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Published July 28, 2014, 11:30 AM

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Former SDSU official named to Idaho post, US Midwestern farmers fighting explosion of ‘superweeds’, pigs fall from truck onto I-29 in ND, and Heart O' Lakes Meats issues allergen alert.

By: Agweek Staff and Wire Reports,

Former SDSU official named to Idaho post

• Chenchaiah Marella, who holds a doctorate in agricultural and biosystems engineering from South Dakota State University, recently was named associate director of research and product development for Idaho Milk Products in Jerome, Idaho. IMP is the nation’s largest dedicated supplier of milk proteins. Marella will be responsible for IPM’s new product development, product research, evaluation of new technologies, coordinating scale-up of new products, management of university collaborations, intellectual property development and management of department staff and laboratories. Marella has 20 years of dairy science and technology experience. Most recently, he was Leprino Foods chair in dairy products technology for California Polytechnic State University. Before that, he was SDSU’s manager of the Institute of Dairy Ingredient Processing in the Dairy Science department. Marella holds a bachelor’s degree in dairy technology from ANGR Agricultural University, India, and a master’s degree in dairy engineering from Gujarat Agricultural University, India.

US Midwestern farmers fighting explosion of ‘superweeds’

• Farmers in important crop-growing states should consider the environmentally unfriendly practice of deeply tilling fields to fight a growing problem with invasive “superweeds” that resist herbicides and choke crop yields, agricultural experts say. Resistance to glyphosate, the main ingredient in widely used Roundup herbicide, has reached the point that row crop farmers in the Midwest are struggling to contain an array of weeds, agronomists say. Extreme controls are needed to fight herbicide-resistant weeds in some areas, University of Missouri weed scientist Kevin Bradley says in a report to farmers. One particularly aggressive weed that can grow one to two inches a day is Palmer amaranth. “Palmer amaranth is our No. 1 weed to watch in Missouri and the Midwest right now,” Bradley says. He says farmers facing extreme out-of-control weeds should try deep tillage, a practice that removes weeds but can also lead to soil erosion and other environmental concerns. Farmers moved away from heavy tillage of the land decades ago, and the more sustainable no-till farming has become the norm. But it relies on heavy use of herbicides such as glyphosate, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture says 70 million acres of U.S. farmland had glyphosate-resistant weeds in 2013. Palmer amaranth is also “exploding” across Kansas this year, according to Dallas Peterson, a weed specialist with Kansas State University. “We have had numerous calls about poor control of Palmer amaranth with glyphosate this year,” he says. Weed resistance has grown as farmers have increased their use of glyphosate in conjunction with Monsanto Co.’s introduction of an array of crops genetically altered to tolerate the herbicide.

Pigs fall from truck onto I-29 in ND

• BUXTON, N.D. — Piglets were falling out of a truck and onto Interstate 29 for several miles near Buxton, N.D., July 23 until the driver eventually noticed, the North Dakota Highway Patrol says. There were “dead pigs all over the road,” Sgt. Greg Smith says. The truck driver was apparently unaware that piglets he was transporting from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Iowa were tumbling out of the vehicle about 11 a.m. “They were kind of scattered for several miles,” Smith says of the piglets. The Traill County Sheriff’s Office was first to respond. The Highway Patrol followed and “scooped up all the deceased pigs,” he says. The Highway Patrol recovered 12 piglets in total, according to Smith. There were no crashes as a result of the piglets on the road, though running over one of them could have been dangerous, he says.

South Korea slaughters hogs to control foot-and-mouth outbreak

• SEOUL — South Korea has confirmed a case of foot-and-mouth disease at a hog farm, the country’s first outbreak in more than three years, the agriculture ministry says. The case comes as Asia’s fourth-largest economy strives to contain a six-month outbreak of bird flu, which has pushed pork prices to multi-year highs as a result of demand for alternative meat. Testing confirmed a foot-and-mouth case at a hog farm in Uiseong county, more than 155 miles southeast of Seoul, according to statements from the ministry and the Gyeonsangbuk-do provincial government. The ministry says the disease is unlikely to be widespread, as it was one of three types the country inoculates against. The outbreak occurred in unvaccinated hogs and some 600 pigs were being slaughtered to contain the disease. The outbreak could lead to a rise in pork and beef imports. The pork imports are already high after South Korea’s worst nationwide outbreak of foot-and-mouth in 2010 and 2011 led to the culling of a third of the hog population. Many consumers have also opted for pork instead of chicken because of the bird flu outbreak, pushing up pork prices. Three-year-high pork prices have led to forecasts of increased beef imports as consumers look for alternative meats, according to government data and industry sources. South Korea imported nearly 170,000 metric tons of pork — mainly from the U.S., Germany and Canada — in the first six months of this year, up 7 percent year-on-year, according to customs data. The country’s beef imports — mainly from Australia and the U.S. — also rose 8.5 percent to more than 138,000 metric tons in the first half of this year from a year earlier, the data show. Its beef and pork exports are almost none.

Briefly . . .

• Allergen alert: The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is notifying consumers that Heart O’ Lakes Meats of Pelican Rapids, Minn., has issued an allergy alert for undeclared allergens in Mild Beer Stix with a “Packed on” date of July 3, 2014, produced and sold at the store. The product contains cheese, but the label did not declare milk as an ingredient. State officials are not aware of any illnesses associated with these products. Consumers may discard the product or return it to the store where purchased for refund.