COLUMNISTS

What’s behind your crop and food?

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Farm Forum

As a member of the search committee for a new Winter Wheat Breeder and a new Oat Breeder at SDSU, I have been reading through the backgrounds, education and credentials of numerous candidates for these two positions. There is a talented group of individuals from which we hope to hire two people who will focus on the applied breeding and cultivar development for these two important crops in South Dakota for many years to come.

Having recently researched and written an article briefly highlighting the contributions of Norman Borlaug and Edgar McFadden, two early pioneers of rust resistant wheat, the potential importance of these positions comes to light. Developing new varieties of wheat, oats and other crops that combine disease and insect resistance along with yield potential and various other positive characteristics is tedious, but important work.

Although high performing crop varieties are one of the foundations of crop production, many other innovations and the people behind them contribute to farmer’s success and their ability to feed the world. Sometimes disease and insect resistance becomes overwhelmed, and the chemicals that have been developed to protect and/or rescue the crop become crucial. Innovations in farming practices, fertilizer products and application methods, weed control, and equipment developments for tillage (if done), planting, fertilizing, spraying and harvesting all contribute to successful crop production.

One of the keys to long-term sustainability of farming is to produce high yields of quality crops and not negatively affect the environment. This will require a holistic approach as the American farmer and farmers across the world look ahead to feeding nine billion people in the not too distant future.

Private Applicator Certification Meetings

Private Applicator Certification Meetings across South Dakota will begin next week and continue through much of March. A complete listing of the meetings in South Dakota can be found at: http://bit.ly/1cZL7B8.

Private applicators can also become certified or re-certified by completing a take home or online test. Take home tests are available at your closest Regional Extension Center, and in several County Extension offices. The online test is available at the South Dakota Department of Ag website: https://apps.sd.gov/doa/pwt/.