Archive for the ‘Monsanto’ Category

The End has Come

Posted: August 24, 2012 in Family, farming, Monsanto, Sweet corn
The Final Ear of the Year

 It is that time of year when the locusts are out, the nights are cool and we turn our thoughts to important things like football and eventually harvest.  One of the things that is also bittersweet about this time of year is that sweet corn consumption has sadly come to an end.

This summer we had the opportunity to try out some sweet corn from Monsanto call Obsession II.  I discussed it earlier here ( and the advantages it gives anyone who grows sweet corn either as a business or for personal consumption.  The great thing about it, is that we definitely consumed it this summer.

Back when we planted it, we started in late April and finished the last of it in early June.  This allowed us to have about a 6 week period to enjoy the sweet and juicy goodness.  My family was elated with the how excellent the sweet corn was and how relatively free of worms it was as well. Was it 100% free of worms? No but the technology built into the seed allowed it to be very near 100% clean.  Also, our fields stayed clean of weeds which is always a plus for plant health and water consumption also gives us bragging rights when comparing our patches to the neighbors.  (It is always fun to have bragging rights at the local watering hole)

The “cooling” tubs

One of the most enjoyable things we do with out sweet corn is we get together with our neighbor across the section and “put up” sweet corn for the winter.  This is not only the final stages of utilizing our sweet corn but will also determine how well the crop actually did for the year.  What you need to understand is that my family is that research and number oriented group that HAS to determine and figure out everything.  We have a running idea of how many ears it will take to fill a quart sized bag to the predetermined amount of cups of corn we want in them.  Last year it was roughly 7 ears.  This year it was 4.5.  One of the major reasons was that there was very little “wasted” corn and that we did not have to cut off a couple of inches per ear because of bug damage.  This allows us to either end up with a lot more corn to enjoy over the winter or that we do not need as many ears harvested to maintain the number of bags we had last year. (Yes we are nerds)

Shucking the corn

Our process of putting of sweet corn takes a lot of help.  From picking the ears to shucking the ears to cooking and cooling the ears to removing the kernels from the ears and finally bagging.  Start to finish was about a 7 hour process.  It would’ve been shorter but we had trouble getting the cooking pots we use every year.  I hope some of these pictures will portray what goes on and some of the fun the kids have as well.

After our first year of growing and eating Obsession II sweet corn, I would say it was a success.  I heard from others how sweet it was.  We were able to eat every ear we picked.  This type of technology to keep the ears cleaner and the fields cleaner really shows how beneficial it can be, not only for sweet corn grown in a garden but also for the corn we raise to feed to livestock or that gets processed into corn chips or corn flakes.  The next goal will be to get technologically enhanced popcorn to make your movie theater experience even more enjoyable.


Late season pigweed

August is always an interesting of year on the farm.  We are trying to wrap up irrigation for the year and get ready for 2 important things…Huskers and Harvest.  But there is always one sight that will ruin my day and that is weeds in my soybean fields.  Yes, there may only be a few of them but they stick out like a miniature pimple on the prom queen’s forehead.

While the actual yield robbing components of the weeds may be gone, they are a potential problem for next year.  Some of these weeds can produce multi-millions of seeds per plant and so making sure they die a painful death is very important to making sure we go into next year with less weed pressure than we had this year.  At this stage in the farming year it may not be economical or even allowable to apply a herbicide to control them.  Plus the soybeans are very hard to walk through and makes removing the weeds via human labor hard and expensive as well.
Even those these weeds may be a problem now, hopefully with some new technology that, in very short order, will be available on the farm.  Technology that will be available to add to our arsenal especially for troublesome weeds. Any time we can utilize technologies on the farm that will allow us to continue to produce a healthy and safe product we will gladly try it out.
In this case I am talking about dicamba tolerant soybeans also know as Roundup Ready Extend.  It will be a soybean that allows farmers to go after those troublesome weeds including those that come up late in the season and can cause problems for the next years to come.  It gives us another weapon in our arsenal to fight weeds, rotate crop protection products, and work at preventing resistance to develop in certain weed species.  And with the new formulation of dicamba it will a low volatility mixture meaning that the drift issues will be lessened protecting vulnerable crops like the neighbors garden. (I would be better off mowing the neighbors sweet corn crop mess with this lady’s garden)  
A couple weeks ago I saw an infield trial of this technology and was very impressed with how clean the field was.  It definitely reiterated how important having technologies like this are to the farming community not just now but also in the future.  If you are a farmer I would greatly encourage you to add your voice of support to this great product, which was discovered at the University of Nebraska.  Which is a great reminder of how important our land grant universities continue to be.  To add your voice go to  Just remember that if we want more technologically innovative products in the future it is important to protect the ones we have and voice our support for the ones coming out.

This year on Hunnicutt Farms has been dry. Not the devastating drought dry but dry enough that irrigation has been going on sporadically for a month in the area. Farmers are watering corn, soybeans and seed corn.

The same is true for our Obsession II sweet corn. This is our crop that I baby. Yes it doesn’t bring in any income but the reward of smiles on my family’s face is payment enough.

So yesterday I used the tractor and hiller to create a ditch to run water down. After I got done, my cousin’s hired man set out the garden hose and the watering contraption that my cousin built. Slowly but surely water started traveling down the ditch I made.

I can’t wait to enjoy this patch of sweet corn. My family was able to try some a couple weeks ago when Monsanto graciously sent us a sample to tease our tastebuds for what we will have in a few short weeks.

I can taste the juices already.

As we entered into the planting season this year, we had the opportunity to put some of the newest, and hopefully greatest, seed technology into the ground. This is the technology that helps us in making sure we are taking care of the environment in a healthy and sustainable manner. Anything we can do to help reduce our usage of chemicals and continue to increase yields are something we will continue to look at.

We started out this year by actually planting some of the newest in seed technology from Monsanto and DowAgro, known as SmartStax. This is an 8-way stack with a great explanation here. This allows us to have protection against may pests that cause damage to the plants. Damage that can cause us economic harm. Damage that can cause the plant, and subsequently the grain, harm as well. Ultimately, we have a healthier plant that will ultimately lead to healthier feed for our livestock and a better product to produce ethanol and bio-plastics as well.

We have had the opportunity this year to look at other new and exciting products that will be coming down the line in the coming years. One plot has what is called “refuge in a bag“. This will allow us in the future to make sure we are easily following the refuge guidelines needed to keep these technologies viable for years to come.

As we continue to look at the newest in seed technology it is exciting to see where it will take us. Up to this point, it has mainly been input traits we have looked at. The kind of traits that protect against insects and allow us to utilize different chemicals. The next thing to see will be the output traits. Traits that will ultimately help the end user and consumer.

These are exciting times in the merging of technology and agriculture. Being able to grow a safe and healthy product is something that I am proud to do.