Red River Farm Network News

More of a Normal Blend — North Star Ag Services crop consultant Scott Edgar estimates the growers he works with have planted 20 percent more wheat than last year. After getting their intended wheat acres seeded, Edgar thinks farmers didn’t want to sit and wait to plant beans. “People were on the fence waiting for soybeans and finally decided they had more fields they could put some wheat in. There was such a gap between our early wheat acres and our soybean acres that it seems like people snuck a few more wheat acres in up here. It was a nice surprise because it was going to be so heavy on soybean acres. It got to be more of a normal blend.”

Evaluating Canola After the FrostKyle Rollness with Bayer CropScience has been busy evaluating canola stands following freezing temperatures earlier this month. “We’re seeing everything from fields that look pretty good to fields that are a little rough. The frost definitely took a toll on the crop. I think probably as much of the damage came from the wind as the cold temperatures.” Rollness says there is a lot of indecision right now. “Growers need to have a good crop to be successful. With some of these marginal stands, the question is if they can accomplish that good crop.”

Replanted Some Canola by LangdonWhen RRFN caught up with Langdon, North Dakota farmer Kevin Waslaski on Tuesday, he was in the final stretch of planting his crop. He said did have to replant some of his canola. “The frost did hurt it. On the fields that were seeded north-south, the wind really did some damage there.” Waslaski said with all the cold weather, crop emergence has been slow. RRFN’s Crop Watch is sponsored, in part, by Minnesota soybean farmers and the soybean checkoff.

Planting is Ahead of Last Year for Lessard — Farmers near Grafton, in northeast North Dakota, are just getting a good start on planting their dry edible beans. RRFN talked to Lee Lessard Wednesday. “We’re trying to keep up with the dry ground. We had five inches of rain, so it’s coming around slowly. If we miss this next rain, the first part of the week we’ll be done.” Lessard says he’s still ahead of last year’s planting pace. “I think I was just finishing up the beets last year at this time. I didn’t start planting beans until June last year.”

Planting is on the Home StretchRugby, North Dakota farmer Steve Fritel told RRFN on Tuesday that his spring planting is on the home stretch. “We’re working on the pinto beans. We have less corn this year, a few more soybeans, a few more pinto beans and a little more wheat.” Fritel says the crop has been slow to emerge but it looks ok. RRFN’s Crop Watch is sponsored, in part, by AgCountry Farm Credit Services.

Timing May Cause a Shortage of Combiners in OK — Almost all of Oklahoma has gotten heavy rains over the past several weeks. Chairman of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission Don Schieber says his area has been on the lighter end. “We’re in the north-central part of the state, 15 miles south of Kansas. We’ve only had ten or 12 inches in the last month. We’ve been really cool here for this time of year. At night we’re getting into the upper 50s and lower 60s. It’s really perfect for grain development. But, Schieber says, the conditions won’t be good for harvest. “I’m afraid we’re going to have a big problem in that all the wheat across the state is going to be ready to harvest at the same time. We may see a shortage of combines, with four-wheel-drive, especially.”

Many Ag Groups Dislike WOTUS Rule — Farm groups generally reacted to EPA’s Waters of the US rule negatively. The American Farm Bureau Federation said it would carefully review the 297-page rule before deciding on an appropriate course of action. But, Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman did accuse EPA of making numerous misstatements about the content and impact of the original version of the rule. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said the EPA is pushing an agenda rather than trying to approach new regulations sensibly. American Soybean Association President Wade Cowan said producers are in a trust but verify mode concerning EPA because they feel they have not been given an opportunity to comment on EPA’s revised rule. National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling said NCGA will fully review the rule to ensure that the broad promises made in EPA’s press release are carried out in the text of the rule.

Impact of AI — Representatives of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association held a series of meetings in western Minnesota last week providing an update on the avian influenza outbreak. After Tuesday’s session in Benson, State Representative Tim Miller of Prinsburg cited one turkey operation that tested for the virus on a Wednesday and by Saturday, the entire flock was gone. “You talk about economic impact. This is someone who has worked probably their whole life on their business, then to walk into a barn and have all the birds dead. You feel the impact of that.” Miller sees a need for more research into the disease and for the state to become self-sustaining in the recovery efforts.

NRCS Creates Client Gateway WebsiteFarmers and ranchers can now do business with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service through the new, online Conservation Client Gateway website. NRCS Chief Jason Weller says farmers will be able to get the same information as they’d get in the NRCS offices. “A producer can login through their account. It’s a secure, safe, protected account. No one else can access it other than NRCS professionals. Farmers can get back to managing their operations rather than spending so much time signing documents in a field office.” Weller says use of the Conservation Client Gateway is voluntary, so producers can still do business at their local NRCS office if they prefer.

Study Says Ag is Greenhouse Gas Intensive — USDA’s Economic Research Service says agriculture accounted for about 10 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions in 2013. Since agricultural production accounts for only about one percent of US gross domestic product, the ERS says agriculture is a disproportionately GHG-intensive activity. Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture have increased by approximately 17 percent since 1990. During that period, total US GHG emissions increased approximately six percent.

Russia Ties Wheat Export Tax to Value of the Ruble — Russia’s new wheat export duty will be linked to the ruble’s exchange rate against the dollar and will only be charged when the exchange rate exceeds 60 rubles per dollar. Until then, no export duty will be charged or the duty will be limited to one ruble per metric ton. Russia’s ag ministry says the new system will ensure there’s no sharp fluctuations in the wheat price when the market is unstable.

NFU Asking for Tighter Definition of Actively Engaged — National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson is urging USDA to strengthen payment limitations and payment eligibility for certain USDA farm programs. In comments submitted for the proposed rule on “actively engaged” in farming, Johnson points out that USDA’s proposed rule is not forceful enough, provides avenues for entities to circumvent the intended impact and allows for too many qualified farm managers.

Health Professionals Support Dietary Recommendations — In a letter to USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 700 doctors, nutritionists and health professionals said they want Americans to shift toward a plant-based diet. This group is endorsing the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s recommendation to eat less meat. The letter also says the environment and sustainability should be addressed in the dietary guidelines. The advisory committee recommendation has been widely criticized by agriculture groups.

Storage Bag Sales Skyrocket in Argentina — Sales of silo bags have reached a record level in Argentina as farmers store an estimated 40 percent of this year’s harvest, waiting for better prices or changes in export permits. A spokesman for one of the companies that makes the silo bags, sales are up 30 percent over last year.

Titan Reports Losses in 1Q — Titan Machinery reports a net loss of $6.2 million in the first quarter, compared to a $6.5 million loss in the same period last year. Revenues were down 26 percent and equipment sales fell 29 percent in the first quarter. Titan’s operating expenses were down 20 percent from a year ago. The company previously announced that during the first quarter it reduced its employee headcount by 14 percent, which included the closing of three agriculture stores and one construction store. Titan assumes a 20 to 25 percent decline in agriculture same store sales in fiscal 2016.

MDA Earns Water Quality Award — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture and its partners were selected as a winner for the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program in the Food Stewardship category at the 2015 Environmental Initiative Awards. The Minnesota program is a voluntary opportunity for farmers and agricultural landowners to take the lead in implementing conservation practices that protect our water.

Farmers Edge and Mitsui Collaborate — Farmers Edge, a global leader in precision agriculture and data management solutions, has announced a new investment partnership with Mitsui, and Company, Limited. Farmers Edge CEO Wade Barnes says Mitsui’s support will allow his company to maximize its ability to disrupt agriculture worldwide into a more productive, progressive and sustainable model.

Cargill Buying Company in Turkey — Cargill’s animal nutrition business has agreed to terms to acquire a majority stake in Ekol Gida, a leading company operating in premix and feed additives markets in Turkey. The deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close this summer.

Warrant Approved — Warrant Ultra herbicide has been approved by the EPA for use on soybeans and cotton. A Monsanto press release says Warrant Ultra provides excellent post-emergence control of problematic weeds such as waterhemp and Palmer amaranth, as well as excellent broad-spectrum residual weed control, in a convenient premix.

Monsanto Purchase of Syngenta May Create Opportunities — DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman says Monsanto’s pursuit of Syngenta shows the wisdom of having strong portfolios of seeds and chemicals under one roof-something that DuPont already possesses. Speaking at an investor event, Kullman said a Monsanto acquisition of Syngenta may create other opportunities.

Poultry Probiotic Partnership — Adisseo and Novozymes, two global leaders in the animal nutrition and feed additive industry, have announced a partnership to develop and market a probiotic for poultry. Novozymes will be responsible for in-vitro screening, development and production, while Adisseo will manage in-vivo testing, marketing and sales. The product is expected to be launched in the next 12 months.

Weather Prediction Partnership — Indiana’s AgReliant Genetics is collaborating with Weather Trends International to provide accurate predictions day-by-day, week-to-week, 11 months ahead for over six million locations around the world. This relationship will allow AgReliant Genetics to offer customers unique weather predictions with over 84 percent accuracy.

Hormel Buying Applegate Farms — Hormel Foods has announced its intentions to buy Applegate Farms, which produces natural and organic prepared meats. The deal is valued at $775 million.

CF Industries Annouces Stock Split — CF Industries Holdings has announced a five-for-one split of the company’s stock. This will be the company’s first stock split since its initial public offering in 2005.

Mahindra Buys Part of Mitsubishi — The Mahindra tractor company is acquiring a 33 percent voting stake in Mitsubishi Agricultural Machinery. The deal is valued at $25 million and is expected to be finalized by October. Mitsubishi has supplied tractors to Mahindra USA for the past 12 years.

Andersons Buys Kay Flo — The Andersons, Incorporated has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, South Dakota. Kay Flo, through its Nutra-Flo division, is a leading manufacturer of liquid starter fertilizers and micronutrients.

Summers Mfg. Turns 50 — Summers Manufacturing is celebrating 50 years of farm equipment manufacturing. Founded in Maddock, North Dakota in 1965, Summers is a leading fabricator of agricultural equipment, including tillage, land rollers, field sprayers, mounted attachments and rock picking implements. Summers has grown from a small Maddock shop to a 40,000-square-foot plant in Maddock, as well as Devils Lake facility, and a distribution center in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

BNSF Cuts Workforce — Due to a drop in volume, BNSF Railway has furloughed employees throughout the system, including almost 200 workers in North Dakota. Last year, BNSF hired 7,000 new employees to meet the increased demand. With a downturn in rail traffic, the size of the workforce is being reduced.

Campbell Appointed to Canada Relations Committee — State Senator Tom Campbell of Grafton, North Dakota has been appointed to the Midwestern Legislative Conference’s Midwest-Canada Relations Committee. Campbell will work with legislative leaders from 11 states and four Canadian provinces on trade issues.

Meyer Changes Jobs — Steve Meyer of Paragon Economics has sold his business to Express Markets and EMI Analytics of Fort Wayne, Indiana. With the deal, Meyer joins the staff as the vice president of pork analysis. Express Markets and EMI have been involved in market analysis for the broiler industry since 2003. Turkey analysis was added in 2008. With Meyer’s addition to the company, market analysis for the swine business will now be available.

Bennett Joins NRECA Staff — The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association has added Tate Bennett to its staff. Bennett will take over as a senior principal for government affairs. Most recently, Bennett was an agriculture and energy legislative assistant in office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Sonnenburg Joins WDE StaffWorld Dairy Expo has added Kayla Sonnenburg to its staff, where she will serve as a sales coordinator. Sonnenburg has worked for CRV USA and Genex Cooperative.

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ND Soybean Minute — Hear the latest North Dakota Soybean Minute from the North Dakota Soybean Council and the soybean checkoff. Find out more about the differences between the North Dakota Soybean Council and the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association.

Last Week's Trivia — Hamburgers are considered the most popular food prepared on the grill. Larry Mueller of Thunder Seed was the first to respond and is our weekly trivia winner. Mark Haugland of Bayer CropScience, Dwight Ward of Axis Seed, Strasburg farmer Kenny Nieuwsma, and Preston farmer Dave Menskink runner-up honors. The list rounds out with Crookston farmer Ron Lactot, retired AI instructor Lloyd Friske, Mary Buschette of the University of Minnesota, Eric Lahlum of Dow AgroSciences, Clyde Tiffany of DuPont Pioneer, Kyle Rollness of Bayer CropScience, William Sickner of Millington Elevator and Supply, Keith Rekow of Dairyland Seed and Larry Cure of New Mexico FSA.