A Primedia Property
March 16, 2005 050316

Table of Contents
Logan Hawkes
Brazilian agronomists: Spray now, ask questions later
Using fungicides for Asian rust requires knowledge
USDA begins sign-up for '03-'04 disaster assistance
Soybean price rally
Wheat, corn export outlook hampered by competition
Soybean market continues to surprise
News from the Top of the Hill
Biotech development: Plant genetics show promise
Budget cuts released, agriculture targeted
Brazilian growers facing more sprays for soybean rust
WTO and the need for a plan
Independent consultants strive to raise profile
Value-added ag opportunities with Japanese
Maize Genome data earning acclaim from researchers


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Letter from the Editor
Logan Hawkes
03/16/05    Crop News Weekly
There's a lot of green out there this week, and it's more than just the sprouting crops in the fields of rural America. An early Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!

Just a long week from Easter and already crops are sprouting across most of the south and west. Fields are still being prepared in some cooler climes while others are busy early spraying to protect their investment.

In the news this week, the time has come to begin sign-up for the 2005 Crop Disaster Assistance Program at county Farm Service Agencies or USDA Service Centers. And speaking of spraying, in case your growing soybeans, experts are saying 'spray now, ask questions later.' But, if you're battling soybean rust, you need to be aware of what you're doing. Timely use of fungicides is currently the only tool to manage yield losses from the effects of Asian soybean rust. But don't show up for the job with the wrong tools. In other news this week, the price for soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) has risen over $1/bu. from early February to early March, providing pricing opportunities for producers at well over $6. Finally this week, the administration has released its 2006 fiscal year budget and, as expected, agriculture has not been spared. Not surprisingly, the budget recommendations have been criticized by farm state legislators and farm organization leaders alike.

Happy reading this week and don't forget to wear 'green' tomorrow!


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From our Magazines
Brazilian agronomists: Spray now, ask questions later
Forrest Laws
03/15/05    Farm Press Daily
Brazilian soybean farmers have seen firsthand just how devastating an outbreak of Asian soybean rust can be. But that hasn't caused farmers in the world's second largest soybean-producing country to back away from the crop. To the contrary, Brazilian farmers are believed to have planted a record 23 million hectares (56.8 million acres) of soybeans for the 2004-05 season, a 20 percent increase over 2003-04. All told, Brazil's growers have boosted their plantings by 22 million acres (65 percent) since soybean rust was discovered in the country in 2000-01.


Using fungicides for Asian rust requires knowledge
University of Illinois Extension
03/14/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
Timely use of fungicides is currently the only tool to manage yield losses from the effects of Asian soybean rust. Other integrated pest management techniques, such as manipulating planting dates, rotating with other crops, and varying row widths, have not been proven to affect the course of the disease. There are also no available soybean varieties with resistance to this disease. "Because so few soybean producers in the state have ever had to use foliar fungicides to manage diseases, many of them have been inquiring about Section 18 supplemental labels, as well as the toxicity profiles for these fungicides," says Bruce Paulsrud, specialist in pesticide safety education and plant pathology with University of Illinois Extension.


USDA begins sign-up for '03-'04 disaster assistance
03/14/05    Farm Press Daily
USDA announced that farmers can begin sign-up for the 2005 Crop Disaster Assistance Program at their county Farm Service Agency officers or USDA Service Centers today. The Crop Disaster Program, which was enacted by Congress last October, authorizes crop loss assistance for producers who suffered 2003 or 2004 and certain 2005 crop losses from damaging weather. "We are pleased to be able to provide these benefits to producers as quickly as possible," Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said.


Soybean price rally
Kent Thiesse
03/14/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
The price for soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) has risen over $1/bu. from early February to early March, and was over $6/bu. on March 7. The rapid price increase has been largely driven by a dry weather pattern in South America that is likely to reduce soybean yields in parts Brazil and other South American countries. This has caused market analysts to lower the overall estimated 2005 soybean production in Brazil. Since we are in a world soybean market, this dry weather pattern in Brazil has had a positive effect on soybean market prices.


Wheat, corn export outlook hampered by competition
Hembree Brandon
03/15/05    Farm Press Daily
Corn exports for the United States are expected to grow only marginally for 2005-06, while overseas sales of wheat are projected to drop 5 percent, according to the USDA's predictions at its Agricultural Outlook Forum 2005. The small increase in corn exports will be due to "strong competition, especially from Argentina," said Jerry Norton, agricultural economist with the USDA's Farm Services Agency. "There was a bumper crop in Argentina in 2004, which boosted exportable supplies and exports.


Soybean market continues to surprise
Elton Robinson
03/11/05    Farm Press Daily
The soybean market made another big move up in February and March, providing pricing opportunities for producers at well over $6. While dryness in parts of Brazil provided some momentum for the run-up, it's largely been the result of short coverings by the funds, according to a market analyst. On the other hand, fundamentally, the market has some problems to work through this year, not the least of which are more than ample supplies coming into the new year.


News from the Top of the Hill
Scott Shearer
03/11/05    National Hog Farmer
Canadian Hogs Dumped in U.S. - The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) reaffirmed its previous decision that Canadian producers are dumping live hogs in the United States. The Commerce Department will level antidumping duties at an average of 10.63% on live hogs imported from Canada. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) stated that "Canadian hog producers unfairly benefit from huge subsidies that cause overproduction in Canada and allow Canadian producers to sell their hogs in the U.S. at artificially low prices." The Commerce Department's decision is the result of the case filed by the NPPC last year. The Pork Trade Action Coalition, which opposed NPPC's case, described the DOC's decision on dumping duties on live swine from Canada as "a needless tax that will harm American farmers, particularly in Iowa, Minnesota and other Midwestern states who rely on the imports for their livelihoods. This decision hits American farmers with a tax that could put some small family farmers out of business." The case will now be considered by the International Trade Commission (ITC). The ITC will determine in April if the dumping of Canadian live hogs has "caused or threaten to cause" injury to the U.S. pork industry.

Canada Announces Marketing Campaign for Canadian Beef - The Canadian government has announced a $50 million contribution to the Canadian Cattlemen Association to implement an "aggressive marketing campaign to reclaim and expand markets" for Canadian beef. Canadian Agriculture Minister Andy Mitchell said, "The uncertainty created by the closure of many borders, including that of the United States to Canadian live cattle, makes it imperative that we accelerate our efforts to regain and expand our markets." This marketing campaign is designed to help increase the demand for Canadian beef as a result of Canada's efforts to increase its slaughter capacity. The Canadian government has committed $54.6 million to support loans for "building and expanding" slaughter and processing facilities, which will increase Canada's slaughter capacity. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns is concerned that the longer the U.S.-Canada border is closed, Canada will continue to expand its slaughter capacity and beef industry. Long term, this will make Canada a bigger competitor in the world market, he says.

U.S. Court Denies AMI on Preliminary Injunction - The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied the American Meat Institute's (AMI) motion for preliminary injunction against the ban on Canadian cattle. AMI was seeking to allow for full trade in live cattle and meat products. AMI stated, "This ruling and other anti-trade developments this week have been a blow to free trade and to the principles that have made the industry strong and competitive in international markets."

Budget Committees Cut Agriculture - The House Budget Committee is proposing that farm programs be cut by $5.3 billion. The Senate Budget Committee is expected to cut agriculture by $2.8 billion over 10 years. The Administration proposed cutting farm programs by $5.7 billion over 10 years.

Bipartisan Senate Group Opposes Cuts - A bipartisan coalition of nearly 50 Senators have sent a letter to the Senate Budget Committee stating their opposition to the Administration's proposed cuts in farm programs, conservation, nutrition, rural development and research. The Senators stated, "U.S. farm policy is also about U.S. global competitiveness at a time when foreign subsidies and tariffs are five and six times higher than our own. Unilaterally disarming U.S. farm policy would be especially ill-timed now as negotiations to level the global playing field continue under the Doha Round of the WTO."

Agriculture Concentration a Priority - The delegates at the National Farmers Union (NFU) convention made the fight against market concentration in agriculture a major priority. NFU said, "We need comprehensive agricultural competition and concentration policies to restore balance in the marketplace." NFU wants Congress to "limit the depressing impact of captive supply; to overhaul the Department of Justice antitrust division, U.S. Agriculture Department market reporting provisions and the 1921 Packers and Stockyards Act authority; and to implement a national ban on packer ownership of livestock; and mandatory country-of-origin food labeling for all food products."

Moseley Resigns as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture - Jim Moseley has resigned as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. Moseley will continue as a special assistant to Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns until June 1 to help with USDA's efforts to rebuild Afghanistan's agricultural infrastructure.

Johnson Nominated as New EPA Administrator - President Bush has nominated Steve Johnson to be the new Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Johnson has 24 years of experience at EPA and since January has served as Acting Administrator. The Senate will have to confirm Johnson.

NPPC New Officers - The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) elected new officers at its annual meeting last week in Florida. The new officers are: President, Don Buhl, Tyler, MN; President-Elect, Joy Philippi, Bruning, NE; and Vice President, Lois Britt, Mount Olive, NC. Newly elected board of directors includes: Sam Carney, Adair, IA; Mark Street, Ephrata, WA; and Dan Sutherland, Watertown, WI.

Biotech development: Plant genetics show promise
Harry Cline
03/10/05    Western Farm Press
Biotechnology has been the most rapidly adopted technology in the history of American agriculture, surpassing the mechanical age, synthetic fertilizers and agrochemicals. Transgenic, herbicide-resistant soybean acreage is expected to continuing grow worldwide, while transgenic cotton acreage has probably peaked. Monsanto, the leader in the biotech movement, continues to research a new era of transgenic crops featuring attributes like tolerance to stresses like water and cold, improved yields, improved nutritional value, improved nitrogen and plant nutrient utilization among other things.


Budget cuts released, agriculture targeted
Daryll Ray
03/10/05    Farm Press Daily
The administration has released its 2006 fiscal year budget and, as expected, agriculture has not been spared. Not surprisingly, the budget recommendations have been criticized by farm state legislators and farm organization leaders alike. The total budget for the coming fiscal year is $2.57 trillion and includes everything from Social Security to the Defense Department to Homeland Security. Despite the budget cuts, which have been apportioned among a number of discretionary programs, the red ink is projected to amount to $417 billion.


Brazilian growers facing more sprays for soybean rust
Forrest Laws
03/09/05    Farm Press Daily
Cid Ricardo Dos Reis isn't sure what to wish for. The soybeans on the 35,000-hectare (86,000-acre) farming operation he manages in the state of Mato Grosso could use a good rain. But rain could also spur the development of more Asian soybean rust in fields in this area of north central Brazil. The field that Ricardo is standing in has already received two applications of a fungicide for the disease. "This field is a test area, so it will not be treated again," Ricardo said through an interpreter to a group of chemical company representatives, farm supply dealers and consultants from the United States. "If it was a commercial field, we probably would make one more application."


WTO and the need for a plan
David Bennett
03/11/05    Farm Press Daily
The source of Harrison Pittman's frustration isn't the current focus on President Bush's proposed cuts to the agriculture budget. His frustration is that focus to the near exclusion of all else. Looming over everything, he said, are implications of trade deals and the WTO -- things that, in the current debate, are getting too little attention. "The main concern is with President Bush's proposal to cut funding for farm programs," said the staff attorney at the National Agriculture Law Center (part of the University of Arkansas Law School in Fayetteville).


Independent consultants strive to raise profile
Harry Cline
03/11/05    Western Farm Press
For diversified Fairacres, N.M., producer Tom Simpson his independent consultant is part of his farm's management team who plays a key role on Simpson's farm. Consultant Bill Cox of Las Cruces, N.M., has been Simpson's consultant for three decades, and Simpson can detail a long list of reasons why he relies on Cox. Among other advantages, Cox saves Simpson time and money and allows him to farm more acres of more crops. Simpson pays Cox a per acre fee for his expertise, but there are the non-quantifiable elements of the job that cannot be measured by dollars or acres.


From the News Wire
Value-added ag opportunities with Japanese
03/14/05    NCGA News
A delegation from Japan's Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society (RISTEX) met with National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) staff members last week in St. Louis to discuss how agriculture can help create sustainable societies in the future. Funded by the Japanese government, the group was particularly interested in learning about value-added agriculture and how the U.S. ethanol industry has affected rural economies and the environment.


Maize Genome data earning acclaim from researchers
03/14/05    NCGA News
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today said the effort to map the maize genome is gaining critical momentum, as more than 120 researchers from 35 academic institutions have now accessed maizeseq.org, a web-enabled database that features previously unavailable corn genome sequencing information. Scientists say the web site, which features data donated by an industry consortium of Monsanto Company, DuPont subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. and Ceres Inc., offers a wealth of formerly inaccessible information that will expedite completion of the corn genome sequence.


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