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7 ag stories you might have missed

Collage with corn harvest, capitol building and angus beef cattle
Catch up on tar spot resistance, long-term weather predictions, and the farmer’s role in providing natural rubber for tires.

Did you miss some agricultural news this week? We’ve got you covered. Here’s a roundup of the top headlines in agriculture from around the country.

U.S. planting off to a slow start

In USDA’s latest report out April 18, corn plantings were at only 4%, up from 2% a week earlier. Analysts were expecting a slightly better pace, with an average trade guess of 5%. It was also below 2021’s pace of 7% and the prior five-year average of 6%. The top three states that have made the most progress so far include Texas (64%), North Carolina (39%) and Kansas (12%). – Farm Futures

The role of animal antibiotics

The research and development pipeline for new antibiotics has slowed tremendously in the last two decades. There is a very strong push for governments to regulate that antibiotics today should only be used for human medicine in the future. It’s imperative that farmers have access to antibiotics for animal welfare, and communicating that to the public is a challenge at times, says veterinarian Rick Sibbel. – Kansas Farmer

Bridgestone plans for natural rubber supply

Bridgestone began working to shore up its domestic supply of natural rubber about a decade ago – and the solution could be a win-win for farmers. The company is growing the perennial crop guayule on its 300-acre research ranch near Eloy, Arizona as it looks ahead to multiple processing plants across the Southwest. The first processing facility could open in 2027 in Pinal County. – Western Farm Press

Focus on tar spot resistance

Tar spot has showed up in varying degrees the past handful of years leaving farmers and agronomists with more questions than answers. University of Illinois research reveals two corn lines with steady levels of tar spot resistance. Fungicides, crop rotation and scouting are current resources to manage tar spot, but findings show resistant hybrids could help with management in the long term. – Prairie Farmer

Startup uses AI to predict weather

What could you do if you knew what the weather would be like 90 days from now or six months? ClimateAi is using artificial intelligence to bring precision weather and long-term forecasts to farmers. Based on this longer-term outlook, the user can tailor seed choices to match specific weather outcomes. This information can help a farmer decide between planting crop X or crop Y on a specific field. – Farm Progress

Biden administration increases rural focus

In an effort to fulfill promises made on the campaign trail, the Biden administration rolled out a new Rural Partners Network. The new RPN will help ensure the many resources allocated under the American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law find their way to those who need it in rural America. – Farm Progress

Farmers Business Network to go public

Farmers Business Network Inc. is preparing to register confidentially for a U.S. initial public offering in the coming weeks, according to people familiar with the matter. The company is aiming to double its valuation to about $8 billion, possibly more, at the time of its stock market flotation. – Reuters

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