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July 17, 2013
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Ag Notebook: Historic yields in Nebraska ... good and bad

2012 irrigated crop yields Second best ever; dryland worst in 30 years

Nebraska irrigated corn and soybean yields reached their second-highest averages in history in drought-plagued 2012, but yields for their dryland counterparts were at their lowest averages in about 30 years.

It was a very different story for dryland corn. That 59 bushel/acre average was 74 bushels below the 2011 average and 68 bushels below the 2005-11 average.

Corn farmers return to insecticides to battle rootworm

After foregoing insecticides for a decade, some corn growers are returning to chemicals to control their No. 1 pest, the corn rootworm.

Darwin Bettin, in Sac County, Iowa, has used Bt corn since Monsanto introduced it — and never had to apply insecticide. But one morning after a storm, he found a big surprise.

Now, he’s planting a different variety of Bt corn and adding insecticide to be safe.

He’s not alone. A survey of Illinois farmers showed as many as half are supplementing Bt corn with insecticide, and one-fourth are returning to chemicals as a precaution, whether they’ve seen the bugs or not.

Farm Credit gives $100,000 toward new vet diagnostic center

To help ensure livestock producers and others have access to the best available laboratory diagnostics, research, education and outreach services, Farm Credit Services of America has given $100,000 to support a new Veterinary Diagnostic Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The gift made to the University of Nebraska Foundation supports plans to replace an aging facility that no longer meets modern laboratory standards. The new facility planned to replace it will enable the university to better serve veterinarians, livestock producers, public health officials and others in Nebraska and around the country who depend on its services.

Recognizing the state’s need for a new center, the Nebraska Legislature committed to provide $41.5 million in funding through the Building a Healthier Nebraska initiative once $4.15 million is first raised from private sources. To date more than $1 million has been raised, and the university hopes to complete fundraising this summer.

At Kansas school, ag leads the lessons

Few of the 148 kindergarten through fourth-graders who attend Walton Rural Life Center’s low-rise single story brick school building on the west edge of the south-central Kansas farming community actually live on working farms.

But all the Walton students take turns caring for pigs, sheep and chickens at the school.

They pick up a farm-kid view of math, science, economics and other disciplines along the way.

Lesson planning gets flexible at Walton, which is one of only two elementary schools in Kansas — and the U.S. for that matter — where lessons are focused entirely on agriculture, according to federal education department authorities. Service Valley Charter Academy in Oswego, in far southeastern Kansas, is the other school.

Illinois FSA Grants Wish to 5-Year-Old Cancer Survivor

Diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer three years ago, 5-year-old Joe Joe Charles has endured chemotherapy, radiation, blood and platelet transfusions and multiple surgeries.

He is now in remission and was referred to the Make-A-Wish Foundation to have a wish fulfilled.

For Joe Joe, his dream of being a farmer and cowboy began when Make-A-Wish contacted Linda Mathews in the Farm Service Agency Monroe County office in Waterloo, Ill.

Within a month and a half, Mathews planned a full day of activities that involved Monroe County businesses, producers and residents.

On that day, Mathews greeted Joe Joe and his brother with an official farm makeover, providing work boots, blue jeans, jackets and a wallet with $10 inside “to buy seed to plant on their farm and feed for their animals,” she said.

They rode by area schools where more than 2,000 students and residents, along with the junior high school band, dressed in pink and purple clothing, waving and chanting Joe Joe’s name as he rode by.

The family was also taken to the local fairgrounds, where they enjoyed a horse show, and the boys participated in rodeo activities like riding a horse and competing in barrel racing.

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The Fence Post Updated Oct 16, 2013 02:41PM Published Aug 5, 2013 10:11AM Copyright 2013 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.