Damaging Freezes in Plains and Midwest

Corn is also at risk. Producers who got out early to plant in Kansas and Nebraska eastward through the Midwest likely did not see the current cold spell coming. Models were slow to jump on the magnitude and scope of the cold air until last week, which was too late for some producers to take notice. Crops that have emerged in these states are at greater risk for replanting needs.

This is the fourth consecutive year that April has had at least one significant widespread freeze event. Previous years have come with large storm systems with heavy snowfall to pull the cold air southward, but this year’s event has much less snow. Instead of a wound-up system like previous years, the slow progression southward of a pool of cold air behind a weaker system is the culprit. If temperatures had not gotten lower ahead of this storm system last weekend, we likely would have seen a repeat of a much stronger storm system.

Instead, only a few inches of snowfall will be recorded from Colorado to Ohio, mostly less than 3 inches except for some banding that occurred in central Kansas on April 19-20. The low amounts of snow are not likely to protect wheat and corn from the damaging cold air that settles in its wake for the next two nights.

Fortunately, this event looks to be brief. The cold air settling over Canada looks to retreat next week, being replaced by a much more progressive pattern. This will induce some rising temperatures above normal, followed by temperatures back below normal as systems go by. The magnitude of these colder shots would be much more limited than the one the country is experiencing now.

Models are much more optimistic about normal to above-normal temperatures for the rest of April and into early May. However, DTN long-range forecasters are eyeing the tropics for possible influence on the colder side. An early typhoon in the Pacific is getting attention due to what can follow as its remnants move into eastern Pacific Ocean. Models show the system having little impact, but DTN Long Range Team Lead Nathan Hamblin offers this nugget as the system is set to interact with the upper-level flow in the Pacific:

“If (the typhoon) can speed off quickly within a day or two and get absorbed, it would amplify a trough in the Northwest Pacific, which would pump (up) the downstream ridge (over Alaska). That would increase the odds of another big-ticket cold shot into the central U.S. during the first week of May.”

Surely, we will have our eyes on Typhoon Surigae during the next few days and see if it does indeed pose a threat for lower temperatures in about two weeks.

John Baranick can be reached at

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Pakistan PM meets Sri Lanka President, agree to share tech knowledge, promote agriculture

Pakistan and Sri Lanka agreed to strengthen cooperation in several areas including agriculture.


The agreement came as visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan met here with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for bilateral ties, the Xinhua press agency reported.


During the meeting on Wednesday, Khan underlined the “exceptional quality” of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka relations with mutual trust, understanding and support.

The Pakistani Prime Minister emphasised the importance of building robust economic partnership between the 2 countries characterised by enhanced bilateral trade, investments and commercial cooperation.

He emphasised the importance of regional cooperation through the platform of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and therefore the opportunities for regional prosperity through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

For his part, Rajapaksa expressed his wish to strengthen bilateral relations between the 2 countries and also exchanged views on sharing technical skills so as to market agriculture in both countries.

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Salient Features of Apricot Cultivation

Usama Shahid, Mujahid Ali, Dr. Rashid Mukhtar Balal

Horticulture, College of Agriculture, UOS

Fruits are beneficial for our health as they contain different vitamins and nutrients. Different fruits have different kinds of nutrients that keep us healthy. The major fruits of our country are mango, apple, banana, citrus, apricot, grapes, papaya, and peach. Apricot is our 6th mostly cultivated fruit crop and in 2014, Pakistan was the 7th biggest producer of apricot in the world. It’s an excellent source of vitamin A and C.

Apricot Prunus armenica belongs to family Rosaceae. It is deciduous in nature. The origin of apricot is disputed and unsettled, so it is often thought that Armenia is its origin because it has been cultivated there for long period during the ancient time. Apricot has been cultivated for over 4,000 years in China and it is also considered as its origin. In the 17th century, apricot was brought to America. In Indo-Pakistan, apricots were probably introduced from Iran and Afghanistan.

Fresh apricot has a great nutritional value. It contains 38% of vitamin A, 16% of vitamin C, 2% of iron, 5% of vitamin B-6, and 2% of Magnesium. Apricot contains dietary fiber which helps to control blood cholesterol level. It also helps in protection of our eyesight and protection against inflammation.

In Pakistan, apricot is mostly grown in the northern areas of Parachinar, Hangu, Chitral, Swat, Hazara and the uplands of Balochistan province, Potohar and Murree Hills in Punjab. But districts of Gilgit, Diamer, Ghizer, Ghanche, and Skardu in northern areas are considered best for the apricot production because these areas have high mountains and large glaciers that are suitable for apricot cultivation. Worldwide, apricot is grown in Turkey, Iran, Italy, Pakistan, France, Algeria, Japan, and Morocco.

Apricot trees are small and spreading 8-12m in height, with broadly ovate leaves 5-9 cm long that have pointed tips. The leaves are bright green and are held erect on the twigs. Its flowers are self-pollinated, white in full bloom and borne singly or double at a node on very short stems and are 2-4.5 cm in diameter. Apricot is a small, golden orange fruit with smooth skin. Its flesh is not too juicy but definitely sweet. Its flavor is almost musky with a faint sourness that is more prominent when the fruit is dried. Apricot is mostly propagated by cuttings, grafting, and budding. It can also be propagated by seeds.

Apricot trees prefer sandy loam soil but any well-drained soil without heavy clay or rock is acceptable. Light-colored soils are preferred as they promote earlier fruit maturity. The soil of pH 5.5-6.5 is preferred. It is drought tolerant because it can survive in low humidity. But it is badly affected by the low soil moisture. Chilling requirement is about 700 – 1000 hours at less than or equal to 45 F for regular flowering.

Apricot is planted during December end-mid March. Pits are dug a month before planting and 1 kg single super phosphate and 10 ml chloropyriphos solution is added to each pit. Square and triangular layout systems are followed. Plant to plant distance should be kept 6m.

The apricot tree absorbs a large number of nutrients from the soil so the soil requires refill with both organic manures and chemical fertilizers. For mature trees, a mixture of 40 kg farmyard manure, 500 g Nitrogen, 250 g P2O5 and 200 g of potassium is suggested. The farmyard manure must be applied during December to January. In apricot orchards application of Diuron or Atrazine (4 kg/ha) as pre-emergence and Gramaxone or Glyphosate as post-emergence is useful to control weed growth.

Apricot is trained to open vase and modified center leader system. Pruning is to be done in the first dormant season because the framework developed in this period gives the tree its shape. After giving the tree its shape the thinning of overcrowded branches is done. It is done in such a way that sunlight may reach every branch of the tree. In young bearing trees pruning should be light but in old trees, heavy pruning should be done to uphold balance between growth and fruiting. As fruit set in apricot is heavy so it results in fruit drop and undersized fruits, therefore, thinning should be done to overcome these problems.  Fruit thinning should be done within 40 days after bloom.

Apricot is a fruit of dry atmosphere. It requires less irrigation only during critical periods of fruit growth and development. More water is required in fruit development period from April end to mid-June. Irrigation should be done at 10 days intervals in May and 6-8 days in June.

Varieties of apricot that are grown in Punjab are Muzehki, Afghani, Mehtri, Qazafi, Mirza Bibi, GLC-08, KCC-01, LBC-01, and Maikan. In Gilgit varieties grown are PNG-01, NHG-01, NHG-02, NHG-03 and Sufaid Khubani.

The main pests which attack apricot are mites and nematodes. Among the several insects, the peach twig borer and the Oriental fruit moth are the most harmful. Harsh harm can be caused by the winter moth, the flat-headed borer, the mealy plum aphid and other species. The most common diseases of Apricot are Bacterial Canker, Eutypa Dieback, Phytophthora, Ripe Fruit Rot and shot Hole Disease.

Harvesting of apricot is done when the fruit is completely ripened on the tree. The ripening period is different for different varieties. The fruit is fully ripened when its color is changed from green to yellowish-orange and becomes slightly soft. After harvesting the resulting Apricot is held in a cool location for 1-3 weeks and free from other damaging factors. Its temperature must be 31-32 oF with a relative humidity of 90-91%. It should not be stored with any other fruit which can be a source of ethylene, which can cause early ripening of fruit and decay-causing fungus. To avoid browning of apricot it must be placed in a solution of 3 gram of ascorbic acid to 1 gallon of cold water.

To conclude, apricot has a great importance as it has been explained in the article. It can give us benefits in many aspects. By growing apricot, we can provide a great strength to the agriculture sector and our country. As apricot is a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C, we should make it a part of our diet and should use it the whole year in fresh and dry form.

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Dry Season Setting in for Brazil

March-through-May rainfall will be below normal for the Brazil safrinha corn areas. (DTN graphic)

And the dryness continues in Brazil …

It is no secret that the majority of Brazil has gone fairly dry during the last 30 days. Except for a pocket here or there, the entire country has received less than the normal amount of rainfall, sometimes by significant margins of 100 millimeters (around 4 inches) or more.

Typically, the dry season begins in late April and early May in Brazil, the phase we are entering now. This year, the last couple weeks of the wet season have not been very generous. Crops count on good rainfall during the rainy season to get through the early portions of the dry season. With April having below-normal rainfall, the outlook is going from concerning to dire.

Most of the Brazil second season (safrinha) corn was planted about two to three weeks late due to several factors. That late safrinha corn planting makes the early start to the dry season notably stressful. Most of the safrinha crop is still in the growth stage and has yet to reach pollination. Entering reproduction during the dry season is always risky; and, with it coming early this year, that is doubly so. There is still some moisture in the subsoil for now, but the reserves are running dry.

Soil moisture estimates from satellite taken April 18 indicate that soil moisture has fallen below 50% of capacity for the majority of the Brazil growing regions. Pockets of better soil moisture conditions do exist, mostly in the states of Mato Grosso and Goias which historically account for roughly 40% of the country’s total corn production. But these pockets are at less than 80% of capacity and are more isolated than the dry spots.

Temperatures continuing in the middle to upper 30s Celsius (90s Fahrenheit) will force corn to draw from deeper in the soil profile for the rest of its life cycle. Unfortunately, a lack of showers will deplete these reserves more than usual while corn is lingering later in the season.

Rainfall for the rest of the April continues to be below normal. With May typically being a normally dry month anyway, even normal precipitation in May, which is mostly expected, will be detrimental. A front or two may move through the country through early May and bring some occasional showers, but May does not have a significant signal for cold fronts to move through the region, which is the main mode of precipitation during the dry season. Estimates of 20 to 50 millimeters (roughly 1 to 2 inches) from models through the end of May for central growing regions will not be enough to satisfy the needs of pollinating or filling corn plants. Estimates for southern Mato Grosso do Sul through Parana offer closer to 100 mm (about 4 inches) of rainfall, but that is below normal as well by about 50 mm (about 2 inches). And these areas will also be at risk of patchy frosts for late April and early May before turning warmer.

John Baranick can be reached at

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Diamer-Bhasha Dam: will Dar be able to convince World Bank?

August 22, 2013  MUSHTAQ GHUMMAN

The question whether or not Finance Min-ister Senator Ishaq Dar will be able to convince the World Bank to fund 4500MW Diamer-Bhasha Dam without a no-objection certificate (NOC) from India is currently under discussion in different Ministries including the Water and Power Ministry. Diamer-Bhasha Dam: will Dar be able to convince World Bank?
Islamabad-based World Bank officials, senior officials of the Water and Power Ministry and Wapda remained tight lipped when asked if Dar”s recent claim that he would successfully persuade the World Bank to finance the $14 billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam without first getting an NOC from India. Wapda officials told this correspondent that the World Bank had been delaying the project for the past 11 years and had instead offered funding for run of the river 4,320MW Dasu hydropower project.
The World Bank as well as other multilaterals cannot approve funding for any project that is in disputed territory and it is for this reason that projects in both Occupied Kashmir as well as Azad Jammu Kashmir have not qualified for support. “Pakistani officialdom has failed to grasp the fact that multilaterals such as Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank will not support the construction of the 4,500-megawatt Diamer-Bhasha dam in what is considered a disputed territory unless both countries party to the dispute approve the project,” commented a power sector analysts.
Dar”s claim therefore that he would succeed in convincing the World Bank that it was not legally necessary to seek an NoC from India to build Diamer-Bhasha Dam “maybe wishful thinking,” they add. Official documents available with Business Recorder reveal that USAID has indicated its willingness to extend $1 billion for the project, of which $200 million will be for a feasibility study. The US ambassador to Pakistan has also indicated that his country is in contact with senior World Bank authorities with regard to support for the Diamer-Basha Dam.
“If donors and ADB do not support immediate initiation of the Diamer-Bhasha Dam project by announcing a time-bound financing plan and construction schedule, GoP may adopt an alternate plan to construct the dam. Bulk of the financing for the civil works and the E&M equipment would be sought from export credit banks and supplier”s credit from foreign companies that win the contracts. The response is likely to be encouraging as preliminary discussions have already taken place,” the sources said.


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Senators Ask EPA’s Regan to Reject RFS Waiver Requests

“Despite the damage done by the pandemic the RFS remains an effective tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and expanding economic opportunity in rural America,” the letter said.

“In fact, a recent analysis found that the RFS has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 980 million metric tons since 2008; equivalent to removing 212 million passenger vehicles from the road for an entire year. We request that EPA update its own modeling to help affirm these emissions reductions.”

In extending the 2021 and 2022 RFS compliance deadlines for refiners, the senators said the EPA worsened conditions for biofuels producers and their rural communities.

“This is in addition to exemptions and waivers that were granted by the previous administration and undercut renewable fuels and the communities that produce them,” the senators wrote.

“Often the previous administration granted exemptions to refineries that are owned by some of the world’s largest and wealthiest oil companies.”

Among the reasons for waiver requests cited by oil companies, is the rising cost of biofuels credits called Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs.

The senators said the RINs mechanism is in place to drive increased biofuels blending by refiners, who generally recover the costs of purchasing RINs by charging more to consumers at the pump.

“We disagree with the assertion that it is impossible for refiners to comply with the RFS in 2021,” the senators said.

“Refiners have numerous options at their disposal to comply with the RFS, including by blending more renewable fuels, purchasing RIN credits from obligated parties who are blending more biofuel than required, utilizing surplus RIN credits, or carrying over their compliance deficit into the next year.

“We respectfully request that you reject requests to waive or reduce the renewable volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard and continue your commitment to support farmers and rural communities by upholding and restoring confidence in the RFS.”

Todd Neeley can be reached at

Follow me on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN

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Senators Push to Change PPP Loan Approvals for Farmers in Partnerships

Marshall also had signed on to a similar bill introduced in March along with Sens. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.

The House also has had multiple versions of the same bill introduced as well. Reps. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, and Ashley Hinson R-Iowa, introduced one version of the bill. House Small Business Committee Chair Nydia Velazquez, D-NY, introduced a similar bill.

The Paycheck Protection Program is on its third batch of funds and loan eligibility. The deadline for applications is May 31. PPP loans are forgivable as long as 60% or more of the proceeds are spent on approved expenses, which includes self-employment compensation for sole proprietorships and single-owner limited liability corporations (LLCs) that file income taxes based on a Schedule F.

SBA had issued guidance in March stating how businesses can calculate maximum loan amounts. In doing so, SBA stuck with its position that only self-employed farmers and ranchers who file a 1040 Schedule F with their tax returns can use gross income to determine the loan amount. A farmer or rancher who is a single member of an LLC or a qualified joint venture, as defined by the IRS, and files a Schedule F can use gross income to determine their loan amount. Multiple farmers in a partnership, though, must use net income from the partnership on the application, and they have a longer list of reporting details to provide on their application.

In February, SBA boosted funding eligibility for sole proprietors such as farmers with a change in the loan formula. Businesses, including those in agriculture, can apply for PPP loans if they have 500 or fewer employees. The first draw of a PPP loan can go as high as $10 million, though the overall average loan size is $68,000.…

More information on SBA loans can be found at…

Chris Clayton can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

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Sandhills Ranchers Could Help Grassland Bird Population

The study also revealed that landowners are knowledgeable about local bird species. Those who owned livestock were more likely to say they would delay hay harvest, despite the fact this would lower the quality of the hay.

UNL researchers said the fact that landowners would consider incurring operational losses to promote bird conservation reflects a longstanding tradition of environmental stewardship in the region. Most cattle producers are careful not to overgraze as this would cause much damage to grass plants and soil, and this is especially true in the Sandhills as overgrazing could lead to “blowouts” where the sandy soils could literally blow away.

Convincing ranchers to delay hay harvest could prove to be a way to increase grassland bird numbers in the Nebraska Sandhills. This practice and promoting conservation-based financial incentives offered through federal programs, such as in the farm bill, might persuade landowners who are concerned about the economic impact of delaying their forage harvest, according to UNL researchers.

Here is some not-breaking news by me: Nebraska’s ag producers care about the environment. They really do.

They want to be profitable in their ranching/farming operations, but they also work and live in these rural areas. The last thing they want to do is destroy the natural world in which we all live in.

The words to the Nebraska state song “Beautiful Nebraska” sum up why the state’s natural environment matters:

“Beautiful Nebraska, peaceful prairieland,

Laced with many rivers, and the hills of sand;

Dark green valleys cradled in the earth,

Rain and sunshine bring abundant birth.

Beautiful Nebraska, as you look around,

You will find a rainbow reaching to the ground;

All these wonders by the Master’s hand;

Beautiful Nebraska land.

We are so proud of this state where we live,

There is no place that has so much to give.

Beautiful Nebraska, as you look around,

You will find a rainbow reaching to the ground;

All these wonders by the Master’s hand,

Beautiful Nebraska land.”

Russ Quinn can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN

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Cotton Mission 2025 Meant To Achieve 20m Bales Production In Punjab

Punjab secretary agriculture Muhammad Mahmud said on Wednesday that preparations were afoot in line with Cotton Mission 2025 to achieve the milestone of 20 million bales production of cotton in Punjab by 2025

MULTAN, (agrinfobank News – 23 May, 2018 ) ::Punjab secretary agriculture Muhammad Mahmud said on Wednesday that preparations were afoot in line with Cotton Mission 2025 to achieve the milestone of 20 million bales production of cotton in Punjab by 2025.

“Cotton Mission is a road map to take cotton to its due status in Punjab,” Mahmud said in a statement issued by media liaison unit of Punjab agriculture department. A marathon process of consultations with all the stakeholders would be initiated to get their opinions and suggestions for development of cotton.

Mahmud said that scientists have been assigned the task to conduct research on high yielding seed technology and other aspects to revive cotton’s higher productivity.

The Punjab secretary agriculture said that the on-going seed sowing campaign that began on April 1 would be completed by May 31 at all cost.

He said that the provincial government was working with those engaged with the whole supply chain of cotton under long and mid-term planning. He disclosed that a cotton council was being formed that would comprise representatives from government, farmers, APTMA, PCGA and other representatives from private sector.

He said that PB-Ropes had proved beneficial for farmers last season in tackling pink bollworm and asked the federal plant protection department to allow private sector import PB-Ropes. He said that field formations of agriculture department have been instructed to launch a two-week long campaign against pink bollworm immediately pleading that an effective control on the initial stage would benefit farmers not only this season but also the next cotton season.

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Prairie HRS Basis Signals Demand

Exports tend to be weighted to the latter months of the crop year. At the same time, there are signals that bears watching. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada reduced its forecast for 2020-21 wheat exports by 50,000 metric tons this month to 21.050 million metric tons. As well, the West Coast Vessel lineup has fallen for the sixth time in seven weeks to a total of 23 vessels (Vancouver plus Prince Rupert), below the one-year average of 30 vessels per week.

Cash prices for No. 1 CWRS 13.5% across the nine regions of the Prairies as reported by pdqinfo on April 20 ranged from $286.23/mt to $307.31/mt, with all nine regions reaching the highest levels reported since the summer months of 2017. Across the nine regions, cash bids on Tuesday ranged from $29.89/mt to $45.03/mt below 2017 highs, averaging $36.14/mt, or close to $1/bushel below these highs.

Basis levels have shown some weakness in recent trade. While not shown, data for the Northern Alberta region shows the Canadian dollar basis as strong as $4.30/mt over the future as recent as April 7, while reported at $2.86/mt under the nearby May future on April 20, the strongest seen across the nine regions. At the same time, the attached chart shows this compares to the three-year average of $23.76/mt under the nearby contract for this date.

Cliff Jamieson can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @Cliff Jamieson

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