Researchers with Ohio State University are using a soybean disease as a bio-indicator to diagnose more serious economical problems.
Plant pathologists with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center said that some soybean plants are suffering from sudden death syndrome. The fungal disease causes root rot and crown rot, and eventually kills the plant.
Pathologist Anne Dorrance said every soybean field in Ohio with the syndrome has experienced problems with soybean cyst nematode as well, with about 600 soybean acres infected with the syndrome.
"For every field we are finding (sudden death syndrome), we are also finding high cyst populations," Dorrance said. "We are urging farmers to manage soybean cyst nematode.
"You manage the pest, you manage the disease -- reason being that soybean cyst nematode will cause more economic damage on the crop over time than (sudden death syndrome) will," Dorrance said.
The syndrome has been in Ohio for about six years. But officials note it is popping up in more areas across the state. Symptoms include bright yellow spots on the leaves, with older leaves exhibiting necrotic areas between the veins.
About two weeks before normal maturity, the plant loses its leaves and dies. Factors favoring disease development include heavy rain during the vegetative growth period prior to flowering.
Also connected to the syndrome is poor soil drainage, with a majority of the plants affected growing near roadsides and field edges where drainage is not adequate.
"Growers can help manage the disease by improving soil drainage in their fields," Dorrance said. "Soybean varieties also exist that show resistance to (the syndrome). Good cultural practices are important in managing," the syndrome.
Consistent crop rotation is considered important toward controlling the disease, along with use of plant resistant varieties.
"Soybean cyst nematode can be present in a field without (the syndrome), but we are using sudden death syndrome as a bio-indicator for the presence of cyst populations," Dorrance said.
Researchers suspect cysts feeding on the plant roots weaken plants and create wounds from which fungus can enter the crop, although a specific connection between the two diseases has yet to be determined.
The National Farmers Union plans to lead a group of farmers to Washington next week in hopes of persuading Congress to approve more emergency funding to help farmers and ranchers cope with damages caused by drought.
Officials say they will bring 175 people to Capitol Hill from Sunday through Wednesday so they can let lawmakers know first-hand what needs to be done to benefit agriculture interests in the United States.
"This event could not have come at a more crucial time," union President Dave Frederickson said. "Our members intend to not only make Congress aware of the crises impacting family farmers and ranchers in rural America but also to urge immediate action through disaster assistance."
Congress is expected to consider an emergency measure to benefit farmers before adjournment for the year next month. Details have yet to be determined.
A lack of rainfall has caused "severe" drought conditions to develop in parts of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Drought Monitor released Thursday also found "moderate" drought conditions have developed in parts of southeastern Michigan, while "abnormally dry" conditions have developed in parts of Kansas and Missouri, stretching down to Texas.
The most intense conditions are in the region where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado converge, where "exceptional" drought exists. Also under "exceptional" drought status are parts of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
House Agriculture committee officials plan to hold hearings this month on the implementation of crop insurance reforms and the effectiveness of the federal crop insurance program.
The farm commodities and risk management subcommittee will hear from the Risk Management Agency on Sept. 18 to learn of the status of crop insurance program reforms that were implemented in 2000 and studied earlier this year.
"Participation has shown a market improvement through reforms this committee made with producer recommendations," Agriculture Chairman Larry Combest, R-Texas, said.
The beaches of Tampa and St. Petersburg in Florida won't just be filled with retirees this winter. The American Farm Bureau Federation plans to use the area to hold its annual convention.
The farm bill will meet in Florida Jan. 19-22, 2003, with television weatherman Willard Scott the featured speaker on Jan. 20.
Special sessions on getting young people and women interested in agriculture will be included in the program, along with sessions on commodity outlooks.
Grain futures were mostly higher at the close Thursday on the Chicago Board of Trade.
Soybeans rose on concerns hot, dry weather in the Midwest will reduce yield potential.
Corn rose as traders anticipated positive trends in the supply/demand report to be released by the Agriculture Department.
Wheat rose on weather conditions that will hurt the Canadian crop, while benefiting the U.S. crop.
Oats benefited from influence from wheat.
Soybeans: Sep 5.65 1/2 up 2 1/4, Nov 5.57 1/4 up 4 1/2, Jan 5.59 1/2 up 5 1/4, Mar 5.60 1/2 up 5 1/4.
Corn: Sep 2.72 up 1 1/2, Dec 2.80 1/2 up 2, Mar 2.86 1/2 up 2 1/4, May 2.88 1/4 up 1 3/4.
Wheat: Sep 3.86 1/2 up 7 1/2, Dec 3.93 up 6 3/4, Mar 3.98 1/2 up 7 3/4, May 3.84 1/2 up 5 1/4.
Oats: Sep 1.97 up 6 1/2, Dec 1.97 1/4 up 5, Mar 1.90 3/4 up 3 3/4, May 1.83 1/2 up 1/2.