North Dakota farm groups backing crop insurance, research

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BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota farm groups say crop insurance, research and export promotion should be among the top priorities for federal spending in the next farm bill.

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is hosting a meeting Friday to talk about what federal programs are most important to North Dakota’s farmers and ranchers.

Goehring says the question is urgent now because an appointed committee of Congress is going to be recommending reductions in federal spending.

North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven’s state director, Shane Goettle, says it’s a certainty that federal farm spending will be reduced.

He says that makes it crucial that farm groups give a list of their most important programs.

Goettle says it’s also important that farm groups emphasize that agriculture is a tiny part of the federal budget.

Dairy Focus: Harvest corn at right moisture content

tải xuống (10) While the corn silage harvest may be a ways off in North Dakota, it is getting under way in the eastern portion of the U.S.

While the corn silage harvest may be a ways off in North Dakota, it is getting under way in the eastern portion of the U.S.

Therefore, this is not too soon to be thinking about staging for ensiling corn, especially for dairy farms. Corn silage makes up a significant portion of the dairy rations. Given the price outlook for corn, many will be looking for ways to decrease the amount of corn in the diet or get more out of that expensive input.

The first place to start is getting the moisture right to achieve higher milk yields per ton of silage fed.

University of Wisconsin researchers lead the way in getting the corn right for the cow. Their dairy farms repeatedly have demonstrated the advantages of harvesting corn silage at the recommended whole-plant moistures. Dairy cows perform best when whole-plant moistures are in the 60 to 75 percent range at harvest.

That range also works well for achieving food packing and fermentation in the horizontal silos. Increased seepage losses, increased acidity and lower dry- matter intakes are common problems when whole-plant moisture is greater than 70 percent.

If storing in upright silos, plan for whole-plant moistures in the 62 to 65 percent range. Corn silage harvested at 60 percent moisture or less consistently results in reduced fiber and starch digestibility.

Take note of when corn fields targeted for silage harvest are silking. The silage harvest usually begins 42 to 47 days after silking, or at approximately 50 percent kernel milk. However, kernel milk is not a good indicator of whole- plant moisture. I recommend sampling plants from the field and testing for moisture to determine whole-plant moisture accurately. Hybrids, soil moisture, soil fertility, weed control and sample location in the field all impact the whole-plant moisture and dry-down rate.

Ideally, fields to be harvested would be uniform, but this rarely is the situation. Research conducted at the University of Wisconsin Research Farm at Arlington in 2003 found that knoll areas of the field were as much as 20 percent drier than lower areas of the field. Keep in mind, significant rainfall events will rehydrate moisture-stressed corn plants by as much as 6 to 8 percent within a day or two.

Mike Ballweg, the University of Wisconsin Extension’s Sheboygan County crops and soils agent, offers these sampling recommendations:

* Sample two or more locations for each representative area in the field. If sampling more than once, sample the same locations to determine the rate of dry down.

* Sample three to five plants in a row. These plants should be well-bordered and representative.

* Chop the samples as quickly as possible and put them in a plastic bag.

* Use near-infrared spectroscopy for the most accurate moisture results. When using a Koster oven or microwave, add 2 to 4 percent moisture onto test results to account for residual moisture.

Use 0.5 percent per day as an average dry-down rate during September. Depending on the year, the average dry-down rates for September range from 0.4 to 0.7 percent per day. On the other hand, daily dry-down rates during September can vary greatly from near 0 percent per day to as much as 1 percent per day.

Schroeder is a dairy specialist with the NDSU Extension Service.

ND small grain crops developing quickly

tải xuống (11) Fargo, N.D. (AP) Recent hot weather in North Dakota is helping small grain crops develop quickly after a late spring planting season, and many farmers are beginning to prepare for harvest.
The Agriculture Department says in its weekly crop and weather report that soil moisture and stockwater supplies statewide remain mostly in the adequate and surplus categories.
Pasture and range conditions in North Dakota are rated mostly good to excellent, and about three-fourths of the hay crop is in those categories. The first cutting of alfalfa hay is virtually complete and the second cutting is 18 percent done.;

Dip in land and shares puts cloud over farm sector

images Farmland prices have slipped for a third successive month in the US, and share prices in agricultural groups markedly underperformed the market, raising a question mark over the sector’s standing with investors.

Farm values, while continuing this month a rise in prices stretching back to the start of 2010, rose more slowly than in June, with a price index falling to 59.4 from 62.0, Creighton University said, following a survey in main farming states including Illinois, Iowa and North Dakota.

Any figure above 50 indicates growth.

"We are tracking consistent slippage in farmland price growth as the index has declined for three straight months," said Creighton economics professor Ernie Goss, adding that many other indicators for the rural economy were "trending lower too".

An index for the farm equipment market fell to 53.7 from 63.1 in June, a fourth successive month of decline.

‘Widepsread declines’

The data came as analysis from the University of Illinois showed that shares in agriculture companies fell in the April-to-June quarter by an average of 6%, a contrast with a small rise in the average stock, as measured by the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.

"Unlike in previous quarters… the Agindex decline is not accompanied by a decline in the S&P 500," University of Illinois professor Gary Schnitkey said.

Declines in agriculture shares were "widespread", although led by processors such as Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge and Corn Products International, which suffered an average fall of 10%.

Fertilizer groups, including Agrium, Mosaic and PotashCorp, fell by 9%, while seed groups, such as Monsanto and Syngenta, proved the most resilient, easing only 1%.

Futures market trend

The performance came in a quarter which ended weakly for prices of many food commodities too, hurt by a wave of liquidation among speculators, stoked by macroeconomic fears, with Greece’s debt crisis and China inflation concerns in full spate.

Wheat, in particular, felt pressure from the US harvest and the announcements of Russia’s return to grain exports.

However, latest data showed investors returning to farm commodity market, with the total net long position held by managed money – a proxy for speculators – rising by more than 100,000 contracts in the week to July 19, its highest since February.

On US Commodities’ assessment, "speculators last week had the largest investment in 18 commodities in a year".

And, at Barclays Capital, Sudakshina Unnikrishnan said that the data "showed that tactical investors held a largely positive view on agricultural commodities, reducing positive exposure only to cocoa and coffee".–3400.html