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 Agriculture News


     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Winter wheat production in North Dakota this year is expected to be up dramatically from 2013.  The Agriculture Department's latest estimate is 33.1 million bushels, nearly triple the size of last year's crop.
     The main reason is that farmers planted more of the crop last fall, due to a large number of prevented planting acres in spring 2013 and favorable fall planting conditions.  Acres for harvest are pegged at 720,000, up 251 percent over the year. The average yield is forecast at 46 bushels per acre, up 3 bushels from last year.
     Winter wheat production nationwide is pegged at 1.38 billion bushels, down 10 percent from a year ago.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's Board of Animal Health has relaxed some hog movement restrictions put in place earlier this year to guard against the spread of a deadly pig virus.
     Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus, or PED, has killed millions of pigs in the U.S in the past year. It was confirmed in a swine herd in eastern North Dakota in late February.
     The state began requiring any pigs shipped into the state or within the state to have a health certificate stating there have been no clinical signs of PED or a similar virus known as TGE for the last two months on the premises where the pigs originated.
     State Veterinarian Susan Keller says the requirement for in-state movement of hogs has been discontinued. The requirement continues for hog imports.


     WORTHINGTON, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota judge won't punish a farmer for selling raw milk and violating terms of his probation.  Michael Hartmann pleaded guilty to selling unpasteurized milk in 2012 and was given probation. But, he admitted in court that he continued to illegally sell raw milk.
     Sibley County Assistant Attorney Don Lannoye prosecuted the case and is frustrated Hartmann won't be penalized. Lannoye says it takes away all the meaning from the original plea agreement.  Minnesota Public Radio News reports state agriculture officials say other enforcement actions are pending against Hartmann, but declined to give specifics.
     The Minnesota Department of Health in 2010 found that Hartmann's raw milk products sickened more than a dozen people.

    FARGO, ND (NDSU) - Acreage too wet to plant on time for most insured crops is again prevalent in North Dakota and Minnesota. An alternative some producers may want to consider is to not request a prevented- planting payment and instead seed a warm-season grass for hay later in June when the land dries enough to plant.

    "The net income from the hay may be as much or more than the prevented-planting payment, less the cost of putting a cover crop on prevent-planted acres," says Dwight Aakre, North Dakota State University Extension Service farm management specialist. "With an actual production yield of 38 bushels per acre for spring wheat and a 75 percent insurance coverage level, the prevented-planting payment would be about $111 per acre. Land preparation and seed for a cover crop would cost about $28 per acre, leaving a net of $83 per acre."

    Planting a warm-season grass, such as German millet, could yield about 3 tons per acre, with seed, land preparation and harvest costs of $85 per acre. At $56 per ton, this hay would generate the same net return as a prevented-planting payment.

    Cattle producers are realizing record high prices and herd expansion is beginning. Demand for hay has been exceptional in recent years due to drought-reduced supplies in many areas of the country. Also, high grain prices the past several years have contributed to hay acreage being converted to grain
production. The result is continued strength in the hay market.

    "The competiveness of an annual hay crop with prevented-planting varies by crop, actual production history (APH), insurance coverage level, and the cost to produce and harvest the hay crop," Aakre says. "If the prevented-planting payment is based on soybeans with a 30-bushel APH, the break-even hay price is about $70 per ton. With a prevented-planting payment for corn based on a 115-bushel APH, the break-even price becomes about $98 per ton."

    A field must have been planted and harvested in one of the most recent four years to qualify for prevented-planting payments. For fields that have been too wet to plant for consecutive years, planting and harvesting a hay crop will break this string of prevented-planting years and start the four-year limit over again.



   (Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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