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Farm debt has received increased attention in recent years. During the past two decades farm debt has increased – approaching levels last observed in the 1980s. Even as farm income has increased producers are still relying on inflated debt levels. Offsetting some of the challenges of increased debt levels have been better interest rates and lesser interest expenses. This week’s post considers another important trend in farm debt – longer repayment terms.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center and AccuWeather both have released their weather forecasts for the meteorological winter months of December, January and February.

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The recently released official forecast for the upcoming winter predicts we will have snow and cold temperatures.

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ST. LOUIS — Bayer announced its support of National 4-H Council’s National Youth Science Day by supplying engaging STEM education kits for students in rural areas whose schools have limited internet access and resources.

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A roadmap for future research investments in organic farming is planned by the Organic Farming Research Foundation and the Organic Seed Alliance. The organizations have been awarded funding for their proposal, which is titled “A National Agenda for Organic and Transitioning Research.” They recently were named recipients of a grant provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The organizations plan to conduct national surveys of organic producers to determine research priorities.

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Early in this reporting period we were able to harvest a few acres of soybeans. We were able to start again late this past Thursday. A good probability of rain again both this past Saturday and Monday enticed us to take advantage of every available hour. This previous weekend we took a trip to the Twin Cities. I didn’t see one harvested soybean field from Wausau through Eau Claire and on north to Hudson.

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The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection invites Wisconsin dairy processors to apply through Dec. 13 for the next round of Dairy Processor Grants. The funding is intended to foster innovation, improve profitability and sustain the long-term viability of Wisconsin’s dairy processing facilities. Grant recipients will be announced in February 2020.

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The 2019-2020 Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin’s “Financial Literacy for Dairy Now” is open for registration. An advanced third level has been added to the multi-level program designed for dairy-farm owners, chief financial officers and partners. The program also has been a valuable professional-development resource for veterinarians, nutritionists and other agribusiness professionals. Offered in multiple sessions, “Financial Literacy for Dairy” provides attendees a solid financial understanding and foundation complimented by instruction in more-complex principles.

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LANCASTER, Wis. – The contour-farming practices of southwestern Wisconsin made a lasting impression on Gerry Weiss. So did his animal-science professors and meat-industry mentors.

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The past couple of weeks have been wet in the area, keeping most people out of the fields. There were only a few days suitable to get out there and get anything accomplished. The wet conditions allowed us to take an extended weekend to drive down to Chapel Hill, Tennessee, and back for my cousin’s wedding.

We only received 0.2” of rain at my house in the last week. Finally got the combine back and continued picking corn. Corn yields have been 10 to 15 bushels lower than we expected so far this year. We finished up one field that the wind had blown down the corn in some parts of the field and leaning in most of the field. It was definitely slow going. I think we probably have one more field that might be down in parts of the field.

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A week ago, I was overwhelmed with the extremely nice weather and trying to recover from a week of contest prep. I’m not sure what takes more of a toll on a person: getting ready for a large event, or tearing everything down? I spent all of Monday sorting through results from the corn husking contest and contacting the top three of each class and I talked to over 80 people to see if they were interested in attending nationals. After a week of exhaustion, it was Tuesday. It was time to return to work.

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Another week has passed and here I sit deciding whether I really accomplished anything this week. We had another good week of harvest. Started the week off with rain, for which we are thankful. The guys have been very busy with some repair work and with rebuilding a tillage tool. That project turned out to be bigger than expected, but also easier than expected.

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We got rain, 1.4 inches on Thursday night and most of Friday. What a welcome relief. It knocked us out of the field for the weekend, but we were ready for a rest. Mark even took a three-hour nap on Saturday afternoon. He is that tired. Plus he got a flu shot, his second shingle shot and a tetanus shot on Friday. It literally wiped him out, but he’s protected for the flu, shingles and cuts.

Editor's note: The following article is the second of a three-part series featuring the marketing and agronomic considerations involved in growing hemp for cannabidiol – CBD – production. 

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency State Executive Director William J Graff has announced that Alexander, Pulaski and Union counties are accepting applications for the Emergency Conservation Program to address damages from 2019 spring flooding.

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OMAHA, Neb. — Farmers across the U.S. and Canada can access advanced technology for marketing their grain more effectively and improving profitability when STRATUM, a new, first-of-its-kind digital platform, is introduced by GrainBridge in the first quarter of 2020.

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BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — Tractor Supply Company continues its mission to support youth in their local communities by launching its Fall Paper Clover campaign, a biannual fundraiser in partnership with National 4-H Council to provide scholarships for 4-H members.

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Tar spot has made annual appearances in Illinois since its initial detection in 2015. Last season, conditions that favored disease development and spread allowed the tar spot fungus, Phyllachora maydis, to develop to a significant degree well before the crop had matured, and many saw significant losses.

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With the extreme weather in the Corn Belt this spring, there has been a lot of concern that crops weren’t going to have enough time before the killing frost hit. Typically the first frost occurs from the end of September through the first half of October in much of the Corn Belt. Sometimes that frost can be toward the middle of September, which had a lot of growers nervous. Fortunately the unseasonably hot September mitigated most of the frost concerns I’ve heard from growers even in Wisconsin. That’s not to say it doesn’t exist.

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Agricultural producers now can enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs – two U.S. Department of Agriculture safety-net programs for the 2020 crop year. Meanwhile producers who enrolled farms for the 2018 crop year have started receiving payments for covered commodities if payments were triggered under such programs.

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FALL RIVER, Wis. – Bella Rees has a big project to complete before she turns 100 years old – a large display filled with photos, letters, notes and documents of her life. In her room at an assisted-living facility she has a large table filled with photos – ranging from the 1920s to recent snapshots.

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Pork exports continued to strengthen during August. Data from the USDA indicates pork exports grew by 22% from a year ago, with export value increasing 19%. According to an analysis from the U.S. Meat Export Federation, overall numbers from January through August are up 4% from a year ago.

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MANHATTAN, Kan. — When conversations turn to the world’s climate and natural resources, they often also go to livestock production. That was the idea behind a session at the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock international meeting hosted by Kansas State University Sept. 9-13.

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The high number of prevented-planting fields in some areas, the late start to harvest and the inability to apply P and K fertilizer as planned last fall or this past spring combine to raise a number of questions about fall application of P, K and lime over the next few months.

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FOND Du LAC, Wis. – Kelley Country Creamery has shown that a farm can use the beauty of a sunflower field to help others. The ice cream parlor – supported by the farm’s dairy – uses full-bloom sunflowers to help a noble cause – northeast Wisconsin’s Old Glory Honor Flights.

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URBANA, Ill. — A team including scientists from the University of Illinois has identified the ways in which glyphosate-resistant waterhemp has emerged in corn and soybean fields in southwestern Ontario.

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Variability in corn and fed cattle prices has certainly been the norm in the last few months.

Corn futures prices for the nearby contract were approximately $3.70 in mid-May, $4.35 in mid-July and $3.50 in mid-September. Average fed cattle prices in Kansas for the first and second quarters of 2019 were $125.06 and $117.32, respectively, and are expected to average only $106.21 in the third quarter.

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