Top 10 Ag News Stories 2015- #10 Bird Flu

By DTN Staff

OMAHA (DTN) -- Each year during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, DTN publishes our choices for the top 10 ag news stories of the year. Today we start out with No. 10, 9 and 8.

No. 10: Bird Flu Sweeps Through Turkey, Egg Operations in the Midwest

By Chris Clayton

DTN Ag Policy Editor

Poultry growers and USDA were caught off guard by the devastation when highly-pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza swept through the Midwest last spring.

With more than $3.3 billion in estimated economic impact, USDA's chief veterinarian, Dr. John Clifford, eventually declared the deadly bird flu virus as the "largest animal health emergency in this country's history" when he testified before Congress last summer.

Nationally, the virus led...

Read more

Start Corn Strong: Yield Hits Come Early

By Dan Miller, Progressive Farmer Senior Editor A corn seedling emerges from the soil. The spike, working like radar, examines the environment around it, measuring light and searching for competitors. If it detects another plant, a conversation begins.

Clarence Swanton, professor in the department of plant agriculture at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, calls it "cross talk." If those other plants are corn plants -- and assuming good, agronomic conditions -- the young plant and its neighbors mature normally. But if the seedling detects a weed, that cross talk takes a rapid and potentially ugly turn.

It's a management concept well understood. "If your corn has to fight for sunlight and nutrients with weeds, you're losing yield," said Steven Albracht, of Hart, Texas, one...

Read more

Anhydrous Regs Delayed For Year

By DTN Staff

OMAHA (DTN) -- Fertilizer retailers and anhydrous ammonia users got a bit of an early Christmas present in the tax and spending bill passed last week.

Buried in the omnibus appropriations bill is a rider that forbids the Occupation Safety and Health Agency from requiring ag retailers to comply with Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (PSM) regulations. The rules would have required ag retail operations that sell anhydrous ammonia fertilizers to have the same level of safety rules and facility securities as do chemical manufacturers.

DTN reported earlier in 2015 that while OSHA estimated the costs of facility safety renovations at $2,160 per site, the Ag Retailers Association estimated it would cost members an average of $20,000 per site. Some...

Read more