Jonathan Knutson / Agweek Staff Writer
HALLOCK, Minn. — Mike Swanson stands in a field of rye and examines the plants as they sway in the wind. He likes what he sees. The field is thriving, and this warm-but-not-hot June day is helping it along. A few minutes later, he's back inside his nearby distillery and its many barrels, bottles, stills and pipes. Late this year, after the rye — a cereal grain similar to wheat — is harvested, he'll make whiskey from it. "I get the best of two worlds. I get two harvests," Swanson says of both raising the crop and then distilling it.
CRYSTAL, N.D. — Nick Otto stands in a 160-acre field of fledging corn on a coolish June afternoon. His eyes and experience tell him a lot, but he knows they don't reveal everything, especially about a field this large. He specifically wants a better handle on the stand count, or the number of corn plants growing in the field — information that will help Otto, proprietor of Otto Ag in Crystal, N.D., best advise his farmer client on how much fertilizer to apply. Applying too little shortchanges the crop; applying too much wastes money.
Hail hammered crops in Minnesota's Kandiyohi County last summer. Now it's happened again — and University of Minnesota Extension officials and others want to help affected farmers better understand their options. This year, bad weather entered the county early June 11 in the Raymond and Pennock areas and traveled east through Willmar. It continued eastward along Kandiyohi County Road No. 23 before exiting the county just south of Atwater, according to information from the Kandiyohi County Farm Service Agency office.
The Upper Midwest crop season consists of planting, nurturing and harvesting that year's crop. Regional farmers have finished the first of the three; now they're working to help the 2017 crop grow and develop properly.
SHEYENNE, N.D. — Mark Seastrand raises barley on his Sheyenne, N.D., farm. As a director of the North Dakota Barley Council and barley sector director of the U.S. Grains Council, he's helped to sell U.S. barley to Mexican beer makers, too. So Seastrand and others in the U.S. barley industry are concerned by President Donald Trump's intention to reopen the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. "We really do need to protect that market," Seastrand says. Here's why barley exports are important to Seastrand and other U.S. barley farmers:
CRYSTAL, N.D. — Drought is rearing its ugly head across much of Agweek Country. But not here here in Crystal, a northeast North Dakota farm town hit with excess moisture and other weather problems in 2016. "We're off to a better start than a year ago," says Fred Ganssle, crop consultant with Otto Ag in Crystal.
Biotech and genetically modified crops have helped the world both environmentally and economically over the past 20 years, according to a new study by an agricultural advisory and consulting company. PG Economics Limited, based in England, provides specialized advisory and consultancy services in plant biotechnology, ag production systems, ag markets and policy. Biotechnology refers to a wide range of tools that alter living organisms. Genetically modified crops refer to organisms produced through genetic modification.
MANDAN, N.D. — David Archer has been appointed research leader of the Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory in Mandan, N.D. He leads an interdisciplinary team that's working to develop more sustainable crop and livestock production systems. The lab is part of the Agricultural Research Service, which is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency. Archer joined the Mandan staff as an agricultural economist in 2007. His research focus has
Upper Midwest farmers are on the home stretch this spring planting season. Nearly all of the corn and most of the soybeans were planted in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota as of June 4, according to the weekly planting progress report released Monday by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This year's planting pace for all three crops exceeds their respective five-year average, according to NASS.
FRAZEE, Minn. — With a few exceptions, Upper Midwest dry bean farmers have planted all, or nearly all, of their 2017 crop. Now they're wondering, "Did we end up planting too many? What are the markets going to do?," says Tim Courneya, executive vice president of the Northarvest Bean Growers Association, based in Frazee, Minn. The concern is, Upper Midwest farmers — a huge player in the U.S. dry bean market — planted so many acres of the crop that production will soar and "swamp the market," or outpace demand and pull down prices.