December 16, 2014

In This Edition:

MWP sponsors local meetings on changes in 2014 Farm Bill

Did you know that the 2014 Farm Bill significantly revised or eliminated many parts of the previous Farm Bill?  Keeping up with these changes will help farmers make better business decisions about commodity programs, and farm and risk management for the future.

MSU’s Farm Management Team in cooperation with USDA’s Farm Services Agency will hold several Farm Bill educational sessions around the state over the next several months.  The Michigan Wheat Program is helping sponsor these meetings, along with Greenstone Farm Credit Services, Farm Bureau Crop Insurance, the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan and the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee.

Upcoming meetings include:
  • Weds., Dec. 17 – Adrian, Stanton
  • Thurs., Dec. 18 – Hillsdale
  • Fri., Dec. 19 – Three Rivers
  • Mon., Jan. 5 – Lakeview, Richmond, Owosso
  • Tues., Jan. 6 – Ithaca, Caro, Coldwater
  • Weds., Jan 7 – Frankenmuth, Gladwin
The meetings are free of charge, but many have limited seating so pre-registration is required.  Find a meeting near you and register online at


Farmer tip:  It's not too late to evaluate wheat stands

by Martin Nagelkirk, MSU Extension    (810) 648-2515 

Walking through stands of winter wheat can be helpful in assessing seeding rates, drill performance and the prospect of a profitable crop.  Much of a wheat crop’s yield potential is determined by the time wheat emerges in the fall.  So it’s reasonable to suggest growers take time to evaluate young wheat.

Stepping into the field, start by counting the seedlings per foot of row.  Generally, early planted wheat would preferably have 15 to 20 plants per foot of row (7.5" row spacing), whereas one might hope for at least 25 seedlings when sown after mid-October.

Another worthwhile determination would be to see how the number of seedlings matches up with the estimated seeding rate.  (See table below.)  For example, if a grower feels he was dropping 1.8 million seeds per acre (26 seeds/row foot), but only finds an average of less than 17 seedlings per foot, it would be worthwhile to determine why there were only two of three seeds producing a seedling.

Checking seedling depth is also worthwhile.  The actual depth of seed placement can be estimated by observing the seed in relation to the crown.  Where the seed is next to the crown, one can surmise that the seed was 0.5" or less below ground.  Where a mesocotyl is visible between the seed and crown, its length plus another 0.5" approximates the seed’s original depth.

A factor often more important than plant population or seed depth is the consistency of the stand.  The goal is to achieve consistent and rapid emergence, and evenly spaced seedlings to the extent possible using planter units that do not singulate seed.  The causes of gaps and unevenness, such as crop residue, traffic or drill operation should be noted.

Comparing actual seedling population to seeding rate
seeding rate                      seeds per                        seedlings per
(millions/Ac)                      ft. of row*                          ft. of row**

     1.4                            20.1                      18.5  (92%)
     1.6                            23.0                      20.7  (90%)
     1.8                            25.8                      22.7  (88%)
     2.0                            28.7                      24.7  (86%)
     2.2                            31.6                      26.5  (84%)

*   Target seeding rate/ 43,560 X 0.625 = seeds per ft. of row  (7.5” spacing)
**  Average number of seedlings  (assumed emergence percentage/rate)


MWP submits grant for state ag economic development funds

MWP has moved into round-two consideration for the Strategic Growth Initiative (SGI) grant program of the Michigan Dept of Agriculture & Rural Development.

SGI is a two-year-old program that looks to invest state grant funds in economic opportunities to grow Michigan’s food and ag industry including creating high-tech and innovative jobs.  The program is a joint effort between MDARD and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

SGI grants are highly-competitive.  Last year Michigan had 75 applicants requesting $19 million, and the state awarded $2.25 million to 14 organizations.  Again this year, $2.25 million will be available.
MWP’s first-time SGI application seeks a $60,000 grant to work with the Michigan State University Product Center Food-Ag-Bio to provide baseline data for the wheat industry including details on current wheat production, current and potential milling capacity in the state, preferred wheat varieties in various end-user sectors, and scenarios that could determine future development of Michigan’s wheat industry.
Statewide, having additional information about the market demand for wheat production and processing will help farmers better understand the potential wheat can play in their farm’s profitability.

"Given that this is our first-ever grant submission, we're very pleased to be selected for the second round and a full proposal submission," said Dave Milligan, MWP chair.  "We know given the 2014 and potential 2015 crop, that we need to be budget-minded and look for ways to leverage our check-off funds while still keeping our forward momentum."

Upcoming winter meetings

Mark your calendar for these meetings, with a special focus on wheat information.
Dec. 16:  Integrated Crop & Pest Management Update, MSU Pavilion, East Lansing
Jan. 9:  Center for Excellence Results Meeting, Adrian
Jan. 12-14:  MABA Winter Conference, Lansing Center, Lansing
Jan. 13:  Michigan Millers Annual Meeting, Lansing Center, Lansing
March 11:  MWP Winter Grower Meeting, Bavarian Inn Lodge, Frankenmuth
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