Jonathan Knutson / Agweek Staff Writer
Upper Midwest farmers continue to make rapid progress harvesting wheat and other small grains. But the area's once-promising overall crop continues to deteriorate, too. The weekly crop progress report, reflecting conditions on Aug. 12, was released Aug. 13 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It reflects the dry, warm weather that's boosting the harvest of small grains, while generally hurting other crops such as corn and soybeans, particularly in North Dakota
Farmers and gardeners realize there are both good and bad insects. A program in two North Dakota locations will help producers better recognize and utilize the good ones. "Good Bugs II" will be held Aug. 15 in Larimore, N.D., and Aug. 16 in Carrington, N.D. The program — which will be essentially the same in both locations, though some speakers will vary — will study beneficial insects and the habitat they require. Most of the speakers will come from North Dakota State University Extension or the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
An annual summer educational program from Minnesota's Sustainable Farming Association is making its first foray into the northwest part of the state. "Dirt Rich: Building Soil Health Experts" will be held Aug. 28 in Red Lake Falls, Minn., and Aug. 29 in Lake Park, Minn. The program consists of classroom study in the morning and discussion and analysis in the field in the afternoon. It's designed to help participants explore soil health opportunities, challenges and monitoring with soil health experts.
Venktat Chapara knows a great deal about canola and canola disease. Now he's warning farmers in North Dakota's Cavalier County, where canola is widely grown, that clubroot could be reaching "epidemic status" there. "The rapid increase in the number of clubroot-infested fields and the enormous potential for crop loss has raised concern," says Chapara, plant pathologist for the North Dakota State University Langdon Research Extension Center.
WARROAD, Minn. — One of the worst things in Upper Midwest agriculture is watching once-promising crops deteriorate day by day because they're not getting needed rains. That's what Drew Parsley, a Warroad, Minn., farmer, has been doing the past few weeks. "I don't think we've had more than 2 inches total on much of the farm; maybe some fields have gotten 3 inches. It's been especially hard on the soybeans. They had been looking so good, and now they're really struggling," he says.
Women operating farms There's nothing new about women operating U.S. farms. In one form or another, they've always helped to raise crops and tend livestock. But women's role in agriculture and society overall is expanding, and that's true in farm operations, too. On their own or working with neighbors or family members, women now account for nearly one in three U.S. farm operators.
It's a truism of Upper Midwest agriculture that nature can't provide August weather to please all farmers. Dry conditions benefit small-grain harvest but work against soybeans and other late-planted crops, while the rain showers that help still-developing crops complicate combining wheat and other small grains. But most area farmers, especially ones who grow more than small grains, would welcome rain this August. Many fields across the area are getting dry, and deteriorating crops need moisture.
Organics, wind farms, solar farms, vineyards and more will be among the topics at the summer conference of the Realtors Land Institute, Minnesota Chapter. The event, being promoted to all Minnesota Realtors as well as Realtors Land Institute members, will be held Aug.22-23 in New Ulm, Minn.
Women's ag role expands Women have been essential to Upper Midwest agriculture since the first homesteaders arrived. They've tended livestock, driven tractors, kept books, cared for their children and much more, traditionally concentrating on their family operation. But women's role in area agricutlure is broader and more diverse than ever. Reflecting on what's happening in society overall, women increasingly work off their family farm or ranch and serve in positions once held almost exclusively by men.
The Upper Midwest harvest has begun. Area farmers have started combining what appears to be good overall crops of oats, barley and wheat, according to the weekly crop report released Monday, July 30, by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The report reflects conditions as of July 29. The oats' harvest is most advanced. In South Dakota, 54 percent of oats were harvested on July 29. Seventy-four percent of the crop was rated as good or excellent, with 24 percent fair and 2 percent poor or very poor.