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NEWS RELEASE

June 2001

AGRICULTURE, VETERINARY MEDICINE AND NATURAL RESOURCES NEWS FROM IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY

DIETARY PHYTASE STUDY SHOWS POSITIVE RESULTS
A year-long demonstration project on the effect of dietary phytase on phosphorus levels in manure has yielded positive results, says project coordinator and Iowa State University Extension swine field specialist Larry McMullen. Phytase is an enzyme that breaks down the indigestible phytic acid (phytate) in grains and oil seeds and releases more digestible phosphorus that pigs can use. By reducing the unused portion of phosphorus in feed, less phosphorus will be eliminated in manure. This is important for producers because the state appears to be moving toward a phosphorus-based land application rate for manure management plans. In the study funded by the Iowa Pork Industry Center, phytase was fed to finishing pigs in research and control groups with the following results: phosphorus content in liquid manure was reduced by more than 23 percent over the control diets; phytase did not reduce pig performance as measured by average daily gain and feed efficiency ratios; and phytase did not increase the cost of the diet. Contact McMullen, (319) 462-2791, or Sherry Hoyer, Iowa Pork Industry Center communications, (515) 294-4496.

WHEN CHINA JOINS WTO, AG TRADE PARTNERS WILL BENEFIT
China's major agricultural trade partners would be among the biggest beneficiaries when China joins the World Trade Organization, according to a study by Iowa State's Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI). When China joins the WTO, per capita consumption of pork, poultry and dairy in China is expected to increase as food prices decrease. An increase in agricultural trade would benefit major exporters of oilseeds, pork and poultry, which include the United States. Chinese producers, on the other hand, would receive lower prices and experience increased competition from international suppliers. The FAPRI analysis expects China to produce fewer crops and livestock products, with the exception of cotton and soybeans. While rural incomes are assumed to decline, the results do not indicate a sharp decrease in China's ability to feed itself or a major increase in world food scarcity. The FAPRI analysis is based on the most recent available data and policy information and incorporates actual policy changes agreed to by China. The analysis includes coverage of more than 20 agricultural and food commodities. The report (Working Paper 01-WP 276) is on the Web at http://www.fapri.iastate.edu. Contact Frank Fuller, FAPRI, (515) 294-0470, or Sandy Clarke, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, (515) 294-6257.

MESSING WITH MATING: AN INNOVATION IN CROP PEST CONTROL
Thanks to the European corn borer, Iowa corn growers lose 15 bushels of corn per acre annually. Wisconsin cranberry producers can lose up to 80 percent of their harvests from damage by the blackheaded fireworm and a type of fruitworm. Iowa State entomologist Tom Baker has developed technology that may help producers gain back some of those losses. (more) Baker's research uses synthetic pheromones to disrupt insect mating patterns. A male moth will follow the scent of a pheromone to its source, a female. But the release of synthetic pheromones can lure males away. Once sensitized to the fake pheromones, males are unlikely to notice the females. The technology is called MSTRS (Metered Semiochemical Timed Release System). Baker founded a company, based in the ISU Research Park, to develop, manufacture and sell pheromone-releasing dispensers. He has tested the technology with three moth pests: the corn borer, the blackheaded fireworm and the the almond moth, a stored-grain pest. In his experiments, the mating of the three pests was disrupted at rates between 90 and 98 percent. MSTRS is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency and approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute for use in organic crop fields. Information is available on the Web at http://www.MSTRS.com. Contact Baker (515) 296-6332, or Stephanie Vinton, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-2957.

HOOP SWINE BUILDINGS GAINING POPULARITY
In 1995 and 1996, hoop buildings were not common in Iowa. Now more than a million pigs each year - about four percent of the state's hog production - are raised in these large, tent-like buildings. Hooped structures are low cost, easy to assemble and versatile. Since 1997, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State has sponsored hoops research projects. The projects are located primarily at three of Iowa State's Research and Demonstration Farms (Rhodes in central Iowa, the Armstrong farm at Atlantic, and the Western farm near Castana). An overview of current projects and a schedule of tours and field days is available from Mark Honeyman, ISU Research and Demonstration Farm coordinator, (515) 294-4620. Contact Honeyman, (515) 294-4620, or Laura Miller, Leopold Center communications, (515) 294-5272.

HOW FARM FOOD TRAVELS, USES FUEL AND IMPACTS ENVIRONMENT
A new paper from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State compares the miles that food travels to determine possible savings and environmental benefits of an Iowa-based food system. The paper, "Food, Fuel and Freeways: An Iowa Perspective on How Farm Food Travels, Fuel Usage and Greenhouse Gas Emissions," will be available June 27. Contact: Rich Pirog, education coordinator and primary author, (515) 294-1854 or Laura Miller, Leopold Center communications, (515) 294-5272.

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