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April 27, 2005 050427

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Table of Contents
Logan Hawkes
First spray is most important for Asian rust
CSP sign-up opportunities may be fleeting
Soybean rust tankmix?
Energy: Choose your crystal ball
News from the Top of the Hill
The Road Warrior of Agriculture: Switching Lenders
Farm machinery sales mixed
U.S. consumers unconcerned about biotech crops
Machinery costs up
USDA, Extension monitoring sentinel plots for soybean rust
The 40th anniversary National Corn Yield Contest
ASA commends passage of a Renewable Fuels Standard


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Letter from the Editor
Logan Hawkes
04/27/05    Crop News Weekly
Do you want to talk about the weather? First it was too wet to plant. Then it dried out enough to get seed in the ground. Then it got too wet and too cool for optimum growth and by mid April it was too dry again. And that was just in South Texas. Needless to say the weather has been even stranger in the Midwest - weather we like it or not.

In the headlines this issue: if you're growing soybeans and are worried about soybean rust, remember the first spraying is the most important spraying of all. We'll tell you why inside. In other news, Natural Resources Conservation Service officials are advising farmers that if they don't sign up for the Conservation Security Program during the current enrollment period it may be a while before they get the opportunity again. So get crackin'. Also this week, farmers who are tempted to tank mix a soybean rust preventative fungicide with a scheduled herbicide treatment should reconsider their options. Find out why inside this issue. And, as if we needed to hear this, some experts are saying last week's record price for oil may double - to over $100 a barrel! On Friday, April 1, 2005, the price had reached $57.50 a barrel. Ouch! Elsewhere in the news, sales of self-propelled sprayers are expected to show the biggest increase among agricultural equipment sales for 2005. But the agricultural equipment market overall is mixed. Also this week, U.S. consumers are relatively unconcerned about whether food they are eating comes from biotech crops or not. And finally, USDA specialists have begun monitoring "sentinel" plots in a number of soybean-producing states for evidence of outbreaks of Asian soybean rust. No results are in yet. Keep your fingers crossed.

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


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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.

http://www.soybeanrust.com

From our Magazines
First spray is most important for Asian rust
Elton Robinson
04/26/05    Farm Press Daily
Asian soybean rust frequently appears as "hot spots" in soybean fields and can be controlled if found and treated quickly, according to a researcher at a large grower-funded research organization in Parana, Brazil. But finding such hot spots is not often easy. So the best strategy for the disease for Brazilian growers is to time preventive sprays based on advisories from sentinel programs that track its movement geographically, according to Olavo Correa da Silva, plant pathologist at Fundacao ABC. Da Silva spoke to a group of U.S. agriculture journalists touring southern Brazil in March. He jokingly welcomed the United States to a dubious international club -- countries where Asian soybean rust is active. Rust entered Brazil in 2002 and was discovered in the United States in 2004.


CSP sign-up opportunities may be fleeting
04/22/05    Western Farm Press
Natural Resources Conservation Service officials are advising farmers that if they don't sign up for the Conservation Security Program during the current enrollment period it may be a while before they get the opportunity again. Competition for the latest Conservation Security Program sign-up, which runs from March 28 until May 27, is likely to be intense, officials said. USDA estimates that funding will be available for only 12,000 to 14,000 contracts in the 220 watersheds that are included in the current sign-up.


Soybean rust tankmix?
Wayne Wenzel
04/22/05    Farm Industry News
Farmers who are tempted to tank mix a soybean rust preventative fungicide with a scheduled herbicide treatment should reconsider their options. Researchers at Purdue University point out that the timing for weed control and the timing for soybean rust treatments don't match up very well. And spray techniques that are good for herbicides (low pressure and large droplets) are typically not effective for fungicide treatments that must get up under the canopy to be effective.


Energy: Choose your crystal ball
Daryll E. Ray
04/21/05    Western Farm Press
When the markets are jittery, it doesn't take much to send prices accelerating one direction or the other. On Thursday, March 31, 2005, investment banking and securities firm Goldman, Sachs issued a report raising the possibility of a super spike in oil prices that could drive crude oil up by more than $50 a barrel to as high as $105 a barrel. In response, oil prices surged to set a record by reaching $57.50 a barrel on Friday, April 1, 2005. In earlier columns, we have looked at possible short-term effects of higher energy prices on farmers and the ways in which the availability of inexpensive oil transformed the nature of U.S. agriculture and rural communities over the course of the 20th century.


News from the Top of the Hill
Scott Shearer
04/22/05    National Hog Farmer
USDA Launches New Food Guidance System - Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns unveiled MyPyramid, which is USDA's new interactive food guidance system. MyPyramid replaces the current Food Guide Pyramid established in 1992. Johanns stated that "MyPyramid is about the ability of Americans to personalize their approach when choosing a healthier lifestyle that balances nutrition and exercise. Many Americans can dramatically improve their overall health by making modest improvements to their diets and by incorporating regular physical activity into their daily lives." According to USDA, MyPyramid illustrates:

  • "Personalization, demonstrated by the MyPyramid Web site. To find a personalized recommendation of the kinds and amounts of food to eat each day, go to www.MyPyramid.gov.

  • Gradual improvement, encouraged by the slogan, "Steps to a Healthier You." It suggests that individuals can benefit from taking small steps to improve their diet and lifestyle each day.

  • Physical activity, represented by the steps and the person climbing them, as a reminder of the importance of daily physical activity.

  • Variety, symbolized by the six color bands representing the five food groups of MyPyramid and oils. Foods from all groups are needed each day for good health.

  • Moderation, represented by the narrowing of each food group from bottom to top. The wider base stands for foods with little or no solid fats, added sugars, or caloric sweeteners. These should be selected more often to get the most nutrition from calories consumed.

  • Proportionality, shown by the different widths of the food group bands. The widths suggest how much food a person should choose from each group. The widths are just a general guide, not exact proportions. Check MyPyramid.gov for the amount that is right for you."

    The Meat and Poultry Communications Alliance (MPCA) said, "Lean cuts of meat and poultry were again recognized as being key, healthful components of the daily diet by their inclusion in the USDA's newly published recommended dietary guidelines." MPCA members include: The American Meat Institute, The National Turkey Federation and the National Chicken Council.

    USDA BSE Team to Japan and Korea - A USDA bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) technical team is in South Korea this week and will be in Japan next week to continue efforts to resume U.S. beef and beef product exports. It is expected that South Korea and Japan will send technical teams to the U.S. to review beef production and processing systems as a "further step toward resuming imports of U.S. beef." The U.S. in 2003 exported beef worth $1.4 billion to Japan and $815 million to Korea.

    Former USDA Secretaries Support CAFTA - The six former Secretaries of Agriculture have written the U.S. Congress urging their support for the Free Trade Agreement with Central America and the Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR). In the letter, the former Secretaries said, "A vote against CAFTA-DR is a vote for one-way trade. Virtually all of what we import from the six CAFTA countries now enters the U.S. duty free as a result of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI). Yet, our food and agricultural exports to these six nations are restricted significantly because of high tariffs." It also says, "A vote for CAFTA-DR is a vote for fairness and for reciprocal market access. Under CAFTA-DR all of our food and farm products will receive duty free treatment when the agreement is fully implemented." Those signing the letter were Ann Veneman, Dan Glickman, Mike Espy, Clayton Yuetter, John Block, and Bob Bergland. These Secretaries served the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Cater.

    House Begins CAFTA Debate - The debate on Central America Free Trade Agreement-Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR) began in earnest this week with dueling press conferences by supporters and opponents. This week the House Ways and Means Committee held the first hearing in the House of Representatives on the agreement. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) in testimony before the committee said that CAFTA-DR would "overwhelmingly be a win-win for U.S. agriculture." AFBF cited that 99% of the agricultural products imported from the CAFTA-DR region currently enter the U.S. duty free and unless Congress passes this agreement, U.S. agricultural will continue to face tariffs of 15 to 43% on products exported to this region. The main opposition to CAFTA-DR is labor and sugar. The House leadership has indicated they would like to vote on the agreement this spring. This will be one of the hardest fought trade votes in years.

    The Road Warrior of Agriculture: Switching Lenders
    Dave Kohl
    04/19/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
    Dave Kohl writes: Recently I conducted a young and beginning farmer seminar for the Virginia Farm Credit Associations and for Carolina Farm Credit. We asked both groups the top three reasons they would switch agri-lenders. Almost half of the group responded by indicating non-competitive rates would be a major reason to change. Approximately a third of both groups indicated they would switch for less than 1% or 100 basis points. Surprisingly, more than a fourth of the participants felt that it would take up to 2% rate difference for them to switch.


    Farm machinery sales mixed
    04/25/05    Farm Industry News
    Sales of self-propelled sprayers are expected to show the biggest increase among agricultural equipment sales for 2005, according to an annual survey by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). Major manufacturers expect an 8.8% increase in sales of self-propelled sprayers from a year ago. Although this equipment category shows strength, the agricultural equipment market overall is mixed. Retail sales of all 2-wd tractors are expected to increase just 1.4% from last year, but 4-wd tractor sales are expected to decline 8.8%. Combine sales also are expected to be down 2.9%.


    U.S. consumers unconcerned about biotech crops
    Harry Cline
    04/20/05    Western Farm Press
    U.S. consumers are relatively unconcerned about whether food they are eating comes from biotech crops, according to Kent Bradford, director of the University of California Davis Seed Biotechnology Center. Bradford is the former chairman of the vegetable crops department at Davis and spoke on biotechnology in horticulture crops at the recent California Agriculture Symposium in Sacramento. The consumer is unconcerned because there have been no adverse affect from biotech crops. No one has died or become ill from eating food from insect-resistant or herbicide-resistant crops.


    Machinery costs up
    Wayne Wenzel
    04/22/05    Farm Industry News
    The University of Illinois has released its latest report on machinery operating costs. The figures show that estimated costs for most machinery operations are much higher in 2005 than they were in 2003, when costs were last updated. Operation costs since then have risen as much as 21% because of higher fuel prices and higher prices on new machinery. Harvesting corn and soybeans had some of the largest increases, largely due to higher costs of new combines.


    USDA, Extension monitoring sentinel plots for soybean rust
    Forrest Laws
    04/20/05    Southwest Farm Press
    USDA and state Extension Service specialists have begun monitoring "sentinel" plots in a number of soybean-producing states for evidence of outbreaks of Asian soybean rust. Their findings will be fed into USDA's new soybean rust surveillance and monitoring network that is being coordinated by the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service. APHIS is providing funding for more than 300 sentinel plots across the Soybean Belt and Puerto Rico this year.



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    From the News Wire
    The 40th anniversary National Corn Yield Contest
    04/25/05    NCGA News
    The 40th Anniversary National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) National Corn Yield Contest (NCYC) is under way, with the initial deadline for entries set for July 1. Every year, corn growers throughout the nation enter the NCYC to demonstrate their production skills. Rodney Moe, chairman of the NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team, which oversees the NCYC, said the contest's goal is to highlight the production potential of corn. "Contest participants improve their operations by getting a unique opportunity to compare their own proven corn production capabilities with farmers in their states and across the country," he said. "This contest also demonstrates improvements in production methods while addressing environmental concerns."


    ASA commends passage of a Renewable Fuels Standard
    04/21/05    American Soybean Association
    The American Soybean Association (ASA) and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) are pleased that the United States House of Representatives has passed, by a vote of 249 to 183, energy legislation that includes a Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) that would grow to 5 billion gallons by 2012. Soon the U.S. Senate will move forward with companion legislation. "Soybean farmers appreciate the work that went into this House legislation," said ASA President Neal Bredehoeft, a soybean producer from Alma, Mo. "This is a big step forward in the process of developing a comprehensive energy package that encourages the use of renewable fuels like biodiesel."



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