Monday, April 17, 2017

Weekly News Highlights

Reporting Agriculture’s Business — #Plant17 is underway across the Red River Farm Network region. As you’ll read in this edition of FarmNetNews, field activity has begun and farmers are eager to get the crop in the ground. Decisions are still being made about the acreage mix and inputs. RRFN begins our weekly Crop Watch broadcasts tomorrow. Congress is still on recess this week, but it is a busy time for policy work in Bismarck and St. Paul. This past week, RRFN was in Chaska, Minnesota for the Minnesota Agri-Women’s Ag Leadership Conference and in Fargo for NDSU’s Farm Bill conference and a North Dakota Soybean Council women and marketing event. Listen to farm news and markets on your RRFN radio affiliate. You can also find RRFN on Facebook and Twitter. The RRFN team: Carah, Mike, Randy, Jay and Don are also on Twitter.

More Wheat and Soybeans — USDA raised wheat ending stocks 30 million bushels to a near 30-year high in its April Supply/Demand report. Corn ending stocks are unchanged as an increase in ethanol use is offset by a reduction in feed and residual use. Soybean ending stocks are up 10 million bushels from last month, while both exports and crush are unchanged. Season-average price forecasts are unchanged for wheat and corn, at $3.85 and $3.40, respectively, and lowered a nickel for soybeans, to $9.55 a bushel.

A Weather Market Brings Volatility — Now that USDA’s April Supply/Demand report is out, traders will now be watching the weather closely. McGathey Commodities President Virginia McGathey and The Hightower Report principal David Hightower expect a volatile market.  “We can’t really shrug that off. The weather markets are here to stay,” says McGathey. “There’s a lot to be said about serious rains in the U.S. We could have difficulty in planting.” Hightower says there is also some uncertainty about crops in Argentina. “We’re seeing more concern about rain taped on the back of what we have now, causing problems for corn.”

Weather and Demand — Stewart-Peterson senior market advisor Naomi Blohm says the grain markets are all about weather and demand. “Demand for feed will likely remain strong. Demand for ethanol and crush will probably stay strong. The question is the export market and our political relations.” Blohm was in Fargo this past week for a North Dakota Soybean Council marketing and risk management seminar for women.

Field Activity Picking Up — In southwest North Dakota, Belfield farmer Byron Richard says field activity is picking up. “There are quite a few farmers out there right now spraying and planting. We are about halfway done on our acreage. A lot are going to start after Easter.” Richard says the farmers in southwestern North Dakota are switching away from spring wheat. “People like canola due to the cash flow and durum contracts. There could be lots of durum go in the southwest.”

No Reason to Rush — Dow AgroSciences Market Development Specialist Bridgette Readel is seeing field activity begin across the region. “There are farmers in the southwestern part of North Dakota into South Dakota who are considering herbicide spraying. We also have wheat in the ground. The insurance dates have come up for corn in a number of counties, but, agronomists would likely say not to rush.” Readel says there are some early emerging weeds. Farmers need to do a quick scout before planting. “Burndown is a great idea. Let’s kill those early weeds. That will give us clean fields as we get into the season.”

Improving Conditions — Simplot Grower Solutions precision agriculture manager Shawn Kasprick says field field conditions are improving in the Grafton, North Dakota area. “Fields are drying. We started doing some fieldwork on lighter ground. They have some beets out.” There is speculation that farmers will move away from wheat, but he’s not sure what crop farmers will choose. “There are some farmers who are looking at something to get in later, like soybeans.”

A Good Start — West Central Ag Services Territory Sales Manager Clyde Kringlen says there are a few farmers rolling in the Mahnomen, Minnesota area. “We’re just getting a good start. There is some wheat going in on lighter ground. It’s not going full speed, but it will likely pick up this week. Some rain would actually  be good.”

Devils Lake Optimism — There is still some snow in the trees and lake levels are rising, but Devils Lake farmer Terry Borstad is optimistic. “I don’t know if we’ll be in the field in April in the Devils Lake area, but we’re a lot better than I thought we’d be,” says Borstad. “We went into winter exceptionally wet. We even had to leave ruts in fields, but, we don’t have water standing like I thought we could.”

Crop Watch — The Red River Farm Network begins the 2017 growing season with Crop Watch. With this special broadcast, RRFN goes to the field each Tuesday for an update on planting progress and early season field conditions. RRFN Farm Broadcaster Randy Koenen will kick off Crop Watch for this year tomorrow. Farmers, crop consultants and others will be interviewed. Thanks to DuPont Pioneer, the Minnesota Soybean Checkoff, AgCountry Farm Credit Services and Hilleshog Brand Sugarbeet Seed.

Weed of the Week: Common Ragweed — Common ragweed is a summer annual broadleaf weed found in fields and pastures in eastern North Dakota and Minnesota. Common ragweed seeds germinate and emerge following a period of exposure to cold weather in April, May and June, but return to dormancy once soil temperature reaches 86 degrees Fahrenheit in late June and July. Seeds remain viable in the soil for more than 25 years. Ragweed is controlled with herbicides in small grains, soybean, sugar beets, and corn. However there is herbicide resistance with at least three families, ALS inhibitors (SOA2), glyphosate (SOA9) and PPO inhibitors (SOA14). Many farmers have turned to metribuzin (SOA5) for partial control PRE. Liberty (SOA10) and LibertyLink soybean or Engenia or XtendiMax with VaporGrip and RR2 Xtend soybean can provide good to excellent control POST in soybean. Thanks to Tom Peters of North Dakota State University/University of Minnesota and Richard Zollinger of NDSU for assisting with this project.

Weed Management 101 — The special Red River Farm Network series, Weed Management 101, is on the air. In this week’s edition, University of North Dakota and Minnesota Extension weed specialist, Tom Peters talks about palmer amaranth. Listen to Weed Management 101.  Thanks to the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Peterson Farms Seed and BASF for their support of this education effort.

Farm Bill Expected to Pass on a Timely Basis — While an election year is usually not considered a good time to pass a Farm Bill, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson thinks next year may be different. Johnson thinks the next Farm Bill will be passed on time. “The farm economy is in tough shape right now. That pressure has got to be felt by members of Congress. This current Farm Bill, fortunately expires one month before the next big congressional election. If you’re sitting on the ag committee and one month before the election you deliver a good Farm Bill, that’s worth something.” Johnson visited the Red River Farm Network studios Thursday.

Farm Bill Conversation Needs to Change, Says NDFU President — Money is a limiting factor in the upcoming Farm Bill debate. North Dakota Farmers Union President Mark Watne says that paradigm needs to change. “We continue to write farm programs based on limited budgets. We put together a good program and then they cut it to fit the budget. There’s a big value here with a lot of countries around the world jealous of the amount of food we produce and the success we have in food production. I don’t think we should give that away. Asking for a little more of the budget when we’re only .28 percent of the budget is not unreasonable.” It costs money to farm and Watne says that message has to be told to consumers. Watne was part of Wednesday’s North Dakota State University Farm Bill conference.

Something’s Got to Give — When it comes to the new Farm Bill, there are a lot of farm groups seeking an increase in funding. The cotton folks feel the STAX program hasn’t worked and want to be a program crop again. The dairy industry is seeking a fix to the Margin Protection Program. Other groups want more money for export promotion programs. With all of these ‘asks,’ American Soybean Association Washington representative Beverly Paul does not want agriculture to negotiate against agriculture. Paul said agriculture should decide if it is willing to move money from one part of the Farm Bill to another. “In the last Farm Bill, there was a conscious decision made early on that we weren’t going to be stealing money from conservation to pay for the ARC program. We haven’t had that conversation this time. People want more money in all titles. Who wants to be the first one to say ‘we’ll give you some of what we’ve got?’ That’s not the conversation people are having.” During the last Farm Bill debate, there was an attempt to separate the farm programs from the nutrition programs. Paul said the only people that want to do that want to kill both programs.

New CRP Proposals — South Dakota Senator John Thune has a few new proposals to add flexibility to the Conservation Reserve Program. Thune wants to boost the 10-year CRP acreage cap to 30 million acres. The current acreage cap is 24 million acres. Thune’s proposal creates a formula for state CRP acreage targets. Haying and grazing rules would also be adjusted with the Thune plan.

Cramer Does Not Support CRP Expansion — Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson and South Dakota Senator John Thune have proposed a significant increase in Conservation Reserve Program acreage. North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer said he believes farmers want to grow food rather than be paid to take crop out of production. “A lot of rural communities, certainly in the Dakotas, were hurt badly by the first round of the CRP. Farmers that plant a cover crop and get paid for it every year by letting it grow aren’t buying fertilizer; they aren’t buying seed or fuel in their local communities. We have a growing population and a shrinking land mass, I don’t think continuing to idle land is the right direction to go.” Cramer spoke at a farm bill conference Wednesday in Fargo.

Groups Want USDA to Cancel Meetings — R-CALF USA, the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, the Western Organization of Resource Councils and the Farmers and Ranchers Freedom Alliance want USDA to cancel a series of meetings about animal disease traceability. These four groups say this effort mirrors the National Animal Identification System that was dropped nearly eight years ago. There are seven animal disease traceability meetings planned this spring, including a session in the Twin Cities in early May. The groups opposed to the animal ID concept have called these meetings “a waste of time”.

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Source: Red River Farm Network

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