Every Friday, we tackle a bunch of viewers’ burning questions. This week, Heather Brown explores moths, crops and the dog days of summer.
A once-banished crop could soon sprout legally again in select Minnesota farm fields. Minnesota lawmakers have given a small nod to growth of hemp plants that lead to oils, lotions, seeds, rope fibers and other industrial uses.
Minnesota farmers have made early strides in planting small grains, thanks to good weather. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farmers in Minnesota were able to plant over one-third of the expected small grain acreage and over half of the sugar beet acreage during the week ending Sunday.
Drought conditions are expanding across a large section of the U.S., from California to the Great Plains. The National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska says the area covered by moderate drought or worse expanded by nearly five percentage points to 36.8 percent during March.
Minnesota farmers plan to plant a record amount of soybeans this spring, as well as more corn than last year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Minnesota soybean producers expect to plant 7.5 million acres of soybeans, compared with 7.35 million acres last year. That’s in line with national projections for record high soybean acreage this year.
A freeze could stop the growing season in the upper Midwest as far south as Nebraska and Iowa, leaving farmers in a difficult situation because much of the region’s corn and soybean fields are not quite ready for harvest.
Minnesota’s corn crop should be larger than first expected. But while the U.S. Department of Agriculture says record yields will be set in 18 states, Minnesota isn’t one of them.
Widespread rains have slowed Minnesota’s small grain harvest but also have improved row crop and pasture conditions. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says 4.5 days were suitable for fieldwork in Minnesota during the week that ended Sunday.
Minnesota’s crops caught some much-needed rain over the weekend in an otherwise dry week. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday in its weekly crops progress and condition report for Minnesota that six days were rated suitable for fieldwork across the state last week.
Northern Crops Institute in Fargo plans to hold an open house this week to celebrate the completion of an equipment upgrade at its Feed Production Center. Eighteen livestock feed manufacturers from China will also attend hands-on training with the new equipment at the center during a weeklong visit.
Minnesota farmers are helping to contribute to record breaking harvest predictions for the year. The federal government predicts that Minnesota farmers will produce 1.34 billion bushels of corn this year.
A new report estimates that delays in railroad shipping have cost Minnesota corn, soybean and wheat farmers nearly $100 million. The report was released Thursday at a conference in Alexandria organized by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Edward Usset of the University of Minnesota Center for Farm Financial Management estimates rail delays cost Minnesota corn growers $72 million from March to May. He puts the losses at $18.8 million for soybean growers and $8.5 million for wheat growers.
University of Minnesota’s Extension Educator David Nicolai says soybean and corn farmers whose crops were drowned out last month have to get late planting done soon.
Warm weather is helping crops emerge in Minnesota, but corn and soybean development remains behind average. According to the weekly Minnesota crop report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says 93 percent of the corn crop is planted, which is near the five-year average of 95 percent.
Sunday’s beautiful weather is a relief to most of us, but one particular group is really grateful. Farms are finally buzzing with activity after a long cold winter and wet spring, which was a terrible combination for farmers. So, planting is way behind in many parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Wet weather continues to keep Minnesota farmers out of their fields, but the rain is helping improve soil moisture. In the latest crop report for Minnesota, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says only 1.7 days were rated suitable for fieldwork statewide last week. That compares with an average of 3.2 days.
Spring fieldwork is off to a late start because of winter’s stubborn grip on Minnesota. But yields shouldn’t be hurt as long as farmers can get into their fields soon after Easter. Southeastern Minnesota got a fresh dusting of snow Monday. But fieldwork has barely begun. The forecast calls for below-normal temperatures with the possibility of more snow. Yet southern Minnesota is rapidly approaching the traditional start of its ideal period for planting corn.
The persistent snow is delaying the beginning of fieldwork on farms across Minnesota. In its first weekly crop progress and condition report of the season for Minnesota, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says last week’s heavy snow is one reason why no days were rated suitable for fieldwork last week. Planting of some early crops such as oats usually begins around now.
Lower corn prices fueled a dramatic 78 percent drop in Minnesota farm income last year, according to an annual report released Thursday by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and University of Minnesota Extension.
You may have noticed higher prices at the grocery store, and you can blame the extreme weather. Unfortunately, analysts believe prices will only go higher.
The value of U.S. crops fell 9.8 percent last year as prices declined for major crops, including corn and soybeans, from 2012’s record high levels, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its annual estimate.
The apple season is underway in Minnesota. Some of the favorites, like sweetango or honeycrips, are ready for the picking at local orchards. But you may have noticed the harvest is a couple of weeks behind schedule. And Craig Schaper of Minnetonka Orchards says the search to find fruit without any flaws is a difficult task. “It’s devastating. I mean, this is what you pray for not to happen,” Schaper said. “You know, this is first time in 36 years that we’ve really been hit hard.”
Hot, dry weather is putting stress on pastures across Minnesota.
A growing number of Minnesota farmers are relying on irrigation to ensure they can produce a crop when the weather turns dry. So far this year, Minnesota Public Radio reports, farmers have applied for 466 irrigation permits.
The late-summer drought is deepening in central Minnesota, according to data released Thursday. The new U.S. Drought Monitor map shows that several counties in central Minnesota are now in a severe drought.