East Maui Taro Festival in Hana

HANA – The 19th annual East Maui Taro Festival will be held from Friday through Sunday in Hana.

Activities will include traditional foods, arts and crafts, cultural demonstrations, music and hula.

Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., there will be Makali’i voyaging canoe tours and rides at Hana Bay, weather permitting.

Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the festival will unfold at Hana Ballpark with entertainment along with food and craft sales, Hawaiian cultural demonstrations and a nonprofit informational tent.

Sunday from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m., the taro pancake breakfast also will offer loco moco bowls. Tickets are available with varying prices.

At 11 a.m. that day, the National Tropical Botanical Garden-Kahanu Garden and Pi’ilanihale Heiau will be open to tours, followed at 2 p.m. with a Kapahu Living Farm tour in Kipahulu.

For more information, call 264-1553 or see www.tarofestival.org.

East Maui Taro Festival in Hana – Mauinews.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Visitor’s Information – The Maui News

Keeping weeds down in a wet year

Add weed control to the list of elements of growing your 2011 crop that is being complicated as cool, wet weather continues to delay planting in the bulk of the Corn Belt.

If you’re too far delayed in your planting and were originally planning on using a quick tillage trip to knock down early-emerging weeds, you may not be able to pull that off this spring. “Preplant tillage operations can effectively control existing vegetation while preparing a seedbed,” says University of Illinois Extension weed specialist Aaron Hager. “However, as weeds become larger, the effectiveness of tillage to control weeds before planting can be reduced.”

Even if you are able to squeeze in a round of tillage as things start to dry out, it may lose some efficacy, Hager says. “Reduced weed control may also occur when fields are slightly wet during the preplant tillage operation,” he says. “Soil disturbance may not be as extensive when soils are retaining moisture, and clods are more likely to be formed. Weeds sometimes take root again after tillage when soil disturbance is inadequate and soil moisture is abundant.”

So, what’s the answer? If tillage is already done, you don’t have enough time before you plant, or you were already thinking of a burndown application anyway, Hager says you can control winter annual weeds with a little stronger rate of burndown herbicide to “account for the large and dense vegetation.”

Corn closes ‘limit’ down

Mike McGinnis

CHICAGO, Illinois (Agriculture.com)–The CME Group corn market closed limit down on improved planting weather outlooks Thursday.

The July corn futures settled down the 30 cent ‘limit’ at $7.29 1/4. The contract traded around $7.24, synthetically. The July soybean contract closed 31 cents lower at $13.53 1/2. The July wheat futures closed 34 1/2 cents lower at $7.76. The July soybean meal futures settled $7.60 per short ton lower at $354.20. The July soyoil futures closed $1.48 lower at $56.93.

In the outside markets, the NYMEX crude oil is $0.10 per barrel higher, the dollar is lower and the Dow Jones Industrials are up 36 points. Since 1980, silver hit a new record price of $50.

“As I said yesterday, with exact scenario today, we left technical gap areas below and the first one was $7.49,” one CME Group corn pit trader says. But, I believe it’s merely about healthy corrections. Otherwise, the market is still bullish long term.”
Tim Hannagan, PFGBest.com senior grain analyst, says corn, wheat and beans continue to remove the recent weather premium, as this last system is now over and there’s not another appreciable rain until next Thursday now. “This has the trade thinking some spring wheat and corn could be planted early next week in the upper Plains. But, even if planting occurs, heavy rains enter on May 6 & 7 and then again May 11 & 12, leaving us generally well behind on planting,” Hannagan says.

Rich Feltes, RJ O’Brien market analyst, says, weather concerns don’t stop after planting. “The market is still going to be hanging on the edge needing to know the crops will be getting timely precipitation in the absence of summer heat. For that matter, for the late planted areas, we will need later than normal frostings. And we won’t know that for months,” Feltes says.

Corn, Market Analysis, Agricultural Markets | Agriculture.com

Start over on Big Wind, group tells state

A community group that opposes the development of large-scale wind farms on Lanai and Molokai is asking state regulators to reopen the bidding process for the projects, saying the original agreement is no longer valid because one of the developers dropped out.

An attorney for Friends of Lanai said a decision by First Wind LLC not to pursue the Molokai portion of the proposed project triggered a series of events that were not authorized under the original approval granted by the Public Utilities Commission last fall.

First Wind withdrew from the project after missing a key March 18 deadline set by the PUC to show that it was making progress on its planned 200-megawatt Molokai wind project. Castle & Cooke Resorts, which is pursuing a 200-megawatt wind project on Lanai, met the deadline. The two projects, dubbed “Big Wind,” would transmit electricity to Oahu via an undersea cable under a plan that is still in the preliminary stages.

Friends of Lanai attorney Isaac Hall noted that the PUC had to grant a waiver for the Big Wind project to proceed because its proposed size exceeded Hawaiian Electric Co.’s original request for proposals of up to 100 megawatts of renewable energy.

“Since only one party timely complied (with the PUC deadline), Friends of Lanai believes that the waiver is no longer valid

Exhibit opens on Hawaii’s creole language

A new exhibit opens this weekend on Pidgin, Hawaii’s creole language.

The exhibit titled, “Pidgin: How was, how stay,” is to feature an illustrated timeline that connects history and the development of Pidgin English and Hawaii Creole.

The exhibit is to also feature audiovisual samples of plantation era and contemporary Pidgin.

The opening day event on Saturday at the Hawaii Plantation Village in Waipahu is to include screenings of documentary films in Pidgin, activities about Pidgin and local food.

The free event is sponsored by the Charlene J. Sato Center for Pidgin, Creole and Dialect Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the Hawaii Council for the Humanities.

Exhibit opens on Hawaii’s creole language – Hawaii News – Staradvertiser.com

Farmers protest against Japanese nuke plant owner

TOKYO >> More than 200 farmers brought two cows to Tokyo where they shouted and punched the air Tuesday in a protest to demand compensation for products contaminated by radiation spewing from Japan’s crippled nuclear plant.

The farmers from northeastern Japan wore green bandanas and held signs saying “Nuclear disaster is human disaster” and “Stop nuclear energy” outside the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant damaged in the March 11 tsunami.

Radiation leaking from Fukushima Dai-ichi plant — about 140 miles (220 kilometers) north of Tokyo — has been found in milk, water and leafy vegetables such as spinach from around the plant.

“I could not sit still in Fukushima. I want TEPCO to understand our frustration, anxiety and worries over our future,” said 72-year-old Katsuo Okazaki, who grows peaches and apples. “My patience has run out. The nuclear crisis is totally destroying our farming business,” he said.

The incredible floating fire ant

By Brian Vastag,

Congress — and perhaps the rest of us — could learn a thing or two about teamwork from Solenopsis invicta, the dreaded fire ant.

When in danger of drowning, a colony of the critters — thousands of them — will save themselves by joining forces and forming a raft. They pile together and lock legs and jaws. So bound, an ant raft can survive for months.

Engineers studying animal oddities now report that together, the ants aren’t just stronger. They’re floatier. Airtight, even.

“Water does not penetrate the raft,” said Nathan Mlot, a mechanical engineer at the Georgia Institute of Technology and lead author of the ant-raft report published in Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academies. Even the bottom layer of ants stays dry, he said.

Engineers, Mlot went on to explain, think the rafting behavior might aid the quest for new waterproof materials and offer lessons for robotics research.

Growing olives on Maui topic of speaker

WAILUKU – The Italian American Social Club will host a potluck dinner Tuesday with a discussion on the prospect of growing olives on Maui.

The event at 6 p.m. in St. Theresa Church’s Stawasz Hall will feature speaker Alan Battersby.

Battersby owns and operates the new Calasa Gulch Olive Tree Farm in Upcountry.

He promised to bring a “little touch and taste” of Italy with his green, black and purple olives. Battersby not only wants to grow olives but also produce olive oil on the island.

He also will discuss the history of the farm and its future, according to a news release from the Italian American Social Club. He has about 2,000 olive trees in various stages of growth on his villa-style property as well as grapes and assorted Italian herbs and fruits on about 20 acres, according to other news reports on Battersby’s olive venture.

The public is welcome to the meeting.

For more information, contact Don Tedesco at 214-6366 or email him at dstedesco@gmail.com.

Growing olives on Maui topic of speaker – Mauinews.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Visitor’s Information – The Maui News

Blue Plains upgrade could produce valuable farm fertilizer, but critics are wary – The Washington Post

By Darryl Fears,

After moving tons of earth for an expansion, Stafford Regional Airport in Virginia faced an embarrassing problem: severe and seemingly irreversible baldness. Virtually nothing grew on its dusty, damaged land.

The airport’s worried manager, Ed Wallis, tried different treatments before he was advised to consult with officials at theBlue Plains Advanced Water Treatment Plant, a sprawling facility at the southern tip of the District that processes 375 million gallons of the area’s wastewater per day.

Airport officials liked what they saw and began accepting a dark substance called a biosolid from Blue Plains. Five months later, grass started to sprout. A year later, it was thigh-high.

“It was unbelievable,” Wallis said.

That transformation a decade ago is a legend at Blue Plains, the first thing officials from the plant mentioned recently while promoting theirbiosolid fertilizer. That’s a fancy scientific marketing name that masks what the biosolids truly are — sludge made primarily from human waste.

Probably the world’s original fertilizer, this cleaned and treated version of what was long known as “night soil” may well loom large in the future, too.