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A Prism Business Media Publication February 8, 2006 | 060208   
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> USDA announces cut in CSP watersheds in 2006

 >> Drip irrigation will make you be a better manager

 >> Soybean Checkoff approves sentinel plots against rust

 >> Soybean checkoff-funded products open new doors

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> Thiesse's Thoughts: CRP extensions available

 >> Sign Up For MarketMaxx

 >> Good managers think in systems

 >> Wheat supply situation supports above average prices

 >> Deficit, WTO, grower success likely farm bill weights

 >> Biotechnology from different perspectives

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"We recommend that our customers use a pre foundation product in their corn no matter what herbicide program they use, because it minimizes weed pressure. We have so much giant ragweed that you need a residual herbicide to control it - even in glyphosate-tolerant corn. Glyphosate is not meant to be a one-trip and done product."

Kirk Dosland, River Valley Coop, Lost Nation, Iowa


  EDITOR'S NOTE
Logan Hawkes
02/08/06    Crop News Weekly
Call this your official reminder: There's less than a week to go before Valentine's Day. Not that you were going to forget. But it doesn't hurt to be reminded. I wouldn't want you to Mrs. it. Chocolates are still an appropriate gift - right?

In the top of the news this week, and speaking of reminders, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns reminds us we have until the end of the week to wait before sign-up begins for the 2006 Conservation Security Program. In a related story, a few farmers are going to be disappointed because the initial selection of the 110 watersheds eligible for funding as announced by USDA last summer was based on President Bush's fiscal 2006 budget request. Congress provided funding for only 60 watersheds. Also this week, drip irrigation can save you money and water, but without proper system care the opposite can happen. We'll tell you all about it this week. Elsewhere in the news, anyone who keeps up with the federal deficit knows that the farm sector is likely to face a vastly different budget outlook when Congress begins writing a new farm bill than when it wrote the 2002 legislation. We'll try to help you understand the changes that are coming. Finally this week, ag biotech is a growing concern, but mostly outside U.S. borders. Iran and China are becoming the most advanced countries in the commercialization of biotech rice, the world's most important food crop.

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



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  FROM OUR MAGAZINES
USDA announces cut in CSP watersheds in 2006
02/03/06   
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced that sign-up will begin Feb. 13 for the 2006 Conservation Security Program. But some producers who were counting on participating in the watershed-based CSP this year are likely to be disappointed. Johanns said the initial selection of the 110 watersheds USDA announced last summer was based on President Bush's fiscal 2006 budget request. But Congress provided funding for only 60 watersheds, the secretary said. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

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Drip irrigation will make you be a better manager
02/03/06   
Drip irrigation can increase yields, allow more land under production when water resources are limited and save water and money. But you have to take care of the system if you want it to take care of you, according to Bill Cox, a consultant from Las Cruces, New Mexico. Cox provided a consultant's perspective on drip irrigation at the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants annual meeting, in Tucson, Ariz., in January. "It's a wonderful tool for the farmer," said Cox, who first starting working with the technology in 1993. On one farmer's field in 1993, "our average red chili yields were about 16 tons per acre, which was extremely high at that time, and we were irrigating down the furrow. Based on the prices we received then, we normally expected to gross about $4,400 an acre." - Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Soybean Checkoff approves sentinel plots against rust
While soybean rust was not a major challenge for most U.S. farmers in 2005, relaxing against the threat of rust could be a mistake in 2006. The more information on rust, the easier it will be to control, which is why soybean checkoff farmer-leaders approved funds for additional sentinel plots to monitor the spread of soybean rust. Together the United Soybean Board (USB) and the North Central Soybean Research Program (NCSRP) will help establish sentinel plots from south to north in the Soybean Belt to monitor northward movement of soybean rust for early detection and early warning for soybean farmers. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

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Soybean checkoff-funded products open new doors
Year after year, the United Soybean Board (USB) and soybean checkoff have helped build new demand for U.S. soybeans through news uses -- and last year was no different. A recorded total of 81.8 million bushels were utilized in soy-based products in 2005, which was an increase of 12.6 million bushels from 2004. From soy-based plastics used in tractors to transformer fluids made from soybean oil, the soybean checkoff continues to partner with manufacturers to introduce new markets for soybean farmers. Nineteen new soy-based products were commercialized in 2005, thanks to the support of the soybean checkoff. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

News from the Top of the Hill
02/03/06    National Hog Farmer
EPA Approves Air Consent Agreements - The U.S. EPA has approved 20 air consent agreements, including 10 from the swine industry. These agreements will protect animal feeding operations from EPA enforcement actions for past air emissions violations and future violation over the next four years. During that time, EPA will work with producers to quantify and analyze livestock air emissions and develop sound air emissions compliance standard and guidelines and enforcement policies. There are 4,900 swine operations that have signed consent agreements. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said, "Approval of these consent agreements is a critical step that advances our longstanding efforts to get EPA to use sound science to develop practical policies that work for pork producers of all sizes and types."

State of the Union & Ethanol - President Bush in his State of the Union address set a national goal of replacing more than 75 percent of the United States' oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. Bush said it was time for the U.S. to break its "addiction" to foreign oil through new technology. The National Corn Growers Association in a statement said, "Corn growers witnessed firsthand the president's firm commitment to our business. By highlighting corn ethanol, President Bush showed his confidence that America can count on corn growers and the ethanol industry." According to the White House, the President's proposed budget for fiscal year 2007 will include $150 million to help develop bio-based transportation fuels from agricultural waste products, such as wood chips, stalks, or switch grass. This is a $59 million increase over fiscal year 2006. Research scientists estimate that "accelerating research into cellulosic ethanol can make it cost-competitive by 2012." The potential would displace up to 30 percent of the U.S.'s current fuel use.

Mexico Re-opens to U.S. Bone-In Beef - Mexico has resumed trade in U.S. bone-in beef from animals under 30 months of age. Secretary of Agriculture Johanns said, "Mexico's decision to further open its market to U.S. beef is a testament to the safety of U.S. beef and a clear expression of confidence in the U.S. safeguards to prevent BSE." In 2003, the U.S. sold $40 million of bone-in beef products to Mexico.

Canadian Border - Montana Litigation - Five meat organizations filed a friend of the court brief in support of USDA's rule allowing cattle and beef imports from Canada. The brief urges the continuation of cattle and beef trade with Canada. The brief is in response to R-CALF's request for a hearing in U.S. District Court in Montana regarding its litigation against USDA's final rule allowing for the importation of cattle and beef products from Canada. The friend of the court brief stated the rule opening the Canadian border is "working well," and that the arguments that reopening the Canadian border for beef would "undercut consumer confidence in U.S. beef and that the influx of Canadian cattle would adversely affect domestic cattle prices are not borne out by USDA economic date." Those filing the brief were the American Meat Institute, National Meat Association, North American Meat Processors, Southwest Meat Association and the Eastern Meat Packers Association.

Agricultural Contracts Increasing - In a recent study entitled "Agricultural Contracting Update: Contracts in 2003," USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) found that contracts in 2003 covered 39 percent of the value of U.S. agricultural production. This is up from 36 percent in 2001. The study shows a growing trend as contracting covered only 11 percent of the value of production in 1969 and 28 percent in 1991. The recent increases in contracting are concentrated in hog, tobacco, cotton, and rice production. The study also found that contracting is closely tied to farm size. "Contracts covered just one-fifth of production among farms with less than $250,000 in sales, and over half (53 percent) of production on the largest farms, those with over $1 million in sales." The study found that from 2001 and 2003, contracting increased among the largest farms, but held steady or declined among smaller farms.

Farm Numbers Decline in 2005 - USDA this week reported that the number of farms in the U.S. in 2005 was estimated at 2.1 million. This is a decrease of 0.6 percent compared to 2004. The number of acres in farms was 933.4 million acres which is a decrease of 2.9 million acres from 2004. USDA estimated the number hog operations at 167,330 which is a decline of 3 percent from 2004 and 9 percent from 2003. Operations with 2,000 head or more accounted for 79 percent of the inventory. Operations with cattle totaled 982,510 which is 1 percent below 2004 and 3 percent below 2003.

CRP Re-enrollments and Extensions - USDA announced that it will begin notifying agricultural producers with Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts expiring in 2007 that they may extend or re-enroll their contracts. The CRP contracts expiring in 2007 cover nearly 16 million acres. USDA also announced that a general CRP sign-up will be held from March 27 through April 14. Producers will be able to make offers for CRP's competitive general sign-up. The offers will be evaluated based on cost and five environmental factors: wildlife, water, soil, air and enduring benefits.

CSP Sign-Up - USDA announced sign-up for the 2006 Conservation Security Program (CSP) will be February 13 to March 31, 2006. CSP will be offered in 60 watersheds in all 50 states. CSP is a voluntary conservation program that supports ongoing stewardship of private agricultural lands by providing payments for maintaining and enhancing natural resources. Additional information on CSP can be found at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp. - Scott Shearer

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Thiesse's Thoughts: CRP extensions available
02/01/06   
In the fall of 2005, USDA announced that some land owners will have the opportunity to extend or re-enroll certain existing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts that will be expiring during 2007 -- 2010. A total of 400,000 CRP contracts in the U.S., representing over 28 million acres, are scheduled to expire during that four-year period. Currently, there are a total of 35.8 million acres in the U.S. that are under a CRP contract. - Kent Thiesse, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Sign Up For MarketMaxx
02/08/06   
Sign up and play The Corn And Soybean Digest's fantasy grain game called MarketMaxx. It's easy, fun and hopefully you'll learn a little more about how to market the corn and beans your raise. It's easy to sign-up. Just log on to http://www.marketmaxx.net and register at the top left and begin trading your fictitious 100,000 bu. of corn and 50,000 bu. of soybeans. If you're a winner at the end of the game on October 31 you could take home the grand prize of a year's use of a Massey Ferguson tractor or combine. Or, win additional prizes such as a computer system from Syngenta Crop Protection, customized rugged mobile computers from Grayhill Custom Mobile Solutions or a high-speed satellite Internet service from Agristar Global Networks. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Good managers think in systems
02/01/06   
Agriculture Road Warrior Dave Kohl writes: Recently I was a lecturer at the Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP) in Austin, Texas. After being pumped with questions for two hours from the second year group and intensively lecturing for six hours to the first year group, I pondered what made this group excel during my trek home. One area that came to mind was that, regardless of size of business, they all managed their business as a system rather than in components. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Wheat supply situation supports above average prices
02/02/06   
During June, the central Oklahoma and Texas panhandle wheat price averages about $3.10 per bushel. At this writing, wheat may be forward contracted for June delivery in central Oklahoma or the Texas Panhandle for about $3.40 per bushel. The forward contract price was calculated by subtracting a 35-cents basis from the KCBT July wheat futures contract price. The KCBT July wheat contract price is the market's best estimate of Kansas City cash wheat prices in July 2006. Based on expected July supply and demand conditions and estimates of the 2006 winter wheat crop, traders, analysts and merchandisers buy and sell wheat contracts for July delivery. The result is a KCBT July wheat contract price that the market believes will be too high 50 percent of the time and too low 50 percent of the time for wheat delivered in July. As expectations change, the July contract price changes. - Kim Anderson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Deficit, WTO, grower success likely farm bill weights
02/01/06   
Anyone who keeps up with the federal deficit knows that the farm sector is likely to face a vastly different budget outlook when Congress begins writing a new farm bill than when it wrote the 2002 legislation. Farm organizations that were able to parlay a projected $236 billion surplus into an expanded 2002 farm bill will be severely challenged to repeat that feat with the U.S. Treasury wracking up deficits of $412 billion and $318 billion in the last two fiscal years. But the outlook for continued deficits "as far as the eye can see," as one observer has said, isn't the only pressure farm groups and farm-state congressmen will be feeling when the House and Senate Ag Committees sit down to begin writing the new farm law. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Biotechnology from different perspectives
01/31/06   
Ag biotech continues to grow -- maybe faster outside the U.S. -- Iran and China are becoming the most advanced countries in the commercialization of biotech rice, the world's most important food crop. The sad part of this is that the anti-biotech movement has stymied development of biotech rice in the U.S. China and Iran, where anti-biotech malcontents would find themselves in jail for doing what they do in the U.S. and other democracies, are leaving the U.S. behind the advancing biotechnology curve. - Harry Cline, Farm Press Editorial Staff



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