In Perspective: Reviewing the top issues of 2013
“Please stop and read the products Rich Keller and I chose as the Top 10 products of 2013. We think these products will help ag retailers and consultants do their jobs easier, better and more efficiently and thereby improve their farmers' operations.” As you sit down to read this issue of AgProfessional, the main work of the 2013 cropping season has wrapped up. As you prepare for the end of the year holidays, it’s a time to pause and reflect on the previous year.
It seems 2013 was a little kinder to crops across the Midwest. Although drought hung on in some areas, crops seemed to get enough water to produce a bumper crop at the end of the season. Last year’s small grain stocks appear to have been replenished with this year’s good harvest. Of course, it is uncertain how winter precipitation will impact next spring’s planting or if drought will carry into next season.
Seed companies continue to make progress on developing seed technologies to help farmers who are battling drought conditions. In the future, drought traits will be found in more and more seed offerings, which will help justify higher seed costs through higher yields.
Crop fertility and fertilizer issues also were big news in 2013. Concerns over nutrients in the nation’s waterways gained a lot of attention. Several states are working to improve water quality in river drainage basins by setting up new nutrient criteria. As we move into a new year, these issues will only continue to gain more traction and public awareness. Preserving the ability to apply fertilizer will be critical for farmers’ and ag retailers’ livelihoods. Be sure to be aware of issues in your state and don’t hesitate to get involved.
Although the introduction of new active ingredients has slowed in recent years, several new products were launched in 2013. Future introductions look to remain slow as crop protection companies aim to tweak existing formulations or to combine active ingredients into new combinations.
Another hot button issue this year was genetically modified crops and the subsequent GMO labeling bills. States in the Northeast aimed to create a GMO labeling bloc by requiring contiguous states to pass similar legislation. At the end of 2013, that is in jeopardy as New Hampshire voted down its bill, threatening Maine’s GMO labeling bill.
The measure to label GMOs in Washington State was rejected by voters this fall. Many expected the labeling issue to pass, but the defeat has only reinvigorated anti-GMO activists who are redoubling their eff orts to get a large state to pass a GMO labeling bill. These activists have already announced their intention to bring bills to a public vote in 2014’s elections in order to reach a wider voting audience.
- Adequate rhizobia populations help protect soybean yields
- In-season imagery helps farmers grow and protect healthy crops
- Ag markets proved rather volatile Wednesday afternoon
- Farm Bill enables record USDA investments in rural water systems
- Ag markets diverged Wednesday morning
- Do soybeans need N fertilizer?
- Commentary: Blame anti-GMO groups for deaths
- Julie Borlaug says biotech is necessary in fight against hunger
- What does “sustainable” food and agriculture really mean?
- Ohio bill to require certification to apply fertilizer
- Carbon-dioxide hurts nitrogen assimilation by plants
- FCC aims to offer high-speed internet to rural America