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Friday, April 29, 2016

Deadline Sunday: National Winter Wheat Yield Contest

Register NOW For the National Wheat Yield Contest. Sunday, May 1 is the final deadline for the winter wheat sector of the National Wheat Yield Contest, hosted by the National Wheat Foundation. 

The contest, which will drive growth and innovation in the wheat industry as well as encourage knowledge and tech transfer, is open to NAWG members or members of a recognized state wheat grower organization. The spring wheat sector registration deadline is July 1, but in order to qualify for the winter wheat sector, you must register by May 1. Register online on the National Wheat Foundation website here.

Planting Progress Surges, Corn Emergence Closer to Average

(NCGA) Corn planting surged even further ahead of the five-year average last week according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With 30 percent of total corn acres planted by April 24, progress surpassed the five-year average for this point by 14 percentage points, ten percentage points further ahead of the average than this time one week ago.
Progress surpassed the five-year average by 50 percentage points in Missouri, with Iowa and Minnesota both more than 30 percentage points planted over the five-year average as well. Only Texas lagged behind the five-year average by more than five points.
The USDA also released its first forecast of the percentage of corn emerged this week. While planting ran far ahead of the five-year average, the percentage of the corn crop emerged surpassed the five-year average by only one percentage point. Again, Missouri saw progress the furthest ahead of the average, with 24 percent of corn acres emerged. The state normally sees only ten percent emergence by this point.
To view the full report released today, click here.

Be on the Lookout for Wheat Rust Diseases

(Carl A. Bradley, Extension Plant Pathologist, University of Kentucky) Stripe rust (Fig. 1) was diagnosed by the Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at the UKREC this week in a wheat sample that came from Lyon County.  In addition, leaf rust (Fig. 2) of wheat has been observed in states south of Kentucky (Arkansas and Mississippi), and appears to be moving northward.  Some wheat varieties have high levels of resistance to these diseases; therefore, it is important to know the susceptibility of the varieties planted. Resistant varieties likely will not require any additional management for rust disease control; however, a foliar fungicide application may need to be considered for susceptible varieties. The 2016 multi-state university foliar fungicide efficacy table for wheat diseases can be found here

Figure 1
Figure 2

If leaf or stripe rust is detected in Kentucky, please contact your local county agent so that we can continue to track the spread of these rust diseases across the U.S.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Guide to Seed Treatment: Pollinator Stewardship

As planting season begins across the country, KyCorn encourage farmers to be diligent in taking proper precautions to minimize pollinator exposure to treated seed.

When planting, be aware of the presence of honeybee hives, or crops or weeds in the flowering stage within or adjacent to the field.  Ensure that no blooming weeds are present in the field.  Avoid off-site movement of dust by observing wind speed and direction.  And finally, be sure to follow planting depth instructions, and observe plant-back guidelines found on the seed tag.

For more information, visit or contact your seed dealer. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

NCGA's New Strategic Plan Puts Focus on Building Demand

At the recent Commodity Classic in New Orleans, the National Corn Growers Association finalized a new strategic plan that will focus NCGA's work on a vision of sustainably feeding and fueling a growing world. 

The new plan sets four major strategic priorities that reflect the concerns heard through listening to farmers and key stakeholders:
  • Increase Demand
  • Strengthen Customer and Consumer Trust
  • Enhance Productivity & Environmental Sustainability
  • Strive for Organizational Excellence
Increasing demand is vital, noted NCGA President Chip Bowling at a news conference held earlier this month.

"Most corn farmers are well past the point of prices being below the cost of production, and prices have been there for some time now," Bowling said. "Facing this dramatic income drop, farmers have begun tightening their belts. We are already seeing the ripple effects of this on rural communities. Implement dealers are selling less equipment. Manufacturers are scaling back production. Agribusinesses have laid off employees."

For NCGA, this means a particular focus on increasing ethanol demand, exploring new uses, increasing livestock exports and pushing for transportation infrastructure that can more efficiently move corn and corn products to market. The target goal within the new plan is competitive market demand for 19 billion bushels of corn by 2025.

"Our growers know what's at stake," Bowling said. "They've worked hard to bring in the three largest crops ever over the past three years, and now we have the opportunity to lead in building demand, enhancing trust, and improving sustainability."

Legislative Staff Learns Ethanol Facts

Nearly 100 spokespersons descended on offices in Washington, DC earlier this week; reaching out to legislative staff in Congressional districts that do not hear the corn or ethanol story very often.  "Representatives of these areas get the same opportunity to vote on ethanol issues, so it is perhaps more important that we become a resource to these non-cornbelt offices to be sure they get both sides of the ethanol story, since our Kentucky Delegation readily hears these topics from us", said KyCorn Programs Director Adam Andrews.
The annual Washington DC fly-in is hosted by American Coalition for Ethanol, or "ACE".  KyCorn is a dues-paying member.  Selection criteria for requesting meetings was offices outside of the Midwest, who have co-sponsored anti-ethanol legislation or have signed onto letters that were critical of ethanol.  The objective of the meetings was to understand what drove the decision, and respectfully provide a pro-ethanol perspective.  "It is inevitable that these members will have another opportunity to join an anti-ethanol effort in the future, and it behooves us to provide ourselves as a resource for the next time that the decision is presented to them", explained Adam.
"From our discussions, we found that in many cases the office didn't have a very compelling reason to sign onto the anti-ethanol effort that they participated in.  We need to be sure to keep the relationship active with these offices.  In many cases, their participation against ethanol can be prevented, if we just respectfully provide a balanced set of facts."

Calling for Immediate Congressional Action on TPP

"Every day of inaction on TPP means that U.S. farmers are missing out on new lucrative trade opportunities, and without enactment, our farmers are at a competitive disadvantage to countries that already have bilateral agreements in place with countries participating in the TPP," said KyCorn Executive Director, Laura Knoth. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Why is a Crappie Fishing Boat Pictured in Front of a Cornfield?

KyCorn and Commonwealth Agri-Energy will be entering into a unique partnership this spring: the national tournament fishing trail for Crappie Masters.  Over the next couple of months, farmers across the state, especially in the Purchase Region, will be hearing a lot in the media about the American Ethanol KY/TN State Championship within the Crappie Masters tournament schedule.  American Ethanol is the same brand that has been involved with NASCAR over the past 6 years to prove that ethanol is a win-win-win for automobiles - a WIN for human health and the environment, a WIN for your engine and a WIN for your pocketbook.
Now, we want to carry that message to boat owners, to dispel the many myths about E10's damaging impact on boat engines.  It is time to get real, and get aggressive, about the fact that there is nothing to fear regarding E10 in marine engines.  It DOES NOT cause the damage it has been blamed for by the oil industry, and it DOES provide meaningful benefits on the water.  Through this partnership with Crappie Masters, an angler team will be operating a boat wrapped with the American Ethanol logo.  And during this particular stop on the tournament trail, Crappie Masters will immerse their audience in the topic.  A couple of television episodes on Crappie Masters TV will also feature our information to four million viewers this fall on the Pursuit Channel.
"We don't just get a single angler team, we get the entire Crappie Masters network" said Adam Andrews, Programs Director for KyCorn.  "This partnership with Crappie Masters places a whole new set of professional spokespersons at our disposal to advocate this issue."   Since 2014, every winner at every tournament on this trail has proudly stated that E10 powered their boat to the fishing holes where they caught their winning fish. Those testimonies are vital to our success in correcting the myths that have been placed by ethanol opponents who are misunderstanding the causes of fuel system fiascos.  Crappie Masters has nearly 30,000 social media followers.  The tournament trail traverses the country all year with the American Ethanol message.
"Our audience is hungry for information on the topic!  This partnership is a great tool to initiate a factual dialogue on using E10 fuel in boats," explains Crappie Masters emcee, Brian Sowers.  "We are proud to have the opportunity and responsibility to join the agriculture industry in their efforts to advance an accurate understanding of how homegrown fuel is safe for boats."

Around the lakes this spring you'll see banners.  You'll hear radio ads and interviews.  You'll see the American Ethanol and Crappie Masters logos side-by-side in newspaper ads.  We want farmers, anglers and boat owners to understand the benefits of ethanol to your environment, your economy and your engine.  Today, E10 fuel comprises more than 95 percent of the gasoline sold nationwide.  The use of E10 fuel has been approved for all marine engines since about 1990.  "We are excited about this partnership with professionals who rely on a smooth-running, high performing boat engines to earn their paychecks," said Richard Strode, President of the KyCorn. "I hope farmers get involved in this discussion with their friends who are critical about ethanol's compatibility in marine engines and small engines.  It is our job as KyCorn to put those discussion tools in farmers' toolbox, this information campaign through Crappie Masters is just one way we are doing that."

The Small Engine Industry Needs to Change with the Times

(NCGA- CEO Chris Novak) The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), which represents the small engine industry, just released their annual survey results concerning consumer knowledge of small engine fuel options.  Based upon the results of the survey, corn farmers and small engine manufacturers can agree that consumers need and deserve more information about today's fuel options.  We know from our own consumer research that consumers are hungry for information about the positive effects of ethanol blended fuels. 
Further, we agree with the OPEI on two other points: 1. The OPEI acknowledges that E10 is safe for use in small engines like motorcycles, lawn mowers, trimmers, boats and snowmobiles; and 2. The OPEI notes that federal law prohibits the use of higher ethanol fuel blends in outdoor power equipment.  Beyond these points of agreement, however, lays a significantly different view of the future.

Our farmers believe that consumers having a choice of fuels is a good thing.  Whether you choose renewable ethanol because you want cleaner air or because you like purchasing an American grown fuel or because higher blends of ethanol are frequently priced lower than gasoline-the bottom line is that you should have the choice if you want to kick your oil addiction.  The OPEI's press release suggests that you, as a consumer, can't handle this choice-that you lack the ability to know the differences between regular gasoline and higher ethanol blends like E-15 or E-85.  We trust consumers to make the right choice of fuel - whether it is for their cars or small engine. 
Today, our farmers are working with the auto industry to examine how higher blends of ethanol, ranging from E-15 to E-25, can boost gasoline octane.  Higher gasoline octane can improve engine performance and help the auto industry achieve higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy mileage targets.  Likewise, it is time for the nation's small engine manufacturers to stop fighting renewable fuels and, instead, begin working to ensure tomorrow's small engines can run on tomorrow's renewable fuels.

Rather than fighting choice and change, our nation's small engine manufacturers should work to develop engines that can run safely on higher blends of renewable fuels.  Perhaps then, instead of bemoaning the lack of consumer knowledge and issuing dire warnings-the OPEI can offer consumers something real:  the opportunity to make a clean and renewable choice.

Talking Agriculture on UK's Campus

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Ambassadors hosted their annual Ag Awareness Day Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Agriculture-related organizations and businesses were invited to share and demonstrate the significance of agriculture.  Representing KyCorn and Ky Small Grains was communications director, Kirstie Darnall. 

"The UK Ag Awareness Day allows advocates of the industry to have conversations with the general community about the impact agriculture has on their day-to-day life," said Kirstie. "There was representation from all aspects of agriculture including, production, livestock, nutrition and UK agriculture student groups; all of which were communicating the importance of their sector in agriculture."

The event was held outside in front of Erickson Hall. During the allotted time, students, faculty, staff and community members make their way through the booths to learn about agriculture, pick up information and gifts and play a few games. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Outdoor Power Equipment Institute Poll on Higher Ethanol Blend Awareness Insulting to Consumers

WASHINGTON - The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) released a national poll finding that awareness and knowledge of how to use higher ethanol fuel blends remains relatively unchanged among consumers over the last few years, and that consumers do not pay attention to the fuels they use.

In response, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen had the following statement:
"E15 is currently sold at less than 0.2 percent of stations nationwide and the overwhelming majority of the more than 2,000 people surveyed aren't anywhere near a station that sells E15. However, education will come with more widespread use of higher ethanol blends.

Meantime, there has never been a single case of misfueling or engine damage since E15 was introduced into commerce.

By law, all gasoline station pumps must post clearly labeled signs indicating what fuel is being dispensed and what vehicles can operate on those fuels. For higher ethanol blends above 10 percent, only flexible fuel vehicles and 2001 and later model year vehicles are approved - not small engines, lawnmowers or any other off-road vehicle. This has been the case since EPA gave final approval to E15 in 2012, four years ago.

OPEI's poll is insulting to consumers. OPEI seems to think the average consumer is stupid enough to purposely ignore a very clear label and knowingly violate the law to save a few cents per gallon on a typically low-volume fill up for small engines.

E10 is sold at nearly every single gasoline station in the U.S. and has been used in small engines for decades. All major small engine manufacturers approve and warranty the use of E10 in their equipment.

Ethanol blends are typically the lowest-cost fuel option at retail gasoline stations and E15 has generally been even cheaper than E10. That is good news for consumers. However, consumers are still smart enough to know they should use only approved fuels for their equipment.

If going purely by cost, 85 octane is the cheapest fuel in many states today, and is far more readily available than E15. However, 85 octane is a non-approved fuel and not covered by any warranty. If OPEI really cares about consumers, where is their information campaign on that?

In 2013, OPEI launched a national ethanol education and consumer protection campaign called 'Look Before You Pump,' warning consumers not to fill up their small engine products on ethanol blends above 10 percent. This national poll indicates OPEI's own effort is failing and simply proves that it is an anti-ethanol campaign designed to scare consumers. E10 is safe for all vehicles and ethanol blends above 10 percent aren't. It's as simple as that. Despite OPEI's latest poll, consumers know that too."

E10 is Safe for Boats?!

As spring is rolling in, the American Ethanol/Crappie Masters 2016 State Championship, sponsored jointly by KY Corn and Commonwealth Agri-Energy, is getting closer! The tournament will take place May 13-14 at Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. 

Through our partnership with Crappie Masters Tournament Trail and an angler team sponsored by American Ethanol, we are attempting to dispel the myths about ethanol's impact on marine motors and other small engines. We want farmers, anglers and boat owners to understand the benefits of ethanol to your environment, your economy and your engine.

Today, fuel blended with 10 percent ethanol (E10) comprises more than 95 percent of the gasoline sold nationwide.  The use of E10 fuel has been covered under warranty for all marine engines that have entered the market over the past couple of decades  "We are excited about this partnership with professionals who rely on a smooth-running, high performing boat engines to earn their paychecks," said Richard Strode, President of the Kentucky Corn Growers Association. "Since 2014, every winner at every tournament on this trail has proudly stated that E10 powered their boat to the fishing holes where they caught their winning fish. Those testimonies are vital to our success in correcting the myths that have been placed by ethanol opponents throughout this very passionate segment of fuel consumers."

Join KyCorn this May at Buchanan Resort to help correct the misunderstandings on the use of ethanol in boats. 

China to Reduce Its Surpluses of Corn

Media reports indicate China is planning to move away from its corn stockpiling policies and reduce its surpluses of corn, which have negatively impacted global markets.
The U.S. Grains Council, which is supported by Kentucky Corn and other state corn checkoff organizations, is monitoring this development out of its offices in Washington, D.C., and Beijing, China.

"We have been getting signals that reforms were coming for some time," said USGC President and CEO Tom Sleight on Tuesday. "While we are surprised they have been accelerated, we are hopeful they will be a step in the right direction toward more market-oriented decisions related to the supply and demand for corn."

Domestic corn prices in China have declined by about 30 percent in the past six months, and the announcement caused a near-term market impact in China. However, China's corn is still priced well above the world market, and both the details of the new policy direction and its impact on feed grains markets are as of yet unclear.

"We will be seeking additional details about this announcement and monitoring its ongoing impact on markets, particularly as corn farmers in both our country and China begin planting," Sleight said.
The Council has worked in China for more than 30 years on a wide range of issues, including market development and policy work.