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Strengthening the Rural Economy

This has been an important week for the White House Rural Council – a partnership between multiple Federal agencies, created by President Obama last year to focus and coordinate our efforts to create jobs in rural America and support American agriculture.
We marked the one-year anniversary of the Council on June 11; and on the same day, the Rural Council released a reportalongside the White House Council of Economic Advisors and USDA that notes significant progress in our efforts to grow the rural economy. But President Obama and I also know that there’s more to be done.
Over the past three years, the rural economy has strengthened. Last year, U.S. farm sector income reached a nominal record of $98.1 billion and record agricultural exports supported nearly a $43 billion trade surplus and 1.15 million American jobs.
But this week’s report also reflected a strong belief I share with President Obama – that while progress has been made, we still have a great deal of work to do. It’s not time to let up.
Together, we’re working to further broaden markets for U.S. agriculture products. On top of the new trade agreements signed by the President last year with Colombia, Panama and South Korea – expected to boost exports by $2.3 billion per year – the Administration is working to further expand markets for U.S. agriculture products.
Here at home, the Administration has carried out an all-of-the-above energy approach to help Americans reduce pain at the pump as well as their home energy costs. Since 2009 we have nearly doubled wind energy capacity in the U.S. and helped to support 230 new bioenergy projects – but there is still more to be done. As part of his to-do list for Congress, President Obama is urging Congress to pass the Production Tax Credit, which will help renewable energy companies create jobs here at home.
Finally, while the report outlines our investments so far in communities across rural America – more than 6,250 new community facilities, grants and loans for more than 50,000 rural businesses, and upgraded water, electric and broadband utilities for millions – the Administration is working to further strengthen these investments.
Just this week, President Obama announced an additional $2 billion in funding through the Small Business Administration to help generate business loans across rural America. These loans, which will be paid back at no cost to the taxpayer, will help rural businesses continue creating jobs.
As we look back over the past three years, at USDA we’re proud of our accomplishments on behalf of rural America – but we’re not letting up. This week’s report is a reminder that we have come a long way. But we have much more to do on behalf of our small towns and rural communities, and I know that through our shared commitment to rural America, even greater progress is yet to come.

Why farmers insist on growing low grade rice?

Mekong River Delta farmers, once again, ignored the advice of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) on restricting the low grade rice growing area. Why did they think nothing of the state management agency’s opinions?

Before starting a new crop, Mekong Delta farmers always ask themselves which rice varieties they should grow. MARD advised them to restrict the low grade rice growing area at 20 percent, reserve 10-15 percent of land for fragrant rice and the remaining area for high grade rice (5-10 percent broken rice).

However, farmers, who turned a deaf ear to the advised, still decided to sow IR50404, a low grade rice variety, for the 2011-2012 winter-spring crop.

The farmers now suffer from their wrong decision: only high grade rice has been selling well, while low grade rice remains unsold. The Vietnam Food Association (VFA) has said that its member companies would prioritize to buy high grade rice for storage, because the products are in the high demand in the world market.

In this case, farmers cannot blame the state management agencies on their unsold rice. However, a question has been raised that why the farmers ignored the advices?

The problem is that the MARD’s advice did not come from the predictions about the consumption level of the market, but from the calculation on the ecological plantation balance in the region. Therefore, farmers do not pay much attention to the advice, and they have to consult with merchants, who will collect rice from them, about what rice varieties to grow.

Up to 70 percent of the rice fields in Mekong Delta have been used to growth IR50404 rice for the 2011-2012 winter-spring crop. Local departments for agriculture and rural development said that the recommendation of growing low grade variety is the “main culprit” that has caused to the rice abundance.

However, what should farmers grow, if they see that medium and low grade rice always accounts for the overwhelming proportion in the rice export structure?

According to VFA, in 2011, low and medium grade rice exports accounted for 61.2 percent of the total rice exports, while high grade exports just accounted for 28 percent, and fragrant rice 6.6 percent. In the first quarter of 2011, when Mekong Delta began harvesting the winter-spring crop, medium and low grade rice (15-25 percent broken rice) amounted to nearly 72 percent of the rice exports.

Analysts have commented that in the last many years, Vietnam’s rice export policy has been aiming to export as much as possible. This has helped Vietnam make great progress in the rice export volume. However, with the policy, Vietnam has been facing the uncertainties of the market.

In 2011, Vietnam exported 7.5 million tons of rice, a record level, which represented an 85 percent increase in comparison with 2004. However, while the export volume increased so sharply, the percentage of high grade rice exports has been decreasing continuously, from 40 percent in the period prior to 2004 to less than 30 percent in 2011.

Experts have also pointed the problems in the export markets. Though Vietnam’s rice has been present in 70 countries in the world, Vietnam still has been focusing on some key markets such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Senegal and Mozambique.

It’s clear that the big rice importers are also the rice producers. Therefore, they should be seen as unstable clients. If their rice volume is high, they would reduce the imports, and vice versa. In 2011, the exports to the Philippines dropped by 50 percent, because the country had a bumper crop.

Meanwhile, Vietnam still cannot penetrate the Middle East, the market with high and stable demand, because its rice quality is lower than Thai rice.

Source: TBKTSG

¿Una revolución ganadera?

Aunque este crecimiento ha sido desigual, registrándose un aumento muy importante de la demanda en países como Brasil y China, mientras que en el África subsahariana las cifras han permanecido estancadas.


Desde los años 50 hasta hoy la producción de carne a nivel mundial se ha multiplicado por cinco. La producción de cerdo seguida por la de pollo y la de ternera son las que han registrado los mayores aumentos/1. El consumo de carne en los países del Sur se ha multiplicado por dos entre el período de 1964-66 a 1997-99, en el que se ha pasado de consumir 10,2kg anuales por persona a 25,5kg, y se espera un incremento de hasta 37kg para el 2030. Aunque este crecimiento ha sido desigual, registrándose un aumento muy importante de la demanda en países como Brasil y China, mientras que en el África subsahariana las cifras han permanecido estancadas. En los países del Norte se prevé que el consumo de carne por persona al año pase de 88kg en 1997-99 a 100kg en 2030/2.
La industria ganadera se ha convertido en un elemento central del crecimiento de la agricultura en todo el mundo, apostando por un modelo de ganadería industrial e intensiva que ha recibido el nombre de “revolución ganadera”/3. Este sistema ha significado un incremento exponencial de la producción y el consumo de carne y derivados, siguiendo el mismo patrón productivista que la revolución verde (uso intensivo del suelo, insumos químicos, “mejora” genética, etc.), a la vez que ha modificado de raíz nuestra dieta alimentaria. Un modelo que ha promovido la concentración empresarial, dejando en manos de un puñado de multinacionales del agribusiness la capacidad de decidir sobre qué carne y derivados consumimos, cuantos, y cómo se elaboran.
Pero si la revolución verde prometió acabar con el hambre en el mundo y no lo consiguió, al contrario las cifras de hambrientos no han parado de aumentar superando los mil millones según indica la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Agricultura y la Alimentación (FAO)/4; el alza en la producción de carne tampoco ha significado una mejora en la dieta alimentaria. Al contrario, y como seguidamente analizaremos, el aumento del consumo de carne ha generado mayores problemas de salud y su lógica productivista ha tenido un impacto muy negativo en el medio ambiente, el campesinado, los derechos animales, y las condiciones laborales. Aumentar la producción no implica un mayor acceso a aquello que se produce, como bien ha demostrado el fracaso  de la revolución verde y la revolución ganadera.
Planeta en jaque
Hoy la ganadería representa el 40% del valor bruto de la producción agropecuaria mundial, superando el 50% en los países del Norte, y es la principal utilitaria de tierra agrícola, ya sea por vía directa mediante el pastoreo o por vía indirecta por el consumo de piensos y forraje/5. Ambos usos resultado, muy a menudo, de la deforestación de bosques vírgenes y selvas tropicales con la consiguiente degradación del suelo y de los recursos hídricos.
Miles de campesinos, debido a estas prácticas, han sido expulsados de sus tierras, ahora destinadas a monocultivos de cereales para la alimentación animal. La ganadería campesina, diversificada, local y familiar está siendo sustituida por un modelo intensivo, monoganadero, corporativo y exportador, frente al cual los primeros no pueden competir.
Otro de sus impactos reside en la generación de cambio climático. Se calcula que la ganadería industrial produce un 18% de los gases de efecto invernadero, superando al sector del transporte. En concreto, ésta es responsable del 9% de las emisiones de CO2, debido al uso intensivo de la tierra y la deforestación; del 65% del oxido nitroso, la mayor parte procedente del estiércol; del 37% de las emisiones de metano (mucho más perjudicial que el CO2), originado por el sistema digestivo de los rumiantes; y del 64% del amoniaco, que contribuye significativamente a la lluvia ácida/6.
A pesar de que la revolución ganadera dijo “mejorar” las razas de ganado, eso sí, respondiendo a los intereses del mercado y promocionando aquellas más productivas, resistentes a enfermedades, de fácil adaptación al medio, etc. Esto no significó un enriquecimiento de nuestra alimentación. De hecho, la variedad de razas animales, así como de especies vegetales, se ha reducido drásticamente en los últimos años. Se calcula que un 30% de las razas de animales domésticos está en peligro de extinción, lo que significa la desaparición de tres razas domésticas cada dos semanas/7. Nuestra alimentación cada día depende de menos variedades animales y vegetales, lo que implica una mayor inseguridad alimentaria.
El uso intensivo y la contaminación del agua es otra de las consecuencias derivadas de la revolución ganadera. Actualmente, la agricultura y la ganadería consumen entre un 70 y un 80% del total de agua dulce disponible, según datos del 2º Foro Mundial del Agua (La Haya, 2000). Producir un kilo de proteína animal en la industria ganadera requiere 40 veces más agua que la producción de un kilo de proteína de cereales o 200 veces más que un kilo de patatas/8. Como bien señala el filósofo y ecologista Jorge Riechmann: “En un mundo finito donde la escasez de agua dulce se ha convertido en un factor limitante esencial, ¿da igual consumo uno que consumo 40?”/9. Y es que no es lo mismo plantar espinacas que pienso para las vacas. La misma cantidad de tierra producirá 26 veces más proteínas para consumo humano si cultivamos espinacas en vez de pienso para forraje/10.
Asimismo, los desechos animales, los antibióticos, las hormonas, los productos químicos, los fertilizantes, los pesticidas son los principales agentes contaminantes. La ganadería industrial, por ejemplo, es la principal responsable de las emisiones de amoníaco que contaminan y acidifican aguas y suelos. Y el sobre-pastoreo impide la renovación de los recursos hídricos tanto de la superficie como subterráneos.
Nuestra salud amenazada
Se trata de impactos que afectan de pleno a las comunidades. “Los gases que emite una granja porcina a escala industrial son muy tóxicos. Hay muchos gases volátiles mezclados con polvo, bacterias, antibióticos y forman una mezcla muy compleja de más de 300 o 400 sustancias a la que están expuestos vecinos, familias y niños” afirma David Walllinga del Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy en el documental Pig Business (2009) de Tracy Worcester, con el consiguiente aumento de enfermedades de distinta índole entre quienes habitan cerca de estas instalaciones.
Nuestra salud es otra de las grandes perjudicadas por este modelo ganadero. Somos lo que comemos y está claro que si consumimos carne producida con altas dosis de hormonas, antibióticos, piensos transgénicos, etc. esto tiene un coste para nuestro organismo. Las dietas excesivamente carnívoras generan problemas cardíacos, de hipertensión, cáncer, obesidad, diabetes. Aunque éste es solo un elemento más de un sistema agrícola y alimentario que nos enferma como ha analizado Marie-Monique Robin en su documental Notre poison quotidien (2010) o como demostró Morgan Spurlock sometiéndose durante treinta días a una dieta a base de “comida basura” en Mc Donalds y que documentó en su film Super Size Me (2004).
Derechos de los animales
Los animales se han convertido en materia prima industrial y las granjas han dejado de ser granjas para convertirse en fábricas de producción de carne o modelos de “ganadería no ligada a la tierra”, como se les denomina en el sector. La misma lógica capitalista y productivista que rige otros sistemas impera en el modelo ganadero actual, pero en este caso las mercancías son animales. “Se aplican sistemas industriales diseñados para fabricar coches y máquinas a la cría de animales. Es algo increíblemente cruel que ninguna sociedad civilizada debería tolerar” afirma Tom Garrett del Welfare Institute en el documental Pig Business.
La práctica productivista convierte a los animales en enfermos crónicos. Instalaciones que impiden su movimiento, mala alimentación, hacinamiento, estrés, etc. son sólo algunas muestras del maltrato animal. Para compensar su maltrecho estado de salud se les inyecta antibióticos, frente a las infecciones crecientes, así como hormonas reproductoras para compensar su pérdida de fertilidad. En Europa, la ganadería industrial utiliza la mitad de los antibióticos comercializados. De estos, 1/3 se administran preventivamente con el suministro de pienso/11.
Smithfield Foods, un ejemplo
La revolución ganadera ha implicado un creciente monopolio e integración vertical del sector, donde unas pocas empresas controlan todo el proceso de producción de carne, desde la crianza al matadero y envasado.
La multinacional estadounidense Smithfield Foods es, por ejemplo, el mayor productor y procesador mundial de carne de cerdo con unos ingresos de once mil millones de dólares anuales, en 2010, contrata a 48 mil personas, y desde su sede en Estados Unidos se ha expandido a 15 países/12. Y es que para evitar regulaciones laborales y medioambientales estrictas, Smithfield Foods ha trasladado parte importante de sus operaciones a otros países con legislaciones más laxas.
Entre 1990 y 2005, su crecimiento fue del mil por ciento, aumentando su control sobre cada eslabón de la cadena productiva y haciéndose con nuevos mercados, a costa de acabar con pequeños ganaderos/13.
Smithfield Foods es conocida por las numerosas acusaciones y denuncias que ha recibido por contaminación ambiental. La más importante en 2009, cuando Granjas Carroll, una de sus empresas subsidiarias en México, fue acusada de ser el epicentro del brote de gripe porcina, gripe A, que asoló el país y se propagó globalmente/14.
La vulneración de los derechos laborales es otra de sus prácticas habituales. Escalada en el número de accidentes laborales, despidos, abusos verbales... son algunos de los casos recogidos en el informe “Empaquetado con abuso”/15, elaborado por el sindicato United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), que analizaba las condiciones de seguridad laboral en el matadero y planta de empaquetado de Smithfield Foods en Tar Hell, Carolina del Norte, el más grande del mundo, con 5.500 empleados. Y donde la UFCW intentó durante más de una década organizar a sus trabajadores, con la oposición frontal de la empresa, y que finalmente consiguió en unas elecciones sindicales a finales del 2010.
Según un informe de Human Rights Watch, publicado en 2005/16, trabajar en la  industria cárnica es el empleo fabril más peligroso en EEUU. Dicho informe señalaba el abuso sistemático de la mano de obra inmigrante sin papeles, la intimidación, la falta de indemnizaciones, las represalias y las amenazas de despido contra quienes denuncian abusos, etc. Unas prácticas que quedan recogidas a la perfección en la película Fast Food Nation (2006) de Richard Linklater Fast.
En definitiva un sistema de producción ganadero que nos enferma, acaba con la agrodiversidad, vulnera los derechos de los animales, contamina el medio ambiente, destruye la ganadería campesina y explota la mano de obra.

Use caution when driving, or following, livestock trailers

Michigan State University Extension

 Recently, a tragic mid-Michigan automobile accident resulted in the loss of the best Christmas present a little girl could ever receive: her horse. Unfortunately, this accident was allegedly caused by an incident of road rage. When an impatient driver frustrated, with the slow speed of the truck and horse trailer, cut the truck off sharply. The driver of the trailer was forced to brake suddenly; the horse scrambled, lost its footing and ultimately had to be euthanized.
This terrible incident serves as a sad reminder during the busy summer travel season. Many drivers do not realize how challenging it is to drive a truck hauling horses or other livestock, or even large motor-homes and other recreational vehicles. When involving a horse or livestock trailer however, both human and animal lives can be lost.
When following horse or livestock trailers on the expressway, it is important to remember that the combined weight of the truck, trailer, horses and equipment make it extremely difficult to stop quickly, or even slow down substantially. Further, a livestock producer is always thinking about the health and safety of their animals while driving, resulting in driving slightly slower than posted speeds and leaveing a great deal of stopping distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them. When passing trucks hauling trailers, please leave much more space between you and the truck you are passing than you would with a car, before pulling back into the lane.
Although an impatient driver caused this particular incident, there are several other issues that may result in horse trailer accidents. Regular trailer maintenance is a key part of owning and hauling animals, using an appropriate-sized vehicle to haul the trailer and making certain that those responsible for driving have experience driving such rigs (without animals) prior to setting out. To learn how to deal with horse trailer safety in an emergency situation, view this article on trailer safety.
Again, none of the previous information can change the loss of this little girl or what happened to her horse, but it serves as a reminder to people with or without horses, or other animals, to use the utmost care when traveling.

It’s an Airplane, It’s a Jet Ski, It’s the Electric FlyNano


Photo: FlyNano

The newest electric airplane to make its first flight is squarely aimed at recreational fliers, even those without a pilot’s license. The FlyNano turned some heads at last year’s Aero Friedrichshafen aviation trade show in Germany thanks to its interesting design. The FlyNano is a miniature electric flying boat, making it essentially an airborne jet ski.
The original airplane was going to have a gas engine powerplant, but the Finnish company says the ever-improving electric motors and batteries means FlyNano will be an all-electric airplane moving forward.
The first flight was a very short one, just a handful of seconds. And the airplane didn’t really get out ofground effect. The wing area looks rather small for an electric airplane compared to other models we’ve seen, which tend to have the efficient, higher-aspect-ratio wings typical of sailplanes.
The designer claims a 10,000-foot ceiling for the airplane, but that might be a bit optimistic with the current setup. FlyNano says it will continue flight testing throughout the summer. We’re looking forward to seeing longer and higher flights, though the FlyNano could be fun as an aircraft designed to fly in ground effect.
Because the the lightweight carbon fiber fuselage and minimalist design, the airplane weighs less than 70 kilograms (154 pounds). Its minimal mass helps improve performance, but more importantly for some, the weight falls under the Federal Aviation Administration’s definition of an ultralight aircraft. That means if the airplane can meet some of the other requirements, you wouldn’t have to have a pilot’s license to legally fly the FlyNano in the United States. However, you would fall under the idiot column if you thought it would be a good idea to fly any ultralight without a reasonable amount of training.

Like many of the early electric airplanes, the FlyNano isn’t about going fast or going places. It’s all about enjoying flight and the view from above. While the company claims a maximum cruising speed of around 85 miles per hour and a maximum range of 40 miles, it’s likely those two will not be achieved together. A leisurely cruise speed of 40 to 50 mph may be more realistic for maximizing time aloft. Still, the ability to have an airplane that can safely cruise the waterways and quietly fly through the skies is a very attractive option for many pilots and those who would like to be pilots.
There is no cockpit, or even a windshield. A helmet with a visor makes a lot of sense, but even just a pair of classic flying goggles would do the trick. FlyNano emphasizes over and over its motto of “feel the wind.” And the minimalist design makes sure that won’t be a problem.
Like many other electric airplane makers, FlyNano isn’t delivering airplanes to customers quite yet. The price for a FlyNano is around $40,000 at current exchange rates and the company hopes to have airplanes sliding off the assembly line by the end of next year.
The development path of electric airplanes has followed a very similar line as the original airplanes did 100 years ago. Most cannot fly very far or very fast and critics like to point out there seems to be little practical value for the relatively pricey devices. And like some of the early airplane designs from a century ago, the FlyNano is opting for the waterways as its airport.
In the decade after the Wright brothers, there were a lot of designers trying to create their own niche in the blossoming aviation industry and like today’s electric airplanes, there was a wide range of ideas. And most of those who first saw the earth from above back in those early days were as smitten with the view they enjoyed as those who will buy the FlyNano and the other small electric airplanes today.

Como vender tu Business Plan


¿Tienes tu plan de negocios pero no sabes cómo ofrecerlo? Que un inversor entre en tu proyecto puede ser el impulso al éxito que estás buscando. Tu iniciativa y la forma en que presentes tu plan de negocios deben tener una serie de características únicas que te facilitarán atraer la atención de cualquier posible inversionista para conseguir ese estímulo que necesitas. Demuestra tu capacidad y la energía que ellos buscan pero jamás dejes de ser realista. La honestidad y mantener los pies en la tierra te ayudarán a llegar a tu objetivo y obtener la confianza que buscas. ¡Aquí te presentamos algunos tips para enamorar y convencer a cualquier inversionista! Arma un buen equipo La gente que te rodea es la clave del éxito; hoy en día un negocio no puede dejar de lado el concepto “trabajo en equipo”. Siempre van de la mano. Arma un equipo que sea de tu confianza, con nuevos talentos, excelentes profesionales y colaboradores que te aporten ideas frescas e iniciativas que ayuden. Tener un buen equipo inspirará confianza y seguridad a los posibles inversionistas. Prepárate Demuestra que conoces tu iniciativa al derecho y al revés; entrega toda tu pasión y atención al proyecto, así los inversionistas se darán cuenta de que es tu prioridad y que todo tu esfuerzo esta puesto en él, que cuentan con tu dedicación entera. Aprende a venderte Conviértete en el mejor promotor de tu idea; debes conocerla a fondo para proyectar esa seguridad y transmitir todo lo que quieres decir con claridad. El futuro inversionista se decidirá si encuentra la energía, constancia y dedicación que está buscando, y esto se logra si expresas la idea de tu proyecto de la manera correcta. Conviértete en experto Conoce a fondo tu proyecto y el mercado que engloba. Conocer también las cifras y tendencias es un punto clave para detectar oportunidades y aprovecharlas. Los inversores buscan expertos en su área, esto le dará un buen plus a tu presentación. Supera las expectativas ¡Piensa en grande! No te limites en metas y vuélvete ambicioso, pero maneja correctamente las expectativas, buscando un punto medio entre el optimismo y el realismo. Ten en cuenta que todas las empresas, antes de llegar al éxito, requieren de mucho esfuerzo y para llegar a la cima sufrirán contratiempos que deben aprender a superar. Siempre ten en cuenta que existe el riesgo de fracasar Es importante que le hables con la verdad a los inversionistas y expongas las amenazas y debilidades que tiene tu negocio. El ser honesto te ayudará a demostrarles que estás consciente y que entiendes los riesgos que conlleva emprender un negocio, pero que estás dispuesto a entregar todo y hacer sacrificios para salir adelante y llegar al éxito.   Estos fueron algunos tips que podrían ayudarte. Recuerda que lo más importante es tu proyecto: que esté completo, detallado y pulido y, por supuesto, que tú estés preparado al momento de presentarlo. No olvides que los pequeños detalles muchas veces son los que hacen la diferencia, y ten en cuenta que no importa que fracases y no tengas éxito en el primer intento, lo importante es levantarte y volverlo a intentar.

http://www.yosoypyme.net/2012/05/como-vender-tu-business-plan/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+YoSoyPyme+%28Yo+Soy+Pyme%29

Volkswagen Sweden 'the fun theory

Basado en la "Teoría de diversión" , específicamente sobre la premisa de que es más fácil cambiar el comportamiento de las personas si el proceso mediante el cual se realiza el cambio se hace de manera divertida VW y DDB realizaron este ejercicio en Estocolmo, impulsando de manera divertida el cambio positivo de todos los que vivieron la experiencia musical.

Creative Type: Digital
Agency: DDB Stockholm
Advertiser: VW
Project name: The Fun Theory
Copywriter: Martin Lundgren
Art director: Simon Higby
Planner: Jerker Fagerström
Production company: Birth

¿Innovación? ¡Estás en el camino correcto!





Si estás imaginando que con vender siempre los mismos productos de la misma manera tu empresa va a progresar con el tiempo, estás en un error: la única manera de que un negocio avance es renovando la oferta constantemente, ya que la demanda jamás deja de crecer ni de cambiar. El mercado se encuentra en constante cambio, así que debes ser consciente de esta característica y actualizarte. ¿Quieres mantener tu empresa viva y a tus clientes felices? Entonces crea tus propias estrategias de innovación para que tu negocio sea y se mantenga exitoso. ¡Aquí te ofrecemos algunos consejos!   Siempre ten conciencia de que existen el riesgo y el fracaso   Tolerar un cierto nivel de fracaso es parte necesaria del crecimiento y un impulso importante para fomentar la innovación. Tenemos que entender la innovación como un riesgo. Pero los empleados no asumirán riesgos a menos que entiendan claramente los objetivos, el panorama en el que operan sea flexible  y comprendan que los errores son pasos necesarios para aprender.   Elimina proyectos y procesos que no funcionen   Si tu organización innova necesita lo que Peter Drucker llama “abandono creativo”. Proyectos y procesos que no ayudan a avanzar deben dejarse para dar entrada a nuevas ideas.     Establecer un sentido de dirección   Renovar significa también cambiar formas de pensar, y eso lleva tiempo y esfuerzo. Un claro sentido de cuál es el objetivo ayuda a aclarar hacia dónde se dirige el proceso y permite acelerarlo. Incluir el proceso de innovación dentro de la misión de la empresa y definirlo como elemento estratégico ayuda a lograr y alcanzar el objetivo.   Invierte en capital de humano Cuando eres dueño de una empresa todo tu entorno te ve como “el empleador”, pero piénsalo dos veces antes de contratar a un amigo o un familiar. Los puestos deben ser ocupados por personas responsables con las capacidades y aptitudes que el puesto exige y cuyos conocimientos ayuden a hacer crecer tu negocio, y no por personas allegadas a ti. No olvides que parte del éxito depende del equipo que formes.   Mantén siempre el canal de comunicación abierta   Abre los canales de comunicación entre tú y tus empleados para que generes un clima de confianza. Este impulso debe venir de ti, no de los empleados, para que exista acceso a la información y un flujo real. Protege tus ideas Patenta tus ideas para que nadie se apropie de ellas. De este modo recibirás las ganancias sin ningún problema y ninguna persona podrá hacer uso de ellas sin tu permiso y sin darte la retribución que mereces. Acuérdate también de registrar tu marca, nombres, empaques y cualquier producción que realices. Aprovecha los apoyos de instituciones públicas Hay muchos organismos públicos que dan financiamiento a pequeños empresarios. Aprovecha sus apoyos para invertir en nuevos productos o servicios.   Te será más fácil conseguirlos si tu empresa ya esta en funcionamiento y sólo necesitas el dinero para seguir creciendo y avanzando.   Crea nuevos productos y no pierdas de vista los cambios Los gustos de tu mercado meta siempre están en constante cambio, por lo que los productos que ofreces deben evolucionar con ellos. Haz estudios de mercado frecuentes para conocer los nuevos gustos de tus clientes y mantente siempre al pendiente de los cambios y novedades que existen en tu rama. Nunca está de más saber lo que está haciendo tu competencia.   ¡No prestes atención a los prejuicios! ¡Olvídate de los comentarios negativos! Muchas personas te comentarán que es arriesgado innovarte y que lo más seguro es que fracases, pero nunca olvides que debes creer en tus proyectos e ideales. Muchas ideas que al principio parecen una locura terminan siendo un éxito, como ejemplo tienes a Apple. Para concluir, nunca olvides que lo más importante es lo que tú creas. Recuerda que siempre es bueno un cambio, puedes hacerlo a tu ritmo pero siempre con la mentalidad de que si lo haces es para mejorar. Innovar es recrear las metas que tenías en un principio pero actualizándolas con los nuevos estándares del mercado cambiante. ¡No tengas miedo y atrévete!


http://www.yosoypyme.net/2012/05/innovacion-estas-en-el-camino-correcto/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+YoSoyPyme+%28Yo+Soy+Pyme%29

VIDEO: Filtering Water Before It Heads Downstream


VIDEO: Biodigestores


Leave No Weed Behind in Resistance Fight

Last summer, Johnny Dodson got down on one knee and proposed that I join his spot-spray weed crew.
Herbicide-resistant waterhemp has become a major challenge in many parts of the Midwest -- especially in soybeans. The initial post-emergence application of herbicide should be made before waterhemp exceeds 5 inches in height. This spring, that spray window had already closed by late May in this Illinois soybean field. (DTN photo by Pamela Smith)
All right, so the gallant gesture was actually an effort to get me up and into one of the bucket seats on the toolbar, mounted on the front of his tractor (when did that distance become such a leap?). Dodson was so desperate to tackle herbicide-resistant pigweed on his Halls, Tenn., farm that he dusted off his old four-person spot sprayer and put it to use after decades of disuse.
When I showed up at his farm, I had such a fit of nostalgia that I volunteered to go a few rounds. Back when I was on the home farm wearing bellbottoms and Aerosmith was rocking "Walk This Way" into my transistor radio ear bud, we chopped weeds the old-fashioned way with a hoe or corn knife. Contraptions such as bean buggies came along to spoil my younger siblings -- they got all the good stuff. Some farmers purchased self-propelled gadgets such as the Weber Weeder. Eventually, rope wick applicators came along to wipe up the weed messes. Roundup Ready technology showed up and made all these tools obsolete -- for a while.
When I called Dodson this past weekend to ask if he was going to be spot-spraying fields this summer, I could hear the frustration. "We have pigweed in fields that has already gone to seed -- after three burndown applications in some fields," he said. "In the Roundup Ready cotton system, we don't have many options except hand weeding."
Dodson adopted a no-weed-left-behind policy a few years back. Bouncing through the cotton field on the sprayer last summer reminded me of one of those "Shout it out" laundry commercials. Each crew member was armed with a magic wand and we squirted doses of herbicide on Palmer amaranth and wild cotton (velvetleaf) that was visible above the cotton.
One pigweed is too many, Dodson said. "The problem this year is we didn't get the rains we needed to get the residuals activated. You can use all the right products, but timeliness is so critical.
"There is no one-size-fits-all herbicide program. You have to write a prescription for every farm and every field," he said. Neighboring fields that might not contain the same herbicide-tolerant trait must also be considered.
Far too many of my Midwest farmer friends still believe the weed-resistance plight of the South is a distant threat. In a recent DTN reader poll regarding weed resistance, 42% of the respondents said they do not have weed resistance on their farm. Only 27% said they had weed resistance confirmed on their farm -- another 29% suspect problems due to reduced effectiveness of certain herbicides.
In my home state of Illinois, 62% of those answering the DTN survey believe their farm has no weed resistance. Yet, in Illinois, almost all waterhemp populations have developed resistance to ALS-inhibiting herbicides. In total, Illinois waterhemp populations have evolved resistance to five herbicide families, and waterhemp plants and populations demonstrating multiple-herbicide resistance are becoming increasingly common.
We didn't have ideal rainfall activation conditions in central Illinois this spring and many of the fields I've been walking are chock full of waterhemp. University of Illinois weed scientist Aaron Hager told DTN that even with dry weather, growers who put down a residual should see some suppression.
"It's important to get out there and look," Hager said in a phone interview. "You need to pull the trigger on post treatment sooner rather than later -- do not delay the first post application to wait for another flush of waterhemp."
Hager recommended scouting fields to assess control five to 10 days after a post-emergence application. Scouting will allow you to determine if any timely rescue management practices could be made.
"If plants treated with a second post treatment survive, hand roguing may be in your future," Hager said.
No sweat -- a quick Google search this morning turned up a bean buggy for sale (http://www.google.com/…). I have a transistor radio you can borrow, and hallelujah, Aerosmith may have some new material because the band is going on tour again this summer.
What goes around comes around -- if you don't believe the proverb, just check the weeds in your field.
For more information on identifying herbicide-resistant weeds, view this video from the University of Tennessee: http://www.youtube.com/…

Where's the Farm Size Sweet Spot?

Juggernaut farms may beat their peers on scale, but they aren't necessarily top of class in production cost.
The most cost-efficient corn growers (identified in green) clustered at 4,000-7,999 acres and 1,000-1,999 acres in the AgriSolutions database. Growers of more than 8,000 acres of corn triggered some red lights as the highest-cost producers.
In fact, an analysis of more than 300 commercial producers in the AgriSolutions database from 2008 to 2011 found corn farms over 8,000 acres actually registered the highest average cost of all farm sizes studied. On average, they spent $637 per acre to grow an acre of corn during this four-year time period, more than $50 an acre above some of their smaller competitors. That's a factor that could be problematic should commodity prices tumble and cash rents stay stuck at lofty levels, cautions AgriSolutions Sam Bachman.
"It's not a foregone conclusion that the largest farms are the most competitive," added Bachman. "No matter what your size, you have advantages, whether they be in equipment, family labor or low land costs. You just need to understand your exposure and learn how to manage it."
Corn farms in the 4,000- to 7,999-acre category seemed to have the most consistent cost advantage, generating average costs of about $589 an acre. That category really shined in 2008, however, when it averaged costs of $394 an acre versus $731 for the highest-cost operators. Farms in the 1,000- to 1,999-acre size averaged $585 an acre over this period.
In corn, there seems to be a "right-size" machinery advantage around the most efficient combine size, Bachman added, something other benchmark analysis at land grant universities confirms. "What's new is that we're finding that the largest growers aren't gaining enough economies with cheaper seed or kickbacks from chemical dealers to offset their higher costs in other areas. The input efficiencies aren't adding up."
High cash rents likely are offsetting their natural advantages in machinery costs, Bachman said. Since juggernauts lease a higher percentage of the acres they farm at market rates, they are much more sensitive to the post-2005 land price rally. Small owner operators, or those with a high percentage of family-owned land, haven't felt the same kind of pressure generated by cash rent auctions.
In this case, AgriSolutions' managerial accounting program measured all costs by crop acres on an accrual basis, so the corn growers here could be as much as twice the indicated farm size when all their rotation acres are counted. The analysis did not include interest or salary draws, but did measure all costs associated with planting, harvesting and storing the crop.
When you benchmark the numbers and compare farm financials on an apples-to-apples basis, "you can challenge the notion that big farms have all the advantages of production cost," Bachman says. "There's really no clear-cut advantage size wise."


Based on Corn Belt weather, how drought tolerant is your corn?

Have you been overworked emptying your rain gauge?  If it is like many around the Corn Belt, there is no need to investing in a self-emptying rain gauge.  It would not have been tripped even the first time this year.  So the departure of La Nina, which brought us dry conditions in 2010 and 2011, has left us with similarly dry conditions in 2012.  While much of the Corn Belt begins to accumulate yellow, tan and brown colors on the Drought Monitor, one begins to ask about the capability of current corn hybrids to tolerate drought.  They are getting plenty of experience, whether a drought tolerance gene has been bred into them or not.
The dry years have provided an opportunity for researchers to analyze corn yields to determine if they are any more tolerant of drought than they used to be.  And the results are intriguing. Ag economists Scott Irwin and Darrel Good at the University of Illinois compared the Texas corn yield in 2011 and the Argentine corn yield from this past growing season. 
In Texas, corn is typically irrigated, which over time has kept yields within 10 bushels of the trend yield.  However, the summer of 2011 was so overwhelming to crops, even the irrigated corn yield fell by 33% below the trend line.  The researchers say, “The drop was due to the extreme drought conditions in Texas last year, which were so severe that many irrigations systems simply did not have the capacity to keep up with the water demand of the corn plants. This is a dramatic demonstration that modern corn hybrids are still susceptible to very hot and dry conditions.” 
When Argentine corn production is examined, there is no irrigation so the 2010 and 2011 provide comparison to the recently-harvested crop.  The researchers report the Argentine summer of 2012 produced corn that was 24% below the trend line yield.  They said, “One can argue that this drop is even more relevant to the debate regarding drought tolerance since Argentine corn production practices are comparable to those in the U.S. and the hot and dry weather conditions in 2011-12 that occurred in Argentina were not as historically extreme as those that occurred in Texas last year.”
While the economists say corn is still subject to drought, they needed to normalize the yield with the weather, and compared the yield in the various crop reporting districts in Illinois with any variation in summer heat or moisture.  If the temperature or moisture were dryer or warmer than normal, they looked at yield results within the past decade, when hybrids may have begun to show any degree of drought tolerance.  They found a 4.4 bu. improvement in yields in dryer and warmer years, which represented 3% of the trend yield.
The economists say, “The take home message from this analysis is two-fold: 1) U.S. corn yields are likely somewhat less susceptible to drought conditions than in the past; and 2) a Corn Belt-wide drought would still lead to sizable yield reductions relative to trend.”
Summary:
With a dry summer shaping up for the Corn Belt, your corn crop yield will be better than it would have several years ago.  While drought still has a negative impact on yield, typical yields in dry and warmer yields in the past decade are 3% better than would have been expected based on trend yields prior to the past decade.
Source: FarmGate blog

Un robot de ordeño, basado en el comportamiento social del vacuno

El robot de ordeño Lely Astronaut A4, de la firma Lely, ganó el concurso de Innovación Tecnológica 'GandAgro Innova', llevado a cabo en el marco del II Monográfico de la Ganadería y la Agricultura, GandAgro 2012, el cual finalizó el pasado día 10 de marzo en el recinto Feira Internacional de Galicia.

Según el jurado, el robot considera por primera vez el comoportamiento social como base de diseño del equipo, característica que lo hizo merecedor del premio. En este sentido, la entrada y salida de las vacas se realiza en línea recta, un cambio que es mucho más fácil de entender por el animal, estimándose un aumento de visitas al robot del 10%.

A esta mejora se suman otras cuatro relacionadas con la funcionalidad, seguridad alimentaria y economía. Así, sus bombas de leche no emplean paletas que lo golpean fragmentando la cadena de ácidos grasos, sino que funcionan como nuestro corazón, una cavidad que se contrae y mueve la leche sin golpearla. Además, el robot cuenta con una cámara infrarroja 3D para controlar los movimientos del animal; un sistema que permite realizar una pulsación dinámica en función del flujo de la leche; y una modularidad mediante la cual el robot se convierte en dos unidades, una con el sistema de vacío y de limpieza y otra robotizada con el sistema de ordeño.
foto
El robot, de la fima Lely, tiene en cuenta, por primera vez, el comportamiento social del animal lo que incrementa el número de entradas. Esta característica diferenciadora lo hizo merecedor del primer premio a la innovación.
En otro orden de cosas, una de las dos menciones fue a parar al sistema autónomo de higienización por generación de ozono para granjas de la firma orensana Gaélica Solar, el cual ahorra costes en productos desinfectantes y químicos agresivos. El jurado consideró que es una solución sencilla para problemas concretos, con gran versatilidad y aplicabilidad en Galicia.

La otra mención se la llevó un intercambiador recuperador de calor de Rosber, firma de Sarria (Lugo), mediante el cual todo el aire caliente de una granja atraviesa el intercambiador y cede a su calor antes de salir al exterior, disminuyendo así los consumos de propano en las explotaciones avícolas entre un 30 y un 50%. Su sencillez, eficacia y fácil aplicación fueron los motivos del jurado para reconocerla.



En el concurso 'GandAgro Innova' participaron un total de 15 innovaciones (un 50% más que en la pasada edición) orientadas a mejorar el rural y optimizar sus recursos. Procedentes de diversos puntos de la geografía española y de Portugal, todas ellas se exhibieron en el certamen.


Las innovaciones presentadas fueron examinadas por un jurado conformado por nueve expertos que representaban a otras tantas instituciones y entidades. Estas fueron el Colegio Oficial de Ingenieros Agrónomos de Galicia, la Facultad de Veterinaria de Lugo, el Consello Superior de Investigaciones Científicas de Galicia, el Parque Tecnológico de Galicia, la Escuela Politécnica Superior de Lugo y el Centro de Investigaciones Agrarias de Mabegondo.

Asimismo, también formaron parte representantes de la Dirección Xeral de Produción Agropecuaria y la de Innovación e Industrias Agrarias e Forestais, ambas pertenecientes a la Consellería do Medio Rural; y la Dirección Xeral de Investigación, Desenvolvemento e Innovación, de la Consellería de Economía e Industria.
foto
El intercambiador recuperador de calor de Rosber, firma de Sarria (Lugo), recibió una mención en el concurso. Permite reducir los consumos de propano en las explotaciones avícolas entre un 30 y un 50%.

VIDEO: The Foster Family


VIDEO: Food Price Increases Slowing Down


Teaching Coffee Farmers About the Birds and the Bees

The University of Georgia is a respected research university. Thirty-five thousand students attend the main campus in Athens, Georgia, and extended campuses around the state. And among its areas of research is agriculture.
UGA has a center in San Luis de Monteverde in Costa Rica. This center is for students and visitors who want to learn more about farming and living in environmentally friendly ways.
Some students take a class called "Coffee: From Bean to Cup." Coffee is one of the most widely traded products in the world, and the most important agricultural product for Costa Rica.

Volunteers work with coffee farmers through a University of Georgia program in Costa Rica
Professor Valerie Peters teaches the class. Her students help her study coffee farms in an area called Finca la Bella. Farmers in this area agreed to grow their coffee sustainably, using methods that do less harm to the environment.

Most coffee farms in Costa Rica have one or two different kinds of trees to help shade the coffee plants from the sun. In Finca la Bella most farms have at least twenty kinds of trees. Many of the farmers have also planted more flowers. When there are more flowers and more kinds of trees, more bees will come to pollinate the coffee plants. Coffee plants can pollinate themselves, but bees help increase the harvest.
Professor Peters is working with her students to help teach farmers about the importance of bees and having more trees and flowers. "Many of the farmers commented that they never even thought of bees as having a role in their coffee production," she says.
Having more species of trees on coffee farms also provides more places for birds to live. If farmers have at least ten different kinds of trees per hectare, they may be able to have their coffee certified as "bird-friendly." This is done by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in the United States. Bird-friendly coffee can sell for a higher price.
The University of Georgia is also helping farmers in Costa Rica increase their income through tourism. Professor Quint Newcomer directs this program. He says students help design tour routes through coffee farms.
QUINT NEWCOMER: "These farmers become our teachers. They are sharing their local knowledge about how to work the land in a really sustainable way, and they become the teachers. But then our students can also help provide them with ideas and recommendations about how to improve their tour. And the more they improve it, the more people want to go."
UGA Costa Rica, as the center is called, also plans to increase the amount of locally produced food it buys. The goal is to buy at least fifty percent locally by twenty-fifteen.
And when the center needs wood for building, it buys only wood grown locally without artificial chemicals.
And that’s the VOA Special English Agriculture Report. You can find more stories about coffee at voaspecialenglish.com, where you can also find texts and MP3s of our programs. I'm Karen Leggett.


http://learningenglish.voanews.com/content/teaching-coffee-farmers-about-the-birds-and-the-bees-148594475/611071.html

Factors that influence calf prices


0612pc_dahlen_1For producers to capture the most value from their calf crop, a carefully planned marketing strategy is essential.
A critical component of developing a marketing strategy is having an understanding of the factors that influence calf prices.
Some factors that influence prices are the result of years of careful breeding and management within a herd, whereas the proper use of routine management procedures within a single year can also add value.
Though weaning time may seem to be something in the distant future, planning and reviewing your marketing strategy now can pay big dividends at sale time.
Lot characteristics
Several studies have been devoted to evaluating sales price of calves both in traditional livestock auction markets (18,211 lots containing 197,890 calves) and in video auctions (41,567 lots containing a total of 5,042,272 calves).
0612pc_dahlen_tb_1As expected, time of year, calf weight, calf sex and region of origin all played a part in prices received. In addition, increasing the number of similar cattle in a draft through the auction ring increased the sale price, with lots of 21 calves or more receiving the best prices (Table 1).
This effect also was seen in the video auction, where prices increased as the weight of single lots approached semitrailer capacity (50,000 pounds).
Predominantly black-hided cattle received the best prices and lots were discounted if variations in color, weight and/or frame size were present.
Groups of producers may be able to take advantage of these trends by commingling their calves of similar weight, frame, finish and color prior to sale to form 50,000-pound lots.
Health protocols
Sound health protocols are essential to the health of commingled cattle upon arrival in the feedlot and they also can reap rewards for the producers that take the time to properly administer vaccinations before calves leave the ranch.
During three of the four sales seasons evaluated, the prices received for calves sold in auction markets that were vaccinated were greater than those received for unvaccinated calves (See Table 1).
0612pc_dahlen_tb_2Calves that were vaccinated in video auction lots also received greater prices during 15 of the 15 years evaluated, compared with calves that were not vaccinated (Table 2).
Calves that received at least one viral vaccination received from 50 cents to $2.25 per hundredweight (cwt) more than those that did not receive any vaccinations.
However, cattle that received one of two health protocols certified by the video auction group received greater premiums for their calves.
The greatest increase was seen for calves that received a certified health program and had been weaned at least 45 days prior to shipment.
These types of calves are very appealing to feedlot operators because the calves know how to eat from bunks, find water and already have lived through their greatest health challenges.
Implants
The use of implants in calf lots on the video auction fell from 64.3 percent in 1995 to 26.2 percent in 2007.
Many producers have the perception that implants cause a reduction in sales price. However, the sales price of calves that received implants was equivalent to or greater (one year only) than that of calves that did not receive implants in all years studied.
Purchasing and using implants in suckling calves could be a great way for producers to obtain a very favorable return on investment. The exception would be if the premium being received for selling natural cattle is greater than the additional value of pounds added from implants.
Process verified programs
Calves qualified for a natural program that sold in sales barns received a premium ($1.55 per cwt) in one of the three seasons evaluated and calves that were Certified Natural through a USDA- approved process verified program (PVP) received greater prices in four of six years, compared with calves that were not Certified Natural.
It is important to point out that calves receiving these premiums went through the entire process outlined by their respective PVP.
Calves can meet all of the requirements for certification but would only receive the potential premiums if all of their records are in order, they contact a certification agency and follow all of the steps outlined by the PVP.
Click here for a list of USDA-approved PVPs, along with contact information and claims certified.
Another type of certification governed by a PVP is age and source verification, which resulted in increased prices in each year evaluated (2005 to 2009).
Many of us read articles last winter talking about the future of Japan’s 21-month age limit for imported cattle and whether this would be increased to 30 months and eliminate potential premiums for age-verified and source-verified cattle.
At the time of this writing, the future of age and source verification is in question, so all we can do is be prepared. Speak with a PVP provider, make sure all of the records required to obtain age and source verification are in place and carefully weigh your options when we get closer to the fall season.
Other considerations
The importance of flexibility with your marketing cannot be overstated. Talk with your auction market staff or others involved with your marketing strategy and ask questions about markets.
Questions about feedyard preference for calves, status of calf supply and demand, whether feedlots are running at capacity and the latest market trends are all part of the daily conversation for personnel from auction markets, video auctions, Internet sales, etc.
In all cases, consign cattle well in advance of the sale and let the staff of the marketing outlet know as much about the calves as possible.
For example, what color they are, when they were born and vaccinated and whether they are age-verified and source-verified. The more information the market outlet has, the better job it can do of marketing those calves.
Many factors influence the price received for calves at the time of sale. Knowing these factors can allow producers to adopt management strategies that will increase the likelihood of favorable sales prices.
Once this is consistently accomplished and the calves have performed well in feedlots, an additional and very real factor comes into play: repeat buyers.
Herds that have a history of keeping the next person in the production chain in mind by producing healthy, high-performance calves have an advantage in terms of buyer interest that is unrivaled by strategies applied within any single year.
I wish you all the best in developing your marketing plan and hope that you are rewarded with extra bids at sale time! 

Grain Bin Entrapment

Ohio State University Extension
Objective:
To gain an awareness of the danger of flowing grain, and to learn how to prevent grain bin entrapment.

Trainer's Note:

Divide the employees into three groups, read and discuss the three different ways people become entrapped in grain and have each group come up with prevention strategies for each one of the entrapment types (allow five minutes for this exercise). After the groups are finished, go over the prevention strategies presented in this module. For better understanding, the graphics provided on this sheet may be reproduced for each group.

Background


Three Types of Entrapment: 

Flowing Grain

During unloading, the grain in a bin flows downward from the top center of the bin, creating a "funnel" effect that draws material and objects down the auger. An unloading conveyor at the bottom of the bin transports the grain outside. Depending on the size of the auger, it may take only two to three seconds to become emerged up to the knees in flowing grain, rendering the worker helpless. Flowing grain acts like quick sand and can pull a worker under and result in suffocation.



Prevention Strategies
  • Warn family, employees, and visitors of the dangers of flowing grain.
  • Place warning decals on all bin entrances and gravity wagons.
  • Have an established form of nonverbal communication. It is difficult to hear over the equipment noise.
  • Turn off and lock out power controls (see Lockout/ Tagout Module) to unloading conveyors before entering a bin.
  • Always use a body harness with a lifeline secured to the outside of the bin, and have at least two observers during bin entry.
  • Secure grain storage areas to prevent unauthorized entry.
Collapse of a Grain Bridge 

A grain bridge can form when grain on the surface is moldy or is frozen together to form a hard, thick crust. When grain is unloaded from a bin with a surface crust, a hollow cavity forms underneath the grain bridge. If anyone enters the bin and attempts to walk on the crusted surface, the additional weight will cause the crust to collapse and the individual could be partially or completely submerged instantly. The shifting grain can move the victim four to five feet from the point of entry where the victim was last seen, making it difficult to determine exactly where the victim is located.



Prevention Strategies
  • To detect whether a grain bridge exists, always look for an inverted cone or funnel after unloading from a bin.
  • From the bin roof hatch or from the inside ladder, while tied securely to the ladder, use a pole or a weighted line to free the bridge. Do not stand on the grain surface.
  • Manage grain to avoid conditions that cause spoilage and bridging.
Avalanche of a Vertical Grain Wall 

Grain in bad condition can cake in large vertical columns against the bin wall. Workers may try to dislodge the grain by poking it with a stick or shovel. This can cause the grain wall to break free and result in an avalanche that can completely bury workers inside the bin.



Prevention Strategies
  • Use of body harness with a lifeline that is securely tied to a point which can withstand 5,400 lbs. of stress.
  • If the bin must be entered, a person should be lowered from the top of the bin, dislodging the grain as they descend into the bin staying above the top of the vertical column.
  • Be prepared for the entire grain wall to break free and fall at any time.
  • Manage grain to avoid conditions that cause spoilage and formation of vertical grain walls.
Review the Following Points
  • Turn off and lock out the power source to the unloading conveyors before entering a grain bin.
  • Grain bins should be secured to prevent unauthorized entry.
  • Inspect for grain bridges by looking for inverted cones after unloading.
  • Educate on the dangers of flowing grain.
  • Workers should work from the top to the bottom on vertical grain walls.
Grain Bin Entrapment Quiz 

True or False

1. During unloading, the grain in a bin flows downward from the top center of the bin, creating a "funnel" effect that draws material and objects down to the conveyor.
T
F
2. Flowing grain acts like quick sand and can pull a worker under and result in suffocation.
T
F
3. Always turn off and lock out power controls to the unloading conveyor or auger before entering a bin.
T
F
4. Grain bins should always be secured to prevent unauthorized entry.
T
F
5. All that is needed during grain bin entry is one observer.
T
F

Answer Key
1. T, 2. T, 3. T, 4. T, 5. F



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Reviewed for NASD: 04/2004

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