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AgweekTV Full Show: Planting updates, wagyu genetics, meat processing expansion, Farm Rescue beer

This week on AgweekTV, as planting progress varies greatly in our region, we'll check on planting updates from both eastern and western North Dakota. We'll visit a ranch that's incorporating wagyu genetics to enhance its operation. We'll see a prime example in central Minnesota of how meat producers are expanding. And John Deere and Busch Light offer a special beer to help farmers in crisis.

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This week on AgweekTV, as planting progress varies greatly in our region, we'll check on planting updates from both eastern and western North Dakota. We'll visit a ranch that's incorporating wagyu genetics to enhance its operation. We'll see a prime example in central Minnesota of how meat producers are expanding. And John Deere and Busch Light offer a special beer to help farmers in crisis.

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WELCOME TO AGWEEK TV, I'M EMILY BEAL.

PLANTING CONTINUES TO LAG FOR SOME CROPS AROUND THE REGION, BUT THE LATEST USDA PLANTING PROGRESS REPORT SHOWS MANY ARE CATCHING UP.

AS YOU CAN SEE BY THIS VIDEO REPORTER MIKKEL PATES SHOT NEAR NEW SALEM, IN WESTERN NORTH DAKOTA, WEATHER ALLOWED MANY FARMERS TO MAKE GOOD PROGRESS OVER THE LAST WEEK. AT LEAST 5 DAYS WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELD WORK IN NORTHERN PLAINS STATES, ACCORDING TO THE LATEST USDA CROP PROGRESS RELEASE.

IN NORTH DAKOTA, SPRING WHEAT SEEDING WAS AT 59 PERCENT, UP 27 PERCENT FROM THE PREVIOUS WEEK, BUT STILL 32 PERCENT BELOW AVERAGE. MINNESOTA SITS EVEN WORSE, 43 PERCENT BEHIND ITS FIVE YEAR AVERAGE.

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CORN PLANTING NATIONALLY IS RIGHT AT AVERAGE NOW WITH A GOOD WEEK OF CATCHUP. SOUTH DAKOTA, MINNESOTA AND IOWA ARE ALL DOING WELL. NORTH DAKOTA IS UP 36 PERCENT FROM THE PREVIOUS WEEK, BUT THE 56 PERCENT NUMBER IS STILL WAY BEHIND AVERAGE PACE FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR FOR CORN.

THE RECORD SLOW PACE OF SOYBEAN PLANTING IN NORTH DAKOTA ONLY JUMPED 16 PERCENT LAST WEEK, AND NOW SITS AT 23 PERCENT, 47 PERCENT BELOW AVERAGE. MINNESOTA IS WELL BEHIND ITS 5 YEAR AVERAGE TOO. BUT NATIONALLY, SOYBEANS ARE RIGHT ON AN AVERAGE PACE.

SUGARBEET PLANTING IS REPORTED AT LEAST 60 PERCENT COMPLETE IN BOTH NORTH DAKOTA AND MINNESOTA, BUT TYPICALLY AT THIS TIME OF YEAR, BOTH STATES ARE NEARLY FINISHED.

SNOW AND RAIN DELAYED PLANTING FOR A WESTERN NORTH DAKOTA FARMER AND RANCHER. BUT BEAU ANDERSON IS GRATEFUL IT EASED THE DROUGHT THAT FORCED HIM TO SELL OFF MUCH OF HIS CATTLE HERD.

ANDERSON WASN'T OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THIS SPRING, EITHER. HE FARMS ABOUT 35-HUNDRED ACRES NEAR WILLISTON, JUST A COUPLE OF MILES FROM THE MONTANA BORDER.

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HE WAS HIT HARD BY THE APRIL BLIZZARD, AND THE COLD, WET SPRING DELAYED PLANTING. ALTHOUGH HE'S GRATEFUL FOR THE MOISTURE, THE COLD RESULTED IN SOME CALF DEATHS FROM BACTERIAL INFECTIONS THAT CROPPED UP AFTER THE APRIL SNOWSTORMS.

ANDERSON SAYS HIS LAST GOOD CROP WAS IN 2020. DROUGHT LEFT HIS YIELDS SHORT LAST YEAR, SO HE MADE THE TOUGH DECISION TO SELL OFF CATTLE.

Beau Anderson: LAST YEAR WAS PRETTY TOUGH. I MEAN, MOST OF OUR HARVEST WAS NON-EXISTENT. THERE WAS VERY LITTLE CROP TO HARVEST. WE NEED TO LET OUR GRASS COME BACK TOO. THE MOISTURE HAS BEEN GOOD, BUT WE WERE PRETTY TOUGH ON THE PASTURES LAST SUMMER. SO IT'S TIME TO LET THE GRASS GROW A SEASON AND THEN WE'LL HAVE A FULL HERD PROBABLY NEXT YEAR.>

ANDERSON SAYS IT'S TOO EARLY FOR HIM TO CONSIDER PREVENTED PLANTING. THE LAST TIME HE DID WAS 2011.

LIKE MANY GROWERS, PLANTING IS FAR BEHIND FOR T AND A FARMS NEAR VALLEY CITY, NORTH DAKOTA.

IN FACT, PARTNER RILEY ADAMS SAYS THEY PROBABLY WON'T PLANT ABOUT ONE-FIFTH OF THEIR 35-HUNDRED ACRES. ADAMS HAD JUST FINISHED PLANTING WHEAT, AND ONLY STARTED PLANTING SOYBEANS WHEN WE MADE A CROP STOP ON MAY 26TH. AT THAT TIME, THEY'D ALREADY HAD ABOUT THIRTEEN INCHES OF RAIN SINCE APRIL, SO THEY WERE ONLY ABLE TO PLANT THREE-QUARTERS OF THEIR WHEAT ACRES. AND THEY ONLY PLANTED HALF OF THEIR EXPECTED CORN. ADAMS SAYS THEY'RE HOPING TO HAVE ABOUT 25 PERCENT PREVENTED-PLANTING INSURANCE ASSESSMENTS.

Riley Adams: WE PUT A LOT OF FERTILIZER DOWN LAST FALL, SO THE MAIN THING TO GET DONE WAS THOSE ACRES. A COUPLE OF THEM WE CAN'T GET TO IT, IT'S TOO WET. NOW IT'S GET WHAT WE CAN GET IN BY INSURANCE DATES, AND THEN NOW JUST PUT BEANS IN THE GROUND UNTIL WE CAN'T GO.

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ADAMS SAYS LATE CORN PLANTING USUALLY MEANS LATE HARVEST. SINCE THEY DON'T HAVE DRYERS, THEY WENT TO AN EARLIER-MATURING CORN, HOPING THEY WON'T HAVE MATURITY AND DRY-DOWN ISSUES. THE FORECAST IS LOOKING COOL AND WET.

EARLY IN THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, OUTBREAKS AND SHUTDOWNS AT LARGE MEAT PROCESSING PLANTS PUT SMALL PROCESSORS INTO OVERDRIVE.

JEFF BEACH VISITED ONE IN A SMALL, CENTRAL MINNESOTA TOWN, THAT'S USING THAT TO PROPEL IT INTO EXPANSION. IT'S THIS WEEK'S AGWEEK COVER STORY.

Jeff Beach: WHEN COVID 19 SHUT DOWN MAJOR MEAT PROCESSORS, PLACES LIKE JENNIGES MEATS IN BROOTEN, MINNESOTA HAD THEIR PHONE RINGING OFF THE HOOK.

Nathan Jenniges: WE WERE MAXED OUT, WE COULDN'T DO ANY MORE HERE.

NATHAN AND ANGELA JENNIGES TOOK OVER THIS BUSINESS ABOUT THIRTEEN YEARS AGO. THEY SAY THEY WERE THINKING ABOUT EXPANDING BEFORE COVID, BUT THAT'S WHAT REALLY PUSHED THEM TO DO IT. THEY'VE BEEN WORKING HARD TO GET GRANTS TO HELP THEM WITH THE 5.7 MILLION DOLLAR EXPANSION.

Angela Jenniges: BEING ABLE TO HAVE FRESH, LOCALLY RAISED MEATS ON HAND I THINK IS JUST GOING TO BE A HUGE ASSET TO THIS COMMUNITY.

JENNIGES CURRENTLY PROCESS ABOUT TWELVE COWS AND FIVE PIGS A WEEK IN THIS FOUR THOUSAND SQUARE FOOT FACILITY.

The biggest room in our facility right now, and it's kind of maxed out as far as people in here. We can only have one line, we can't have two lines. So in our new building we're going to have two lines going.

THEY'RE EXCITED TO EXPAND INTO A NEW 14-THOUSAND SQUARE FOOT BUILDING. THEY CURRENTLY GO TO FARMS TO DO LIVESTOCK KILLS.

This truck we go out, slaughter animals on the farm, skin them and then we haul the carcass back here, and all the inedible stuff in barrels and then we haul all the animals back here, split them and they go in our cooler. This is a very unique service, because everywhere we go, there are people that wish we would go farther.

THE NEW LOCATION WILL ALLOW THEM TO DO IT ON-SITE. AND THEY'LL HAVE USDA INSPECTION, WHICH MEANS THEY CAN MARKET THEIR BEEF IN OTHER STATES. IT WILL ALSO INCLUDE A RETAIL STORE.

Nathan Jenniges: PEOPLE ARE WANTING TO KNOW, EAT FRESHER MEAT AND FRESHER FOODS, SO WE JUST SEE A HUGE DEMAND FOR PEOPLE THAT WOULD LIKE TO GET FROM SMALL AND SUPPORT LOCAL.

Jeff Beach: THEIR NEW LOCATION WILL BE HERE ALONG HIGHWAY 55, A HIGHLY VISIBLE SPOT WHICH THEY HOPE WILL BRING IN NEW RETAIL CUSTOMERS.

Nathan Jenniges: WE'RE GOING T0 HAVE EVERYTHING. FRESH MEATS, BRATS, SAUSAGES, DELI MEATS. WE'RE GOING TO TRY TO WORK WITH SOME LOCAL BUSINESSES IN TOWN THAT HAVE A BAKERY. BASICALLY IF YOU'RE GOING CAMPING YOU CAN STOP IN AND GET CHIPS, CONDIMENTS AND STUFF LIKE THAT. SO IT'LL BE A LITTLE BIT MORE THAN A MEAT STORE.

THE NATIONAL MEAT PROCESSORS CONVENTION IS NEXT MONTH IN DES MOINES, IOWA. REPORTING IN BROOTEN, MINNESOTA, I'M JEFF BEACH FOR AGWEEK.

NATHAN AND ANGELA HOPE TO HAVE THEIR NEW FACILITY OPEN BY MAY OF 2023. YOU CAN READ MUCH MORE IN THE NEXT AGWEEK MAGAZINE, OR AT AGWEEK.COM .

UP NEXT ON AGWEEK TV, A MINNESOTA CATTLE OPERATION SHARES SOME OF ITS SECRETS TO RAISING BETTER BEEF.

PASTURELAND VALUE IN NORTH DAKOTA SAW A DRAMATIC JUMP THIS YEAR FROM 2021.

NORTH DAKOTA PASTURELAND VALUES INCREASED 11.5% FROM LAST YEAR, WHILE RENTAL RATES STAYED AT AN AVERAGE OF $21 PER ACRE

Bryon Parman: We saw a double digit percentage wise in pasture values across the state. But with the rental rate, we did not. We saw basically a 1% or a 0% change in the rental rates. But yes we saw a big jump in pastureland values across North Dakota.

PARMAN SAYS IT'S UNUSUAL TO SEE PASTURELAND VALUES JUMP WHILE RENTAL RATES REMAIN STAGNANT. WHILE THERE ARE MULTIPLE REASONS FOR THIS, THE REGION'S DROUGHT IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST.

If there isn't available forage to rent, then the rental value is not going to go up. It's not going to change or in fact it might even go down because there isn't a lot of forage the subsequent year to graze cattle on. So you're not going to raise the rental rate with the forage availability being less.

THE DATA WAS COMPILED BY THE NORTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF TRUST LANDS ANNUAL SURVEY, WHICH LAND OWNERS CAN COMPLETE ONLINE.

WAGYU BEEF IS GROWING IN POPULARITY, AND SOME PRODUCERS ARE STARTING TO USE WAGYU GENETICS TO ENHANCE THEIR OPERATIONS.

FELLERS RANCH IN CONGER, MINNESOTA IS ONE OF THEM. IT ALSO HAS A PROCESSING PLANT, AND SELLS TO STORES AND RESTAURANTS IN THE TWIN CITIES.

Don Savelkoul: WE WANTED TO HAVE A PRODUCT THAT PEOPLE WOULD KNOW HAD NO HORMONES, HAD NO ANTIBIOTICS AND WHERE IT WAS RAISED.

A FEW YEARS AGO, FIVE PARTNERS, WHO ALL HAVE EXPERIENCE IN THE CATTLE BUSINESS, DECIDED TO TRY THEIR HAND AT RAISING WAGYU BEEF. IT'S A SLOWER PROCESS THAN RAISING REGULAR BEEF CATTLE. WAGYU CATTLE ARE RAISED FOR TWENTY TO THIRTY MONTHS, COMPARED TO THE CONVENTIONAL SIXTEEN TO EIGHTEEN MONTHS. THE HIGH-QUALITY MEAT IS

GROWING IN POPULARITY.

Don Savelkoul: PEOPLE APPRECIATE GOOD BEEF, AND THIS IS FABULOUS BEEF. IT'S BEING SERVED AT SOME OF THE FINEST RESTAURANTS IN THE WORLD.

TO GET THAT QUALITY, THE CATTLE REQUIRE SPECIAL CARE, AND LOW STRESS. THAT INCLUDES PRECISE FEEDING, AND A COMFORTABLE ENVIRONMENT. THE FELLERS HAVE 350 HEAD OF CATTLE AT TWO LOCATIONS.

Ryan Merkouris: SO WE LIKE TO GIVE THEM A LOT MORE SPACE AND JUST FREE THEM TO ROAM AND YOU KNOW, DIRT'S A LOT BETTER ON THEM THAN CONCRETE, FOR THEIR FEET AND THEIR JOINTS AND EVERYTHING. SO IT'S JUST A LOT MORE CARE. WE PROBABLY SPEND A LOT MORE TIME WITH THEM THAN YOUR REGULAR CATTLE FEEDERS. OUR END GOAL IS TO BE THE BEST THAT THERE IS.

JEREMY JOHNSON IS A PARTNER IN THE FELLERS RANCH, AND HE OWNS CONGER MEAT MARKET. HE'S BEEN PROCESSING WAGYU BEEF FOR ABOUT THREE YEARS. HE SAYS MUCH OF THE QUALITY AND FLAVOR COMES FROM THE HIGH AMOUNT OF MARBLING, AND FOURTEEN-DAY DRY AGING.

Jeremy Johnson: SO IT GETS TO BE A REALLY TENDER BITE WITH LOTS OF JUICINESS AND FLAVOR. SO REALLY TO SELL IT, YOU'VE JUST GOT TO GET PEOPLE TO TRY IT.

AND, THE PARTNERS SAY IT'S NOT JUST THE GREAT FLAVOR THAT MATTERS TO PEOPLE.

Don Savelkoul: PEOPLE CARE ABOUT THOSE HEALTH BENEFITS, THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS BENEFITS. AND THEN THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IS IT JUST TASTES GREAT.

FELLERS BEEF IS AVAILABLE AT SEVERAL STORES IN SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA. THEY ALSO OFFER ONLINE SALES WITH OVERNIGHT DELIVERY.

AFTER THE BREAK, WE LOOK BACK AT A STORY FROM THE AGWEEK VAULT. WE VISIT A UNIQUE, AND STILL RARE.... ROBOTIC ROTARY DAIRY.

HAS SPRING OFFICIALLY SPRUNG IN THE REGION?

HERE'S JARED WITH OUR AGRI-WEATHER OUTLOOK.

THERE ARE MORE THAN 35-THOUSAND ROBOTIC MILKING SYSTEMS ON DAIRY FARMS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. LESS THAN 50 OF THOSE...ARE ROBOTIC, ROTARY DAIRIES.

IN THIS STORY FROM OUR VAULT, MIKKEL PATES VISITED ONE OF THOSE IN LISBON, NORTH DAKOTA. AT THE TIME IT WAS INSTALLED IN 2018, IT WAS ONLY THE 2ND OF ITS KIND IN THE U.S, AND JUST THE 4TH IN NORTH AMERICA.

MIKKEL: THE QUAL FAMILY HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN DAIRY IN RANSOM COUNTRY SINCE THE LATE 1940'S. LAST YEAR, BROTHERS ALAN AND RODNEY QUAL, ALONG WITH THEIR SONS, PULLED THE TRIGGER ON A MASSIVE TECHNOLOGICAL UPGRADE.

Rodney: It's kind of a legacy move on our part and it's a big move but I feel like we've done several budgets and I think it should work.

THE UPGRADE INCLUDED A HUGE, STATE OF THE ART FREESTALL BARN FOR ABOUT A THOUSAND COWS. NECK TAGS CONSTANTLY MONITOR HOW MUCH EACH COW MOVES AND EATS. 2 INDOOR WEATHER STATIONS CONTROL NEARLY A HUNDRED FANS THAT GENERATE A 6 MILE-PER-HOUR WIND AT THE MIDDLE OF THE BARN.

Jon Qual: When it's running properly, it's air exchanging the whole building in a minute and a half.

THE 320 BY 365 FOOT BARN ALSO FEATURES ROBOTIC FEED PUSHERS...AND ALLEY SCRAPERS.

Jon: Since it moves so slow, they're not fazed by it at all. Each pen is completely cleaned every 2 hours.

BUT THE CENTERPIECE OF THE UPGRADE IS A ROBOTIC ROTARY DAIRY PARLOR, JUST THE 2ND OF IT'S KIND IN THE UNITED STATES.

Alan: Efficiency is what it's all about...and this is, to us appears to be a very efficient system. We're getting a cow on and off every 10 seconds based on what we're doing right now.

THE ROBOTIC ROTARY, WHICH HAS 60 STALLS, MAKES A FULL ROTATION EVERY 9 MINUTES, AND CAN MILK UP TO 250 COWS AN HOUR...TWICE A DAY.

Alan: Almost 90 percent were getting on by themselves within 4 milkings. And now they're milking each pen in about 45 minutes. Within 4 milkings, we're down to almost full speed.

Alan NATS: When the cow comes in it identifies her with her next transponder.

Alan: So the operator can come in and take a look at this screen and know what's happening in the rotary for each cow that's on here.

ONCE IN A STALL, THE ROBOTS GO TO WORK.

Alan: On the front of each of these arms is a 3-D digital camera. When it comes out it views the teats of the cow hanging down from the udder. Then the height, it remembers what the height is each time that cow comes in.

Jon: Pleasant surprise how well it attaches on cows that might not have a perfect udder.

Jon: So it'll never overmilk a teat because they're all coming off individually off the cow. So your udder health is excellent.

Alan: And then, as she is milking out, the color of that piece of that pie with her number on changes color to that darker green as she reaches her average.

MOST COWS ARE FINISHED MILKING IN 5-6 MINUTES.

Alan: It turns to this gray color once she's totally done and it hangs up the unit.

A STANDARD ROTARY PARLOR THIS SIZE WOULD REQUIRE 4 EMPLOYEES. THE ROBOTIC PARLOR ONLY NEEDS ONE.

Rodney: It's such a labor intensive occupation and with the shortage of labor, this is just something that looked very promising for the future.

Jon: There's so many different opportunities and flexibility what we're doing milking cows now because of this parlor. It's been a real huge benefit.

MIKKEL: THE OPERATION PRODUCES MORE THAN TEN THOUSAND GALLONS OF MILK EVERY DAY. IN LISBON, NORTH DAKOTA, THIS IS MIKKEL PATES FOR AGWEEK.>

THE QUALS CAN MILK 1100 COWS IN FIVE AND A HALF HOURS...WITH ONLY 2 OR 3 PEOPLE.

STILL AHEAD ON AGWEEK TV, HOW BEER IS HELPING FARMERS THIS SUMMER...

JOHN DEERE AND BUSCH LIGHT ARE TEAMING UP TO OFFER A SPECIAL BEER TO HELP AMERICAN FARMERS IN CRISIS.

THE "FOR THE FARMERS" CAN WHICH FEATURES THE JOHN DEERE LOGO AND FARMING EQUIPMENT ON THE CAN, IS BEING SOLD AT BOTH LOCAL AND NATIONAL RETAILERS. BUSCH LIGHT WILL DONATE $1 TO FARM RESCUE FOR EVERY CASE SOLD UP TO $100,000. JOHN DEERE WILL MATCH BUSCH LIGHT'S DONATION.

Dan Erdmann: Each of these companies has been very helpful and supportive of our efforts over the years, individually. So, for them to come together to further that mission and allow us to help more families in need is something that we're just extremely excited about and looking forward to having that opportunity to extend that helping hand to farm families in crisis.

YOU CAN BUY A 24 OR 30 PACK OF THE "FOR THE FARMERS" CAN UNTIL JULY 3RD.

STORIES YOU'LL ONLY SEE ON AGWEEK.COM AND IN AGWEEK MAGAZINE THIS WEEK...

HEAR FROM SUGARBEET COMPANIES ABOUT THEIR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE UPCOMING GROWING SEASON.

AND EUNICE BIEL IS THE NEW STATE COMMITTEE CHAIR FOR F-S-A IN MINNESOTA, THE LATEST IN A LONG LINE OF AG-RELATED POSTS FOR THE SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA FARMER.

WE APPRECIATE YOU WATCHING AGWEEK TV.

REMEMBER TO CHECK US OUT DAILY ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM, TO KEEP UP ON ALL YOUR AG NEWS. HAVE A GREAT WEEK.

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