Ag Connection
Your link to the Universities for ag extension and research information

Volume 8, Number 4
April  2002


This Month in Ag Connection



[This Month in Ag Connection] [Ag Connection - Other Issues Online]

Insect Resistance Management (IRM) Requirements

If you intend to plant Bt corn in 2002 you are now contractually bound to grow all Bt corn products in a manner consistent with mandates outlined by the new INSECT RESISTANCE MANAGEMENT (IRM) program, which the EPA finalized last October. There are three core mandates that make up the bulk of the IRM requirement:

1. There must be a minimum 20% refuge of a non-Bt hybrid. For example, for every 80 acres of a Bt-hybrid, there needs to be a minimum of 20 acres of a non-Bt hybrid. However in corn and cotton growing areas, growers must plant a minimum 50% refuge.
2. The non-Bt refuge must be planted within one-half mile of each Bt corn field, and preferably within one-quarter mile.
3. Non-Bt corn (in the refuge) may be treated with conventional insecticides only if pest pressure reaches economic thresholds. Bt- based foliar insecticides are not to be used within the refuge crop.

The EPA is requiring suppliers of Bt technology to ensure growers use these products responsibly. Suppliers are required to document that growers using Bt hybrids implement the IRM program, otherwise they risk having the registrations pulled on their products.

The goal of the IRM program is to help protect the Bt technology for farmer’s long-term use and to help prevent or delay potential insect resistance. The logic behind the refuge and its management is based on producing susceptible offspring. For example, if a resistant corn borer survived on Bt corn, it would be more likely to encounter and mate with a susceptible corn borer from the refuge corn and produce susceptible offspring. There are no confirmed reports of any resistance problems with Bt corn at this time, but as more selection pressure is applied, the more likely a resistant insect will occur.

Complete information on the IRM requirements is available from each of the companies supplying the Bt technology.

(Author: Wayne Crook, Agronomy Specialist)

[This Month in Ag Connection] [Ag Connection - Other Issues Online]

Improve Your Pasture Management for Better Weed Control

Proper pasture weed management leads to increased forage quality and utilization. The most effective weed control methods are typically a combination of cultural and chemical management practices. Weed control is site specific and can involve one or both of these management practices. Decisions are typically based on economics. The economic impact of weeds on forage and pasture production varies across Missouri. Typically, 1 lb of weeds reduces forage production by 2-5 lbs. This is enough to make anyone reevaluate management practices.

Weed seeds are in the soil waiting for an opportunity to germinate. Something as simple as equipment scalping the ground can cause weed seed germination. Nutrient deficiencies and thinning stands allow for bare soil and extra room for weed competition. Other possible sources of weed transportation and distribution include: livestock, uncertified seed, birds, equipment and vehicles, hay, wind, and water.

Weed identification is the first step in weed control and directly affects long-term management decisions. These decisions are based upon questions like: Is it a grass or broadleaf? Is it an annual, biennial or perennial? Do I want to use herbicides or alter my cultural practices? Many more questions must be considered prior to taking actions. These actions will vary with each pasture weed control program.

Chemical control is not always the first choice. Cultural methods may be more cost effective and practical. Some examples of cultural practices include:

  • Proper fertility and pH - Weeds are in direct competition with forage species for light, moisture and nutrients. Weeds typically thrive better in poorer soils so maintaining proper fertility will give forages a competitive edge. If you haven’t soil sampled your pastures in the past three years, now is an excellent time.

  • Grazing Management - As plants mature, forage quality is reduced. Try to manage grazing in the vegetative stage of development without overgrazing. Overgrazing reduces the carbohydrate reserves stored in the roots and can greatly reduce stands through winter-kill allowing for more competition in the spring.

  • Burning - Burning pastures is used after weed emergence but prior to pasture greenup (ideally 1 week prior to the last frost). The advantages to burning include the removal of last year’s growth which opens the soil to warmth of sunshine for faster green-up while destroying weed seedlings and any weed seeds caught in the residue. The disadvantages may include the requirement of a burn permit, fire hazards, and a high erosion potential of exposed soil.

  • Prevention - Good preventative measures include cleaning equipment when traveling from field to field. When purchasing new livestock from an unknown source or moving livestock from a known weed infested area, quarantine the animals for 48 hours in an isolated area or barn lot to reduce the distribution of seeds.

  • Mechanical - Mechanical control involves mowing and hoeing weeds but timing is critical to eliminate seed production.

Direct weed control actions should be taken when new perennial, poisonous or noxious weeds show up, or when weeds comprise 30% of the stand.  Direct weed control actions may include the use of chemicals when cultural methods are not economical, practical, or feasible. UMC extension publication MP 581 “Weed and Brush Control Guide for Forages, Pastures and Non-Cropland” is a good reference. When chemicals are the best management choice, always read and follow the label.

Recommendations in MP 581 are based upon the control area -- i.e. (forage, pasture, or woody) and take into consideration grass and legume species herbicide tolerances. Attention should be given to grazing or haying restrictions and those effects on management decisions.

Effective chemical weed control is based upon correct application timing:

Annuals - fall or early spring
Biennials - in rosette growth stage
Perennials - most susceptible in bud and bloom stage or fall
Woodies - spray when fully leafed and actively growing.

In many cases the best program is merely an enhancement of cultural practices where chemicals are used secondary to improved pasture management. Weed control success requires observation, practice, and experience so know your weeds, know your soil and know your options.

(Author: Todd Lorenz, Horticulture/Agronomy Specialist)

[This Month in Ag Connection] [Ag Connection - Other Issues Online

Taxation Tidbits:  A New Depreciation Deduction is Born

If new depreciable property was acquired in 2001following the 9/11 terrorist attack – it may be beneficial to recalculate your 2001 tax liability. The “Jobs Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002”, signed into law March 9, 2002, contains a provision for “additional first-year depreciation deduction equal to 30% of the adjusted basis of qualified property”.

In most cases qualified properties are assets that meet the following tests:

MACRS (Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System) eligible property with a recovery period of 20 years or less
Acquired by the taxpayer after 9-10-2001 and before 9-11-2004
Original use must commence with the taxpayer (i.e., new property).

The Joint Committee on Taxation’s Technical Explanation of the Act indicates the following order of cost recovery:

1st Section 179 expensing if elected
2nd 30% first-year depreciation deduction
3rd  Regular depreciation deduction

For example, the following is a calculation of total deduction available under the new law for qualifying 7-year property acquired on 10-10-2001 at a cost of $100,000.

Total 2001 depreciation deduction available with the new provision would be:
Section 179 expensing = $24,000
30% first-year depreciation deduction = 
          ($100,000 – 24,000)*30% = 
Regular year one depreciation  =
          ($100,000 – 24,000 – 22,800)*10.71% = 
$ 5,698
The total 2001 depreciation deduction available under the old law would be:
Section 179 expensing =  $24,000
Regular year one depreciation = 
          ($100,000 – 24,000)*10.71% = 
$ 8,140

(Author: Parman R. Green, Farm Business Management Specialist)

[This Month in Ag Connection] [Ag Connection - Other Issues Online

Value-Added Newsletters

The following newsletters are available from the Missouri Value Added Development Center’s web site.

Monthly newsletter which includes relevant and timely information regarding issues related to value added agriculture.
Decisive Marketing -- Melvin Brees
Marketing strategies to manage price risk for commodity, contract and value added agriculture producers.
By the Numbers -- Joe Parcell
By the Numbers is a newsletter directed at enhancing the intellectual knowledge base of those interested in agri-entrepreneurship, with specific focus on producer-owned value added businesses. This newsletter was developed to show financial, price, production, processing, business, and cost trends in the agricultural sector.
Market Xchange -- Nancy Giddens
Monthly newsletter providing information about marketing plan development, marketing strategy, product positioning, and consumer identification for value added agriculture.

(Author: Don Day, Ag Engineering/Information Technology Specialist)

[This Month in Ag Connection] [Ag Connection - Other Issues Online]

Missouri Century Farms Program for 2002

The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and University Outreach and Extension participate in this annual event. From 1976 to 2001 there have been 5,967 designated as Missouri Century Farms.

The same family must have owned the farm for 100 years or more as of the last day of the current year.
The family shall consist of direct descendants (spouse, child, grandchild, sibling, nephew or niece). If the farm is a family corporation or partnership, one of the principal stockholders must be a direct descendant.
The present farm shall consist of no less than 40 acres of the original land and shall make a financial contribution to the overall farm income.

Outreach & Extension and Agricultural Information - Extension Publications are coordinators of the Century Farm update. University of Missouri Extension Councils are the local sponsors. Applications for Missouri Century Farm are available from Extension Publications, MU, 2800 Maguire Boulevard, Columbia, MO 65211 and from the University Extension Center in your county from March 1 through July 4 of each year. Forms may also be downloaded from the Missouri Century Farms web page.  For more information, call (573) 882-7216 or FAX: (573) 884-5038.

[This Month in Ag Connection] [Ag Connection - Other Issues Online]

University Outreach and ExtensionAg Connection - Ag Connection Newsletter,  April 2002 -- Revised: September 30, 2002