0309 NowTime

3/9/2013 7:00 AM

To Calibrate Air Blast Sprayer

Calibrating air blast sprayers is challenging. You may be applying the correct amount of water per acre, but the distribution may be incorrect.

One scenario is the tree row on the left may be getting 60 percent of the spray and the tree row on the right side may be getting 40 percent. However, you don’t know which nozzle is causing the problem.

Extension educator Bob Pollock reports the result may be insect or disease damage and reduced packout, which ultimately lowers income.

The Penn State Pesticide Education Program purchased a calibration unit that enables us to collect the output from each nozzle.

With the collected information, we troubleshoot any problems like worn or plugged nozzles, broken or wrong whirl plates, etc. The end result is a calibrated sprayer ready to go for the growing season.

We are ramping up our ability to calibrate air blast sprayers across the state. If you would like more information or to have your sprayer calibrated, go to http://extension.psu.edu/pesticide-education/applicators/air-blast-sprayer-calibration-information

On the webpage is a link to an online request form to be used to sign up to have your sprayer calibrated. Also included is a pre-calibration checklist and a video that provides instructions to prepare your sprayer for calibration.

To Understand Significance <\n>of Conservation Practices

Recent data released by the Pennsylvania Field Office of the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service shows Pennsylvania farmers now use conservation tillage techniques on the majority of farmland.

The information is found in the 2012 survey of tillage practices for major field crops in the commonwealth.

In 2012, conventional tillage was used on 19 percent of the major crop acreage in Pennsylvania, up from the 17.3 percent in 2011. No-till was practiced on 58.8 percent of the major crop acreage, and other conservation tillage practices were used on the remaining 22.2 percent.

Corn and soybeans are the two crops with the highest acreages. Conventional till was used on 19.9 percent of the corn acreage, no-till was practiced on 56.2 percent, and the remaining 23.9 percent was other conservation tillage practices.

In soybeans, conventional till was used on 8.5 percent of the acreage, no-till was practiced on 73.6 percent, and the remaining 17.9 percent was other conservation tillage practices.

To Participate in Grain Marketing Webinar

Extension marketing educator John Berry tells us his main concern at this time is that we will never be able to “forget” 2012. Talk about a wild ride. The U.S. started the season with record numbers of corn and soybean acres planted followed by decent germination and growing weather. Prices responded as you would expect.

Then from mid- to late June the spotty dry patches turned to widespread drought that persisted through harvest. Prices responded as you would expect when large acreages in a major production region are drought stricken.

What really hurt was that many had committed 2012 grain and took nice prices from spring into summer only to be overtaken by unpredictable supply change. They delivered $5.50 corn at the same time the mill was paying $8 and more.

We did make profits at $5.50, but it’s no fun leaving a couple of additional dollars on the table. Fortunately, we also marketed some bushels at these virtually unknown harvest prices.

Berry believes most of us had a great 2012 grain marketing season.

The pattern of grain prices we experienced with the 2012 crops can be attributed solely to the extensive U.S. drought. Are we anticipating a similar weather pattern for the 2013 growing season? Has demand been altered by recent historically high grain prices? Are global planted acres responding to prices?

Berry believes effective grain marketers take account of current conditions and use pricing tools that allow for some flexibility while covering expenses a little at a time as profit opportunities allow.

This is centered on using crop insurance at a level of coverage that meets our individual risk-management goals. We can then commit early-season bushels when prices meet our needs without fear of crop loss on our farms preventing us from delivering.

As an example, if one bought 80 percent coverage of revenue-protection crop insurance, it is reasonable to feel comfortable with early-season marketing of 40 to 80 percent of expected harvest —if and only if there are profitable prices to be had.

Berry did a little pencil pushing and calculated a 2013 cost-of-production at $5 for corn and $11 for soybeans. At this time, one can take cash bids that are profitable for the 2013 expected harvest.

Many of us are enthralled by market prognosticators. They offer much advice on where prices are going and what we should do about it.

Berry loves to listen, but resists the urge to react to their words. He remains convinced that no one has the power to predict the future. As you get serious about your 2013 farming, consider what price returns you a profit, and then take profits as you can.

Penn State Extension is offering a one-hour computer-based seminar on 2013 Grain Marketing at 8 p.m. Monday, March 11. If you have access to a computer with Internet, you can participate by going to http://www.cvent.com/d/VS_Wi5zz7kuZ5HcL4Rc3cw/0nvn/P1/1Q for additional details.

We will be covering the pricing tools available to us, what the 2013 markets look like and how these pricing tools could be used with today’s prices.

Quote of the Week

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”

— William Penn

Leon Ressler is district director of Penn State Cooperative Extension for Chester, Lancaster and Lebanon counties.

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  Ag Markets at Lancaster Farming

2/9/2016 | Last Updated: 2:45 PM