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June 8, 2005 050608

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Table of Contents
Logan Hawkes
Corn ratings down, emergence jumps
Thiesse's Thoughts: Corn Update
NASA imaging technology can distinguish crop types
State of the Economy: Part I
Column: 'Speak softly and throw away the stick'
News from the Top of the Hill
Syngenta field day
Section 18 products for rust
Biotech revolution will continue to produce big changes
'Machine vision' tools predict fruit, vegetable quality
Ever shifting loyalties
NCGA asks members to send gas receipts to senators
InfoAg 2005 Precision Farming Conference Set For July 19-21

Letter from the Editor
Logan Hawkes
06/08/05    Crop News Weekly
The future has arrived! Space age technology has streamlined work in the world of agriculture and has helped growers in many ways including field and crop analysis. But the future may hold many more surprises. Imagine standing in a field of corn. On your left is a row of GM corn. On the right is a row of conventional corn. Can you tell the difference by looking at them? NASA can! Welcome to the 21st Century. Get the details inside.

Also in the news, the most recent USDA crop update indicated that U.S. corn crop conditions declined slightly last week, while crop emergence surged ahead of normal for both corn and soybeans. The USDA rated U.S. corn conditions 62% good/excellent, down from 63% a week earlier and 68% a year earlier. Also this week, most producers in Southern Minnesota finished up planting soybeans during the end of May, but some fields still remain too wet to finish the job. On the international front, after months of what was seen as indecision by U.S. manufacturers, the Bush administration has suggested China revalue its currency to help save itself from its own irrational exuberance. And stop worrying about Asian rust. That's the word coming from agronomists at the recent Syngenta Field Day. Experts say growers should focus on other fungal diseases and pests that have been established in Midwest fields. Finally this week, the 1 billionth acre of genetically modified crop was planted this year, marking a remarkable decade of change since biotechnology was introduced into world agriculture.

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

From our Magazines
Corn ratings down, emergence jumps
Richard Brock
06/06/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
Monday afternoon's weekly USDA crop update indicated that U.S. corn crop conditions declined slightly last week, while crop emergence surged ahead of normal for both corn and soybeans. The USDA rated U.S. corn conditions 62% good/excellent, down from 63% a week earlier and 68% a year earlier. Some 7% of the crop was rated poor/very poor. The drop in conditions was due largely to dryness in the central/eastern Corn Belt. The good/excellent rating for the Illinois crop plunged 11 points to 60% good/excellent, which may raise market concerns about that key production state's crop.


Thiesse's Thoughts: Corn Update
Kent Thiesse
06/06/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
Most producers in Southern Minnesota finished up planting soybeans during the end of May and the first part of June. However, there are a still a few areas in south central Minnesota near the Iowa border where fields have been too wet to finish soybean planting. There has also been some replanting of early-planted corn and soybeans in portions of fields that drowned out as a result of heavy rains in mid-May. Portions of some corn fields also had to be replanted due to poor emergence and reduced stand counts that resulted from the extended period of cool, wet soil conditions in late-May.


NASA imaging technology can distinguish crop types
Hembree Brandon
06/06/05    Farm Press Daily
Two rows of corn, side by side. One a conventional variety, the other a genetically modified variety. Could you eyeball them and tell the difference? Probably not. But imaging technology developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) can, and scientists believe it will be useful in monitoring large areas of crops to help avoid development of pest resistance in crops. It's done with a hyperspectral imaging process, using a special camera that slices one photo into 120 color-specific images, each of which shows a unique characteristic not visible to the naked eye.


State of the Economy: Part I
Dave Kohl
06/06/05    The Corn & Spybean Digest
This week, join Ag Road Warrior Dave Kohl for Part I, "The State of the Economy", a look inside current economic trends as seen through the eyes of Americans coast-to-coast. Dave writes: I just returned from a two-week road tour at schools and conferences where I was involved with some of the leading economists in America...the general economy is slowing dramatically..." Explore the issue!


Column: 'Speak softly and throw away the stick'
Forrest Laws
05/31/05    Southwest Farm Press
After months of what was seen as indecision by U.S. manufacturers, the Bush administration has suggested China revalue its currency to help save itself from its own irrational exuberance. In a report on exchange rates and trade, the Treasury Department said China cannot continue its policy of fixing the yuan at roughly $8.28 without being accused of unfairly manipulating its exchange rate. The report appears to be a response to legislation requiring the administration to impose sanctions if China does not alter its exchange rates within six months.


News from the Top of the Hill
Scott Shearer
06/03/05    National Hog Farmer
National Pork Board Appointments - Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns announced the appointment of five members to the National Pork Board. Those appointed include Wayne R. Peugh, Edelstein, IL; Brain D. Zimmerman, Beatrice, NE; Deborah M. Johnson, Clinton, NC; Carol E. Hein, Spickard, MO; and Lynn E. Harrison, Elk Mound, WI. The appointments are for three years.

Australia Pork & the Courts - The Australian courts last week ruled in favor of the Australian pork producers who filed suit against the Australian government's import risk assessment that allowed U.S. processed pork to be imported. There will be meetings this week to determine what direction the Australian government plans to take as a result of the court's decision. Record levels of U.S. processed pork have been exported to Australia since the government's decision last year to allow U.S. imports.

Agriculture Appropriations - The House Appropriations Committee has approved a $100.3 billion fiscal year 2006 agriculture appropriations bill. The bill provides $16.8 billion for discretionary funding and $83.5 billion in mandatory spending (farm program, food stamps, etc.). The bill provides funding for farm program payments to increase from $16.5 billion for FY '05 to $25.7 billion for FY '06. The committee delayed implementation of mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) until 2007. The House of Representatives will consider the bill prior to the August recess.

International Animal Health Code - The World Organization for Animal Health Office of International Epizootics (OIE) modified its international animal health code for cattle and beef from countries with and without bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The new guidelines will consider the relative risk for BSE that reflects the steps a country has taken to manage and reduces BSE in the food chain. Currently, the guidelines focus on the number of cases in a country. The OIE added boneless beef to the list of non-risk products. This will allow boneless beef to be traded regardless of a country's BSE status. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, in a statement, said: "The United States and several other countries have advocated for guidelines that reflect science, the low risk associated with BSE, and the effectiveness of risk mitigation measures. I applaud the OIE for developing guidelines that incorporate all such factors. The international standard for BSE is now based on the same information that has guided the United States' current practices and the proposed minimal risk rule." The American Meat Institute (AMI) stated: "We are gratified that OIE is continuing to refine its standards and to build support for a single, global animal health standard. Had one been widely followed, the U.S. would not have lost its markets in the wake of a single case of BSE detected in December 2003 and trade with Canada would not have ceased in May 2003 and still be partially blocked more than two years later." However, R-CALF in a press release said the decision by OIE "may undermine basic import standards for food safety and public health by downwardly harmonizing these standards."

Congressional Recess - Congress is not in session this week due to the Memorial Day recess. When Congress returns legislation concerning fiscal year 2006 appropriations, energy, and highway funding will be priorities. The Administration and the House and Senate Republican leadership would also like for Congress to consider the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) were some of the agricultural organizations urging their members to visit with their local Congressman and Senators on CAFTA-DR during this recess.

Syngenta field day
Wayne Wenzel
06/02/05    Farm Industry News
Farmers have more important things to worry about than soybean rust. That message was conveyed consistently on June 1 at a Syngenta field day just outside Ames, IA. It was not an "all-clear" signal on the dreaded disease for 2005. But company experts and university agronomists at the event were generally in agreement that rust, while lurking on the southern fringes, isn't here in the Midwest yet. Farmers would be better served, they said, by focusing on other fungal diseases and pests that have been established in Midwest fields for many years. Pythium, Fusarium, Phytophthora and soybean aphids ranked high on their list of yield-robbing threats.


Section 18 products for rust
Wayne Wenzel
06/03/05    Farm Industry News
DuPont Crop Protection announced that it has obtained access to tebuconazole fungicide for Asian soybean rust from Bayer Crop Science. Tebuconazole is a triazole fungicide that provides preventative and curative control of Asian soybean rust. Tebuconazole has been granted Section 18 registrations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for rust control in several states. Also, BASF announced that its Headline SBR fungicide successfully used in Brazil has been granted Section 18 exemptions in a number of U.S. states.


Biotech revolution will continue to produce big changes
Harry Cline
05/31/05    Western Farm Press
The 1 billionth acre of genetically modified crop was planted this year, marking a remarkable decade of change since biotechnology was introduced into world agriculture. As dramatic a change as that represents, speakers at a special biotech session the Western Society of Weed Science annual conference recently in Vancouver, B.C., made the last decade sound like just the beginning of the biotech impact on American agriculture.


'Machine vision' tools predict fruit, vegetable quality
06/03/05    Western Farm Press
The produce industry is working with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to make sure that fruits and vegetables taste as good as they look. They're counting on "machine vision" tools that can predict the quality of fruit or vegetable flavor -- right after picking and in the packing plant -- without ever touching the product. Machine vision uses optical sensors to inspect objects. Today, batches of fruits and vegetables are judged by sample tastings, but there is no guarantee that all of the produce in the batch will taste the same.


Ever shifting loyalties
Den Gardner
Apply*
I like orange juice in the morning as part of my breakfast ritual. What made me think about that was a study done at the University of California -- Berkeley in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. The research was typical of what I believe is happening in the ag retail market today. And it's a little alarming. The research found that it is common for consumers to switch brands of orange juice. This is despite the millions of dollars spent by the top two brands -- Tropicana and Minute Maid -- to keep its customers. The study said 61% of the frozen OJ customers and 77% of the refrigerated OJ customers switch or buy minor brands. And 92% switch within or between types of juice -- refrigerated or frozen. So there's really no loyalty to a single brand.


From the News Wire
NCGA asks members to send gas receipts to senators
06/07/05    NCGA News
The need for comprehensive energy legislation with a Renewable Fuel Standard has prompted National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Leon Corzine to send a letter to corn producers across the United States encouraging them to flood their senators' district offices with gas receipts showing high pump prices. Growers are encouraged to write short personal messages on the back of the receipts about the positive impact of ethanol on gas prices. U.S. gasoline prices averaged $2.11 per gallon today, up a penny from Monday. The high prices are raising concerns with corn growers and consumers across the country.


InfoAg 2005 Precision Farming Conference Set For July 19-21
06/04/05    AgPROnline.com
The Information Agriculture Conference (InfoAg 2005), scheduled July 19 to 21 in Springfield, Illinois, celebrates 10 years as a leading source for information on technology in crop production, data management, and communication. Organized by the Foundation for Agronomic Research (FAR) in cooperation with the Potash & Phosphate Institute/Potash & Phosphate Institute of Canada (PPI/PPIC), InfoAg 2005 features an outstanding line-up of speakers, interest areas, and demonstrations. The first InfoAg Conference in 1995 was in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. The most recent national/international conference, InfoAg 2003, was in Indianapolis. For rates and information, call (217)-762-2074.


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