Summer arrives at 12:15am on the 21st of June. Despite the recent weather challenges, crops continue to make progress. Planted acres are expanding and already planted corn is advancing in growth stages. Time spent in the field will help maintain crop progress. Wet humid conditions may provide a beneficial growth medium for disease. Close observation can help identify and help plan relief if necessary. Weather patterns may also introduce some non-beneficial insects as they travel with the wind. Recent observations of armyworm will testify to the impact migration can have.
Protecting crops and our food supply is nothing new. The ancient Sumerians began protecting their food supply (plants) using Sulfur (S) around 3000 BC. The Greeks and the Romans in the 600’s BC crushed olives for oil mixed with burnt S and salt to make compounds to control ants and weeds in their crops. Moving forward to the 1600-1800’s, farmers used nicotine extracted from tobacco coupled with S and Copper (Cu) to protect fruits and plants from insects and disease. From the 1930’s to the 1960’s, synthetic compounds were produced increasing effectiveness and increasing yields. Ah the 60’s and 70’s: during those decades we saw the use of pyrethroids and the commercialization of glyphosates, adding a new wrinkle to crop protection. Seed treatment advances in the 1990’s created a new protective barrier for the fragile seeds, giving seeds a better chance of tolerating recent adverse soil conditions. The new millennium (2000s) saw plant scientists discover 112 new active ingredients to help produce more crops in a sustainable way.
Development of new crop methods and technology to deliver does not come without cost. It takes about $286 MILLION dollars and 11 years to bring new crop protection methods to aid in crop protection. The new materials and delivery methods are more efficient and can target specific needs while maintaining good environmental stewardship.
While walking crops and evaluating options, there are many crop protection methods and products that can help navigate through whatever weather provides. These advances help keep us afloat.