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Whats New on the Agricultural Horizon?
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As this is being written, weather forecasters have backed off the heavy rains they predicted from the remnants of the hurricane that affected Mexico this past week. Corn harvest is starting to ramp up in the area; soybeans are turning color and dropping leaves; grain sorghum development is all over the map; and some early planted wheat has emerged. There really isn’t much new locally to comment on, so let’s take a look at some other news.
• The USDA has granted approval for the GMO corn and soybeans resistant to 2, 4-D.  2, 4-D is designed for the control of broadleaf weed species and depending on growth stage and environmental factors can damage grasses. While an herbicide around for 60 plus years, it has a different mode of action from Roundup ® (glyphosate) and is designed to help producers combat the increasing number of weed species resistant to the popular herbicide. Producers could use 2, 4-D previously on corn but risked crop injury. There are more potential challenges with the increased use of 2, 4-D but Dow claims the new formulation would help address these concerns.
• The frost last Saturday that occurred over many parts of the state was the earliest on record (September 13). In many areas that marked the end of the growing season making this the third shortest growing season for the South Central area at 134 days compared with the normal 170 plus or minus days. The effects of this frost will be most pronounced on late planted grain sorghum and double-cropped soybeans.
• Studies examining all the peer reviewed, detailed studies on the safety of GMO feed and foods have determined the use of GMOs poses no health risks and that GMOs are safe. FYI, part of the results come from the trillion or so meals consumed with GMO products in them.
• The Kansas Department of Agriculture officially dedicated its new headquarters Thursday, September 18 in Manhattan prior to the KSU-Auburn game. The location, essentially on the K-State campus, is designed to enhance the partnership level and effectiveness of the collaborative efforts between the two entities.
• Renewable energy sources continue to increase as a percentage of the total energy budget for the nation and state of Kansas. K-State is part of a group including Michigan State University, Iowa State University, University of Nebraska, North Dakota State University, University of Missouri, Ohio State University and Penn State University termed the Midwest Bioenergy Outreach project.  Regardless of state or federal mandates, it appears renewable energy resource development is here to stay.