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A Weekly Update From Your Friends at the Red River Farm Network


Monday, August 28, 2017

Reporting Agriculture’s Business — Hurricane Harvey is pounding the Gulf Coast. Rainfall amounts in southeast Texas are at “unprecedented” levels with some isolated areas expected to recieve close to 50 inches. For agriculture, we’ve seen amazing images of cattle moving through deep water to find high ground. The cotton harvest was just getting started and this weather will certainly impact that crop. The ports in Houston and Corpus Cristi are closed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people in this region. Don’t forget, RRFN is preparing for the Big Iron Farm Show. There is a full slate of seminars on the market outlook, weather, risk management, land values and dicamba. You can find that agenda online. Remember, you can connect with RRFN for updates on farm news, markets and weather on Facebook and Twitter. The RRFN team: Carah, Megan, Mike, Randy, Jay and Don are also on Twitter. Listen each day on your local RRFN affiliate.

Heat Units Concerning — Spring wheat harvest in the Enderlin, North Dakota area is about two-thirds done. Keith Brandt, who is the manager of Plains Grain and Agronomy in Enderlin, says some color has been lost with recent rains. “Yields are in the 60-to-65 bushel per acre range and quality is still decent.” Brandt says soybean harvest probably won’t come until late September, and the biggest concern is heat units for corn. “I don’t know if we’ll get dry corn out of the field. In our trade area right now, we’re about 100 heat units behind the five-year average.” RRFN’s Harvest Hotline is sponsored, in part, by the North Dakota Mill.

Slow Start to Harvest — Harvest has been slow to start for some farmers. Kristie Sundeen, a field representative for Bayer CropScience, says wheat harvest is just beginning near Devils Lake, North Dakota and north to the Canadian border. Sundeen says the biggest issue has been getting the crop to dry down. “The spring wheat has been all over the board, averaging anywhere from 48-to-65 bushels per acre. It’s been pretty sporadic depending on how much rain it got.” Sundeen says some early canola was taken off in the Nekoma area, which averaged about a ton. “Given the heat and lack of moisture during the growing season, if we can average a ton across the entire canola crop that’s definitely a win.” Sundeen adds that dry weather over the next two to three weeks would help a lot of crop come off.

A Dry Harvest — Dry conditions are keeping Stephen, Minnesota farmers busy. Betsy Jensen, Jensen Farms and Seed Company, has been harvesting spring wheat. Jensen says overall quality has been good, especially for the new wheat varieties. “I’m very impressed with the yields, and when I check protein there’s a 14 in front of it. We’ve been thrilled.” She says the area hasn’t received any significant rainfall recently, which has kept harvest going. However, the sugerbeet and row crops could use some moisture. “We’re just getting the rain showers to shut us down for an afternoon. If it’s going to rain, just drop an inch and get it over with.”

Progress Made on Spring Wheat — West Central Ag Services territory sales manager Clyde Kringlen says good progress has been seen with small grains. “There’s guys that are all done and there are guys that are 50 percent done so it is a wide range, yet. Early on, we had excellent, excellent test weights with good yield and good protein. Now, we’re seeing the test weight dropping a little, but it is still doing 58-to-60 pounds.” It has been tough to get the wheat to dry down. “The days are so short. They can’t get started until early-to-late afternoon and they have to be shut down at seven or eight o’clock.” WCAS is based in Ulen, Minnesota.

Lots of Moisture — It’s been a slow harvest for farmers in northeast North Dakota. Dahlen Farmers Elevator Manager Mike Kratochvil says spring wheat yields in his area have been surprisingly good. However, farmers are having trouble getting the grain to dry down. “I had a guy in and it has been 16 days and it is still at 15.7 moisture. It has been too cool and the spray isn’t working like it should.” Yields are in the 60s, 70s and higher. Protein levels are generally in the low-12 to mid-13 percent range. “That surprises me, I thought we’d see higher protein, but the yield helps.” With high moisture levels and cool air temperatures, Kratochvil might start seeing more of the spring wheat crop hauled in for drying.

Still Dealing with Green Wheat — Farmers in northeast North Dakota are having a tough time getting the spring wheat crop to dry down. Altendorf Harvesting co-owner Jan Altendorf says this has been true in both the St. Thomas and Michigan areas. “The wheat crop has been really nice here in the (Red River) Valley. We moved a little further west and tried to get going there, but Roundup is helping this crop mature as fast as we’d like. We’re still running into a lot of green wheat. We’ve taken quite a bit off and they’re putting it into the air bins and drying it to get the grain off. The quality is so good you don’t want it left in the field too long.” Altendorf says there is still a lot of grain to harvest and a little more heat will help. Thanks to the U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc. for co-sponsoring RRFN’s daily Harvest Hotline broadcsts.

This Week’s Heat and Sunshine Should Help — The spring wheat harvest is just starting for Badger, Minnesota farmer Shane Isane. He’s been waiting for the moisture to drop. “We’ve had a few showers and the high humidity, which cost us. With the wind and sunshine, we should be able to get back at it.” In the meantime, Isane has been baling straw. “We’re seeing nice straw with good quality.” RRFN’s Harvest Hotline is sponsored, in part, by Dairyland Seed.

Still Dry — Near Hallock, Minnesota, Erik Younggren has about one-third of his wheat crop harvested. The crop is performing well despite a very dry season. “Protein is about average in the mid-13s and yields are all over the board,” says Younggren. “We had a hail storm go through the first part of July, so we got knocked down there, but yields range anywhere from 70-to-80.” Younggren received only one significant rain this summer, so the soybean and sugerbeet crops could use some moisture. “We can only get about a tenth of an inch every time it rains. It’d be nice to either get an inch or stay dry so we could finish with the wheat. Harvest Hotline on the Red River Farm Network is sponsored, in part, by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.

Weather Influences Crop Prospects — Helena Chemical sales representative Tim Stanislawski covers eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. Decent spring wheat yields are being seen in the region. Most of the protein levels are in the 13.5-to14.5 percent range. “The wheat is coming off pretty decent and we’ve seen some high yields. Protein depends on where you’re at and what kind of stress levels seen in the wheat.” For soybeans Stanislawski is seeing the crop turn. “There are areas that missed the rains and they’re turning the other way at this moment. Same thing with corn, if they got rain, the corn looks really good. If they didn’t, it probably will take a hit.” AgCountry Farm Credit Services sponsors, in part, RRFN’s Harvest Hotline.

Unusual Insects Seen in the Region — University of Minnesota Extension entomologist Ian MacRae says 2017 saw different pests than usual. “We had thistle caterpillar in soybeans. They overwinter in New Mexico and Arizona. If the winds are right, they’ll blow them this way and we’ll get them in the Red River Valley. We saw them really throughout Minnesota this year.” MacRae says the typical pests, like aphids, were also common.

AURI Update — Catch this weekly update from the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute. Get an update on local foods and AURI food projects

Sulfur Application in Wheat — Research funded by the Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council and the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council shows that sulfur applications can benefit wheat yields. University of Minnesota Extension Soil Fertility Specialist Dan Kaiser says low organic soils benefit the most. “Studies in the heavier textured, high organic matter soils don’t show as much of a yield increase in those areas.” Kaiser says sulfur can impact protein, but nitrogen management is still number one. “With proteins, we can shift amino acid types with sulfur application, but doesn’t benefit the marketing side.” In terms of application, he recommends looking at crops that will benefit in terms of yield.

Do No Harm — Few details are available from the opening round of the new North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations. However, a group of agriculture representatives was provided confidential briefings about the trade talks. That group includes National Association of Wheat Growers CEO Chandler Goule. Goule said agriculture has a recurring theme—do no harm. “We, especially wheat, have benefited with Mexico before NAFTA was signed into law. We were exporting zero bushels of wheat and now they’re our largest trading partner. Wheat still goes across the Canadian border, but is immediately downgraded to feed quality. So we would like that to be fixed because that is in violation of WTO.” Trade negotiators will return to the table in early September with a meeting in Mexico. That will be followed by another round of negotiations in Canada in late September and the U.S. in October. Goule says that is a very aggressive schedule.

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Source: Red River Farm Network