Sugar Program Working — Shannon -- “The federal government’s sugar program is working and is in the ‘long-range best interest’ of U.S. consumers, the domestic sugar industry, and large sugar-using companies, a spokesman for a farmer-owned sugar cooperative told the
“Gerald W. Shannon, general manager and chief executive officer of the Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative at Wahpeton, N.D., warned the sugar user groups that attempts to remove sugar from the current four-year farm program could backfire and leave American consumers vulnerable to the up-and-down world market.
“ ‘There are perhaps a handful of individual sugar users that are currently able to deal satisfactorily on the world market,’ he said, but noted that most are removed from seaport refineries and could suffer shortages if the U.S. sugar industry were to collapse.
“Shannon pointed out that the sugar program enacted by Congress in 1981 was made effective in 1982; President Reagan later ordered country-by-country import quotas to strengthen the program. As a result, he said: ‘U.S. sugar buyers paid less per pound for sugar in the first six months of 1982 than they did in the first half of 1981 — and they paid less in 1981 than they did in 1980.’ ”
Block Says More Support ‘Not in Cards’ — “Hawaii sugar growers should expect no further help from Washington this year since last year’s price support measures have ‘provided enormous stability in the sugar market,’ Agriculture Secretary John Block told reporters in Honolulu.
“Block, in Honolulu to address the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, said that although he realizes sugar farmers here would like to see even more generous price supports, ‘that’s not in the cards.’
“A year ago, Congress vetoed an amendment that would have reduced federal loan prices on sugar from 17 to 14 cents a pound. But sugar refiners and food and beverage manufacturers would love to see such supports reduced. Block said the U.S. sugar industry is in ‘relatively better shape than in other countries’ and he didn’t anticipate ‘the administration making problems greater for the sugar industry.’ ”
Plants Produce Chemicals Against Fungus Diseases -- “Examining the amount of chemicals that individual plants produce to defend themselves against fungus diseases might provide plant breeders with a mechanism to increase disease resistance.
“An interdisciplinary team of scientists has been closely following the nature of [C]ercospora leaf spot disease in sugarbeets. The team has observed two toxins that the [C]Cercospora fungus produces when it infects beets. In addition, the team has observed the phytoalexins that beets produce to protect themselves against infections. . . .
“ ‘Perhaps one way to increase disease resistance would be to measure the number and amount of these phytoalexins, or ‘warding-off’ compounds, and incorporate them into commercially valuable varieties,’ says Susan S. Martin, plant physiologist with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, Fort Collins, Colo.”
Colorado Grower Finds Way to Control Cyst Nematodes -- “Barnard Geisick of Greeley, Colo., no longer debates whether to fumigate his sugarbeets in the spring or fall. He’s found another way to control cyst nematodes.
“Using a granular systemic pesticide, he spends less application time, faces fewer overall risks and combats a wider range of pests.
“Attacking the taproot, cyst nematodes can hurt sugarbeet yields. Soil fumigation is an effective way to combat nematodes, but several factors have made fumigation less desirable to some growers. For Geisick, fumigation was additional work in an already time-consuming operation. . . .
“Geisick looks at farming like any other type of business. ‘If you don’t keep up with progress, you can get behind the times — not only with technology, but equipment and practices too,’ he asserts. . . .
“Geisick’s move to Temik aldicarb pesticide is an example. He had been using Dow’s Telone and Shell’s DD for some time, and had looked at test data and listened to various growers who were using Temik. After comparing it to what he was getting from fumigation, he switched to Temik on all his sugarbeet acres.”
Puerto Rico Imports Sugar for First Time in 100 Years -- “Puerto Rico has definitely ceased to be a sugar exporting island. For the first time in the last 100 years, it had to import sugar to meet its local demand.
“Once, the island had a raw sugar output of around 1,360,000 short tons (1952), which was shipped to the U.S. mainland for refining. In those days, sugar producing experts estimated Puerto Rico could very well increase its output to about 1,600,000 tons a year by 1980. But, instead, the 1982 crop was roughly [114,000] short tons or about 40,000 tons less than the previous harvest year.
“Of the 48 sugar mills operating in 1949, only five were milling this year, plus one refinery. A total of 34,000 short tons of refined sugar had to be imported from the U.S. mainland . . . .”