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Articles from 2004 In March


Cochran speaks out against European farm goods tax

WASHINGTON - At a time when American farmers are able to market their crops at near record prices, Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., says it’s imperative that the Senate prevent the monthly tariff hike imposed by the European Union on U.S. farm commodities.

The European Union has imposed tariffs on agricultural and manufactured goods from the United States based on a World Trade Organization ruling against the United States. These tariffs are scheduled to increase from 5 percent to 6 percent April 1, and then increase an additional 1 percent every month during the next year.

Cochran, who serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, says the European Union’s month-by-month tariff retaliation can be prevented, if the Senate is allowed to vote on the Senate’s JOBS bill.

The bill, S-1637, which stands for Jumpstart our Business Strength, would replace the current foreign sales tax structure and bring the United States into compliance with the WTO’s ruling. Because the JOBS Act received a strong, bipartisan vote of 19 to 2 by the Senate Finance Committee, Cochran is urging his fellow senators to allow the bill to receive immediate Senate consideration, rather than continue to block its debate.

“The Senate’s passage of the JOBS bill will avert these costly tariffs on American agriculture and manufacturing products,” says Cochran. “With a remedy at hand, why would we want to see American farmers punished when they are selling their products at a near record level of almost $60 billion in world markets? When our farm exports are pressured, the truckers, rail lines and shippers feel the ill effects. I hope that senators will allow the immediate consideration of this bill.”

The bill eliminates the Foreign Sales Corporation/Extra Territorial Income corporate tax and replaces it with an effective 3 percent tax cut for manufacturing income to preserve and create manufacturing jobs in the United States. It also reforms international tax rules that Cochran says seriously undermine America’s ability to compete in the global marketplace. The Senate Finance Committee passed the bill on Oct. 1, 2003.

e-mail: dmuzzi@primediabusiness.com

New weed control ratings to be provided

CLARKSDALE, Miss. – After publication of the 2004 Delta Agricultural Digest, the editors received updated information for weed control ratings that appear on Page 55 of this year’s publication.

The newer ratings indicate higher levels of control for one cotton herbicide on annual morningglory and a higher level of crop tolerance than the ratings in the original chart, which was prepared when the Delta Agricultural Digest was printed in February.

In future issues of Delta Farm Press, the editors will provide a “peel and stick” document that can be removed and placed over the table, “Estimated Levels of Weed Control Normally Expected With Cotton Herbicides,” on Page 55 of the Digest.

“We pride ourselves on providing up-to-date information in our publications,” said Greg Frey, publisher of Delta Farm Press and Delta Agricultural Digest, “and we believe the new table will help avoid confusion over the weed control ratings when spray season arrives.”

To see the new table, click on the Delta Agricultural Digest Updated Information button in the upper right corner of this screen.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com

LSU Wheat and Oat Field Day scheduled

WINNSBORO, La. - The Louisiana State University AgCenter will hold its Wheat and Oat Field Day at the AgCenter’s Macon Ridge Research Station south of Winnsboro on Wednesday, April 14.

Beginning at 8:30 that morning, LSU AgCenter researchers will provide producers with an update on the current Louisiana wheat crop and disease and weed management recommendations.

Also on the agenda are stops at research plots with ongoing studies of sulfur fertility for wheat; breeder seed increases; wheat and oat variety trials; seeding rate studies in wheat; fusarium head blight; and fungicide screening and disease management in wheat.

The field day will conclude with a lunch sponsored by Terral Seed Co., Syngenta Seed, Ag South Genetics and AgriPro Wheat.

For more information about the field day, contact Boyd Padgett, plant pathologist at the Macon Ridge Station, at (318) 435-2923 or e-mail: bpadgett@agcenter.lsu.edu.

‘New generation’ oilseed cooperative selling stock

CLAXTON, Ga. - The Farmers Oilseed Cooperative, Inc. - a proposed “new generation” co-op to be located in southeast Georgia - continues to sell stock to help establish and construct a $66-million processing facility.

The cooperative currently is making plans to build a multi-crop crushing facility in Claxton. The plant will crush oilseeds from canola, soybeans, peanuts and sunflowers.

“It won’t pay off overnight, but in the long-term, Southeast farmers could benefit greatly from it,” says FOC President Ben Deal. Deal, a diversified row-crop farmer from Appling County, has been involved with the FOC from the beginning and plans to grow soybeans and canola for the cooperative.

To join the FOC, a farmer must purchase one share of common stock for $500. This is the voting stock and gives each member one vote on all issues brought before the membership. This common stock money is being used to fund the start-up costs of running the cooperative.

Two types of stock are available - Class A preferred stock and Class B investor stock. A minimum purchase of 2,500 shares will be offered at an initial price of $2.45 per share. Additional shares can be purchased in multiples of 250 shares.

Each member will be responsible for delivering 50 pounds of oilseed for each share they hold. Shareholders will not be tied to one specific commodity.

Class B investment stock is available to people who would like to invest in the oilseed project but are not oilseed producers. No voting privilege comes with the purchase of this stock. A dividend of up to 8 percent can be paid based upon the profits of the co-op. The price of this stock is $1,000 per share.

“Typically, new generation cooperative stock will double or triple in value during the first five years of operation,” says Deal.

To help determine the amount of stock farmers need to purchase, a spreadsheet has been developed to help with the calculation. The spreadsheet can be accessed at www.farmersoilseed.com.

The oil crushing facility planned by the FOC will be the largest “switch” plant in the Southeast. Although it will be considered a small crushing facility in today’s oil-crushing market.

Initial plans call for the crushing of four oilseeds - canola, soybeans, peanuts and sunflowers. The majority of the plant’s crushing business is expected to be from canola and soybeans, with a limited amount of sunflowers and peanuts being processed.

The design of the crushing plant will allow for 900 tons per day of soybeans and 700 tons per day of canola to be processed. The plant is designed to run 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

The latest technology will be incorporated in the plant design. It will have dual extraction methods, one from a “natural” means and the other by hexane, the industry norm. Once the oil is separated, a 300-ton-per-day refinery will give the FOC the ability to refine the oil to various degrees, according to the needs of customers.

The refinery and other parts of the facility will operate on a five-day-per-week schedule, with two shifts per day. Once the oil is refined, it will be packaged into containers from 12 ounces up to 35-pound drums. A distribution area also will be built on-site to process and deliver customer orders.

Commodity deliveries will be made either by rail or truck. A rail spur will be built at the site to allow for ease of transporting large quantities of commodities. Adequate truck access also will be built into the site. Product distribution will be handled by these same facilities.

Unlike crushing facilities that handle only one commodity, FOC will have the ability to crush multiple oilseeds and maintain the identity of these products. The plant will be engineered so it can change quickly from one commodity to another with a minimum amount of down time and cross contamination.

Instead of having a few very large storage bins, the FOC plant will have several smaller bins that can be used to store a commodity that has special value or to preserve the identity. FOC also will attempt to design the plant so it can be easily expanded.

e-mail: phollis@primediabusiness.com

Agribusiness: Early aerial application of Clincher new option

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Rice growers who rely on an early season aerial application for control of annual grasses have a new option for the 2004 season. Clincher SF herbicide can be tank mixed with residual grass herbicides such as Command, Facet or Prowl for control of one- to three-leaf annual grasses that compete with young rice.

Clincher SF, a postemergence grass herbicide containing the active ingredient cyhalofop-butyl, controls a wide spectrum of annual and seedling perennial grasses, such as barnyardgrass (including propanil- and quinclorac-resistant biotypes), sprangletop, broadleaf signalgrass, knotgrass and fall panicum. EPA has categorized cyhalofop-butyl as a reduced-risk pesticide.

“Best results from a tank mix of Clincher and residual herbicides will come from aerial application within the first seven to 21 days after planting, depending on soil moisture and environmental conditions,” said Larry Walton, customer agronomist for Dow AgroSciences. “The key is to make sure the annual grass weeds are no larger than the three-leaf stage.

“It's also important to remember that although Clincher is effective against the target grasses, it has no pre-emergence activity,” said Walton. “Any residual weed control will be provided by the tank mix partner.”

For optimum results, use Clincher SF herbicide at a rate of 10 to 13.5 ounces per acre in the tank mix, along with the recommended rate of the residual herbicide. Add 1 quart per acre of crop oil concentrate with the tank mix. Spray volume should be no less than 10 gallons of water per acre.

“Thorough coverage, good soil moisture and actively growing grass weeds are the keys to success with this application,” Walton said. “The higher spray volume is necessary to obtain proper coverage of the young grass weeds. And the fields should be muddy, either partially or fully drained at application following at least a half-inch of rain or an irrigation flush.

“Ground equipment should not be used for this application. The rule of thumb is that the field should be too wet for a ground rig or to walk through.”

Before planning an aerial application of Clincher SF herbicide with Command, make sure that Command can be legally applied with an airplane in your state, county or parish, Dow AgroSciences says.

While Clincher SF has excellent crop safety when used alone, the safety of the early season aerial application is limited by the crop safety of the tank mix partner. Growers and applicators should always follow the low drift and application buffer zone requirements and use directions for the most restrictive of the tank mix products.

e-mail: erobinson@primediabusiness.com

Cotton/soybean farmers looking for more acres in 2004

WASHINGTON - U.S. soybean farmers will plant a record 75.4 million acres in 2004, while their cotton brethren will increase their plantings 7 percent to a little more than 14.4 million acres, according to USDA’s March 31 Planting Intentions Report.

The report, which surveyed grower intentions as of March 1, also forecast more acreage for rice and corn and reduced wheat plantings.

Soybean growers told USDA they intend to plant an estimated 75.4 million acres, up 3 percent from last year. If realized, this will be the largest planted area on record and a rebound from a three-year decline in acreage.

Growers in all states except South Dakota and Wisconsin intend to plant more than or at least as many acres of soybeans as last year. Current high prices are encouraging many producers to plant more soybeans, with the largest acreage increases expected in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Even New Yorkers are getting into the act. Growers there are expected to increase soybean acres 36 percent, to 190,000 acres. Increases are also expected in Louisiana, up 29 percent to 980,000 acres; Texas, up 35 percent to 270,000 acres; Mississippi, up 15 percent to 1.65 million acres; and Arkansas up 4 percent to a little over 3 million acres.

The largest soybean producing state, Iowa, could expand its acres 1 percent to 10.7 million acres.

USDA pegged cotton plantings for 2004 at 14.4 million acres, 7 percent above last year. Upland acreage is expected to total 14.2 million acres, also a 7 percent increase. American Pima cotton growers intend to increase their plantings to 226,600 acres, up 27 percent from 2003. The increase is primarily in California where producers are intending to plant 50,000 acres more than last year.

Only two states decreased forecast cotton plantings for the coming year, Mississippi, which may drop 1 percent to 1.1 million acres and North Carolina, which could lower its plantings 2 percent to 790,000 acres. Arkansas growers indicated they could increase cotton acres 7 percent to 1.05 million acres; Louisiana 14 percent to 600,000 acres; Missouri, 3 percent to 410,000 acres; and Tennessee, 5 percent to 590,000 acres.

Kansas may again show the largest year-to-year change with a 44 percent increase to 130,000 acres, surpassing Virginia, New Mexico and Florida in forecast acreage.

U.S. corn acreage, meanwhile, was forecast to increase incrementally from 2003 to a little over 79 million acres. Acreage is expected to decrease 23 percent in Arkansas, 13 percent in Louisiana, 18 percent in Mississippi and 8 percent in Tennessee, as growers possibly increase acreage in rice, cotton and soybeans.

Forecast U.S. rice acreage increased 8 percent over last year, to 3.26 million acres. Rice acres could rise in all rice producing states except Mississippi, where acreage is expected to be unchanged from last year at 235,000 acres.

Rice acreage increases: Arkansas, up 6 percent, to 1.56 million acres; Louisiana, up 16 percent to 530,000 acres; Missouri, up 6 percent to 186,000 acres; Texas, up 6 percent to 192,000 acres; and California, up 9 percent to 556,000 acres.

Wheat planted area is expected to total 59.5 million acres in 2004, down 4 percent from 2003. Winter wheat planted area for the 2004 crop is 43.4 million acres, down 3 percent from 2003. Of the total, about 30.9 million acres are hard red winter, 8.3 million acres are soft red winter, and 4.2 million acres are white winter. The 2004 other spring wheat planted acreage is estimated at 13.3 million, down 4 percent from last year. Of the total, about 12.7 million acres are hard red spring wheat. Area planted to durum wheat is intended to total 2.76 million acres, down 5 percent from a year ago.

The percentage of biotechnology varieties is also expected to increase in 2004, according to farmers surveyed by USDA. Cotton biotech varieties are expected to total 76 percent of all varieties this coming season, compared to soybeans, 86 percent, and corn, 46 percent.

e-mail: erobinson@primediabusiness.com

Corn+Soybean Digest

Raise Yield Potential Through Progressive Fertilization

Soybean yields last year were very good in much of the South, but down slightly in several Midwest states because of inadequate moisture.

Farmers need to take advantage of the good prices that are present in the market this year, says Clifford S. Snyder, southwest director of the Potash & Phosphate Institute. He reminds growers that P and K fertilization can provide excellent benefits and raise profit potential.

Snyder says there are too many soybean farmers who haven’t changed their fertilization practices since the early 1980s when soybean prices were in the $5/bu. range, adding that with excellent prices, it’s time to raise yield potential by providing adequate soybean nutrition through progressive fertilization.

Growers urged to learn symptoms of herbicide injury

STONEVILLE, Miss. - Incidents of off-target herbicide movement appear to be on a downward slope. With that said, however, dozens of farmers may be faced this year with distinguishing whether or not the sick-looking crop in their field has fallen victim to pesticide injury or something else entirely.

Charles Snipes, Extension cotton specialist at Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, has been studying the effects typical rates of off-target glyphosate can have on conventional cotton varieties.

“There is quite a difference between conventional cotton and Roundup Ready cotton when it comes to glyphosate tolerance,” Snipes says. “The conventional cotton sprayed with a Roundup UltraMax yellowed, stunted, and exhibited symptoms similar to that of thrip-damaged cotton.”

The good news, Snipes told participants in a pesticide applicator stewardship training program in Stoneville, is that in most cases the cotton can recover from the rates of glyphosate most commonly found in cases of off-target herbicide injury.

In Snipes’ three years of research, he tested the response conventional cotton at the two-to-three leaf stage and the six-to-seven leaf stage to sub-lethal concentrations of glyphosate, using rates from 0.03- to 0.48-pound active ingredient per acre.

In both 2002 and 2003, cotton injury hit 70 percent at the 0.48-rate of Roundup UltraMax 30 days after treatment. The treatment to two-to-three leaf cotton also increased the height of first fruiting node, indicating a possible delay in fruiting, Snipes says. (The UltraMax formulation was used in all three years of the research for consistency.)

“In 2003, we saw the same delay in fruiting even at herbicide rates on the lower end of the rate spectrum,” he says. “In the last three years, 2003 was the only year that we saw a reduction in lint yields below the untreated check. That year, saw the most injury and the greatest response to the Roundup UltraMax applications, possibly due to environmental conditions.”

When conventional cotton was treated with glyphosate at the six-to-seven leaf stage, Snipes reported 70 percent visual injury to the cotton plants, but no significance in first fruiting node location as compared to the untreated check.

“At this point in the season, the first fruiting node is typically already set,” Snipes explains. “Lint yields did drop significantly all three years when 0.48-pound of glyphosate was applied to cotton at the six-to-seven leaf stage. Again, the response was stronger to all rates of glyphosate in 2003, due to both the weather and the stage of cotton growth at the time of application.”

While visible injury to the cotton plants ranged from 10 to 70 percent when more than 0.12-pound active ingredient of glyphosate was applied to the cotton, no injury was reported to herbicide rates below that level.

Based on three years worth of work, Snipes believes the drift rate of glyphosate must exceed 0.12 pounds active ingredient per acre to cause a yield reduction. “The injury caused by off-target glyphosate on conventional cotton seems more significant at the higher rates, but the cotton seems to recover in most cases. While mid- to late-season varieties seem more affected by glyphosate, all of the conventional cotton varieties we tested seem remarkably resilient to glyphosate,” he says.

“Anything from a pint on down will not be as significantly damaged as it looks to be at first glance. It’s not necessarily the time to give up and go on to another crop because most of the time the cotton will recover,” he said.

Corn and grain sorghum aren’t nearly as resilient to glyphosate drift as cotton, primarily because they are both grass species, according to Erick Larson, Extension corn specialist at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss.

Determining where the drift originated is often more difficult because in many cases there won’t be a drift pattern in the field, and the drift may be coming from a substantial distance from the affected field.

Off-target applications of glyphosate can be identified in corn or sorghum by looking for chlorosis, stunting, red or necrotic leaves, although no root injury will result. New tillers may also develop from the base of sorghum plants in response to the injury caused to the primary stem. You can also look for injury to plants or weeds adjacent to the field. Glyphosate injury will often cause chlorosis on johnsongrass leaves.

Drift injury can also be distinguished from soil active herbicides by the presence of a distinctive banding pattern on leaves initially protected within the whorl. “You’re likely to see contact injury on those leaves that had emerged from the whorl at the time the glyphosate drift injury occurred. But, it may take 10 to 14 days from the date the drift occurred before you see stunting and symptomology on newly emerging leaves in the whorl,” Larson says.

If your corn field is the victim of off-target herbicide movement, how do you decide whether or not replanting is necessary?

In many cases, Larson says, the answer is dependent on whether or not you can replant, based on the calendar date and the history of chemicals applied in that field. “Because of the time period before symptoms appear, growers are often already behind the eight-ball. Growers should look at it as a stand loss type of situation when deciding whether or not to replant,” he says.

Larson suggests taking a close look at the health of the affected plants to determine how likely it is that each of those plants will recover from the herbicide injury. Are they fully recovered, moderately injured or severely injured?

Fully recovered plants have recovered or are likely to recover quickly. Moderately injured plants will likely suffer some reduction in yield, depending on the size and color the plant’s leaves. It’s not uncommon to see more than a 50-percent yield loss in fields with moderately injured corn plants due to the shorter plants and smaller ears of corn, Larson says. In cases of severe injury, severe yield reduction is likely.

“In most cases, growers will see variable rates of injury throughout the field,” Larson says. “If either at least 10 percent of the field exhibits severe injury symptoms or at least 25 percent of the field shows moderate injury, you’re probably justified in replanting the field, likely to another crop.”

The use of Roundup Ready technology will not solve all drift problems, cautions Larson. “Corn is more intolerant of Staple injury than glyphosate injury,” he says. “Be aware there are other chemicals out there that corn is as, or more, susceptible to, and that can cause severe injury to corn.”

e-mail: dmuzzi@primediabusiness.com