01/27/2023 Dry Bean Scene

In this week’s Dry Bean Scene, we recap Bean Day with Northarvest’s Executive Director, Mitch Coulter. The Dry Bean Scene is sponsored by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.

Bronaugh to Leave USDA

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Jewell Bronaugh is leaving USDA. Bronaugh released a statement, saying she is stepping away from this role in the coming weeks to spend more time with her family. Bronaugh previously served as Virginia’s agriculture commissioner, as the Farm Service Agency state director and the Dean of the Virginia State University College of Agriculture.

Controlling Weeds in Beans

NDSU Extension Weed Specialist Joe Ikley spoke at Northarvest’s Bean Day where he highlighted dry bean weed research. “We looked at registered chemicals in dry beans to control Waterhemp and Palmer Amaranth.” Ikley’s conducted three separate trials with over 16 different treatment options for pre-and post-emergence. Ikley says research shows pre-plant treatments help control weeds like Waterhemp, Palmer Amaranth, and Kochia, better in dry beans.

Droplet Size is the Missing Piece of the Puzzle

NDSU Extension Plant Pathologist Michael Wunsch says irrigated fields had the most problems with white mold last year. “In my geography, a lot of the dryland producers didn’t seem to have that many problems, but the irrigated producers had a bad year.” The temperature swings that led to 70-degree weather mid-summer boosted white mold growth. When it comes to managing white mold, droplet size is key. “Fine droplets give tremendous coverage on the top of the canopy, but dense droplet size helps penetrate the canopy when there’s more coverage.”

MDA Budget Addresses Ag Needs

The governor’s budget includes an additional $117 million over the next four years for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. This proposal includes $4 million for a soil health financial assistance program and $4 million in revolving loans to improve water quality. Deputy Commissioner Andrea Vaubel said additional dollars are being sought to address agricultural emergencies, like High-Path Avian Influenza or African Swine Fever. “Luckily, we’ve been able to get funds appropriated quickly from the Legislature in the past for response activities, but we want to ensure we have ample funding in case we are not in session and have to respond quickly.” The governor’s budget also calls for $3 million to build out the infrastructure for higher blends of biofuels and $300,000 to hire a climate coordinator.

Fertilizer Fee Increase Proposed

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is seeking an increase in the fertilizer tonnage fee to fund inspections, permitting and nitrogen point source evaluations. The fee would increase from 39 cents per ton to 64 cents. State Representative Bobbie Harder questioned that move. “It can be a struggle to be a farmer with the uncertain times and the increase of costs,” was the comment from the Henderson lawmaker and farmer. “This is just one more burden that you’re going to be adding onto farmers.”

Fertilizer Price Outlook

A new report from S and P Commodity Insights suggests fertilizer prices will likely remain steady going into the spring season. After a disappointing fall application season, there is more than adequate supplies of phosphate and potash for this spring. Winter-fill programs for ammonia fertilizers were announced and prices reset lower at the end of the year. After reaching near record highs in early 2022, urea prices declined and remained flat since August. UAN values have declined due to a drop in nitrogen prices in the United States and globally.

Farm Lending Rebound

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City is reporting a gradual increase in farm lending activity. The average size of non-real estate farm loans in the fourth quarter was 20 percent higher than one year ago. Interest rates on non-real estate loans increased an average of 125 basis points from the previous quarter. The report says financing charges have increased more rapidly among large farm lenders small-or-medium sized banks.

Efforts Underway to Update Organic Program

USDA is making changes to strengthen the enforcement of its National Organic Program. The proposal calls for improved farm-to-market traceability and greater insight over imports.

Burgum Disappointed in WOTUS Decision

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum is calling on the Biden administration to withdraw its final Water of the U.S. Rule, warning that the Obama-era regulations will result in more confusion and red tape. North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring concurred, saying the WOTUS rule “will infringe on our state’s sovereignty and will federalize almost all of North Dakota’s waters.” The EPA and Army Corp of Engineers published the final rule in the Federal Register Wednesday.