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Articles from 2000 In December


New Zeneca Touchdown

ZENECA AG PRODUCTS has successfully tested a new Touchdown non-selective herbicide in over-the-top applications on Roundup Ready soybeans, corn and cotton. Zeneca anticipates registration of new Touchdown for the 2001 growing season.

The current Touchdown 5 formulation has been widely used over Roundup Ready soybeans and for burndown weed control, according to Bill Beutke, brand manager at Zeneca. But the company never registered Touchdown 5 over Roundup Ready corn or cotton because it sometimes caused unacceptable levels of phytotoxicity on those Roundup Ready crops.

"The new Touchdown features an innovative glyphosate molecule optimized by a unique, corn-based, balanced adjuvant system called IQ Technology," Beutke said. "In trials conducted by Zeneca and universities across the United States, the new, patented Touchdown formulation has delivered outstanding non-selective weed control and excellent crop safety to Roundup Ready crops, including Roundup Ready corn and Roundup Ready cotton. In hundreds of trials we saw essentially no effect on the crops at all, even when the herbicide was applied at three times the normal rate."

In addition to Roundup Ready corn and cotton, Beutke said, the new Touchdown will be registered as a burndown application in more than 100 additional crops.

"We expect to have all the applications that were on the Touchdown 5 label, plus many more," he added.

The IQ Technology improves spray retention, herbicide uptake and translocation of the active ingredient throughout the weed, Beutke said. At the same time, it minimizes potential phytotoxicity to Roundup Ready crops because the glyphosate salt and adjuvants are very gentle to epidermal cells on leaf surfaces.

Touchdown controls more than 170 weeds, including tough-to-control species such as velvetleaf, cocklebur, waterhemp, giant ragweed, smartweed, ivyleaf morningglory, prickly sida, quackgrass, johnsongrass, bermudagrass, broadleaf signalgrass and foxtails.

A typical use rate for the new Touchdown in many situations will be 1 quart per acre.

Jan. 10-11 in Anaheim...

Beltwide topics important to growers Ask most cotton producers what they're looking for in 2001, and they will tell you they are seeking better varieties, lower-cost inputs, higher fiber quality and help with marketing.

That happens to be what a group of noted speakers will be discussing during the first two days of the Beltwide Cotton Production Conferences at the Marriott Hotel in Anaheim, Calif., Jan. 10-11.

Beltwide planners have lined up some of the "best and the brightest" to address those issues during the conference, which is sponsored annually by the National Cotton Council of America.

"We know that these are difficult times for many cotton producers," said Robert E. McLendon, council president who will deliver the opening address at the conference. "We also know farmers need help addressing these issues, and we believe these discussions will help."

First up on the conference agenda will be an in-depth discussion on cotton variety improvement that will feature producer, cotton breeder, biotechnology, seed company and manufacturer experts.

The session will address such questions as how the cotton industry can insure that needed varieties are in the pipeline; what new developments are needed to facilitate bringing needed varieties to market; and how growers can work with researchers to enhance progress on new varieties.

Speakers include: Jack Hamilton, former NCC president and producer from Lake Providence, La.; Stephen R. Oakley, California Cotton Seed Distributors, Shafter, Calif.; Roy G. Cantrell, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces; Frederick J. Perlak, Monsanto Co., St. Louis, Mo.; Thomas F. Hughes, Stoneville Pedigreed Seed Co., Memphis, Tenn.; Jane K. Dever, Aventis, Collierville, Tenn.; Thomas A. Kerby, Delta and Pine Land Co., Scott, Miss.; and G. Stephen Felker, Avondale Mills, Monroe, Ga.

As with each of the sessions, the cotton variety improvement panel will end with a discussion with the audience.

Next up will be a panel discussion entitled "Technology's Role in Least-Cost Cotton Systems."

It will feature presentations by growers from each region of the Cotton Belt that are using new technology to make a difference in their bottom line. Also on the panel will be two Extension experts and a veteran ginner.

Speakers include producers Ted D. Sheely, Lemoore, Calif.; Ken Van Loben Sels, Los Banos, Calif.; Mark Williams, Farwell, Texas; Kenneth B. Hood, Gunnison, Miss.; and Joseph Boddiford, Sylvania, Ga. The Extension specialists are James J. Marois and David L. Wright of the University of Florida, and the ginner is Jimmy N. Roppolo, Farmer's Coop Gin, El Campo, Texas.

The third panel, which is scheduled for the conference's second day, Jan. 11, will feature discussions by producers, manufacturers, ginners and USDA representatives on what can be done to improve fiber quality for the benefit of the entire cotton industry.

Speakers include D. Harding Stowe, R.L. Stowe Mills, Belmont, N.C., and producers Wiley Murphy, Tucson, Ariz.; Eddie Smith, Floydada, Texas; Larry R. McClendon, Marianna, Ark.; and Louie Perry Jr., Moultrie, Ga. The ginners are Michael B. Hooper, Farmers Coop Gin, Buttonwillow, Calif., and Van F. Murphy, BCT Gin Co., Quitman, Ga. David McAlister of Clemson, S.C., will represent USDA.

The fourth session will feature speakers from across the supply chain, addressing the subject of trends in cotton marketing. Representatives of cooperatives, traditional merchandising firms and companies involved in new marketing directions will speak.

Speakers include Bruce Groefsema, Calcot, Bakersfield, Calif.; Ernst D. Schroeder, Jess Smith & Sons Cotton, Bakersfield, Calif.; Edward J. Price, Harvey-Price Cotton Co., Kinston, N.C.; Robert S. Weil II, Weil Brothers Cotton Co., Montgomery, Ala.; and John Mitchell, Hohenberg, Memphis, Tenn.

Groefsema will speak on the cooperative's role in marketing; Schroeder on the traditional merchant role; Price on gin pools and gin direct marketing; Weil on the managed merchant pool; and Mitchell on the variety pool (for Fibermax). Dan P. Logan Jr., of Gilliam, La., will give a producer's perspective.

Following their speeches, cotton merchant William B. Dunavant Jr., will give his traditional presentation on his insights in the marketplace.

Let's be grateful: The process works

However convoluted, contentious, and seemingly endless this year's presidential election process has been, we should, at this season, give thanks that we live in a country where it could happen as it has.

Unhappy and impatient as many have been with the way events have transpired in this incredibly close contest, there have been no uprisings, no riots in the streets, no militia called out to maintain order. The system, cumbersome though it has been, and though the results likely will forever bear a question mark, has worked, and come Jan. 20 we all will have a new president.

That we can be, in so many ways, so blase about this process and take it so much for granted, is a tribute to the granite solidity of those principles of democracy and freedom that have been the hallmarks of this country for more than 200 years.

We get up in the morning, we go about our lives pretty much as we please. We can travel around this great country unfettered, we enjoy unparalleled freedom of communication, and we can openly criticize our leaders and even the laws by which we are governed.

Despite this country's mistakes and dark times, the tenets of the founding fathers have served us well. There are few on the face of this earth who have been as privileged as we citizens of the United States.

We have only to consider the alternatives. In a recent New Yorker profile on Saddam Hussein's dictatorial rule in Iraq, John Lee Anderson writes: "Saddam has made Iraq's ancient tribal codes the law of the land. Political dissent is swiftly and brutally crushed. Verbally insulting the president, for instance, is a crime that frequently carries a death sentence. (A recent decree made slanderers subject to amputation, and in September a man had his tongue cut out for such an indiscretion.)"

Contrast that to our country, where we laugh as Jay Leno and David Letterman and Saturday Night Live comedians routinely satirize our president and other elected officials. TV talking heads nightly shout invective about our leaders that, elsewhere in the world, might get those selfsame heads lopped off. Columnists of every political stripe freely publish their diatribes in national publications.

Protesters parade in front of the White House or the Supreme Court, brandishing signs and hurling epithets - all with the protection of our laws.

In the late 1980s, Anderson notes, "Saddam punished Iraq's Kurdish rebels by slaughtering tens of thousands of Kurdish civilians and razing towns and villages. He used poison gas on the town of Halabja, killing some 5,000 people." His own people.

He is but one of a long line of tyrants and despots who have subjugated, plundered, tortured, starved, and murdered millions. Hitler, Idi Amin, Somoza, Stalin, Papa Doc Duvallier, Ceausescu, the list goes on and on and on. Thousands of innocent babies, children, men, and women are dying daily in one or another African nation from starvation, AIDS, and other diseases, while their leaders enrich themselves. Millions of our fellow humans in war-torn and Third World countries go from day to day without clean water, electricity, or as much as a basic education or opportunity to improve their miserable lot.

They cannot even imagine the lifestyles, the bounty that we take for granted.

So, as we celebrate this Christmas season, with its lights and glitter and gifts, let us not grumble that we have had to endure the temporary uncertainties of a presidential election.

It was part of the process for which our forebears fought and sacrificed and died. The process still works. And for all that entails for each and every one of us, we should be grateful.

Farm program price tag will increase

University economists say income will be well below 1997 peak The nation's farm income is expected to languish below $40 billion for at least the next four years, a level $15 billion less than the peak of 1997, according to a pair of Texas A&M University economists.

Abner Womack and Ed Smith from the university's Agricultural and Food Policy Center told rice producers at the USA Rice Outlook Conference in Las Vegas in December that to keep U.S. agriculture economically viable, it will take at least an additional $12 billion to perhaps $20 billion during the life of the next federal farm bill to keep farmers whole.

This is in addition to the provisions of the FAIR Act like the AMTA payments.

And, according to Jim Wiesemeyer, Sparks Co., Inc. representative in Washington, there's a good chance agriculture will glean that kind of support because the economy - outside of farming - is good and there is a surplus of money in the government's bank account.

He also predicted the new federal farm bill will be written and passed relatively soon next year, provided commodity groups go to Washington united within themselves and armed with a better analyses of their situations and outlook than they did for the 1996 farm bill. When that bill was written, farm groups did not anticipate the low prices that loomed ahead and that now are financially strangling farmers.

"The (agricultural) industry botched it last time," Wiesemeyer told the more than 850 at the rice conference.

No set-asides He predicted there would be no set-aside provisions in the farm bill. Those, he said, "reward inefficient producers." He expects planting flexibility to remain part of the federal farm program and that farmers practicing land stewardship will get "green payments" for their efforts. He also predicts estate tax relief will finally come during the next Congress.

He cited California rice growers and their success in flooding rice fields in the winter for wildlife flyways as an example of sound land stewardship that politicians will want to reward with green payments.

The government will be forced to provide additional direct payments to producers because they have not prospered as predicted under FAIR. One of the reasons for that is the failure of the United States to successfully negotiate access to foreign markets as promised when the farm bill was passed. He is not optimistic that worldwide negotiations will open markets any time soon.

He suggested farmers focus mostly on regional trade agreements to gain access to new markets rather than apply the majority of its efforts on WTO negotiations.

"We have been boxed in and out-negotiated for 10 years," said Wiesemeyer.

The big debate in the new farm bill will likely be the vehicle used to augment current direct payments. The Food and Agricultural Research Institute (FAPRI) based at the University of Missouri was asked by Congress to examine three of the safety net alternatives being considered. Texas A&M's agricultural and food policy center is part of FAPRI.

The three are: - Modified Supplemental Income Payments (MSIP) with payments based on the 1995-99 reference period.

- Higher Marketing Loan Rates (LR) which would increase all loan rates by the same percentage to achieve additional spending.

- Market Loss Assistance (MLA) Payments would be distributed in the same fashion as previous MLA payments with some money included for oilseeds.

All three, according to the analysts, increase farm profitability and reduce economic risks, which look to be considerable, based on the economists' crystal balls.

For example, they do not expect rice prices to reach 1997 prices until after 2009, when, they say, they'll reach $8.50 per hundredweight.

Deere program enhances maintenance

It's a fact of agricultural life: things are moving away from small-scale farming. Farmers working 40 acres with one tractor are gone. Crop production has evolved to large-scale operations. Producers micro-manage all aspects of their operations, increasing yields and reducing production costs to net decent returns on their sizable investments.

As farmers have had to become more and more productive, so have the machines they use to produce crops. Equipment engineers have developed increasingly complicated machinery to meet the challenges of today's marketplace, and the support structure of maintaining this equipment has gone through an evolution as well.

The days of training a service technician "in house" are fast going the way of the mule and 40-acre farms. Sophisticated electronic and hydraulic controls on modern equipment warrant the need for a professionally trained service technician. In this new era of micro-management, producers cannot afford long periods of downtime which result in lost revenue. Instead, they insist that a dealer's service department change with the times and keep abreast of the increasingly complicated changes in technology.

The Ag Tech program at Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia, Miss., and others like it are John Deere's answer to service training. The two-year associate degree program is the industry leader in technical education for young people seeking a career in the equipment industry. With an inventory of over $1 million in new equipment, $500,000 in training components, and its Deere-trained staff, the Ag Tech program is equipped to take training into the new millennium.

"I've been involved with John Deere service for over 20 years - with the company and with the service department of multi-location dealers - and I know that the quality is there. Ag Tech students have the unique opportunity to train on the latest technology in the industry and get hands-on experience while they learn," says Ag Tech instructor Terry Schumann.

"Thanks to Deere, I can walk out to the equipment lot and roll in a new tractor to use for my classes. Last week I used a new 8410 to introduce the diagnostic system to the freshman class. Young people today have had more exposure to computers, and that's a plus in this business. Fixing a machine that costs $250,000 is not a task for the uninitiated, and everyone has come to realize that," says Ag Tech instructor Shane Louwerens.

Drawing students from the Delta states and Alabama, the Ag Tech program is the only Deere-sponsored program in Mississippi, and is one of 20 in the world. Deere realizes that as equipment becomes more sophisticated, qualified technicians become more valuable and are essential to the success of agriculture. Training in traditional subject areas is important, but the technician of today must be prepared to function in a world where computers monitor and control machine operation.

"Pro Tech training, which is simply continuing education for existing John Deere technicians, has really taken off in this region. We've taken Pro Tech to another level," says Pro Tech instructor Jimmy Presley.

Pro Tech started off with certification classes in basic electronics and later added hydraulic certification. Air conditioning certification is a new offering for this spring, and the Senatobia campus was recently selected as one of five sites in North America to deliver training on Deere's 4710 and 6710 sprayers. Technicians will be coming to Pro Tech sprayer classes from Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, and Texas to receive this training.

Pro Tech classes, staggered throughout the semester, are based on the need in the area. Deere does the registering and scheduling, the faculty handles the setup and delivery of the training information. Students typically stay four days for the certification classes and go back to the dealership with greater knowledge, expertise, and confidence.

"I enjoy the challenge of working with experienced adults. These guys are sharp, and they keep me on my toes. When you stand up in front of a group of professional technicians to deliver training, you better have done your homework," says Presley.

The biggest change to the Pro Tech training curriculum has been the Service Advisor diagnostic computer system. This system has the ability to perform diagnostics on Deere equipment by analyzing information read from the machine on a laptop or desktop computer. Currently the system looks at over 400 pieces of information and compares the actual readings to a diagnostic knowledge base in the software.

The system houses a library of technical information on DVD disks and will direct the service technician to the correct section within a manual to effect repairs. The DVD disks contain a full complement of manuals for all current production Deere equipment. Monthly updates on DVD disks keep the system current with changes and developments within the industry.

"Paper tech manuals are going the way of the dinosaur. They're too big and bulky, too easy to destroy and not portable enough. Service Advisor puts hundreds of manuals on three DVD disks," says Presley.

A new building to house the John Deere service training programs at NWCC has been in the planning stages for several years.

"It takes time to plan and organize a project of this size," says Terry Schumann, who served as the building project manager for Ag Tech.

The proposed new building will house both freshman and sophomore Ag Tech classes and Pro Tech and will have room for future expansion.

"We hope to break ground within one year and move in the new facility within two," says Presley.

Incoming Ag Tech students are required to have a sponsoring Deere dealer. This sponsorship should be done prior to attending classes but can be delayed until the middle of the first semester.

The sponsorship is necessary because the student needs a dealer to provide uniforms and a place to work during two mandatory eight-week internships that are a critical part of the learning experience.

If a student candidate shows promise, the dealer may be interested in entering a contractual agreement with the student and pay part or all of a student's educational costs in exchange for a term of employment. This agreement varies and must be worked out between the dealer and the student.

"Most of our freshmen students have a contract with their dealers, and the dealers have taken good care of these students," says freshman instructor Louwerens.

Ag Tech students are challenged from the first day they arrive. The instructors strive to encourage critical thinking skills.

"If I can get a student to think critically and use a logical approach to problem solving, I've won the battle," says Schumann.

Pioneer expands credit plans

GROWERS THROUGHOUT the United States and Canada buying seed from Pioneer Hi-Bred will be able to finance their purchases through an enhanced credit program that broadens grower options and expands crop protection product choices financed through the program.

One option, the TruChoice Opportunity Program, offers growers financing for their seed purchases and qualified herbicides at 3.5 percent below the prime interest rate.

Another credit program offered to qualified Pioneer customers includes financing for seed purchases at 2.5 percent below prime. "Certainly the first seed decision a grower should make is plant genetics, and Pioneer provides its customers with a range of the highest-yielding hybrids and varieties in the marketplace for the greatest value per acre," says Jerry Armstrong, vice president for North American Seed Sales, Pioneer Hi-Bred.

"Once those decisions are complete, then the grower needs to decide on financing. These credit programs offered by Pioneer will help producers better manage financing to get the most from each acre during this period of low commodity prices."

Pioneer customers who choose the TruChoice program can finance both seed and herbicide purchases at 3.5 percent below the prime interest rate.

American growers who meet seed and herbicide purchase requirements can include the following corn herbicides in their finance packages: Accent Gold, Accent, Basis Gold, Basis, and Leadoff from DuPont and Dual and Bicep from Novartis. This marks an expansion of the crop protection choices offered to growers in the TruChoice program last year.

In the United States, the following soybean herbicides from DuPont are available for financing under the TruChoice program once corn treatment requirements are met: Canopy, Canopy SP, Canopy DF, Classic, Authority, Assure, and Synchrony STS.

For 2001 seed purchases, Pioneer offers deferred payment credit at 2.5 percent below prime for growers who meet seed purchase requirements and opt not to finance herbicide purchases through the program.

Additional financing choices are also available for Pioneer seed customers. For details on all these programs, contact a local Pioneer sales representative.

In most North American regions, Pioneer also offers an early Pay Savings discount for purchases made by selected dates and a Quantity savings program based on total dollars spent on Pioneer brand products. Pioneer professionals will be able to provide details.

For additional information about the company and products, check the Pioneer World Wide Website at http://www.pioneer.com.

Does Harvade improve herbicide mix?

As a cotton harvest aide, Harvade has gained a reputation as a fine, dependable product for desiccation of weeds and vines. Lately, though, Uniroyal has pushed Harvade as a booster ingredient for weed-killing post-directed tank-mixes. Simply add Harvade to your favorite herbicide, spray and watch the weeds wither.

How well does it work? Several consultants and researchers addressed that question at the Uniroyal-sponsored Chemical Cotton College in Nashville, Tenn.

"This past season we were able to look at Harvade on a demonstration plot. In our area, we've gone away from Roundup Ready cotton - no more than 20 percent of our acreage is in Roundup Ready. In fact, in our area Roundup Ready and stacked gene varieties don't yield nearly as well as the new conventionals. In some areas, 90 percent of the acreage will go to conventionals next year, much of it to Fibermax," says Paul Pilsner, a consultant with Consultant Research out of East Bernard, Texas.

So it's essential that Pilsner's farming neighbors have some good lay-by products to use.

"Harvade is a product that deserves to be looked at. We need to learn how to best use it on the weed spectrum we have. This season I found a field with a good, wide-spectrum of weeds - nutsedge, morningglories, balloonvines, Mexican weed, pigweed, and sunflowers," says Pilsner.

Pilsner's current standard herbicide mix is Caparol with MSMA directed. And he always uses a pre-emergence herbicide - normally Command and Staple.

For the demonstration plot, Pilsner added Harvade to the MSMA and Caparol to see if he could increase effectiveness - especially on the morningglories and balloonvines.

Pilsner says balloonvines aren't widespread, but can be a real problem. The vine is a woody perennial that's hard to control and makes harvest difficult if much is in a field.

"We were able to increase our effectiveness with Harvade. It was put out with a lay-by rig - not a hooded rig - when cotton was 15 inches tall. We used Command and Staple with it and it was the only application used."

At harvest there were very few weeds that had made it through the whole season.

"The grower found some very hungry college students and was able to get the field chopped a month prior to harvest; that helped. But we could have harvested it without that. The grower is very particular, though, so it was a very clean field."

Pilsner says he talked to another consultant who works about 100 miles south of East Bernard.

"He was able to use Harvade with Roundup in several applications. He feels they were able to do a bit better job by adding the Harvade and got a little better desiccation. And the finding was that the growers may be able to reduce Roundup rates by using Harvade - that needs to be looked at."

"I'm from southeast Arkansas and have consulted there for 38 years. Some of the species we have are morningglories, morningglories, morningglories and a few other things thrown in! We do have a species not mentioned yet: wild okra. As long as you can cover it, it appears you can kill it with Harvade," says Charles Denver, a consultant for Farmland Industries.

But one thing that needs to be stressed with Harvade: if you don't cover it, you likely won't kill it, says Denver.

"We have several morningglories, tealeaf, spurge, sesbania, sicklepod and several others. On land near the Mississippi River, we run into sesbania, sicklepod and okra quite a bit. We've worked with Harvade in 1999 and 2000. We've been very pleased. With sesbania, the plants need to be small to be taken out."

In Denver's area, there's very little Roundup Ready cotton. That will change. As the varieties get better, Denver suspects it will move in.

Acreage is largely conventionally tilled in Denver's area. "We have a bit of minimum till. There has been some BXN cotton in the last few years. We've had a lot of problems with spurge in the BXN. That means we're using a lot of Staple pre- at the rate of 0.2 to 0.3 ounce. That does an excellent job on both spurge and tealeaf."

Residual effects of Harvade are a "possibility," says Denver.

"It looked like we were getting a bit of that. I prefer to use Harvade with Caparol and MSMA. That seems to do a good job for us."

Kodiak FL fungicide

KODIAK FL, a flowable formulation of Kodiak biological seed-applied fungicide registered to protect cotton and other crops from seedling diseases, is now available from Gustafson LLC, Plano, Texas.

Kodiak contains a select strain of Bacillus subtilis endospores. The endospores extend seedling protection against rhizoctonia, fusarium, alternaria, aspergillus and other disease organisms that attack root systems and weaken plant vigor and stand.

Kodiak is recommended for use in combination with other registered Gustafson seed-applied insecticides and fungicides.

Kodiak FL may be applied as a water-based slurry in combination with other registered seed-applied insecticides and fungicides through standard slurry or mist commercial seed treatment equipment.

Cotton seed may be treated with Kodiak FL at a rate of 0.5 fluid ounce per 100 pounds of seed.

Seedling diseases are most active under cool conditions. However, research has shown that pathogens such as rhizoctonia can be active under a wide range of temperatures and can affect seedlings through the first 45 days of seedling development.

Kodiak is designed to be used in combination with a conventional seed-applied fungicide such as Baytan or Vitavax to extend the window of protection.

Within four to eight hours after planting, the bacterial endospores in Kodiak begin to reproduce, reaching populations of up to 1 million cells per gram of root. The actively growing bacteria surround the growing roots, blocking the intrusion of disease pathogens into the plant. They also produce a chemical inhibitor that can slow the growth of dangerous pathogens, especially rhizoctonia.

Soy outlook improves...

USDA cuts estimate of cotton USDA is projecting a slightly smaller U.S. cotton crop, lower U.S. ending stocks for soybeans and wheat, and stiffer competition for U.S. corn and rice producers.

Cotton U.S. cotton production is down slightly from last month, according to USDA's December crop production report, as gains in yield for Arkansas, California and South Carolina did not offset declines for Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.

Survey and ginnings data indicated a 200,000-bale decrease in Texas production from the November forecast, which more than offset a 150,000-bale increase in California.

The agency forecast cotton production at 17.4 million 480-pound bales, down less than 1 percent from last month's estimate of 17.5 million bales, but up 3 percent from 1999. Yield is expected to average 619 pounds per acre, down 3 pounds from last month.

In its December supply and demand estimate, USDA forecast slightly lower domestic mill use based on weak cotton consumption to date and a slowdown in overall textile business. Forecast ending stocks remain at 3.9 million bales, 22.3 percent of total use.

World stocks edged higher from last month due to significant changes in production and decreased consumption. Production increases for Syria, Brazil, and Turkey nearly offset decreases for India, Uzbekistan, the African Franc Zone countries, the United States and Australia.

World consumption was reduced slightly, reflecting decreases for India, Mexico, and the United States, which was offset partially by increases for Brazil and Russia.

Rice USDA made no major changes in rice supply and use from last month. The season-average price projection for 2000-01 was lowered 25 cents per cwt. on each end to $5.50 to $6.

The lower price projection reflects prices through the first four months of the marketing year and the expectation that prices will continue to be under pressure the remainder of the marketing year because of stiff competition for limited global import markets.

Global production, consumption, and ending stocks for new crop rice were increased from a month ago, while imports and exports were lowered. World rice production is projected at 400.6 million tons, up nearly 3 million tons from last month, but down over 4 million tons from the 1999-2000 record.

The increase in production is the result of larger crops projected for Indonesia, Thailand, Egypt, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Spain. World consumption is projected at a record 402.7 million tons, up 1.5 million tons from last month and an increase of over 2 million tons from 1999-2000.

Global ending stocks are projected at 62.7 million tons, up 3.5 million from last month, but down 2.1 million tons from the 1999-2000 record. Import projections for 2000-01 were lowered for Indonesia and the Philippines. Export projections for 2000-01 were reduced for India, Thailand, Vietnam and China and increased for Japan and Egypt.

Soybeans A European Union ban on meat and bone meal, which should be implemented by Jan. 1, 2001, is expected to add approximately 2 million tons of alternative protein feed needs on a soybean-meal equivalent basis in the 2000-01 marketing year.

As a result, an additional 1.3 million tons of soybean meal likely will be consumed this marketing year in the EU. Compared with last month, EU soybean imports are forecast to rise 900,000 tons and soybean meal imports are forecast up nearly 600,000 tons. Germany and France are expected to favor soybeans in the import mix due to their restrictions on use of animal fats for food and feed use.

U.S. soybean exports are forecast at 975 million bushels, up 25 million from last month. Soybean crush is up 5 million bushels to 1.605 billion bushels in response to an increase of 200,000 short tons in soybean meal exports. U.S. soybean stocks were reduced 30 million bushels this month to 320 million bushels, still above last year's carryover of 288 million bushels.

U.S. season-average soybean prices for 2000-01 were projected at $4.50 to $5.10 per bushel, up 10 cents per bushel from last month.

China's soybean crop is forecast at 15.4 million tons, up 400,000 from last month. Argentina's soybean crop was increased 500,000 tons this month to a record 23.5 million tons based on higher area, mainly at the expense of sunflowerseed.

Wheat The USDA December supply and demand estimate lowered U.S. ending stocks of wheat by 30 million bushels from last month because of larger exports and food use. The projected price range was narrowed 5 cents on each end to $2.50 to $2.70 per bushel. Global 2000-01 supply and use projections are little changed in aggregate from last month.

Corn USDA is projecting an increase of 75 million bushels in corn ending stocks from last month as smaller global imports and increased competition lowered export prospects. The projected price range for corn is down 5 cents on each end to $1.65 to $2.05 per bushel.

The largest impact on potential U.S. 2000-01 corn exports is a 1-million-ton increase in Argentina's exports for its 1999-2000 marketing year, due to an upward revision in the 1999-2000 Argentine corn crop and a strong export pace in recent months.