A Weekly Update from the Red River Farm Network
Monday, July 26, 2021
The Olympic Spirit – The Olympics have always been a time of national pride. In addition to the opportunity to compete on the global stage, athletes are in Tokyo to represent their country. It is the ultimate show of national pride. At the Red River Farm Network, we are proud to deliver news and information to our farmers and ranchers. Seeing the American flag flying is a common sight as we travel throughout the region. Our hard-working farmers may not be competing for a gold medal, but patriotism runs deep in farm country. The RRFN team is proud to serve the best farmers in the world!
Yield Potential Reduced for Spring Wheat in the Dakotas – Extremely variable spring wheat conditions are evident in Dakotas this year. North Dakota Wheat Commission Market Development and Research Manager Erica Olson says the hot, dry and windy conditions are dominating the growing season. “We’ve seen yield potential reduced. Producers have been making choices whether or not to abandon fields based on yield potential,” says Olson. “Another issue has been the extremely variable conditions, making assessing the crop difficult. The heat pushed crop development and affected yield. Harvest will start soon.” Spring wheat crop condition ratings are the lowest since 1988. “If we look at last year’s level, 70 percent of the crop was rated in good to excellent. Now, less than 20 percent of the crop is rated good to excellent.”
North Dakota’s Durum Conditions Decline – Horizon Resources Grain Division Manager Levi Hall says this week’s heat isn’t going to help the small grains in the Dakotas. “The drought stress is real and the crops are really feeling it, despite the rains we’ve had in the northwest corner of North Dakota.” As expected, North Dakota’s durum wheat conditions continue to decline. “We’ll probably have another decline in the next week from the USDA. There’s stuff already turning yellow. It’s not uncommon to see a little tint starting to show in this part of North Dakota this time of the year, but it’s early.”
Quality May Be a Challenge for Maltsters – According to Minnesota Barley Growers Association Executive Director Marv Zutz, the barley yields will be hurt by the dry conditions. In addition, quality will be a factor. “The maltsters are going to have their hands full season sorting out what they can or cannot malt.” Harvest has already started in barley. “Two-rowed barley has survived the drought a lot better than the six-rowed varieties.”
WestBred Wheat Report – The combines are beginning to roll in the region. In this week’s edition of the WestBred Wheat Report, technical agronomist Grant Mehring outlines harvest management recommendations for the wheat grower.
Very Little Disease Pressure Seen in the Small Grains – During the Langdon Research Extension Center field day, NDSU Extension cereal grains specialist Andrew Friskop addressed disease management. While disease pressure has been relatively low this growing season, there is a disease that fit every type of weather pattern. “This year, the dry weather and periods of stress are causing root rot in barley. When farmers make decisions for variety selections, they should focus on historically problematic diseases. Always make sure to check the scores and consider how that will be managed in the season.” Friskop expects quality issues should be minimal this year. “We’re in a scenario with a sense of optimism. I don’t think we’ll see as many issues with disease in the small grains that we’ve had in the last three to four years.” Hear more in this interview.
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 offers insight into the current marketplace. A big corn crop nationwide, bitcoin and interest rates are garner attention.
How High Can the Wheat Markets Go? – The Money Farm market analyst Mike Krueger is watching to see how high spring wheat prices can go. “I’m hearing people talking about $10 September or December Minneapolis wheat futures, but that will depend on how the crops in other parts of the world fare. Also, how serious the situation will get in Canada,” says Krueger. “We have lots of winter wheat. I think more of that will go to feed channels. With the small spring wheat crop, I think we’ll work off more of the hard red winter wheat surplus than folks thought.” In the next two months, Krueger thinks the wheat complex will stabilize and then, get stronger. “It’s possible we see wheat taking over as the price leader for a little bit, the first time that’s happened for a few years.”
Canola Minute – This year’s canola crop has been weathered many ups and downs. Find out more from CHS – Adams location agronomist Ron Beneda in the latest Canola Minute. This update is made possible by the Northern Canola Growers Association.
Wheat Will Be Forced to Bid for Acres in ’22 – DTN/Progressive Farmer contributing analyst Tregg Cronin says the North American balance sheet for spring wheat is on shaky ground. “Spring wheat is going to have to bid for acres next spring like it hasn’t had to do in some time,” said Cronin. “We’re going to have to maintain good prices into February and the crop insurance timeframe so spring wheat can get acres back in the good production areas of northeast North Dakota and southeast North Dakota. It has to happen or we’ll roll into next year without enough acres to get the balance sheet built up to what it needs to be.” Cronin says USDA has not yet accounted for the large number of HRSW acres that will be abandoned this year. Cronin was part of a Northern Crops Institute market outlook webinar Wednesday.
Spring Wheat Tour Begins This Week – The Wheat Quality Council’s Spring Wheat Tour is happening in North Dakota this week. Executive Vice President Dave Green is expecting a dire spring wheat crop. “I’ve seen pictures on Twitter of bad fields. Someone said there are areas that look better than others; it’s not all wiped out. With the heat and persistent dryness, I don’t doubt we’ll see many fields baled for hay and zeroed out.” Tour training begins in Fargo on Monday and the group hits the road for Mandan on the first day, eventually ending back up at NDSU in Fargo on Thursday afternoon.
The Sugarbeet Report – Sugarbeet growers should remain vigilant to keep ahead of cercospera leaf spot. University of Minnesota Extension plant pathologist Ashkoh Chanda has more in The Sugarbeet Report. This update is made possible by Premium Ag Solutions, Corteva Agriscience, REGEV Fungicide from Summit Agro USA, Inspire XT by Syngenta, SESVanderHave and H&S Manufacturing.
Pioneer Agronomy Update – The latest Pioneer Agronomy Update comes from the Carrington, North Dakota area. Despite having less than five inches of rain this growing season, Swanson Seeds sales associate Doug Retzlaff says the crops are hanging in there, for now. Watch the video interview on YouTube.
House Ag Committee Considers WHIP+ Program Extension – On Tuesday, the House Agriculture Committee will mark up a bill to extend the WHIP+ program. Combest, Sell and Associates managing partner Tom Sell says the bill will cover 2020 and 2021 disasters. “The bill includes all causes of loss from the previous WHIP+ program and it expands on the drought.” FSA would also be able to work through farm cooperatives to spread the losses. Northern Plains farmers are familiar with the WHIP+ program and know it wasn’t perfect. Sell says House Ag Committee Chairman David Scott’s authorizing committee likes the WHIP+ model. “They love the producer having skin in the game, but the biggest complaint is administration. FSA staff had to rekey every single unit of production before they could calculate.” The costs of changes to WHIP+ would be included in the year-end spending bill. Hear the story.
Cramer: Ranchers Need a Better Safety Net – During an appearance on an Agri-Pulse program, North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer said cattle producers do not have an adequate safety net to deal with the drought. “There’s some relief in the form of things like the Livestock Indemnity Program, but for people to benefit from that the cow has to die when you own it and people to raise cows to die; it is somewhat of a warped system.” Cramer cited the need for opening CRP ground for emergency haying and grazing, which is not allowed until the prime nesting season is completed August 1. “We clearly have some programs that are designed to work, but are not working.”
Facing the Loss of Stepped-Up Basis – North Dakota Senator John Hoeven went to the Senate floor Wednesday, outlining his opposition to the White House’s tax proposal. Hoeven cited the administration’s plan to eliminate stepped-up basis for farmers and ranchers. “Under current law when passing down a family farm or ranch to the next generation, the tax basis is stepped-up to fair market value preventing a large tax bill for the next generation of farmers.” Hoeven said the use of 1031 like-kind exchanges is also in jeopardy.
Government Support for Agriculture to Decline in ’21 – USDA’s Economic Research Service is estimating U.S. farmers received nearly $58 billion in federal assistance this past year. From that total, more than 60 percent came from the various COVID-19 relief programs. USDA is forecasting net farm income to decline eight percent this year. That’s due, in part, by a 45 percent reduction in direct government payments.
Anti-Ethanol Bill Introduced in the U.S. Senate – Four U.S. Senators introduced legislation to end the Renewable Fuel Standard. Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, Maine Senator Susan Collins, California Senator Dianne Feinstein and Bob Menendez from New Jersey wrote the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act. The mandate requires annual increases in the amount of renewable fuel that should be blended into the total volume of gasoline refined in the U.S. It would remove volume requirements for corn ethanol and leave in place volume obligations of advanced and cellulosic biofuels and biodiesel.
Pro-Ethanol Message Highlighted in DC – Ethanol is facing challenges on Capitol Hill and in the courts. The National Corn Growers Association has responded with a new marketing campaign that is targeting government and public policy stakeholders. This effort is designed to highlight the environmental benefits of corn-based ethanol. The advertising and social media exposure is being concentrated in the Washington, D.C. market.
Governor’s Biofuels Coalition Reaches Out to the White House – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem have sent a joint letter to the Biden Administration, saying higher-octane ethanol could have a role in country’s climate and public health plans. The letter said the expanded use of ethanol now would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. Walz chairs the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition and Noem is the vice chair.
Walz Gets a Firsthand Look at Drought-Stricken Crop – During a stop at a Crookston farm, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said he does not expect USDA to open CRP for haying and grazing before August 1, citing a lawsuit that has influenced the process. The governor spoke with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack twice in the past week and said USDA understands the urgency of the situation. “They were very responsive, but this feels like a once-in-a-generation drought and maybe we need to approach it that way.” In a media briefing, Walz acknowledged the state misses having a Minnesotan at the helm of the House Agriculture Committee. “What I can tell you is calls would have speeded up with the chairman (Representative Collin Peterson) and creativity would have been more likely.” Rather than partisan politics, Walz said emphasized the importance of seniority in Congress.
Contact FSA Now If Considering Haying CRP Land – Conservation Reserve Program land is not available for haying and grazing until August 1. Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen said farmers involved in the CRP CP 23 Wetlands Restoration program may face further restrictions. “What the FSA is telling me is farmers need to get in and talk to their local office now if they want to cut or hay any of the CRP, including the CP 23. It all depends on what level of drought you’re in with D-2 or D-3. There’s also a 25 percent penalty for some farmers that may or may not be waived.” To source forage, Petersen has explored the availability of state land for haying. The Nature Conservancy is a major landowner in the state and has also been contacted about the availability of grass for feed. “Everything we can do is what I want us to do.”
Drought Remains Top of Mind Across North Dakota – Drought is top of mind in nearly every corner of North Dakota. Greg Lardy, vice president for agricultural affairs, North Dakota State University has been traveling across the state taking in various Extension Research Center field days. “We started in out west in Hettinger, Dickinson and Williston and ended this past week in Langdon. We saw some crop that didn’t look too bad and some that didn’t look good at all. There is just a lot of variability in the crop.” In particular, Lardy says livestock producers across the state are being heavily impacted by the ongoing drought conditions. “Pasture conditions are not good, water supplies are poor and the hay crop is going to be real short. Those producers are making culling decisions to make adjustments on their ranch.” There are a plethora of drought-related resources available through Extension, found here. Hear more from Lardy in this story.
Dry Bean Scene – During a stop at a Crookston farm, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz got a firsthand look at drought conditions in Polk County. Area farmer Eric Samuelson, who serves as the Northarvest Bean Growers Association President, was in attendance and shared comments with Governor Walz. Get the full story in the latest Dry Bean Scene, made possible by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association, Johnstown Bean Company, SRS Commodities and Sharpen from BASF.
A 40% Decline in Forage Production Forecast for ND – Experts addressed the ‘elephant in the state’ during the Carrington Research Extension Center field day: drought. Earlier this spring, NDSU Extension was forecasting a 20-to-25 percent reduction in forage production. Given the extensive drought conditions, those numbers were underestimated. Extension rangeland and forage specialist Kevin Sedivec says conditions were so severe early on that many parts of North Dakota never recovered. “The state will probably produce about one-third to 40 percent of normal forage in 2021. Forage will be difficult to find and the price will be high. So, producers have to determine if they should feeding cattle or if they should be selling cattle.” Sedivec says failed wheat will be a popular item on the hay market. While it may be available, producers should first test the crop for nitrates. “You need to know those levels so you know how to blend it off. There is a point where levels are too high, and sellers also need to be honest about it.” Sedivec has more in this interview.
Plan Now for 2022 Product Needs – As supply chain challenges continue, CHS Ag Services Director of Product Development Brian Kuehl is encouraging farmers to think ahead for next year. “We’re placing orders now for products that we would have ordered three to four months from now. From a raw material standpoint, we’re already placing orders for propylene glycol. We would typically have access to that 10 months from now,” explains Kuehl. “From a grower perspective, I’d recommend talking with suppliers. Make sure you feel comfortable with supply and that you have what you need.” This year’s been a perfect storm for supply chain backups. “Raw material manufacturers had production disruptions and supply disruptions due to the pandemic.” Hear the story.
Addressing the Container Shortage – Shipping containers have been scarce with Chinese exporters paying a premium to have them returned empty. The Agriculture Transportation Coalition hopes to change that. This coalition has produced a draft report seeking a requirement for shipping carriers to carry export cargo if it can be carried safely and loaded on a timely basis. South Dakota Congressman Dusty Johnson is working with California Congressman John Garamendi on legislation to fix the container shortage.
Navigating Rough Shipping Waters – Agricultural shippers are navigating rough waters lately, as the availability of shipping containers has been scarce. This is creating logistical challenges for agribusinesses, including Casselton, North Dakota-based SB&B Foods, who is an exporter of food-grade products. President Bob Sinner says there is a lot of anxiety over this issue. “The import demand continues to be very, very strong. The congestion at ports and rail terminals is unheard of,” says Sinner. “Companies, like us, are a month or so behind on shipments to food customers.” Chinese exporters are paying a premium to have shipping containers returned empty. Sinner says prices started soaring back in October. This issue is being addressed by both Congress and the Agriculture Transportation Coalition.
Potato News – It’s been a strange year for the Colorado Potato Beetle. University of Minnesota Extension Entomologist Ian MacRae says in central Minnesota, populations started early and strong. In the north, emergence was later and populations only peaked once. Hear more in Potato News, brought to you by Gowan USA, BASF’s Zidua for Residual Weed Control and Corteva Agriscience.
When Tough Gets Tougher – Mother Nature took care of Belfield, North Dakota farmer Byron Richard’s spring wheat this year. He finished baling the wheat in mid-July and will use that to feed his cattle this winter. Ranchers are starting to run out of grass and more cattle will be moved soon. Part of Richard’s cattle were sold this spring. “Of our 600 to 800 cows, we sold 250 head of cows already. We moved yearlings to a feedlot instead of grass.” Richard typically weans calves the first part of November, but this year, that will be moved up one month. “1988 is one of the toughest times I could think of until now. People will tell you this is worse.” Richard is trying to stay optimistic. “There will be good markets out there for those cattle left going into spring. That’s one of our hopes.”
Latest COF Numbers Decline – The latest numbers from USDA show cattle in U.S. feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.3 million head on July 1, down one percent from the previous year. Placements in feedlots during June totaled 1.6 million head, seven percent below 2020. Marketings of fed cattle totaled 2.02 million head, a three percent increase from the previous year. Other disappearance totaled 57,000 head, eight percent below last year. Cattle on feed in Minnesota totaled 100,000 head, according to the latest report from USDA. That is down 5,000 head from last month and down 25,000 head from last year. South Dakota feedlots contained 200,0000 head on July 1. This inventory was up eight percent from last year.
Numbers Decline in USDA Cattle Inventory Report – USDA’s semi-annual cattle inventory report totals 101 million head. That’s down one percent from 2020. The total cow herd is at 40.9 million head, down from 41.4 million one year ago. This year’s calf crop is expected to be at 35.1 million head, down 700,000 head from one year ago.
Milk Output Rises – During June Dairy Month, U.S. milk production increased 3.2 percent from June of 2020. Milk production is up 14.7 percent in South Dakota and 3.2 percent in Minnesota. The size of the state dairy herd increased by 20,000 head over the past year in both states.
Clean Cars Initiative Adopted – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz is celebrating the controversial clean car standards which are taking effect in the state. The new standards are designed to address climate change by reducing carbon emissions and increase the choices available for purchasing electric cars.
A Legal Challenge for a New Herbicide – BASF has responded to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Center for Food Safety, saying it ‘strongly disagrees’ with the allegations. The activist groups have petitioned the EPA to overturn its registration of Tirexor herbicide, claiming the agency did not do enough to prevent off-target movement.
A New Product From Syngenta – Syngenta is releasing its new Acuron GT premix corn herbicide. This product works through three sites of action to control broadleaf weeds and some grasses. Acuron GT was available on a very limited basis this season, but will be available in 44 states in 2022.
Closing Finalized for Bayer’s Seed Coating Business – Solvay has closed on its acquisition of Bayer’s global seed coatings business. Solvay will remain a strategic partner for Bayer’s seed business, serving as an exclusive supplier for film coating for Bayer SeedGrowth products on Bayer seeds for at least five years.
MDA Provides Information to Pipeline Foods’ Creditors – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is accepting claims against Pipeline Foods’ $500,000 bond. This organic grain company, which is based in Fridley, Minnesota, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 8. “If you have delivered grain, we certainly encourage you to file a claim,” said MDA supervisor Nick Milanowski. Pipeline Foods was established in 2017 and purchased SunOpta’s specialty and organic corn and soybean business two years ago. Farmers, grain companies, trucking firms and banks from Minnesota and North Dakota are among those suffering significant losses from this bankruptcy.
FAS Administrator Named – Daniel Whitley is the new administrator of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Whitley has spent more than 20 years with the agency. Most recently, Whitley was the FAS acting administrator.
USDA Nominations Moving Through the Senate – The Senate Agriculture Committee will vote this evening on the nomination of Jennifer Moffitt to be the USDA Undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs. On Thursday, that same committee will hold confirmation hearings for Robert Bonnie and Xochit Torres Small. Bonnie has been picked as the next undersecretary for farm production and conservation and Small was chosen to be the undersecretary for rural development.
A Trio of USDA Appointments Announced – Michael Amato is the new communications director. Previously, Amato founded Amato Advisors and had been part of the Biden-Harris transition team. Basil Gooden was named the director of state operations for rural development. Gooden’s resume includes time as Virginia’s secretary of agriculture and forestry and the Virginia state director of rural development. Marissa Perry has been selected to be a speechwriter for the USDA Office of Communications. Perry has been the press secretary for former Montana Governor Steve Bullock.
Dolcini Returns to D.C. – Effective August 2, Val Dolcini will take over leadership of business sustainability and government affairs for Syngenta North America. Most recently, Dolcini was California’s director of pesticide regulation. Previously, Dolcini was the administrator of the Farm Service Agency during the Obama Administration.
A New Policy Communications Director for NCGA – The National Corn Growers Association has a new director of policy communications. Bryan Goodman has worked for several associations in Washington, D.C., including the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the American Chemistry Council.
Cook Added to NPPC DC Staff – Holly Cook is the new staff economist for the National Pork Producers Council. Previously, Cook interned for Decision Innovation Solutions, the National Pork Board and the Office of Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.
A Smart Promotion at SDSU Extension – South Dakota State University Extension has named Alexander ‘Sandy’ Smart as the new senior program leader for agriculture and natural resources department. Smart has been a member of the SDSU Department of Animal and Range Sciences since 2001. Most recently, Smart was the assistant department and a professor in the Department of Natural Resources Management.
Gallo Named VP at BIO – Sarah Gallo has been promoted and is now the vice president of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s new agriculture and environment platform. Before joining BIO in 2018, Gallo worked for CHS, the National Corn Growers Association and the House Committee on Small Business.
MN Beef Council Hires New Communications Director – The Minnesota Beef Council welcomed Ashley Kraemer as the new communications director in early July. Kraemer is from Osakis, Minnesota where her family owns and operates a beef and crop farm. She previously worked as a health and physical education teacher and plans to use that knowledge in nutrition to inform consumers and producers about the health benefits of beef.
MFBF P&E and YF&R Awards Presented – The Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation Promotion and Education Committee presented its Golden Apple Award to Wanda Patsche of Martin County. This award is presented for her work with the Agriculture in the Classroom program. Carolyn Olson of Cottonwood County was recognized as the Advocate of the Year. Ruth Linkenmeyer Meirick of Dodge County was honored by the Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee with the Golden Pitchfork Award for her support of the program. Nathan and Suzanna Nelson of Pine County received the Outstanding Friend of YF&R.
NAMA Honors Presented in KC – The National Agri-Marketing Association presented Tim Hassinger with its Agribusiness Leader of the Year Award. Hassinger is the retired president/chief executive officer for Dow AgroSciences and Lindsay Corporation. AgroLiquid Brand Marketing Lead Amy Bugg was awarded NAMA’s Marketer of the Year honor. Chad Gregory, president/CEO, United Egg Producers, was named the Ag Association Leader of the Year.
Richardson No Longer Leading South Dakota Corn – The long-time leader of South Dakota Corn, Lisa Richardson, has resigned. At this time, it is unclear why Richardson has stepped away. The organization has hired former South Dakota Agriculture Secretary Mike Jaspers as an interim director. In a statement, South Dakota Corn Utilization Council Vice President Chad Blindauer says the organization is moving forward with a bigger focus on financial accountability. A request for proposal is being submitted to perform a financial audit. More information is expected once the review process is completed. Richardson, the executive director of 25 years, and Legislative Director Teddi Mueller are no longer listed on the association’s website.
Last Week’s Trivia – The fibula and tibia are bones in the lower leg. Jacob Downing of Cargill wins our weekly trivia challenge. Dianne Bettin of LB Pork, Brian Rydlund of CHS Hedging, retired North Dakota Farmers Union economist Dale Enerson and Ron Dvergsten of Northland Farm Business Management earn runner-up honors. The ‘first 20’ rounds out with Todd Good of AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Al Wimpfheimer of Simplot, Jim Altringer of CHS Dakota Plains Ag, Peter Carson of Carson Farms, Harvey farmer Bill Ongstad, Burleigh County farmer Jim McCullough, Kevin Schulz of Dakota Farmer/Nebraska Farmer, retired Westbrook farmer David Van Loh, Mike Trosen of Meadowland Farmers Cooperative, Sarah O’Toole of O’Toole Seed, Jon Farris of BankWest, Twyla Wulf of Clear Springs Cattle Company, Montgomery farmer Bill Rynda and Keith Bjorneby of Lone Wolf Farms.
This Week’s Trivia – Maize was first domesticated as a cereal crop 10,000 years ago in southern Mexico. What is the term commonly used for this crop today? Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Contact RRFN||Don Wick
|RRFN Affiliate Stations|
|Aberdeen, SD – 105.5 FM||Ada, MN – 106.5 FM||Bagley, MN – 96.7 FM||Bemidji, MN – 1300 AM|
|Benson, MN – 1290 AM||Bismarck, ND – 1270 AM||Bismarck, ND – 1270 AM||Casselton, ND – 103.9 FM|
|Crookston, MN – 1260 AM||Devils Lake, ND – 103.5 FM||Fergus Falls, MN – 1250 AM||Fosston, MN – 1480 AM|
|Glenwood, MN – 107.1 FM||Grafton, ND – 1340 AM||Jamestown, ND – 600 AM||Langdon, ND – 1080 AM|
|Mahnomen, MN – 101.5 FM||Mayville, ND – 105.5 FM||Roseau, MN – 102.1 FM||Rugby, ND – 1450 AM|
|Thief River Falls, MN – 1460 AM||Wadena, MN – 920 AM|
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.