NDSU Extension - Cavalier County

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3/18/2014

Farm Bill 2014 is the most talked about Farm Bill that we have seen in years and overall a very good Farm Bill for Cavalier County with our huge history of canola acres and production in addition to our many farm units with full crop bases.  I never thought USDA would ever give farmers another chance to update base acres, let alone crop yield levels.    It may not be advantageous for everyone to re-allocate crop bases but at least you’re given the option.    The same with farm yields but in most cases the 2008-2012 average farm yields are well above the prior established yields so I would think everyone would be updating yields.   Payments are always based on proven farm yields so it’s a no brainer to try bump those yields where you can.  The nice thing about this opportunity to reallocate bases and establish new yields is just that - an opportunity but not a requirement!   You’ll have your new and old numbers to look at and then you decide if you should keep the old or use the new ones!   

NDSU will have a user friendly computer spreadsheet that will allow you to put your own farm figures in and give you instant results on the most favorable option to sign-up for at FSA.   The key number that will be difficult to come up with for each farmer is the expected crop prices over the next 5 years of the Farm Bill!   If prices fall off significantly over the next several years the best paying option will be the PLC election, though no one can predict where prices will be next month let alone the next 5 years.   The scenario that had me concerned prior to this new Farm Bill was a turn to lower prices and less revenue coverage with our crop insurance program!   Now if prices fall, the PLC payment will help make up for the loss of crop insurance revenue coverage!   The PLC payment will not be on planted acres, it will be on crop base acres (history) so it will not be a direct relationship to the crop you have planted in a given year but typically most commodities follow each other in a general trend.    The protection is the satisfaction of knowing something will be there in years of collapse prices!   If you don’t collect any PLC payment that means prices will be favorable for all crops consequently improved coverage with crop insurance under the revenue options!

We have a lot of time to make the decision on what option to select as that will likely be later this summer or early fall so now’s the time to gather all the knowledge you can about the Farm Bill by attending all informational meetings possible to listen to different opinions which will help you make an informed decision. 

Farm Bill Meetings:  Informational presentations will be made by Dwight Aakre, NDSU Farm Management Specialist at the Barley Show this Friday during the Barley Informational Program that starts at 3 PM in the new Osnabrock Barley Hall.   Dwight gave a presentation in Devils Lake a couple weeks ago on this new Farm Bill with over 250 farmers in attendance as everyone wants to hear his opinion and the latest on the Farm Bill as the next 5 years will be critical to farm success and/or failure.

Another Farm Bill meeting with Dwight Aakre will be held in Langdon at the Research Extension Center on April 1st starting at 1 PM.  Cavalier County Extension Service and USDA offices will have additional meetings this spring and early summer to keep everyone informed about this Farm Bill as things progress.  Stay tuned!                

Recertification meetings:  Cavalier County has three upcoming Private Applicator Recertification Meetings:  March 20, 8:30 a.m.; March 26, 8:30 a.m.; and April 10, 6 p.m.  All meetings will be held at the Courthouse. No pre-registration is required.  Meeting will last about three hours. 

Elgin-ND Seed:  Your Crop Improvement Association has Elgin-ND Wheat seed available for sale.  Stop by the Extension Office for an application. This variety has both decent yield and protein.  Priced at a state price of $14.30/bushel for Registered Seed (eligible to certify) This variety performed real well for 10 growers this past summer at low seeding rates of 1-1 ½  bushels.  A 90-100 lb. seeding rate is all I would plant per acre.  Some feel the price is high but a lot of common or certified seed is selling of $10-12 per bushel so for new seed it’s not so bad.

Grain Bin Storage & Safety:  There have been a few reports of grain that went in the bin wet last fall with good aeration but that wasn’t enough to prevent some caking up or crusting!   Make a point to check all your stored grain, even those where the grain went in dry last fall!  There are several reports of more than the usual amount of snow that has blown in on top of the grain surface so as this starts to melt there may be some added issues with stored  grain.   When checking stored grain or auguring out bins be very careful!  Be aware of potential avalanche areas and hollows.    Whenever possible there should be two adults present at all times but even then there are still risks, like what happened to a young farmer in western ND earlier this winter where the second man could not pull him free plus he was outside the bin but the avalanche came right out the door.  One would think with all the lives lost in and around grain bins that it would be such a lesson that it wouldn’t happen again but it does and will keep happening so I will keep talking about it!

Industrial Beet Meeting:  Informational meetings on the economics of industrial beet production are scheduled at five locations in central North Dakota.  Langdon will have a meeting on Thursday, March 20, 1-3 p.m., at the Cavalier County Courthouse.   Industrial beets, also called energy beets, are varieties of beets bred for industrial sugars that can be converted to a wide range of biofuels and chemicals. The meetings will provide farmers with economic information and tools to help them decide whether to grow industrial beets. Inputs, equipment, production costs and expected returns will be discussed.

Annual Township Officers Association Meeting will be held Monday, March 31 at 7 p.m., at the Cavalier County Courthouse. 

Spring Fever Garden Forum 2014!!  NDSU will be launching a statewide gardening forum on Tuesday and Thursday evenings (March 25th – April 3).  Presentations will be broadcast at the courthouse meeting room in Langdon at the evening sessions live from NDSU Specialists.   This type of programing will allow for questions directly from the audiences all across the state and those attending locally.  An example of topics covered will be soil Issues for gardeners,  trees in winter landscapes, container gardening, new elm cultivars, home garden remedies, flower trials, fruits, new and old diseases, planting tree (do it right the first time), growing grapes, superior vegetables, low-maintenance perennials,  etc.   Three topic areas will be covered each evening, sessions times are 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.  If you can’t attend this meeting location there are online options.   For additional information call my office 256-2560 or visit our web site at www.ag.ndsu.edu/springfever

April is typically a good time to start aeration fans to finish drying crops. 

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