A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Monday, July 13, 2020
Celebrating 25 Years – The Red River Farm Network made a stop at KROX in Crookston this past week as part of its 25th anniversary celebration. KROX has been part of the network from the very beginning. Thanks to Chris Fee and the entire KROX team for hosting RRFN this past Tuesday.
RMA Announces Quality Loss Option – The Risk Management Agency has announced changes to the crop insurance program, including a new Quality Loss Option. With this option, farmers can pre-quality production amounts for their annual production histories. That increases the actual yield for individual crop years. The 2018 farm bill included a requirement for USDA to develop this option. North Dakota Senator John Hoeven said it will give farmers more flexibility and protect their crop insurance guarantee against low quality. The RMA is taking public comment about the change until August 28.
Congress Preparing Another COVID-19 Relief Package – Congress is expected to take up another coronavirus assistance package later this month. Over the past two years, approximately $29 billion has gone out to farmers above and beyond the farm bill. “Economic conditions are even worse this year,” said Tom Sell, managing partner, Combest Sell and Associates. “That fundamental need is what is going to create a response by Congress.” In an interview with the Red River Farm Network, Sell said he expects the next coronavirus assistance program to simple to administer, like the second round of Market Facilitation Program payments.
Helping Hand Sought for Cattle Producers – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is pleased with the current Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments, but want more help from the federal government. NCBA Executive Director of Government Affairs Allison Rivera says additional support is needed for those sectors that have faced significant market disruption. “Right now, we’re focused on making sure the process is as easy as possible to apply for these funds and then we’re looking forward to the next COVID package in Congress.”
CFAP Updates Won’t Help All Potato Growers Impacted by COVID-19 – The USDA adjusted payments under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for potatoes, but it may not help all growers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency now recognizes potato growers suffered a five percent or greater price decline during the coronavirus; this makes potato growers eligible for category one payments. The USDA will also break down the CFAP payments into four sectors: fresh russets, fresh other, processing and seed potatoes. Northern Plains Potato Growers Association President Donavon Johnson said the USDA’s efforts are appreciated, but also a little surprising. “Breaking potatoes into four different categories isn’t something that we suggested in how to improve the program,” explained Johnson. “Then, they put caps on the payouts. Initially, they had an 80 cent payout if you experienced a loss of at least five percent between January 15 and April 15.” Johnson is interested to see how potato growers’ eligibility for the program will be impacted with the changes. “There maybe some dollars available that come through if someone can fit themselves within these boxes, but I think they complicated the issue beyond what it needed to be,” said Johnson. “We look forward to continuing to work with the USDA to come up with something that works better for the grower.”
Federal Funds Available to Fix Township, County Roads – A presidential disaster declaration has been made for 18 counties in North Dakota impacted by April flooding. FEMA assistance is now available to townships and counties to pay for the cost of repairing roads. That flooding is estimated to have caused $40 million in damages to roads and other infrastructure in North Dakota.
House Appropriations Committee Advances Ag Spending – The House Appropriations Committee reviewed and approved the fiscal year 2021 agriculture appropriations bill on Thursday. The bill includes funding for rural broadband, nutrition programs and COVID-19 related efforts for farmers and ranchers. The bill will now be considered by the full House. House lawmakers are expected to hold floor votes on appropriations bills at the end of July.
Trump Touts Trade – For the second time in the last ten months, President Donald Trump has delivered comments exclusively to members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. Trump shared thoughts on COVID-19 assistance, regulatory relief and market access. Trump also touted the newly implemented U.S.-Canada-Mexico Trade Agreement. “It’s brand new and it is already doing well,” said Trump. “As part of the deal, Canada has agreed to lift unfair restrictions on American dairy. Those tariffs are now going to be gone.” Trump also highlighted the phase one trade deal, saying China is on track to fulfill the trade obligations in this agreement.
Lawmakers Seek More Market Access in Japan for Dairy Products – A bipartisan group of House members has sent a letter to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, urging them to quickly pursue a phase two trade agreement with Japan. The lawmakers said efforts should be taken to build on the success of the phase one deal and deal with remaining market access issues for U.S. dairy products. The National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Dairy Export Council agreed, saying the remaining trade barriers have left U.S. dairy farmers at a disadvantage in this important market.
Beets Doing Well, Northern Red River Valley Has Too Much Water – Overall, the sugarbeet crop is putting on good growth in the Red River Valley. “The Moorhead/Hillsboro districts have really put on canopy over the past 14 days and growers are gearing up to spray for cercospora,” said Betaseed Regional Sales Manager Lynn Dusek. The northern Red River Valley has suffered water damage. Dusek says it could be setting up as a big year for disease. “We’ve had a lot of temps in the mid-to-upper 80s and low 90s and you combine those with humidity up and over 50 percent and it is conducive for diseases to begin.”Planting conditions were less than ideal in many cases. However, rows are closed on the early-planted beets and the late-planted crop is catching up.
Weather is a Factor in Crop Nutrition – Certain pockets in the Northern Plains are dry, while are suffering from too much moisture. As a result, farmers are scouting fields and pinpointing nutritional deficiencies. The Mosaic Company technical sales manager Sherry Koch says the first step is identify areas of concern in fields. “There can be more than one cause for nutritional deficiencies. Weather plays a big role in crop nutrition as well” There are things farmers can do now to set themselves up for success come harvest. Koch acknowledges many fields went without fertilizer application this past spring. On those fields especially, a soil test following combining is likely warranted. Listen to the story.
BASF Virtual Field Day – In the series of BASF Virtual Field Day updates on the Red River Farm Network, business representative Matthew Pedersen says conditions are ripe for white mold in canola. “We’re coming off a wet fall last year so we have residual moisture in the ground and now we’ve had significant rainfall in the last few weeks,” said Pedersen. “With the high humidity, it will drive sclerotia to be in the air and there is potential for infection for broadleaf crops like canola, dry beans and soybeans.”
Pioneer Agronomy Update – With the hot and humid conditions, it is setting up to be a big year for white mold in soybeans. During the Pioneer Agronomy Update from the West Fargo area, Pioneer Strategic Account Manager Tom Frappier said now is the window to start thinking about treating for white mold. “If we’re in R2, that’s a good window for any fungicide on soybeans, but especially for white mold. Another key point is we have a lot of soybeans on last year’s soybean ground and that definitely increases the potential for white mold.”
Heavy Rains Cause Some Crop Loss – Asgrow DEKALB Technical Agronomist Derek Pruitt expects some crop loss following heavy rains and ponding. “There’s not a whole lot you can do in some cases. A little bit of nitrogen for the corn could help,” says Pruitt. “If the fields stay saturated, corn will continue to lose nitrogen.” The plants will also be more susceptible to disease pressure. “Any of those root diseases could make an impact.” Hear the story.
A Strong Need for Aerial Ag Services this Growing Season – The old saying ‘time is money’ is true for many farmers this growing season, especially in the Red River Valley. Based at Hardwood, North Dakota, Right Way Ag owner Matt Hovdenes has seen an increase in both demand for and the type of agricultural aviation services. That’s because field conditions have been less than ideal for tractor tires to travel across since virtually May. “Right now, we’re busy aerially applying fungicide to wheat and barley. At the same time, Right Way Ag is handling a fair amount of herbicide spraying.” Hovdenes concludes by saying it’s important for farmers to know that aerial applicators have dedicated their entire career to applying products to crops. Hear the full RRFN story.
Custom Combiners Harvest a Variable Colorado Winter Wheat Crop – Hallock, Minnesota-based Sugden Harvesting owner Rick Sugden is wrapping up winter wheat harvest in the Julesburg, Colorado area. The crop is variable, with much of it poor quality. “It’s not near the crop that farmers had hoped for this year. The crop has had so much thrown at it from eight degrees in March to no rain for the last three months. It’s a devastated, dry area. What wasn’t irrigated is pretty well burnt up,” said Sugden. “The crop varies from 20-to-50 bushels per acre; this isn’t the normal crop.” Once the team is done harvesting in Colorado, Sugden says they’ll move on to Gettysburg, South Dakota. “We’re pretty hopeful for the South Dakota crop. They had an excessive amount of moisture all winter and spring. What winter wheat there is could be really nice.” Harvest Hotline on the Red River Farm Network is made possible by AgCountry Farm Credit Services, the North Dakota Mill and U.S. Custom Harvesters, Incorporated.
KS and NE Wheat Harvests are Average to Hit and Miss – Iowa-based custom combiner Paul Paplow finished up the harvest in the Colby, Kansas and Ogallala, Nebraska areas last week. “In Kansas, it was a pretty average harvest from from a 40 bushel yield with a test weight ranging from 55 to 60 pounds. The crop did have some frost damage.” The Nebraska crop was hit and miss. “There’s some good and some poor. The hot, dry and windy weather really got it. We harvested crops from 40 to 70 bushel per acre wheat. Now, we’re headed to Montana.”
Scab Risk in Wheat Strengthens in Northern Plains – The moisture and humidity continue to come through in the Northern Plains. Syngenta Agronomy Service Representative Nathan Popiel reminds farmers this increases the risk of scab in wheat. “Fusarium risk maps have been blowing up. The risk is high across North Dakota, especially where durum is grown,” said Popiel. “It will be important for farmers to protect themselves from scab.” Some farmers may still have time to apply some fungicide. “We have Miravis Ace, which we launched last year. Lots of farmers are happy with last year’s results from the product,” said Popiel. “The product is part of the plant performance family. Farmers will get plant performance benefits out of that product, even in absence of disease. Where you go and spray it, maybe you don’t have disease pressure,but you can still get protection and still get a plant performance benefit.” Hear the story.
WestBred Wheat Report – Given the recent weather patterns, lodging in wheat is a growing concern. Learn more from WestBred technical products manager Grant Mehring in the latest WestBred Wheat Report.
Increased Risk for FHB – The combination of hot, humid weather and intermittent thunderstorms has pushed the risk for Fusarium Head Blight to very high for wheat varieties that are susceptible to very susceptible to the disease. The risk is even high for varieties that are rated moderately susceptible or moderately resistant to scab. According to a disease update from University of Minnesota Extension Agronomist Jochum Wiersma, the decision to apply fungicide to suppress fusarium “is not a question of ‘if,’ but ‘when’ going forward.” The only exception would be the pockets that are dealing with drought stress.
Dry Bean Scene – The conditions are right in portions of North Dakota and Minnesota for white mold development this year’s dry edible bean crop. Get the details from Syngenta agronomy services representative Jason Snell in the latest Dry Bean Scene, made possibly by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association, Johnstown Bean Company and SRS Commodities.
Nothing Bearish in Friday’s USDA Report – The USDA released its July World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate report on Friday. Global Commodity Analytics and Consulting President Mike Zuzolo says there was nothing bearish in the report. “The biggest thing that jumped out at me was that world corn ending stocks went from 338 million tons to 315 million tons in one month for 2021,” says Zuzolo. “The average trade guess was 325 million tons. We didn’t go below the lowest trade guess, but we were 10 million tons below the average trade guess.” View the full report.
Rural Perspectives – The July USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate report was released this past week. In this edition of Rural Perspectives, AgCountry Farm Credit Services Market Education Specialist Katie Tangen takes a closer look at the details from the report. Listen here.
Grain Trade Transitions Back to Weather Focus – Traders quickly moved beyond USDA’s July Supply and Demand report and are now focused on the weather. “It’s been raining every other day in Illinois. It’s been very hot, but a lot of our clients in the I-states are receiving rain. That’s probably more important than trying to filter out how many bushels of the crop are left. There are too many, but we’re trying to figure out how much of too many,” said Tommy Grisafi, risk management advisor, Advance Trading. “Crop reports are funny. Analysts will trade the headlines and then, move on. We are 100 percent in a weather market.”
Ag Barometer Improves for June – Farmer attitudes improved in June for the second straight month, but the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer found farmer sentiments far short of what was seen before the coronavirus pandemic. Purdue Extension Economist Jim Mintert said farmers remain worried about COVID-19 and its impact on farm profitability. “However, the improvement that we’ve seem the last couple months I think is tied to the fact that people are a little less worried now than they were back in March.”Forty percent of the respondents in the June survey said they have increased the amount of business conducted online. In response to coronavirus, 53 percent of farmers said there are less likely to attend in-person field days or education programs for the balance of this year.
MN Corn Matters – The Minnesota Corn Growers Association continues to stay involved in discussions surrounding the clean car standards. MCGA Past President Brian Thalmann has more in this edition of Corn Matters.
New Proposal Would Slow Down Line Speeds at Packing Plants – A bill has been introduced in Congress that would regulate line speeds for packing plants. The lawmakers introducing this proposal saying it is designed to protect workers, animals and consumers. A broad coalition of groups are supporting the bill, including the Humane Society of the United States, Mercy for Animals, Food & Water Watch and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
Northern Climate Doesn’t Deter Feedlot Performance – Travis Bell of Edgewood Ranch was featured in the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association virtual feedlot tour. The Fordville, North Dakota rancher says weather can be a challenge, but there are also advantages to feeding cattle in North Dakota. “Being near the Red River Valley, we have an abundance of feed sources. Even with our winter climate, we get great gains on our cattle.” Edgewood Ranch has traditionally been a commercial Angus operation, but has been transitioning to more Simmental cattle. Bell said good cattle always sell. “I do believe in the feedlot side of things, we’re getting cattle too small again,” said Bell. “The frame score has to come back a little bit again. You have to have pounds to sell.” NDSA hosted the virtual feedlot tour and it was facilitated by the Red River Farm Network. A recording of the webinar and video from Edgewood Ranch are available.
Canola Minute – Conditions have been favorable for scleorotinia in canola. Get the details from North Dakota State University plant pathologist Dr. Luis del Rio in the latest Canola Minute, made possible by the Northern Canola Growers Association.
Major Development for FMD Vaccine Bank – USDA has made its first significant vaccine purchase for the foot and mouth disease vaccine bank. This vaccine bank was created in the 2018 farm bill and these initial contracts are worth more than $27 million. This move has been praised by both the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council.
R-CALF Seeks Termination of Beef Checkoff – R-CALF USA has a petition drive underway, requesting a referendum on the beef checkoff program. Approximately 88,000 signatures are needed. Eligible cattle producers can sign the electronic petition over the next year. R-CALF is a longtime critic of the beef checkoff program and is seeking its termination.
Big Trouble in 4Q – Pork packing plants are operating at five-to-seven percent below capacity. Kerns and Associates Economist Steve Meyer doesn’t expect the numbers to get much better than that. “At the beginning, I thought we’d be lucky to get back to ten percent of our previous capacity and I think we’ll get to five now.” COVID-19 related protocols like line spacing are factors. There is still a massive backlog of hogs in the system. If packers cannot operate at full capacity, the industry will be in “big trouble.” Based on the latest USDA Hogs and Pigs Report, Meyer says packers will not be able to process a million-plus hogs in the fourth quarter.
Potato News – In this week’s Potato News update, National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles addresses payment rate changes made in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Potato News is made possible by Corteva Agriscience, Bayer, Sipcam Agro and BASF’s Provysol fungicide, the new standard for early blight.
Parade of Champions: Morgan Sip – IXL 4-H Club member Morgan Sip of Ada, Minnesota was looking forward to showing cattle at the Minnesota State Fair this year. Sip will be a senior in high school in the fall and this is one of his last years to exhibit livestock through 4-H. “I purchased a steer for the state fair. Then, all of a sudden, the coronavirus came and the events were cancelled,” said Sip. “The Minnesota State Fair is really the only time I see my close friends. We had also planned to attend the North Dakota State Fair, but that was cancelled, too.” Sip enjoys raising Hereford cattle and tells the Red River Farm Network he’s learned lots about responsibility working with livestock. Sip has this advice for younger showmen: “It’s not all about winning, it’s about having fun.” Thanks to AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Associated Milk Producers Incorporated, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and others for sponsoring the Parade of Champions. Hear the full interview.
Parade of Champions: Tessa Herman – Tessa Herman is an animal science major at South Dakota State University. The Barnesville, Minnesota teenager is a member of the Kent Quad 4-H Club and has shown beef, swine and sheep. Herman is disappointed the Minnesota State Fair won’t be held this year. “Not just to show, but that’s one of the only time to see some of the friends I’ve made. I’m also the Clay County 4-H intern this summer so I was really looking to be part of the county fair with all of the kids.” Herman is still working with her Gelbvieh-Red Angus beef heifer. “We’re staying at it like it was any other year, but it is definitely different.” Listen to the interview with Herman.
What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets – A weak dollar may be positive, but that can be offset by a volatile weather market. Find out more from Advance Trading Risk Management Advisor Tommy Grisafi in this week’s edition of What’s Hot, What’s Not in the Markets.
Bayer Delays Settlement for Future Claims – There’s a new development in the proposed settlement between Bayer and plaintiffs over the alleged link between glyphosate and cancer. A federal judge questioned Bayer’s plan to resolve future claims through the use of an independent panel of scientific experts. As a result, Bayer has withdrawn its settlement agreement and will consider adjustments for the handling of future claims. The decision does not affect the broader settlement agreement for the current lawsuits associated with Roundup.
CHS’ Net 3Q Income is Significantly Better Than One Year Ago – CHS is reporting third quarter net income of $97.6 million, up from $55 million one year ago. That represents a year-over-year increase of 79 percent. Margins improved for the agriculture segment based on more favorable weather during the spring planting season. Those gains were partially offset by weakness in the renewable fuels, processing and food ingredients business segments.
Record Profits for State-Owned Bank – The state-owned Bank of North Dakota reports 2019 net earnings of $169 million. This is the 16th consecutive year of record profits. BND ended the year with total equity of $939 million, an increase of $77 million. The state’s return on investment at the Bank of North Dakota is 18.6 percent.
CN Railway Has a Busy Start to the Year – The Canadian National Railway moved a record amount of Canadian grain during the first half of 2020. CN moved 15 million metric tons of grain and is on pace to transport nearly 27 million tons by the end of the year.
NDSU Receives Rangeland Grant – North Dakota State University has been awarded a grant totaling over $499,000 from USDA to study rangeland management strategies. According to NDSU, there is a need to investigate management options that “sustainably enhance livestock productivity while conserving biodiversity.” The plan is to study four management regimes using fire and/or grazing to promote variable habitats. The project starts this year and will last through April 2024. Read more.
AgLeader Adds New Feature – After a year of beta testing, Ag Leader is releasing its new grain cart connectivity feature. CartACE gives the grain cart operator assistance while unloading on the go. It automatically generates a guidance line alongside the combine and the operator engages autosteer with a push of a button.
Walkabout Bins Launches Partnership with FEI – Walkabout Mother Bins, a farm equipment business based in South Dakota, is now partnering with FEI in Valley City, North Dakota to increase product availability. “As we grow, we needed more boots on the ground and FEI is helping us do that,” said David Hedt, president, Walkabout Mother Bins. “They’ve actually purchased units themselves to ensure we are able to manufacture them. The bins are manufactured in West Fargo.” The Mother Bin can provide more efficiency at harvest. “Farmers can basically eliminate all but one of the trucks and keep combines rolling at harvest.” Hear the story.
MN Beef Update – Did you know one-third of consumers are planning to grill more in the summer of 2020? Minnesota Beef Council Director of Industry Relations Royalee Rhoads has more in this edition of the Beef Update.
New President/CEO in Place at AgReliant Genetics – Effective immediately, Paul Nselel is the president and chief executive officer of AgReliant Genetics. Nselel began his career with Monsanto and has been serving as vice president and global general manager of Agrofresh Solutions. AgReliant Genetics was established from its two parent companies, KWS and Limagrain. AgReliant is now the third largest seed corn company in the United States with the LG Seeds and AgriGold brands.
Legacy Seed Selects New CEO – Colin Steen is the new chief executive officer for Legacy Seed Companies. Most recently, Steen was the managing director for Syngenta Ventures. Legacy Seeds founder Bruce Ceranske remains active on the board as the vice chairman. Legacy Seed Companies is based in Scandinavia, Wisconsin and the western sales office is in Alice, North Dakota.
Certis USA Announces O’Shea as its CEO – Amy O’Shea is the new CEO for Certis USA. O’Shea has been the company’s president since February. Her experience is in agriculture, food and the pharmaceutical industries.
Rosenau Adds COO to His Title – American Crystal Sugar Company Treasurer Steve Rosenau has taken on new responsibilities as the chief operating officer for Sidney Sugars. Rosenau has been with American Crystal for 25 years. In addition to the five sugar factories in the Red River Valley, American Crystal took over the Sidney, Montana facility in 2002.
Hoffman, Dhuyvetter Appointed to SBARE – The North Dakota State Board of Agricultural Research and Education has filled two board positions. Larry Hoffman, who is a crop and livestock farmer from Wheatland, was appointed to a second term on SBARE. Former Extension agent John Dhuyvetter of Minot replaces Richard Roland of Crosby, who served two terms on the board. SBARE works with NDSU Extension and the agricultural experiment stations to establish research funding priorities.
Last Week’s Trivia – The acorn comes from the mighty oak tree. Keith Rekow of Dairyland Seed is our weekly trivia winner. Bob Lebacken of RML Trading, Scott Roemhildt of the Minnesota DNR, Laurie Hoffman of VistaComm and Jim Altringer of CHS Dakota Plains Ag earn runner-up honors. The ‘first 20’ rounds out with Nick Sinner of Northern Crops Institute, Pete Carson of Carson Farms, Gary Sloan of BMO Harris Bank, Mark Haugland of Bayer CropScience, retired NDSU Extension dairy specialist J.W. Schroeder, Central Lakes College Farm Business Management Instructor Bob Rick, Nick Revier of SES VanderHave, retired North Dakota Farmers Union economist Dale Enerson, Sara O’Toole of O’Toole Seed, Joan Hoovestol of North Dakota Beef Commission, Carver County feedlot officer Alan Langseth, retired controller Evonne Wold, Mickey Peterson of Peterson Partners, CREC Farm Business Management Instructor Steve Metzger and Anna Kemmer of Southeast Region Career and Technology Center.
This Week’s Trivia – In the sport of rodeo, what animal is featured in the event of mutton bustin’? Send your answer to email@example.com.
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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.