Farm Forum

04/16/19 — Crop progress was out on April 15 (tax day) with planting falling further behind in nearly all crops as the cold/wet spring still has not warmed or dried soils enough to allow planting in most areas. Corn planting progress is only 3% (up 1% last week) vs. 5% average so we’ve now f…

Farm Forum

For the second year in a row, a late Winter storm in mid-April has pushed back the initiation of Spring fieldwork in the Upper Midwest. Normally by third week of April, Midwest farmers have either begun fieldwork for the year, or are within days of the beginning of the planting season. Howev…

Farm Forum

Given the recent havoc endured by producers in the upper mid-west by the spring blizzard or even prior flooding we are aware that many producers have incurred losses. This has come in the form of either livestock death, feed loss, power outages or possibly even having to dump milk due to imp…

Farm Forum

Following several cruel false starts, it appears that the vernal season has finally arrived. But the jury is still out for some of us hardened old Northerners who won’t believe that spring is well and truly here until it’s warm enough outdoors to fry an egg on our foreheads.

Farm Forum

Q The previous owners of our house put up a large post and lattice structure on our hot dry hillside — maybe to grow grapes? We don’t know. It’s probably 6’ high and 12’ wide. We refer to it as the giraffe hitching post, because it has a high rail you could tie your giraffe to. If you had on…

Farm Forum

04/09/19 — Weather has not been very nice in the Midwest since about late December, with some extremely cold and stormy days for much of the Midwest this winter. As spring arrived the past few weeks, temps warmed enough to melt most of the snow in the Midwest, bringing flooding in many areas…

Farm Forum

Due to the high cost of investment in farm machinery, an ever-increasing number of farm operators are hiring other farm operators to provide some or all of their machinery resources for their farm operation. This is especially true with new and younger farm operators, as well as with childre…

Farm Forum

Studies have shown that boosting literacy levels increases living standards. Your library card doesn’t just open the door to a building full of books; it opens the doors to the entire universe.

Farm Forum

Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum) plants are a sign of spring and of course Easter. They are usually only available during the week or two before Easter and usually put on closeout the week after the holiday is over. This makes growing them and getting them into flower at the right time a cha…

Farm Forum

04/02/19 — There was news that despite additional losses in 2019, farmers will plant virtually all the acreage they did before, and prices swooned down on the March 29 acreage report. The stocks numbers were perhaps the most negative, and down the market went.

Farm Forum

On March 29, 2019, USDA released the “Prospective Plantings Report”, as well as the “Quarterly Grain Stocks Report”. These were very highly anticipated USDA Reports, due to the uncertainty in grain prices in recent months, the potential for adjustments in U.S. crop acreage in 2019, and the c…

Farm Forum

Few things in life are more costly or cause more aggravation. There are few things that we adore more – we even name them! – even though they often defy our wishes and blatantly misbehave.

Farm Forum

03/26/19 — March Madness is a term usually reserved for the college basketball tournament that starts this month, with teams whittled down from 64 to one champion through a series of tournaments. It could just as well apply to agriculture, but for a different reason. Flooding is the first pa…

Farm Forum

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) recently released the 2018 estimated average county yields for corn, soybeans, and other crops. The 2018 corn yields in Minnesota were the lowest since 2014 and broke a string of three straight years (2015-2017) of State record corn yi…

Farm Forum

Earlier this month, our state was hit by a bomb cyclone – an unusual name to match unusual circumstances. The middle of our state got buried in snow, while the southeast corner was devastated by four inches of rain fallen on frozen ground, sending it into the river and causing major flooding…

Farm Forum

Over a little more than a century, technological innovations have significantly changed agricultural practices and increased the yield per unit of ground and the level of production per unit of labor. Four key innovations—the internal combustion engine, the Haber-Bosch process of producing n…

Farm Forum

03/19/19 — We talked about the likelihood of increased flooding this spring for the past few weeks, and now that snowmelt has begun in upper Midwest states it certainly has begun. Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota all reported flooding this week as the heavy snow finally melted on top of alre…

Farm Forum

The annual USDA “Ag Outlook Forum” was held in Washington, D.C., in late February. This Forum is usually the first USDA projection for expected crop acreage for the coming growing season, as well as other current economic conditions in the agriculture industry. The latest Ag Outlook Forum pr…

Farm Forum

March proved yet again that it’s the meanest month by smacking us with another bomb-cyclone-snowpocalypse. Thank goodness the state high school basketball tournaments are now over! If history has taught us anything, it’s that that the state tournaments are reliable blizzard triggers.

Farm Forum

Even though every producer tries their best to keep all animals born alive, there will always be death loss in livestock production systems. Thus, we need to keep in mind the regulations surrounding disposal. Why? Carcass disposal is crucial to preventing the spread of disease and protecting…

Farm Forum

As the weather warms in late winter and early spring sap begins to flow in maple trees. For many people that live in the northeastern part of the United States, that means that maple syrup season has arrived. Spiles (taps) should be installed in the maple trees before typical sap flow begins…

Farm Forum

When I was a kid, I was fascinated with space. I was obsessed with the idea of space stations and lunar colonies. I would borrow books from the library about what life would be like on other planets or how we could simulate gravity in space. I read crackpot theories about how faster-than-lig…

Farm Forum

03/12/19 — It has been a bitterly cold winter, especially the past few months as temps seem to fluctuate between normal and ridiculously cold (well, well, well below normal). It has been typical to see week long forecasts predicting temps 10-20 degrees below normal — only to be followed by a…

Farm Forum

“You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone,” goes the old Joni Mitchell tune. This is true for numerous things such as your car keys, the TV remote and your short-term memory.

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