Red River Farm Network News


Plenish Contracts Available for '17 — DuPont Pioneer and CHS have made a joint announcement regarding the production of high oleic soybeans in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. Starting with the 2017 crop, CHS will offer production contracts for its Plenish brand soybeans, with the contracted beans processed at the CHS plant in Fairmont, Minnesota. Plenish high oleic soybean oil provides a soy-based trans-fat alternative for food companies. These soybeans have been available in other parts of the country, but this is the first time it is available in Minnesota.

North American Potato Crop Size Down 2 Million CWT From '15-'16 — With the exception of the Red River Valley, the quality of the North American potato crop should be excellent. The United Potato Growers of America Supply-Demand Committee says the table potato production in the Red River Valley has been hurt by difficult growing conditions. The committee is forecasting the 2016-2017 fresh potato shipments at 98.6 million hundredweight for the U.S. and Canada. That compares to actual shipments of over 100 million hundredweight this past year.

MFBF PAC Endorsements Announced — The Minnesota Farm Bureau Political Action Committee has announced its endorsements for the current election cycle. At the federal level, endorsements were made in four congressional races. Democratic Congressman Collin Peterson, who is the Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, has the endorsement in the Seventh District. Republican challenger Stewart Mills earned the Farm Bureau endorsement in the Eighth District over incumbent Rick Nolan. Incumbents Tom Emmer and Erik Paulsen were also endorsed.

Mondelez Won't Pursue Bid for Hershey Company — Mondelez International has dropped its bid to acquire the Hershey Company. Mondelez reportedly offered $23 billion, which was rejected by Hershey. In a statement, Mondelez officials said there was “no actionable path forward.” Any action within the Hershey Company draws attention in sugarbeet country. Last year, Hershey announced it would transition away from using sugar from sugar beets. The decision was linked to the anti-GMO movement.

Very High Vom Levels — According to North Dakota Wheat Commission marketing director Jim Peterson, there are very high levels of vomitoxin in northwest North Dakota. "It does not seem to be as big of an issue for spring wheat, but, for durum it is causing market uncertainty." Peterson says Canada also has some vom issues and is the biggest wild card for the market. "They are just getting started in their harvest so that could change, but with durum that seems to be a bigger issue than what we had hoped for."

Pro Farmer Wraps Up Tour — Pro Farmer is forecasting good corn yields, but they are not as large as what USDA projected earlier this month. Recapping the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, the average U.S. corn yield is estimated at 170.2 bushels per acre. That compares to USDA’s latest estimate of 175.1 bushels per acre. Pro Farmer is estimating the average soybean yield at 49.3 bushels per acre, which is higher than USDA’s projection of 48.9 bushels. "There are great crops are out there and we have a better handle on it after being in nearly 1,400 fields," said Brian Grete, editor, Pro Farmer. Overall, Pro Farmer is forecasting a 14.7 billion bushel corn crop and a record soybean crop of 4.09 billion bushels. Those numbers compare to the latest USDA estimate of 15.1 billion bushels for corn and 4.06 billion bushels for soybeans.

MN Soybean Update — Here's the latest Minnesota Soybean Update from the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council. Minnesota is a leader in biodiesel fuel production. Find out the latest success story in this update.

Canola Minute — Here's the latest Canola Minute from the Northern Canola Growers Association. The harvest season is underway. Find out more in this report.

Grow More Sugar — For more information on sugarbeets, listen to this update with Syngenta sugarbeet portfolio lead Tyler Ring.

Breeding Better BeansUniversity of Minnesota Extension soybean breeder Aaron Lorenz spoke at a series of soybean plot tours in northwest Minnesota this past week. Yield is the driving force behind the UM soybean breeding program. "For example, we're working on aphid resistant soybeans. We're interested in stacking together multiple genes that can provide aphid resistance and be a tool that farmers can use on their farms." Efforts are also underway to find new sources that are resistant to soybean cyst nematode.

Many Fields Deficient in P & K — DuPont Pioneer has completed a research project in 12 Midwestern states, evaluating 22,000 soil samples. Agronomy Research Manager Andy Heggenstaller said phosphorus and potassium fertility levels were deficient. "In your part of the world, we saw 50 percent in South Dakota and 49 percent in North Dakota were below optimum levels for phosphorus." With a shortage of P and K, Heggenstaller says yield will be lost. "A soil that is very low testing for either P and K would have an 85-to-100 percent chance of lost yield and that yield loss could be up to 40 percent of the total bushels per acre."

TPP Vote Not Expected This Year — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not plan to bring the Trans-Pacific Partnership up for a vote this year. Speaking at an event in his home state of Kentucky, McConnell said TPP needs to be reworked and that will happen during the next administration. The White House hoped to get the trade deal finalized before the end of the Obama’s term, but McConnell’s stance makes that unlikely.

Cyclical Challenges for Ag Retailers — The changes on the farm are being felt downstream, impacting ag retailers. "Accounts receivables are rising for ag retailers and that is a reflection of the financial stress their customers are experiencing," said Tanner Ehmke, senior economist, CoBank. According to a new report from CoBank, the accounts receivable at farm supply cooperatives and other ag retailers increased 11 percent in 2015. Ehmke says the downturn in fertilizer prices has also stressed the ag retail sector. "Because fertilizer is such a major input for farmers, they are delaying those purchases for as long as they can. What that means for the ag retailer is there will be a decline in pre-booking heading into the season. That means there will be less of an indication of what demand is going to be and there is more risk for the ag retailer to hold that product for an extended period of time." Ehmke says ag retailers are also dealing with higher operating expenses, including payroll and benefits. Higher depreciation costs are also being seen with significant investments made recently in infrastructure and new facilities. The CoBank study said those upgrades may have been necessary, but they may be a drag on profits.

ND Soybean Minute — Hear the latest North Dakota Soybean Minute from the North Dakota Soybean Council and the soybean checkoff. Learn about soybean cyst nematode.

Protecting Pollinators — The State of Minnesota is implementing new restrictions on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. Governor Mark Dayton has signed an executive order to protect bees and other pollinators. With this order, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture will require proof that these pesticides are needed to prevent the imminent threat of a significant crop loss. This executive order also calls for the creation of a new task force to study the issues impacting pollinators.

MSGA Frustrated with Executive OrderThe Minnesota Soybean Growers Association is upset with Governor Dayton’s executive order regarding neonicotinoid applications. According to President Theresia Gillie, limiting the use of this insecticide will be a challenge for farmers. "It is all so frustrating. I don't know why he didn't consult with some farmers before he made this statement. Is he trying to make this a political issue?" Gillie said farmers don't want to be limited to just one mode-of-action because it will lead to resistance issues.

Agriculture Not Consulted — Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation President Kevin Paap is frustrated with Governor Mark Dayton’s executive order on pollinator protection. "We really had no idea this was coming from the Governor's Office. The Department of Agriculture released a 120-page report on the same day as the announcement." While there is need for pollinator protection, Papp said farmers need to deal with crop pests on a timely basis. Dayton’s executive order limits the use of neonicotinoids unless there is an imminent threat to the crop. Paap is also concerned about the timing of this rule. "Does this affect this year? We're in the middle of talking about seed choices for next year already at this stage."

Ontario Already Has Neonic Regs in Place — The new Minnesota policy appears to be very similar to Ontario’s Pollinator Action Plan. Ontario implemented new rules for the use of neonicotinoids this past year. "As part of the strategy, they set a target to reduce the number of acres of neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybeans by 80 percent by 2017 and they hope to reduce overwintering honeybee mortality by 15 percent by 2020," said Kris Mahoney, who is is an Integrated Pest Management specialist at the University of Guelph in Ridgetown, Ontario. If Ontario farmers want to use this class of insecticides, they must justify their need with a pest inspection report. Mahoney, who is a Minnesota native, has been leading a series of training and gets feedback directly from the farmer. "Early on, it was highly negative and very confrontational from the farmers in the classes, but, as the courses went on it was a case of this being the new normal."

Dry Bean Scene — The Dry Bean Scene is on the air, with information about a reverse trade mission to the Northarvest region. This broadcast airs each Friday at 12:37 PM. 

More Plaintiffs Join Anti-Corporate Farming Lawsuit — The lawsuit seeking to end North Dakota’s anti-corporate farming law has added new plaintiffs. The original plaintiffs are the North Dakota Farm Bureau, a Wisconsin dairy farmer and a Wisconsin dairy company. The litigants include a North Dakota hog farmer, a North Dakota cattle rancher, the North Dakota Pork Council and Global Beef Consultants, which provides cattle consulting and export services. North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has asked the courts to require the plaintiffs to provide more details on why they think the state’s anti-corporate farming law is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland has not ruled on that request.

Feed Industry Groups Petition for VFD Change — The American Feed Industry Association and the National Grain and Feed Association have asked the Food and Drug Administration to ease the regulatory burden from the Veterinary Feed Directive. The feed industry groups want to see an exemption from some of the electronic recordkeeping rules. The cost of developing a computerized electronic records and signature system is estimated at $225,000 for each facility. The FDA has 180 days to respond to this request, but with the January 1 implementation date, the organizations are asking the agency to make changes sooner.

MN Beef Update — Hear from the Minnesota Beef Council and the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association in their weekly MN Beef Update. Learn more about the 'Great Minnesota Beef Together.'

A Whole-Herd Approach — For the beef cows, North Dakota State University Extension veterinarian and livestock stewardship specialist Gerald Stokka advocates a whole herd systems approach. Stokka says health goes beyond a vaccination program. "You have to have a mindset that it starts wtih the kind of cattle I'm raising, the genetic selection decisions I make, my nutrition program and the time of the year that I calve." For the most part, Stokka says pastures are currently in good condition. "Some of the pastures that we grazed early and gotten off them for a while have come roaring back."

Corn Matters — Hear the Minnesota Corn Growers Association's Corn Matters program. In this week's update, Minnesota Corn Growers Association executive director Adam Birr helps make that connection between farmers and consumers.

Agcentric Touts Ag Opportunities — Central Lakes College hosted its annual agriculture and energy research field day Friday at Staples, Minnesota. The facility has 2,000 acres of research trials, ranging from fertility studies to a focus on local foods. Agcentric Dean of Agricultural Studies Keith Olander says the event also highlighted the opportunities found with an agricultural career. The farm economy may be down, but Olander remains optimistic. "There is strong demand and strong competition in agriculture because we're need to continue to feed the population and do it with less inputs. Our work is key in making that happen."

Seeking Wheat Research Options — The National Wheat Action Plan Advisory Council met this past week in Denver. This group is focused on wheat research, improved productivity and farmer profitability. Plans are being worked on and implementation is expected to begin by the end of this year. This advisory council hopes to attract private capital to invest in private and public wheat research.

CHS Agronomy Fertilizer Terminal Renovated — CHS has completed a $10 million renovation at its St. Paul, Minnesota fertilizer terminal. The facility is located on the Mississippi River and has a storage capacity of 21,000 tons. This terminal was originally constructed in 1938 and was rebuilt from the ground up with this renovation. With this update, CHS can load trucks in six minutes and railcars in less than 20 minutes.

Titan Machinery Releases 2Q Financial Results — For the second quarter, Titan Machinery reports revenues of $278 million. That compares to $334 million in the same quarter last year. Equipment sales topped $172 million for the quarter. That is down from $221 million in the second quarter of last year. Titan Machinery Chairman and CEO David Meyer said the company is continuing to focus on inventory reduction. Through the first six months of the fiscal year, Titan has reduced its used equipment inventory by $39 million or 15 percent.

Iowa Feed Plant Upgraded — The Purina Animal Nutrition Plant in Mason City, Iowa has gone through a modernization effort. A $2.4 million capital investment will increase production capacity. This facility makes feed for dairy and beef cattle, hogs, sheep and poultry.  

Innate Variety Approved — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new variety of the Innate potato. Health Canada has also given its approval.  J.R. Simplot Company is working on its new Innate Snowden variety. These potatoes have less bruising, fewer black spots and less acrylamide when the potatoes are cooked at a high temperature.

MN Farm Bureau Minute — Here's the latest from the Minnesota Farm Bureau. In this report, MFBF public policy director Amber Hanson offers a late-summer policy reminder.

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North Dakota Farmers Market and Growers Association UpdateListen to the latest from the North Dakota Farmers Market and Growers Association. Did you know vegetable seeds are grown in North Dakota? That story can be found in this week's update.

WISHH Installs New Officer Team — The American Soybean Association’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health has elected a new officer team. Illinois farmer Daryl Cates is the new chairman. Levi Huffman of Indiana is the vice chair. Stan Born of Illinois is the treasurer and E.L. Reed of Missouri is the secretary. A new member of the WISHH board is Dawn Scheier of South Dakota. Returning board members include George Goblish of Minnesota and Art Wosick of North Dakota.

Princess Kay Crowned — A 19-year-old college student from Goodhue, Minnesota is the new Princess Kay of the Milky Way. Haley Hinrichs will serve as a goodwill ambassador for the Minnesota dairy industry during the next year. Meghan Skiba of Cambridge and Morgan Krause of Buffalo were selected as runners-up.

This Week's Trivia — Richard Dawson was the original host of the 'Family Feud' television game show. Six other individuals have hosted the 'Feud' since the 1990s. Can you name at least one of those hosts? Email your answer to don@rrfn.com. Please include your name and business.