Industry News For February 2021

Texas A&M Extension Cotton Specialist Honored

dr. marillo maeda
Dr. Murilo Maeda

Dr. Murilo M. Maeda, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension cotton specialist received the Dr. J. Tom Cothren Outstanding Young Cotton Physiologist Award at the 2021 Beltwide Cotton Conferences. Maeda was recognized for his dedicated service to cotton producers on the Texas High Plains.

The annual award is sponsored by PhytoGen cottonseed. It was initiated by the Beltwide Cotton Agronomy & Physiology Conference several years ago to provide recognition for cotton physiology researchers in the early part of their career.

The criteria for the Young Physiologist Award is that nominations be submitted by a peer prior to the nominee turning 40 years old and during the first 10 years after the nominee receives his or her highest academic degree.

In 2015, the award was renamed for Dr. J. Tom Cothren in remembrance of his many scientific and academic contributions to the cotton physiology community. Cothren was recognized as the Outstanding Cotton Physiologist in 2000.

Farmers National Reports A Surge In Land Prices

farmers national co logoWhat started out with better-than- expected sales prices at land auctions before the fall harvest extended into strong prices at some auctions during October and November. What is propelling the land market and will this current surge in prices continue?

Agricultural land prices have been fairly stable in the past several years despite the gyrations of the ag economy. Producer incomes were taking hits, but the land market took it in stride except for the hardest hit areas or segments.

The factors supporting the land market remained constant during this time. They included historically low interest rates, a lower supply of land for sale and adequate demand for good cropland about everywhere.

The demand for land is the driver of the current land price surge.

“Values for good cropland are strong right now with more farmers stepping up to buy as well as a growing number of individual investors. Buying interest from farmers has increased as they anticipate a better income year in 2020 than once thought,” says Randy Dickhut, senior vice president of real estate operations at Farmers National Co.

Higher commodity prices and the historic influx of government payments in 2020 have helped the financial condition of many farmers and therefore their interest in productive land.

Demand for all types of land has also seen an increase.

“The overall supply of good cropland for sale is on the low side and is similar to the past few years. Despite the slower ag land market, the dollar amount of land that Farmers National Co. is currently selling for its clients is near record levels at $300 million,” Dickhut says.

The new year will bring a renewed examination of the underlying factors propelling land prices.

There will be no large influx of government cash for producers in 2021, but grain prices are significantly higher so more net farm income will come from the market. Interest rates continue to be historically low, which supports strong land prices.

Looking ahead, the supply of ag land on the market will not change much as it remains mostly inheritors, estates and non-operating families who sell. Farm finances will be adequate for another year to avoid an increase in forced sales by lenders.

Active demand for good cropland by farmers and investors will continue for now, Dickhut predicts.

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Award Recognizes Farmer’s Risk Management Skills

The Joseph J. O’Neill Cotton Marketer of the Year award presented by ICE Futures (formerly New York Cotton Exchange) and BASF dates back to 1991.

This year’s recipient, Barry Evans, is a fourth-generation farmer in Swisher County, Texas. After receiving a degree in agricultural business and economics at West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M), he worked in the commodity futures industry before returning to the farm in 1992. He farmed and managed a family-owned commercial grain elevator until 2013.

Today, Evans farms full time and is the secretary and treasurer of the National Cotton Council and a member of the board of Texas Grain Sorghum Producers.

“Barry has been a tremendous advocate for the cotton industry for many years, and this award recognizes his knowledge extends well beyond growing the crop,” says Dr. Kenny Melton, BASF western region agronomic manager. “Risk management is essential for every farming operation, and Barry’s marketing reflects the work needed to understand the macro and microeconomics of these tumultuous markets.”

ThryvOn Technology Granted Nonregulated Status

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved Bayer’s petition for nonregulated status of MON 88702 (ThryvOn technology).

“This trait represents the industry’s first cotton biotech trait to protect against feeding damage from key tarnished plant bug and thrips species,” says Jon Riley, North America cotton trait launch lead at Bayer says, “The new technology provides cotton growers an additional tool to manage these damaging pests.”

The company says it is making plans for a stewarded Ground Breakers Field Trial Program introduction of the product in U.S. geographies this season.

Bayer anticipates following with a full commercial launch, pending regulatory approvals and other factors.

Corteva Agriscience Offers Education, Training Resources

phytogen seminarsA variety of educational and training opportunities for the Enlist weed control system in the 2021 growing season is available online. A Step Ahead webinars, led by Enlist field specialists, will feature application training sessions and a new, five-part monthly series.

The hour-long sessions cover how to achieve effective weed control on acres of Enlist E3 soybeans, tankmixing with Enlist herbicides, field planning scenarios and spray requirements.

Farmers and applicators will have the opportunity to learn firsthand about a wide variety of weed control topics. They include spring herbicide programs, tank-mixing and nozzle selection.

To register, go to After registering, participants will receive a confirmation email containing instructions for joining the webinar.

U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol Welcomes Its First Latin America-Based Members

Membership in the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol enables 26 Latin America-based mills and manufacturers to prove that the cotton fiber element in their textiles is more sustainably grown.

“The Trust Protocol is providing verified, reliable data about cotton growers’ responsible growing practices in six key areas — water use, greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, soil carbon, soil loss and land-use efficiency — and shows how sustainability is constantly improving through the entire supply chain,” says Dr. Gary Adams, president of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol.

Mills and manufacturers who become members have access to the Trust Protocol credit system to validate consumption of cotton and associated credits. The combination of a unique credit accounting system and the Permanent Bale Identification system enables brands to have transparency throughout the supply chain to finished product.

California Farmers Plan Amid Dry Early Winter

Farmers say they’re making contingency plans for tight water supplies while retaining hope that storms in the first three months of 2021 will bolster the Sierra Nevada snowpack and reservoir storage.

Kern County farm manager Jason Giannelli of Wegis and Young says he remains hopeful. The farm relies on a water district that purchases water from the State Water Project and another that receives a mix of SWP and federal Central Valley Project supplies.

“We prioritize our crops and try to use the water efficiently as we set up our water budget,” Giannelli says. “We’re also using underground drip for alfalfa or corn and looking at more efficient ways of irrigating to maximize water as well as field production.”

With the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, farmers realize groundwater pumping will be more restricted.

Dan Errotabere, who farms permanent and row crops in Riverdale in the Westlands Water District, a CVP contractor, says farmers must plan for various water supply scenarios.

“You have to partition part of the operation to hedge and say, ‘Listen, I can plant this block of ground later and if the water isn’t there, I’ll fallow it if the water just is not in the cards,’” says Errotabere, who chairs the Westlands board.

Anticipating groundwater constraints due to SGMA, the district is recharging the aquifer through deep wells and setting up recharging ponds.

Last year, Westlands received a 20% CVP water allocation — but this year, the allocation is more uncertain. Errotabere says a dry-year allocation could be in the 5% to 10% range, with zero always a possibility.

California Farm Bureau contributed this information.

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