A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Monday, August 31, 2020
RRFN Surveys Crop Conditions Across the Region – “Highly variable” sounds cliché, but that is the best way to describe the crop conditions across North Dakota, northwest Minnesota and northeast South Dakota. The amount of prevented plant in the region is significant. Yet, the farmers who took a bet on corn and were able to get the crop planted will be pleased. The GDUs are well ahead of last year and above the long-term average. That has the corn denting. There were even a couple examples seen this week with early maturity corn at black layer. The soybeans are full of pods, but we still need to finish out that crop. Goss’s Wilt was a frequent topic on the tour, a phenomenon that really has not been seen in this region before. For soybeans, Sudden Death Syndrome and Brown Stem Rot are also somewhat new for this region and were seen. Conditions have also been right for white mold. There was a lot of discussion about insects on the tour, everything from hoppers to thistle caterpillars, but as a rule, the insect pressure was not at treatable levels. After two very difficult fall seasons, farmers are optimistic about the prospects for harvest, tillage, fertilization and the rest of the fall work. The Red River Farm Network thanks Pioneer and its team of agronomists, strategic account managers and sales representatives for their partnership in this annual crop tour.
Lerner Expects Better September Weather for the Northern Plains – World Weather Incorporated Senior Agricultural Meteorologist Drew Lerner is expecting decent weather conditions in September; at least better than 2019 to a certain degree. “We’ve been spoiled the last few weeks in the sense of not having a lot of precipitation, especially out to the west,” says Lerner. “We are going to see a wild mix of weather in September. Initially, there will be drier, cooler weather coming up and that will be later this next week. When that cold air begins to abate, we’ll start seeing some weather disturbances through the region.” Lerner says this will result in some rain through mid-September. “At some point in the second half of September, we’ll see a return of tropical activity approaching the southeastern U.S. and that may help build a ridge of high pressure across the middle of the country, potentially. That may create a little warmer weather and diminish rain potential.”
Harvest Management – Harvest is in full swing with most of the activity in cereal grains and the pre-pile sugarbeet campaign. Pioneer field agronomist Kristie Sundeen says a lot of canola is being swathed or desiccated. “Desiccating into September should not an issue, but watch the forecast. A lot of those desiccants don’t work really well when it gets cold and wet.” The early maturity soybeans are dropping leaves and combines could be rolling by mid-September. There is also a positive story for the corn with maturity far ahead of last year. “We deserve a good fall where guys can fix some of the things that happened the last couple years; they can get fertilizer down and get soil sampling happening.”
Take Advantage of Every Harvest Window – The corn is advancing quickly. Pioneer field agronomist Jesse Moch is reporting corn at black layer in the Jamestown area. Most of the crop in the region will be hitting black layer by mid-September. “I’ve had conversations with guys who say they’ll let it field dry and get down to 15 percent and go get it,” said Moch. “I feel some caution with that because we have to take advantage of every window; we need to get aggressive during harvest.” Moch was the leader for the third day of the Red River Farm Network Crop Tour presented by Pioneer.
No Time Wasted with MN Spring Wheat Harvest – Farmers aren’t wasting any time getting the spring wheat harvested in northwest Minnesota. Minnesota Wheat Executive Director Charlie Vogel anticipates some significant progress in Monday’s USDA Crop Progress update. “The 2019 harvest continues to loom in everyone’s minds and farmers will take advantage of every good weather day possible to get it in the bin,” says Vogel. “When it’s all said and done, the crop will likely be slightly lower than trend-line yields. I’m hearing about low falling numbers in the Bejou area, but outside of that pocket, most reports are near average.” In the Bejou area, Vogel says one farmer was reporting falling numbers at 280 in his best field and 190 in the worst. Vogel is encouraging farmers to test their wheat before it goes into on-farm storage. The cause of the low falling numbers remains an unknown at this time.
A Fair Spring Wheat Crop Near Minot, ND – Custom harvester Scott Brown is harvesting in the Minot, North Dakota area. “We’ve got a pretty fair spring wheat crop. It’s not a bumper crop, but it will be ok. It’s pretty looking wheat.” Brown thinks June is the reason for the lighter yields. “The area went 27 days without moisture and it killed off some of the tillers on the wheat. We’ve got a lot of main stem wheat,” says Brown. “The way the weather is moving, it’s coming along fast. I’d like to see some rain for the beans, but I’d also like to get wheat harvested, too.”
Durum Harvest Wraps Up Quick for Custom Harvester – Ellinwood, Kansas-based custom harvester Taff Hughes just wrapped up durum harvest in North Dakota. “It’s been dry all year long. There was quite a bit of regrowth in the durum and we fought that a bit, but the crop went quick. The quality was really good, about 62 to 63 pound test weight.” Yields were lower. “They were in the 30s or maybe low 40 bushels per acre. Then, a storm came and took out some acres.”
Crop College – The corn and soybeans in the Casselton/Prosper, North Dakota area are finishing strong. Peterson Farms Seed Sales Agronomist Michael Schutt has more in this week’s edition of Crop College.
Wet Conditions Influence Beet Crop in NW MN – East of Stephen, Minnesota farmer Craig Halfmann finished pre-pile sugarbeet harvest Tuesday. “The crop has been all over the board. The first field we dug, we had a lot of drowned out and root rot. Then, when we got to higher ground, the crop was better. Then, we moved home and it’s the same thing here. In the high spots, the sugarbeets look nice. In the lower spots, there’s disease in the sugarbeets.”
COVID Relief Package Stalled – Negotiations between the Trump Administration and congressional leaders over the next round of coronavirus assistance have stalled. This COVID relief package will likely be folded into legislation to keep the government running. A continuing resolution is needed by the end of September when the current fiscal year comes to a close. Election-year politics are a backdrop to these negotiations with neither side wanting to give any leverage to their opponents.
U.S. and Chinese Trade Officials Discuss Trade Deal – Senior level trade officials from the U.S. and China have reviewed the implementation of the phase one trade agreement. The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office summarized the meeting, saying there was a discussion about a significant increase in purchases of U.S. products by China. China’s official news agency described the joint meeting as “a constructive dialogue.” The recent trade tensions were acknowledged with China saying the U.S. should avoid sovereignty issues. That would include China’s relationship with Hong Kong and Taiwan.
What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets – In this week’s edition of What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets, Advance Trading Risk Management Advisor Tommy Grisafi outlines positive news for the soybean trade. The stock market can considered a positive and negative story and that is also outlined.
Taiwan is Easing Restrictions on U.S. Beef and Pork – This decision will allow beef from cattle aged 30 months and older and pork with trace amounts of ractopamine. This announcement follows comments from the Taiwanese president about a possible free trade agreement with the United States. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this action opens the door for more trade opportunities.
FAPRI Updates 2020 Baseline Projections – The University of Missouri Food and Agricultural Research Institute put the corn acreage figure at 92 million acres, which is in line with USDA estimates. The influence of the derecho in Iowa is expected to have a modest impact on production. The soybean acreage number of 83.8 million acres is up significantly from last year. Wheat acres have dropped below 44 million acres, continuing the trend of less production in the U.S. FAPRI said supply chain disruptions have increased the cost of producing livestock and dairy products. That should moderate in 2021, but will still pressure farmer’s share of the consumer dollar.
Timely Rain Help the Carrington, ND Crop – The Red River Farm Network Crop Tour, presented by Pioneer, is now in its third year. The 2020 tour began the day north of Carrington, North Dakota with RRFN farm broadcasters Megan Overby and Carah Hart. At Swanson Seeds, sales associate Doug Retzlaff says the season started very wet, resulting in a significant number of prevented plant acres in the Carrington area. “Despite being so wet in March and April, it got dry in June,” said Retzlaff. “There were timely rains in July and it got dry here in August again.” View the interview with Retzlaff online.
Lake Park, MN Crops are on a Good Track – Day three of the Red River Farm Network Crop Tour, presented by Pioneer, started in the southern Red River Valley and worked it’s way into other parts of North Dakota and Minnesota. Located at Lake Park, Minnesota, Precision Seed and Service owner Corey O’Leary said there hasn’t been a shortage of moisture in the area. The well drained soils help that cause. “The corn is in a position to provide plenty of bushels this fall. It is pretty well dented, early maturities are quickly approaching black layer and hopefully September will provide ample drying weather.” Early maturing soybean varieties are already turning. “Hopes are high and I think they are very realistic.” The conversation with O’Leary is available here.
Canola Minute – Some of this year’s canola crop was lost to hail damage. Find out more from New England, North Dakota farmer Jon Wert in the Canola Minute, made possible by the Northern Canola Growers Association.
Crop Condition Ratings Expected to Decline This Afternoon – U.S. Commodities President Don Roose says grain traders will be watching crop condition closely with most expecting another drop in crop condition this afternoon. “We’re adding risk premium to the market until we can stabilize this crop. That stabilization will come from rain, but we have a lot of areas where it will be too late. We really needed a rain two to three weeks ago to help the crops,” explains Roose. “There’s a lot of maturity going on. We expect the crop ratings to go down one to two percent on corn and soybeans.”
Crop Insurance Zeroes Out Derecho-Impacted Crop – The August 10th windstorm that hit Iowa damaged more than 14 million acres of cropland. Iowa State University Extension Agronomist Mark Licht says farmers wanted to know right away if the crop would recover. “That was a quick one to respond to; no, it doesn’t recover from this kind of wind event this late in the growing season.” In most cases, insurance companies have zeroed out those acres and there is no need to harvest those crops. That leaves a tremendous amount of residue in those fields. “That’s a lot of biomass that we’re trying to get decomposed before the next growing season.”
Some of the Oakes, ND Crop Hit with Hail – Day two of the Red River Farm Network Crop Tour, presented by Pioneer, made its way through southeastern North Dakota and northeastern South Dakota. The day started day at Oakes, North Dakota at Gerner Ag. Kyle Gerner’s irrigated corn plot was hit by hail August 23. Leaves were stripped, but Gerner remains hopeful about this corn. “There is a little Goss’s Wilt starting to show up. With (hail) injury like this, we’ll see more come in. This was a fairly narrow band of hail, so I don’t see much of a disease hit this year.” Northern Corn Rootworm has been seen in the region. The interview can be found online.
Goss’s Wilt Being Seen in 2020 – On the final day of the Red River Farm Network Crop Tour, presented by Pioneer, the team traveled across northeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. The day began near Larimore, North Dakota at McCoy Pioneer Seed. The area has received a lot of rain, and in places drown out is noticeably, but the precipitation has been timely. “With the amount of trash leftover from last year, Goss’s Wilt is showing up,” said Shaun McCoy. “One of the first places to look is corn that has been damaged by wind.” Shaun’s dad, Dennis, added that more sunflower acres were put in this year. “The big thing now it watch for blackbirds.” View the video interview.
RVO Decision May Not Be Seen Before the November Deadline – The Environmental Protection Agency has not yet made a decision regarding the Renewable Volume Obligations for 2021. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler is not sure the agency will be able to make that determination before the November 30th deadline. This has been an unusual year with the pandemic influencing the number of miles on the road. Wheeler said COVID has hurt both corn growers and oil refiners and that will be a consideration for the RVO.
Oil Industry Urges Trump to Provide RFS Waivers – Sixteen major U.S. oil refiners are asking the Trump Administration to provide relief from the Renewable Fuel Standard. Small refinery waivers are pending at EPA. In a letter to President Trump, the oil executives said critical energy infrastructure shouldn’t be put at risk to help farmers.
MFU Minute – The Minnesota Cooks program highlights the relationship between family farms and chefs and restaurants throughout the state. Hear more from Noreen Thomas in the MFU Minute, made possible by Minnesota Farmers Union.
E15 Legal Wranglings Continue – The National Corn Growers Association, Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers have filed a motion to intervene in an ethanol-related lawsuit. In this case, the oil industry is suing the EPA, seeking an end to the regulations that allow for the year-round use of 15 percent ethanol blends.
Navigable Waters Rule in the Courts – The EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are asking the federal courts to throw out a lawsuit that challenges the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule. The South Carolina Conservation League wants the rule vacated, but the administration says the plaintiff has no legal standing in this case. The Navigable Waters rule is the replacement for the controversial Waters of the United States rule.
Significant Palmer Amaranth Discovery in Benson County, ND – Palmer amaranth, along with large amounts of waterhemp, were identified in a Benson County, North Dakota soybean field. Count Extension agent Scott Knoke found the patch while conducting an integrated pest survey. “I came across plants that didn’t look right. I contacted NDSU Extension Weed Scientist Brian Jenks and he was certain we had waterhemp and Palmer. That field will be harvested and worked up before anything can go to seed there. I think we caught it.” Knoke says there are several hundred Palmer and waterhemp plants ranging from one inch to seven feet tall. It’s not exactly known how it got there, but Knoke thinks the weeds have been there many years.
How to Identify Palmer Amaranth – NDSU Extension Weed Specialist Joe Ikley reminds farmers what to look for when scouting for Palmer amaranth. “It looks similar to red-root pig weed or waterhemp and usually, it will usually have a long seed head on the top of the plant,” says Ikley. “Looking closer, the seed heads won’t be branched and Palmer amaranth doesn’t have hairs on the stem. NDSU Extension is closely monitoring sites where the noxious weed was previously found and things are mostly clear. Read more about Palmer amaranth.
MN Corn Matters – The Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline is expanding. Meg Moynihan with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has more in Corn Matters, an update from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.
RRV Potato Harvest Slated to Begin this Week – Farmers in the St. Thomas, North Dakota area are preparing for potato harvest. Allen Tucker has desiccated his fresh potatoes and will harvest the crop this week. “We had some damaging rains in June and potatoes don’t like to stand in water. As a result, we lost some acres in fields and we have some stressed potatoes on all of our fields. However, the majority of our acres pulled through nicely. We think we’ll have average to above average potato yields.”
Potato News – Potato harvest is getting closer in the Red River Valley. Larimore, North Dakota farmer Casey Hoverson talks about the growing season and how the crop is faring ahead of harvest. Potato News is made possible by Corteva Agriscience, Bayer, Sipcam Agro and BASF’s Provysol fungicide, the new standard for early blight.
NASDA on the Schedule This Week – The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture is meeting this week for its annual meeting. The virtual meeting will include a speech by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today. North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is the current NASDA president.
Cost-Share Dollars Available for Grain Storage Safety – Funds are now available for Minnesota’s new Grain Storage Facility Safety Cost-Share Program. This program reimburses farmers for up to 75 percent of the cost to buy, ship and install eligible safety equipment for grain bins or silos. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture will pay up to $400 per bin or silo with a limit of $2,400 per farm per year. Funds are being awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.
engAGe: Serving on the Board – When you want to make a change or better the community, a board position may be the way to go. Hillsboro, North Dakota farmer and agronomist Sarah Lovas currently serves on the State Board of Agricultural Research and Education. The board is responsible for budgeting and policy-making associated with the supervision of the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. Lovas has this advice for those interested in serving on a board. “Speak up and don’t be shy. Sometimes I think women may or may not be the first people to be thought of when it comes to serving on boards,” said Lovas. “I am glad commodity groups are taking a more proactive stance at making sure everyone is included. Tell someone if you’re interested in serving and once you’re on the board, listen, learn and speak up.” This podcast series presented by AgCountry Farm Credit Services and Corteva Agriscience. Hear the full engAGe podcast episode.
Co-op In-Person Meeting Requirements Waived in MN – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has signed an executive order, allowing cooperatives to waive their in-person meeting requirements. This will allow co-ops to forego regular annual meetings if a virtual meeting is not possible. Director elections can also be done remotely. The executive order is part of the COVID-19 guidelines, encouraging Minnesotans to avoid large gatherings.
USDA Updates Cash Rent Data – Cash rent for non-irrigated cropland in Minnesota averaged $163 per acre this year, unchanged from 2019. Cash rents increased $3 per acre in northwest and west central parts of the state. In North Dakota, cash rents for non-irrigated crop ground averaged $69.50 per acre, up 50 cents an acre from last year. The cropland rental rates in South Dakota averaged $118 per acre, down one dollar from 2019. Minnesota pasture rents averaged $24 per acre, down $4 from last year. The pasture rents in North Dakota averaged $18 per acre this year, up 50 cents from a year ago. South Dakota pasture rental rates were unchanged at $26 per acre.
Parade of Champions: Maren Hoban – Maren Hoban of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota is still staying active showing cattle and pigs this summer, even despite the cancellation of the state fair. “Every year I look forward to seeing my friends at state fair that I only get to see once a year,” she says. “This year I actually became a Minnesota 4-H Agriculture Ambassador. I was definitely looking forward to that during 4-H weekend.” Hear more from Maren in this Parade of Champions interview. This Red River Farm Network effort is made possible by AgCountry Farm Credit Services, NDFB, Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, North Dakota Grain Growers Association and Association Milk Producers, Incorporated.
Parade of Champions: Lynsey Schmitz – Oakes, North Dakota native Lynsey Schmitz got creative showing livestock during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her family hosted a hog show called Showdown on the Red in Fargo. “We had people from five different states and more than 200 pigs.” There were other shows to attend this summer, too. While the North Dakota State Fair was cancelled, exhibitors were invited to attend the COVID Clash Junior Livestock Show. “They had humongous a tent with the panels from the state fair,” said Schmitz. “It was probably one of the best run shows I’ve attended this year.” Schmitz is a sophomore, attending the North Dakota State College of Science. Hear Schmitz’s Parade of Champions story. This Red River Farm Network effort is made possible by AgCountry Farm Credit Services, NDFB, Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, North Dakota Grain Growers Association and Association Milk Producers, Incorporated.
Hormel Releases Quarterly Financials – Hormel reports third quarter net earnings of $203 million, up two percent from last year. Hog prices dropped to a 20-year low in July, which was positive for the Minnesota-based meat processor. COVID-19 hurt the bottomline for Hormel’s turkey business. Profits for the Jennie-O Turkey Store was two-thirds lower than the same period last year.
MN Beef Update – Meet Howard Lake, Minnesota rancher Dave Marquardt, who serves on the Minnesota Beef Council board of directors. Marquardt shares more about himself in the latest Minnesota Beef Update.
Titan Machinery Reports 2Q Financials – Titan Machinery reports second quarter revenues of $303.5 million. That’s down from $315 million one year ago. Net income was $6.4 million, up from $5.5 million for the second quarter of last year. The West Fargo-based firm said revenue for the agriculture business segment was driven by the momentum in its parts and service business.
Syngenta Income Up Slightly From Last Year – For the first of its fiscal year, the Syngenta Group reports earnings of $2.2 billion. That compares to earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation of $2 billion one year ago. Sales increased two percent, topping $12 billion. North American sales in the crop protection business were up four percent. The seeds business saw North American sales increase 13 percent. Seed sales were supported by a recovery in corn and soybean acres after the flooding and wet conditions in 2019. The crop protection division was held back by the cold, wet weather in the second quarter. Syngenta has been owned by ChemChina since 2017.
TransFARMation: A Positive Outcome from a Negative Situation – Agriculture is a stressful business, but that has certainly intensified during COVID-19. South Dakota State University Extension mental health specialist Andrea Bjornestad says the pandemic has definitely increased stress levels. “It adds more stress on top of what agricultural producers are experiencing over time. They are facing financial difficulties with closures and market prices.” Parents have also had to determine childcare or home school their children. However, there is some positive news coming from the situation. “The more we talk about it (mental health), the more likely people will think that they’re not alone.” Hear more from Bjornestad in the latest TransFARMation podcast.
Xyway 3D Corn Fungicide to be Available in ’21 – FMC is launching a new corn fungicide called Xyway 3D. It is billed as the first and only at-plant corn fungicide that provides season-long, inside-out disease protection from planting to harvest. It has received EPA registration for foliar disease protection from gray leaf spot, Northern corn leaf blight, common head smut and more. Xyway brand fungicides will be available for the 2021 growing season. In addition, other formulations are pending for use with liquid fertilizer applications.
Xitavo Brand Soybeans Released for ’21 – BASF has launched the Xitavo Brand soybean seed with Enlist E3 technology. The Xitavo Brand is owned by MS Technologies and exclusively distributed by BASF. The E3 soybeans provide tolerance to Liberty herbicide, 2,4-D choline and glyphosate.
Black Farmers File Lawsuit Against Bayer – The National Black Farmers Association is suing Bayer, saying the company did not provide the necessary safety training to use glyphosate. The lawsuit was filed in St. Louis and claims these farmers have been exposed to dangerous chemicals for an extended period of time. Bayer calls this a legal maneuver by two law firms that are not part of the Roundup liability litigation.
SD Corn Comments – Commodity prices and the price of food on the grocery store shelf are the conversation piece in this week’s Corn Comments. This radio program is a production of the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council.
New Hybrid Tillage Tool Comes to Market – Great Plains has introduced a new hybrid tillage line-up that uses a blend of vertical and conventional tillage tools. The Terra-Max is offered in 20 and 40 foot models and can be used as primary and secondary tillage.
FCS of Mandan Elects Two Directors – Stockholders of Farm Credit Services of Mandan have elected Gary Friedt of Mott and Michael Schaaf of Glen Ullin to its board of directors. Schaaf will also continue as the board chair. Clair Hauge of Carson was reelected as vice chair.
Schnell Takes the Reins at LMA – Larry Schnell of Stockmen’s Livestock Exchange has been officially installed as president of the Livestock Marketing Association. The Dickinson, North Dakota man will serve two years in this role. Schnell said the most important issue facing the industry is the inequities seen in the pricing system for finished cattle.
Last Week’s Trivia-Manchego, camembert, stilton, gouda and asiago are different types of cheese. Mollie Sproule of Three Farm Daughters was the first to respond with the correct answer to our trivia question. John Zietz of Cargill, Erin Nash of National Association of Farm Broadcasting, Stephen auctioneer Jason Rominski and Pennock beef farmer Stephanie Larson earn runner-up honors. The ‘first 20’ rounds out with Jim Altringer of CHS Dakota Plains Ag, Linda Schuster of the Carrington Research Extension Center, Rolla farmer Doyle Lentz, AlWimpfheimer of Simplot, retired media director Angie Skochdopole, Teresa Kjellberg of Farm Credit Services of North Dakota, retired Garfield banker John Stone, Annette Degnan of CHS, Regan farmer Jim McCullough, Pete Carson of Carson Farms, California Director of Pesticide Registration Val Dolcini, Curtis Noll of Noll’s Dairy Farm, Kevin Schulz of National Hog Farmer, Daren Coppock of Ag Retailers Association and Norm Groot of Monterey County Farm Bureau.
This Week’s Trivia- A 1974 advertising campaign touted two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. What product was being advertised? Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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FarmNetNews is a production of the Red River Farm Network. RRFN is based in Grand Forks, North Dakota and provides news to farmers and ranchers across Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.