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!
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.
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.
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.”
"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.
With 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.
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.”
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.
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