NDSU Agriculture


NDSU Agriculture

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2016 Annual Highlights Publication Now Available

2016 Annual HighlightsWe are pleased to share the valuable accomplishments of the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station (NDAES) and NDSU Extension Service in our 2016 Annual Highlights publication. Our missions contribute directly to the economic success of North Dakota’s agriculture and meeting the needs of our residents.

In this report, you will read about important research that advances and sustains agriculture as the leading economic sector in North Dakota. The agricultural economy is facing challenging times, and NDAES scientists are applying innovative technologies to improve cultivars, increase production levels and gain efficiency with the goal of improving farm profitability.

You'll also learn about how our NDSU Extension Service specialists and agents are providing educational programming that helps North Dakotans improve their lives, livelihoods and                    communities. We sincerely hope you enjoy reading the 2016 Annual Highlights!

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Long-term Grain Storage Requires Good Management

Some grain will be stored for many months or even more than a year due to low grain prices, so maintaining grain quality during extended storage will require extra care and management, according to North Dakota State University’s grain storage expert.

“Grain that will be stored for an extended time needs to be good-quality grain,” says NDSU Extension Service agricultural engineer Ken Hellevang. “The outer layer of a grain kernel is the pericarp, or seed coat, and provides protection for the kernel. If the pericarp is damaged, the kernel is more susceptible to mold growth and insect infestations. This reduces the expected storage life of the grain.”

Assure that the storage facility is clean and insects are not living in aeration ducts, under perforated floors, or in handling equipment or debris around the facility. Fumigate the empty bin to kill insects under the floor or in aeration ducts if an infestation occurred during the previous year. Also, consider applying an approved residual bin spray and a grain protectant to repel potential insect infestations if storing grain during warmer portions of the year.

More advice about grain drying and storage is available from the Extension Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering homepage.

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Wheat Base Farm Bill Payments Substantial for N.D.

wheat close up

The national average wheat price for the 2015 marketing year was $4.89 per bushel, compared with $5.99 in 2014. This is well below the reference price of $5.50, which was set in the 2014 farm bill and will trigger a $0.61 per bushel Price Loss Coverage (PLC) payment rate.

Under the farm bill, producers could choose either the PLC or the Agricultural Risk Coverage – County (ARC-CO) program for each crop on a farm.

About three-fourths of North Dakota wheat base acres are enrolled in the ARC-CO program, not the PLC program. Whereas the PLC program considers only price, the ARC-CO program protects against revenue shortfall at the county level. Both prices and county yields are considered to determine the safety net and whether a payment is triggered.

The final 2015 average yield for all wheat grown in each county has not yet been released by the Farm Service Agency; however, there is preliminary information available for most of the counties.

Based on this information, Andrew Swenson, NDSU Extension Service farm management specialist, estimates that producers in about one-third of North Dakota counties will receive the maximum ARC-CO payment.

“Depending on the county, the payment could range between $18 and $36 per wheat base acre,” says Swenson. “The maximum payment per acre under ARC-CO varies by crop, county and year.”

Total farm bill payments on North Dakota wheat base acres are expected to be in the area of $150 million. To read more visit our NDSU Ag News site.

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Livestock Water Quality Threatened by Dry Conditions

Stock dams and dugouts commonly are used to supply water to grazing livestock. (NDSU photo)Monitoring water quality throughout the livestock grazing season is important, as some parts of North Dakota are seeing hot and dry conditions.

“There are reports of areas in the southwest and parts of central North Dakota that are having water quality issues in stock ponds and watering holes where cattle have no other options for water,” says North Dakota State University Extension Service livestock environmental stewardship specialist Miranda Meehan.

Poor water quality can impact livestock health negatively, adds Gerald Stokka, NDSU Extension veterinarian and livestock stewardship specialist.

“Monitoring water quality throughout the grazing season is important because it changes in response to climate and environmental conditions,” Meehan says. “What is especially important is to keep a close eye on water quality during drought when using a shallow water source and sources with a history of water quality issues.”

Read more about livestock water quality at NDSU Ag News. Water testing is available at the NDSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

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$2 Million Grant Awarded to NDSU for Cover Crop Research

Cover Crops Trials
(NDSU Photo)
A nearly $2.15 million grant the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently awarded to North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station scientists at North Dakota State University will be used for a project to demonstrate how cover crops can increase the resilience and productivity of crops such as corn and soybeans and improve soil health and land use efficiency.

"The use of cover crops, common in the eastern and central Corn Belt, are uncommon in corn-soybean systems in the Upper Midwest and northern Great Plains due to the short growing season and extreme fluctuations in temperature and precipitation within and across growing seasons," says Marisol Berti, the project's lead investigator and a professor in NDSU's Plant Sciences Department.

This project is a collaborative effort of 13 researchers. Eight are from NDSU, which is leading the project. The remainder are from the University of Minnesota, Iowa State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agriculture Research Service laboratory in Morris, Minn.

Read more about this grant and a grant for pest and disease research at NDSU Ag News.

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Revised Field Pea Production Guide Available

Field PeaWith an increased interest in field peas in North Dakota, a team of NDSU Extension research specialists has updated and revised a field pea production guide.

According to the 2016 North Dakota prospective plantings report, produced by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, growers are intending to plant 640,000 acres of dry edible peas this spring, up 66 percent from 2015.

If all of these acres are planted, it would be a record high, with 30,000 more acres planted, compared with the current high of 610,000 field pea acres planted in 2006.

With the increased interest in field peas, North Dakota State University Extension agronomists, pathologists, entomologists and an agricultural engineer, revised and updated the NDSU Field Pea Production guide.

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2015 North Dakota Beef Report Released

CowandCalfNorth Dakota State University; the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources; and the Agricultural Experiment Station are pleased to be able to provide this new 2015 report to the beef industry and cattle ranchers in the state. This report provides the most recent results from research related to beef cattle, beef products, and environmental and range sciences from North Dakota.
It also includes a broad range of research from on-campus departments, schools and centers, as well as Research Extension Centers across the state, and provides producers and stakeholders with one document that contains all beef-related research conducted at NDSU each year.
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Spotlight on Economics: Are Low Crop Prices Here to Stay?

(Photo courtesy of Morgue File)
A farmer recently asked a very simple but extremely relevant question at a market outlook meeting: “Will I ever see high grain prices again in my lifetime?”

The farmer asking this question started his farming career in the early 1980s and remembers the low commodity prices and tough financial conditions in agriculture at the time. The fear was that the grain markets were going to return to many years of low prices.

As usual, simple questions often have complicated answers. My short answer to the question was, “Yes, it is possible to see high grain prices again, but it likely will not happen this year.”

NDSU Extension Service Crops Economist shares his predictions on 2015 crop prices.

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Considering Planting Winter Wheat? Several Options are Available

Winter Wheat
Winter wheat (photo by NDSU)
This is the time of year when farmers are considering whether to plant winter wheat.

One of the biggest benefits to growing winter wheat is that it typically yields higher than spring wheat. Planting winter wheat can help producers spread out the workload. Even if the winter wheat crop suffers a significant winter kill, producers can plant another crop next spring.

Variety trials can help you choose which winter wheat to plant.

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Keep Livestock Away from Blue-Green Algae

Blue Green Algae is toxic
Photo by NDSU
With hot, dry and calm days comes the threat of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, which can be toxic to livestock and wildlife.

This algae often is found in stagnant ponds or dugouts with elevated nutrient levels. Live cyanobacteria are green. It turns blue after it dies and dries on the surface or shoreline.

Gerald Stokka, Extension veterinarian and livestock stewardship specialist, says symptoms of cyanobacteria poisoning can include weakness, staggering, difficulty in breathing, convulsions and ultimately death.

Tips for Preventing Cyanobacterial Poisoning in Livestock

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