As we look back on 2013, a few big issues in agriculture easily come to mind: the lack of a farm bill, a wet planting season and struggling crop prices. It's been a year full of challenges, to be sure. But a closer look reveals which stories and issues really captured your attention—and some of them might surprise you.
Here, we count down the top 10 AgWeb stories of the year.
Posted: Oct. 17, 2013
Who doesn’t enjoy reading about a good scandal? In this Associated Press story, a former manager at West Central Co-op in Ralston, Iowa—one of the nation's largest grain cooperatives—was accused of accepting $480,000 in bribes from an Iowa farmer in exchange for product. At that price, "scandal" might be putting it lightly.
Posted: June 8, 2013
By June, planting season was almost finished, but the rain kept coming. The market became stagnant and uncertain. According to Jerry Gulke, president of the Gulke Group, it was the unplanted acres—which we later learned added up to roughly 7 million—that the market was watching. In his Weekend Market Report, he explained what that meant for prices.
8. Tractor Withstood Mysterious Burial in Manure
Posted: Dec. 5, 2013
Sometimes, the most popular stories are the strangest. This story about a 2009 Case IH Steiger 485 in southern Manitoba, Canada, that was determined still usable after it languished for months completely buried in manure captured your attention. And we’ll admit it—there’s something about a tractor buried in manure that piques our interest, too.
7. Advice Many Don't Want to Hear: Sell the Farm
Posted: Jan. 31, 2013
Succession planning can take many forms, and giving your farm to your children might not be the best option. "A successful family farm is one that’s sold to someone else," said Tom Deans, author of Every Family’s Business. He told farmers at the 2013 Top Producer Seminar that they should make their children buy the family farm instead of giving it to them, as that’s the only way to ensure that they will have the ambition to innovate and grow the business. In an industry where 98% of businesses are family-owned, it’s controversial advice, to be sure.
6. Tribine Prototype Harvests and Carries 1,000 Bushels
Posted: Feb. 14, 2013
The biggest machinery story of the year was just that—big. The prototype Tribine articulated harvester can harvest corn with a 12-row head for 1 mile without stopping, and includes a 1,000-bu. grain tank on the front of the machine that can empty at 500 bu. per minute. Ben Dillon, the Indiana farmer who invented the machine, unveiled the Tribine at 2013 Ag Connect. A combine that can fill a semi in 2 minutes...no wonder you were captivated.
5. Just How Bad Is It? An Aerial View of Crops in Iowa and Minnesota
Posted: Aug. 5, 2013
As the calendar turned to August, so the market turned to Iowa. After spring rain hindered planting through much of the state, by late summer the crops weren’t doing so badly. Or were they? Pro Farmer editor Chip Flory joined two crops analysts for an aerial tour of northern Iowa and southern Minnesota. On July 29, they took off from Charles City, Iowa, with a camera in hand. The footage they captured was mind-blowing.