Emergency Funds for Rhizomania -- “The Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has allocated $75,000 of emergency funds for basic research into the fungus-virus disease rhizomania in California.
“Rhizomania was first noted in California in 1983, and the incidences of rhizomania showed increases in some areas of the state in 1984. Industry sources estimate that in 1983, 2,600 acres were infected, with the disease spreading to 6,200 acres in 1984.
“The Europeans have had the disease since the mid 1950s; however, they have been unable to develop a control. USDA Salinas Station researchers indicate that, in time, it appears that tolerance or resistance may be bred into commercial varieties. This is a number of years away, and a portion of the USDA funding will be used to develop methods to assay soils in commercial labs to determine if the disease is in fields to be planted.
“The greater part of the funding will be used to ‘study the pathogenesis of the disease inducing entities.’ This will lead to a better understanding of how the disease is transmitted and moves through the plant, causing the stunting and bearding of the root system.”
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All Great Western Sugar Company Properties Are Up for Bidding —
“Hunt International Resources Corp. of Dallas placed its Great Western Sugar Co. subsidiary, including all 12 of its beet sugar factories, up for bidding. The sale of all the Dallas company’s sugar properties was announced in an advertisement in the December 26 Wall Street Journal.
“Prospective buyers may bid on all the stock or assets of HIRCO’s sugar operations or only on Great Western’s beet sugar refineries in Loveland, Greeley, Fort Morgan, Sterling and Ovid in Colorado; Scottsbluff, Gering, Mitchell and Bayard in Nebraska; Goodland in Kansas; Billings in Montana; and Lovell in Wyoming. Bids also will be accepted on individual properties. . . .
“One potential buyer for the company may be Tate & Lyle PLC, a British concern with sugar interests. The company confirmed last week that it has inspected some Hunt facilities, and one grower said the company seemed ‘very interested’ in the processing plants during discussions with farmers. Industry sources also said that some growers might attempt to form a group to buy some of the plants.”
$3 Million Advertising, Public Relations Program Underway —
“The sugar industry has mounted a $3 million advertising and public relations campaign to tell consumers ‘the sweet truth’ about sugar, according to Sugar Association President Jack O’Connell.
“ ‘The simple truth is that sugar — sucrose from sugarcane or sugarbeets — is the finest sweetener known to man,’ Jack O’Connell said. ‘Our goal is to establish sugar as the premium sweetener with the consuming public on the basis of quality, versatility in terms of food manufacture and assured safety. We want the consumer to look for products containing sucrose.’
“The industry’s ad campaign, which included nationwide network radio spots and two-page spreads in major publications, stressed sugar’s safety and its surprisingly low calorie content, O’Connell said. ‘Real sugar has only 16 calories a teaspoon. And for centuries, it has set the standard of quality the world over,’ proclaim the ads, which were run late last year in Reader’s Digest, People and TV Guide.”
Idaho Soils Specialist Defends Beet Purity; Cites Factors Influencing Better Crops —
“A University of Idaho soils specialist has described to sugarbeet growers how they can control some of the factors influencing beet purity.
“Sugarbeet quality is based on both sucrose content and purity — the ratio of sucrose to the total soluble solids in the sugarbeet extract.
“Steven Petrie, of the UI College of Agriculture, told participants in the 1984 UI Sugarbeet School that the easiest factor for them to control is the genetic potential of the crop. Growers should check the results of UI variety trials yearly to see which varieties are best adapted and most likely to have the greatest levels of purity.
“Petrie noted that, while the yield potential of a crop is determined by genetics, the environment in which it is grown governs how closely the actual yield will approach the potential yield. Critical environmental factors that are under the grower’s control are soil fertility, plant spacing and soil moisture, while air temperatures are not.”
Nicaragua Building Huge Sugar Refinery; Betting on ‘Up’ Market --
“Central America’s largest sugar refinery is under construction in Nicaragua, 20 miles east of the national capital at Managua. The $350 million project is a bet by the Sandinistas that the world sugar market will rebound from its current low. Sugar on the world market now costs four cents a pound, while the cost of producing it in Nicaragua is 15 cents a pound.
“[The project] includes a dam on the Malacatoya River to be used as a source of irrigation and hydro-electric power to help reduce Nicaragua’s dependence on petroleum imports. The refinery will produce its own power — through the burning of sugarcane bagasse — and also will contribute to the energy supply for nearby towns.”
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