A Primedia Property
February 16, 2005 050216

Table of Contents
Logan Hawkes
Conservation Tillage Conference Highlights
Budget proposal draws criticism from agriculture
2005 will be year to learn about Asian soybean rust
News from the Top of the Hill
View From the Left Coast: The Environmentalists
U.S. may soon lead world in herbicide-resistant weeds
Custom operator matches equipment with new ideas
U.S. soon to be world's No. 1 wine market
Glyphosate-resistant ragweed found in Missouri
NCGA highlights versatility of corn
ASA concerned about 2006 agriculture budget

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Letter from the Editor
Logan Hawkes
02/16/05    Crop News Weekly
In The News: Conservation Tillage Conference update; budget criticisms on the Hill; 2005 - year of rust; view from the left coast; U.S. - weed and wine champion; ragweed in Missouri - you'll find these and other stories in this issue of Crop News Weekly.

On a personal note, after receiving an email from a loyal reader this past week, I want to make certain I mention that in addition to spring around the corner, the lunar new year, a president's birthday observance and Mardi Gras, last week also marked the start to the Easter season. In an attempt to be politically correct, we sometimes look over the obvious, and this usually ends up offending someone, albiet the intent was never there. Easter is just around the corner - to set the record straight - and thanks for bringing our attention to the obvious.

There is a great deal to report this mid-Febraury issue, not the least of which are some of the highlights of this year's Corn & Soybean Digest and Farm Industry News' Conservation Tillage Conference. If this isn't enough, we'll explore the issue of possible ag budget cuts being threatened in our nation's capital, take a harder look at the adverse affects of Asian soybean rust in 2005, take a look at things from the environmentalist's point of view out on the West Coast, and find out why the U.S. is now the leader in herbicide-resistant weeds and may soon lead the world in wine consumtion.

It's an information-packed issue of Crop News Weekly. Thanks for joining us this week and happy reading.

Experience in Brazil has shown that soybean rust can be managed, as long as growers act early, decisively and with proper timing of fungicides that control the disease. Talk with your Syngenta retailer or call 1-866-SYNGENT(A) (796-4638) to get a local recommendation. www.soybeanrust.com

From our Magazines
Conservation Tillage Conference Highlights
02/16/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest - Farm Industry News
Over 250 farmers attended the first-ever Conservation Tillage Conference, presented by The Corn & Soybean Digest and Farm Industry News magazines. While most attendees were from a six-state area, five attendees came from the Ukraine and one from Japan. The attendees from Ukraine were on an extended trip to North America to gain information on tillage-related topics.

The two-day conference was held in Sioux Falls, SD. Farmers who attended expressed appreciation for quality of the presentations and speakers. Major sponsors of the conference were Case IH, Syngenta Crop Protection and Trimble.

Here's a snapshot of a some of the major presentations:

  • Don't let your weed control program get out of hand or you stand to lose significant yields. That's the message from Bob Hartzler, weed specialist at Iowa State University.

    "Studies show that if weeds reach even 2 in. tall, you'll lose 5% of your yield," he says. Hartzler says research shows it's important to plant into a weed-free zone. "If you're in a moderate- to high-weedy area, use a pre-emergence program," he says. "A total post program can cost a lot in the long run, so it's high risk to rely totally on a post program."

    On the glyphosate front, Hartzler says, "It seems inevitable that Roundup resistance will be fairly common in the Corn Belt in the next five years."

  • Scouting is the basis for a good integrated pest management program with conservation tillage, says Bruce Potter, integrated pest management specialist at the University of Minnesota's Lamberton research station.

    "Since tillage influences temperature and moisture, it also effects placement of insects," he says.

    One of the most frequent questions he's asked is whether tillage has an influence on soybean aphids. His response: "There's no connection to tillage and aphids."

    His advice for insect control:
    * Keep scouting. * Pay attention to what you see. * Don't waste your ammo if you don't have a problem.

  • Gray leaf spot on corn is a big problem fungi now, especially with more no-till, says Marty Draper, plant pathologist at South Dakota State University. He says the best defense is crop rotations to give residue time to break down.

    "We find most of our disease problems with moldboard plowing, and some with chisel plowing," he says.

    Draper says to understand the biology of diseases and educate yourself on the fungicides, seed treatments and tillage options available. "Know your risks and figure out how to minimize them," he says.

    On Asian soybean rust, an impending problem for many soybean growers, Draper worries that farmers in the northern Corn Belt could be "lulled into complacency."

    He says: "We do have the right conditions to support rust. And with field-to-field spread, storm systems and jet streams, we could see the spores move 100-300 miles in a day."

    The good news is that forecasting models and trajectory plans are soon to be released to help growers understand and monitor potential spread of the disease.

  • Carbon contributes to half of the greenhouse affect, says Don Reicosky, a soil scientist at USDA-ARS North Central Soil conservation research Lab in Morris, MN. Reicosky advocates the benefits of no-till or minimum-till systems reducing the amount of CO2 into the atmosphere.

    "Soil carbon is the priceless key to the health of the planet," he says. "As organic matter is oxidized it's like pouring gasoline on a fire. Residue management (including minimizing tillage) is one of the keys to carbon management."

    Reicosky also urges growers to be aware of trends in carbon trading. While the Chicago Climate Exchange is currently trading at about $2/ton, carbon is trading for about 8 Euro/ton (about $12). He says carbon trading is something growers may be able to capitalize on in the future.

  • The Conservation Security Program (CSP) is still in its infancy, but it is growing rapidly as more funding is allocated from the federal government. In 2005, 202 watersheds were selected - that's nearly one-eighth of U.S. farms and ranches.

    Dan Paulsen, area resource conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service from Sioux City, IA, says that if at least 51% of a grower's acres are included in one of the watersheds identified for the 2005 program, their whole farm qualifies for participation.

    There is a national meeting scheduled for this week to hammer out the details of this year's program, including the new renewable energy component.

    Paulsen estimates that a signup for this year's program will take place this spring. While he had hoped the signup would take place before planting, he's not sure that it's feasible.

    For more information about CSP visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp.

  • No-till for Dennis Whisney means few hours on his tractors. He estimates he uses only 2.2 gal. of fuel/acre/year on his entire farm of 1,600 acres of corn and soybeans. Whisney farms with his brother in Jackson County, MN, near Alpha. He says they went "cold turkey" off tillage in 1992 when they switched to no-till.

    The switch has paid off in cost savings from using less equipment, less labor and less fuel. Yet yields are competitive with the farm producing 200+ bu. in 2004, he says.

    "We still use the same tractors as when we started no-till," he says. "We just don't put hours on our tractors now. And no till is so much less work."

    Besides saving money and time, Whisney says no-till is good for the soil. "No erosion is acceptable here. I want the best soil quality possible."

  • Strip-till represents the best of two field practices for Lynn Flaming, a Elsie, NE, grower. Strip-till offers vertical tillage and precise fertilizer placement while preserving the benefits of no-till. As result, strip-till is a versatile and forgiving system, he says.

    He is able to go with a corn-soybean rotation under strip-till or continuous corn on his irrigated fields. The Nebraska grower also plants a corn-wheat rotation with the strip-till method. In the winter, Flaming's strip-tilled acres are grazed by his cattle herd. "Cattle give compaction, but it is shallow," he says.

    He runs his strip-till 12 in. deep to build a good seed bed and has no problem with the compaction. Every year, he plants corn at a 45-degree angle to the previous year's crop.

    Since Flaming started strip-tilling, he has noticed a healthy crop of earthworms. The earthworms create pores in the soil that allow good water absorbtion. He says the combination of residue on the surface and earthworms working the soil help stimulate root development in his crops, which in turn produces excellent yields.

    Budget proposal draws criticism from agriculture
    Ron Smith
    02/11/05    Southwest Farm Press
    If President Bush was looking for an issue that would create a bi-partisan mood in the U.S. Congress, he found it. Democrats and Republicans alike have united to criticize proposed cuts in the agricultural budget. Commodity associations also decry proposed reductions as unfair to both agriculture and rural America. Representative Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, of the 19th District and a member of the House Agriculture Committee, expresses support for the president's overall efforts to begin the process of balancing the budget but stops short of supporting the deep cuts proposed for the farm program.

    2005 will be year to learn about Asian soybean rust
    Linda Foster Benedict
    02/11/05    Farm Press Daily
    LSU AgCenter scientists are launching a series of research projects in 2005 to learn what they can about Asian soybean rust and how the potentially devastating disease will develop in Louisiana. Meanwhile, they are telling farmers to go about their soybean planting as they have in the past, despite this looming threat. "We don't know when we'll see Asian soybean rust again," said Boyd Padgett, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist. "We don't know how it will react in Louisiana. There's a lot we don't know about this disease."

    News from the Top of the Hill
    Scott Shearer
    02/11/05    National Hog Farmer
    President Proposes Budget Cuts for Agriculture - President Bush sent to Congress his $2.5 trillion fiscal year 2006 budget, which proposes cutting farm programs and agricultural discretionary spending. Four noteworthy areas include:

  • Farm Programs: The budget proposes farm programs would be cut approximately $5.7 billion over a 10-year period, with $587 million in fiscal year 2006. The cuts/savings include: lowering the payment limit cap for individuals to $250,000 (currently $360,000) for commodity payments, "including all types of marketing loan gains, as well as eliminating the three-entity-rule, basing marketing loans on historical production; reducing crop and dairy payments to farmers by 5%, and imposing a sugar marketing assessment to be paid by sugar processors on all processed sugar." These proposals could have a major impact on corn, cotton, and rice. USDA will send proposed legislation to Congress for consideration in implementing these proposals. The proposals regarding farm programs will be some of the most controversial items in USDA's budget.

  • Conservation: $2 billion is proposed for the Conservation Reserve Program and $274 million for the Conservation Security Program, which will extend the program into approximately an additional 200 watersheds.

  • Livestock and Food Safety: The budget provides $144 million increase for the Food and Agriculture Defense Initiative, designed to protect the food supply from accidental or terrorist threats; $7.3 million increase for research of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE); $37 million increase to assist livestock producers develop nutrient-management plans and comply with environmental regulations; and, $59 million to complete construction of USDA's animal disease research and diagnostic facility in Ames, IA.

  • User Fees: The budget proposes $139 million in user fees for meat and poultry plants for the cost of "providing inspection services beyond a single primary approved shift." The proposal does not affect current user fees for overtime and holiday inspection.

    Agriculture Groups Raise Budget Concerns - Reaction to the President's proposed budget for agriculture met with disapproval by many agricultural groups. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) said it would fight the proposed budget "hammer and tong" on Capitol Hill. The National Farmers Union (NFU) is urging Congress to reject the proposed cuts in agriculture. NFU stated: "(it) is wrong for President Bush to try to balance the budget on the backs of rural Americans." The National Corn Growers Association stated they oppose reopening the farm bill before it expires in 2007. Earlier, over 100 agricultural, nutrition, and conservation groups had written Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns stating their concerns with the fiscal year 2006 proposed budget for USDA. The letter from this diverse group of organizations said: "Program reductions and/or restructurings could seriously undermine many nutrition, conservation, crop insurance and farm programs that are important to all Americans." The groups reminded Johanns that agriculture had taken budget cuts in recent years. Organizations signing the letter included: AFBF, NFU, National Farmers Organization, Grange, American Dietetic Association, American Farmland Trust, American Soybean Association, Children's Defense Fund, Defenders of Wildlife, Ducks Unlimited, Farm Credit Council, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Milk Producers Federation, School Nutrition Association, United Egg Producers, and USDA Rice Federation.

    USDA Delays Decision on Older Canadian Beef - Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns announced that USDA would delay the effective date for allowing imports of meat from animals 30 months of age and over. Johanns said, "This action also address concerns over the portion of the minimal-risk rule that would reopen the Canadian border for beef from animals 30 months and over, while keeping it closed for imports of older live cattle for processing in the United States." USDA action will allow the provisions of the rule regarding the importation of live animals under 30 months of age to go into effect on March 7.

    Canadian Border Legislation - Prior to USDA's announcement, Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) introduced S. 294, which would prevent live animals over 30 months of age or meat from animals over 30-months-old from being included in USDA's rule to reopen the U.S.-Canadian border to live animals under 30 months and meat from animals over 30 months.

    NPPC Urges Producers to Sign Up Air Emissions Consent - The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is urging producers to sign up to participate in the air emissions consent agreement with EPA. A copy of the agreement can be found at http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/agreements/caa/cafo-agr-050121.pdf. Signed agreements are to be sent to: Special Litigation and Projects Division (2248A), Attention: Air Compliance Agreements, Office of Regulatory Enforcement, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, US EPA, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20460.

    2006 Senate Elections - Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN) is the first U.S. Senator to announce that he will not seek re-election in 2006. Dayton is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

    View From the Left Coast: The Environmentalists
    Dave Kohl
    02/09/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
    This past week I was on the 'left coast' and spent time in the Central Valley, and, yes, Hollywood, California. There are some interesting situations occurring there that may ripple throughout America. My first stop was in the Central Valley, and, boy, is this a 'red' area, contrary to popular belief that California is a 'blue state.' I spoke to the producers of Hilmar Cheese in Turlock. This company was started by entrepreneurs that desired to produce a product that met emerging consumer trends, that being cheese consumption...

    U.S. may soon lead world in herbicide-resistant weeds
    David Bennett
    02/10/05    Farm Press Daily
    While newly-arrived Asian soybean rust hogs the media spotlight, a home-grown monster patiently awaits its turn. If weed scientists are correct, the monster won't have long to wait. "Very shortly, I think, the impact of herbicide resistance is going to be huge," says Ford Baldwin, veteran Arkansas weed scientist and Delta Farm Press contributor. "I've been saying so for a while, now. So have others. (With recent discoveries of resistant weeds) we've already had a little taste of what's to come, but it's going to be much worse... Sometimes it's hard to break through with bad news. Folks don't want to hear it because they really like newer technologies like Roundup Ready. But it's coming."

    Custom operator matches equipment with new ideas
    Wayne Wenzel
    Farm Industry News
    The Rolling Dairy country near Shippensburg, PA, is a patchwork of small farms punctuated by large dairy operations. It's not the kind of place you'd expect an inventory of big, expensive machines to make financial sense for individual farmers. But there's still hay to cut, corn to harvest, manure to pump...and opportunity for Martin Custom Farming. A decade ago, the Martin family started offering custom farming services with one combine, a tractor and a manure tank spreader.

    U.S. soon to be world's No. 1 wine market
    Harry Cline
    02/10/05    Western Farm Press
    By the end of this decade, the U.S. will be the largest wine consuming nation in the world, according to respected wine market analyst Jon Fredrikson of Gomberg, Fredrikson and Associates. That's total consumption, not per capita consumption where the U.S. lags far behind European countries. When the U.S. passes France and Italy as the largest wine consuming country on the planet, the big question will be how much of the world's No. 1 wine market will be supplied by California and U.S. wines and how much will be taken by the so-called New World wines from Australia, Argentina, Chile, South Africa and other non-European nations.

    Glyphosate-resistant ragweed found in Missouri
    01/31/05    Farm Industry News
    Monsanto recently announced that a common ragweed in one field in central Missouri is resistant to glyposate. Monsanto reported that the resistant determination was made jointly by the company and University of Missouri weed scientist Reid Smeda. The resistant ragweed was confined to a 20-acre section of the field, according to the Monsanto news release. Common ragweed now joins some biotypes of marestail and ryegrass shown to be resistant to glyphosate. Monsanto points out that these resistant cases are managed with tank mixes, which is the suggested treatment for common ragweed.

    "Growers are losing profit by having to pay for extra applications of glyphosate," says Norris, "and they're losing yield due to the increased weed competition that's robbing plants of the moisture and nutrients they need." Denver Norris, crop specialist, Harvest Land Co-op, Eaton, Ohio

    For more information on this story and the most up to-date information on glyphosate weed resistance go to http://www.WeedResistance.com

    From the News Wire
    NCGA highlights versatility of corn
    02/14/05    NCGA Bews
    Corn producers are continually rethinking the role of their product in the world, redefining its potential and researching new ways it can help meet world challenges. The National Corn Growers Association's (NCGA) 2005 "World of Corn," an 18-page source of useful corn statistics and industry information, looks at the many ways in which corn growers are rethinking America's top crop. The annual full-color guide is a one-stop resource, containing a wealth of statistical data on corn production and consumption, outlined in seven pages of detailed charts and graphs. This year's publication, themed "Rethink," also features information on new uses of corn, the importance of the agriculture sector to the quality of life in America and the corn industry's impact on rural economies.

    ASA concerned about 2006 agriculture budget
    02/09/05    American Soybean Association
    The American Soybean Association (ASA) has expressed concerns regarding the White House's 2006 budget proposal for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). ASA has labored hard to work with the U.S. Congress and USDA to create programs in the Farm Bill that not only work for soybean producers within the specific budget limits provided by Congress, but which also play a critical role in the country's economy and provide a wide range of benefits to all Americans.

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