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A Prism Business Media Publication February 15, 2006 | 060215   
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> WTO rules against EU's biotech 'moratorium'

 >> Budget proposals could harm farm safety net

 >> Web site knows beans about soy production

 >> Be sure to attend the National Farm Machinery Show

 >> Planning now can save time, money in the spring

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> Corn acres expected to decline

 >> 2006: More soybeans

 >> Let the numbers do the talking

 >> Congress will reject Bush budget, ag leaders say

 >> Plants for disease relief

 >> Give eavesdroppers a helping hand

 >> Sign Up For MarketMaxx

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  EDITOR'S NOTE
Logan Hawkes
02/15/06    Crop News Weekly
Another week nearer to the spring season and cold weather has finally decided to become a problem. Or has it? With all the weather records being broken in recent years, who knows what to expect anymore? But then, was weather ever really predictable? As far as I can tell, weather just happens.

In the top of the news this week, a WTO dispute settlement panel has issued a preliminary ruling that the European Union engaged in an illegal moratorium on the importation of genetically modified foods as charged in a complaint brought by the United States, Canada and Argentina. Also this week, the unveiling of a new academic web site about soybeans that is a must visit for growers. And speaking of a must-do list, the largest indoor farm show in America begins today and ends Saturday, in Louisville, KY. The massive show covers the extensive indoor facilities located on grounds of the Kentucky Exposition Center. You shouldn't miss this one. Elsewhere, should the best ground be fertilized heavily, or should the less productive land be fertilized to make it produce more like the best land? And a bit of bad news for corn growers: High fertilizer prices are shaping up to be a significant factor for lower U.S. corn acreage this year. Finally this week, if you haven't got rid of your 2005 soybean crop, now may be the time.

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



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  FROM OUR MAGAZINES
WTO rules against EU's biotech 'moratorium'
02/10/06   
A WTO dispute settlement panel has issued a preliminary ruling that the European Union engaged in an illegal moratorium on the importation of genetically modified foods as charged in a complaint brought by the United States, Canada and Argentina. The ruling, which reportedly runs more than 1,000 pages, said similar bans imposed separately by France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Luxembourg and Greece also violated WTO rules. U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman applauded the preliminary ruling, calling on EU officials to provide a "timely, transparent and scientific review of agricultural biotechnology products" now that the dispute settlement panel has issued its long-delayed ruling. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

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Syntinel RustTracker is a Web-based, interactive Geographical Information System (GIS) used as a rust-monitoring and mapping tool. This state of the art system combines AccuWeather.com weather data with spore location information to provide growers and retailers with the earliest soybean rust warning system available. For more information on Syntinel RustTracker, please visit http://www.soybeanrust.com/.
Budget proposals could harm farm safety net
02/14/06    NCGA
President George W. Bush's proposed reductions for fiscal year 2007 in USDA spending programs -- including across-the-board cuts in crop payments to farmers by 5 percent -- could harm the farm safety net put in place by the 2002 Farm Bill, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) says. NCGA President Gerald Tumbleson says growers are concerned with the proposals in the president's budget pertaining to protecting the 2002 Farm Bill and enhancing agriculture's role in improving the economy. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Web site knows beans about soy production
A new Purdue University Web site spills the beans about Indiana's top legume. "Cool Bean," a Web site located at www.CoolBean.info, provides soybean growers a clearinghouse of information about the row crop. "'Cool Bean' covers all facets of soybean production within Indiana and the Eastern Soybean Belt," says Shawn Conley, Purdue Extension soybean specialist and the Web site's creator. "The site has a searchable database where users can find information on all subjects related to soybeans, whether it be in weed science, entomology, plant pathology or crop production." Conley's site does for soybeans what a longstanding Purdue Web site does for corn. Bob Nielsen, a Purdue Extension corn specialist, maintains "King Corn." That site can be found at www.kingcorn.org. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

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Last summer, Axial™ herbicide was showcased during field trials in the Pacific Northwest, North Dakota and Minnesota. Grower and retailer guests witnessed the effectiveness of Axial against a broad-spectrum of mixed annual grasses, as well as its crop safety on wheat and barley. This year, growers will experience that control and crop safety firsthand as Axial is now registered for use. For more information on Axial herbicide, please visit http://www.axial-herbicide.com.
Be sure to attend the National Farm Machinery Show
02/14/06   
The largest indoor farm show in America begins Wednesday, Feb. 15, and ends Saturday, Feb. 18, in Louisville, KY. The massive show covers the extensive indoor facilities located on grounds of the Kentucky Exposition Center. Farm Industry News is a sponsor of the annual event. Growers will find the latest in farm equipment and tools at the show. Nearly 800 exhibitors fill the 1.2 million square feet of exhibit space. The show opens each day at 9 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. Check out the exhibitor line-up at this show! - Farm Industry News

Planning now can save time, money in the spring
02/10/06   
Should the best ground be fertilized heavily, or should the less productive land be fertilized to make it produce more like the best land? Winter can be fairly slow regarding soil and crops issues, so Noble Foundation soil and crops specialist Eddie Funderburg suggests producers take time to reflect on the previous year and plan for the coming one. "You've probably noticed that fertilizer prices are up a bit -- well, maybe more than a bit," Funderburg says. "They aren't coming down until natural gas prices come down." What can you do to make sure your fertilizer money is well spent? The first thing is to take good soil samples. - Steven Rhines, Farm Press Editorial Staff

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Over the last five seasons, Quadris® fungicide revolutionized yield and quality in soybeans. Quadris protects soybeans from damaging foliar diseases and provides an average increase of 5 to 6 bu/A, even in the absence of severe disease pressure. For more information on Quadris fungicide, please visit http://www.quadris-fungicide.com
News from the Top of the Hill
02/10/06    National Hog Farmer
US-Korea Enter FTA Negotiations - President Bush announced that the United States and South Korea intend to negotiate bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns said, "A free trade agreement will greatly improve access for our producers to Korean consumers that seek high quality and affordably priced U.S. products. Korea already is a significant market for our corn, soybeans, wheat, processed foods, cotton, citrus, nuts and fruit juices." The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) commended the administration for entering into the negotiations. NPPC said, "South Korea is an important export market for U.S. pork producers, but further growth is imperiled by increased South Korean imports of Chilean pork. So getting a free trade deal done with South Korea is imperative to U.S. producers." The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) said, "We support the launch of this free trade agreement with South Korea, and expect to see the full re-opening of this market to all U.S. beef, significant reductions of Korea's tariffs, and resolution of important sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues." Currently, South Korea is the sixth largest market for U.S. agriculture. In 2004, Korea imported $10.6 billion in agricultural products. U.S. pork exports to South Korea have increased by 492 percent since implementation of the Uruguay Round in 1995.

Quality Grade & Imports - Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth (D-SD) has introduced H.R. 4689 which would prohibit the USDA quality grade from being used for imported beef or lamb. Pork is not covered under the legislation. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

Budget FY 2007 - President Bush sent his $2.77 trillion fiscal year 2007 budget to Congress this week. The budget contains $93 billion for USDA which is approximately $3 billion below FY 2006. Nearly 77 percent of the budget will be for mandatory programs, which include commodity and conservation programs, nutrition assistance, and export promotion. Discretionary programs will account for 23 percent of the budget. This includes rural development loans and grants, research and education, soil and water conservation technical assistance, domestic marketing assistance, and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. Items included in the budget are:

  • Market Access Program (MAP) - reduced from $200 million to $100 million. MAP was authorized at $200 million in the 2002 Farm Bill.

  • Foreign Market Development Program - $34.5 million, which is the same as last year's budget.

  • User Fees - $105 million in user fees for meat and poultry inspection.

  • Avian Influenza - $82 million to continue to work with states in domestic surveillance efforts and to improve preparedness and response capabilities. This is a $66 million increase.

  • Food and Agriculture Defense Initiative - $322 million for the multi-agency program ($127 million increase) to continue improving the safety and security of the nation's food supply and agriculture.

  • BSE Surveillance Program - $17 million to test approximately 40,000 animals as part of the BSE Surveillance Program.

  • ARS Animal Disease Research - The Agricultural Research Service would receive an increase of $40 million to research ways to control exotic and emerging disease, including avian influenza, foot-and-mouth disease and BSE.

  • FSIS - The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is funded at $987 million which is an increase of $35 million over FY '06. This includes $105 million in user fees.

  • Wetlands Reserve Program - Over $400 million which allow for an additional 250,000 acres to be enrolled in the program for 2007.

  • Conservation Reserve Program - $2.1 billion.

  • EQIP - $1 billion which USDA estimates will allow 55,000 producers to participated in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) which will cover nearly 20 million acres.

  • Energy Initiatives - $85 million (increase of $18 million) for renewable energy research and demonstration projects.

  • School Lunch - $13.9 billion which is a $700 million increase. The school lunch program is estimated to serve a record 30.9 million children.

    USDA Budget Calls for Farm Bill Cuts - The proposed FY '07 budget calls for $1.1 billion in cuts in farm programs. They include:

  • Reducing program payments including marketing loan gains to $250,000

  • Reducing all commodity payments to producers by 5 percent

  • Applying a 1.2 percent market assessment on sugar processors

  • Implementing a 3 cent per hundredweight assessment on milk marketings

    These cuts are similar to what was proposed by the President last year which Congress rejected. There will be resistance again this year to these proposed cuts. Many will advocate that these proposals should be addressed when Congress considers the 2007 farm bill.

    WTO Rules in Favor of Biotech - According to press reports the World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled that the European Union has a "de facto moratorium on agricultural biotechnology products that is inconsistent with WTO rules." In a statement, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns and U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman said, "We believe agricultural biotechnology products should be provided a timely, transparent and scientific review by the European Union, and that is why Canada, Argentina and the United States brought the case in the first place."

    New House Leadership - Congressman John Boehner (R-OH) was elected House Majority Leader by the House Republican Conference. Boehner defeated favored Congressman Roy Blunt (R-MO) who had been serving as acting Majority Leader since Congressman Tom DeLay (R-TX) stepped down. Blunt will continue as House Majority Whip. Boehner was first elected to Congress in 1990 and serves as Vice Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

    Correction - Last week's column had a mistake in the item regarding "Farm Numbers Decline in 2005" concerning hog operations. The correct information is: "the number of operations with hogs totaled 67,330 during 2005, down 3 percent from 2004 and 9 percent from 2003. Places with 2,000 or more head accounted for 79 percent of the inventory." This information comes from USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service's report, "Farms, Land in Farms, and Livestock Operations - 2005 Summary." - Scott Shearer

  • Corn acres expected to decline
    02/10/06   
    High fertilizer prices are shaping up to be a significant factor for lower U.S. corn acreage this year, according to David Asbridge, Doane Ag Services, St. Louis, Mo. Asbridge spoke at the National Alliance of Agricultural Crop Consultants in Tucson, Ariz., in January. High natural gas prices are part of the reason why fertility prices are skyrocketing, although not directly, according to Asbridge. Rather, high natural gas prices are forcing U.S. nitrogen manufacturers to cut back on production, leading to more imports, which is increasing global demand in a tight supply situation. - Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    2006: More soybeans
    02/09/06   
    Soybean producers, that hot breath on the back of your neck is a bear's. As of Jan. 19, March soybean futures had dropped another 5.5 cents and Scott Stiles said the rough treatment was likely to continue. "I wish we could have done this (talk) three weeks ago," Stiles, Arkansas Extension economist, said at the Arkansas Seed Growers Association annual meeting in Brinkley. "There would have been a little better news to talk about in the soybean market." The prevailing belief is most private analysts "made their final sales around mid-December. The bulk are now saying, 'If you haven't gotten rid of your old crop, now's the time.'" - David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Let the numbers do the talking
    02/07/06   
    Agriculture Road Warrior Dave Kohl writes: "Dick Wittman, who lectured about financial management at the Executive Program for Agricultural Producers, was able to obtain financial information on this year's participants. Approximately 30 businesses filled out the survey, which provided some interesting results. The median gross revenue was $1.4 million, while median owned assets totaled $3.6 million and median liabilities of slightly over a million dollars were listed. The median operating profit margin was 16.7 percent, while the maximum reported was 33 percent." - The Corn & Soybean Digest

    Congress will reject Bush budget, ag leaders say
    02/08/06   
    President Bush has once again asked Congress to make across-the board cuts in farm programs, and congressional leaders once again are saying the president's proposals for agriculture won't fly. The fiscal year 2007 budget proposal the President presented Monday includes a 5-percent reduction in all commodity payments for savings of nearly $1 billion the first year and $7.7 billion over the next 10 years. The President also wants to place assessments on the sugar and milk programs and tighten payment limits. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Plants for disease relief
    02/08/06   
    The announcement last week that Dow AgroSciences was granted the world's first regulatory approval for a plant-made vaccine marks another step toward the commercialization, and legitimizing, of a technology that holds much promise for new ways of treating a myriad of human and animal diseases. And it may allow the production of more effective medicines at a lower cost than present methods that are based on expensive animal component research/manufacturing systems. Down the road, researchers envision plant-derived human vaccines that wouldn't require refrigerated storage, would have few side effects, and could be given in pill, inhalant, or patch form -- no more needles! - Hembree Brandon, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Give eavesdroppers a helping hand
    02/09/06   
    Dear government spy: By now you have probably hacked into my computer files and are, even as we speak, so the speak, scratching your head in bewilderment and assuming that I am up to no good. Let me assure you that nothing could be farther from the truth. But to protect myself from unfortunate investigation and even more unfortunate incarceration and disagreeable torture, let me explain a few anomalies. - Ron Smith, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Sign Up For MarketMaxx
    02/15/06   
    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



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