NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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January 23, 2012 Agriculture Column


Well it has felt more like our normal winters last week but sure did not feel like it on Sunday.  It was really hard watching the football games with the nice temperatures on Sunday, could have been fishing.  Instead, I watched both of my choices lose by a field goal.  The really good thing about the winter, so far, not include grain hauling would be the cattle market.  If you have not been to a cattle sale you should attend one (Lake Region Livestock) and watch the enthusiasm.  Optimizum is in the air and so are prices as are evident but unfortunately so are our food prices.  This increase in grocery prices is not just higher from the meat side but all aspects have created higher food prices.

  For as long as I can remember cattle took second seat to most other activities on the farm/ranch as the cattle relied on unproductive crop land to survive.  Now that the cattle industry is thriving I have had producers checking on planting pastures for better herd management and capacity.  This might be a great opportunity to take a look at some of those hybrid grass choices on those poor producing acres we have.  There are somewhat salt tolerant Alfalfa’s and also other choices for grasses besides the old standard wheat grass varieties.  Grasses that do fairly well on those soils, produce good quality forage and could add additional dollars on those areas you are presently not receiving no income.

Estate Transition planning is coming in February.  The first session starts on February 9th and continues for two more sessions.  You will learn the basics of designing your estate and will be provided additional steps to further help you develop a process that will work for your family.  This is not a recipe to get you to sign up for an advisor but a chance for you to learn from others and learn some of the new laws and how they could affect your estate planning process.  The classes will be in the Armory room of the World Ward Memorial building.  You need to register on line (www.ag.ndsu.edu/anniesproject) or stop by our office and we will help you get registered for the three class seminar.  There is a $55 fee postmarked by February 2.  Registrations postmarked after February 2 will be processed at $75.  SO, for all you farmers and ranchers wishing to learn more about estate planning here is your chance.  The classes will be from 6:15-9:30 pm.    

Winter Wheat Winter Kill

Winter wheat injury questions have been the common place for those that have winter wheat this winter.  The question has been “at what temperature does the crown on winter not survive”?  I have done much research and have had conversations with our agronomists and come to conclusion, the answer is unclear.  Research out of Saskatchewan indicates that soil temperatures of -3 to -4 is very detrimental to the crown on winter wheat and DU has mentioned temperatures higher than that of 0 to +5 could be detrimental to the winter wheat plant crown.  Some research indicated the plant maturity, at freeze up, also played a role in winter hardiness.  This was illustrated by a two leaf plant and a five leaf plant at freeze up.  One thing is for sure we need more snow cover for the winter wheat to survive the winter season; however I like the snow free winter.  To learn more about the plant crown and survival local readings have been happening to help determine future reference points for winter wheat hardiness and survival.


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