails.

The most worrisome weed is likely no surprise to most growers: Palmer amaranth. In addition to being identified as the weed causing the most trouble overall, it is the top concern in corn as well as sorghum.

Palmer amaranth is a summer annual that resembles other varieties of pigweed. If left uncontrolled, it can have potentially devastating impacts on row-crop yields. The nitrates found in its leaves can also be toxic to livestock.

“Palmer amaranth grows rapidly, has an extensive root struc­ture and produces massive amounts of seeds that are easily transported and spread,” said Stanley Culpepper, professor and extension weed scientist at the University of Georgia. “Even more impressive are its genetic capabilities. Palmer amaranth can quickly evolve resistance to herbicides and has the potential to transfer that resistance to new plants through pollen movement.”

To reduce its spread, Culpepper recommends a timely and holistic approach. He says removing plants before they produce seeds is key, in addition to treating with herbicides.

Other rising contenders are bluegrass species, primarily annual bluegrass, which ranks second overall as the most troublesome weed. It’s particularly problematic in turf and urban ecosystems, such as golf courses, sports fields and public parks. Bluegrass is very similar to Palmer amaranth in that it’s highly productive and easily adaptable. Plant scientists say a diversified approach is the most sustainable—and effective—long-term control strategy for this weed.

A full list of survey results can be found on WSSA’s website at wssa.net/wssa/weed/surveys/.

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Agricultural aviation celebrates 100 years in August

aviationAugust marks the 100th anniversary of what is considered the first successful flight of a “crop duster” plane, which applied arsenate to control caterpillars in a catalpa tree grove in Ohio. Since then, agricultural aviation has evolved and advanced into an important part of crop production. Growers rely on aerial applications to deliver plant nutrients, seed cover crops and spray crop protection products.During peak summer months, agriculture pilots (commonly referred to as “crop dusters”) are often seen flying over corn and soybean fields, applying fertilizers and crop protection products. In row-crop country, this familiar practice serves an invaluable purpose for farmers. It may come as a surprise, however, to learn that agricul­tural aviation has been around for nearly a century, reaching its 100-year milestone this August.

In 1921, the Ohio Department of Agri­culture developed an aerial crop-dusting experiment designed to prevent sphinx moth caterpillars from damaging a valuable crop of catalpa, medium-sized, flowering trees known for their distinctive fruit that resembles long, thin bean pods. On Aug. 3, U.S. Army test pilot Lieutenant John Mac­ready applied arsenate dust from a World War I plane over an Ohio catalpa grove. The technique worked wonders. The pests were removed, the crop was saved and the agricultural aviation industry was born.

Macready’s flight paved the way for future advancements and in­novation within the industry. Today, 1,200-horsepower, turbine-en­gine planes and high-performance helicopters treat more than 125 million acres of U.S. cropland each year.

Producers utilize aerial application for a multitude of reasons. A few of the most common are to protect crops from disease, weed and pest damage; deliver much-needed plant nutrients; and seed cover crops. The practice is used to treat larger, more distant areas with less disturbance or fields where conditions aren’t conducive for ground rigs.

“Farming in the 21st century is a complex balance of maximiz­ing yields while protecting the environment and preserving overall sustainability,” said Andrew Moore, CEO of the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA). “Aerial applicators’ efficiency and abil­ity to apply fertilizer or attack pests at just the right time play a key role in helping farmers meet those demands.”

In addition to serving an essential role within agriculture, aerial application is an important tool used in managing forests, fighting wildfires and controlling mosquitoes, Moore added. Looking ahead, this technology may also be used to address challenges related to climate change and the rapidly increasing global population.

To commemorate the centennial anniversary of the first aeri­al application flight, NAAA launched an outreach campaign that includes documentary videos, a history book and timeline, as well as celebratory events held throughout the country. To learn more, visit www.agaviation.org/100anniversary.

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