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Corn & Soybean Digest Farm Industry News
A Prism Business Media Publication May 24, 2006 | 060524   
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> USDA Digital repository provides public access

 >> Conrad, Johanns taking the gloves off

 >> Cover crops key to never-till systems

 >> New Holland leads the biodiesel revolution

 >> New from the Top of the Hill

 >> Thiesse's Thoughts: Grain Marketing Opportunities

 >> Administration must consider farm disasters of all kinds

 >> Road Warrior: Unfavorable Circumstances: Part 1

 >> CBOT launches first agricultural product side-by-side

 >> Portman says Doha Round talks still have a chance

 >> Senator criticizes Johanns' statements

 >> Ammonium nitrate fertilizer becoming 'hot potato'

 >> National sorghum producers opposes lifting tariff

 >> Your Last Chance for MarketMaxx

Logan Hawkes
05/24/06    Crop News Weekly
Welcome to the Memorial Day Weekend and the unofficial start to the summer season. The kids are getting out of school, the weeds are making their annual appearance and the pests are starting to buzz and fly and crawl and chew. Business as usual on the farm.

Have you ever had difficulty finding a USDA document or publication you needed to review? Who hasn't? But life may get a little easier now thanks to the high technology of the Internet. The National Agricultural Library has established an online digital repository providing convenient public access to the full text of selected U.S. Department of Agriculture publications. Also this week, while the 2002 farm bill is not scheduled to expire until Sept. 30, already there's plenty of debate over writing a new law -- and it's starting to get a little bit nasty. Elsewhere, "never-till" is not just a tag on the bumper of his truck, it's a way of life for New Kent, Va., farmer and Virginia Tech Extension Agent Paul Davis. The 1,200 acre L.C. Davis and Sons family farm that he helps manage has become a showplace for innovative farming techniques, including a system Davis calls 'never-till'. Finally, there's a lot of controversy brewing over disaster relief limitations for agriculture as imposed by USDA last week.

You'll find these stories and a lot more in this issue of Crop News Weekly. Happy reading, and have a great holiday weekend!

USDA Digital repository provides public access
The National Agricultural Library has established an online digital repository providing convenient public access to the full text of selected U.S. Department of Agriculture publications. NAL, the largest and most accessible agricultural library in the world, is part of the Agricultural Research Service, USDA's chief scientific research agency. The NAL Digital Repository contains a wide variety of publications that have been digitized and made available online at: - Southwest Farm Press

Conrad, Johanns taking the gloves off
The 2002 farm bill is not scheduled to expire until Sept. 30, 2007. But the debate over writing a new law is already starting to heat up and getting a little bit nasty. Although USDA and the House Agriculture Committee have held forums and hearings, the House committee and the Senate Agriculture Committee aren't expected to begin writing the 2007 farm bill until next spring. But that isn't stopping would-be players from getting some early licks in on such issues as disaster assistance legislation the Senate passed in an emergency supplemental appropriations bill. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Cover crops key to never-till systems
Never-till is not just a tag on the bumper of his truck, it's a way of life for New Kent, Va., farmer and Virginia Tech Extension Agent Paul Davis. The 1,200 acre L.C. Davis and Sons family farm that he helps manage has become a showplace for innovative farming techniques, including a system Davis calls 'never-till'. Never-till is just that -- never till the soil to plant a crop. Critical to a never-till system is finding a good cover crop -- the concept being to always keep something green on the soil. To find the optimum cover crop, Davis partnered with Virginia Tech Grain Crop Specialist Wade Thomason. - Roy Roberson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

New Holland leads the biodiesel revolution
New Holland informed the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) May 17 it fully approves use of up to B20 blends (20% biodiesel/80% petroleum-based diesel) on all equipment currently produced with New Holland engines. "We are proud to once again take a leading role in giving support to the biodiesel industry as it rapidly moves toward fulfilling its fundamental role in the future of energy use," says Dennis D. Recker, Vice President of New Holland Agricultural Business in North America. "In this era of uncertainty on issues relating to energy, we feel it is essential that New Holland reaffirm its already established support for the biodiesel industry." - The Corn & Soybean Digest

New from the Top of the Hill
05/19/06    National Hog Farmer
Pork & Beef Estimates -- USDA's latest estimates are that total U.S. meat production in 2007 will grow at a "considerably" slower rate than for 2006. Beef, pork, broiler meat and turkey are forecast to increase around 2 percent. According to USDA's projections, pork exports will reach record levels and beef exports will continue to recover. The pig crop in 2007 according to USDA projections will expand slowly and carcass weights will continue to gradually increase. Cattle producers will expand herds and feedlot supplies and slaughter is expected to slow.

Crop Estimates -- USDA released its crop estimates for the 2006/07 crop year. Corn: USDA is projecting the corn crop at 10.55 billion bushels. This is 5 percent below last year. Corn usage is expected to be a record 11.6 billion which is 6 percent over last year. Corn usage for ethanol production is expected to increase to 2.15 billion bushels which is a 34 percent. Exports are expected to increase by 6 percent to 2.15 billion bushels. Soybeans: Soybean production is estimated at 3.08 billion bushels. Soybean supplies are estimated at a record 3.649 billion bushels. This is 9 percent higher than last year. This is due to higher beginning stocks. Wheat: The wheat crop is estimated at 1.9 billion bushels which is 11 percent lower than last year. Total wheat use is projected to decrease by 5 percent due to lower exports.

Farm Bill Feedback Form -- The House Agriculture Committee has launched a web-based farm bill feedback form which will allow producers to provide the committee with feedback about current farm policy and for input about future farm policy. The form is available at

Online Disaster Petition -- With the administration's opposition to the Senate passed agricultural disaster assistance, Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Mark Dayton (D-MN), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), and John Salazar (D-CO) have established an online petition to the President and House of Representatives' leaders on their websites for producers to sign in support of the disaster assistance. The petitions are available at,,,, and

Vietnam Trade Agreement -- The United States and Vietnam reached an agreement on a bilateral market access agreement. This will assist Vietnam's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The agreement will reduce tariffs on three-fourths of U.S. agricultural exports to 15% or less. This will include beef products, pork, variety meats, cotton, soybeans and various fruits. The agreement also recognizes the U.S. inspection system which will reduce sanitary and technical barriers for the meat industry.

AG Groups Call for Ambitious WTO Trade Talks -- The Ag Trade Coalition called for "ambitious and balanced outcome" in the Doha Round of agricultural negotiations for market access, domestic support and export competition. The coalition stated that "Agriculture cannot afford an outcome that only provides minimal gains. A final deal that provides only modest liberalization and reforms will draw little support from U.S. agriculture and will have difficulty gathering support in the U.S. Congress." The coalition is comprised of over 50 agricultural organizations and companies. The negotiators are now trying to reach an agreement by the end of July.

Pork Board Appointments -- Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns announced new appointments to the National Pork Board. Those appointed to 3-year terms were: Dianne Bettin, Truman, MN; Dennis Michael, Yankton, SD; Jeff Galle, Pittsfield, IL; Eugene Nemechek, Wilson, NC; and William Brown, Nevada, OH. Alan Wilhoite, Labanan, IN was appointed to a 2-year term.

AG Groups Support Schwab for Trade Ambassador -- Over sixty agricultural associations and companies sent a letter to the Senate in support of Susan Schwab to be the next U.S. Trade Representative. The letter stated that "Schwab has dedicated her career to international affairs and the pursuit of forging commercially meaningful trade ties. Her desire to achieve tangible results for American agriculture and agribusiness is precisely the leadership that is needed in the dynamic and sometimes difficult to navigate world of agricultural trade." Those organizations signing the letter included: American Farm Bureau Federation, American Meat Institute, American Soybean Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Corn Growers Association, National Pork Producers Association, The Fertilizer Institute, and U.S. Dairy Export Council.

Senate Confirms USDA Officials -- The Senate confirmed four USDA officials. Those confirmed were Dr. Gale Buchanan, Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. Buchanan previously served as Dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia. Boyd Rutherford will serve as Assistant Secretary of Administration. Rutherford currently serves as secretary for the Maryland Department of General Services. Linda Strachan will serve as Assistant Secretary of Congressional Relations. Strachan was director of Federal Government Affairs of Monsanto. Marc Kesselman will serve as General Counsel. He has been serving as Deputy General Counsel in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). - Scott Shearer

Thiesse's Thoughts: Grain Marketing Opportunities
Many times the best grain marketing opportunities for corn and soybeans in a given year come during or shortly after planting season (April, May and June). The latest USDA Supply and Demand Report, released May 12, projects a sharp increase in corn usage, less planted corn acres for 2006, and a significant drop in the estimated corn carryover for 2006-07, compared to current corn carryover levels. The result has been a sharp upturn in both cash corn and new crop corn prices. Closing cash corn prices on May 12 were approximately $.25-.30/bu. higher than cash corn prices at local grain elevators in late March, and are now near $2/bu. There is a lot of 2005 corn in on-farm storage that is still not priced. - Kent Thiesse, The Corn & Soybean Digest

Administration must consider farm disasters of all kinds
We applaud efforts to continue helping victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. Folks affected by these devastating storms need assistance to bring their lives back to some semblance of normalcy. And for those who live along the Gulf Coast it may be years achieving any measure of routine. And it is appropriate that farmers who lost crops, property and homes to these destructive storms receive emergency relief funds. But those hurricanes were not the only natural disasters that affected farmers last year. Prolonged drought, especially in South Texas but also in parts of Central, West and High Plains, as well as in neighboring New Mexico and Oklahoma, caused enormous losses to crop and livestock producers. - Ron Smith, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Road Warrior: Unfavorable Circumstances: Part 1
Agriculture Road Warrior Dave Kohl writes: "I was asked an interesting question by one of the trainees in the Farm Credit University blended education class for agrilenders. Which unfavorable circumstance poses the largest threat to the United States' ability to be a low cost agricultural producer in a global marketplace: High energy and input cost, increasing land values, the 2007 farm bill, rising interest rates, or immigration reform..." - The Corn & Soybean Digest

CBOT launches first agricultural product side-by-side
The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) announced it is set to begin the listing of Agricultural futures electronically during daytime hours, beginning with South American Soybean (SAB) futures on Monday, May 15. CBOT is also extending the trading hours in the product by 30 minutes, with the electronic and open auction market for SAB futures opening a half hour earlier at 9:00 a.m. (Chicago Time) beginning on May 15. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Portman says Doha Round talks still have a chance
U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman says he still believes the WTO can successfully complete the Doha Development Round, but only if its members "work together to get that done." Portman was in Geneva, Switzerland, with Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and Deputy USTR Susan Schwab for what might be Portman's last trip as the chief U.S. trade negotiator. (Portman has been nominated to become director of the Office of Management and Budget.) - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Senator criticizes Johanns' statements
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., says Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns' opposition to a new round of disaster assistance for U.S. farmers and ranchers means the country may need a new secretary of agriculture. Conrad is the principal author of an amendment to the Senate-passed emergency supplemental appropriations bill that would provide $3.9 billion in disaster relief to farmers for weather-related losses in 2005. President Bush has threatened to veto the bill, which also contains $92.5 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and hurricane recovery, if it exceeds the $92.5 billion. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Ammonium nitrate fertilizer becoming 'hot potato'
This summer, farmers and ranchers will find it harder and harder to buy ammonium nitrate, a commonly used nitrogen fertilizer, said a Texas Cooperative Extension expert. Past concerns with nitrogen fertilizer have been linked to the cost of oil and natural gas. This time the shortage has nothing to do with fuel costs, but has originated from fears of terrorism. Ammonium nitrate can be used to make bombs such as the one that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. And federal regulations may soon make it just too much trouble for fertilizer dealers to stock and sell the product. - Robert Burns

National sorghum producers opposes lifting tariff
The National Sorghum Producers opposes lifting the secondary tariff on ethanol because it will fail to deliver lower gasoline prices to consumers while subsidizing foreign ethanol production. "Our nation is struggling with high gasoline prices, but U.S. ethanol production is not to blame," said NSP President Greg Shelor of Minneola, Kan. "According to the Energy Information Administration, there is more than twice as much ethanol produced in the U.S. than is needed by refiners to replace MTBE. We are also importing ethanol, some of it duty-free through the Caribbean Basin Initiative. If there is any more available ethanol not already entering the market, it would not help significantly in lowering gasoline prices." - Farm Press Editorial Staff

Your Last Chance for MarketMaxx
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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