Here’s a photo of winter wheat in western Kansas buried under a snowstorm last weekend. Crop insurance is an important product for farmers in times like these. (Photo from the High Plains Journal)
WHEAT GROUP TWEAKS HERITAGE OVER BLIZZARD DAMAGE: David Schemm, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers, wants representatives of The Heritage Foundation and taxpayer watchdog groups that criticize the federal crop insurance program to witness the damage a spring blizzard inflicted on fields in Kansas, the country’s biggest wheat state, over the weekend.The storm, which dropped a foot to 17 inches in places, hit eastern Colorado, parts of Nebraska and the western part of Kansas, where NAWG estimates it destroyed 43 percent of the state’s winter wheat crop. The timing couldn’t be worse, as wheat farmers are already reeling fromseveral years of extremely low prices.
“From their rhetoric, they would say a lot of farmers will go bankrupt and that’s how it’s supposed to be,” Schemm said of taxpayer groups and the conservative think tank on Tuesday as he surveyed his 4,500 acres of damaged wheat in Sharon Springs, Kan. NAWG had earlier tweeted: “A late season blizzard puts 43% of Kansas’ planted wheat acres under 14 inches of snow. @Heritage how would you handle w/o #cropinsurance?”
About7.7 million acres of wheat in Kansas – more than 90 percent – are covered by a crop insurance policy, a liability amount equal to $1.1 billion, NAWG estimates based on USDA’s 2016 data. Most of those policies protect against revenue losses, as opposed to just drops in yield, the group said, making an important distinction.
Heritage’s two cents: It’s not true that the Heritage Foundation is against all forms of crop insurance, said Daren Bakst, the group’s research fellow on agricultural policy. “On the yield side, we should be covering deep losses,” like those experienced in the recent storm, he said. “Other risks farmers should be managing on their own.” Heritage did call for eliminating crop insurance policies that guarantee revenue when it released a 65-page paper – which Bakst edited – on managing risk in agriculture last year. Pros, read the report here.
Here’s the podcast recapping the damage in Kansas as well as some better news regarding rebuilding after the wildfires that raged through the plains states:
I’ve got some southeast Minnesota harvest results for 2015. Southeast Minnesota corn harvest numbers look pretty good.
The 2015 corn harvest in southeast Minnesota looked good, according to the final numbers that came in this week from the National Ag Statistics Service office. (photo from southeastfarmpress.com)
Olmsted County: 184.9 bushels per acre
Dodge County: 204.0 bushels per acre (one of the top counties in Minnesota!)
Goodhue: 202.4 (also one of the top counties in the state!)
Here are some of the soybean numbers from southeast Minnesota.
Despite some battles with white mold, the soybean harvest numbers looked pretty good for 2015, as the final totals were released this week by the National Ag Statistics Service office. (Photo from www.thompsonslimited.com)
Olmsted County: 54.5 bushels per acre
Dodge: 60.6 (One of the top returns in the state!)
No soybean harvest results were turned in to USDA for both Wabasha and Houston counties.
This is a neat video of corn harvest in the Mankato, Minnesota area that was shot by using a drone camera. Take a look.
“Yes, things are looking good,” said Miller. “The one strange thing is the fields that were planted in early May typically aren’t showing rows anymore, and we can still see them. There are some places where you can still see down to the soil surface, which is extremely odd at this point, unless it was a really late planted field. That peaked my interest.”
He added, “They could still potentially close, and we’ll be following up in the next week or two to see what happens.”
The other challenge in soybeans is disease pressure in certain fields.
He are soybeans showing the symptoms of sudden death syndrome, which is said to be showing up in south central Minnesota bean fields. (Photo from Pioneer.com)
“It appears sudden death syndrome is starting to poke its head up,” said Miller. “We’re starting to see the symptomology. We should start to see more of it in the next couple of weeks. Right now, unless you’re out in the fields, it’s hard to see the foliar symptoms. If you’re on the road, you probably won’t pick it up.
“Unfortunately, there is a history of SDS in the area, basically from Waseca to Owatonna, and Austin to Albert Lea,” said Miller.
Farmers may want to begin scouting their soybean fields for aphid activity.
“We’re starting to see aphid activity, and to this point it hasn’t been too big of a problem,” said Miller. “Up until a few days ago, the activity was really light and hard to even spot. Now, it’s really variable from field to field. Some are at our threshold of 250 aphids per plant, with 80 percent of the plants infested, and they need to be sprayed. But there are other fields even a few miles away that don’t need spraying.”
Soybean aphids are showing up in south central Minnesota fields, but may not be at threshold yet. It’s important to scout fields as soon as possible. (photo from sdsoybean.org)
Miller wants farmers to avoid the temptation to spray without checking fields to see if it’s necessary.
“Given the current economic situation, people could benefit from waiting to spray (if a field isn’t at threshold),” said Miller. “We’re not out of the woods. These products won’t necessarily end the infestation. There are fields that may see recolonization later on. There are a lot of aphids flying around.”
A story developing out of southwest Minnesota involves non-performance of aphid killing products.
“There’s a narrow band of area in southwest Minnesota where there’s been some non-performance of insecticides,” said Miller. “How we stay away from that is waiting to spray until we need to, and that also can limit the need for a second application. But you still need to stay on top of it. Things can change quickly, and it won’t always be evident from the road.”
He said the overall condition of the corn looks good.
“We’re in the R2 to R3 stage,” said Miller. “I was looking at doing some early harvest estimates, and it’s a little tough because we have a long way to go. However, assuming we continue with good conditions, we might be looking at anywhere from 187 to 260 bushels per acre. If we can continue with good conditions, the harvest could be a little above normal.”
So far, the corn crop doesn’t seem to be feeling a lot of pressure.
“The corn really looks good,” Miller said. “I know there was some concern in northern Iowa with corn on corn leaf blight, but the corn here looks good.
“The bottom leaves haven’t even fired up yet, which they do when they hit the R3 stage. At that stage, the plant begins to recirculate some of its nitrogen and nutrients to use things up, and that hasn’t happened yet. The soil and the environment are still providing adequate fertility.”
The small grain harvest is progressing well in south central Minnesota.
The oats harvest in south central Minnesota is all but wrapped up, according to Ryan Miller of the Extension Service. Results are generally in the 150 bushel per acre range. (photo from pond5.com)
“I’m hearing tremendous yields on oats,” he said, “somewhere in the area of 150 bushels. That’s a phenomenal yield for small grains. Haven’t heard a lot on wheat yields yet, but I think that will be good too.”
He added, “Reports out of northwest Minnesota are that they have had good yields, but the protein content was a little low.”