Corn & Soybean Digest Farm Industry News
A PRIMEDIA Property September 21, 2005 | 050921   
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> Katrina crop damage at $900 million

 >> Counter-Cyclical Payment update

 >> Special Report II: The Katrina Ripple

 >> Precision farming could add dollars

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> Tour Brazil with Corn & Soybean Digest Magazine

 >> Please, please buckle up!

 >> Farmer-oriented blueprint increases corn prices

 >> Rust spreads as Southeast soybean crop matures

 >> Legumes help counter sky-high fertilizer prices


Logan Hawkes
09/21/05    Crop News Weekly
Welcome to the Fall Season! We're just one day out from the autumnal equinox, yet once again all eyes are focused on the Gulf of Mexico where yet another serious tropical system - this time named Rita - churns up the water and barrels down on the central coast. In case you haven't noticed, wholesale gas prices have already risen in the wake of the storm out of fear that Gulf oil platforms could be damaged or at least production shut down. Increases are being felt at the pump with the promise of higher costs in the days ahead. Agriculture producers from central Louisiana to South Texas are bracing for another bout with serious weather. Texas Governor Rick Perry has recalled Texas National Guardsmen on duty in storm ravaged Louisiana and officials are calling for evacuations in Galveston. Hold on to your hats, it appears it's going to be another wild ride.

Elsewhere in the news, Asian Soybean Rust continues it's trek across the Southland, the latest update on counter-cyclical payments for soybeans, an assessment of agricultural problems created by Hurricane Katrina, a look at the latest legislative developments on Capital Hill, a fresh look at the benefits of precision farming and learning how to help counter sky-high fertilizer prices.

You'll find these stories and more in this issue of Crop News Weekly. Happy reading - and good luck to us all through the storm!


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Katrina crop damage at $900 million
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has released a preliminary assessment of U.S. agricultural production losses due to Hurricane Katrina in the Mid-South and drought in the eastern Corn Belt. The report estimates hurricane-related losses to be nearly $900 million. "Given the severity of the hurricane, the agricultural losses could have been much greater," Johanns said. "With that said, there is a long road ahead for many of our producers who face infrastructure and long-term losses not accounted for in this assessment. USDA is committed to supporting producers throughout long and short term recovery." - from Farm Press Daily


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Counter-Cyclical Payment update
The continued strength in the soybean market during most of the spring and summer months has made it certain that the advance counter-cyclical payment (CCP) that producers received last fall and winter on the 2004 soybean crop will be required to be repaid after October 1, 2005. Soybean producers were eligible to receive an advance CCP of $0.091 per bushel in October, 2004, and another $0.091 per bushel in February 2005, on soybeans produced in 2004. This was based on a projected national average soybean price of $5.10 per bushel on the 2004 soybean crop at both times, and an estimated total CCP of $.26 per bushel. The maximum total CCP is $0.36 per bushel. The preliminary estimated "national average soybean price" through August for the 2004-2005 crop marketing year was estimated at $5.74 per bushel. This means that no CCP would be earned on the 2004 soybean crop. - by Kent Thiesse, The Corn & Soybeam Digest

Special Report II: The Katrina Ripple
The Road Warrior of Agriculture writes: "How many of you have ever thrown a stone in a farm pond on a lazy summer day? You see a big splash and then a series of ripples radiating out from the center. Well, that is a close analogy to the "Katrina Effect" in the next six months to five years in the United States and world economy. Let's assess the impact on agriculture and the general economy here and abroad. The initial splash is being felt nationwide with higher gasoline and diesel fuel prices, particularly with harvest in the Midwest going into full swing..." - by Dave Kohl, The Corn & Soybean Digest


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Precision farming could add dollars
An extra $100 per acre for a cotton crop would be nothing to sneeze at. And with the cotton market stuck in the doldrums, most farmers will look at anything that offers a better chance to make a profit. With precision farming, "The question we have to answer is, what's it worth to a farmer?" says Tim Sharp, program chairman for a new precision farming initiative in Oklahoma. "We have to show value to farmers." Sharp, who is counting on doing that as he takes what he learned from years in Tennessee and applies it to Southwest growing conditions. He has been on the job in Oklahoma since February and has recruited farmer cooperators to enroll fairly large chunks of cotton acreage in his research program. - by Ron Smith, Farm Press Editorial Staff

News from the Top of the Hill
Conflicting Price Reporting Bills Passed - The House of Representatives and the Senate each passed conflicting mandatory price reporting bills this week. The House passed H.R. 3408, which reauthorizes the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act for five years. The Senate passed S. 1613, which would extend mandatory livestock price reporting for one-year. A coalition including the National Pork Producers Council, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Meat Institute, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and the Sheep Industry Association support a five-year extension. The current mandatory price reporting law expires Sept. 30.

House Price Reporting Bill Makes Changes on Pork: The House mandatory price reporting bill includes three provisions that changes the current price reporting law. They are:

  • "Including additional sows in the Mandatory Price Reporting System to more accurately reflect the sales and prices paid in the sow market;

  • "Altering report timing for data reporting to even out USDA workload to increase report accuracy and efficiency; and

  • "Enabling USDA to publish price distributions for net prices, to provide more useful information than is currently provided by the price ranges specified in the current law, while maintaining current confidentiality requirements."

    After passage of the House bill, the National Pork Producers Council stated: "Mandatory price reporting is a valuable mechanism that allows producers to make knowledge-based livestock market business decisions."

    Disaster Assistance - Besides legislation to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, a number of bills have been introduced in Congress regarding disaster assistance for producers throughout the United States. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Jim Talent (R-MO) introduced legislation that allows producers in disaster areas to be eligible for assistance if their losses exceed 35%, including livestock producers. Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) have introduced "The Emergency Agriculture Disaster Assistance" legislation. The legislation is to help crop and livestock producers who have suffered production and quality losses due to "devastating" weather, plus offers assistance to producers for rising energy prices. A number of Senators wrote President Bush last week urging him to include funding for agricultural losses resulting from Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters in future emergency appropriations requests. The letter stated, "In addition to the loss of crops and livestock in the Gulf, damage to the Port of New Orleans will probably bring about increases in transportation and fuel costs for producers nationwide. The drought in the Midwest, flooding in various parts of the country and infestations and livestock diseases have taken a toll." Those signing the letter were Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kit Bond (R-MO), Barack Obama (D-IL), Mel Martinez (R-FL), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Mark Dayton (D-MN), Jim Talent (R-MO), Max Baucus (D-MT), and Byron Dorgan (D-ND).

    USDA Predicts Larger Crop - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) earlier this week predicted a larger corn and soybean crop this year. The corn crop was estimated at 10.639 billion bushels compared to USDA's August estimate of 10.350 billion. The soybean crop was estimated to be 2.856 billion bushels compared to the August estimate of 2.791 billion.

    Pork Producers on Capitol Hill - Over 100 pork producers attended the National Pork Producers Council's (NPPC) fall legislative conference in Washington, DC this week. The producers met with their Senators and Congressmen to discuss mandatory price reporting and voluntary country of origin labeling (COOL).

    R-CALF Seeks Review of Canadian Border - R-CALF has filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit asking the court for a rehearing of its July 14 order that reopened the U.S. border for live Canadian cattle under 30 months of age. According to R-CALF, "Rehearing is appropriate because the panel's decision to reverse long-standing protections against bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was made without any definitive scientific evidence, it is inconsistent with several other decisions by the same court, and because it overlooks or misstates a number of important points of law and facts contained in the Administrative record." - by Scott Shearer, National Hog Farmer


    Herb Johnson
    Watertown, WI

    Farmers used to have 60 bushel beans, but now they're down in the 40s. We need to get back up in the 60s to be profitable. Otherwise, we should gamble with corn on corn. Quadris is what we need to take us to the next level. Farmers need to realize that there's more out there than just rust.

    Tour Brazil with Corn & Soybean Digest Magazine
    The Corn & Soybean Digest's fourth annual trip to Brazil is set for Jan.12-25, 2006, and you're encouraged to sign up before deadline. Greg Lamp, Editor of The Corn & Soybean Digest, and Clint Peck, Senior Editor of BEEF, will lead the tour exploring Brazil's tropical ag system and assess its strengths and weaknesses as a major competitor for international markets. Highlights include tours of large and small soybean farms, a beef packing plant, an ag research center and a major international export facility. For more information or to register:, 952-851-4667 or Renata Stephens, Capital Travel Solutions,, 651/287-4900 or 800/635-5488. A complete itinerary can be viewed on the CTS website:

    Please, please buckle up!
    Unfortunately, death is a revealing time. More often than not, memorial services and obituaries are where you learn neat things about people you did not know before. I did not know Jim Kuhn well. I had met the 41-year-old farmer as editor of Western Farm Press, through his involvement in the California Alfalfa and Forage Association. I also interviewed him several years ago for a story on Imperial Valley; California alfalfa production; his hay exporting operation; his dairy and his unique cheese factory. - by Harry Cline, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Farmer-oriented blueprint increases corn prices
    As we saw in an earlier column, although touted widely as "the" solution to the current international agricultural crisis, eliminating agricultural subsidies in the U.S. or even in all developed countries will not result in timely price increases of a magnitude that could help the world's large population of small farmers who live primarily in less developed countries. Subsidy elimination would cause a shift in the mix of crops produced and, therefore, some relative changes in prices, meaning that some farmers and countries will be helped and others harmed. But the overall price impacts are negligible. - by Daryll E. Ray, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Rust spreads as Southeast soybean crop matures
    With Asian soybean rust nipping at its heels, the Southeast soybean crop is nearing the finish line. As pods fill and rust-ravaged leaves fall, R-6 designation -- and safety -- can't come soon enough for producers. The first two weeks of September saw more discoveries of the disease in Alabama, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. Soybean rust remains a threat in Alabama but may be slowing. After a spate of findings in August, the state has announced just one new case in the last two weeks: a Chilton County sentinel plot. - by David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Legumes help counter sky-high fertilizer prices
    As gasoline prices reach for the sky, so do fertilizer prices. "We're at the point of such high fertilizer prices that people are going to have to learn how to grow forage legumes and manage them properly," said Gerald Evers, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station forage management expert at Overton. Because nitrogen fertilizer production uses natural gas, its price increase is directly linked to higher fuel costs. Prices for other fertilizers, such as potassium, also climb as transportation costs from mining sites to the farm contribute to price increases. As with gasoline prices, the increase has been rapid and dramatic, Evers said. In mid-July nitrogen -- in the form of ammonium nitrate was about 40 cents per pound. By mid-August, it was 48 cents per pound. - by Robert Burns, Farm Press Editorial Staff


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