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A Prism Business Media Publication November 1, 2006 | 061101   
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> Natural gas supplies up, prices down

 >> Brazilian agriculture facing a multitude of problems

 >> Interest in alternative fuels grows in Arkansas

 >> Terracing saving tons of soils in the Blacklands

 >> ASA appreciates EPA offer to clarify dust issue

 >> FSA county committee ballots

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> A meaningful alternative fuels program

 >> Premiums based on yield attract growers

 >> Thiesse's Thoughts: Corn storage and farm safety

 >> Road Warrior: Where are land values heading?

 >> Manage stored grain to minimize risk of losses

 >> Tight hay supply point to higher prices

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  EDITOR'S NOTE
Logan Hawkes
11/01/06    Crop News Weekly
We're there again, the focal point of our democratic process. Election day is less than a week away and all bets are off as to who will win, who actually cares, and what difference it might make in the long run. If that sounds a bit harsh and apathetic, it should. Too bad it captures the spirit of the average American voter who believes less in his government now than any generation before. Not that there isn't reason for such skeptisism among Americans when it comes down to it. Corrupt politicians, lawless behavior, and an apparent inability to take action has caused many to doubt the effectiveness of our system. It's broke. And there's only one way to fix it. And that's to vote. If every eligible voter cast a ballot on election day, the collective voice of America would be heard. We can complain about the politicians and their many shortcomings. But the ultimate fault lies squarely on the shoulders of those who do not exercise their democratic responsibility. Apathy only goes so far. Next week, make your voice be heard.

There's plenty of ag news in the spotlight this week, so dig in and enjoy. And thanks for reading Crop News Weekly.



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  FROM OUR MAGAZINES
Natural gas supplies up, prices down
10/31/06   
Hmmm, let's see if we can follow this bit of news: Natural gas prices have dropped significantly from a year ago, allowing suppliers to build reserves and creating a record high surplus...but...users will likely pay higher prices going into the winter, and then pay a bit less as the winter goes on, maybe. That's because, industry sources say, many utility companies will be basing their early-to-midwinter charges on older, higher-priced gas in their reserves, rather than on the cheaper gas they're now buying. - Hembree Brandon, Farm Press Editorial Staff

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Brazilian agriculture facing a multitude of problems
10/30/06   
Economic and logistical efficiency will once more be critical factors for Brazilian farmers in the 2006-07 season. "Those who expanded too much will have to scale back. It's imperative to improve the risk management," says José Roberto Mendonça de Barros, from MB Associates, who is supporting the systematic use of private bonds and rural credit -- which until June totaled only $297 million -- and the implementation of rural insurance. According to Barros, the exchange rate should also be cause for concern among farmers. He doesn't expect a significant devaluation of the real (the Brazilian currency) versus the dollar in the short run. "We're not going to see a R$2.80 per dollar rate anymore, unless there's a major financial crisis in the international market." - Jose Sergio Osse, Freelance Writer

Interest in alternative fuels grows in Arkansas
10/30/06   
For several years, ethanol was an infrequent topic of conversation amongst the Hornbeck brothers. While interested in bringing the fuel to eastern Arkansas, the drawbacks were plentiful and seemed insurmountable: not enough corn grown in the area, a landlocked town, and prohibitive costs for hauling corn to their base in DeWitt, Ark. Then, early in 2005, the Hornbecks -- well-known through Hornbeck Seeds, started by their father -- were outside Buenos Aires, Argentina, checking in with a research company they do business with. Just by chance, an Argentine business associate mentioned one of the company's subsidiaries, a bio-diesel engineering firm. - David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial Staff

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We're Bullish on Treating Soybeans.
"Last year I saw a five bushel increase on soybeans treated with CruiserMaxx Beans. This year I have seen a big difference in emergence - the treated seed came out of the ground strong and never quit." - Mark Schleder, Green Valley, IL. Visit cruisermaxxbeans.com and give your beans The power to perform.(tm)

Terracing saving tons of soils in the Blacklands
10/27/06   
Pat Hensen has believed in the benefits of soil conservation for more than 40 years, first as a conservationist with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (the Soil Conservation Service when he first started) and as a practitioner of what he preached on his own farm. His latest effort includes terracing a farm he leases in Bell County, Texas, aided by funds from the NRCS environmental quality incentive program (EQIP). "The fields will be harder to work with terraces," Hensen says, "but I don't think I'd be farming these fields long without these terraces. We'll save a lot of soil." - Ron Smith, Farm Press Editorial Staff

ASA appreciates EPA offer to clarify dust issue
10/27/06   
The American Soybean Association (ASA) has expressed appreciation that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Stephen Johnson has offered to send a letter to the states clarifying that a new EPA rule does not change the existing status of agricultural dust regulations. Johnson offered the letter during a visit to the Perry, Iowa, farm of ASA past-President Ron Heck. The top EPA official was invited to meet with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to listen to producers' concerns about EPA's proposed dust control regulations.

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""Our customers are very conscious of the potential for glyphosate weed resistance, which is one reason we don't recommend planting only glyphosate-tolerant corn. In the past 10 years, we have seen a lot of ALS-resistant waterhemp, so we understand the potential for resistance. Although no glyphosate resistance has been documented in the area, we feel like the amount of glyphosate needed to control certain weeds has increased.""
John Allen, Brandt Consolidated, New Berlin, Ill.

For more information on other glyphosate resistance management tips, click here.

FSA county committee ballots
10/26/06   
USDA farm program participants should be watching their mailboxes for ballots for the upcoming county Farm Service Agency committee elections. Ballots for local administrative area positions on the committee are scheduled to arrive by Nov. 3. The deadline for returning the marked ballots to a county FSA or USDA Service Center office is Dec. 5.

News from the Top of the Hill
10/27/06    National Hog Farmer
Voluntary Animal ID -- Senator Jim Talent (R-MO) and Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) have introduced legislation that would prohibit USDA from implementing a national animal ID system. It would allow for a voluntary animal identification system and would require USDA to protect any information obtained through a voluntary system.

Drop in U.S. AG Exports to Cuba -- According to Alimport, the Cuban food import agency, U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba will be lower than in 2005. The reason for the drop in sales is tighter regulations that the administration has imposed on money transfers between the U.S. and Cuba. The tighter regulations on financial transactions imposed in 2005 have increased the cost doing business with the U.S. by 20 percent according to Alimport officials. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) has introduced legislation that would bar the administration's requirement that Cuba pay cash in advance before shipment -- not just before delivery, which is the international norm for any U.S. agricultural exports. Dorgan said the administration's rule is another "back door attempt to block U.S. food sales to Cuba, by delaying delivery of those sales and imposing a requirement that U.S. competitors do not have to meet in order to ship farm products to Cuba." U.S. agricultural sales to Cuba fell $42 million in 2005 after the administration put the rule in place, compared to 2004 sales. The main U.S. imports are chicken, corn, wheat, rice, soybeans, and powdered milk. Cuba has been increasing their imports from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and China. Cuba imports approximately $1.5 billion in agricultural products annually. The ban on U.S. food and medicine exports was lifted in 2000.

Pipeline Transport for Ethanol -- Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) has introduced the "Ethanol Infrastructure Expansion Act of 2006." This legislation would have the Department of Energy initiate studies of the feasibility of transporting ethanol by pipeline and make recommendations to Congress. Harkin said, "We continue to hear comments that ethanol transport by pipeline can't be done efficiently, but is happening right now in Brazil, and that country is planning to expand its ethanol pipeline system. We need to examine the issues and get all the facts on the table. Dedicated ethanol pipelines may be critical to maximize ethanol's contribution to meeting our national energy needs."

Election -- AG Committees -- With the election less than two weeks, there are a number of Senate and House races that could affect the make-up of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. The following members of the Senate Agriculture Committee are considered in very tough races Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Jim Talent (R-MO). Members of the House Agriculture Committee considered in close races are Congressmen Jim Barrow (D-GA), Leonard Boswell (D-IA), Jim Marshall (D-GA), Charlie Melancon (D-LA), and Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO). - Scott Shearer

A meaningful alternative fuels program
10/25/06   
A lot is being said and written about alternative energy these days, with much of the attention focused on ethanol made from U.S. corn. Billions of dollars are being invested in new production facilities, with more on the drawing board. Everybody from zillionaires Bill Gates and Richard Branson to everyday farmers is investing in ethanol plants. - Hembree Brandon, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Premiums based on yield attract growers
10/24/06   
Syngenta is offering soybean growers financial incentives to increase their 2007 soybean yields. Through the Syngenta AgriEdge Grain Premium Program, growers who purchase NK Brand Roundup Ready soybeans from Garst, Golden Harvest or NK Brand are eligible for premiums ranging from nine to 21 cents/bu. on next year's yield. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Thiesse's Thoughts: Corn storage and farm safety
10/24/06   
Corn storage availability does not appear to be as large of an issue at grain elevators this fall, as it has been in recent years. High demand for corn usage and lower grain carryover stocks has probably freed-up more commercial grain storage for the 2006 corn crop. Also, producers are reminded to keep farm safety in mind for their families, their employees and themselves as they finish up the 2006 harvest season. Late fall is a key time for farm accidents, due to the shorter day length, and the extra stress of trying to finish up fall field work before winter weather conditions arrive. - Kent Thiesse, The Corn & Soybean Digest

Road Warrior: Where are land values heading?
10/24/06   
Dave Kohl writes: "Another one of my loyal readers asked that question in early June. The land values in his area are influenced by the 1031 tax exchange and the government payments, without much pressure from development values or population. Are land values in Iowa and the Upper Midwest ready to cap out like they did in 1981? Let's examine this issue." - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Manage stored grain to minimize risk of losses
10/24/06   
Grain harvest is in full swing, but it's not too late to review on-farm grain storage principles. Phillip Glogoza and Dave Nicolai, crops educators with the University of Minnesota Extension Service, say there are four simple steps to maintain post-harvest quality: sanitation, loading, aeration and monitoring the grain. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Tight hay supply point to higher prices
The Oct. 19 USDA Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook report shows U.S. hay supplies are likely to be fairly tight and expensive this winter, particularly if a more-normal winter develops following last year's mild one. Hay production was forecast at 147 million tons this year, down 2.4% from the 2005 total. May 1 hay stocks were down 23%, and dry conditions in many areas forced hay feeding this past summer. The September farm price of other hay averaged $93/ton, up from $78.90 a year ago. The alfalfa hay price averaged $112/ton, up from $106 in September 2005. <->eHay Weekly



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