Wheat Journal

March 12, 2010 11:15 AM

Survey Says Promotion Pays

A survey commissioned by U.S. Wheat Associates shows that wheat promotions are paying off. From 2000 to 2007, U.S. wheat growers invested an average of $10 million per year to promote wheat products overseas. For every dollar invested, growers received $23 back in increased net revenue, the analysis says.

The study was funded by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Market Access Program and conducted by Harry M. Kaiser, director of the Cornell Commodity Promotion Research Program.

"One of the models we used showed the overall average revenue benefit to the wheat industry from combined producer and FAS expenditures was about $115 for each dollar spent,” Kaiser says.

Kaiser also quantified the impact of wheat export promotion. The model determined that cutting production by 50% between 2000 and 2007 would have reduced wheat exports by 17.1%, a total export loss of about 1.4 billion bushels or almost 172.7 million bushels per year.

U.S. Wheat Associates will use this information to plan and manage future activities. The full study can be found at www.uswheat.org.


Make Your Wheat Nitrogen Plan Now

This month, you should decide your plan of attack for applying nitrogen on wheat fields, says Farm Journal Associate Field Agronomist Missy Bauer. 

Bauer says the big question for farmers right now is whether to apply nitrogen with a split-shot or single application.

"You should let the tillering of the plant tell you what to do,” Bauer encourages.

Currently, a healthy wheat plant should have three or four tillers. If the number of tillers is lower, consider a split shot of nitrogen, she says. By giving the plant a healthy dose of nitrogen in early spring, more tillers can be created.

With a split-shot application, Bauer explains, you're not really putting on more nitrogen, you're just dividing when you apply it.

"Don't put off getting your tiller and stand counts. It's important to start now,” she emphasizes.

With the late planting dates many farmers had to deal with in 2009, Bauer says, there's a good chance tiller counts will be lower than normal.


Wheat Growers Ask for Cuban Trade

The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and almost 30 other groups are looking for additional congressional support of a bill designed to ease trade and travel restrictions with Cuba.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) will soon introduce their bill, the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, and are working to add original cosponsors. The bill has already gained the support of many agricultural groups that see a significant opportunity to increase ag sales to Cuba.

The bill would require ag exports to Cuba to meet the same payment requirements as exports to other countries, eliminate a requirement that payments to U.S. ag sellers must pass through banks in third countries and lift restrictions on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba in order to facilitate closer trading relationships.

Since passage of the 2000 Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act, U.S. farmers have seen $4 billion in sales to the Cuban market. However, market potential in Cuba is limited due to trade restrictions, and Cuban buyers have told U.S. wheat industry leaders that buying from the U.S. is no longer tenable without trade reform. Trade restrictions with Cuba cost the U.S. wheat industry an estimated $40 million each year, according to NAWG.


Explore "How Wheat Works”

Take an interactive tour of the wheat industry with the Wheat Foods Council's new online program, "How Wheat Works.” More than 700 people have planted a virtual wheat field so far, returning to harvest, mill, bake and virtually eat their final wheat-based product. Each of the steps takes a few minutes to complete and an e-mail will alert you to return to the site the following day to continue the next phase.

Users can choose to plant hard winter, soft winter or durum wheat. Watch as your field is planted and harvested for you, all while wheat information is presented in a short and easy-to-understand format. Through the process, viewers learn valuable information about the wheat industry, including explanations on classes of wheat, growing stages, harvest information and how wheat is transformed into food products that are found in grocery stores.

For each person who goes to http://www.wheatfoods.org/HowWheatWork-39/Index.htm and completes the program, the Wheat Foods Council and partners ADM and ConAgra Mills will donate 2 lb. of flour to Operation Homefront, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to needy U.S. troops and their families.


Resistant Wheat Aims For Hessian Fly Gut

Wheat is hitting Hessian flies hard. Studies by Purdue University and USDA show resistant wheat plants stop Hessian fly larvae by destroying the fly's midgut and its ability to absorb nutrients.

Within three hours of ingesting resistant wheat, the Hessian fly larvae midgut, similar to human intestines, showed abnormal microvilli, fingerlike appendages that extend inward from the walls of the midgut to increase surface area for nutrient absorption. About six hours after the pest had ingested resistant wheat, the microvilli were nearly destroyed.

"Some chemical or compound from the resistant plant is causing the microvilli to be disrupted, and it's happening very quickly,” says Purdue entomologist Richard Shukle. "The midgut is certainly one of the major targets of the defense compounds elicited from a resistant plant.”
There are about a half dozen undeployed genes identified in wheat that offer high resistance to Hessian flies and could be deployed to defend plants. The key is to know which resistance genes to use, researchers say, as the Hessian fly is a flexible pest known to overcome several genes intended to protect wheat lines.


El Niño Brings Moisture to Southern Wheat

QT Weather meteorologist Allen Motew says the recent bout of moisture that has wreaked havoc on much of the Midwest is bringing good news to Southern wheat growers. In January 2009, much of the High Plains was experiencing below-adequate soil moisture conditions. This year is a different story, however, and it's not over yet, he says. "A very wet ‘southern stream' will bring 10" rain totals to California and the Gulf States, with 2" to 8" rains in Arizona, Texas and the Southeastern states over the next two weeks,” Motew says.


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