COW97 Ag News from Brownfield

Wisconsin farmers continue harvest activities

Wisconsin farmers continue harvest activities

Wisconsin farmers continue harvest activities

Wisconsin’s corn and soybean harvests are getting underway in some regions.   USDA reporters say 1% of the corn for grain and 2% of the state’s soybeans are already in the bin.

More than 97% of the corn is in the dough stage or beyond and 90% is dented.  That’s about 12 days ahead of the five-year average.  Wisconsin’s corn condition is 75% good to excellent.

About 90% of the state’s soybeans are coloring with 52% dropping leaves, around nine days ahead of average. 

The potato harvest is past the halfway point with 86% of the crop in good to excellent condition.

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NCBA, PLC critical of Fish and Wildlife Service wolf review

NCBA, PLC critical of Fish and Wildlife Service wolf review

NCBA, PLC critical of Fish and Wildlife Service wolf review

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is again considering protections for the gray wolf.  Assistant Director of Ecological Services Gary Frazer issued a notice saying the agency will conduct a year-long status review of the wolf after two petitions were filed by environmental groups to put wolves back on the Endangered Species List. 

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council issued a statement saying wolves have recovered and the review is unnecessary.  PLC Director Kaitlynn Glover says she’s disappointed in the decision to move ahead with the review saying, “It is unacceptable for the Service to continue to be held hostage by groups who want nothing more than to turn the Endangered Species Act into a permanent management tool.” 

The Fish and Wildlife Service is looking at wolf populations in the west, with much of the focus on Montana and Idaho.  So far, it has not begun a similar review process in the Great Lakes states.  The agency has also not put any emergency protections for wolves in place yet.

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Wisconsin Grassland CRP signups successful

Wisconsin Grassland CRP signups successful

Wisconsin Grassland CRP signups successful

USDA officials are pleased with state and national Grassland CRP signup figures.  Wisconsin’s acting Farm Service Agency director Tyler Radke says he’s pleased to see this level of interest from conservation-minded producers, calling it a powerful program.

Wisconsin producers enrolled 703 acres in the 2021 Grassland CRP signup while retaining the right to graze, hay, or harvest seed from those acres.

Nationally, more than 2.5 million acres were enrolled in Grassland CRP this year.  That doubles 2020’s enrollment and brings the total acres for all CRP signups past 5.3 million acres this year, surpassing USDA’s four-million-acre goal.

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Producers join USMEF on Latin American promotional trip

Producers join USMEF on Latin American promotional trip

Producers join USMEF on Latin American promotional trip

U.S.  beef, pork, and lamb producers recently connected with Latin American meat buyers and consumers.

Joe Schuele with the U.S. Meat Export Council tells Brownfield the Latin America Products Showcase brings buyers, sellers, and consumers together over a two-day event. “We’ve had the opportunity for producers who help fund the event to participate. This year, we had cattle producers from Nebraska, Wisconsin, (and) Idaho at the event and had an opportunity to see their checkoff dollars in action.”

Amy Radunz was one of three Wisconsin Beef Council members that made the trip to Costa Rica.

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USDA increases corn, soybean crop projections

USDA increases corn, soybean crop projections

USDA increases corn, soybean crop projections

The USDA has raised its 2021 U.S. corn and soybean production estimates.

Corn is now projected at 14.996 billion bushels, up 2% from August, with an average yield of 176.3 bushels per acre, 1.7 more than the last guess, and increases for both planted and harvested area. Planted area was reported at 93.304 million acres, with harvested area at 85.085 million acres. In 2020, production was 14.183 billion bushels, with an average yield of 172 bushels per acre and harvested area of 82.467 million acres.

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Wisconsin crops maturing slightly ahead of average

The USDA says the past week was ideal for chopping corn.

Seventy-five percent of the state’s corn crop is in good to excellent condition. Ninety-one percent is in the dough stage, 65 percent is dented, and seven percent is mature.

Seventy-four of soybeans are rated good to excellent with 97 percent setting pods and six percent dropping leaves.

Potato harvest is about a third complete.

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Midwest Democrats want biofuels included in reconciliation

A group of Midwestern Democrats led by Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar is urging House and Senate leadership to include biofuels in the budget reconciliation process.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the group says providing additional market access for higher blends of low carbon fuels in reconciliation will create jobs in rural communities, lower the price of fuel for consumers, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and most importantly decrease carbon emissions.

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Wisconsin ending hemp pilot, joining federal hemp program

Wisconsin ending hemp pilot, joining federal hemp program

Wisconsin ending hemp pilot, joining federal hemp program

Wisconsin will not continue its hemp pilot program in 2022. 

Ag Secretary Designee Randy Romanski says DATCP’s plan is to transition from a state-run hemp program to a federally-run program now that USDA has finalized its hemp rules. “There seems to be an understanding that this transition provides hemp growers with the greatest opportunity to produce hemp in Wisconsin. That’s been our goal since day one, and this is the next step in that journey.”

Wisconsin Hemp Alliance President Rob Richard says this is absolutely the right decision by state officials.

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Ice cream sales dipped in July

Ice cream sales dipped in July

Ice cream sales dipped in July

July is ice cream month, but Americans didn’t eat as much as they did during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin say data from market analysts at NPD shows total ice cream and frozen novelties sales dropped 7% compared to 2020 when the start of the pandemic caused sales to surge in grocery stores.  The checkoff group says sales are still 3% better than in 2019 before the pandemic hit.

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Dairy cooperative hopes for ag labor reform when Congress returns

Dairy cooperative hopes for ag labor reform when Congress returns

Dairy cooperative hopes for ag labor reform when Congress returns

A dairy group is hopeful Congress moves quickly on a foreign labor bill when recess is over.

Mykel Wedig is the Associate Director of Government Affairs for Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative.  She says Congress must first finish the appropriations process since they need to fund the government by Sept 30th. “That will take up a lot of space in the next two months, but then past that, ag labor is something that they can make some movement on.” 

Wedig says the Farm Workforce Modernization Act passed the House, but the Senate is only beginning work on the bill. 

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Wisconsin ag dean to step down

Wisconsin ag dean to step down

Wisconsin ag dean to step down

Kate VandenBosch UW CALS photo by Michael P. King

The Dean of the University of Wisconsin College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will step down from the role next spring.  Kate VandenBosch made the announcement to Madison faculty and staff, saying serving has been a privilege and a joy. 

Chancellor Rebecca Blank says VandenBosch helped keep Wisconsin on the cutting edge of research and teaching. 

VandenBosch oversaw the launch of the Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center to use the latest plant biotechnology approaches to improve crop species.

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Meat processors are upset with USDA’s latest mask order

Meat processors are upset with USDA’s latest mask order

Meat processors are upset with USDA’s latest mask order

A recent mask requirement from the USDA has meat processors concerned.

USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service Notice 34-21 says meat and poultry plants that use federal inspectors must require their employees or contractors to wear masks when inspectors are present if the plant is in an area of “substantial” or “high” COVID-19 transmission.  The notice says USDA does not have the authority to directly abate hazardous conditions at private establishments, but the agency can keep its inspectors away from the plant if employees don’t wear masks.

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Most Wisconsin crops benefited from rain

Most Wisconsin crops benefited from rain

Most Wisconsin crops benefited from rain

Most Wisconsin crops received some moisture in the week ending Sunday, but the Madison to Milwaukee area and some areas in far northern Wisconsin continued their 2021 dry trend.  Rainfall amounts ranged from less than half an inch in the dry zones to a band of nearly eight inches of rain between Wisconsin Rapids and Green Bay.  The heavy rains did cause some crop damage.

Wisconsin topsoil moisture is now 65% adequate with 18% surplus and 10% short.

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Interseeded cover crop and corn experiment is going well

Interseeded cover crop and corn experiment is going well

Interseeded cover crop and corn experiment is going well

A researcher is very optimistic about potential yields for both corn and the interseeded cover crop.

Jamie Patton with the University of Wisconsin’s Nutrient and Pest Management Program has several test plots at Peninsula Research Station near Sturgeon Bay. She tells Brownfield, “We got the cover crop on at V4, perfect timing with rain, and what we’re seeing is lush vegetative growth of that interseeded cover crops providing a great cover.”

And she’s very optimistic about what the yields will be.

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More tar spot problems reported in Wisconsin

More tar spot problems reported in Wisconsin

More tar spot problems reported in Wisconsin

A plant pathologist says he’s getting more reports of tar spot in Wisconsin cornfields.  Dr. Damon Smith with the University of Wisconsin tells Brownfield he’s getting a lot of phone calls lately, and he’s not surprised to see a pattern for tar spot infestation. “It’s basically been moving where we’ve had rainfall, so where we had consistent rainfall, so you can imagine the kind of northern tier and northeast part of the state (has) higher epidemics there, and then as we move down into, say, the southeastern part of the state where we’ve had a more substantial drought, we see less tar spot there.”

Smith says he’s seeing some differences between corn hybrids, which is good for his research because there are signs of tar spot resistance in some hybrids.  Smith says farmers seeing tar spot have to make some decisions about what to do with that crop.

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Soil scientist says don’t treat all fields the same when managing nitrogen

Soil scientist says don’t treat all fields the same when managing nitrogen

Soil scientist says don’t treat all fields the same when managing nitrogen

A soil scientist says farmers should not treat all fields the same when it comes to nitrogen management.

Professor Carrie Laboski with the University of Wisconsin tells Brownfield farmers need to make sure they credit their manure nitrogen, and she says think about each field individually, as soil type, drainage, and other factors can vary from field to field. “Your wettest fields and your fields that are the sandiest should have in-season as the majority of the N.

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Farming for the Future Foundation plans education center

Farming for the Future Foundation plans education center

Farming for the Future Foundation plans education center

A group of farming advocates and educators plans to open a hands-on ag education center. 

Candise Miller is with the Farming for the Future Foundation, which began in central Wisconsin three years ago.  Miller tells Brownfield they have a great board with ambitious plans to educate people about agricultural innovation and sustainability with a two-pronged approach, “focusing on education starting with young ones in the classroom at the fourth-grade level and helping them to kind of just build their own foundation around agricultural topics, and then we also have plans around a physical location to bring the message to a broader audience.”

Miller says they want to connect people growing the food with people eating the food, as well as show people about the many career paths in agriculture, “and really starting to dispel maybe some of the myths around what it means to be in agriculture.

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Wisconsin farmers took advantage of the mostly-dry week

Wisconsin farmers took advantage of the mostly-dry week

Wisconsin farmers took advantage of the mostly-dry week

Last week’s warm and mostly dry conditions meant farmers could work on 3rd and 4th crop hay nearly all week.  USDA reporters say 82% of 3rd crop and 20% of 4th crop is cut, with 4th crop running about 7 days ahead of average.  The all hay condition is 73% good to excellent and pastures are 61% good to excellent.

Even without much measurable rain in the week ending Sunday, topsoil moisture levels are 66% adequate with 18% short and 8% very short.

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Farmers urged to reevaluate insurance coverage

Farmers urged to reevaluate insurance coverage

Farmers urged to reevaluate insurance coverage

An agent says farmers should reevaluate their insurance because of rising repair and replacement costs.

Jeff White

Jeff White represents Rural Mutual Insurance in Menominee and Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  He tells Brownfield a policy taken out a year or two ago might not meet the needs of the farm today. “Is my big dairy facility insured correctly? Do we have enough coverage limit on it should a catastrophe occur, because we’ve seen an increase in the cost of just the materials itself so with lumber and steel prices going up.”

White tells Brownfield one of his insured farmers is building a steel structure this summer that was bid over a year ago, and that same building at today’s prices would be 50% more expensive to construct.

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USDA marks anniversary of Higher Blends Infrastructure Investment Program with funding announcement

USDA has announced another round of funding to help increase the use of biofuels. 

Through its Higher Blends Infrastructure Investment Program, USDA will award $26 million to 23 states, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson says investments like these give consumers more environmentally friendly fuel choices and stimulate an important market for farmers.

Ron Lamberty with the American Coalition for Ethanol says HBIIP dollars are usually spent on installing E-85 pumps.

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