Articles by Dan Crummett

Ahead of the Curve

‘Lightning’ Nitrogen, Green Ammonia Promise Cleaner Fertilizer Sources

Startup harnessing power of lightning to make nitrogen & green ammonia produced by renewable energy seek to replace fossil-fuel produced anhydrous ammonia.
As scientists search for cleaner methods of producing nitrogen (N) fertilizer, they increasingly look to replace the century-old method of treating natural gas with high-pressure steam to produce anhydrous ammonia — the backbone of most forms of agricultural N products.
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Pest Series

Stored Grain Insects Threaten Crops Post-Harvest

With fewer chemical products to protect harvested grains, no-tillers will have to use cultural methods to prevent bin pests.
Regardless of your farming methods, once the combines are back in the shed, controlling insect damage of stored grain within the bin becomes a prime chore to protect your hard-won harvest.
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Soil Health

Biochar Has Potential to Save Water, Fertilizer

Several farm-scale trials are investigating using this ancient soil amendment in modern farming practices
After using biochar for only a single growing season, Nash Leef says he’s seen a transformative change in the silty-clay soils of his Nebraska vegetable and cut-flower farm.
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Ahead of the Curve

Signaling Plants, Bioherbicide, Soil Sensing Among Newest Agronomic Tech

In this month’s Ahead of the Curve column, we take a glance at some of the latest R&D efforts affecting global agriculture.
The blend of traditional “rocks and clods” agronomics and the digital transformation of everything from machine control to biotechnology research to advance sensing capabilities makes working in today’s agriculture a fascinating opportunity for a guy who was born when Fords still had fat fenders and round clutch pedals.
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No-Till Pests part 4

Fall Armyworms Present Late-Season Yield Threat

Arriving in the Midwest in late spring & early summer, fall armyworms represent an annual scouting target, particularly in late-planted corn.
Mid-to-late season summer row-crop scouting in no-till and conventional fields usually finds infestations of several species of armyworms, but in some conditions, fall armyworms can become a serious problem, particularly on extremely late-planted corn.
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No-Till Pests Part 3

Slugs: A Particular No-Till Problem

University recommendations for slug control & management include early-season scouting, cultural practices at planting to boost stand emergence, & planter settings to move residue & close seed slot.
No-tillers faced with prolonged wet conditions after planting should be alert to possible corn and soybean seedling damage inflicted by slugs.
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Ahead of the Curve

Light Stimulation Boosts Seed Germination

Light-energy treatment developed to kill weed seeds without chemicals also stimulates seed germination.
What began as a method to control the spread of tumbleweed plants in the desert is now showing promise for stimulating agricultural crop seed germination to potentially increase crop yields.
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Aftermarket Closing Wheels Consistently Boost Bushels

Beck’s closing wheel study shows a quick ROI for using aftermarket closers, but one company analyst says closing wheels are the low-hanging fruit in improving planter performance.
The latest edition of Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR) on planter attachments shows the use of popular aftermarket closing wheels can result in an extra 5 bushels of corn per acre and 2.5 bushels of soybeans per acre.
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No-Till Pests – Part 2

Scout for Black Cutworm Early & Often to Prevent Outbreaks in No-Till Corn

Black cutworm moths reproduce on overwintering vegetation & residue, producing larvae that feed on emerging corn & soybeans.
At certain times in their development, black cutworm larvae can each cut 3-5 corn plants during the early season, which can lead to significant yield losses in fields where the pest reproduces in large numbers.
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Ahead of the Curve

Robot Weeders Provide Lower Costs & Higher Crop Prices

Swarms of robotic weeders offer herbicide-free weed control & food-grade traceability.
Getting rid of herbicides and marketing produce with that goal in mind is the two-pronged business model of GreenField, Inc., a south-central Kansas startup that will be fielding 20 robotic mechanical weeders in broadacre row crops this year.
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