Ag Moment

Go ahead, take a moment for some Ag news and information on the net

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Out with the old, in with the new!

Things have went better than expected and I can now say that Ag Moment is officially moving! Please visit the new site at Please update your links and I'll see you at the new site. I will not be updating this site anymore, the new site contains all the information contained here and more. A few comments about the new site and the move: A new web address - I have changed web-server providers, blogging programs, and web addresses. The new address is: Please update any links you may have to this address. Feeds - If you are pulling my feed to read this site (through bloglines, google, etc. . .), you don’t have to do a thing, just sit back and keep enjoying Ag Moment. This is just a start - I have been working long and hard on the new site and decided that since it contained as much information as my old site, I would go ahead and start the transfer process. I have a few ideas floating around in my head about what I want to do. Needless to say, you will be seeing a great deal of new things in the following weeks.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A major Ag Moment expansion?

Due to circumstances that were within my control that I chose not to control (i.e. I didn't backup when I should have) I lost my current blog template for Ag Moment. Thanks to Google Desktop I was able to find a cached version to work from (thank you Google). The template is a few months old so I lost alot of links. If I lost a link to your favorite site, sorry, I'll get them back up as soon as I can. Rumor has it this site crash was due to a major expansion/overhaul currently going on behind the scenes at Ag Moment. Stay tuned for more details as they become known. 1/11/06 update - template back up to date. I think everything is functioning properly.

Ag Moment focus: recent sugar beet news

I thought I'd try something new so here goes. Here is a compilation of a few stories (not necessarily recent) dealing with one subject. The first subject up to bat is Sugar Beets.

From the Business - Sugar beet farmers 'get too much cash'

Sugar farmers in Europe are getting far too generous compensation payments at the expense of Third World growers, according to a new report. Some of the poorest countries in the world will get a fraction of the £5bn payments paid to EU sugar beet growers over the next five years, said Lord Renton of Mount Harry, chairman of the Lords' environment and agriculture sub-committee. In today's 57-page report, Too Much or Too Little? Changes to the EU Sugar Regime, he said that the reform was “welcome and necessary”.

From - Can't beet it - Sugar-beet byproduct mixes with salt to keep icy roads clear and safe

Sugar is good on cereal, so why not snow? There's something called De-Ice 55, a liquid made from sugar beets, that's being used in parts of Michigan and throughout the country. It sticks to roads and helps salt do its job. The stuff isn't being used anywhere locally. Bay City uses a similar corn byproduct on its four bridges and around town.

From - Sugar beet threat to biofuel unit

Farmers across East Anglia are likely to refuse to grow extra sugar beet for a new bioethanol fuel plant. The NFU claims farmers are enthusiastic about such uses for their crop but a price of £10 a tonne was well below production costs. British Sugar insist the price is the best for many years for the "C" grade beet they are targeting. Cole Carter from British Sugar said this grade was grown as a quota backup in case crops were hit by bad weather.

From the - Soggy weather causes woes for area sugar beet growers

AMERICAN FALLS - Driving a Caterpillar tractor, Tony Baca escorted a green truck hauling two empty hoppers toward an immense pile of sugar beets. As Baca predicted, the truck sank into the mud and got stuck en route to pick up its sweet cargo. Mainly due to a wet spring, sugar beet growers statewide reported having their third best crop ever for total yield and second best crop for sugar content.

Ag Moment site of the moment (12)

The Ag Moment site of the moment is: If you can slap a John Deere logo on it and sell it, they have it.

South Korea, U.S. disagree over U.S. beef import details

From the Korea Times - Korea, US Hit Snag in Beef Talks

SEOUL (Yonhap) _ South Korea and the United States failed to reach an agreement to allow the importation of beef products containing bone, the government said Tuesday. The two sides agreed to extend the talks to Friday, some South Korean officials said. South Korea banned U.S. beef imports in December 2003 after it was revealed a cow there had been affected with mad cow disease. The disease has been cited for causing the fatal Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.

Greece must lift ban on Monsanto's GM Seed Corn

From - E.U. orders Greece to lift ban on Monsanto corn seed

BRUSSELS (MarketWatch) -- The European Commission Monday ordered Greece to lift its ban on one type of U.S. biotech giant Monsanto Co.'s (MON) genetically modified corn seeds, according to a document obtained by Dow Jones Newswires. No health or safety grounds justify the ban, the document said. The decision underlines splits in the European Union over biotech food. The Brussels-based Commission wants to allow them in order to defuse trade tensions with the U.S. and to keep European agriculture competitive. But European consumers - and their governments - are resisting. In September 2004, the Commission authorized 17 different strains of Monsanto maize for planting and sale within the 25 E.U. countries. But the Greek government banned the seeds in April 2005, saying it believed the products presented a health danger.

Immigration proposals will hit ag industry especially hard

From the Farm Bureau newsroom - AFBF: Immigration Proposals Could Cause Ag Losses

NASHVILLE, Tenn., January 8, 2006 – The American Farm Bureau Federation today said current legislative efforts to amend existing immigration law could cause up to $9 billion annually in overall losses to the U.S. agriculture industry and losses of up to $5 billion annually in net farm income.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Traditional regional methods of growing tobacco going away with buyout

From the - N.C. tobacco farmers trying new variety in buyout market

RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina's shrinking ranks of tobacco farmers are placing their hopes on new competitiveness from a drop in the price of U.S. flu-cured tobacco and the state's status as a the top producer. Max Denning, 47, a fourth-generation farmer from Benson who grows flue-cured tobacco in five counties including Johnston, Wake, and Harnett, has some advice as tobacco farmers prepare to sign contracts for this year's growing season. For growers bold enough to keep planting leaf in the uncertain world of free-market tobacco farming, he says to get bigger, get better or get out.

Another Kentucky city bans smoking, campaign off to good start

From (Lexington Herald Leader) - Smoking ban has smooth start in Owensboro

OWENSBORO, Ky. - Many Daviess County businesses started out the new year smoke-free. But it's more than a resolution - it's the law. A county ordinance that bans smoking in any public establishment that is open to people under 18 took effect Jan. 1. Police say the start of the ban went smoothly. Both the Owensboro Police Department and Daviess County Sheriff's Department said they had had no calls to enforce it.

An alternate view: Corn stoves not so good

From PES Network - Corn Stoves: an Interim Technology on a Crumbling Foundation?

Though cleaner burning that wood, and currently using a lower-cost fuel, the corn stove should not be regarded as a permanent solution to dependence on foreign oil. Do short term savings on the heating bill entail increasing famine risk in the long term?

More herbicide-resistant weeds to come?

From Delta Farm Press - What will be the next herbicide-resistant weed?

For a long time weed scientists thought herbicide resistant weeds would never emerge as a problem. They were wrong. “We sat back and watched entomologists struggle with insects resistant (to insecticides) and thought nothing similar would happen on the weed side,” said Bob Scott, Arkansas Extension weed specialist at the annual Arkansas Soybean Research Conference in Brinkley, Ark., on Dec. 15. “We thought there weren’t enough generations in a year, there were too many different herbicides and different biological systems that would prevent weed resistance.”

Pork industry stable, profitable for anther year

From - Pork Industry Looks For Third Profitable Year

Pork producers are going for a threepeat in 2006. That means a third consecutive year of profits for an industry that could hardly find a positive tilt from 1998 through 2003. The financial tide finally turned to black in the spring of 2004 and has been on a winning streak ever since. Profits in 2004 averaged about $9 per live hundredweight for farrow-to-finish production. That number was near $10 in 2005 and the forecast for 2006 is for profits to be around $6.

Is all this concern about Soybean rust necessary?

From MSN Money - Experts Weigh Soybean Rust Warnings

URBANA, Ill. (AP) - Government and industry spent millions of dollars last winter to prepare farmers for soybean rust, a fungus that could cost them thousands of dollars to control. But while the disease was found in southern states for a second straight year, it never reached the Midwest. Soybean experts say all the Web sites, brochures and seminars weren't a waste of time and money because farmers need to be wary again this summer.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Ag Moment site of the moment (11)

The Ag Moment site of the moment is: Iron Search Find used tractors for sale, cheap ATVs and more with our online search.

John Deere makes lineup change at the top

From - Deere names new CFO; makes other executive changes

Reuters) — Farm equipment maker Deere & Co. said on Thursday it appointed Michael Mack as chief financial officer and James Israel as president, John Deere Credit. Mack most recently served as treasurer and has been with Deere since 1986. Israel has been vice president for marketing and product support for John Deere agricultural equipment in Europe, Africa and the Middle East and has been at Deere since 1979.

But, will American's continue to pig out?

From - Economist: Pork Demand the Big Unknown

Iowa State University ag economist John Lawrence says the big unknown in the lean hog price outlook is pork demand. He notes demand for pork was very strong in late 2003 and 2004, with some quarters posting an increase in supply and an increase in price at the same time. "For the year of 2004, per capita pork consumption decreased 1% and Iowa farm level prices increased 33%, an approximately ten times bigger impact than was expected," he notes.

American's are pigging out

From - On the Side | It's been hog heaven for pork producers

Harry Ochs leans into his long butcher saw, slicing through the fly bone and then the flat back bone of the pork loin I'm buying to go with (this being the day before New Year's Eve) the sauerkraut I'll cook from White Oak Nursery in Strasburg and a handful of Dwain Livengood's defending-state-champion Yukon Gold potatoes. Yes, he says, he too has noticed an uptick in the fortunes and certainly the flavor of pork. He slides his hand over the white collar of fat covering the loin. "Things go full circle." Ochs is 77 now, presiding at his stand in the Reading Terminal Market in his signature flat, plaid cap and white apron, an observer for more than 60 of those years of the fads of food - no-fat, low-carb, whole-grain, some-more-fat.

Ag Moment picture of the moment (1)

A new feature for Ag Moment. Here is your Ag Moment picture of the moment(1): It looks like this Massey Ferguson has seen its better days Image taken by liampatrickquigley, more photos from this person can be found at Flickr

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Massey Ferguson announces line of "clean cab" tractors

Another from AgNewsWire - Massey Ferguson Announces New Specialty Tractor Line

DULUTH, GA – December 5, 2005 (AgNewsWire) - Massey Ferguson has introduced three new specialty tractors equipped with pressurized cabs and air filtration systems designed to supply clean cab air for the operator. The system seals out pesticide particles and other contaminants to protect operators during specialty applications such as orchard spraying.

Farm Bureau purchases Crop1

From - Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company Announces Plan To Acquire Crop1 Insurance

West Des Moines, Iowa – (AgNewsWire) Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company announced today that it has signed a letter of intent to purchase Des Moines-based Crop1 Insurance in early 2006. Crop1 Insurance will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, one of three property-casualty insurance companies managed by FBL Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: FFG), an insurance and financial services holding company based in West Des Moines.

Ag Moment site of the moment (10)

The Ag Moment site of the moment is the: Milk is Milk blog The Center for Global Food Issues (CGFI) Director of Research and Education Alex Avery provides commentary and analysis on issues impacting the dairy industry.

Monsanto sales rise 31%

From - Monsanto tops profit forecast

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Monsanto Co. reported a first-quarter profit Wednesday that topped its own raised forecasts from a month ago, citing stronger seeds and herbicide sales. Shares of St. Louis-based Monsanto sold off early after it said its 2006 earnings would be at the high end of its previous outlook but below the Wall Street consensus. The stock then bounced back to close with a 25-cent gain at $80.07. It rallied more than 3% Tuesday. First-quarter net income at the seed and agricultural chemical company rose to $59 million, or 22 cents a share, reversing a $40 million, or 15 cents a share, loss, from a year ago.

Onatario farmers will have to comply with Health and Safety Standards

From the Fort Frances Times Online - Farming operations soon to fall under OHSA

When Ontario’s Health and Safety Act (OHSA) was established in October, 1979, farming operations were exempt. But as of June 30, 2006, a regulation passed by Queen’s Park earlier this year will come into effect, extending the OHSA to include farming operations with paid workers.

Soybean prices up, time to sell?

From Agriculture Online - Opportunity for soybean sales, analysts say

As soybean futures prices rally on the Chicago Board of Trade and local cash basis levels drop, farmers are being presented with a marketing opportunity, analysts say . On Tuesday, CBOT March soybean prices finished 15 cents higher at $6.28 1/2 per bushel, a new high for the current rally.

Georgia vs. Soybean Rust, get ready for round two

From the Southeast Farm Press - Georgia soybean growers again brace for Asian rust

Now that we have the soybean crop in Georgia harvested and out of the field, we can look back and try to assess the real importance of Asian soybean rust to producers in Georgia in 2005. To begin, Asian soybean rust was widespread in Georgia. An initial find in late April on volunteer soybean plants in Seminole County did not seem to have any real impact on our crop. The major sustained epidemic was first detected in mid-July in southwest Georgia. The disease continued to spread across the state and by the end of the season had been found in counties bordering Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Thailand to lift ban on U.S. beef

From the Bangkok Post News - Thailand's ban on US beef to be lifted with conditions

A two-year ban on US beef following an outbreak of mad cow disease will be lifted in Thailand next week, according to Public Health Minister Phinij Jarusombat. US beef products will be allowed back into the Thai market on condition that a disease-free document is presented to the authorities prior to import, the minister said. ''We are going to use the same standard as Japan when it (lifted the ban on) imported beef products from the US. If everything runs in accordance with our regulations, there will be no problem for US beef to be sold here,'' said Mr Phinij.

Department of Agriculture critized for its regulation of GMOs

From United Press International - Eat To Live: Agriculture inspectors chided

A blistering report was issued Tuesday to the Department of Agriculture by its auditor over the department's failure to properly regulate field trials of genetically engineered crops. In many cases, the report said, regulators didn't even know where the field trials actually were. The rebuke came the day after Monsanto, the St. Louis-based company that develops insect- and herbicide-resistant crops, announced it had received federal regulatory clearance for two of its genetically modified corn traits. One combines Roundup herbicide with the company's traits that protect corn against rootworm. The second includes protection against the corn borer pest.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Ag Moment site of the moment (9)

The Ag Moment site of the moment is: The American Coalition for Ethanol ACE is the grassroots voice of the ethanol industry, a membership-based association dedicated to the use and production of ethanol.

A little more on the Pepsi Potato Farm in China

Here's a little more detailed story about the Pepsi Potato Farm in China (the first part of the story is the same but later parts go into more detail): From FreshPlaza - To take China, Pepsi takes up potato farming

Standing amid rows of yellowish plants running to the horizon, Vicky Huang fretted in September about the fall potato crop at this 1,200-hectare farm operated by PepsiCo Inc., here at the desolate edge of the Kubuqi desert. Thousands of tons had to be harvested for the company's Chinese potato-chip business before temperatures plunged and tubers began splitting apart in the ground. Ms. Huang pulled a small, round spud out of the soil, rubbed off its brown skin with her thumb and shook her head. "They need 20 more days," she said. After concluding a decade ago that Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, held an insurmountable lead in soft drinks across much of the world, Pepsi embarked on a risky gambit in China and other key markets -- one that relies increasingly on potatoes, not just soda pop.

S. Korea, U.S. open talks on beef imports

From the - S. Korea, U.S. to hold beef import talks

SEOUL, South Korea - South Korea has scheduled talks with the United States next week on ending its two-year-old ban on American beef, the government in Seoul said Tuesday. South Korean shut its doors to U.S. beef imports in December 2003 after the first U.S. case of mad cow disease. At the time it was the third-largest foreign market for American beef, after Japan and Mexico. The two-day talks will begin Jan. 9 in Seoul, the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry said in a release.

Louisiana farmers do their part to prevent soybean rust

From the Beauregard Daily News - Rust alert helps some soybean farmers

BOYCE (AP) - Farmers took extra steps to avoid possible destruction of this year's soybean crop and were rewarded with a record yield, but rising energy costs could dampen the end result. But consumers may not even notice a difference. Kurt Guidry, an economist with the Louisiana State University AgCenter, said the cost of finished goods depends on more than just the raw commodity. "Consumers don't directly eat soybean, but soybeans are used in a number of products that consumers do eat," Guidry said.

Next time you decide to steal grain, make sure you're not messy

From - Trail of grain leads police to soybean thieves

A trail of white pebbles helped Han-sel and Gretel find their way home. For two Muskegon County men, a six-mile trail of soybean grain led police to them -- and felony charges for allegedly stealing the grain. The thieves thought they were ripping off cracked corn to bait deer. It happened two days before Christmas. Trooper Mike Mosack of the Michigan State Police Grand Haven Post said the trail of evidence led to an easy confession. Mosack said he decided not to take the men to jail so they could spend the holiday at home with their children.

2005 CBOT contract trade volume highest ever

From - CBOT 2005 Volume Surpasses 674 Million Contracts and Marks Fourth Consecutive Year of Growth

CHICAGO, Jan. 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT(R)) (NYSE: BOT) today announced the Exchange achieved the highest yearly total volume recorded in its history, with more than 674 million contracts traded in 2005. Total annual volume rose 12.4 percent over the prior year, making 2005 the fourth consecutive record-breaking year for the CBOT. The Exchange's average daily volume (ADV) also increased 12.9 percent to 2.7 million contracts from 2.4 million contracts reported in 2004, setting a new record for the year.

Monsanto gains clearance for a single event stacked gene corn line

I hope your holidays went well. I am finally back from mine. Now, for some news: From the St. Louis Business Journal - Monsanto gets federal clearance for corn traits

Monsanto Co. said Monday it received federal regulatory clearance for two of its genetically modified corn traits, which it called a "major step" toward the commercialization of the products. The clearances were for the MON88017, which combines the company's traits that protect the corn against rootworm and Roundup herbicide, and another variety that includes protection against the corn borer pest.
This line is different from other gene stacked lines in that both genes were inserted in a single "event". Traditional (if you want to call it that) stacked trait lines were created by inserting each gene individually into different lines and combining the traits into one line by traditional breeding methods. This new approach should be faster.