Jonathan Knutson, Agweek
What are pulse crops? • The name comes from an ancient Greek word for porridge. • There are a dozen types — including lentils, dry beans, dry peas and chickpeas — which come in many shapes, sizes and colors. Some of the basic types, especially dry beans and dry peas, have even more variety. The list of dry beans, for instance, includes black, pink, navy, pinto, Great Northern and both dark red kidney and light red kidney, among many others. • Pulses produce one to 12 seeds within a pod, and are used for both human food and animal feed.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The International Crop Expo returns for its 16th year, with its traditional triple-headed focus on potatoes, small grains and soybeans/dry beans. But the 2017 version comes with a slight twist: one of its its keynote speakers is Chris Koch, a Canadian farmer born without arms and legs. "That's a little different for us," said Lionel Olson, an agronomist who has helped to manage the show for many years. "Normally our keynote speaker has a business or economic aspect. But this is more on the personal side."
Depending on how you cut the numbers, the U.S. farm economy could get a little weaker — or a little stronger — in 2017. U.S. net farm income in 2017 is projected to fall 8.7 percent to $62.3 billion, reaching its lowest level, adjusted for inflation, since 2002, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service said Tuesday.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Cover crops are drawing greater interest from Upper Midwest farmers. Emily Evans says all producers, both organic and conventional, can benefit from incorporating cover crops into their farming operation. "There are a lot of reasons to use cover crops," said Evans, a Lamberton, Minn.-based researcher with University of Minnesota Extension.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Shelterbelts are a big deal in the Upper Midwest. I knew that before I wrote my most recent column, and know it even better now. The column — which generated a fair amount of reaction — said this: A lot of people feel strongly about trees; they become upset when shelterbelts are removed and not replanted. Though not replanting often makes economic and agronomic sense, farmers can suffer a big public relations hit when they fail to do so.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Jochum Wiersma says that “20 years in the trenches” fighting Fusarium head blight qualifies him to offer a historical perspective on, and to evaluate future implications of, the destructive crop disease. His analysis: Though progress has been made, the disease is far from tamed and farmers and others shouldn’t get overconfident.
MINOT, N.D. — Faba beans aren’t new to the Upper Midwest. But the benefits of growing them are increasingly apparent, boosters says. “We’re seeing a lot more interest in them,” said Kyle Abrahamson, with Plaza, N.D.-based Great Northern Ag. He talked with Agweek at the recent KMOT AG Expo in Minot, N.D. At the time, faba bean contracts for the 2017 crop season weren’t available, which has limited farmers’ interest, he said.
Family committed, invested in livestock and processes GOODRIDGE, Minn. — This story is about a robotic dairy barn. But don't be fooled by the fancy technology. It's really the story of a Minnesota farm family's commitment to a business they believe in and way of life they love. "This was a big step. But a lot of thought and evaluation went into it, and we feel comfortable it was the right decision for our family," Linda Hanson says.
MINOT, N.D. -- Farming is first and foremost a business. And like people in any other business, farmers always need to look at new ways of operating more efficiently. That's particularly true when crop prices are poor, as they are now. As one veteran farmer told me here at the annual KMOT Ag Expo, producers need to find a way to make their operatio remain financially viable, to "make it work."
MINOT, N.D. — Paul Overby smiled when asked about his planting plans for the spring. “Funny you should ask that. I’ve been tweaking them, trying to come up with something that can work (to provide potential 2017 profits),” said the Wolford, N.D., farmer.