Fall is harvest time for most Minnesota crops, including apples. Minnesota may not be among the top apple producing states, but there are more than 100 commercial apple orchards scattered across the state. One of those orchards is Timberlake Orchard near Fairmont. Owner Al Zeitz joins this Field Talk podcast. 


More than 40 service stations across Minnesota have received grants from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to enhance their capacity for higher blends of ethanol like E85 and E15, also known as Unleaded 88. Lynn Ketelsen has more on the program and how it will help make biofuels more available to consumers. 

Farm News

October 5, 2022
Farmers across Minnesota are taking advantage of warm, dry weather to kick harvest into high gear. According to the USDA, 29% of Minnesota's soybean crop is harvested, slightly behind the 5-year average of 32%. Minnesota corn farmers have harvested 5% of the state's crop, compared to the 5-year average of 9%

Yield reports have varied widely with areas that received more consistent rain through the growing season seeing much stronger yields than those areas that missed out. Dry conditions continue to spread across the state. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 54% of Minnesota is abnormally dry or in drought conditions compared to just 41% a week ago. 

Warm conditions have hampered the sugarbeet harvest in the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative (SMBC) region. Sugarbeets don't store well in warm weather, so the main thrust of the harvest was delayed. With cooler temperatures expected in the coming days, activity is ramping up again. SMBC Vice President for Agriculture Todd Geselius says about 8% of the beet crop was harvested during their pre-pile operations. Geselius says cool days and cool nights are optimal conditions for the beet harvest. Listen

Low water levels on rivers in the Midwest, including the Mississippi River, are affecting barge capacity. Because of low levels, barges can't be fully loaded,. Joe Lardy with CHS Hedging says the low levels are increasing congestion on the river and putting a premium on barge freight. Lardy also says the conditions could have long-lasting impact. Listen

Eden Valley, Minnesota farmer Tom Haag has taken over as president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). Haag has been on the Minnesota Corn Growers Association board sine 2010 and on the NCGA board  One of Haag's top priority issues is to increase the use of higher ethanol blends, including E30. Haag says the additional demand would be good for corn farmers, but he says data shows newer engines combined with higher ethanol blends can compete environmentally with electric vehicles. Listen

Haag began his term as NCGA president on October 1. Minnesota is well represented in the NCGA leadership as Madelia farmer Harold Wolle has taken over as NCGA first vice president.

The U.S. Grains Council's Export Exchange will take place in Minneapolis next week. International customers who buy corn, dried distillers grains, sorghum, barley and other commodities will have the opportunity to meet with suppliers to build relationships and secure sales of U.S. commodities. The Export Exchange will be held at the Minneapolis Hilton October 12-14.
The case brought forward by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) challenging the legality of California's Proposition 12 is likely to be heard by the U.S. Supeme Court Next week. The organizations are challenging Proposition 12 on the basis that it's attempts to put conditions on how animals like hogs are raised in order to be sold into California, violates interstate commerce laws. Prop 12 is considered by the AFBF and NPPC to be an overreach. Emily Solis with the Animal Agriculture Alliance says the U.S. Solicitor General's office has also deemed the California initiative to be unlawful. Listen

The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that Renville Coundy must conduct an environmental review to determine whether a proposed drainage ditch improvement could harm a free-flowing creek. The rule affirms a state court of appeals judgement that reversed a Renville County Board decision saying the study was not necessary. The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy challenged the county's decision. The dispute involves improvements to the ditch that empties into Upper Limbo Creek. Supporters say the project would lead to better farmland drainage in teh area. Joe Smentek, Executive Director of the MInnesota Soybean Growers says the Minnesota Supreme Court decision was disappointing. Listen

Smentek says the State Supreme Court decision could open the door for challenges to many drainage improvement projects that landowners want to make on their farms. 

Forty-four Minnesota service stations were awarded grants from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to help with the cost of infrastructure improvements needed to handle higher blends of ethanol. More than $6 million dollars was made available through funds provided by the Minnesota Legislature and Minnesota Corn. The Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation Biofuels Infrastructure Grant program helps service stations put in tanks, pumps and other equipment needed to make blends like E15 or Unleaded 88 available to customers. Minnesota already has more than 400 locations the provide higher blends. Retailers set a record for the amount of Unleaded 88 sold in 2021. 

FarmAmerica, Minnesota's Agricultural Interpretive Center near Waseca will celebrate the grand opening of a new interactive Ag Around You Discovery Center on Saturday, October 8. The grand opening of new exhibits is part of Farmamerica’s Rooted & Growing capital campaign to expand and renovate existing facilities, upgrade a classroom space, and offer year-round agriculture-literacy opportunities. 

Upcoming Events

Oct. 2-7                World Dairy Expo, Madison WI
Oct. 6                    GreenSeam Global Workforce Opportunities Event, Mankato
Oct. 8                    FarmAmerica Exhibit Grand Opening
Oct. 12-14            U.S. Grains Council Export Exchange, Minneapolis
Oct. 26-29           National FFA Convention, Indianapolis
Dec. 1                    GreenSeam Rural Forum, Mankato

Farm Fun Fact

The record for the largest pumpkin grown in the U.S. was set this week when a pumpkin grown in New York weighed in at 2,554 pounds. Pie, anyone? 


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