From MSU ANR 10/01/07


EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Weather has not been kind to farmers this growing
season, and though late summer rain has improved dry conditions, soybean
producers should take extra precautions to reduce harvest losses this
year as the beans and pods are very dry. 

"Dry pods are often brittle and that increases the potential for shatter
losses at the header," says Mike Staton, Michigan State University (MSU)
Extension educator and Soybean 2010 coordinator. "Shattering accounts
for most of the losses that occur during harvest operations and make up
as much as 75 percent of total harvest losses." 

Harvest losses of 10 percent of the total yield can easily occur and can
reach 15 percent if combine operators don't pay close attention to
equipment adjustments and operation. With careful management, harvest
losses can be held to 3 percent or less. 

"The best way to prevent shatter losses is to harvest as much of your
crop as possible before the moisture level in the beans falls below 13
percent," Staton says. "When soybeans undergo repeated wetting and
drying cycles after initially drying below 13 percent moisture, the pods
become more brittle and shatter easily." 

Mechanical damage and split beans are also more likely this year due to
the low moisture levels in the beans. Check the clean grain hopper on
the combine frequently, and make adjustments as necessary to reduce
splits. The following recommendations will help you harvest and market
more of your 2007 soybean crop.

*	Keep knife sections sharp and tight and make sure that all
guards, wear plates and hold-down clips are in good condition and
properly adjusted. Consider replacing standard knife sections with
narrow knife sections to reduce shatter losses. 


*	Operate the cutter bar as close to the ground as possible. 


*	Keep the ground speed at three to four miles per hour or less. 


*	Adjust reel to run about 25 percent faster than ground speed.
For a 42-inch diameter reel, this is about 10 to 11 revolutions per
minute per mile per hour of ground speed (i.e. 30 rpm for 3 mph). 


*	If the crop is standing well, position the reel axis about 6 to
9 inches ahead of the cutter bar, and adjust the reel height so that the
tips of the fingers operate about 12 inches above the ground. If the
plants are tangled or lodged, position the reel axis about 9 to 12
inches ahead of the cutter bar, and adjust the height so that the reel
runs about 1 inch above the ground. Raise the reel if plants are riding
over the top of the reel. 


*	Take advantage of conditions that create damp pods, such as dew,
light rains or high humidity to reduce shattering. 


*	Maintain the slowest cylinder speed possible that produces
complete threshing. 


*	Remember that you are losing one bushel per acre for every four
beans per square foot you find on the ground. 


For more information about improving Michigan's soybean crop, visit the
Soybean 2010 Web page at
<> . Soybean 2010 was developed to
help Michigan growers increase soybean yields and farm profitability by
2010. Funding is provided by MSU Extension; Project GREEEN (Generating
Research and Extension to meet Economic and Environmental Needs), the
plant industry initiative at MSU; and the Michigan Soybean Promotion


4.  Europe turning to grain sorghum

Crop News Weekly [[log in to unmask]]

Adverse weather conditions ranging from floods to droughts are forcing
Europe's livestock and feeders and food processors to increase their
imports of feed grains, the U.S. Grains Council reports. The floods come
on top of less than ideal growing conditions that resulted in a poor
harvest last year. The latter has reduced Europe's feed grain stocks to
unusually low levels, according to the USGC. "In Western Europe, farmers
are encountering flooding and in the eastern areas they are being hit
with extreme drought conditions," said Chris Corry, U.S. Grains Council
director of international operations. "This is coupled with the fact
that Europe has depleted their interventions stocks, most of which was
wheat and barley." - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff



5.  Incompatible Standards May Keep African Organics Out of Europe
<> . By Sue Scott, Inter
Press Service, September 21,2007.   Climate Crisis Coalition
News Archive. 

"The newly launched East Africa Organic Standards
<>  designed to boost
exports to Europe, could fall at the first hurdle if the largest
licensing body in the UK decides in November that air-freighted produce
no longer qualifies as organic. African farmers have been highly
critical... Despite the fact that less than 1 percent of all UK food
comes by air, campaigners argue that it is responsible for 11 percent of
carbon emissions and therefore at odds with organic principles. [Yet],
soon-to-be-published research commissioned by the United Nation's
International Trade Centre... will reveal that as many as 15,000 people
in Kenya and Ghana - the biggest exporters to the UK - would see their
livelihoods hindered... 'These exporters are tearing their hair out,'
said Alexander Kasterine, senior market development advisor for the ITC.
'It's created a lot of uncertainty and is deterring new entrants to the
market. One exporter told us... they'd invested in training and bought
processing machinery. Now the Soil Association
<>  (SA) may turn round and say 'you
can't use our logo.'' [The SA is] responsible for certifying more than
70 percent of retail organic produce [in the UK], making it the best
known mark with consumers and the one most sought after by
26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG>  in Germany is considering a similar gold plating of
its standards. Kasterine said the SA had the wrong target. 'There are
much bigger contributors to climate change than air freight, for example
energy intensive UK agriculture. If you're an African farmer living on 3
percent of Lord Melchett's (policy director of the SA) income, you might
wonder why he is cutting off your market in the name of reducing climate
change,' he said. The East Africa Organic Standard covers produce from
Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. It is the first of three to
be developed by the IFOAM <> , International
Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements, which is also working on
regional standards for West Africa and the South Pacific."

6.  Jane Goodall Says Biofuel Crops Hurt Rain Forests
32920070926> . By Timothy Gardner, Reuters, September 26, 2007. From:   Climate Crisis Coalition
News Archive.

"Primate scientist Jane Goodall said on Wednesday the race to grow crops
for vehicle fuels is damaging rain forests in Asia, Africa and South
America and adding to the emissions blamed for global warming. 'We're
cutting down forests now to grow sugarcane and palm oil for biofuels and
our forests are being hacked into by so many interests that it makes
them more and more important to save now,' Goodall said on the sidelines
of the Clinton Global Initiative
<> , former U.S. President Bill
Clinton's annual philanthropic meeting... Goodall said the problem is
especially bad in the Indonesian rain forest where large amounts of palm
nut oil is being made. Growers in Uganda - where her nonprofit group
works to conserve Great Apes - are also looking to buy large parcels of
rain forest and cut them down to grow sugar cane, while in Brazil,
forest is cleared to grow sugar cane. The Goodall Institute
<>  is working with a recently formed group
of eight rain forest nations called the Forest Eight, or F8, led by
Indonesia. The group wants to create a system where rich countries would
pay them not to chop down rain forests and hopes to unveil the plan at
climate talks in Bali in December."


7.  Concern about wheat supplies lifts prices

Sep 28, 2007 9:43 AM, By Elton Robinson
Farm Press Editorial Staff

Deteriorating crop conditions in Australia, lower than expected
production in Europe and strong global demand set the stage for
aggressive buying by end users in mid-September, which pushed wheat
prices close to $9 a bushel.

When asked how big of an acreage response to prices might be expected
for next season, market analyst Jonah Ford, speaking at the Minneapolis
Grain Exchange September press briefing said, "A whole bunch. I can't
give you a hard number this early in the season. But with the profits
farmers can expect to see at these prices, you're going to see a pretty
big shift. The shift has already been priced in, if you look at July
2008 futures."

At one point in mid-September, December wheat futures at the Chicago
Board of Trade were around $8.50 a bushel, with July 2008 coming in
around $5.87.

One surprise in USDA's Sept. 12 world supply and demand estimates was
the agency's projection for Australian wheat production of 21 million
metric tons. Most in the trade believe production is actually closer to
15 million metric tons to 19 million metric tons, due to dry weather.

"Most of the Australians are fairly pessimistic on their production,
thinking it's closer to 14 million metric tons to 16 million metric
tons," said Ford, who is senior analyst for Great Pacific Trading

According to a CBOT report, Pakistan may import a million metric tons of
wheat this year. In addition, France has revised its total production
downward by 1.25 million metric tons to 31.65 million tons.

The upshot is that there is growing end user concern with the price of
wheat, according to Ford. "Obviously those who did not get hedged
earlier this year are paying a pretty severe price.

"Without fundamental shifts - whether taking millions of acres out of
conservation or just having prices so high that it stimulates global
production - trendline yields and world production are not keeping up
with the expansion of the global economy."

The situation should carry over to other crops, too, noted Ford. "Those
in the soybean business are going to be looking around for acreage next
year, and it would probably be a good idea for them to lock in prices on
oil and meal."

Ford did add that if land is taken out of the Conservation Reserve
Program and committed to wheat production, "you'll probably see a
knee-jerk reaction initially. Looking at the global supply situation, it
may shave 10 percent or 15 percent off respective prices. World demand
is still strong and understated by the market."

The impact of wheat prices on consumer food prices could become a big
story next year, too.

Corn prices, while weaker by comparison, will most likely start to
improve by March, according to Ford, a situation which should benefit
producers with storage capacity. "The demand in corn is still there.
Worse case scenario, we're down to $3.15 to $3.25 on December futures."

Short-term for corn, "we could be in a sideways trading range for the
next few months," Ford said. "Nonetheless, if we do get upwards of $10
wheat and $10 beans, there will be as much substitution as the world
will allow. And that's going to keep corn prices above $3 and perhaps
stimulate a rally going into next year as well."

While USDA lowered its estimate of ethanol use in the United States,
Ford doesn't see a letup in the expansion of ethanol production capacity
"as long as we're anywhere near $80 crude prices, which is where we are
now. Ethanol is going to keep rolling along until we get to a point
where prices exceed what people are willing to pay. And I don't think
we're there by a long shot."




If you would like to access previous postings to the Mich-Organic listserv you can copy and paste the following URL into your browser address bar