Michelle Rook / AgweekTV Anchor
SIOUX FALLS, S.D.—The prolonged period of low milk prices has taken its toll on the nation's dairy industry with the U.S. Department of Agriculture reporting a 6.5% loss in operations between 2017 and 2018. However, the Interstate 29 corridor in South Dakota has still seen fairly steady growth in dairy cow numbers and expansion of key processing facilities. As a result, dairy producers are looking ahead with some optimism. That attitude was apparent among those attending the Central Plains Dairy Expo in Sioux Falls March 26-28.
BROOKINGS, S.D. — South Dakota farmers continue to push the yield envelope for soybeans to improve the profit potential, especially compared to corn. They gained insight on how to increase yield and achieve 100-bushel-plus soybeans at this year's Soy 100 in Brookings. The seminar is put on by the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council and Chairman Craig Converse says the underlying goal is to help soybean growers improve their bottom lines in the upcoming season.
YANKTON, S.D. — The Environmental Protection Agency advanced the long-awaited proposed rule for E15, the same week it also granted five new small refinery waivers from the Renewable Fuels Standard dating back to 2017. For years, the ethanol industry has worked both through Congress and administratively to get the Reid vapor pressure law lifted and allow year-round sales of E15. The EPA action comes nearly a year after a bitter fight broke out when the petroleum industry attempted to get President Donald Trump to dismantle the Renewable Fuels Standard.
VERDIGRE, Neb. — Nebraska farmers and ranchers are putting their lives back together as damage totals continue to climb after one of the worst disasters in the state's history. Willard Ruzicka says his ranch near Verdigre looked like a war zone after the 91-year-old Spencer dam broke on the Niobrara River. "It was storming. It was snowing. It was just plain pure hell. Basically I don't have anything left," he said.
ORLANDO, Fla. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency is fully focused on implementation of the 2018 farm bill but is playing catch-up after the 35-day government shutdown. "Does that mean that to get to implementation we'll be 35-days behind? I would say absolutely not," Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce says. "That will kind of scrunch up our timeline a little bit, compress it. But we should be in good shape from an implementation standpoint."
ORLANDO, Fla. — Farmers from across the country attending this year's Commodity Classic were looking ahead at 2019 with hopes for an end to the trade war with China and the lifting of tariffs on other major trading partners. Recent reports have indicated the United States and China are close to a deal and March 27 has been set as the date for a Trump-Xi meeting in Florida. President Donald Trump has asked China to lift tariffs on agricultural goods since the U.S. did not increase tariffs March 1.
BROOKINGS, S.D. — South Dakota is following the national trend when it comes to the shortage of large animal veterinarians. However, the state is also trying to be proactive in addressing the problem and that was a part of the focus of the recent James Bailey Herd Health Conference in Brookings.
FARGO, N.D. — Trade has dominated agricultural headlines the nine months and been the focal point of the markets, especially for soybean farmers. That was the focus of a hot topic panel at the Northern Corn and Soybean Expo in Fargo on Feb. 12.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Alfalfa production is already huge in the region, but interest continues to grow, especially with strong prices and good demand with the expansion of the dairy industry in the Interstate 29 corridor. Those wanting to learn how to produce top-end alfalfa for the market gained insight from the experts at Alfalfa U in Sioux Falls.
As farmers plan for the upcoming growing season, they are facing higher fertilizer prices verses 2018 and that is dictating increased management. Retail fertilizer prices continue to move higher, with nitrogen fertilizer leading the way because of the increased cost of natural gas used to make those products. For the last week of January, anhydrous prices averaged $584 per ton verse $490 per ton for the same week in 2018, which is up 19 percent. Urea was at $409 per ton, compared to $353 per ton last year, an increase of 16 percent.