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A PRIMEDIA Property November 16, 2005 | 051116   
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> Asian soybean rust found in southeast Texas

 >> Higher yields with twin-row soybeans

 >> Is organic a fad or is it here to stay?

 >> High pump prices fuel interest in renewable altenatives

 >> Producers hit LDP payment limit in 2005

 >> Terra preta: unearthing an agricultural goldmine

 >> World Of Difference: WTO could affect 2007 Farm Bill

 >> Conservation Tillage Conference & Expo

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> Wait and see recommended for farm energy purchases

 >> Two issues may shape the 2007 farm bill

 >> Farmers will feel fuel hikes in botton line

 >> COLUMN: Déjà vu for soybean farmers all over again?

 >> EU response in Doha Round found lacking

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  EDITOR'S NOTE
Logan Hawkes
11/16/05    Crop News Weekly
Welcome to another issue of Crop News Weekly, designed to keep you well informed and up to date with recent developments in the wide world of agriculture. With the 2005 harvest under our belts and the countdown to Thanksgiving underway, you would think things would be slowing down in the news department. Alas, it is not so. There's plenty to bring your way this week, starting with a report that Asian soybean rust has reached Texas. While it's still a far shot away from Midwest soybean fields, it is an indication that the disease is still alive and kicking in the lower 48 states.

In the top of the news, also from the Southland and with a long reaching effect, soybean researchers are saying two are better than one - that is, soybean rows. Two 10-inch rows (based on a 40-inch center) produce more pods and higher yields than a single, 40-inch row. Also in the news, the popularity of alternative fuels is expected to increase more rapidly now as oil dependency continues to back America into a global corner. And in the not-so-good department, an Ohio State ag economist is saying a recent U.S. proposal to reduce farm subsidies to enliven World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations may have implications for the 2007 Farm Bill.

These are just a few of the stories you will find in the spotlight in this issue of Crop News Weekly. Happy reading.



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  FROM OUR MAGAZINES
Asian soybean rust found in southeast Texas
11/15/05   
Although too late in the season to do much harm, Asian soybean rust has found its way to a Dayton-area kudzu patch in southeast Texas' Liberty County. "Beyond seeing how late the rust can travel, I don't think this means much," said Tom Isakeit on the day of the announcement. The Extension plant pathologist with Texas A&M University said producers are finishing up harvest all over the state. Despite long searches in soybean fields, kudzu patches and sentinel plots, no other rust infections have been reported in Texas. - David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Higher yields with twin-row soybeans
11/14/05   
On research plots in Stoneville, Miss., scientists now have some preliminary data many soybean farmers have been anxious to receive. In a side-by-side comparative study of standard, 40-inch, single-row soybeans versus twin-row, two 10-inch rows (based on a 40-inch center), conducted this past growing season, researchers determined that soybeans in twin rows produced more pods and higher yields than those in single rows. Trey Koger, soybean agronomist at the Agricultural Research Service's Crop Genetics and Production Research Unit, said he and Dan Poston, Mississippi State University Extension soybean specialist, were not necessarily surprised at the results. - Andrew Bell, Farm Press Editorial Staff

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Is organic a fad or is it here to stay?
11/10/05   
The Road Warrior of Agriculture writes: One of the most popular questions on the speaking circuit is whether the organic movement is a trend or fad. The organic movement is here to stay. There are a certain number of consumers who make the organic market a very profitable niche for some producers. However, becoming a certified organic producer comes at a price. In some cases it can take many years for certification and there are new requirements mandated periodically. Second, one must become a superior record-keeper, documenting practices on the growth of livestock, produce or grain. - Dave Kohl, The Corn & Soybean Digest

High pump prices fuel interest in renewable altenatives
11/14/05   
As gasoline and diesel prices continue to hover at near-record levels, and the United States' dependence on petroleum imports increases, the public is renewing interest in fossil fuel alternatives. The country's agriculture industry is one source of domestically produced options to conventional energy. In fact, biomass -- plants and plant-derived material -- provides the only renewable alternative for liquid transportation fuel. Ethanol, traditionally made from corn, is familiar as an alternative fuel and a pollution-reducing gas additive. - Caroline Booth Lara, Farm Press Editorial Staff

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Producers hit LDP payment limit in 2005
11/10/05   
The excellent corn yields combined with relatively high loan deficiency payment (LDP) levels this fall have resulted in more corn and soybean producers reaching the $75,000 maximum payment limit per producer on total LDP payments set by USDA. Many growers in southern Minnesota had total farm corn yields of 180-200 bu./acre. Because of the extremely low cash corn prices this fall, LDP rates have been $.40-.50/bu. during most of October. All raised bushels of corn or soybeans are eligible to receive a LDP or to be placed under a 9 month CCC loan at county Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices. A producer that had corn yields that averaged 190 bu./acre, and had an average LDP of $.48/bu., would receive $91.20/corn acre as an LDP payment, and would hit the $75,000 LDP payment limit with 822 acres of corn in 2005. - Kent Thiesse, The Corn & Soybean Digest

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Terra preta: unearthing an agricultural goldmine
11/14/05   
Many soil scientists insist an ancient Amerindian agrarian society will soon make a huge impact on the modern world. They say once the intricacies and formulation of the society's "terra preta" (dark earth) is unlocked, the benefits will help stop environmental degradation and bring fertility to depleted soils. Developing and developed nations will benefit. The story goes that in 1542, while exploring the Amazon Basin near Ecuador in search of El Dorado, Spanish conquistador Francisco de Orellana began checking the area around one of the Amazon's largest rivers, the Rio Negro. While he never found the legendary City of Gold, upon his return to Spain, Orellana reported the jungle area held an ancient civilization with exceptional soil. - David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial

World Of Difference: WTO could affect 2007 Farm Bill
11/10/05   
A recent U.S. proposal to reduce farm subsidies to enliven World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations may have implications for the 2007 Farm Bill, say Ohio State University agricultural economists. The extent of the impact hinges on whether the proposal is accepted, what programs are reduced and to what extent they are reduced or even possibly eliminated. Whatever happens, farmers and agribusinesses are being encouraged to evaluate how they will manage the impact of reduced supports. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Conservation Tillage Conference & Expo
11/16/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
Mark your calendars for the 2006 Conservation Tillage Conference and Expo scheduled Feb. 1-2 at the Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center in Sioux Falls, SD. The conference will focus on using conservation tillage to boost Return On Investment and will feature speakers from Iowa State University, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, South Dakota State University and many top conservation farmers.

Ademir Calegari, a soil scientist from the Agriculture Research Institute in Parana, Brazil, will also be speaking at the conference. Brazil is a leading adopter of no-till, and Calegari will provide a fresh perspective on this method. Other topics include new technology, soil and fertility and prepping for cost-share. In addition to the speakers, the conference features a tradeshow where growers can see some of the latest conservation technology.

News from the Top of the Hill
11/11/05   
Three Pillars of Trade Reform - U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns outlined the three pillars of trade reform that the United States has been advocating at the World Trade Organization (WTO) agriculture negotiations before the House Agriculture Committee. They are:

  • Reduce trade-distorting domestic support,
  • Eliminate export subsidies, and
  • Increase market access.

    Portman and Johanns emphasized the importance of export markets to American agriculture's future economic well-being. Agriculture is "increasingly dependent on its ability to access new international markets," they noted. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) testified, "No trade agreement under consideration is more important to U.S. pork producers than the Doha Round negotiations." NPPC said the WTO negotiations are of "vital importance to the U.S. pork industry and increasing global market access is the industry's top priority during the round." The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) testified that market access was a priority. Reducing tariffs on beef is very important considering Japan's bound tariff of 50%, Korea's at 40%, and the European Union at 57%. Bound tariffs are the maximum tariff rates that WTO members may impose on imports. The Sixth WTO Ministerial Conference will be held Dec. 13-18 in Hong Kong.

    Renewable Diesel Standard - Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) has introduced legislation that would establish a "Renewable Diesel Standard" that would require 2 billion gallons of diesel alternatives by 2015. Obama said, "We must continue down the path of reducing our reliance on foreign oil. Like corn to ethanol for gasoline engines, we also can make soybeans, animal fats and coal into diesel. We have the technology, we have the interest, and we have the need. We just need the federal commitment."

    Agriculture Appropriations - The Senate and House of Representatives have both passed the fiscal year 2006 agriculture appropriations conference report. It is expected to be signed into law by President Bush in the near future. The report extends the implementation date for country-of-origin labeling (COOL) to 2008.

    Cuba & U.S. Exports - Cuban officials indicated that the United States would be the largest exporter of food to their country. The U.S. will export approximately $500 million in agricultural goods to Cuba this year.

    Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections - Producers have until Dec. 5 to vote for USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees. Ballots have been mailed to eligible producers. All ballots must be returned to the voter's FSA office or be post-marked by Dec. 5. Newly elected committee members and alternates take office Jan. 1, 2006. - Scott Shearer, National Hog Farmer

  • Wait and see recommended for farm energy purchases
    11/10/05   
    Giving in to the impulse to take preemptive steps now to hedge against even higher energy prices before next planting season could be a mistake. That buy early thinking is understandable, said Lubbock, Texas, Extension economist and risk management specialist Jay Yates. "But barring another major disaster farmers will be better off to wait. For now, I recommend a hand-to-mouth strategy." Yates said farmers are not likely to see diesel fuel drop back to 90 cents a gallon anytime soon, if ever. But he also doesn't believe $2.50 will hold either. - Ron Smith, Farm Press Editorial

    Two issues may shape the 2007 farm bill
    11/10/05   
    As I look at the issues that cannot be avoided as we prepare to lay the groundwork for a discussion of the shape of the 2007 farm bill, several things come to mind. The first is the federal deficit and the second is the pressure that is being put on WTO negotiators to eliminate agricultural subsidies. These two factors have the potential to significantly affect the nature of the 2007 farm bill discussion. While these two issues may seem to be unrelated, one domestic and the other international, they in fact stem from a common cause. If crop prices in the 1997-2004 period were at the same level that they were in early 1996, we wouldn't be talking about either one. - Daryll Ray, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Farmers will feel fuel hikes in botton line
    11/10/05   
    Everyone knows gasoline, diesel and natural gas prices are higher now than a year ago due to rising demand and the double-whammy inflicted on the Gulf Coast by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. But how will higher energy bills translate into farmers' bottom lines and cropping decisions for 2006? That's the question agricultural economists are trying to sort out as they prepare their crop budgets for next year. For openers, rice producers along the Texas Gulf Coast could see their costs rise by nearly $100 per acre, according to Larry Falconer, Extension economist with Texas A&M University. Falconer prepared a set of sample budgets for the Southern Region Agricultural Outlook Conference in Atlanta. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    COLUMN: Déjà vu for soybean farmers all over again?
    11/10/05   
    COLUMN: Forrest Laws writes: Years ago, before it and the National Corn Growers combined their annual meetings into the Commodity Classic, I covered a number of the Soy Expos held by the American Soybean Association. Unlike some farm groups, where most of the issues are resolved before delegates vote on their resolutions at their annual meeting, ASA members actually debated their policies in an open, sometimes no-holds-barred forum. I remember farmers, mostly from Iowa and Illinois, railing against target prices and deficiency payments for soybeans like those for cotton, rice, wheat and feed grains because the Midwesterners "didn't want the government involved in agriculture any more than it was."

    EU response in Doha Round found lacking
    11/14/05   
    The European Union tabled a new proposal that would reduce tariffs on agricultural products by an average of 46 percent, rekindling hope that a new Doha Round trade agreement could be worked out in time for the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong Dec. 13-18. Most of the principal players in the Doha negotiations, including U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman, had little good to say about the latest EU proposal, but most agreed it was something to work with to keep the Doha talks moving. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff



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