Tag Archives: Farming

On June 14 and 15, 2019, soybean gall midge adults (Figure 1) were collected from Cass County (red dots; Figure 2). For more information on the larvae and plant injury see this UNL CropWatch article. Trap sites in Saunders and Lancaster counties are checked daily and have not shown any adult emergence.

If you have soybean fields in Cass County or Otoe County and have had soybean gall midge injury in previous years in adjacent fields, an edge treatment of an insecticide on soybean would be warranted. We ask those of you outside of areas where emergence is occurring to delay making any insecticide applications until adult soybean gall midge emergence occurs in your area. We will continue to post updates on soybean gall midge emergence as it occurs at the other sites.

Rough degree day calculations in Nebraska indicate that Ithaca, Mead, and Wahoo areas are approximately 100 degree days behind the southern Cass County sites. The West Point area is about 220 degree days behind, and the Norfolk and Concord areas are about 300 degree days behind. Recent daily accumulations are around 24 degree days per day so we are not expecting emergence for several days at the northern sites.

Growers spraying too early may not have enough residual insecticide activity when adults emerge in the area and may not be able to spray the field again in that period, depending on label restrictions, limiting efficacy and increasing the likelihood for plant injury from gall midge.

I’m in an area with soybean gall midge emergence. Now what?

Because this is a new soybean pest, we do not as yet have research-based recommendations; however, we have developed some preliminary recommendations based on our recent soybean gall midge observations. Those who have experienced significant economic losses from soybean gall midge are advised to use an insecticide with residual activity. This application should be made as soon as possible after adult soybean gall midge emergence occurs in your area. We don’t recommend making an application if a field can’t be sprayed within six days of first adult emergence of soybean gall midge.

Research is currently being conducted on the timing of insecticides relative to the emergence of soybean gall midge to determine a window of efficacy for insecticide applications. Closely related insects to this species have a very short life span as adults so we expect that all of the egg laying will be done within that time period, greatly reducing the efficacy of an insecticide application. Also, be sure to adhere to the label when applying a pesticide.

Making an Insecticide Application

Diagram showing random unsprayed (none) areas the width of boom along a field edge measuring about 50-100 ft long and 90-100 ft wide to determine if any efficacy was achieved with an insecticide application.
Figure 4. Diagram showing random unsprayed (none) areas the width of boom along a field edge measuring about 50-100 ft long to determine if any efficacy was achieved with an insecticide application.

For your benefit, it’s best to not spray in two to three areas along the edge of the field (50 – 100 feet long and 90-120 feet wide, depending on the length of the boom) to determine whether the insecticide worked. If you’re in Nebraska and need assistance with evaluating damage later in the season, contact Extension Entomologists Justin McMechan (402-624-8041) or Tom Hunt (402-584-3863). Figure 4 provides a visual demonstration of what sprayed and unsprayed (none) might look like along a field edge.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Like farmers throughout the Midwest, this spring’s torrential rains turned Andrew Dunham’s land into sticky muck that set him back nearly a month in planting his crops.

Unlike other farmers, though, Dunham won’t get a piece of a $16 billion aid package to offset his losses and he can’t fall back on federally subsidized crop insurance because he grows herbs, flowers and dozens of vegetable varieties, but not the region’s dominant crops of corn and soybeans.

“There are no federal bailouts for vegetable farmers,” said Dunham, who owns an 80-acre (32-hectare) organic farm with his wife near Grinnell, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Des Moines, and is enduring weeks without sales as his crops ripen. “We’ll just miss out on three weeks of income.”

Although the lack of federal safety net programs for farmers who grow everything from arugula to zucchini isn’t new, one of the wettest springs in U.S. history has focused attention on the special status of so-called commodity crops, primarily corn, soybeans, cotton, rice and wheat. Growers of some of those crops received $11 billion in special aid last year and will get $16 billion more this year to offset losses caused by trade disputes that led to tariffs and resulting drops in demand.

Federal support, including subsidized insurance and other protections against losses, is a long-standing tradition for growers of the major crops, who nevertheless are struggling to stay in business because of the tariffs, years of low prices and poor weather. The wet spring has also put growers of specialty crops in a tight spot, as they scramble to seed their fields and kill weeds that grew unhindered until recently.

The persistent rain has been especially worrisome for farmers in central Illinois who grow most of the nation’s pumpkins and the processors who turn the squash into pie filling for the nation’s Thanksgiving feasts.

“We had rain and rain and rain,” said Mohammad Babadoost, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who closely follows the state’s pumpkin crop. “They’re planting from dawn to dusk and even during the night to catch up because they’re about three weeks behind.”

Pumpkin seeds usually are planted in April or May, but Jim Ackerman, agriculture manager for Libby’s, the largest producer of pumpkin filling, said that if warm weather settles in over June and July, the crop should ripen in time to meet demand and prevent shortages. A cool, wet summer could cause problems, he said, but at least the seeds are in the ground.

“We’ve very happy to get things planted,” he said. “Everybody is a little relieved.”

Although corn is the nation’s biggest crop, nearly all of it is so-called field corn that is used for animal feed, ethanol production and as seed for future crops. Only about 1% is sweet corn, which is grown for human consumption.

For Scott Alsum, whose family owns Alsum Sweetcorn in central Wisconsin, rain made it nearly impossible to plant on schedule in mid-April. They planted some seeds between storms but they won’t know if it will be enough to meet the demand for corn sold at seven roadside stands, some farmers markets and to wholesalers.

“I don’t know if I’ll have enough corn to keep me going every day of the week or not,” Alsum said. “It’s going to depend on the weather. Right now it’s a little sketchy looking.”

In northeastern Iowa, Daquan Campbell, market manager for the Waterloo Urban Farmers Market, said many area farmers are in a similar situation and it has kept about a third of fresh produce growers from selling produce. The market still has plenty of baked goods and crafts, but customers shouldn’t expect to find asparagus or spring onions, which typically would be available this time of year.

“Customers are probably expecting a little bit more,” Campbell said. “We’ve been trying to educate them about the farmers and how the weather is dictating what’s available right now.”

In Minnesota, apple growers were more concerned about the cold temperatures than the persistent rain, said Ross Nelson, who owns Nelson’s Apple Farm, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Nelson said trees in his orchard bloomed about a week late, setting back his crop just a bit, but that growers in other parts of the state have had trouble with Honeycrisp and Haralson varieties.

Nelson, who has been growing apples since 1974, said he’s glad federal programs help growers of commodity crops and that he has never minded that he doesn’t benefit from such support.

“We know we’re pretty independent of the government and we’re not looking for government assistance,” he said.

Why the difference between crops?

Chad Hart, an Iowa State University economist, said the reason giant crops such as corn and soybeans have been treated differently is because they’re so important to the national economy. There isn’t a replacement for such crops and a shortage would be painful, particularly to the livestock industry.

“There are only so many things you can feed to our livestock and keep the meat production going,” he said.

Growth Energy Wednesday filed a motion in a U.S. federal appeals court to intervene in a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule allowing year-round E15 sales.

The final rule is being challenged by the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers who filed the lawsuit on Monday. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor called the challenge “no surprise,” noting the industry saw similar challenges when E15 was first approved in 2011. Skor says the oil industry “wants to inject uncertainty into the marketplace.”AFMP contends, “the plain language of the Clean Air Act does not authorize an RVP waiver expansion beyond E10.”

Year-round E15 sales were authorized through a Reid vapor pressure waiver. Under the Clean Air Act, legal challenges to EPA’s E15 rulemaking may be brought as a “petition for review” within 60 days of publication of the final rule in the Federal Register. Interested parties such as Growth Energy may also file a motion to intervene in the petition for review to protect their interests.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A new government report forecasts an even more bountiful winter wheat harvest in Kansas than had been expected.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service on Tuesday said the state’s crop this year is forecast at 330 million bushels, up 19% from last year. The more optimistic forecast is based on crop conditions on June 1.

The agency is predicting average yields in Kansas of 50 bushels an acre, up 12 bushels from a year ago.

Those extra bushels per acre are bolstering the anticipated harvest in a year when fewer acres overall are anticipated to be harvested. The report says Kansas is expected to harvest 6.6 million acres, down 700,000 acres from last year.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said today (Wednesday)  it is actively fighting the spread of the highly contagious African swine fever weeks after it reported an outbreak near its border with China.

The North’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said workers around the country were proceeding with “airtight” quarantine efforts to prevent the spread of the disease and ensure safety in livestock production.

African swine fever has decimated pig herds in China and other Asian countries. It’s harmless to people but is fatal to pigs and has no known cure.

There’s concern in South Korea that the outbreak in the North could spread across the border. Lee Sang-min, a spokesman for Seoul’s Unification Ministry, which deals with inter-Korean affairs, said the North has yet to respond to calls for joint quarantine efforts.

The North Korean newspaper said quarantine efforts were focused on disinfecting farms and transport vehicles, restricting visitors, and banning the distribution of food products containing pork. The newspaper’s references to nationwide quarantine efforts points to the possibility the disease has spread beyond the border area with China.

“At areas around the country, emergency quarantine efforts are being aggressively pushed to prevent the spread of the African swine fever, which is a highly contagious viral disease,” the newspaper said.

South Korean officials say North Korea has not reported an additional case since it said the illness had occurred at a farm in Jagang province to the World Organization for Animal Health in late May. The North said 77 of the 99 pigs at the farm died of the disease and the remaining 22 pigs were culled.

But South Korean Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul said in television interview on Sunday that the ministry was receiving unspecified “intelligence” that the disease was spreading to other areas in North Korea.

“It’s difficult to accurately confirm (the spread of the disease), so there’s a need for us to anticipate and prepare (for that possibility) to some degree,” he said.

An outbreak South Korea could hurt a massive industry that involves 6,300 farms raising more than 11 million pigs.

South Korean workers have tested pigs from some 340 farms near the inter-Korean border, with all those tests results negative, and also installed fences and traps to prevent livestock from being infected by wild boars that roam in and out of North Korea.

South Korea’s military, which is monitoring the movement of wild boars through heat sensors installed along the border, said it would be difficult for wild boars to cross over barbed wire fences in the mine-scattered border zone. But officials say there’s still a possibility that the animals could swim across rivers.

South Korea is also tightening control at harbors and airports, while imposing a 5 million won ($4,200) fine on travelers who fail to report food products containing pork after visiting countries dealing with African swine fever. Repeat offenders can be fined up to 10 million won ($8,470).

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement on disaster and trade-related assistance:

“Whether it’s because of natural disasters or unfair retaliatory tariffs, farmers across the country are facing significant challenges and tough decisions on their farms and ranches. Last month, immediately upon China reneging on commitments made during the trade talks, President Trump committed USDA to provide up to $16 billion to support farmers as they absorb some of the negative impact of unjustified retaliation and trade disruption. In addition, President Trump immediately signed into law the long-awaited disaster legislation that provides a lifeline to farmers, ranchers, and producers dealing with extensive damage to their operations caused by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019.

“Given the size and scope of these many disasters, as well as the uncertainty of the final size and scope of this year’s prevented planting acreage, we will use up to $16 billion in support for farmers and the $3 billion in disaster aid to provide as much help as possible to all our affected producers.

“I have been out in the country this spring and visited with many farmers. I know they’re discouraged, and many are facing difficult decisions about what to do this planting season or if they’ve got the capital to stay in business, but they shouldn’t wait for an announcement to make their decisions. I urge farmers to plant for the market and plant what works best on their farm, regardless of what type of assistance programs USDA is able to provide.

“In the coming weeks, USDA will provide information on the Market Facilitation Program payment rates and details of the various components of the disaster relief legislation. USDA is not legally authorized to make Market Facilitation Program payments to producers for acreage that is not planted. However, we are exploring legal flexibilities to provide a minimal per acre market facilitation payment to folks who filed prevent plant and chose to plant an MFP-eligible cover crop, with the potential to be harvested and for subsequent use of those cover crops for forage.”

Background:

For frequently asked questions regarding the USDA Risk Management Agency’s prevented planting policy and losses resulting from floods, please visit, here. For several frequently asked questions regarding how USDA will treat prevented planting acres with regard to the recently announced 2019 Market Facilitation Program and 2018/2019 disaster relief legislation, see below.

1. What is the purpose of the Market Facilitation Program? What is the legal authority?

The Market Facilitation Program (MFP) assists farmers with the additional costs of adjusting to disrupted markets, dealing with surplus commodities, and expanding and developing new markets at home and abroad, consistent with the authorities of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act.

2. Last year, soybeans had the highest MFP payment per bushel, should I plant soybeans this year to get the highest payment if I have the opportunity?

You should plant what works best for your operation and what you would plant in any other year, absent any assistance from USDA. 2019 MFP assistance is based on a single county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to the MFP-eligible crops (outlined below) in aggregate in 2019. Those per acre payments are not dependent on which of those crops are planted in 2019, and therefore will not distort planting decisions. Your total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed your total 2018 plantings.

2019 MFP-eligible non-specialty crops: alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, millet, mustard seed, dried beans, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, rye, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, triticale, upland cotton, and wheat.

2019 MFP-eligible specialty crops: tree nuts, fresh sweet cherries, cranberries, and fresh grapes.

3. My fields never dried out enough to get any crop in, do I get a 2019 Market Facilitation Program payment?

No, USDA does not have the legal authority to make MFP payments to producers for acreage that is not planted. To qualify for a 2019 MFP payment, you must have planted a 2019 MFP-eligible crop. Producers unable to plant their crop should work with their crop insurance agent to file a claim.

4. I filed a prevented planting claim and I am going to plant a cover crop to prevent erosion, does that count for 2019 MFP if it’s on the 2019 MFP-eligible list you announced in May?

If you choose to plant a cover crop with the potential to be harvested, because of this year’s adverse weather conditions, you may qualify for a minimal amount of 2019 MFP assistance. You must still comply with your crop insurance requirements to remain eligible for any indemnities received.

5. I heard that I could get 90% of my crop insurance guarantee as a prevented planting payment through the disaster bill, is that true?

The Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 gives the USDA the authority to compensate losses caused by prevented planting in 2019 up to 90%. While the authority exists, USDA must operate within finite appropriations limits. It is highly unlikely that the supplemental appropriation will support that level of coverage in addition to crop insurance. Congress appropriated $3.005 billion in assistance for a wide array of losses resulting from disasters throughout 2018 and 2019, requiring USDA to prioritize how it is allocated. The Department plans to provide assistance on prevented planting losses within the confines of our authority.

6. If I plant a second crop or cover crop, can I still get my full prevented planting payment? What about an MFP payment?

You must comply with crop insurance requirements to remain eligible for a full prevented planting indemnity. USDA encourages you to visit with your crop insurance agent to ensure you are aware of those various options for your operation. If you choose to plant a cover crop with the potential to be harvested, because of this year’s adverse weather conditions, you may qualify for a minimal amount of 2019 MFP assistance.

7. I have heard that only acreage in a declared disaster area will qualify for prevented planting under the Disaster Relief Act. Is that true?

USDA is currently evaluating the new authority provided under the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019. However, it is generally true that producers with qualifying losses in a Secretarial or Presidentially-declared disaster area will be eligible for Disaster Relief Act assistance. Producers with qualifying losses outside of those areas will have eligibility determined on a case-by-case basis.

8. I have a revenue protection policy with a ‘harvest price option’, do I get the higher of the projected price or harvest price for my prevented planting payment?

The Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 gives the USDA the authority to compensate losses caused by prevented planting in 2019 and also provides additional authority to compensate producers on the higher of the projected price or harvest price. USDA is currently exploring legal flexibility to provide assistance that better utilizes the harvest price in conjunction with revenue and prevent planting policies.

9. If I am prevented from planting but manage to get a cover crop or a forage in the ground, am I able to hay or graze that prior to November 1, given the forage shortage we’re going to experience?

USDA encourages you to visit with your crop insurance agent to ensure you are aware of those various prevented planting, cover crop, and harvest options for your operation. USDA is currently reviewing the prevented planting restrictions in the Federal Crop Insurance Act to determine what options may be available to address this and other issues. Further clarity regarding this haying and grazing date will be forthcoming.

10. What if I don’t have crop insurance? How do MFP and disaster relief programs work for me if I’m prevented from planting due to natural disasters?
Crop insurance is not required to qualify for 2019 MFP assistance. However, USDA requires that a producer plant a 2019 MFP-eligible crop to qualify for the 2019 MFP assistance.

If you choose to plant a cover crop with the potential to be harvested, because of this year’s adverse weather conditions, you may qualify for a minimal amount of 2019 MFP assistance.

The Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 gives the USDA the authority to compensate losses caused by prevented planting in 2019. Producers with qualifying losses in a Secretarial or Presidentially-declared disaster area will be eligible for Disaster Relief Act assistance. Producers with qualifying losses outside of those areas will have eligibility determined on a case-by-case basis.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee State University agriculture professor has received almost $1 million to study how crops adapt to climate change.

Jianwei Li  plans to use the funds from the National Science Foundation to study the effects of high temperatures on cropland soils in Middle Tennessee. Li said the research will help scientists better determine how much carbon dioxide is being emitted.

He said there is little data in the area.

The project also seeks to train minority students in global environmental change issues. An undergraduate student will be chosen each year to receive formal training for two months at the University of California, Irvine.

Li sees the grant as seed money to help build a permanent experimental infrastructure and develop an interpretive display on climate change to educate farmers and schoolchildren throughout the state.

CURTIS, Neb. – New students who will be attending the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture this fall can attend sessions on June 18 or July 16 to prepare for moving onto campus in late August.

 

“We are expecting 34 of our incoming students to participate in New Student Enrollment for this second session on Tuesday, June 18,” said Tina Smith, NCTA admissions coordinator.

 

A first NSE session was in April, and the third opportunity is July 16.

 

The day includes presentations by NCTA Student Services staff on what to expect as new students on campus, Smith said. Academic advising, campus tours and a student “checklist” are featured.

 

Students and parents follow an extensive checklist to ensure new Aggies are prepared.

 

Details include setting up access for personal devices and technology needs, completing forms, finalizing financial aid, and most importantly, meeting with academic advisors in a chosen field of study.

 

“It’s not too late to join the Aggie family. Simply complete our online application at NCTA.unl.edu,” said Smith.

 

“At $131.50 per credit hour our affordable tuition rate for all students is the right choice to start an education in agriculture.”

 

NCTA is the sole two-year campus of the University of Nebraska system. It emphasizes associate degree programs, certificates or transfer options only in agriculture or veterinary technology.

 

Once accepted for admission to NCTA, students are directed to New Student Enrollment details.

LINCOLN, NEB. – “President Trump’s signing of the disaster assistance bill is tremendous news and an important step forward in helping Nebraska farm and ranch families and our rural communities recover from the March flooding and blizzards in our state.”

“This disaster bill includes roughly $3 billion to cover crop damage, including additional funding for farmers prevented from planting due to the floods, as well as payments for on-farm stored grain that was damaged in these flooding events. The bill also provides $558 million in funding for the Emergency Conservation Program, the primary program farmers and ranchers can utilize for fence repair and debris removal, including clearing sand from farm fields.”

“We want to thank the entire Nebraska Congressional delegation for their support for the disaster assistance package and for President Trump signing this package into law.”

“We urge USDA to move forward as quickly as possible in developing the rules and implementing the key programs so they can be put to work in helping Nebraskans.”

There won’t be any trade relief payments for farmers with unplanted crops. Politico quotes an unnamed official as saying USDA has made the determination. However, a department spokesman did not confirm or deny that a decision had been made either way. Last month, the department said it would pay up to $14.5 billion directly to producers who’ve been hit hard by President Donald Trump’s trade war.

The payment rate would be determined partly by the total amount of a farm’s planted acres. Growers who didn’t get a crop in the ground wouldn’t be eligible for the help. Ag economists raised concerns that producers might plant crops just to try and collect some trade aid help when they otherwise wouldn’t put a crop in the ground. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue said USDA was looking at whether or not they could legally offer trade aid for unplanted acres, noting that, “You have to have something to sell or trade for a tariff impact.” However, farm groups made the case that trade tension can affect producers’ crop insurance coverage when they can’t plant due to the weather.

Those revenue guarantees are based in part on commodity prices, which have dropped because of retaliatory tariffs. Politico says not offering trade aid on unplanted acres would bring USDA right back to where it started on the issue.