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


Monday, September 11, 2017


Weekly News Highlights

Reporting Agriculture’s Business — The Red River Farm Network will report LIVE from the Big Iron Farm Show in West Fargo this week. We have a stellar line-up of speakers on dicamba, weather, farm management and land values. We also have a great line-up of market analysts. Check out our schedule. We hope to see you at Big Iron! In this week’s edition of FarmNetNews, we share updates from a recent water quality town hall meeting, a strip-till conference, a field day and more. 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. 

Wheat, Canola and Dry Beans — Northeastern North Dakota farmers are harvesting a variety of crops right now, with the wheat harvest just wrapping up. Huso Crop Consulting’s Mark Huso says areas spanning from Lakota to Fordville are about half done with canola harvest. “There are fields where the moisture issue did become a concern. Some of the lighter soils and hilltops aborted pod sets, but in general we’re quite pleased with this year’s canola crop.” Huso expects an average to below average dry edible bean crop in some areas, with two stages of pinto and black beans. “Some were in early before the rain. Although the beans in those fields look great now, there is 15-to-25 percent drown-out. The beans that went in drier soils had some emergence issues.” Harvset Hotline is sponsored, in part, by U.S. Custom Harvesters Incorporated.

Patiently Waiting on #Harvest17 Wrap Up — Wheat harvest is wrapping up across North Dakota. So far, the North Dakota Mill has received more than one million bushels of new crop wheat. That’s according to general manager Vance Taylor. “Out west, they were hit hard with the drought. Yields suffered. There’s lots of protein out west. On the east side, we had a much better crop,” says Taylor. “The wheat we’ve seen at the Mill is a good test weight and a good range of protein. We’re waiting for this harvest to be wrapped up and then, we’ll take another look.” Harvest Hotline is sponsored, in part, by the North Dakota Mill.

Excellent Quality — The wheat harvest is wrapping up near Hallock, Minnesota. Sugden Harvesting’s Rick Sugden says the spring wheat acres were down, but the quality was high. “Yields were in the 70s and 80s, with protein in the high 14s and 15s. Towards the end of harvest, moisture was down to 12.5 percent.” The canola harvest is also underway. “We’re straight cutting canola in 22-inch rows. It’s standing nice and at about eight percent moisture. Yields are staying between 2,500 and 3,000 pounds.” Harvest Hotline is sponsored, in part, by Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.

Minnesota Draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule: What’s Next? — The public comment period for Minnesota’s Draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule ended August 25 with nearly 800 written comments received. However, there was still much concern regarding the draft rule at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture listening session Tuesday in Crookston. Farmers in the room urged officials to use science and technology when considering the rule, not a blanket and a hammer from the government. MDA Assistant Commissioner Susan Stokes says there is a lot to digest and comments will be taken seriously. “We’ll go back to the drawing board and redraft the rule. The revised rule will then be submitted for formal comments at the end of 2017.” Stokes expects the entire process to be completed by the end of 2018. MDA Fertilizer Non-Point Section Manager Bruce Montgomery said the fall fertilization piece of the draft rule was a lightning rod and improvements will definitely be made with that before moving forward.

Important Discussions — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture hosted an agriculture-focused listening session prior to Governor Dayton’s water quality town hall in Crookston. An overview of state initiatives was followed by an open conversation period. Those in attendance voiced concerns regarding dicamba drift, B20 legislation and the Draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule. “We threw out the word dicamba and that immediately elicited a significant discussion,” says Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. Frederickson sees  conversations like this as an opportunity to stimulate important discussions that ultimately impact agriculture. “You have to talk about things, otherwise they have a tendency to blow up. Especially issues like nitrogren fertilizer application and best management practices.”

Dayton Holds Water Quality Meeting — Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton hosted a Water Quality Town Hall meeting at the University of Minnesota campus in Crookston. Those in attendance heard about local water challenges, which was followed by breakout sessions to discuss water quality goals and actions. Dayton said he’s encouraged by the initiatives people are taking, including farmers. “What this really says to me is this is going to grow and build on itself. We’re going to find better ways to accomplish what we want to do.” Dayton also commented on the MDA agriculture session that was held prior to his town hall meeting, giving Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson credit for hearing farmer concerns. “Everybody’s situation is different. There are solutions and ways we can make water quality better, and we have to start doing it now.”

engAGe: a series for agribusiness women — The Red River Farm Network has a new podcast called engAGe: a series for women in agribusiness. We’re gearing up for a LIVE broadcast at the Women in Agribusiness Summit later this month. Learn more about the event. engAGe is sponsored, in part, by AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Dow Agrosciences, Thunder Seed, Black Gold Farms, North Dakota Soybean Council, Peterson Farms Seed and the North Dakota Grain Growers Association.

Maintaining Good Soil Health — Maintaining soil health is an important part of getting top yields. North Dakota State University Extension Soil Health Specialist Abbey Wick told farmers at the annual Peterson Farms Seed field day that managing soil health begins by setting simple, manageable goals. “Keep it simple. I really like cereal rye and radish in a cover crop mix. Cereal rye can be used before soybeans. If you’re going to go to wheat or corn, oats is a better option than cereal rye.” Wick says cover crops are the easiest first step to building soil health in any tillage system. “If a farmer can figure out cover crops, that’s a cheaper part of the puzzle. It’s not a lot to commit. If you figure out cover crops first, then figure out how to reduce tillage, that’s a great way to do it.”

The Benefits of Strip-Till in Tough Economic Times — University of Minnesota Extension crops educator Jodi DeJong Hughes says is seeing more interest in conservation options. “It’s interesting, when the prices go down and economics get tough, I get more questions about strip-till. Part of it is they just make one pass across the field. They can strip-till in the fall or spring. They plant right into it. That way, they don’t have to do a fall or spring tillage pass.”

Strip-Till Strategy — Fergus Falls, Minnesota farmer Paul Dubbels has this advice for growers who want to try strip-till. “Don’t overthink it. Just try it and learn from your mistakes.” Dubbels was one of four farmers in a panel discussion at the Strip Till Expo at Fergus Falls. University of Minnesota Extension Crop Educator Dave Nicolai says there can be different weed challenges when implementing strip-till. “The overall weed population will go down in terms of good management over a period of time, but it doesn’t totally eliminate weeds. I’m surprised at the amount of farmers who are running into kochia and more unusual weeds.”

Balancing Nutrients in the Soil — Strip-till can be very beneficial to growers when it comes to maximizing soil health. University of Minnesota Department of Soil, Water and Climate Assistant Professor Dan Kaiser says farmers should be mindful of what nutrients are deficient in the different tillage systems. “Particularly, if we have a lot of residue, we should be aware of that. We haven’t necessarily thought much about sulfur. The release or the mineralization of the sulfur from that organic matter is very important.” Kaiser is not expecting fertilizer prices to take a big price spike.

F-M Diversion Brought to a Halt — A ruling by U.S. District Judge John Tunheim has shut down work on the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion project. With this decision, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the F-M Diversion Authority will likely need to get a Minnesota state permit. As a federal agency, the Corps has argued it is exempt from state environmental regulations.

Fire Departments Recieve Bin Rescue Kits — Six fire departments in the Red River Valley will receive grain bin rescue kits from AgCountry Farm Credit Services. AgCountry spokesman Eric Vinje says this donation supports rural communities and promotes farm safety. “It’s a multi-panel rescue system that includes a slide hammer and other safety accessories for the rescuers which allows them to get into the grain bin where a person is trapped and excavate that person.” The fire departments chosen to receive the grain bin rescue units are in Cavalier, Fordville, Fosston, Hawley, LaMoure and Lisbon.

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Source: Red River Farm Network