SD Corn

Corn Comments 7.28 – Sioux Empire Fair

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In this week’s Corn Comments, Jim Woster talks about the upcoming Sioux Empire Fair which runs from August 1st through the 10th.

Ag Appreciation Day will be held on Wednesday, August 6th from 11am – 1pm. There will be good food and tunes from Moegen’s Heros to boot. At 2pm that day Jim Woster will be giving an update on the Stockyards Plaza (Park and Heritage Center) in the Expo Building.

South Dakota Corn will be at the Sioux Empire Fair on August 8th and 9th. Be sure to bring the family out to see the corn acres. We’ll have the Amazing Corn Adventure trailer, Ag Rules Bingo and Theater, a giant inflatable game for the kids, a $250 Food and Fuel Facebook giveaway and we’ll also be featuring a FREE sweet corn feed both days.

We hope to see you at the fair.

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Bioreactors Showing Benefits

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Dr. Kjaersgaard demonstrates the functioning of a bioreactor at Ag PhD’s Field Day 2014.

Two years ago this summer, a denitrifying bioreactor was installed by South Dakota State University on the Hefty brothers’ farm near Baltic as part of a research project to reduce nutrients runoff leaving fields through subsurface tile drainage. And after two years of research at that site, SDSU’s Water Resource Institute researchers are pleased with the results.

At today’s Ag PhD Field Day near Baltic, Jeppe Kjaersgaard, an assistant professor of Agricultural and Environmental Water Management at SDSU said that the bioreactor at the site is removing between 60-75% of the nitrates leaving the drainage system on average. During peak flow periods (high rainfall events) the bioreactor will remove around 40% and during periods of low flow they are seeing nitrogen removal rates of around 90%.

“On average, the nitrate levels in the water leaving this drainage system meets the EPA standard for drinking water,” said Dr. Kjaersgaard.

SDSU also has bioreactor research sites near Montrose and Arlington. Dr. Kjaersgaard noted that all of the sites are seeing positive results, but the Baltic site is the top performer.

To learn more about bioreactors, watch the video below. You can also read a past blog post with more information on this innovative conservation drainage system.

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Renewable Waste Bags and Beyond

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That headline may sound sort of ironic, but when a household includes pets, dogs specifically, removing their solid waste in a more environmentally friendly manner is possible thanks to America’s corn farmers and some brilliant scientists.

Those scientists have figured out a way to utilize cornstarch as an ingredient to make biodegradable waste bags, keeping your yard and neighborhood free of pet waste and groundwater clear of fecal matter thanks to a mess-free, waste bag made from a renewable ingredient produced by America’s farmers.

Beyond providing abundant supplies of food, nutritious livestock feed and money saving, clean-burning ethanol fuel for drivers, corn farmers also provide sustainable supplies of fiber for thousands of products made from cornstarch including batteries, paper, personal hygiene products, plastics, powders, carpet and many more everyday items.

In most cases, the use of cornstarch in products replaces petroleum as an ingredient, a finite resource that is heavily imported. So by creating these products from American-grown corn, widely used consumer goods are becoming toxin-free, reducing greenhouse gases, furthering energy independence and are becoming safer to process.

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Corn Comments 7.21 – Volunteer Farm Leaders

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In this week’s Corn Comments, Jim Woster visits about the volunteer leadership in charge of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association and Corn Utilization Council. Both boards are made up of volunteers who farm and wear a number of other hats in their communities, schools and homes. Being active within your community and state is a great way to give back and to ensure a better tomorrow for the next generation of South Dakotans.

Click here to learn more about the directors of the SD Corn Growers and SD Corn Council.

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Corn farmers head to the hill

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Corn farmers from across the country including some from South Dakota are taking time out of their busy schedules to meet in Washington, D.C. this week with lawmakers and to discuss important policy matters with fellow American corn farmers.

South Dakota farmers participated in a number of National Corn Growers Action Team meetings Monday and Tuesday and will partake in Corn Congress discussions today and tomorrow, setting the national organization’s policy for the coming year.

While in D.C., the corn board directors and staff will roam the halls of Congress and visit with South Dakota’s delegation: Representative Kristi Noem and Senators John Thune and Tim Johnson.

“Having face-to-face discussions with our representatives is not only good for our members, but also for the lawmakers themselves who enjoy hearing first-hand about the issues that are affecting growers back home,” said SDCGA president Keith Alverson.

Currently, top issues facing South Dakota farmers on a national level include a major railcar backlog that has widened the basis and has put the quality of last year’s crop in jeopardy.

Other matters on the minds of farmers include the importance of a timely farm bill implementation, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the Untied States proposal and the EPA’s unresolved Renewable Fuel Standard rule for 2014.

“There never seems to be shortage of hot-button issues affecting farmers today, which make these visits to D.C. critically important,” stated Alverson. “We are fortunate to have a wonderful working relationship with our entire congressional delegation, which is something our organization’s members should take pride in.”

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Silking South Dakota

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If you follow the local news or USDA crop reports, you may have seen or heard the term “silking” used in updates on the state’s corn crop progress. Silking is a crucial part of the plant’s pollination process, which ultimately determines a farm’s overall yield.

The corn plant produces silks around 65 days after emerging. They are long silky, yellowish thread-like vegetation and each connects to a kernel and runs several inches outside of the husk to collect the pollen being released by tassels. A silk must be pollinated in order for its connected kernel to have an opportunity to develop.

If you want to get more technical, the University of Purdue has excellent information available on their website.

In the latest USDA crop progress report, South Dakota’s corn crop was 9% silked, 4% ahead of last year and equal to the five-year average.

It may seem strange, but corn silks can be a part of a healthy diet as they contain proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Corn silk can be used to make tea and has historically been used for medicinal purposes to treat bladder infections, high blood pressure, fatigue and arthritis pain along with many other illnesses.

Amazing, right? This is just another example of how the corn plant is improving lives and improving the world in which we live.

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