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Farm news

 

 

 

 

Good weather boosts small grain planting April 20, 2015

SAINT PAUL - 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.

The USDA says it's the most productive planting week for small grain growers in 30 years.

There were 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork, the most days suitable in April since 2004.

Small grain seeding is over four weeks ahead of last year and almost three weeks ahead of average. Sugar beet planting is 64 percent complete, the most planted by this date in over 30 years.

Corn is 12 percent planted in Minnesota, more than two weeks ahead of last year.

By The Associated Press

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Bird flu confirmed at more turkey farms April 15, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS - State and federal officials have announced the discovery of a deadly bird flu strain at eight more Minnesota turkey farms, raising the state's total to 22.

The eight farms have a combined 542,500 turkeys. Minnesota producers had already lost 910,000 birds to the disease since early March. This pushes the state's total losses to nearly 1.5 million birds.

The new cases of the H5N2 virus include three counties where the disease had not turned up before, including two farms in Swift County with a combined 314,000 turkeys, and the first farms in Le Sueur and Redwood counties.

The affected farms have been quarantined and the remaining birds on them will be killed to contain the disease.

State Veterinarian Bill Hartmann expects more farms to be hit before the threat recedes.

By The Associated Press

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Farmers get jump on small grain planting April 10, 2015

SAINT PAUL - Minnesota farmers have gotten a jump on small grain planting this spring.

Although only 3.5 days were suitable for fieldwork for the week ending Sunday, the U.S. Department of Natural Resources says small grain planting by Minnesota farmers is 3.5 weeks ahead of last year's pace.

Twenty percent of Minnesota's spring wheat is planted, five days ahead of normal. Seventeen percent of oat acreage is planted, almost four weeks ahead of last year. Barley planting is 10 percent complete, which is a month ahead of last year and a day ahead of the five-year average.

Sugar beet planting is 11 percent complete, 30 days ahead of last year.

Most farmers are waiting for warmer weather to start planting corn, although there are scattered reports of corn planting in southern Minnesota.

By The Associated Press

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Bird flu confirmed at four more turkey farms April 10, 2015

State and federal authorities have confirmed outbreaks of bird flu at four more turkey farms in Minnesota, raising the number of farms affected in the state to 13.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the new cases are in Cottonwood, Lyon, Watonwan and Stearns counties.

The farms housed a combined 189,000 turkeys; those not killed by the virus will be euthanized to prevent the disease from spreading.

Once those birds have been euthanized, the 13 affected Minnesota farms will have lost 872,000 turkeys.

Since the outbreak was first confirmed in early March, farms in Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas have lost more than 1 million birds.

Officials stress the risk to public health is low and that there's no danger to the food supply.

By The Associated Press

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Another turkey farm hit by bird flu April 9, 2015

Federal authorities have confirmed that a ninth Minnesota turkey farm has been hit by a form of bird flu that's deadly to poultry.

This time, the outbreak is on a large Jennie-O-Turkey Store operation in central Minnesota that has 310,000 turkeys. Jennie-O, a division of Hormel, says it's the first company-owned facility to test positive for the virus.

Minnesota Board of Animal health spokeswoman Bethany Hahn says the operation has 12 barns on the site. She says the U.S. Department of Agriculture is working with the producer on what to do with the turkeys in the other barns.

Before this discovery, Minnesota turkey farms had lost about 373,000 birds to the outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N2 bird flu strain. Officials say the risk to the public is low.

By The Associated Press

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Minnesota converted most wetlands April 7, 2015

Minnesota converted more wetlands into farmland than any other state when crop prices spiked between 2008 and 2012.

That's according to a new study by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers.

Minnesota Public Radio News reports about 250,000 acres, or nearly 400 square miles, were converted to row crops. Most was grassland, but 25,000 acres were wetlands more than any other state.

Also, 13,000 acres of forests were converted the second largest forest conversion in the country.

The study estimated that 7.3 million acres were converted nationwide. According to the study, the increased carbon emissions from the additional corn and soybean crops alone would be equal to a year's emissions from 34 coal-fired power plants.

The study was published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

By The Associated Press

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Livestock profits up; crop earnings down April 2, 2015

A new report says many Minnesota livestock producers enjoyed record profits in 2014 while earnings for crop producers fell for the second straight year.

The annual report comes from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and University of Minnesota Extension. It highlights how the state's crop and livestock farmers have been on divergent paths.

Overall median net farm income for participating farmers was $43,000, up 3 percent from 2013 but substantially lower than the record profits they posted in 2012.

Median income for crop farmers was just $17,000, down from $261,000 in 2012.

But many Minnesota livestock producers had their best year ever in 2014. Their median income was $138,000, compared with $38,000 in 2013.

The report warns that livestock and crop growers alike face tougher times this year.

By The Associated Press

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Record soybean planting expected April 1, 2015 

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.

Tuesday's report also says Minnesota farmers plan to plant 8.5 million acres of corn, up 300,000 acres from 2014. That bucks the national trend of fewer corn acres due to lower expected prices and profits. Wisconsin is the only other Corn Belt state expected to plant more corn acres than last year.

Minnesota farmers also plan to plant slightly more wheat, slightly fewer sugarbeets, and a record low 1.75 million acres of hay.

By The Associated Press

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