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A Prism Business Media Publication December 13, 2006 | 061213   
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> Peterson backs U.S. biofuel production

 >> Disaster bill united, divided Senate, House

 >> U.S. agricultural exports forecast at record value

 >> Heavy hitting hybrids: What's new?

 >> Bean-sponsored Web page promotes animal ag

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> Factor in the energy costs

 >> Get ready for the "Eye On Energy" Conference

 >> Energy costs fuel the discussions

 >> Multi-Commodity Exchange declared win-win

 >> Conrad needed three votes to win 'symbolic' vote

 >> Agricenter hires John Bradley as research director

 >> Alexander honored for service to ag chemicals industry

 >> Research equipment running on soy biodiesel

 >> GPS survey can improve farm's bottom line

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  EDITOR'S NOTE
Logan Hawkes
12/13/06    Crop News Weekly
The countdown to Christmas is on and I am certainly trying to get ready by selecting some really great holiday gifts, like the new 2007 model Apache sprayer 710 for my wife, the McCormick MB 55 tractor for my youngest son and a new Stihl MS441 chain saw for sister Joan. Wait a minute, I seem to be getting my wish list and my gift list mixed up, Well, maybe no one will notice.

In the news this week, U.S. agricultural exports are expected to reach a record $77 billion for the 2007 fiscal year, according to a November report from USDA's Economic Research Service and Foreign Agricultural Service. The export figure is up $5 billion from the August forecast and $8.3 billion from 2006. Also this week, each year the decision about what seed to plant becomes more and more complicated. That's why The Corn And Soybean Digest asked major seed companies for their best new corn hybrids for next year, and we've got the results for your review. Elsewhere in the news, the importance of animal ag is the focus of a new soybean checkoff-sponsored Web site for growers. Meanwhile, sky-high energy costs mean higher corn drying costs at harvest, and that puts a premium on hybrids that dry down faster. We offer a look inside this issue this week.

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



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  FROM OUR MAGAZINES
Peterson backs U.S. biofuel production
12/12/06   
A day after he was elected chairman of the House Agriculture Committee in early December, U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, a Minnesota Democrat, held a press conference where he spent the bulk of his time speaking on the need for a vibrant biofuel industry. For those hoping for an extension of the current farm bill, Peterson offered little. But he wasn't dismissive or hostile to the current bill's structure. - David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial Staff

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Disaster bill united, divided Senate, House
12/12/06   
Many Senate and House members wanted to pass disaster assistance legislation before the 109th Congress adjourned, but they couldn't figure out how to do it, especially after leaders said they would not take up a separate fiscal 2007 agricultural appropriations bill. As a result, the Senate fell three votes short of approving an amendment offered by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., which would have extended disaster assistance benefits to farmers who suffered losses due to drought and other weather problems in 2006. Some Mid-South senators voted against the amendment. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

U.S. agricultural exports forecast at record value
12/11/06   
U.S. agricultural exports are expected to reach a record $77 billion for the 2007 fiscal year, according to a November report from USDA's Economic Research Service and Foreign Agricultural Service. The export figure is up $5 billion from the August forecast and $8.3 billion from 2006. Forecast corn exports were raised $2.1 billion from August to a near-record $8.9 billion on higher prices due to continued strong demand and tightening domestic supply. Domestic use for ethanol and overseas demand for feed use remains strong. - Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

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Heavy hitting hybrids: What's new?
Single traits. Triple stacks. How do you decide? Each year the decision about what seed to plant becomes more and more complicated. That's why The Corn And Soybean Digest asked major seed companies for their best new corn hybrids for next year. Use this 2007 New Corn Hybrids guide as a starting point for selecting next year's hybrids. Although you should also consider university, independent and company trial data when you decide, take a look at these seed companies' top picks for the 2007 growing season. - Compiled by Kate Royer, The Corn & Soybean Digest

Bean-sponsored Web page promotes animal ag
The importance of animal ag is the focus of a new soybean checkoff-sponsored Web site, www.animalag.org. The site features factual info for soybean farmers to use in support of the animal ag-business climate. The site focuses on quantifying the importance of livestock and poultry to the soybean industry and contains info on the economic impact of animal ag at the state level, environmental regulation info, and contact info for experts in animal ag and animal welfare.

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Les Schliep, Pine Island, Minn resistancefighter.com and solutions.

News from the Top of the Hill
12/07/06    National Hog Farmer
Disaster Assistance Fails in Senate -- The Senate failed to pass a $4.9 billion disaster assistance package this week during consideration of the fiscal year 2007 agricultural appropriations bill. Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) objected and raised budget concerns. The administration continues to oppose the proposal. The statement of administration policy said, "If the president is presented with a bill that his senior advisors believe would result in total 2007 appropriations exceeding the $873 billion top line, the president's senior advisors would recommend he veto the bill."

President Signs Animal Terrorism Act -- President Bush has signed the "Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act." This legislation increases penalties for criminal acts against animal enterprises (commercial, academic, laboratories, animal shelter, pet store, breeder or furrier). It revises criminal prohibitions against damaging or interfering with the operations of an animal enterprise to include "intentional damage or loss to any real or personal property and intentional threats of death or serious bodily injury against individuals." The bill was sponsored by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI).

Korea Rejects Two More Beef Shipments -- South Korea rejected two additional shipments of U.S. beef because of bone chips. Secretary of agriculture Mike Johanns said, "Today, South Korean officials have sent the message that their market is not commercially viable for U.S. beef. South Korea is attempting to claim its border is open to U.S. beef while refusing to allow trade to take place. This is unacceptable and certainly not the way trading partners should work with one another."

Roberts Sends Beef Letter to Korea -- Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) sent a letter to the South Korean ambassador asking for "immediate resumption of beef trade based on sound science in accordance with international standards." Senator Roberts wrote, "This rejection seems to be based on nothing more than a continued effort by South Korea to build false barriers to trade between our two countries. This is not how two allies, with many mutual interests, should conduct business." Roberts went on to write, "Continued barriers to resuming this trade, and unfair actions that are not based on science, will lead me to seriously question South Korea's commitment to any other trade and foreign policy agreements with the United States."

U.S. Ag Exports to Reach $77 Billion -- USDA has announced that agricultural exports for fiscal year 2007 are expected to reach a record $77 billion. This is $8.3 billion higher than during fiscal year 2006. Canada, Mexico and Japan continue to be the top three export markets for U.S. agriculture. China is expected to become the fourth-largest market for the United States, primarily due to increased soybean sales. Exports of livestock products are expected to reach $14.2 billion. Agricultural imports are expected to reach a record $69 billion.

Agriculture Supports USDA Nominee -- Seventy-six agricultural organizations sent a letter to the Senate supporting the nomination of Mark Keenum for USDA Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services. The letter was coordinated by the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Cotton Council and National Farmers Union. The organizations urged the Senate to move quickly on the nomination so Keenum could be at USDA in "the development of the Bush administration's position in the next farm bill." - Scott Shearer

Factor in the energy costs
Sky-high energy costs mean higher corn drying costs at harvest, and that puts a premium on hybrids that dry down faster. But the issue is complicated. For example, tough hybrids that can withstand stress and stand upright in the field longer can cut drying costs as much or more than hybrids that simply mature earlier, experts say. "The risk you have when moving hybrids from north to south or west to east is that the likelihood of stalk rot increases," says David Bubeck, corn research director for Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. "You have to be careful," he says. "Drydown is important, but the first priority should be selecting hybrids with high yields, strong stalks and good roots." - Edward Clark, The Corn & Soybean Digest

Get ready for the "Eye On Energy" Conference
The Corn & Soybean Conference
Spiraling energy costs are forcing farmers to examine every agronomic practice on their operations, especially tillage. That's the focus of the 2007 Conservation Tillage Conference and Expo, Jan. 30-31, themed "Eye On Energy" and slated for the Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center in Sioux Falls, SD. University experts and conservation-focused farmers will detail how conservation practices can help stretch energy dollars. The conference provides tillage info for beginners, as well as veteran no-till, strip till, ridge-till and mulch-till growers. Offered are four tracks:

Track I: Learn the basics: Tillage 101
Track II: Keep corn-on-corn profitable
Track III: Manage your energy costs
Track IV: Match new technology to tillage.

To register, visit www.tillageconference.com or call 800-722-5334, ext. 14698. The conference is sponsored by The Corn & Soybean Digest and Farm Industry News

Energy costs fuel the discussions
12/13/06   
Irrigation energy costs, and ways to manage them, will be highlighted at the 2006 Bootheel Irrigation Conference and Tradeshow which kicks off today at the University of Missouri Delta Center's Rone Hall. "With diesel prices staying high, more of our irrigators are looking at switching to electric systems," said Joe Henggeler, an MU agricultural engineer and the conference's planner. Recent MU research showed that a farmer applying 8 inches of water to a 130-acre corn field -- a typical swath for a center-pivot irrigation system -- spends almost $2,000 more per year for diesel power than for electric.

Multi-Commodity Exchange declared win-win
12/07/06   
The Multi-Commodity Education Program (MCEP) was launched in October when producers from the Midwest and Far West traveled to North Carolina to observe cotton production and processing and other agricultural operations. The schedule was developed by NCC staff in cooperation with local organizations and leaders and the trip was coordinated by NCC's Member Services. The program is supported by The Cotton Foundation with grants from Deere & Company and Monsanto.

Conrad needed three votes to win 'symbolic' vote
12/16/06   
North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad came up three votes short in his latest attempt to persuade the Senate to consider disaster assistance legislation for farmers and ranchers hurt by drought, floods or hurricanes in 2005 and 2006. The Senate voted 57-37 Tuesday (Dec. 5) on a point of order raised by New Hampshire's Judd Gregg, the chairman of the Budget Committee, who complained that Conrad's amendment to the agricultural appropriations bill would add $4.9 billion to the federal deficit. Sixty votes were needed to override the parliamentary maneuver. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Agricenter hires John Bradley as research director
12/08/06   
Agricenter International in Memphis has announced the hiring of nationally-known researcher John Bradley as director of research, replacing the retiring Jamie Jenkins. In a way, Bradley is returning to the roots that launched his career 24 years ago as an advocate of the no-till system of crop production -- he'll be working outdoors in the heat of summer, tending to rows of cotton, corn, soybeans, rice and other crops. He'll also be a spokesman for Agricenter's unique position as a research farm and educational facility.

Alexander honored for service to ag chemicals industry
12/08/06   
For his work as "an advocate for fact-based answers" on issues affecting the crop protection industry, Don Alexander is this year's recipient of the Southern Crop Production Association's highest honor for service to agriculture and the ag chemicals industry. The Don W. Beise Award, given annually to a person outside the organization, honors the late SCPA leader, and was presented at the annual convention of the association at Amelia Island, Florida. - Hembree Brandon, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Research equipment running on soy biodiesel
12/06/06   
Soybean researcher Dale Wood climbed onto a combine harvester at the University of Georgia Plant Sciences Farm in Oconee County. He grabbed the controls and took the machine for a slow spin, careful not to mow down a row of developing soybeans. Did he notice any difference between running the farm's equipment on soy biodiesel and on regular diesel? "No," he said. "And that's a good thing." - Stephanie Schupska, University of Georgia

GPS survey can improve farm's bottom line
12/06/06   
Inaccurate acreage estimates could lead to some farmers spending too much or too little on producing their crops, according to an LSU AgCenter watershed agent, who says the cost of more accurate surveys may be worth the investment. "Precision agriculture is putting the right stuff in the right place at the right time, and the first step is to find out how large your field really is," said Tom Hymel, an LSU AgCenter agent working in the Teche-Vermilion, Atchafalaya and lower Red River watershed basins in southwestern Louisiana.



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