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The release of the National Oilseed Processors Association soybean-crush estimates this past Friday indicated crush levels increased substantially in October. Driven by a moderate export pace for soybeans and a decent crush margin, soybean crush appears back on track for the 2019-2020 marketing year.

MADISON, Wis. – Brad Pfaff accepted a new position with the Wisconsin government a week after being fired by the Wisconsin Senate. He was formerly the Agriculture Secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

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Changes to soil processes due to increasing global temperatures could cause rice to contain twice as much arsenic as rice consumed currently. We studied rice because it grows in flooded paddies that loosen arsenic from soil. That makes rice vulnerable to arsenic uptake.

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MADISON, Wis. – Three alumni of the University of Wisconsin-Madison recently earned distinguished-alumni awards from the UW-College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Being recognized for their lifetime achievements are Barbara Barton, Elzie Higginbottom and Steven Ricke.

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After reading everyone’s previous field report, I realized I was the only one who didn’t report any snow. Well this time I can join everyone else and report we had about 4 inches Nov. 6. It was not sticky but enough fell that I needed to plow my driveway. It’s quite steep so I need to plow to drive the car up without becoming stuck.

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TAYLOR, Wis. – Grazing wet pastures was the norm for many Midwest farmers this past summer. The lessons learned from too much rain were presented during a drizzly pasture walk by Nathan and Karen Kling, who are part of the Coulee Graziers Network.

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OPINION  Representatives of a national coalition representing almost 10,000 U.S. farmers and ranchers held a press conference earlier this fall in Washington, D.C., to announce the delivery of a letter to Congress urging support for the Green New Deal. They called on lawmakers to make agriculture policy reform a priority for addressing the climate crisis and the economic crisis facing independent family farms.

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The second set of 2019 Market Facilitation Program payments is now scheduled to be released. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said the payments will begin the week before Thanksgiving. Producers of Market Facilitation Program-eligible commodities will now be eligible to receive 25 percent of the total payment expected, in addition to the 50 percent they have already received. Registration at USDA-Farm Service Agency offices will be open through Dec. 6.

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Welcome to February? Nope, it’s November. Five inches of snow fell Sunday night into Monday, and now we have subzero overnight temperatures with single-digit daytime temperatures. As I sit here typing, we are sitting with temperature of 1 above with a real feel of -9 degrees. The good thing is the snow didn’t stick to the corn and at these cold temperatures any snow that is on it should flow through the combine, so we should be back at it later today.

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Another round of harvest delays with snow on Monday. Not entirely sure how many inches of snow we had as it was blowing and drifting. We finished cutting beans Thursday last week, and only have about 80 acres of corn left. Hopefully, we can get some decent weather at the end of this week so we can finish up.

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Forecasters believe we may see up to a foot of lake effect snow if this next weather system holds together. Area farmers continue to push harvesting to daily limits as they babysit grain dryers and maintain the status of grain bins as they are trying to dry down corn that seems to be hanging onto the moisture levels near the upper 20s. Some were seen shelling corn until noon, then switching to soybeans and then back to corn again. Needless to say, no one has been sitting still.

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We all need to remember our past to help us move forward better in life. But that doesn’t mean we have to dwell on our past. We are nearing the end of harvest for a year that will never be forgotten for most, if not all, of ag industry. This has been one of the most troubling years for so many people. But I do feel blessed to have a crop to harvest, and we have almost completed it safely and without too much trouble so far.

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We are done! The combine came home empty last Monday evening at 6 p.m. Corn harvest for many in this area ended last week. Not so in Illinois. Mark and I traveled to St. Louis for a meeting on Wednesday and Thursday and there were thousands of acres of corn and beans still in the field. We saw several combines rolling, but we also saw lots of standing water in fields. They obviously had more rain than we had.

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Trade agreements, as critical as they are, do not in themselves create trade. Trade happens when people connect with people, a reality five Dairy Management Inc. board members – all dairy farmers – witnessed during an Oct. 20-25 governance mission to Mexico. It was organized by the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — “I don’t think you can make grits in space,” contemplated Torbert Rocheford, the Patterson Endowed Chair in Translational Genomics for Crop Improvement in the Purdue University Department of Agronomy. “Well, maybe if you had a microwave.”

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Sending breeders into fields to manually measure the characteristics of plants is slow, laborious and expensive. Remote sensing technologies, coupled with advanced analytics, offer the promise of faster, more accurate data collection to improve the speed at which plant breeders can bring better cultivars to the market.

Craig Hill has seen it happen. He has seen the breakdown in the middle of harvest, the delay as he tries to figure out what happened, the frustration as he twiddles his thumbs as the wheels do not move in the field.

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Another week at the hands of Mother Nature. Snow, rain, sleet — we have had it all. The fields are wet under the stalks where we harvested prior to the precipitation, making ends greasy and soft for turning around and getting in and out of fields. Not much was moving late in the week or weekend, but Monday it was full bunny once again in the fields. Hoping to get a lot of acres covered before the next round of snow, rain, or whatever Mother Nature throws at us hits.

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We had a couple inches of snow last week that stopped harvest for a few days. We went back to picking corn Saturday and Monday morning and then switched back to beans Monday afternoon. Surprisingly, the beans were 13.5% moisture and were cutting well.

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If we turn the calendar back six months, like we did with our clocks this weekend, we’d find ourselves in the same predicament as we were back in the month of May. Very little fieldwork took place this past week, leaving Monday and Sunday as the most ideal window for harvest, if there was one. In my travels Monday as I headed to Wakarusa Nutritional Services with a tractor and a wagonload of corn, I noticed more soybean fields than corn that have yet to be harvested.

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Another milestone of the fall season has passed and I’m left scratching my head how we got here so fast. Halloween has come and gone, leaving piles of unneeded candy for the kids and fears of harvesting on Thanksgiving creeping in on some of us. We are moving right along on harvest. Another really good week and we will be getting close. We have about 30% of our corn to harvest. But, unfortunately, it’s all on the most outlying acres we farm. So, we kind have become a traveling harvest crew that goes home at night as we travel 20-some miles in one direction from the shop and 15 miles in another.

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Another week of hurry and wait. We should have had harvest completed two weeks ago, but yet again Mother Nature has reared her head and brought us an abundance of fall rains. We set some more records for the month of October. It was the hottest start to the month, the most rain received on one day in the month and then record lows to end the month. Halloween was brutal with temperatures in the low 30s and winds at 8 miles an hour. We only had 150 trick-or-treaters this year, and many were so wrapped up in coats, hats and gloves, I don’t know what their costume was.

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SPRING GREEN, Wis. – The grassland Dick Cates manages at his family farm near Spring Green is vastly different from that of smallholders in Ethiopia. But some grassland-management concepts and tools are universal.

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After the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the White House announced the 2019 Market Facilitation program, we noted that direct government payments were set to soar in 2019. The USDA’s most recent estimate of $19.5 billion in total direct farm payments is more than $5.5 billion more than 2018. The USDA’s initial estimated 2019 direct payments were $2.5 billion less than 2018 levels. This week’s post is an updated look at direct-payment trends and farm-level implications.

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OPINION  Let there be no doubt – climate change is a real, immediate and growing threat to national security, public health and our economy. But this past week the Trump administration decided to turn our back on the rest of the world by starting the process of withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.

MARSHALL, Ill. — Clark County soybean producer Don Guinnip has been cited by the Illinois Soybean Association High Yield PLUS Quality program for consistently producing soybeans that rank very high in livestock feed value.

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Migration at its most basic is the movement of a group of animals from one place to another – and in most cases back again. In some cases like the red-tailed hawk, partial migration occurs; some members of a species choose to remain in their summer home through winter. Mammals are considered nomadic migrants because they wander from place to place based on the seasons. The American bison was a great example of that; it roamed throughout the Great Plains as the seasons changed.

For a farmer who doesn't have a family member interested in continuing the farm, the biggest obstacle to farm transfer often is the ability of owners and seekers to find each other. Farm-link services have been introduced to help farmers transfer their farms by connecting them with new farmers. The need to connect is greater than ever. But there has been scarce research that explores their operations, outcomes and effectiveness.

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OPINION  The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association applauds the Wisconsin State Assembly’s unanimous approval of Senate Bill 219, which stands to expand access to capital for rural business owners including dairy manufacturers and processors.

The Real Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully – MEAT – Act recently was introduced to address labeling practices in alternative-protein products. The legislation was introduced by U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, R-1-Kansas, and U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-22-New York. The legislation “codifies the definition of beef for labeling purposes, reinforces existing misbranding provisions to eliminate consumer confusion, and enhances enforcement measures available to the U.S. Department Agriculture if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fails to take appropriate action.”

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BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. – Pasture and soil health are a priority for Brandon and Jerry Wagner. They work together on their Black River Falls farm to have the combination right on their organic dairy.