The Cavalier County Crop Improvement Association held a spring update for area members and producers. The seminar was well attended despite the blistering winds that hammered the area and disrupted travel for many.
By Melissa Anderson
The main topics that were covered at the update included the results from previous variety trials as well as what the upcoming trials will be, the crop market outlook and what producers can do to help themselves be better prepared, an update on the ongoing drain tile project, an update on diseases and fungizide study, and finally a review of the damage the wheat midge can do.
Langdon Research Extension Center (LREC) Research Agronomist Bryan Hanson was first on the agenda and he explained that many varieties/hybrids of the various crops are evaluated yearly at the LREC.
Crops that will be tested in 2017 include; hard red spring wheat, durum, rye, hard red winter whear, barley, oats, flax, corn, canola, dry bean, sunflower, field peas, soybeans, faba bean, carinata, mustard and industrial hemp.
“We will evaluate approximately 600 varieties between all these crops,” Hanson said, ”Besides our LREC location, we do off-station variety testing at four locations in northeast North Dakota.” Current locations are at Cavalier, Park River, Pekin and Cando. The LREC’s evaluation of varieties of hard red spring wheat occurs at all locations, barley at two locations, durum at one location and soybeans at three locations.
“In addition, we conducted research trials for private companies and other crop production trials,” Hanson explained, ”All together, we have between 5000 to 6000 individual research plots in a given year for the agronomy program.”
Hanson also informed the audience of over 40 that there were new varieties of wheat and soybeans.
“I like to see new varieties that have high yields, good disease tolerance, are resistant to lodging, and perform consistently year after year,” Hanson said.
For testing, Hanson and other researchers generally observe the same types of traits on many of the crops to evaluate their potential for the northeast region. Factors including yield, test weight, maturity, lodging, plant height, protein and/or oil content and disease reactions are heavily considered and noted.
Another major topic that was covered at the meeting was the market outlook for crop prices. North Dakota State University’s Dr. Frayne Olson, who specializes in crop economics and risk management, spoke extensively with producers about what the coming year is most likely to bring.
Olson gave several pieces of advice to producers to use over the next growing season including re-calculating their break-even prices. Olson explained that producers should be re-calculating not because of lower crop prices but because of higher yields.
Another consideration producers need to be thinking about is when they will sell. Because of such high yeilds and low prices, long term rallies should not be expected.
“Write down a number then think about when your neighbor or the guy in Kansas will sell,” Olson said.
Trade negotiations will also have a huge impact on prices. With the U.S. no longer a member of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) major trading partner relations with Japan and China are now more strained. Mexico is another major trading partner that could be in jeopardy as well.
To add to the strain on trade relations, South America is facing heavy rains that could threaten their soybean harvest reaching ports to be exported.
Olson went over the USDA crop outlook as well. He explained that 4 million acres of corn and wheat are expected to be decreased while soybean acres are expected to see an increase in acreage of roughly the same.
Olson also addressed the concerns that the wheat market has. Currently, the wheat stores are looking at a 50 percent carry over with a vast majority of the stocks being held by China. Olson explained that if China is taken out of the picture, that number of global stocks drops dramatically, leaving some concern about how much wiggle room the global market really has for acceptable carry over.
Olson also addressed the relationship between soybean and canola prices. The relationship between the two commodities ties to how well the soybeans do. When soybeans are high so is canola.
“Soybeans set the pace for canola,” Olson said.
Canada’s canola crop suffered under the same weather conditions that affected northeast North Dakota with the crop unable to be brought in. Stats Canada is reporting that there will be an increase in Canadian canola acres but that will be to make up the loss that occurred during the 2016 harvest. Canada’s main purchaser of canola is China, followed by Japan and Mexico, but weak soybeans will drop the canola prices.
“Canola is going to be a strong crop, but soybeans will be the determining factor,” Olson explained.
Other topics that were covered during the update were given by LREC’s Naeem Kalwar, who is the soil health specialist for the area. He gave an update on his drain tile project that was heavily sponsored by the Cavalier County Crop Improvement Association.
Kalwar explained that the research garnered from this endeavor will determine whether producers, in their need to address sodic and saline soils. should first do soil abatements prior to installing the drain tile for optimum soil health.
Venkat Chapara, plant pathologist, went over diseases and fungicides that are best at combatting common and prominent diseases in the county. Cavalier County Extension Agent Anitha Chirumamilla briefly addressed the need for producers to be aware of the wheat midge, a pest that could do significant damage to wheat crops.
For more information on any of these presentations, please contact Chirumamilla at 701-256-2560.