News Roundup: March 12-18

By on March 18, 2016

News Roundup - this week's top news stories about NC agricultureEach week we round up the latest N.C. agricultural headlines from news outlets across the state and country, as well as excerpts from the stories.

“Police urge you to keep an eye out for farmers on the roads,” WNCT: The Jones County Sheriff is urging drivers to be more cautious with warmer weather approaching because more farmers are preparing their fields for produce and they’ll be traveling in large equipment on the roads. Gerald Banks says he has been a farmer for years and he worries every time he has to drive his tractor on the roadways. “If you’re sitting there in a vehicle that is flying up on you, you don’t know if it’s going to hit you or go around you in time before it meets oncoming traffic,” explained Banks. Banks says large tractors can only reach speeds of about 20 to 30 miles per hour, so it doesn’t take long for a car to catch up. Banks said, “A lot of people just run up on it really fast and they are in a hurry to wherever their destination is and they will pass in curves or on yellow lines.” …

“Science Briefs: New ally found in fight against soybean pest,” Charlotte Observer: The kudzu bug is an invasive soybean pest discovered in Georgia in 2009 that has spread to 13 states. Now a Clemson University grad student has helped pinpoint one of its foes. Research by Francesca Stubbins, an assistant at the Edisto Research and Education Center, has shown that mermithid nematodes can infect and kill the insects. Her research involved collecting kudzu bugs from soybean fields. Nematodes – long, slender, parasitic worms – were found in the abdomens of some of the dissected female insects. Stubbins also found nematodes inside kudzu bug males and nymphs. …

“Completing your poultry waste plan,” Sampson Independent: The poultry industry is growing in North Carolina and poultry producers are needing waste plans completed. As the new area specialized poultry agent for the eastern 40 counties, I am here to help with this task. For producers in need of a waste plan, here is the information I will need to complete the cover sheet of your plan: name of farm, land owner’s name, mailing address, county, phone number, type of poultry, integrator name, and the one-time placement number of birds. If you are using a 3rd party applicator to remove your litter, there is a form both the farm owner and the 3rd party applicator will need to agree upon, sign and date. If you are applying the waste yourself, please bring the maps provided by the county Farm Service Agency office of where you plan to apply the litter. These maps need to show field location, crop acreage, and be labeled to identify crops and spreading rates for each field. …

“Tobacco leaves may provide production option for flu vaccine,” Winston-Salem Journal: Researchers hope tobacco leaves can provide a quicker turnaround in creating flu vaccines. A new option for creating influenza vaccine could come from tobacco leaves, with a significantly quicker turnaround time on production, according to analysts. Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma (MTP) is in Phase III clinical trials with a vaccine technology it acquired from Medicago Inc., a Canadian company it bought in 2013 through a joint venture with Philip Morris International. Phase III clinical trials typically are the last step with humans before a medicinal product or technology is submitted for approval to the Food and Drug Administration. The Medicago technology implants genetic material into tobacco leaves that produce flu-like particles containing antigens, which trigger immune responses. According to researchers, because the particles are not live flu viruses, chances of infection are minimal. The turnaround time on creating a tobacco-related flu vaccine could be as little as a month. …

“National Ag Day honors stewards of a healthy planet,” Stanly News & Press: March 15 is National Agriculture Day — a day designated each year by the Agriculture Council of America to celebrate the accomplishments of agriculture. North Carolina FSA joins the council in recognizing farmers and ranchers for their contributions to the nation’s outstanding quality of life. This year’s theme is “Agriculture: Stewards of a Healthy Planet.” Agricultural producers are the original stewards of the land. They understand the fragility of the land and are well aware that there are increasingly fewer producers and fewer acres for production. They want to sustain it and protect what they have. According to the 2012 Agriculture Census, there are 3.2 million farmers and ranchers in the United States. These American farmers and ranchers constantly seek new and sustainable ways to operate. …

“Planet chicken,” Business North Carolina: (Infographic) Poultry should pass pork as the world’s most popular meat by 2020. What will that mean for North Carolina, where more than 20,000 people work in the industry?

“Cotton growth rates higher with strip till,” Southeast Farm Press: A key finding of research conducted by North Carolina State University shows that early season cotton growth rates were highest in plots that were strip tilled two weeks prior to planting. The research, conducted in Rocky Mount and Lewiston in 2014 and 2015, also shows that yields followed very similarly to growth rates, according to North Carolina State University Extension Cotton Specialist Keith Edmisten, who discussed the research at Extension cotton meetings this year. The sub-plots included six tillage systems, with and without a wheat cover. Tillage practices included conventional (spring bed), fall strip (flat), spring strip at planting (flat), spring strip pre-plant (flat) and full bed plus spring strip. “When yields differed, strip-tilled plots two weeks before planting had the highest yield or were not different than the highest yielding treatment,” Edmisten noted at the Rocky Mount cotton meeting. …

“Center Offers New Model for Hog Farming,” Coastal Review Online: The squealing and grunting grew louder. The pigs stomped the ground with their hooves and, as dust rose through the air, banged their snouts against a metal grating. As the rattling and shrieks grew more insistent, Mildred Betancourth stepped aside. “I need to feed them,” she said. Moments later, a yellowish meal came streaming to the ground from a series of Y-shaped pipes hanging from above. “They’re always hungry.” The pigs grew quiet. With their faces dipped toward the cold floor, they began to eat, content for now. The tour continued. Betancourth was leading the way through a series of large hoop houses, each filled with pigs being raised for pork. The pigs varied in age, color, size and spotting patterns, and by all outward appearances they acted conventionally, with their squeals and snout-driven foraging. Yet their living conditions were anything but conventional. …

“Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series Announces 2016 Schedule with Battles in Six North Carolina Cities,” Time Warner Cable News: The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series, a single-elimination tournament highlighting the best of the state’s food, agriculture and culinary talent, is back for 2016 with a total of eight tournaments across the state, each made up of four chef teams vying for the local title. The touring competition will have dual brackets in both Raleigh and Charlotte, and one tournament in each of Durham, Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Wilmington. It all culminates in October with the Battle of Champions to name a statewide victor. Applications for chefs interested in competing are currently being accepted for all locations. This year, the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series is switching formats to allow chefs to create All-Star Dream Teams. The change allows chefs from different restaurants to partner together to create their three-person team, upping the potential caliber and creating a more fun and competitive atmosphere for all. …

 

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