Red River Farm Network News

Combining Corn Around Hillsboro — CHS Ag Services Hillsboro location manager Mike Doeden told RRFN on Monday that farmers are just starting to harvest corn. “Yields are above average. The earlier varieties are about 16 percent moisture, which is really good. For the most part, the mid varieties are going to be in the lower 20s right now.” Doeden is expecting average to above average yields. “I’m hearing low 130s up to 160-plus. With the weather cooperating, some guys are holding off on harvesting with propane prices the way they are. It goes through the drier pretty fast when the weather cooperates and when it’s warmer.”

Southern Minn Wraps Up Sugarbeet Harvest — Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative finished harvest Monday. Vice President of Agriculture Todd Geselius says favorable weather made for a good harvest, but beet yields were not quite as big as expected. “When we started getting in to some of these fields we thought were the mid to upper-20s, they turned out to be lower to mid-20s. Our tons this year are going to come in right around 22 tons.” Geselius says sugar content is a little low. “We’re going to end up around 15.85 or 15.9.”

Lower High Temps Arriving SoonDirector of the University of North Dakota’s Regional Weather Information Center, Leon Osborne, expects a good end to the harvest season for the Northern Plains. “We will be making a transition as we get into the end of this month and the first part of next month. As we all expect, we’re going to see those temperatures start to plummet. We’re no more than two weeks out from seeing daytime highs only making it into the 20s to low 30s.”

Brazil Expected to Get Some RainSoybean planting has stalled in parts of Brazil as farmers wait for rain. World Weather, Inc. senior ag meteorologist Drew Lerner sees an increase in shower activity across Brazil through the next two weeks. “It’ll be a slow process. As we get to the last days of October and early November, we should have at least one frontal system that will come through and help enhance the rainfall.” In the upper Midwest, Lerner says weather will continue to be influenced by frequent high pressure ridges aloft which are blocking significant weather events from evolving. Once we get to November, Lerner expects more cold air coming across the northern Plains from Canada. “Because we have a developing El Nino, the odds are relatively good that there will be a new ridge of high pressure over western North America this late autumn and on into the winter. So, there won’t be a lot of cold air on a persistent basis.”

WTO Rules on COOL — The WTO has ruled in favor of the US on the fundamental legitimacy of US country of origin labeling laws, but also raised concerns about regulations that are in some respects inconsistent with US trade obligations. The ruling results from a challenge to COOL filed by Canada and Mexico, which have threatened retaliation. 

Mixed Reaction from Livestock Groups on COOL — National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president Bob McCan says the ruling brings us one step closer to facing retaliatory tariffs from two of our largest trading partners. United States Cattlemen’s Association president Danni Beer says her organization strongly supports the revised COOL regulations issued in response to the original WTO decision, and is urging the US Trade Representative to consider appealing the ruling if there are meritorious grounds to do so. “The way it’s implemented is going to be the important factor in getting it to be WTO compliant. We have to continue working to make it something worthwhile for consumers and yet compatible with WTO requirements.” National Pork Producers Council President Howard Hill says the US economy can’t afford to have its products restricted to its number one and two exports markets.

NFU and AFBF Continue Support for COOL — Executive Director of Communications Mace Thornton says the American Farm Bureau Federation continues to support COOL, as long as changes are made to bring it into compliance with US trade obligations. “We’re going to continue to work with the US Trade Representative’s Office and USDA to try to make the goal of the goal of the COOL program one that works for American agriculture and one that that works for consumers.” The National Farmers Union says there were positive points made in the WTO’s decision. Senior Vice-president of Programs Chandler Goule says COOL doesn’t need to be changed. “The WTO has confirmed for the third time that there’s nothing wrong with the Country of Origin Labeling law, it’s how it’s been implemented. A second victory for the US is that they said that the new rule was providing and more accurate information to the consumer, which was an improvement over the previous rule. We are not fully compliant, but USDA has taken a step in the right direction. We need to look at the regulation and how its implemented and work from that direction.”

Protect Your Premium When Selling CalvesCattle prices remain at record highs on the futures market and in cash sales. North Dakota State University Extension Livestock Marketing Economist Tim Petry thinks we’re seeing the highs on the futures markets. Petry expects some weakness in the calf market when the big runs start, so he’s encouraging producers to protect their premium. “The un-weaned, no shots, plainer kind of calves are being discounted and probably will be discounted more when the big runs hit. From a marketing standpoint, producers should contact their market. Doing the things the buyers want is a prudent thing.”

ND Organizations Want Hiring of DU Employees at NRCS to Stop — Eight North Dakota agricultural organizations including North Dakota Farm Bureau and North Dakota Farmers Union have sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking the Secretary to immediately cease using Ducks Unlimited personnel by the North Dakota Natural Resources Conservation Service. The groups say the current contribution agreement between North Dakota NRCS and Ducks Unlimited presents a direct conflict of interest and has the potential for abuse, giving an out of state political organization with an agenda unlimited access to farmer and land-owner information is not in the best interest of North Dakota’s farmers and land-owners.

Farm Payments May Be $4 Billion More Than Expected — Bloomberg reports that government farm payments may reach $6.5 billion for this year’s crops. Vincent Smith, director of the Agricultural Marketing Policy Center at Montana State University, says that’s about $4 billion more than lawmakers anticipated in the new farm bill. One factor may be the higher reference prices for the Price Loss Coverage program, which are $4.95 for barley, $5.50 for wheat, $3.70 for corn, $8.40 for soybeans, and $20.15 per hundredweight for minor oilseeds. 

Informa Forecasts Record Soybean Acreage in '15 — Informa Economics is expecting farmers to plant a record soybean crop in 2015. Informa’s October estimate for 2015 US corn acreage is at 87.8 million acres, up 496,000 acres from the September estimate, but down 3.1 million acres from this year. Informa forecasts the soybean crop at a record 88.5 million acres, up 86,000 from its September estimate and 4.3 million more than this year. Informa lowered its all-wheat acreage estimate to 56.4 million acres, down 394,000 from 2014.

ND Wheat Link — Hear the North Dakota Wheat Commission's Wheat Link.

Dry Bean Scene — Each Friday, RRFN airs our Dry Bean Scene. This weekly update provides information on issues vital to the dry edible bean industry.

Canola Minute — Here's the latest Canola Minute from the Northern Canola Growers Association.

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

AURI Update — Find out more about Minnesota's Agricultural Utilization and Research Institute.

MN Beef Update — Hear from the Minnesota Beef Council, the Minnesota Cattlemen's Association and the Minnesota Corn Growers Association in their weekly MN Beef Update.

Developing a Roadmap for the Lamb Industry — The American Lamb Board has five different committees focused on improving the profitability situation for the US lamb industry and increasing consumer demand. In a progress report, the Lamb Board says a plan is in place to increase to number of US lambs sold on a value-based pricing system. A quality audit is being done through Colorado State University and Ohio State University to measure quality perceptions at the retail and foodservice level. On the marketing side, new efforts are in place to target Hispanic and Muslim consumers.

Corn Matters — Hear the Minnesota Corn Growers Association's Corn Matters program.

Ag Advocacy Starts With Listening — The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association reached out to agriculture’s next generation with the first-ever ‘Tomorrow’s Top Hands Beef Leadership Summit’ this past weekend in Fargo. Agriculture advocate Sarah Wilson was part of the program, coaching the group to speak out for agriculture. “They really are the future of the agriculture community." Wilson, who partnered with Katie Pinke in the presentation, emphasized there is no cookie-cutter approach to agricultural advocacy. “It’s much more about listening and creating a dialogue than about shouting our prepared messages at people. It’s about building relationships and really hearing people out about their concerns. Food issues and farm issues tend to come with a lot of emotion. It’s so important that we have our minds and our hearts open to listen first.”

MN Soybean Update — Here's the latest Minnesota Soybean Update from the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council. 

Top 100 Ag Co-ops — The 100 largest agricultural cooperatives had record sales revenue of $174 billion in 2013. That’s an increase of nine percent over 2012. Net income was $3.5 billion, down $25 million from the record set two years ago. According to USDA’s new list of the top 100 agriculture cooperatives, CHS continues to be the largest with revenues of $44 billion last year. Land O’Lakes is second and Dairy Farmers of America is third. Wheat Growers, which is based in Aberdeen, is ranked 11th and the AMPI dairy cooperative is 12th. American Crystal Sugar Company moved up one spot on the list to 18th. North Central Farmers Elevator at Ipswich, South Dakota is ranked 40th. Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative is 65th, up from 80th last year. Horizon Resources of Williston is ranked 80th. West Central Ag Services, which is based in Ulen, Minnesota, is the 82nd largest cooperative in the country. Bongards Creameries in Minnesota is ranked 91st. The Wheaton-Dumont Cooperative Elevator at Wheaton, Minnesota had the biggest leap on the list. It rose 58 places, from 150 in 2012 to 92 last year. Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative at Wahpeton, North Dakota was the next biggest gainer, moving from 131 to 98 in 2013. During October Co-op Month, North Dakota Farmers Union salutes all cooperatives.

Johnson Plans Job Change — The chief of staff for South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard plans to return to the private sector. Dusty Johnson has been Daugaard’s chief of staff since 2011. Before that, Johnson was a member of the Public Utilities Commission. Earlier in his career, Johnson worked for USDA. Johnson has accepted a job with Vantage Point Solutions in Mitchell, South Dakota. The job change will happen after the November election. 

USCA Officers Slated — The US Cattlemen’s Association has offered a slate of officers for 2015. Keldron, South Dakota rancher Danni Beer has been nominated to serve as president. Chuck Kiker of Texas was nominated to serve again as vice president and Jane Wooster of California was selected for the treasurer position. Mandan, North Dakota rancher Kenny Graner was picked to serve as the regional representative for the Dakotas and Minnesota. USCA members will vote on the officers through a mail-in ballot.