Weekly News Highlights
Reporting Agriculture’s Business Abnormally dry conditions are a concern from eastern Montana, through the Dakotas and into northwest Minnesota. The Red River Farm Network has that story and more in this week’s edition of FarmNetNews. You’ll also find coverage from The Fertilizer Institute 4R Conference in Minneapolis, the LIFT Summit in Fargo, the NDSU field day in Carrington and the Peterson Farms Seed drone event near Harwood, North Dakota. Each week, RRFN welcomes new subscribers to FarmNetNews. If you know someone who would benefit from this weekly update, contact Don Wick or Carah Hart.
Dry Conditions Will Stick Around World Weather Incorporated Senior Ag Meteorologist Drew Lerner expects the dry conditions to stick around for the next few weeks. During the three-week period of time, the pattern isnt likely to change a lot. We will have showers that will pass across the Northern Plains periodically. It doesnt look like were going to see much precipitation in South Dakota. I think those areas will continue struggling for moisture. Lerner says the first week of July could provide a change in the weather pattern with showers working northward from Mexico.
Difficult Conditions for Farmers Right Now The U.S. Drought Monitor is showing an increase in severe drought conditions in portions of North Dakota and South Dakota. South Dakota State Extension climatologist Laura Edwards says there has been an expansion of severe drought. “All of North Dakota is in dry or drought conditions with about 27 percent of the state in severe drought. South Dakota has 13 percent in that severe drought category. Edwards says theres lots of comparisons to 2006 and 2002, both tough drought years. The real challenge is our western area was in drought last year as well. Although they had some recovery over the winter, they didnt quite get back to normal or average conditions. They are suffering a little worse than the rest of us.
Drought Hurts WW Crop Custom harvester Kent Braathen is cutting winter wheat near Kiowa, Kansas. Yields vary widely, but are down from last year. As the harvest progresses west, were going to see more of what that freeze and snow did to the crop in early May. Some say its not too bad. Others say the heat has deteriorated it. Theres been lots of wind. Its taken the toll on lots of that. Braathen is based in Grand Forks, North Dakota. His crew should be done in south-central Kansas in about a week. From there, I dont know where were going to go. Its a hit-and-miss deal. We usually jump to Pierre, South Dakota. This year, the drought has hit the area hard. Lots of winter wheat was zeroed out.
A Look at North Dakota’s Wheat Spring wheat is not seeing it normal growth this season with reports of shorter than usual growth. North Dakota State University Extension cereal agronomist Joel Ransom says because of the shorter development he is expecting a slightly lower yield. The main concern is the short wheat needs to have less yield. Ransom thinks the dry stress has taken some yield potential out of the crop. Based on these early weather events, it looks like weve taken off a ten-bushel cap on our yield potential. That doesnt mean our state average will be ten bushels lower. It just means we dont have the ten-bushel extra potential we would have had if we would have had cooler weather and more favorable weather for crop development.
Picking Up the Rain In Onida, South Dakota; Oahe Grain general manager Tim Luken says they picked up some much-needed rain this past week. Weve been extremely dry. Corn is coming up a little spotty. Beans are up. The spring wheat has been hanging on alright. Its thin, short and headed out. Everyones mood is better after a rain and it should help the crop fill out a little bit. We may have 20-to-25 bushel spring wheat. Luken says a lot of the winter wheat got zeroed out. RRFN’s CropWatch coverage is sponsored, in part, by DuPont Pioneer.
Off to a Good Start North of Hallock, Minnesota, Erik Younggren says the crops are doing well. Weve had a dry spring. After all of the rain last year, thats what we needed. Were in pretty good shape. Weve had enough moisture to get everything started. The beets are coming in alright. Younggren says ruts from last fall werent too bad to deal with this spring. We werent as wet as some areas south of here. We had some ruts from soybean harvest. I was surprised how well theyd worked out. Im pleased with how things went in this spring. RRFN’s CropWatch coverage is sponsored, in part, by Syngenta Sugarbeets/Hilleshog and the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.
Good Weed Control Noted Peterson Farms Seed agronomist Adam Spelhaug is seeing good pre-emerge weed control in the areas that got early rains. A few little rains were enough to get pre-emergence herbicides activated. Getting weeds when they are small are ideal. Corn is taking off now. Most of that weed control has been done. Spelhaug says there is some iron deficiency chlorosis showing up in the soybeans.
Weed of the Week: Volunteer Herbicide Tolerant Crops Volunteer corn in soybean or canola in sugarbeets can rob yield if not removed. Dr. John Nalewaja, former NDSU weed science professor, once suggested future troublesome weeds might be volunteer herbicide tolerant crops. His logic was there are fewer herbicides that selectively remove volunteers from the next crop in sequence, especially if the crop had been genetically altered. RR canola, RR soybean, and RR corn volunteers are troublesome weeds in the crop sequence. Control options are available in the 2017 North Dakota Weed Control Guide. Thanks to Tom Peters of North Dakota State University/University of Minnesota and Richard Zollinger of NDSU for assisting with this project.
Scout for Resistant Weeds Dickinson Research Extension Center area agronomist Ryan Buetow reminds farmers as they scout fields to be looking for resistant weeds. Along with weeds, there are diseases and insects coming in. We just found some pea leaf weevil that moved into Montana. Im always keeping an eye out for palmer amaranth. So far, no palmer amaranth. Buetow says as more corn and soybeans moves west there has been a shift in weed pressure. Theres a slight shift in weeds. It actually helped by increasing the rotation. The crop rotation helps us control those weeds.
Carrington Research Day Held Attendees at NDSU Extension’s Carrington crop management field school were updated on weed identification, soil health management, herbicide tolerance and resistance and more. IPM field scout Brittney Aasand hosted. We tried to focus on working in the field and working on a producers specific program. We looked at the different weeds across the state and talking about different herbicides that controlled them. We also talked about salt affected soils. Dickinson Research Extension Center area cropping systems specialist Ryan Buetow taught the weed identification portion of the program. Buetow said proper weed identification is critically important for proper weed control. Its all about making multipliers and getting the message out there. Weed ID is important to best manage operations. Some of the weeds we have out west arent the same as in Carrington, but there is come crossover as corn and beans move west.
Doing More with Less in the 2018 Farm Bill Agriculture research was the focus for Thursdays Senate Agriculture Committee hearing. In his opening statement, Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts said lawmakers will have to do more with less in the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization. Ranking member Debbie Stabenow emphasized she believes in science. “Science based agricultural research is good for farmers, our consumers and our economy.”
The Next Farm Bill, Conversations in the Field House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway and Ranking Member Collin Peterson have announced the first Farm Bill listening session will be held on June 24 in Florida. Conaway plans to participate in listening sessions across the country. We hear from national leadership all of the time. Im hopeful as part of listening sessions, we can hear from local leadership and producer group and producers as well. It has not been officially announced, but one of those listening sessions is expected to be held at Farmfest, near Redwood Falls, Minnesota, in early August.
Nomination Process Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has named Anne Hazlett as his assistant on rural development. Hazlett, who has been the majority counsel for the Senate Agriculture Committee and Indianas state agriculture director, may be the last major USDA appointment for a while. Im being told some of these wont be confirmed until after the August recess. Perdue said he has submitted very qualified people for the deputy and undersecretary positions, but the screening process through the FBI and the White House ethics office has slowed down the process.
Coalition Seeks Funding for FSA Loans A coalition of 21 lender groups and agriculture organizations is calling on Congress to fully fund the Farm Service Agency farm loan programs for the 2018 fiscal year. With a tight farm economy, the coalition says there is significant demand for direct and guaranteed farm operating and farm ownership loans. The groups signing off on this letter include the American Bankers Association, Farm Credit Council and the Independent Community Bankers of America. Commodity groups representing everything from corn-to-soybeans and from barley-to-canola also signed off on the letter.
Coming into Compliance with Buffer Legislation Minnesota farmers are taking steps to come into compliance with Minnesotas buffer legislation, which will go into effect on November 1, 2017. A panel of experts shared updated information with 4R Summit attendees on Monday afternoon. The buffer and soil erosion coordinator with the Board of Water and Soil Resources, Tom Gile, is overseeing the implementation of this law. He says there are high levels of compliance at this time. Its important farmers fully understand the law. Talk to your local Soil and Water Conservation Districts,” says Gile. “Be aware of what options may or may not exist for you. I know theres lots of discussion on what this law means, but its an opportunity for us to show the agriculture community can step up and make this happen. The Minnesota Corn Growers Association executive director Adam Birr reminds growers there is a waiver they can use to extend the deadline.
Land Market Caution Farmers National Company real estate and ag stock specialist Jayson Menke says lenders are cautious with the current market environment. Across the country, were seeing pressure. Id almost say the areas thats the most concern within our company is land north of Highway 2. Theres been more stress there due to more rain last year.” Given the current farm economy, Menke says any hiccup in production could have devastating consequences.
Fed Increases Benchmark Interest Rate As expected, the Federal Reserve has raised short-term interest rates. The benchmark rate has moved up by a quarter percent and is the first increase since March. Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said the economy is doing very well and is showing resilience. At least one more interest rate increase is expected this year.
Infrastructure Priority Following the recent infrastructure summit in Cincinnati, Soy Transportation Coalition Executive Director Mike Steenhoek remains hopeful that infrastructure, and particularly the nations locks and dams, remains a priority for the Trump Administration. Policy makers, including presidents, do talk about infrastructure. As we all know, just because its important doesnt mean its a priority. I do think transportation infrastructure is a priority for this president. Theres a commitment to increase levels of investment. Steenhoek says the big concern is the bitterness seen in Washington D.C. will impact the ability to get anything done. It really has the danger to suck all of the oxygen out of the room.”
Making E15 Available All Year The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing this past week on a bill to make E15 available year-round. Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer introduced the bill. The bill would exempt fuels containing gasoline and more than ten percent ethanol blends from certain Clean Air Act requirements during the summer season.
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Source: Red River Farm Network