The Buzz

Drought, GM wheat and a land sale near Halstead.

Kansas wheat farmers right now are probably most worried about the threat of a late spring freeze. However, year-in and year-out, drought is the most typical concern. Scientists at Texas A&M are working to find out just where drought resistance is coming from in some of that university’s major varieties.

  • The Ogallala Aquifer Program is funding a project to identify the key genetic regulators of drought tolerance in TAM 111, 112 and 304, each of which are popular in the High Plains and possess different abilities to withstand water stress. However, researchers don’t know why or how the differences in drought stress tolerance occur. Identifying where the tolerance comes from could unlock dramatic improvement in yield potential…
  • Finding solutions to environmental stresses in wheat is critical to the long-term success of wheat farmers. DuPont Crop Protection, through its Crop Protection Plus program, reports that 2011 was second most catastrophic year for wheat farmers in the High Plains (2007 was the worst). The company says claims for its Crop Protection Plus program totaled more than 145,000 acres due mainly to drought and wildfire…
  • Despite the challenges, DuPont  expects wheat acres to continue to increase in 2013, from Texas to North Dakota. Acres lying fallow due to wetness in the northern states will be suited for wheat production, as will acres coming out of CRP in Kansas, Colorado and Texas… 
  • In the U.K., the furor over non-GM wheat is as raucous as the crowed at an Italian soccer match. Jim Moseley is finding that out firsthand; an article in the Farmers Guardian says that Moseley, president of the Food and Drink Federation in England, is pleading with politicians, consumers and food purveyors to consider the merits of GM wheat. Moseley says nearly a billion people in the world go hungry, despite increased productivity from the world’s farmers…
  • The European Union is staunchly opposed to GM crops of all kinds. An outfit called “GM Freeze” believes GM wheat “…would have a profound impact on the food chain because of the constant threat of contamination from seed to plate…” …
  • If you’re a fan of “The Buzz,” you know we enjoy all wheat foods, especially beer. Among our favorites: the portfolio of wheat beers from Boulevard Brewing Co. in Kansas City. In a fun article from the Kansas City Star called, “50 Things Every Kansas Citian Should Know,” the newspaper reports that Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat is the company’s top seller. In all, the craft brewer sold some 150,000 barrels of beer last year…
  • Attention, eastern Kansas Caterpillar/Challenger customers: your dealer just changed hands. Dean Ag Services, based in Chillicothe and Maryville, Missouri, was recently bought by Ziegler Ag Equipment, based in Minnesota. The purchase expands Ziegler Ag into Missouri and Kansas; the company now has 23 locations in five states. …
  • A Big Ol’ Buzz Salute to our friends at AgAM in Kansas, and to Dr. Dan Thomson (pictured) at K-State. AgAM’s “Doc Talk” program will begin airing on RFD-TV at 3:30 p.m. each Monday. It’s been a long road for Bryan Hallman, who runs AgAM and is one of the industry’s good guys…
  • While the wheat industry – particularly the farmer segment – is eager at the thought of an early harvest, such an event could be bad news for outdoorsmen and the state’s pheasant population, writes Michael Pearce, outdoors reporter with the Wichita Eagle. In his April 26 Outdoors Newsletter, Pearce suggests that in central and western Kansas, hen pheasants like to nest in the green wheat. An early harvest could destroy nests and young chicks, he writes…
  • This week’s Land Sale features a 177 tract of irrigated cropland northwest of Halstead in Harvey County. It sold April 2. The tract included 156 irrigated and 14 dryland acres. The irrigated portion is watered with a Valley pivot, and the well pumps 1,000 gallons per minute. The buyer was to receive 50% of the growing crop; irrigated acres are planted to corn and dryland, to wheat. The tract brought $849,600 ($4,800 per acre)…
  • Bidding at this sale was active, although a 127-acre tract located in Reno County that was scheduled to sell at this auction did not fetch a selling bid, according to the auctioneer. However, land in the area continues to accelerate in price. 
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