Red River Farm Network News

U.S. Challenges Chinese Tariff System — The World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Body will consider a request by the United States, challenging China’s tariff-rate quota system for corn, wheat and rice. The Obama Administration requested the dispute panel and the Trump team is moving forward with this case. The WTO meeting will be held August 31.

NDFB Seeks Corn — To help provide drought relief, the North Dakota Farm Bureau is looking for farmers willing to donate cornfields after harvest for farmers and ranchers in need of corn stalks for filler. The need is primarily in Morton, Emmons and Burleigh Counties. Contact Amy with NDFB at 701-224-0330 for more information.

Do No Harm — Few details are available from the opening round of the new North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations. However, a group of agriculture representatives was provided confidential briefings about the trade talks. That group includes National Association of Wheat Growers CEO Chandler Goule. Goule says agriculture has a recurring theme—do no harm. "We, especially wheat, have benefited with Mexico before NAFTA was signed into law. We were exporting zero bushels of wheat a year, and now they're our largest trading partner," he says. "Wheat still goes across the Canadian border, but is immediately downgraded to feed quality. So we would like that to be fixed because that is in violation of WTO." Trade negotiators will return to the table in early September with a meeting in Mexico. That will be followed by another round of negotiations in Canada in late September and the U.S. in October. Goule says that is a very aggressive schedule. 

Weekly Crop Progress — USDA has left corn condition ratings unchanged and soybean conditions improved one percentage point. This week's crop progress report says 62 percent of the U.S. corn crop is good-to-excellent. Nearly 30 percent of the corn crop is dented. Sixty percent of the soybean crop nationwide is rated good-to-excellent. Eighty-seven percent of the soybeans are setting pods. Regarding spring wheat, USDA reports 58 percent of the crop is harvested. That compares to 63 percent last year at this time and 51 percent for the five-year average. 

Heat Units Concerning — Spring wheat harvest in the Enderlin, North Dakota area is about two-thirds done. Keith Brandt, manager of Plains Grain and Agronomy in Enderlin, says some color has been lost with recent rains. "Yields are in the 60 to 65 bushel per acre range, and quality is still decent."  Brandt says soybean harvest probably won't come until late September, and the biggest concern is heat units for corn. "I don't know if we'll get dry corn out of the field. In our trade area right now, we're about 100 heat units behind the five-year average." 

Silage Season ApproachesWith a dry season, the silage crop will be ready sooner, rather than later. Mycogen Seeds commercial agronomist Jim Henry says that timing can be impacted by a shot of rain. "If we did get a rain, we would want to delay harvest by 3 to 5 days," he says. "After rain, rapid nutrient uptake takes place and elevated nitrate levels can occur." Most nitrates are found in the lower portion of the corn stalk. Henry says it may pay to raise the cutter bar. "If we do get wrapped with nutrient uptake, I'd recommend cutting higher than normal, say 12 inches, and work around some of the nitrate issues."  Henry adds that drought-stressed silage should also be tested before feeding.

Still Dry — Near Hallock, Minnesota, Erik Younggren has about one-third of his wheat crop harvested. The crop is performing well despite a very dry season. "Protein is about average in the mid-13s and yields are all over the board," says Younggren. "We had a hail storm go through the first part of July, so we got knocked down there, but yields range anywhere from 70 to 80." Younggren received only one significant rain this summer, so the bean and sugerbeet crops could use some moisture. "We can only get about a tenth of an inch every time it rains. It'd be nice to either get an inch or stay dry so we could finish with the wheat.

Slow Start to HarvestHarvest has been slow to start for some farmers. Kristie Sundeen, field representative for Bayer Crop Science, says wheat harvest is just beginning near Devils Lake, North Dakota and north to the Canadian border. Sundeen says the biggest issue has been getting the crop to dry down. "The spring wheat has been all over the board, averaging anywhere from 48 to 65 bushels per acre. It's been pretty sporadic depending on how much rain it got." Sundeen says some early canola was taken off in the Nekoma area, which averaged about a ton. "Given the heat and lack of moisture during the growing season, if we can average a ton across the entire canola crop that's definitely a win." Sundeen adds that dry weather over the next two to three weeks would help a lot of crop come off.    

Sulfur Application in Wheat — Research funded by the Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council and the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council shows that sulfur applications can benefit wheat yields. University of Minnesota Extension Soil Fertility Specialist Dan Kaiser says low organic soils benefit the most. "Studies in the heavier textured, high organic matter soils don't show as much of a yield increase in those areas." Kaiser says sulfur can impact protein, but nitrogen management is still number one. "With proteins, we can shift amino acid types with sulfur application, but doesn't benefit the marketing side." In terms of application, he recommends looking at crops that will benefit in terms of yield.

Managing Through the Drought — Drought conditions throughout the Dakotas and Montana have left many farmers and ranchers with tough decisions. Shannon Sand, SDSU Extension livestock business management field specialist, says while there is less forage available, producers are still paying the same amount in cash rent. Right now, she encourages farmers and ranchers to focus on their budgets. "I tell people to check their budget every three months, especially with a drought," she says. "Having to feed additional supplements and forages can cause a budget to get out of control fast." Sand also says that in order to make the best management decisions, it is important to utilize resources. Whether it’s a family member or financial adviser, communication is key. "A lot of people have been through similar situations, so they'll have a good idea of when it's time to sell off. It's also important to look at what you're spending, because you might be okay or decide it's time to cull." More information, including business management tools, can be found at

New Chancellor at UMC — The fall semester has begun at the University of Minnesota-Crookston and a new chancellor is greeting agriculture students. Mary Holz-Clause is an Iowa native who was serving as the dean for the agriculture school at Cal-Poly Pomona. UMC has 900 students and roughly 55 percent of them are studying agriculture. Holz-Clause says there are huge opportunities for young people in agriculture. "Every year, between 25,000 to 35,000 jobs in agriculture go unfilled. Companies would like to hire people with a Bachelors of Science in agriculture, but they're not able to find them." Holz-Clause says UMC provides hands-on learning for its students which include internships. She encourages agriculture companies and professionals to work with their local university or community college to provide internship opportunities. 'We want our students to have meaningful work experiences."

New Leadership for Advanced Drainage Systems — Effective September 1, Scott Barbour becomes the president and CEO of Advanced Drainage Systems. Most recently, Barbour was the president/CEO of Emerson Electric. Barbour succeeds Joe Chlapaty, who has been in that capacity since 2004. ADS is based in Ohio and has 60 manufacturing plants and over 30 distribution centers. That includes facilities in Buxton and Wahpeton, North Dakota and Watertown, South Dakota. 

Busse Joins NCGA as Communications Manager — Julie Busse has joined the National Corn Growers Association as its communications manager in the St. Louis office. Most recently, Busse worked for Osborn Barr. Previously, Busse was with DuPont Pioneer and the Illinois Farm Bureau's RFD Radio Network.

ND Wheat LinkHear the North Dakota Wheat Commission's Wheat Link. Learn more about selecting quality wheat.

Lessons Learned With the introduction of the new dicamba technology, farmers are adjusting to the new systems. Lessons Learned is produced by the Red River Farm Network to provide education and the tools to help growers prepare for 2018. Dr. Greg Kruger focuses on weed management and application technology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Kruger is hoping for a reasoned approach to the issue of off-target movement. You can also listen to our entire conversation with Kruger in our podcast. During the Big Iron Farm Show, RRFN will host a Lessons Learned Forum with Bob Wolf of Wolf Consulting and Research. That session will be held on Tuesday, September 12. Thanks to BASF and Peterson Farms Seed for sponsoring this initiative. 

ND Soybean MinuteHear the latest North Dakota Soybean Minute from the North Dakota Soybean Council and the soybean checkoff. 

engAGe: a series for agribusiness women The Red River Farm Network has a new podcast called engAGe: a series for women in agribusiness. The latest podcast features North Dakota farmer Katie Heger. Get the rest of the story 'The Right Fit'. engAGe is sponsored, in part, by AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Dow Agrosciences, Thunder Seed, Black Gold Farms, North Dakota Soybean Growers Association, Peterson Farms Seed and the North Dakota Grain Growers Association.

Corn Matters — Hear the Minnesota Corn Growers Association's Corn Matters program. MCGA leadership highlight the public comment period for the draft nitrogen fertilizer rule.

RRFN On-air, Online and On Your SmartphoneThe Red River Farm Network serves its audience on-air, online and on your smartphone. If you want farm news headlines, agronomic information, weather, market analysis and RRFN's daily broadcasts, there are several ways to get it throughout the day. Listen to any of our 19 radio partners. "Like" the RRFN Facebook page. Check out the news headlines, our daily programs, the calendar of events and more at Or download the free RRFN smartphone app. The app is available for both iPhone and Android. Your way. When you want it. The Red River Farm Network is Reporting Agriculture's Business.

NDFMGA Update — Drought is impacting produce grown in North Dakota. Listen to this update from the North Dakota Farmers Markets and Growers Association.

This Week's Trivia — Name the three of the five U.S. presidents featured on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Send your answer to Please include your name and business. 

Last Week's TriviaYes, the South Dakota Tourism Department can rest assured. We know there are four presidents featured on Mount Rushmore, but mistakenly said there were five faces in our last issue. Oops! Those four presidents are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. Erin Nash of Woodruff earns top honors and wins our weekly trivia challenge. Val Aarsvold of Minnesota FFA Foundation, retired Hanley Falls farmer Roger Dale, Lawton farmer Dennis Miller and Laurie Hoffman of VistaComm earn runner-up honors. The 'first 20' recognition goes to Todd Good of AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Harvey farmer Bill Ongstad, Kevin Schulz of National Hog Farmer, Clyde Tiffany of DuPont Pioneer, Randy Knudsvig of First State Bank, Dan Filipi of American Federal Bank, Mandy Kvale of Farm Credit Services of Mandan, McIntosh farmer Joan Lee, Regent farmer and former North Dakota FSA State Director Aaron Krauter, Jim Altringer of Columbia Grain, Royalton farmer Darrell Larsen, Shirley Ball of Ethanol Producers and Consumers, Edgely farmer Richard Schlosser, Karlstad farmer Kurt Aakre and livestock nutritionist Bruce Trautman.