July 2011


The Summer issue of Small Grain Grower will be hitting mailboxes soon.
View the Summer 2011 Newsletter - PDF 

2011 Kentucky Wheat Yield Contest

The 2011 Wheat Yield Contest rules can be found on the Grain Crops Extension website: http://www.uky.edu/Ag/GrainCrops. Entry deadline is July 24, 2011.

Kentucky Farmers Expect Larger 2011 Wheat Crop

wheat harvestKentucky farmers expect to produce 27.9 million bushels of winter wheat according to the Kentucky Field Office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The forecast was based on crop conditions as of June 1 and represented a 3 percent increase in production from the May estimate. The expected 2011 crop will be up 69 percent from 2010. Yield was forecast at 68 bushels per acre, up 2 bushels from the May estimate and 2 bushels above the 2010 crop. Farmers intend to harvest 410,000 acres for grain, unchanged from May but 160,000 acres above the 2010 harvested acreage. Of the 540,000 acres of wheat seeded in the fall of 2010, the 130,000 acres not harvested for grain were used as plow down prior to setting tobacco or harvested as hay or silage.

Temperatures and rainfall were mostly above normal during May. Major concerns include the flood damage and its effect on yield and test weight. As of June 26, 64 percent of the wheat had been harvested. The week prior, the field office reported 82% of the crop in either good to excellent condition.

Winter wheat production for the Nation was forecast at 1.45 billion bushels, up 2 percent from the May 1 forecast but 2 percent below 2010. Based on June 1 conditions, the U.S. yield was forecast at 45.3 bushels per acre, up 0.8 bushel from last month but 1.5 bushels less than last year. Expected grain area totals 32.0 million acres, unchanged from May 1.

Wheat Storage Resources

Wheat Disease Situation: What Went Right?

By Don Hershman, Kentucky Pest News

If you have been following some of my wheat disease concerns this spring, you would be pleased to know that wheat yields and test weights for fields harvested (so far) throughout west Kentucky have generally exceeded all expectations. Yields in excess of 90 bu/A and test weights above 60 lb/bu are fairly common. In addition, I have heard of many fields topping the 100 bu/A mark. Everybody is happy, all the way from the farmer to the miller to the end-use food manufacturer.

Since FHB and/or leaf and glume blotch appeared to be at significant levels in many fields, one could reasonably ask, “what’s up with that?” I must confess I do not have all the answers. But I think the good end result probably has something to do with the unseasonably hot early June, which resulted in a very rapid dry-down in fields. For about a week, temperatures existed in early June that are normally experienced in late July. I believe this rapid dry-down, in turn, reduced the negative effects of disease. In essence, the crop “outraced” diseases to the finish line, the result being that the impact of the infections was far less than it otherwise would have been. I also believe many fields started out with a better-than-average yield potential. Thus, small yield reductions related to disease development would not be noticed as much.

A large number of acres remain to be harvested, so the overall state-wide result may not end up being as favorable as I have indicated here. Still, I think 2011 will go down as being one of our better years in terms of wheat yield and quality.

Pesticide Permit Bill Approved by Senate Ag Committee

The Senate Agriculture Committee voted June 21 to advance a bill that would overturn duplicative and onerous new permitting requirements for pesticide applications.

The bill, H.R. 872, will amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act to clarify Congressional intent and eliminate the requirement for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for applications of pesticides approved for use under FIFRA. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives in late March.

A January 2009 Sixth Circuit Court decision said pesticide discharge is a point source of pollution subject to additional regulation under the Clean Water Act, necessitating the new permits.
The decision has been stayed twice to allow time for government agencies to implement it. It is now set to go into effect in October, though most departments at the federal and local levels remain unprepared for the massive paperwork boondoggle it will cause.

The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated the ruling will affect approximately 365,000 pesticide applicators that perform 5.6 million pesticide applications annually.

If a legislative solution is not achieved when the new requirement goes into effect, farmers running afoul of it could be subject to fines of up to $37,500 per day.

“We are happy to see the Senate taking action on this important legislation,” said Wayne Hurst, NAWG president and a wheat producer from the Burley, Idaho, area, in a NAWG press release following Senate Ag’s vote.

“Wheat farmers work hard to comply with the extensive processes in place to ensure the products we use on our farms are safe. New requirements added by the Sixth Circuit Court would only create paperwork for us and government officials without adding any additional measure of safety for the public. We urge quick completion of this bill.”

H.R. 872 has achieved widespread bipartisan and bicameral support from Congressional leaders concerned about increasing regulation without environmental benefit and burdening government officials and farmers with new and complicated requirements in a time of tighter budgets.
NAWG staff and grower leaders have worked extensively over the last year to educate Members and their staffs about the problems presented by the Sixth Circuit decision and to help formulate a lasting solution.

The bill is now awaiting a full vote from the Senate. 

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