Corn & Soybean Digest Farm Industry News
A Prism Business Media Publication April 19, 2006 | 060418   

 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> High fuel, fertilizer prices to lead to fewer corn acres

 >> Southeast growers trying Early Soybean Production

 >> ASA commends USDA for soybean rust assessment

 >> Fewer restrictions will lead to better transgenic crops

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> Deadline for CRP sign-up extended

 >> ROAD WARRIOR: South of the Border perspective

 >> Thiesse's Thoughts: Custom rates increasing

 >> Legislative lunacy emerges from immigration reform

 >> Mild winter increases risk of mosquito-borne diseases

 >> Peterson introduces House disaster bill

 >> Senate leaves farmer-guest worker debate in limbo

 >> Avian flu pandemic not inevitable

 >> U.S. farmers say they'll plant more soybeans and cotton

 >> Consider pest issues before planting corn

 >> Got a good machinery idea?

 >> MarketMaxx


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Logan Hawkes
04/19/06    Crop News Weekly
Is it just my imagination or has summer arrived a little early? That's a joke to you highplainers who are actually getting a blast of wintery weather. The Midwest begins feeling some of that cooler weather today. Meanwhile, parts of the Midwest down into Texas are on target for a record hot April if things keep up. Weather, like life on the farm, can change quickly. We adapt. We survive. Weather happens.

Speaking of surviving, in the spotlight this week, expect fewer corn acres this year than last, thanks in large part to higher fuel and fertilizer prices. How do you spell relief? And speaking of relief, both the USDA and the American Soybean Association are cautiously optimistic about U.S. preparedness for defense against Asian soybean rust. We're not out of the woods yet, but there is reason to hope. Speaking of hope, a biotech researcher says less regulation will allow public entities -- including universities -- to pursue more transgenic crop research, which will help reduce the number of diseases found in plants. And speaking of reductions - and back to the subject of warm weather - farmers in the Southland are expecting lower crop yields thanks to an influx of pests - and thanks to the warmer weather.

In the farm business, it seems everything starts and ends with the same thought - weather. There's a lot more inside this issue of Crop Nerws Weekly. Dig in and enjoy.


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 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
High fuel, fertilizer prices to lead to fewer corn acres
The high cost of fuel and fertilizer is leading U.S. farmers to switch from corn to less input-intensive crops such as soybeans in 2006, according to the Prospective Plantings report released by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Producers plan to plant 78 million acres of corn in 2006, down 5 percent from 2005. Meanwhile, they intend to plant a record-high 76.9 million acres of soybeans, up 7 percent. For all wheat, NASS expects planted area to remain almost unchanged from last season at 57.1 million acres, despite a major drop in durum wheat acres. Cotton area is expected to rise 3 percent, to 14.6 million acres. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Southeast growers trying Early Soybean Production
Soybean producers in Alabama who tried an Early Soybean Production System (ESPS) this past year generally enjoyed better-than-average yields, thanks in large part to ideal weather conditions, says Dennis Delaney, Auburn University Extension agronomist. The majority of the ESPS soybeans are being grown in north Alabama's Tennessee Valley, says Delaney, although they're also being grown in other parts of the state, including south Alabama's Wiregrass Region. - Paul Hollis, Farm Press Editorial Staff

ASA commends USDA for soybean rust assessment
The American Soybean Association (ASA) expressed cautious optimism about U.S. preparedness for defense against Asian soybean rust as outlined in a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released today by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee. Overall, the GAO report found that USDA has done a solid job of monitoring cases of soybean rust in the U.S. and taking steps to help U.S. farmers prepare to combat the disease. At the same time, the report warns that soybean rust still poses a large threat to U.S. farmers and highlights shortfalls and needed improvements. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Fewer restrictions will lead to better transgenic crops
There's a great opportunity for plant biologists and biotechnologists such as those within the Texas A&M University System to contribute. Less regulation will allow public entities -- including universities -- to pursue more transgenic crop research, which will help reduce the number of diseases found in plants, a researcher said recently. "The impact of regulatory costs on getting a transgenic crop to the field and commercialized is very high," said Roger Beachy, president of the Danforth Plant Science Center. - Blair Fannin, Farm Press Editorial Staff

News from the Top of the Hill
04/14/06    National Hog Farmer
NPPC Urges Producers to Register Premises - The swine identification implementation task force is urging pork producers to register their premises. The task force, consisting of members of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the National Pork Board, hope premises registration will be completed by December 2007. NPPC said "Premises registration will help us trace back to a specific location so a quick, appropriate response to an animal health emergency can help protect our operations." NPPC will be urging producers to register their premises at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa on June 8-10.

US-China Food Safety And Plant and Animal Health Agreement - The United States and China signed a memorandum of understanding to improve bilateral cooperation on animal and plant health and food safety. The memorandum provides for the two countries to exchange information on food regulations and standards, inspection and quarantine procedures, and other issues such as pests and disease, harmful residues, and food certification. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns said, "China is an increasingly important market for U.S. food and agricultural products. In 2005, U.S. farmers and ranchers sold more than $6 billion in agricultural products to China, making it our fifth largest export market. This memorandum of understanding will create a structure to enable us to address sanitary, phytosanitary and food safety issues before they become barriers to the thriving agricultural trade between our two countries."

China Commits to Open Market to U.S. Beef - China has agreed "conditionally" to reopen its market to U.S. beef, subject to the finalization of a protocol by technical experts. USDA and China are expected to conduct such negotiations in the near future. The U.S. exported $100 million worth of beef to China in 2003.

US and Peru Sign Trade Agreement - This week, the United States and Peru signed the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA). According to USTR, more than two-thirds of current U.S. farm exports to Peru will become duty-free immediately upon implementation of the agreement. Tariffs on most U.S. farm products will be phased out within 15 years, with all tariffs eliminated in 17 years. The U.S. and Peru have resolved the sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to agricultural trade, including food safety inspection procedures for beef, pork, and poultry. Congress is expected to consider the agreement later this year.

CRP Sign-Up Deadline Extended - USDA announced an extension of the sign-up deadlines for both the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the special CRP re-enrollment and extension opportunities until April 28. The original deadline was April 14. For more information on CRP, producers can contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office or visit

House Disaster Legislation - Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN) has introduced bipartisan legislation concerning comprehensive emergency disaster assistance for weather-related losses and increased energy costs for 2005. The National Farmers Union (NFU) said, "The fact that disaster assistance has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate shows this is a serious concern that needs to be addressed to help farmers and ranchers deal with circumstances beyond their control." The legislation is similar to the disaster assistance legislation passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this month. There are 25 co-sponsors of the House legislation. - Scott Shearer

Deadline for CRP sign-up extended
The sign-up deadlines for both the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the special CRP re-enrollment and extension opportunities have been extended by USDA until April 28. The deadline for both opportunities was originally April 14. "I encourage all eligible farmers and ranchers to take advantage of the Conservation Reserve Program enrollment options available now through April 28," said Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns. "Farmers can improve our soil, water, air and wildlife habitat resources by re-enrolling and extending their CRP contracts." - Farm Press Editorial Staff

ROAD WARRIOR: South of the Border perspective
04/11/06    The Corn & Soybean Digest
Agriculture Road Warior Dave Kohl writes: My travels provided me a unique perspective on one of our trading partners, Mexico. I shared a morning program with Antonio Pedroza, CEO and President of Malta Cleyton, the largest producer of animal and pet food in Mexico. The following are some of the major highlights from his program and discussion from his very informative talk..."

Thiesse's Thoughts: Custom rates increasing
As would be expected with rapidly increasing fuel costs, average 2006 custom rates for most farm work have also risen, compared to 2005 custom rates. The average cost of diesel fuel in the upper Midwest is approximately 50 percent higher than a year ago, and most custom rates for farm work in 2006 are 4-7 percent above the rates a year earlier, with an average increase of about 5 percent. The largest increases in custom rates in 2006 were for tillage and harvest operations, which tend to use more fuel than some other farm operations. In addition to higher fuel costs, increasing cost for new and used machinery is also a factor in the higher custom rates for 2006. - Kent Thiesse, The Corn & Soybean Digest

Legislative lunacy emerges from immigration reform
California is the leader in just about everything -- or at least it thinks everything trendy starts on the Left Coast. However, the Golden State has achieved a dubious No. 1 distinction for legislative lunacy. Immigration reform has long been one of the most complex and contentious issues in America made even more controversial and problematic by 9/11 and terrorism. In the midst of the current immigration reform debate, Southern California U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher offers up the all-time inane, politically asinine solution to the immigration issue: "I say let the prisoners pick the fruits." - Harry Cline, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Mild winter increases risk of mosquito-borne diseases
Farmers in the Southeast are bracing for increased insect threats to their crops, created by an unseasonably warm, and in some areas dry, winter. In addition to crop threats, the unusual weather pattern brings with it some human risks and greater livestock risks that are heightened for rural areas. Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV) are two mosquito-vectored diseases that are now endemic to rural areas of the Southeast. Though the greater risk for either disease is to livestock, there is significant risk to humans from both diseases. - Roy Roberson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Peterson introduces House disaster bill
Efforts to pass legislation to help farmers hurt by last year's floods, droughts, hurricanes and high energy prices appear to be gaining ground after Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., introduced new disaster relief legislation in the House. The Peterson measure is similar to an amendment to a supplemental appropriations bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee April 4. The supplemental bill also contains funding for the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina relief. - Farm Press Editorial Staff

Senate leaves farmer-guest worker debate in limbo
The Senate left for its Easter recess without passing an immigration reform bill, leaving farmers and documented and undocumented farm workers from other countries in limbo for several more weeks or months. For a little while, it appeared Senate leaders had reached a compromise that would have granted citizenship to illegal immigrants and established an expanded temporary guest worker program to help farmers and other businessmen while tightening U.S. border security. - Forrest Laws. Farm Press Editorial Staff

Avian flu pandemic not inevitable
To rip off a Bob Dylan lyric, avian influenza is a slow train coming. And it appears to be building steam. Despite the culling or vaccination of millions of Asian and European birds, the virus continues its push west. Showing up in some 30 new countries over the past two months, H5N1 is expected to soon reach North American shores, vectored by migrating birds. - David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial Staff

U.S. farmers say they'll plant more soybeans and cotton
U.S. cotton producers intend to plant 14.6 million acres to the crop in 2005, up 3 percent from last year's 14.2 million acres, according to USDA's March 31 Prospective Plantings report. Plantings include 14.3 million acres of upland, also up 3 percent. Growers intend to increase acreage in all cotton-producing states except Alabama and South Carolina, where expected acreage is down slightly from 2005. American-Pima cotton growers intend to increase their plantings 24 percent from 2005, to a record high 334,000 acres. - Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Consider pest issues before planting corn
Kansas enjoyed a mild, albeit dry winter through much of the state, but that doesn't necessarily mean farmers will see more insects in their corn this year, a Kansas State University entomologist says. "Populations of most below-ground insects, such as wireworms and white grubs, probably were not greatly affected," says Randy Higgins, field crop entomology specialist with K-State Research and Extension. The mild winter may have an impact on other insects, however. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Got a good machinery idea?
Got a whiz bang machinery idea? Please tell our Corn And Soybean Digest editors about it. They're searching for shop-built or modified farm machinery projects that you've worked on over the winter. No idea is too big or too small. They're interested in machinery that's been built from scratch, or several pieces of equipment that have been torn down and re-assembled as a single unit, or simple modifications to existing equipment. It's always interesting to see planters, anhydrous applicators, sprayers and tillage tools that farmers have constructed to help them farm better, bigger or more efficiently. If you have an idea you'd like to share, please send an e-mail to or click on the link below to enter your project.

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 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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