Red River Farm Network News

Slow Start to HarvestHarvest has been slow to start for some farmers. Kristie Sundeen, field representative for Bayer Crop Science, 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. "This past weekend, the wheat finally started to roll through the combines pretty heavily. Up north, 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. "I think it ran pretty good, but probably not the best crop. 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.    

Managing Through the Drought — Drought conditions throughout the Dakotas and Montana have left many farmers and ranchers with tough decisions. Shannon Sand, SDSU Extension livestock business management field specialist, says while there is less forage available, producers are still paying the same amount in cash rent. Right now, she encourages farmers and ranchers to focus on their budgets. "I tell people to check their budget every three months, especially with a drought," she says. "Having to feed additional supplements and forages can cause a budget to get out of control fast." Sand also says that in order to make the best management decisions, it is important to utilize resources. Whether it’s a family member or financial adviser, communication is key. "A lot of people have been through similar situations, so they'll have a good idea of when it's time to sell off. It's also important to look at what you're spending, because you might be okay or decide it's time to cull." More information, including business management tools, can be found at

New Leadership for Advanced Drainage Systems — Effective September 1, Scott Barbour becomes the president and CEO of Advanced Drainage Systems. Most recently, Barbour was the president/CEO of Emerson Electric. Barbour succeeds Joe Chlapaty, who has been in that capacity since 2004. ADS is based in Ohio and has 60 manufacturing plants and over 30 distribution centers. That includes facilities in Buxton and Wahpeton, North Dakota and Watertown, South Dakota. 

Wheat Harvest ProgressingWheat harvest is moving forward for farmers near Fordville, North Dakota. Dennis Dalbey, manager, Fordville Co-op Marketing Association, says yields vary, but protein levels have been high. "The heat and drought got to some of the early stuff, ranging anywhere from 25-to-27 bushels, 17-to-18 (percent) protein and 54.5 pounds. Other wheat has been 35 bushel with high weight and protein." Dalbey says wheat is having trouble curing due to cool temperatures and damp mornings. "There's some that was sprayed 20 days ago and still giving farmers trouble." RRFN's Harvest Hotline is sponsored, in part, by U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc.

An Above-Average Barley Crop — Barley acres are down in North Dakota, but this year’s crop is looking to be above average. Mark Huso, who leads Huso Crop Consulting in Lakota, says harvest is about halfway done in the area. However, growers who did not swath barley are having trouble drying it down. “The barley is mostly above average, 85 to 100 bushel per acre yields.” Huso also anticipates a nice wheat crop. With just a handful of wheat acres taken off between the Lakota and Fordville areas, he says the protein and test weight numbers recorded thus far are good. Harvest Hotline is sponsored, in part, by Dairyland Seed.

Canola Minute — Here's the latest Canola Minute from the Northern Canola Growers Association. The NCGA has submitted comments to the EPA about an important insecticide.

Heavy Rains HitHeavy rains hit west-central and southwest Minnesota this past week. Carolyn Olson, a crop and hog farmer near Cottonwood, reports six-plus inches of rain in the region. "Lyon County and Redwood County, specifically Redwood Falls, have a lot of water standing in ditches and in fields. The corn looks pretty battered." Olson says rain is welcome, but farmers would rather not have it all come on the same day. Harvest Hotline is sponsored, in part, by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council. 

Scout for Mites and Caterpillars — In the latest North Dakota State University Crop and Pest Report, farmers are advised to scout for spider mites and thistle caterpillars in soybean fields. The pests have been identified in north central, central and southeast areas of North Dakota. Dr. Janet Knodel, entomologist, NDSU Extension, says hot, dry conditions stressed soybeans, making the crop more susceptible to infestations. "Usually the mites are moving in from the field edges. Often, they are found in alfalfa and other forage fields. When the fields are cut for hay, mites start to move into soybean fields." Knodel also says the second generation of thistle caterpillars are being found in soybeans. "In most of the fields I've looked at or received calls about, they are not spraying because levels are below threshold, which is 25 percent defoliation." She says the caterpillars are usually noticable by holes and webbing in the top leaves.

Weed Control Following Harvest — As small grain harvest progresses, farmers should look for weeds hiding in stubble. The most prominent weeds are often the late-emerging species, such as waterhemp and other pigweeds. University of Minnesota Extension crops educator Jared Goplen says controlling these weeds now can prevent seed production and weed seed bank replenishment. “Know what weeds are out there, that’s why scouting is so important. If you know their biology and life cycle, that can go a long way. Like pigweeds and waterhemp, if they’re just starting to flower, they start producing viable seed about ten days after flowering. You do have a short window there. If you aren’t familiar with these weeds, consult with your local agronomist or extension agent.”

ND Wheat LinkHear the North Dakota Wheat Commission's Wheat Link. Learn more about selecting quality wheat.

MSGA Committee to Investigate Off-Target Movement — The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association board is forming a committee to evaluate the current concern of dicamba drift. This decision is designed as a proactive approach to the issue of off-target movement of the new dicamba formulations. In addition to farmers, this committee will include representatives of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the University of Minnesota and private industry.

Monsanto Responds to Dicamba Drama — Off-target movement of dicamba is the big story coming out of this growing season. Monsanto vice president of global strategy Scott Partridge said the company is making in-person field inspections with all of its farmer-customers. In Partridge's view, it is too early to make conclusions about the off-target movement, but many cases are related to things like tank clean-out and boom height. Regarding volatility, Partridge says it shouldn’t be an issue with XtendiMax with VaporGrip. "In over 1,200 tests over 25 fields, if our product is applied in accordance with the label, it will not move off-target. We know there is a fair amount of generic dicamba out there. I'm confident the evidence will show that a lot of that was used in Arkansas where our product was not approved." In addition to walking affected fields, weather data is analyzed. There is also an opportunity to go over equipment and discuss label requirements. In the South, Partridge says a lot of the impacted acres are growing out of the early injury. "We saw initial cupping in fields that is not going to result in economic or yield loss." An extensive training program will be in place for the 2018 growing season. Partridge expects Xtend acres to increase next year, which he attributes to the trait’s ability to increase yield and profitability. The fulll RRFN interview can be found online.

A Strategy is Needed for Effective Weed Control — The days of responding to weeds and expecting to a clean field are over. That is according to CHS AgriServices agronomy sales manager Matt Larson. Larson says the cleanest fields in his area of Nebraska are from farmers who have a plan with specific dates to spray residuals. He sees  more success in spraying by date compared to what a field looks like. “The growers who are planning, are spending about $20 to $30 dollars per acre more than they want to, but compared to the growers we’re working with who aren’t going in with a good plan and are having to react and spray more times with higher residuals, they are spending more money than that original $30.” Larson says the average cost for managing weeds depends: but it typically ranges anywhere from $75 to $110 per acre. “With that, we’re planning on a burndown and a pre up front and some sort of end crop burndown, plus residuals with each pass. Eighty dollars to $110 per acre catches a lot of it.”  

Lessons Learned With the introduction of the new dicamba technology, farmers are adjusting to the new systems. Lessons Learned is produced by the Red River Farm Network to provide education and the tools to help growers prepare for 2018. Dr. Greg Kruger focuses on weed management and application technology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Kruger is hoping for a reasoned approach to the issue of off-target movement. You can also listen to our entire conversation with Kruger in our podcast. During the Big Iron Farm Show, RRFN will host a Lessons Learned Forum with Bob Wolf of Wolf Consulting and Research. That session will be held on Tuesday, September 12. Thanks to BASF and Peterson Farms Seed for sponsoring this initiative. 

ND Soybean MinuteHear the latest North Dakota Soybean Minute from the North Dakota Soybean Council and the soybean checkoff. 

Palmer Amaranth is Close Enough — The North Dakota Soybean Council weed resistance tour to Nebraska included an education about Palmer amaranth. While Palmer ameranth hasn't been officially documented in the state, Marion, North Dakota farmer Matt Danuser says it’s close enough. “Educators like the Extension agents here, we are gaining a first-hand knowledge of what’s going on and how others are dealing with Palmer amaranth in the fields. This could help us stay ahead of it.”

A Look at SDS — Research at Southern Illinois University is using soil profiling to study the occurrence of Sudden Death Syndrome in soybeans. Researchers have found a way to analyze soil to determine incidence and severity of SDS. The Researchers analyzed soil samples from 45 soybean fields in Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota saying this is a first attempt to assess the biological factors that cause SDS.

Dry Bean Scene — The Dry Bean Scene is on the air, with information about the dry edible bean industry in the Northarvest region. This broadcast airs each Friday at 12:37 PM. 

Rural Mainstreet Index Remains Below Growth Neutral — The latest Creighton University survey of rural bankers indicates current economic conditions are slightly better than last month, but are still considered weak. The Rural Mainstreet Index surveys community bank presidents and CEOs in ten states, including Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Low commodity prices and the drought were cited as negative factors. On average, the bankers expected farmland prices to decline another 3.5 percent over the next year. Yearly cash rents are down more than four percent. Farm loan volume is down slightly from July.

STB Asked to Take Action on Rail Service Dispute — The Ag Transportation Working Group, which includes farm commodity groups, ag retailers and the food industry, is upset with the level of service coming from the CSX rail company. This coalition is asking the Surface Transportation Board to intervene. The working group says service issues began in June and have gotten worse. As an example, the delay in train placements has led to reduced crush levels and shutdowns at soybean plants.

engAGe: a series for agribusiness women The Red River Farm Network has a new podcast called engAGe: a series for women in agribusiness. The latest podcast features North Dakota farmer Katie Heger. Get the rest of the story 'The Right Fit'. engAGe is sponsored, in part, by AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Dow Agrosciences, Thunder Seed, Black Gold Farms, North Dakota Soybean Growers Association, Peterson Farms Seed and the North Dakota Grain Growers Association.

First Round of NAFTA Negotions Done, More Meetings Planned — Mexico will host the next round of NAFTA negotiations September 1-to-5. These trade talks will move to Canada in late September and return to the United States in October. The goal is to wrap up the re-negotiated North American Free Trade Agreement by early 2018 before the Mexican presidential campaign begins. During the weekend negotiations, each country delivered broad views for the modernized trade deal. Few other details were announced.  

Peru Trade Team Visits NDA trade delegation from Peru is visiting North Dakota this week. The visit was a follow-up from an April trade mission, when North Dakota farmers and companies visited Lima, Peru. While visiting, the delegation made stops in Fargo, Grand Forks, Carrington, Garrison, Plaza, Richardton, Minot and Bismarck to learn more about pulse crops grown in the state. James Fano Saenz, general manager with Jordi in Lima, says he's interested in the quality of crops grown here. "So after this trip, the job is to showcase them in my country and then buy and sell." Chris Adams, vice president of Adams Family Farm, was part of the North Dakota trade delegation that visited Peru in April. He says face-to-face interactions are important when it comes to growing trade opporutnities. "Most deals don't get made over a phone call like they would in the U.S. In interntional business, you have to meet more than one time in person to establish a relationship." Adams says this is already round two for some personal invitations and greetings.  

SBARE Reviews Role of Extension — The North Dakota State Board of Agricultural Education and Research is evaluating the role of Extension in the state. The North Dakota Legislature asked for this review with a report due in March of next year. Hillsboro farmer Mike Beltz is chairing this committee and says everything is on the table. “We will look at all aspects of Extension, from the model Extension uses, to people in the countries, area and state specialists, to organizational structure. We’ll be working with them on that. There will probably be some fees instituted, not to be a barrier to the programs, but to help with their budgets as far as getting work done.” A meeting for agricultural stakeholders was held in Jamestown. Information will also be made available online.

MN Farmers Urged to Submit Comments on Draft Nitrogen Rule — Minnesota farmers are facing an August 25 deadline to submit comments on the proposed nitrogen fertilizer rule. Minnesota Soybean Growers Association President Mike Petefish says it is extremely important to provide input on this draft rule. “This rule will fundamentally change the way we farm. It could quite possibly have some pretty severe impacts, depending on conditions in the spring and how things turn out.” If your farm is located in an area that is identified as vulnerable, farming practices like fall nitrogen applications, would be banned. Much of northwest Minnesota has that designation in the current plan. Petefish is frustrated with the latest regulatory proposal. “This is purely political. This is for legacy reasons for the governor. He cares more about the optics are trying to solve the problem, rather than actually dealing with water quality." Comments can be submitted through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture website. Again, the deadline for public input is August 25.

Corn Matters — Hear the Minnesota Corn Growers Association's Corn Matters program. MCGA leadership highlight the public comment period for the draft nitrogen fertilizer rule.

Discussions About Water — A series of town hall meetings are being held throughout Minnesota, offering an opportunity to discuss water quality. The meetings are part of Governor Mark Dayton’s 25 by 25 Water Quality goals. Minnesota Farmers Union President Gary Wertish attended the meeting in Marshall, Minnesota, and says it had a broad focus. "We're all in this together. There was a farmer who spoke about what he was doing on his farm, and different communities who spoke about how they are handling wastewater." Wertish also attended the Minnesota Department of Agriculture ag-focused water listening session, which was held in conjunction with this event. "There was probably over 50 farmers there and a lot of good discussion." The next meeting is September 5 in Crookston, Minnesota.

Hope for the Heartland — The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association and North Dakota Stockmen’s Foundation have launched the “Hope for the Heartland” fund to help offset drought-related expenses accrued by ranchers. NDSA President Warren Zenker says this program will allow ranchers to use the funds where needed. "We're accepting monetary donations through the end of December," says Zenker. The funds will then be distributed to ranchers in need by an application process. "There are a lot of different fundraising efforts out there. So rather than us saying the money will be used just for transportation or just for hay, maybe some ranchers had to sell cows and would like to purchase back livestock." More information regarding donations and applications can be found at

Hay Donations ArriveThe first donated hay arrivee in Fargo Friday for the North Dakota Department of Agriculture hay lottery. A half-dozen semi-loads of hay came from Ag Community Relief, a Michigan-based volunteer organization. Dr. Greg Lardy, head of the NDSU Animal Science Department, says North Dakota State University is excited to be a part of the donation process and appreciative of the ranchers who will benefit. "We're thankful for all the work that's gone into the logistics and donations to make this happen from the folks in Michigan," he says. "There are many partnerships that span multiple businesses and entities." Lardy adds that there is still much optimism throughout the ranching community. "I've talked to several ranchers that are interested and certainly plan on applying for the lottery. They're just really thankful for the work that has gone into getting it to this point."

MN Beef Update — Hear from the Minnesota Beef Council and the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association in their weekly Minnesota Beef Update. Learn about beef cuts that are popular in key export markets.

MN, ND, SD Farm Computer Use Tops National Average — Seventy-eight percent of Minnesota and North Dakota farms have access to computers. In South Dakota, that figure is 75 percent. All three states are above the national average of 73 percent. Forty-seven percent of computer use nationwide is for farm business, up four percentage points from 2015. Nearly 40 percent of farmers across the U.S. used a tablet or smartphone for farm business. North Dakota and Illinois farmers tied for having the most farmers using a tablet or smartphone for farm business with that number at 53 percent.

Maximizing Yield PotentialWith lower wheat prices, some growers are looking for ways to maximize their yield potential. According to a recent Monsanto study, more than 61 percent of wheat growers use a planting rate based on pounds per acre. Monsanto and WestBred wheat have developed the ConnectIN System, which provides growers with optimal seeding rate recommendations for planting. Chandler Mazour, technical product lead for WestBred, says that planting with a precise seeding rate can help growers with over seeding and under seeding. “Different varieties will perform differently based on different plant populations," says Mazour. "Farmers are about decision making. Those decisions drive profitability and sustainability of their farms. That’s what will drive this initiative, because it will add value to a farmer on their wheat fields.”  

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Income Rises for Deere — Deere and Company had third quarter net income of $642 million. That’s up from $489 million last year. Equipment sales totaled $6.8 billion, up from $5.8 billion a year ago.

GROWMARK and COFCO Announce Partnership — The Illinois-based GROWMARK cooperative has entered into a grain partnership with COFCO International. This deal includes the joint ownership of a barge, truck and rail terminal in Cahokia, Illinois and a grain origination agreement. This partnership will link GROWMARK with the huge Chinese market. COFCO is a China-based company that operates on six continents.

NCFE and Wheat Growers to Vote on Merger Again — Ballots will be sent to members at the end of this month for a vote that would bring together Wheat Growers and North Central Farmers Elevator. Both co-ops are based in South Dakota; Wheat Growers in Aberdeen and North Central in Ipswich. A similar merger vote took place two years ago. Approval came from the Wheat Growers membership, but it failed by 26 votes within NCFE. Wheat Growers Board President Hal Clemensen says another vote was scheduled because "members expressed concern with drought conditions and the current farm economy." If approved, the new company will be headquartered in Aberdeen. Chris Pearson, who took over as the Wheat Growers CEO on August 1, will lead the new co-op. The current NCFE CEO Mike Nickolas will oversee the new company’s grain division. Clemensen said this will be an entirely new company with its own culture and a new name. "The only thing we are telling members is the name will not be Wheat Growers, North Central or the name used last time." A special member meeting will be held September 28 to announce the results of the unification vote.

Rural Development Funds Awarded to ND Ethanol Company — USDA’s Office of Rural Development has awarded more than $341,000 to Tharaldson Ethanol of Casselton, North Dakota. The funds will be used as part of a $3.4 million expansion of the plant. Tharaldson Ethanol is adding a new fermenter and cooling tower cell to its current facility.

NDFMGA Update — Drought is impacting produce grown in North Dakota. Listen to this update from the North Dakota Farmers Markets and Growers Association.

Nufarm Names New VP — Ken Barham has been named vice president of customer and brand marketing for Nufarm Americas. Previously, Barham was a product marketing lead for Syngenta.

Arysta LifeScience Expands Sales Force — Arysta LifeScience North America has named Andrew Easton as its territory sales manager for the Northern Plains. Previously, Easton worked for Syngenta, promoting the company's sugarbeet and fungicide brands.

National FFA Proficiency Award Finalists Named — North Dakota has a finalist for a national proficiency award for this year’s National FFA Convention. Cole Ketterling from Wishek is a national finalist for diversified crop production. In South Dakota, two FFA’ers are finalists. They are Jaclyn Knutson of Centerville and Kohl Michael Miller from Salem. Knutson’s proficiency is for grain production and Miller’s focus is on diversified horticulture. Nearly a dozen Minnesota FFA’ers will be on the national stage. The national finalists include Harley Braun of Sleepy Eye for ag education; Brady Carter from Starbuck for sheep production; Cory Ehlert of Bricelyn for diversified crop production; Dillon Gratz from Atwater for dairy production; Kayla Kutzke of Lake Lillian for specialty animal production; Holly Larson of Medford for poultry; Madeline Patterson of Kenyon for swine production; Isabella Portner from Sleepy Eye for dairy; Trent Stevermer from Easton for swine production/placement; Alex Warmka of Bricelyn for ag mechanics and Daniel Williamson of Spicer for environmental sciences.

This Week's Trivia — Name the three of the five U.S. presidents featured on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Send your answer to Please include your name and business.