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Sudden Death Syndrome Devastates US Soybean Fields - 16 September 2014

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Tuesday 16th September 2014.
Sarah Mikesell - TheCropSite Senior Editor

Sarah Mikesell
Senior Editor



Global Analytics

Sudden Death Syndrome Devastates US Soybean Fields  

Greetings from a very autumn-like Midwest! I’ve even had to turn on the furnace a few mornings to warm up. And I’ve seen several Tweets showing corn harvest is starting, although most have been delayed by our recent Midwest rains.

Over the last few weeks, you may have seen what looks like soybeans maturing, but what you really saw were soy acres hit with Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS). I know I certainly saw them a few weeks ago while heading to/from Farm Progress Show in Iowa.

SDS has been brought on by the high moisture levels we’ve seen across the Midwest and Southeast. Symptoms are showing up - leaves fall off the plants, making photo synthesis impossible. This results in the loss of pods, and ultimately yield.

I spoke to Jennifer Riggs, product development at Bayer CropScience, about a new solution for SDS coming in 2015. Click here to see my video interview with Jennifer, discussing the current field conditions she's seen and more about the new SDS innovation from Bayer.

As I’m just a week back from my IFAJ trip to Scotland, it seems appropriate to remind everyone that Thursday, September 18th is the big independence vote deciding if Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom. A few months ago, the referendum might have gotten a few laughs, but recent polls suggest the vote is the real deal and could go either way.

You might be thinking – I thought Scotland was already a country? Scotland is actually one of the four members of the United Kingdom (UK), along with England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Each member state has some limited power of their own, and they get their own World Cup soccer teams, but they do not function as independent countries.

When I was at the IFAJ conference last week, the First Minister of Scotland (in US terms, that’s the President of Scotland) spoke to our group of 200+ journalists, which was quite an honor.

First Minister Alex Salmond joked with the group for a bit, but then turned serious saying, “There is a debate going on as part of this great national discussion about Scotland’s place within the European Union.”

First Minister Salmond, who is leading the pro-independence campaign, said: “In my view, you can explain this position in four figures:

  • 1 per cent – Scottish population relative to the EU – 5 million people in the EU
  • 20 per cent – Scottish share of fish stocks relative to the EU
  • 25 per cent – Scottish share of renewable energy reserves of the EU
  • 60 per cent – Scottish oil reserves of the EU

“You don’t have to look at legal opinion or commission opinion or anyone’s opinion, you only need to look at these figures.”

To read the full story on First Minister Salmond’s speech, including Scotland's NFU president describing the possible impact on agriculture, click here.

I’m interested to see how the vote turns out, not only because I was just in Scotland, but also because I have friends in Scotland and England. So for now, we wait to see what the Scottish people decide…

Have a great week!


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