On a normal mid-June day in the Upper Midwest, many farmers apply chemicals to their crops or take a first cutting of alfalfa.
But a recent Agweek trip through parts of Benson, Pierce and Bottineau counties in north-central North Dakota didn’t take place on a normal mid-June day. The day of the trip provided the worst possible weather to spray crops or cut alfalfa: rain clouds filled the sky, temperatures fell south of 50 degrees and a stiff, cold wind shook even the stoutest evergreens in shelterbelts.
Area farmers welcomed the mild winter and early spring that allowed them to make rapid planting progress. But the favorable weather carries a downside: weed and insect problems not encountered in a typical growing season are popping up, and the arrival of normal weed and insect issues is accelerated.
DAVIS, Calif. — Roundup-Ready alfalfa was re-released in early 2011 after a lengthy review by USDA-APHIS, but has remained somewhat controversial in the public sphere. However, alfalfa hay growers often have been left out of this discussion.
DICKINSON, N.D. — The Dakota Resource Council in North Dakota has joined a March 18 lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to allow unrestricted planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to allow commercial planting of Forage Genetics International’s glyphosate-tolerant alfalfa, which is genetically engineered to tolerate Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. The plans are moving forward without any federal requirements to prevent contamination of the rest of alfalfa seed and plantings. The genetically engineered technology exclusively is licensed to seed maker FGI by Monsanto.
WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Jan. 20 made his first appearance before the House Agriculture Committee since Republicans gained controlled of the House and said he would make a decision on the regulatory status of Roundup Ready alfalfa “very, very shortly” after a comment period comes to an end Jan. 24.
An uncertain weather forecast offers farmers in the region an uncertain future for the crop of 2010, but so far, things are looking good. Notably, this is the longest period that’s drought-free anywhere in the state in a decade, according to climatologists.
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