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ARS agricultural engineer Paul Armstrong uses the “Post-Harvest Loss moisture meter” to check bags of stored maize in Ghana.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have developed a new way for farmers in developing areas of the world to determine the moisture content of their stored grain. Such determinations can help prevent losses due to insects, spoilage and mold growth that can render grain unfit for consumption.

Unlike in the West, farmers in underdeveloped countries use large bags rather than bins or silos to store grains like corn, according to Paul Armstrong, an agricultural engineer with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Manhattan, Kansas.

Together with Kansas State University colleagues, Armstrong developed a hand-held device that could provide a fast, low-cost way to check the moisture level in grain bags. The meter works by measuring the relative humidity and temperature of the air within the grain, two key parameters that are used to estimate moisture content, explains Armstrong, with the ARS Center for Grain and Animal Health Research. Continue reading

Yield Losses Could Endanger Global Food Security

By Pat Bailey, UC Davis News

rice grain china

Ozone pollution damages rice plants when they are forming their “panicles,” the flowering spikes where the grain forms.

High levels of surface ozone are damaging rice yields at an alarming rate in China, the world’s largest agricultural producer and one of its most polluted nations, report researchers at the University of California, Davis, and in China.

For the first time, the research team identified a specific stage of the rice plant’s development as being vulnerable to ozone pollution, which they warn has the potential to impact the international rice market and compromise global food security. Continue reading

Courtesy: The Land Institute

General Mills and Cascadian Farm announced last week the two will work with the Land Institute to commercialize organic Kernza, a perennial grain and wild relative of annual wheat. The intermediate wheatgrass grows deep roots that show promise to increase soil health, carbon sequestration, water retention and enhance surrounding wildlife habitat, according to General Mills. Continue reading

grain dust explosion
The number of grain dust explosions in the United States fell to a 10-year low in 2016, but two of the incidents resulted in the first reported fatalities since 2013, according to a recent report by Purdue University. Continue reading

Kansas Republican U.S. Senator Jerry Moran(more-ran) says wheat and sorghum need attention in the next farm bill, along with other key commodities including cotton and dairy. Continue reading

sorghum organizations
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is accepting applications from sorghum associations and farm organizations interested in nominating sorghum producers to the Sorghum Promotion, Research, and Information Board. Applications are due by March 17, 2017. Continue reading

demand gmo
Rising demand for organic and non-GMO foods led to a sharp rise in organic grain imports last year. A new report by CoBank says U.S. production of non-GMO crops has risen, but domestic production for organic corn and soybeans remains well short of current U.S. demand. Continue reading

grains south africa
Outreach by the U.S. Grains Council in South Africa over the past year has helped achieve export victories there, with recent sales of U.S. sorghum and biotechnology trait approvals that will allow imports of U.S. corn. Continue reading

trump trade grains
Newly-inaugurated President Donald Trump has already followed through with key campaign promises related to trade policy – moves that have caused concern among grain farmers whose price is being supported by export sales. Continue reading

grains crop
The U.S. Grains Council says China is attempting to restrict access to the U.S. dried distillers grain market by subjecting U.S. DDGS to anti-dumping and countervailing duties. Grains Council CEO Tom Sleight says the organization is “deeply disappointed” in the move. The announcement came just ten days after the Chinese government increased tariffs on imported U.S. ethanol from five to 30 percent. The Grains Council says that move effectively stops market growth for U.S. farmers and ethanol producers. Meanwhile, U.S. farmers also continue to wait for China’s approvals of biotech corn events, which last happened in 2014. Sleight says the protectionist trade restrictions by China are “based on false allegations” and do not benefit China or the United States.

From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.

By Dennis O’Brien, USDA Agriculture Research Service

Arizona wheat
Maximizing yields while using as little water and fertilizer as possible is a top priority for Arizona wheat growers. Challenged by diminishing water supplies and rising fertilizer costs, growers know the exact amounts of water and fertilizer to use is critical. Using too much is not only costly, but can become useless as they percolate too deeply into the soil and contaminate groundwater. Continue reading

The U.S. grain price outlook and crop demand won’t see a lot of major changes in the coming year. That prediction comes from Dr. Pat Westhoff, Director of the Food and Ag Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri. Continue reading

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration is reducing inspection and weighing service fees by five percent beginning January 1, 2017. The reduction will remain in effect until further notice.

“Due to the continuation of high grain exports, The Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) operating reserve exceeds 4 ½ months of operating expenses.  FGIS also reviewed tonnage fees and the tonnage fees were adjusted to reflect fiscal year 2016 costs and a five year average of export tons,” said GIPSA Administrator Larry Mitchell. Continue reading

University of California, Davis to receive almost $2 Million for research projects.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the award of $3.4 million for research into the development of new wheat varieties that are adapted to different geographical regions and environmental conditions. The seven projects are funded through NIFA’s new International Wheat Yield Partnership (IWYP) program, part of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). Continue reading

China trade
U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) welcome two trade dispute actions by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) challenging Chinese government policies that distort the wheat market and harm wheat growers throughout the rest of the world. USW and NAWG are encouraged to see the U.S. government take such a strong position on trade enforcement, which is crucial for building confidence in existing and new trade agreements. Continue reading

renewable fuel biofuel corn stalk ethanol gas pump poultry
The U.S. poultry industry is concerned the Renewable Fuel Standard targets for 2017 and 2018 will increase feed prices for poultry farmers. Set by the Environmental Protection Agency, the RFS target for ethanol for 2017 was placed at the statute level of 15 billion gallons. The agency set total biofuel levels – including corn-generated ethanol and biodiesel – at 19.28 billion gallons, up six percent from 2016. Continue reading

The USDA Plant and Animal Health Inspection Service closed its investigation into genetically engineered wheat showing up in a Washington state farm field. Back on July 29, the U.S. Ag Department confirmed that genetically engineered wheat was found by a Washington state farmer growing in an unplanted field. Continue reading

By Jan Suszkiw, Agriculture Research Service


Scientists have developed a sensitive new tool for identifying the fungus that causes “wheat blast,” an emerging disease of the important grain crop.

A team of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and university scientists has developed a sensitive new assay method for detecting the fungus that causes “wheat blast,” a disease of wheat in South America and, most recently, Bangladesh.

The fungus Magnaporthe oryzae triticum (MoT) was first detected in Brazil in 1985. The disease has moved into the neighboring countries of Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay, but wheat blast hasn’t been reported outside of South America—that is, until February 2016, when MoT was confirmed in wheat crops in Bangladesh. Continue reading

grain, on brown corn background exports
Grain exports are a bright spot in the current farm economy and can grow even further through outreach to the 95 percent of the world’s consumers who live outside U.S. borders, leaders of the U.S. Grains Council said at the at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) convention this week in Kansas City.

As newly-elected national leaders prepare to take office, Chairman Chip Councell, a farmer from Maryland, and President and CEO Tom Sleight told reporters that strong trade policies and robust overseas market development are critical to helping farmers seize these opportunities for growth and greater profitability. Continue reading

u.s. wheat associates
The U.S. Wheat Associates has selected Vince Peterson as the next President of the organization. Peterson will replace Alan Tracy, who plans to retire in July 2017. The Associations Board of Directors last week unanimously selected Peterson for the post. Peterson currently serves as the U.S. Wheat Vice President of Overseas Operations. Continue reading

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