Corn & Soybean Digest Farm Industry News
A PRIMEDIA Property October 12, 2005 | 051012   
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> Outlook not good for lower fuel prices in near term

 >> Farmers encourage Johanns to stay the course

 >> Senate Ag Committee seeking middle ground

 >> Taking a closer look at the Montreal Protocol

 >> No matter how you spin it, FSA offices at risk

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> Tour Brazil with Corn & Soybean Digest Magazine

 >> Biotech's birthday

 >> Some expiring CRP contracts can be extended

 >> Know a farmer that needs $10,000?

 >> On-farm grain storage information available


Keith Philips
Kahoka, MO

Last year, we had some ground that's both tiled and irrigated, and they ended up being under flood water. I had sprayed them with Quadris, and even with being totally submerged in water, they still yielded 62-63 bu/A. Quadris saved those soybeans; if we hadn't used Quadris, I think they would have been consumed by foliar diseases.

Logan Hawkes
10/12/05    Crop News Weekly
This is the day historians tell us Chris Columbus discovered the Americas - a land where agriculture was being and had been practiced for thousands of years before his arrival. Rumors have it Chris may have been a emissary of the European Union. Regardless, not long after, the first American export hit the European market and life hasn't been the same since. Happy Columbus Day.

It's October and as the moon waxes to full the corn harvest is well underway in spite of last week's brush with early winter. It's also a time when the world is talking about Bird Flu. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said this week the likelihood of a flu pandemic in the future is "very high," - just something else for agriculture to worry about.

In the world of ag news this week, if you're holding your breath for lower fuel costs, you had better get ready to turn blue. There's no relief in sight. Also this week, the experts are saying the FSA is still on the chopping block. Expect some bad news coming shortly. And speaking of bad news, that's all ag secretary Johanns has been hearing about the farm bill - bad only because producers want the bill to stay just the same as it is now, and Johanns has to handle all the questions in a time of change. Elsewhere this week, we'll take a look at the Montreal Protocol, catch up on the latest from the Hill, extend birthday wishes to biotech engineering, and see if we can find a farmer that could use an extra $10,000. Any takers?

You'll find these stories and more in this issue of Crop News Weekly. Happy harvest.

Outlook not good for lower fuel prices in near term
A "long, mild fall" could help ease oil prices back from current post-Katrina/Rita levels. But odds are that little can be done to return U.S. gasoline, diesel and natural gas prices to the ranges farmers and consumers were paying a year ago. Energy analysts estimate that Hurricane Katrina disabled 7 percent of U.S. oil refining capacity when it struck the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29. On the Friday before Hurricane Rita hit the Louisiana-Texas coast on Sept. 24, 35 percent of U.S. refining capacity was shut down. But, with all the attention those events have brought to the energy markets, they are the effects, not the causes of tighter energy supplies, according to Matt Roberts, an energy economist with the Ohio State University Extension Service. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Farmers encourage Johanns to stay the course
The message couldn't have been clearer. The Food Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 is working, so don't change it. Whether that missive gets back to Washington and whether Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns will support that position when debate on the next farm bill begins in earnest remain less than lucid, however. If the Secretary had any questions about how Texas farmers feel about current farm programs, they were answered within the first few minutes of a USDA Farm Bill Forum. -Ron Smith, Farm Press Editorial Staff


"I started selling Lexar based on customer demand. My customers wanted more pre-emergent control and they finally found that with Lexar. Waterhemp is a big problem in our area and Lexar controlled it better than any other product we've used. It did the job even in the dry season we experienced this year. Lexar also provided better crop safety than its competitors. Next season the use of Lexar will increase in my area due to the success it had this year. Previous customers plan to use it again and other customers who learned of the control it offered will switch to it."
Ron Hamson
Hamson Ag., INC.
Dahlgren, IL

Senate Ag Committee seeking middle ground
The first attempt by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry to meet its budget reconciliation target of $3 billion in spending cuts over five years had to be sent back to the drawing board. The plan, which involved a 2.5-percent reduction in farm program payments and cuts in spending for conservation, food stamps and agricultural research, was severely criticized by numerous conservation, charity, environmental and taxpayer watchdog groups in Washington. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Taking a closer look at the Montreal Protocol
In 1985, the first Antarctic ozone hole was discovered. Just two short years after the discovery, the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty, was established to protect the disappearing stratospheric ozone layer. The treaty called for the phasing out of all ozone depleting chemicals and was negotiated and signed by 24 countries and the European Economic Community. In those early years, global warming was a highly emotional issue and it has been suggested by some that perhaps the treaty moved too quickly in naming chemicals purported to be causing the ozone depletion, and then developing the plan to phase them out. As it turns out, there is no evidence demonstrating that agricultural uses of methyl bromide are a factor in ozone depletion. - Bill Goodrich, Farm Press Editorial Staff

No matter how you spin it, FSA offices at risk
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns says he's "opening a dialogue" with state and congressional leaders to determine how best to "modernize the Farm Service Agency to ensure it meets the needs of farmers and ranchers in the 21st Century." That's a nice way of putting that Johanns is about to engage in what's almost become a rite of passage for agriculture secretaries: Proposing to reduce the number of county FSA offices by one-fourth or one-third or whatever amount the powers that be have decided is politically palatable. - Forrest Laws, Farm Staff Editorial Staff


"We're concerned about glyphosate resistance developing. We've had a hard time controlling giant ragweed in soybeans, and waterhemp is tough to control, too. If the weeds get through this year, they will be worse next year. Then it's much harder to get ahead of them, and it starts costing big bucks."
Les Schliep, Pine Island, Minn.

News from the Top of the Hill
Secretary Johanns & Farm Bill Policy - Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns in a speech this week offered observations of what he has heard from producers during the Farm Bill forums he has conducted throughout the U.S. Johanns indicated there is unanimous support for USDA's rural development efforts. There is strong support for conservation. Producers support "opening doors to new and expanded markets" for U.S. agricultural products. There is a range of opinions regarding farm support programs. Producers in the Midwest support stronger payment limitations while producers from the South strongly oppose this idea. There are concerns that farm payments are being capitalized into land values and the greatest benefits are going to the largest farms. Eight percent of all farms are receiving 50% of government payments. Johanns, indicating there will be changes in the next farm bill, said the U.S. must take a strong leadership role in the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations if we are to gain new market access and avoid our farm programs from being challenged by other countries at the WTO (Step Two cotton program). "We have a choice. We can sit back and watch as our farm policy is disassembled piece by piece, or we can begin a discussion about how to craft farm policy that provides a low-risk, meaningful safety net for our farmers and ranchers," Johanns said. We must choose wisely, remembering that a quarter of farm cash receipts depends on trade."

Agriculture Reconciliation Package Offered - Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has proposed a reconciliation package of $3 billion in cuts over five-years. The cuts would be $1.1 billion from commodity programs, $1 billion from conservation programs, $227 million from research, and $574 million from nutrition programs. The cuts would include:

  • A 2.5% across-the-board cut in all direct payments, counter-cyclical payments, loan deficiency payments and marketing loan gains.

  • Advance direct payments for producers to be reduced from a maximum of 50% to 40%.

  • The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage cap would be lowered from 39.2 to 36.4 million acres for calendar years 2006 to 2010.

  • Conservation Security Program (CSP) would be limited to $1.954 billion for fiscal years 2006 to 2010.

  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) would be limited to $1.185 billion in fiscal year 2006 and $1.270 billion in fiscal years 2007 to 2010.

  • Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program will be extended until Sept. 30, 2007. The payment factor will be reduced from 45% to 34%. This program expired Sept. 30.

    The committee will consider this proposal the week of Oct. 17. The House Agriculture Committee plans to consider their budget reconciliation the same week.

    Price Reporting Law Expires - Congress did not renew the mandatory price reporting legislation that expired on Sept. 30. There continues to be differences between the House and Senate. The House supports a five-year renewal of the law, while the Senate has passed legislation for one year. A coalition of livestock producers, including the National Pork Producers Council, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Sheep Industry Association, and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, have called on Congress to immediately approve a multi-year reauthorization. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service is asking packers to continue to voluntarily report pricing information while Congress continues to address this issue.

    FDA Announces Feed Rule - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its new proposed feed rule concerning bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). FDA would prohibit items from high-risk cattle from entering all animal feed, including pet food. They include:

  • Brains and spinal cords from cattle 30 months of age and older;

  • Brains and spinal cords from cattle of any age not inspected and passed for human consumption;

  • The entire carcass of cattle not inspected and passed for human consumption if the brains and spinal cords have not been removed;

  • Tallow that is derived from the materials prohibited by this proposed rule if the tallow contains more than 0.15% insoluble impurities; and

  • Mechanically separated beef that is derived from the materials prohibited by this proposed rule.

    Market Access Statement Issued - The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and the Australian National Farmers' Federation (NFF) in a joint statement announced their support for a "strong and balanced" outcome in the Doha Round for agriculture. According to AFBF and NFF, "Reform must include the real, substantial and ambitious expansion in access to markets on a fair and transparent basis through aggressive tariff reduction; the meaningful and substantial reduction of trade-distorting domestic support and the early elimination of export subsidies along with disciplines on export credits, state trading enterprises and food aid." The next meeting of the Doha Round is this December in Hong Kong.

    FSA Office Closure Hearing - The Senate Agriculture Committee has announced that it will hold a hearing on Oct. 20 concerning USDA's proposal to close and consolidate local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices. Under USDA's consolidation plan, "FSA Tomorrow," 713 of 2,351 local FSA offices would be closed. - Scott Shearer, National Hog farmer

  • Tour Brazil with Corn & Soybean Digest Magazine
    Time is running out to get registered! 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:

    Biotech's birthday
    BIOTECH CROPS officially turned 10 years old this past summer. Monsanto celebrated the milestone by staging an event at its research facility in Jerseyville, IL, where the first U.S. plant biotechnology field trial was held in 1987. The success of biotech crops is widely acknowledged; today more than 200 million acres are planted with biotech traits worldwide. Speakers at the event reported that biotechnology will continue to grow in importance. Robert Fraley, executive vice president and chief technology officer, Monsanto, compared today's plant biotech industry to that of the computer industry in the 1960s. - Farm Industry News

    Some expiring CRP contracts can be extended
    Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced that farmers and ranchers might elect to re-enroll or extend their Conservation Reserve Program contracts expiring in 2007 through 2010. "Balance is the key to any good conservation plan. So we're offering farmers and ranchers re-enrollments and contract extensions to take full advantage of the environmental benefits of this program," said Johanns. To determine eligibility for re-enrolling or extending CRP contracts, USDA's Farm Service Agency will use the Environmental Benefits Index that was in place when the contracts were first written. - Farm Press Online

    Know a farmer that needs $10,000?
    Nominations are now being accepted for American Farmland Trust's 2006 Steward of the Land Award. The $10,000 prize is presented annually to a farmer or rancher that best exemplifies American Farmland Trust's (AFT) mission of stopping the loss of productive farmland and promoting farming practices that lead to a healthy environment.

    Nomination kits can be requested by calling (800) 886-5170 x3055, or can easily be downloaded on AFT's web site at Nominations will be accepted until 5pm EST on November 1, 2005.

    The 2005 Steward of the Land Award was recently presented to Steve Sinton, a wine grape grower and fourth generation cattle rancher from Shandon, California. Throughout his 18,000 acres of ranchland and 125 acres of vineyards, Steve utilizes a variety of innovative practices to promote sustainability and protect the environment. Efforts on Steve's ranch have even resulted in the reintroduction of the California condor, which nest on parts of his property. He was also instrumental at the state level in the creation of the California Rangeland Trust, California's statewide agricultural land trust.

    "The Steward of the Land Award showcases the diversity of American agriculture and illustrates the many benefits farmers and ranchers provide to the general public, like habitat for wildlife, a filter for clean air and water and scenic vistas," said Sinton. "I'm a rancher, but I know that past winners of this award have also been grain growers, dairy farmers and fruit growers. There are people in every aspect of agriculture that are engaged in good stewardship practices."

    Past winners of the award can be found across the United States, in California, Maryland, Wisconsin, Indiana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Colorado and South Carolina.

    Entering a landmark tenth year, the Steward of the Land Award is also working to raise awareness of the public benefits agriculture provides as discussions about changing farm policies in the 2007 Farm Bill begin.

    "As the 2007 Farm Bill approaches, it's more important than ever to show examples of the many faces of agriculture working so hard to implement good stewardship practices on their land," said AFT president Ralph Grossi. "American Farmland Trust can only honor one farmer each year through its Steward of the Land Award, but by supporting incentive-based farm policies that link payments to good stewardship and sound land management, our nation can honor thousands of farmers every year."

    American Farmland Trust's Steward of the Land Award was created in 1997 in honor of farmer and conservationist Peggy McGrath Rockefeller, a founding AFT board member who cared deeply about protection and conservation of the nation's farm and ranch land. For more information: - American Farmland Trust

    On-farm grain storage information available
    Fall harvest in northern and western Iowa is expected to yield higher than average corn crops in those areas, according to Iowa State University (ISU) experts. Record harvests in 2004 caused grain elevators to begin piling corn in temporary storage situations, including outdoor piles. The outside piles are gone and 2004 grain has been moved inside, but much has not been sold. This has created a shortage for storage for the 2005.

    "The large harvest volume, carryover grain in storage at Iowa elevators and the effects of Katrina will move grain slower than normal this fall," according Charles Hurburgh of the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative at ISU. "Farmers need to plan for the potential storage of grain on-farm to capture additional premiums and reduce backups in elevators already at storage capacity."

    Temporary grain storage facilities need to protect the grain from moisture, wind, birds, rodents, and insects. Thus, storage in an existing building (such as a pole barn, machinery shed, warehouse, or even livestock building) is preferred over outdoor piles.

    "Farmers with empty silos previously used for silage or other empty buildings on the farm may consider those for dry grain storage," Hurburgh said. "There are a number of general considerations that need to be weighed in approaching the evaluation of an existing silo or building for possible adaptation for dry grain storage."

    Make sure the building location is well drained. If the building does not have a concrete floor, place the grain on plastic to prevent moisture moving from the ground to the grain. Even with a concrete floor, Hurburgh advises covering the concrete with plastic, especially if the concrete is cracked. Moisture vapor will move through concrete and into the grain if the soil below the concrete is wet. The grain must be cool and dry. Harvest temperatures may be fairly warm, which means aeration cooling will be needed very soon after storage.

    Silos must be in sound structural condition, and hooped or reinforced sufficiently to store dry shelled grain. The silo must have a roof and a concrete floor. Walls must be reasonably tight and be equipped with an aeration system. Any storage must have aeration to be successful. Even dry corn will spoil because of temperature-induced moisture migration, if aeration is not used to balance grain and air temperatures. Estimate approximately 1 hp of fan per 10,000 bushels, to maintain temperature (not drying).

    "Various techniques and facilities have been used to store grain temporarily with success," Hurburgh said. "Generally, the more durable the facility, the longer grain can be stored without excess loss. Temporary grain storage is for less than 6 months. Stored grain is the result of a season's work - it deserves as much attention in storage as it took to produce it in the first place."

    For additional information regarding on-farm storage of grain and other grain quality issues, visit the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative Web site at

    In addition, a special Web page has been created to offer farmers risk and energy management tools to help them make better decisions this harvest season. That page is - Iowa State University


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