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TheCropSite Newsletter - 9 October 2012

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The Crop Site

Tuesday 9th October 2012.

Sarah Mikesell - TheCropSite Senior Editor

Sarah Mikesell
Senior Editor

Editorial: Feed Costs - How Are Livestock Producers Coping?

Greetings from a cooler Midwest - temps have dropped to the 50-60s F (10-16 C), and our trees are bursting with color, all tell-tale signs that fall is upon us.

Last week I drove up to Madison, Wisconsin, USA, to the World Dairy Expo and saw lots of combines rolling in corn and soybean fields.

If you've never been to or heard of World Dairy Expo, it's a 5-day event featuring a world-class dairy show, learning seminars, virtual farm tours and more than 850 dairy tradeshow exhibitors.

As you'd expect, the hot topic for dairy producers was the high cost of feed.

Steve Pretz, GEA Farm Technologies VP of Channel Management, said it's not just a US issue, but he hears this concern from producers worldwide and he expects it to remain an issue for some time.

He said dairy producers are finding ways to replace corn in their ration, with some replacing nearly half of their corn requirements through alternative feed sources to be more economical.

Gary Neubauer, DVM and senior manager Dairy Veterinary Operations at Pfizer Animal Health, is urging dairy producers to analyze their costs before they switch to cheaper feeds.

"A renowned nutritionist spoke at American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) and said that looking at feed costs per hundredweight is not the best way to approach this challenge. Looking at income over feed costs is the best way to go about it," Dr. Neubauer said. "If we start changing our nutrition program and cut back on our regular routine, it could reduce milk production and that could be a disaster."

Bill Mahanna, global nutritional sciences manager for Dupont Pioneer, said producers are also concerned about the variability in their forage and feed supply this year along with the lack of inventory.

As the US drought took its toll on the corn crop, some farmers decided to take the whole plant and capture the value of the stover as a forage source.

"Having gone through this drought experience, I think we'll get smarter about how to feed cows higher forage diets because we've got the high grain prices we are trying to offset," Mahanna said. "I know there's a lot of interest in how the Europeans feed cattle. In France, they feed a lot of forage and very little grain. In Japan, it's a similar thing - high forage, low grain."

While the comment is related to dairy producers, it's a universal topic - labor.

Pretz said around the world, producers really have a concern about labor - even in China.

"Finding quality, skilled labor to milk cows is difficult," he said. "A lot of the hard work on a dairy is done through immigrant labor. The availability of that work force is in question. So producers are looking to automation to reduce the number of people needed. Improved labor efficiency is a key strategy for dairy operations long-term."

I'd say that statement rings true for farmers all around the world.

Have a great week!

Crop World Global 2012 - 6 & 7 November 2012

Controlling Volunteer Corn Before Fall-Seeded Small Grains
The relatively early beginning to corn harvest provided a good environment for the emergence of volunteer corn, said University of Illinois associate professor of weed science Aaron Hager.

Nitrogen Management This Fall
Many cleared fields in Illinois are ready for fall operations due to the very early harvest and the chopping, plowing-under, or harvesting for biomass that took place earlier in the summer in fields that did not produce grain. University of Illinois assistant professor of crop sciences Fabián Fernández said that decisions on nitrogen applications this fall rank high in the list of producers’ priorities because the application can affect profitability and the environment.

Increased Weed Resistance Means More Pesticide Used
A study published this week by Washington State University research professor Charles Benbrook finds that the use of herbicides in the production of three genetically modified herbicide-tolerant crops - cotton, soybeans and corn - has actually increased.

Wild Bees: Champions for Food Security, Protecting our Biodiversity
Pollinating insects contribute to agricultural production in 150 (84%) European crops. These crops depend partly or entirely upon insects for their pollination and yield. The value of insect pollinators is estimated to be €22 billion a year in Europe.

Little Evidence of Health Benefits from Organic Foods, Study Finds
You're in the supermarket eyeing a basket of sweet, juicy plums. You reach for the conventionally grown stone fruit, then decide to spring the extra $1/pound for its organic cousin. You figure you've just made the healthier decision by choosing the organic product — but new findings from Stanford University cast some doubt on your thinking.

   United States

Specialist Warns Wheat Farmers to Observe Fly-Free Planting Dates
Wheat Crop Insurance in 2013
Management Tips for Drought-Stressed Forages
Increased Weed Resistance Means More Pesticide Used
Record Sales for US Farm Cooperatives
Tadpole Shrimp New Pest of Rice in the Midsouthern United States
CME: Harvest Pressure Pushes Corn, Soy Futures Lower
CME: Corn Futures Closed Lower Monday
CME: Corn Futures Closed Higher Tuesday
CME: Corn Futures Closed Lower Wednesday
CME: Corn Futures Closed Higher Thursday
CME: Corn Futures Closed Lower Friday
Worsening Drought Picture for Minnesota
American Sugar Refining, Inc. Acquires Majority Interest in Belize Industries
USDA Review: Grains Higher Except Soybeans
Not Surprising Farm Bill Expired Before New Bill Passed
How Green Economy Metrics Have Failed RFS
Drought, Politics, Risk Strategies On Tap for 2012 Insurance Workshops
No Farm Bill Leaves Uncertainty for Farmers
Corn, Soybean Prices Searching for Support


Innovations Awards at EuroTier 2012

   United Kingdom

NFU Strengthens its Water Resources
UK On-Farm AD Projects Increase
Future Secured for Small-Scale Renewable Projects
Former Agriculture Minister Win Top Prize
Benefits of On-Farm Renewables Highlighted


Turkey Oilseed Production Increases, but Hampered by Weather


Jamaica Plan to Reduce Rice Imports by 2015


Excellent Crops, Stong Demand Fuels Interest In Winter Cereals
NIRS Workshops Helps Get Most Out of Feed Ingredients


Egypt Lifts Rice Export Ban

   European Union

Improving Sustainable Agriculture
EFSA Publishes Review on GM Maize, Herbicide Study
EU Farm Leaders Call for Strong, Market Orientated Farm Policy


FAO Food Price Index up Slightly


Minister Opens Soufflet Research Centre


Thailand Sugar Production Revised Down


Irish Day of Action Begins

   New Zealand

Successful Year for AgResearch NZ

   Viet Nam

Vietnam Cotton Production Drops Slightly


India Cotton Planting Area Continues to Rise

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