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Articles from 2005 In February


Corn+Soybean Digest

March 1, 2005

Japan considers re-opening U.S. beef exports

Japan, the world’s biggest consumer of beef products, may be close to lifting that nation’s year-long ban on imported cattle from the United States.

Last month, according to Associated Press reports, a Japanese government panel of advisors recommended that Japan open limited trade with U.S., and specifically grade A40 beef. That grade derives from cattle aged between 12 and 17 months.

It has been more than one year since a cow, born in Canada, was detected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), more commonly known as mad cow’s disease, in Washington State – spurring the Japanese blockade, along, temporarily, with other nations. About three months ago, Japan seemed receptive to a pledge by USDA officials to more vigorously inspect for the disease.

But, it’s no guarantee that Japan’s legislators will accept the recommendation: Critics’ worries about importing contaminated beef remain vocal – especially following a Japanese man whose recent, long-suffering death was determined to be caused from eating tainted beef in England in 1989.

Since BSE was initially found in Japan in 2001, 15 animals have been found to have the disease. But, no human cases of the disease caused from eating meat in Japan have been recorded, and Japanese officials partially attribute it to efforts to screen every slaughtered cow slated for the nation’s food supply.

The possibility that Japan may lift its ban could not come fast enough for the U.S. beef industry, which has been shut out of what was an annual $1.7 billion in beef sales to Japan prior to the ban. Last week, the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association raised the political stakes, publicly suggesting that, unless Japan reopened beef trade, the U.S. government should pursue imposing its own economic sanctions against Japan.

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, members of the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday to review the guidelines recently established by U.S. officials for importing Canadian cattle.

Last month, the USDA delayed adoption of a recently devised set of regulations for regions that minimize the risk of introducing BSE into the United States, and placed Canada in the “minimal-risk category” because of that country’s risk-mitigation measures.

“According to the World Organization for Animal Health guidelines, a country may be considered a BSE minimal risk country if it has less than two cases per million cattle over 24 months of age during each of the previous four consecutive year,” said Ron De Haven, administrator, U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services. “Considering Canada has roughly 5.5 million cattle over 24 months of age, under OIE (Office International des Epizooties) guidelines, they could detect up to 11 cases of BSE in this population and still be considered a minimal risk country, as long as their risk mitigation measures and other preventative measures were effective.”

USDA Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has requested that U.S. officials, however, expedite consideration of part of the plan (originally scheduled to go into effect beginning March 7) that permits imports of animals 30 months and older for slaughter, in addition to beef from over 30-month animals as the “next step” in trade with Canada.

“We remain very confident that the combination of the rules’ requirements, in addition to the animal and public health measurements that Canada has in place to prevent the spread of BSE, along with the extensive U.S. regulatory food-safety and animal-health systems, provide the protection to U.S. consumers and livestock,” Johanns said.

e-mail: abell@primediabusiness.com

Play Department

REALLY BIG TV

SAMSUNG'S NEW 67-IN. DLP TV SETS HDTV STANDARD

Samsung's top-of-the-line HLR6768W digital television boasts a 67-in. screen, the largest ever in a DLP TV. DLP technology uses computer chips with millions of hinged, microscopic mirrors attached to project images. Sure, there are bigger TVs, like Samsung’s new 80-in. plasma model. But that TV is expected to sell for a cool $40,000, compared to ONLY $7,000 for the DLP model. The chief competitors at this price are LCD TVs, which are slightly more expensive.

Samsung claims its new model is twice as sharp and 6 in. larger than the previous largest model. It displays every pixel of the highest-resolution, high-definition broadcasts. The TV will be in stores the middle of 2005. Contact Samsung at www.samsung.com.

COMPUTER/TV BLEND

NEW SONY DESIGNED FOR MULTIMEDIA

Sony's new VAIO V-series all-in-one LCD TV/PC line combines the innards of a high-end Sony WEGA LCD television with desktop and mobile PC parts. Sony says this multimedia hybrid is perfect for people who want a TV, DVD player, PC, personal video recorder and stereo in one package.

The TV/PC line features 17-in. or 20-in. wide-format displays, 3.2-GHz Intel Pentium 4 processors, 250-GB hard drives, DVD burners and built-in 802.11b/g wireless networking capability. The suggested retail price is $2,500 for the 20-in. VGC-V520G model. The VGC-517G 17-in. model has a suggested retail price of $1,900. Contact Sony at www.sonystyle.com.

FLAT-FREE TIRES

CLOSED-CELL FOAM HAS FEEL OF AIR

Amerityre Corporation introduces a line of flat-free tires for wheelbarrows, hand trucks and mowers that avoid the flat spots that can occur with other flat-free products. The tires use closed-cell foam technology with a locking bead to eliminate flats and roll-offs and assure constant pressure to minimize rolling resistance.

The tires cost from $21 to $47, depending on the size. They are available from Gempler’s, 800/383-8473 or www.gemplers.com. Or contact Amerityre Corp., 1501 Industrial Rd., Boulder City, NV 89005, 800/808-1268, visit www.amerityre.com.

USDA awards 17 states environmental incentive funds

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced recently that $22.2 million in Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds would be provided to 17 states for their high levels of performance in implementing the program during 2004.

"These funds will help farmers and ranchers improve soil, air and water resources on private working lands," Johanns said. "These awards recognize states that have achieved the greatest efficiency in delivering technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers. This program also helps producers comply with federal, state and local environmental regulations."

The states receiving the performance award include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

EQIP is a voluntary conservation program for farmers and ranchers that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals. EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist eligible participants implement structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land.

The program provides a performance incentive to optimize the overall environmental benefits of EQIP. In awarding the incentive, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service considered factors such as efficiency in providing technical assistance for conservation system applications, strategic planning and program implementation, degree of emphasis on funding comprehensive nutrient management plans with livestock producers, use of technical service providers and contracts with limited resource farmers and ranchers.

Funding allocated per state: Alabama, $1,315,789 Arkansas, $1,315,789 Georgia, $1,052.632 Idaho, $1,315,789 Louisiana, $1,315,789 Maine, $1,184,211 Mississippi, $1,184,211 Montana, $1,184,211 New Mexico, $1,052.632 North Dakota, $1,052.632 Ohio, $1,184,211 Oklahoma, $1,315,789 South Carolina, $1,184,211 Texas, $1,052.632 Utah, $1,184,211 Washington, $1,052.632 Wyoming, $1,052.632

Additional information on EQIP can be found at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip

Peanut Profitability Award deadline for nominations nears

Southwest Farm Press and Southeast Farm Press are looking for a few profitable peanut producers.

Deadline for nominations for the 2005 Peanut Profitability Award is April 15, 2005. Peanut growers from the Southwest (Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico), the Southeast (Georgia, Alabama and Florida) and the Virginia-Carolina area (North and South Carolina and Virginia) are eligible to enter.

Winners will be honored at the annual Southern Peanut Growers Conference, July 17-19, in Panama City, Fla.

Paul Hollis, editor of Southeast Farm Press, said the program is unique in that it is more than a yield contest. Growers are selected on overall farm efficiency, not just a high yield from a specific field.

The efficiency concept came from the significant changes peanuts growers witnessed with the overhaul of the peanut support program.

“Since the inception of the Peanut Profitability Awards, producers have experienced historic and monumental changes, going from a government quota program to a market-oriented approach,” said Greg Frey, Farm Press publisher. “Our aim has been to recognize growers who have shown adaptability in the face of such changes, and who have continued to produce profitable peanut crops.”

“The Farm Press Peanut Profitability Awards Program began with the first-ever Southern Peanut Growers Conference, and the two have grown together. This year will mark the sixth class of Peanut Profitability winning growers, and each class continues to impress with innovative ways of improving bottom-line profits.”

Ron Smith, editor of Southwest Farm Press, said the annual award allows Farm Press to recognize some of the most innovative producers in the peanut belt. “We are constantly pleased with the quality of the nominees,” he said. “We’ve met some awfully good farmers through this program.”

Winners of the 2004 awards were honored for production efficiency achieved during the 2003 growing season. They included Joseph H. Ward, Chowan County, N.C., Virginia-Carolina Region; Sauls Partnership, Randolph County, Ga., Southeast Region; and Jimbo Grissom, Gaines County, Texas, Southwest Region.

The winning nominations for the 2005 awards will come from production efficiency during the 2004 growing season. Winners of the 2005 awards will receive an expenses-paid trip for two to the Southern Peanut Growers Conference in Panama City, Fla., set for July 2005. They also will receive limited-edition signed and numbered prints from noted watercolor artist Jack DeLoney.

In addition, the winners are featured in special Peanut Profitability issues of Southeast Farm Press and Southwest Farm Press.

Peanut Profitability Award Program advisor Marshall Lamb, research leader with the National Peanut Research Laboratory in Dawson, Ga. Lamb, was instrumental in the creation of the awards program and designed the nomination form to determine production efficiency.

“While achieving consistently high yields and grades is important, it’s only part of the equation. The elements of production cost and price are equally important factors,” Lamb said.

The grower nomination form for the Peanut Profitability Award is extensive, Lamb said, and considers both fixed and variable costs.

“We’re looking at per-unit costs, and how effectively farmers manage their cost structures,” he said.

Assisting with the awards program is an Advisory Board comprised of Extension peanut specialists, county agents, economists and commodity group officials from the major peanut-producing states. They help distribute nomination forms within their respective states and educate potential nominees about the program.

Farm Press editors, working with Lamb, select the regional winners from the pool of state nominees. Members of the Advisory Board, along with Lamb, are charged with periodically reviewing the awards program to insure consistency. Actual per-unit costs and returns information from nomination forms will remain confidential to Lamb and members of the Advisory Board.

Growers may submit their nomination form directly to the National Peanut Research Laboratory, or they may submit it to their county Extension agent, peanut specialist, economist or Farm Press editor.

Growers can access the nomination form via the Internet at southeastfarmpress.com and southwestfarmpress.com. A micro-site on each of the Farm Press Web sites also offers an overview of the program, articles on peanut profitability and production practices from past winners.

The program also can be linked from various commodity group Web sites. To receive a hard copy of the form, call Farm Press headquarters at (662) 624-8503 or contact any member of the Advisory Board.

The program does not stop with the awards program. “A second major component of the Peanut Profitability Program is education,” Frey said. “Southeast Farm Press and Southwest Farm Press accomplished this in the past year by publishing numerous articles on peanut production efficiency. We hope that farmers from throughout the Peanut Belt will learn from the production practices of growers who receive the award.”

Farm Press will continue to publish articles in the coming year focusing on peanut production efficiency. Each article will bear the Peanut Profitability Program logo so that readers can recognize it easily.

For the first time this past year, Peanut Profitability’s education component also funded an internship to a deserving college student majoring in agricultural communications.

More Glyphosate Resistance Ahead For U.S. Farmers

The world's worst herbicide resistance problems are in Australia right now, but the United States could soon win this dubious honor if farmers here do not begin to diversify their weed control programs.

That was the message offered by Australian weed scientist Stephen Powles at the Commodity Classic, held in Austin, Texas Feb 23-26. The Classic is a joint meeting of 3,000 farmers from National Corn Growers Association and American Soybean Association.

Powles, Professor at University of Western Australia, outlined the growing problem in his home country where most grain farms are 6,000, 10,000, even 50,000-acre spreads. Glyphosate resistance is appearing in intensive cropping systems - particularly resistant-prone species such as ryegrass in long-term glyphosate usage for burn-down in no-till cropping. For years Australian farmers would apply glyphosate on no-till wheat over and over and only now are beginning to realize that resistance is an issue.

"It's a recipe to get glyphosate-resistant weeds," he says.

Now glyphosate resistance is showing up in North America, particularly in soybeans, he says. According to a recent Syngenta Crop Protection study, glyphosate-resistant horseweed (marestail) has been found in 10 states and the acreage is increasing. Common ragweed resistance was recently confirmed, and waterhemp, lambsquarters and giant ragweed are being investigated for possible resistance to glyphosate.

"Australia has the world's largest herbicide resistance problem, but by 2008, the U.S. will overtake Australia as the number one nation in herbicide resistance problems," predicts Powles.

Massive adoption rate

Why? Massive adoption of Roundup Ready technology over the past eight years, Powles says, in both North and South America. Glyphosate made up over half of the total U.S. herbicide market in 2002.

"It's the most rapid adoption ever of an agricultural innovation, because it's got clear benefits to growers," he says.

"We've all been blinded by the fantastic technology. I've listened to big farmers say 'It's almost impossible for my workers to screw up. If they get the rate wrong or the time wrong, it still works.' It's going to be hard to change that thinking.

As a result, there's zero consideration of resistance risk, Powles says. "There's a lack of diversity because most of the U.S. acreage is being treated with the same chemical."

In Australia, farmers are waking up to the serious nature of the potential problem. Powles believes they will begin to change management practices to preserve the efficacy of glyphosate.

"In the United States, grain growers are not sensitized to resistance," he says. "Everyone wants the easiest, most profitable system," but as a result, "resistance is going to come, big time. If the entire Midwest is sprayed with glyphosate year after year, we'll reap the biological repercussions."

U.S. farmers may be getting the message, though. According to the Syngenta study, 76% of Midwest farmers indicated a strong concern that continuous use of glyphosate will lead to resistance when asked that question in 2003; the figure grew to 85% in 2004. In the study, 52% of respondents said they plan to adopt (or already have adopted) a weed resistance management strategy such as rotating herbicides, rotating Roundup Ready and conventional crops, and using cultivation.

Complacent

U.S. farmers may be complacent because they believe another wonder product will come along after glyphosate. But that's not going to happen, Powles predicts.

"Glyphosate is a one in a hundred year discovery," he says. "It's like penicillin - that also was a one in a hundred year discovery. Not in your lifetime will you see another herbicide as effective as this. There's nothing on the horizon that would be equivalent, in terms of new technology, to herbicides that we have now.

New herbicides may come on the market, "but there are no new modes of action," notes Chuck Forsman, technical business manager of non-selective herbicides, Syngenta Crop Protection.

Powles agrees. "If we drive that product to the point where it is no longer useful, farmers will adjust -- but there won't be one U.S. grower who doesn't lament the day they allowed that to happen," he says. "It won't be the end of the world, but there will never be anything as good."

Diversify weed control

Powles' recommendation? Involve more diversity in your herbicide arsenal. That's the best way to preserve glyphosate's usefulness, even though it means using conventional herbicides in conventional weed programs that require more management.

Liberty Link herbicide (Bayer) or Callisto (Syngenta) represent different chemistries. "The solutions will be different for individual farms, depending on what part of the world you farm in," he says.

If that doesn't happen he believes time will eventually run out for glyphosate. "It's coming over the next 5 to 10 years, big time," he warns. "While we don't know where we are on that curve, the next 10 years will see a major increase in glyphosate resistance in weeds. We should do everything to minimize that increase, and diversity is the only way."

Energy Leaders Work for 25 by '25 Vision

Agricultural leaders from around the country gathered last week to hear from a wide variety of energy experts and explore whether it is possible for agriculture to contribute 25% of U.S. energy needs from renewable sources by 2025. Participants attending the National Ag Energy Summit seemed to agree that there is tremendous potential to turn this vision into reality.

Efforts to increase renewable energy supplies in this country are a "winning proposition for farmers, rural communities and our nation as a whole,•bCrLf notes Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns in a letter to participants at the National Ag Energy Summit. He applauded the group for taking a "long-term, comprehensive approach•bCrLf that includes all forms of renewable energy such as ethanol, biodiesel, solar, wind, and methane.

Renewable energy offers a way for farmers to capture more income, for rural communities to prosper and for U.S. citizens to lessen their dependence on foreign oil. More and more state and national leaders are embracing the importance of renewable energy.

"I don't need to tell you that we are part of something huge,•bCrLf notes Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty in a video address during the conference. "What we're doing isn't an industry, it's a movement.•bCrLf  The Governor recently proposed that Minnesota go from the current 10% ethanol blend to 20% by 2012.  Plus, he signed an executive order that requires state government to buy more renewable fuel.

"Greater use of renewable fuels requires us to think big, be bold and work aggressively to constantly push the horizon,•bCrLf adds Pawlenty, "I love the ambitious goal you have set:  25% renewable use by 2025.  America will be cleaner, freer and more prosperous as we approach that goal.•bCrLf

Speakers representing renewable sources such as wind, solar, waste products, ethanol, biodiesel and biomass talked about the incredible potential that's emerging in each of these areas. Advancements in technology are making it easier and cheaper to produce renewable supplies.

However, there are also several challenges related to building a renewable energy infrastructure in this country. Production of renewable energy does not ensure that it can be widely distributed or utilized by many traditional sources.  

A number of agricultural leaders have been meeting for the past several months to create a vision for agriculture's role in ensuring U.S. energy independence and then working toward building an alliance of organizations that also support the goal.

"The Summit offered the ag community a great opportunity to come together, help define a vision for the role we can play in this area and then work collectively to bring this vision to life,•bCrLf adds Co-chairman Bill Richards. "This "25 by '25•bCrLf vision is not a picture of food vs. energy; it's a vision of food, fiber, and energy.

 "We were very encouraged by the number of people who are already interested in renewable energy and excited about the opportunity to bring this vision to life,•bCrLf adds Co-chairman Read Smith. "Over the next several months we will be reaching out to over 100 national agricultural organizations to secure endorsements for the 25 x '25 vision and to gather input on action strategies to accomplish our goals."

Middle, Lower Canopy Penetration Is Key To Soy Rust Coverage

Soybean farmers, worried about Asian rust, now have a game plan for the best spraying tactics to fight this new disease.

According to field tests conducted in January by John Deere in Brazil, spraying at higher gallons-per-acre at higher pressures was a more effective way to treat the middle and bottom canopy, where Asian rust infections first begin to form.

Deere revealed results at a news conference held at Commodity Classic, Austin, Texas Feb. 23-26. Here's a rundown of results:

Higher GPA

Tests ranged from 5 to 20 gallons per acre. "As a rule of thumb, 15 gallons-per-acre (GPA) is the minimum," says Mike Miller, John Deere product planner. "With other variables being equal, coverage at the bottom of the canopy using 20 GPA was more than 17 times greater than using 5 GPA. At the middle and top of the canopy the difference was even greater, but when it comes to rust, you're more concerned with the lower part of the plant."

Higher pressure

Tests were conducted with pressures from 40 to 90 Psi. Higher pressures delivered better mid and low canopy coverage. "We had two times greater coverage in the lower canopy by increasing the pressure over 50 Psi," says Miller. There was only 1.5 times greater coverage at the higher pressure in the top canopy.

"Produce as much pressure as your sprayer can with the nozzle creating the proper droplet size," he recommends.

Field speed

Tests were conducted at speeds of 8, 12 and 18 miles per hour. Surprisingly, speed showed little effect on coverage, says Miller. "We are recommending to go as fast as possible while still maintaining good stability with your booms," he says.

That's critical if you need to cover a lot of acres within the two to three-day window after infection is first seen. "We wouldn't recommend a customer travel at 18 mph without good boom stability," Miller cautions. "With an older machine you might sacrifice control with booms flopping at high speeds."

Nozzles

Deere tested flat fan, hollow cone, extended range, low drift, ultra low drift, and a combined ultra low drift-twin cap nozzle that holds two standard spray tips at 30-degree angles (front and rear facing). TwinCaps fitted with Spraymaster Ultra Low Drift Nozzles provided 60% better coverage in the mid and lower canopy area compared to the other spray tips. Hollow cones performed the worst.

"We were extremely happy with the twin cap," Miller says. "Each soybean plant has its own umbrella with its leaves. If I come down from a 30-degree angle, such as with a twin cap, it's easier to get that bottom canopy covered."

Game plan

"Most equipment companies have been talking about increased carrier volumes, and this study confirms that," says Miller. "15 gallons per acre is definitely a starting point with your fungicide. The more gallons per acre you can go out with, the more coverage you can get and, in most cases, the better control you're going to get of any fungicide."

Deere first performed the field test in Iowa last summer, then repeated the same experiment in Brazil over the winter. Crop Systems Specialist Jeff Barnes, who developed the test, clipped 1.5-in x 3-in. cards to soybean plants at various heights, then sprayed plants using various sprayer settings. Nearly 2,500 cards were sprayed, collected and scanned. Soybeans were sprayed at growth stage R1, typical timing for fungicides.

 

 

ARS hosting biobased fuel conference

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is in the process of hosting a two-day conference in Washington, D.C., to foster United States-European collaborative research that will develop biobased products and fuels from plants. ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief in-house scientific research agency.

Forty to 50 scientific representatives from government, industry and academia are participating in the conference at the George Washington Carver Center in Beltsville, Md. The conference will include presentations and group discussions on collaborative research among U.S. and European scientists, especially those in the fields of molecular biology and plant genomics.

"Biobased products are fuels, industrial oils, lubricants, plastics and other materials that are made from plant or animal resources rather than petrochemicals," noted Judy St. John, an ARS deputy administrator and member of the U.S.-European Commission (EC) Task Force on Biotechnology Research, which is sponsoring the conference.

Biobased products have the potential to create new market opportunities for farmers while easing society's reliance on petroleum.

"Plants, however, offer some challenges that must be overcome in order to improve their usefulness as a sustainable alternative to petroleum feedstocks," said St. John. "These challenges are of such a scope that it is unlikely that one laboratory, or even one country's scientific community, will easily overcome them alone."

St. John will be joined as a discussion leader at the conference by Christian Patermann and Laurent Bochereau, Director and Head of Unit, respectively, for EC's Biotechnology, Agriculture and Food Research.

Other speakers include scientists currently engaged in biobased research, members of academia, and industry representatives from both the United States and Europe. Diana Bowles of the University of York, United Kingdom, and Sarah Hake of ARS' Plant Gene Expression Center, Albany, Calif., are among the first speakers. They will discuss the importance of examining the composition and organization of plant cell walls. That area of research is deemed critical to an approach called "biorefining," which seeks to tap solar energy produced in plants by photosynthesis.

According to St. John, the plant cell wall research is one of two flagship projects that the U.S.-EC task force has chosen as a model for cooperation. The other flagship project involves research to better exploit oilseed crops as sources of long-chain hydrocarbons, which can be used as petroleum-like feedstocks to make industrial oils and other biobased products.

Breakout sessions are also being held so that conference members can discuss the potential hurdles and outcomes to achieving these flagship projects, as well as to identify other flagship projects on which U.S. and European scientists can collaborate.

"Ultimately," St. John said, "the objective is to improve the economic viability of biobased products for consumers, to offer economic benefits to growers and rural communities, to reduce our dependence on petroleum and to safeguard the environment."