Midwest Briefs: Farmers deal with freeze damage

Wisconsin State Farmer
Midwest briefs



Walker declares state of emergency as fire danger looms 

Gov. Scott Walker has declared a state of emergency as the state faces heightened wildlife conditions. 

Walker issued an executive order last week directing all state agencies to assist with potential wildfire response and recovery efforts. The order also directs the Wisconsin National Guard to help the state Department of Resources pre-position firefighting equipment as necessary and authorizes the National Guard to call personnel to active duty. 

According to the DNR's website, so far this year Wisconsin has seen 409 wildfires that have consumed about 467 acre. The agency says fire danger is high in far northwestern and northern Wisconsin. 


Pesticide collection program begins

State officials say residents in eight Illinois counties can get rid of unwanted agricultural pesticides free of charge. 

The Illinois Department of Agriculture announced that a "Clean Sweep" program has been set for late summer in counties including Champaign, DeWitt, Ford and Iroquois. Farmers, retired farmers, nursery owners and private pesticide applicators can participate. 

Participants have to register the products they want to get rid of by July 14. 

The program started in 1990. Since then, state officials have held nearly 50 collection events, amassing over 500,000 pounds of material. 


Farmers deal with freeze damage 

Farmers in western Michigan scrambled to take care of their crops after temperatures recently dipped below freezing. 

Michigan Farm Bureau officials said that area farmers employed preventative measures to save their crops including the installation of front fans, which aid in pulling the warmer air down into the floors of the orchards, keeping temps above freezing.

Crops susceptible to the cold include cherries, apples, blueberries, beans and aspargus. The 24-degree temperatures were cold enough to cause "considerable damage" to cherry trees and aspargus plants.

With Michigan being the second-largest asparagus producer in the U.S., there won't be much at stores. 


Land O'Lakes, Inc. reports first quarter results

Land O'Lakes, Inc. reported quarterly net sales of $3.7 billion and net earnings of $110 million in the first quarter ending March 31, 2017, compared with 2016 first quarter net sales of $3.6 billion and net earnings of $104 million. 

The strong first quarter earnings come on the heels of a record year in 2016 when the company reported $320 million in net earnings on $13.2 billion in sales. 

During the first quarter, Land O'Lakes announced the acquisition of Vermont Creamery to accelerate growth in its important Dairy Foods business with trusted brands and innovative products. First-quarter earnings benefited from strong performance in Dairy Foods, Animal Feed and Crop Inputs.


Wheat tour forecasts smaller 2017 harvest

Participants in the annual hard winter wheat tour have released their final projection on the size of the 2017 crop in Kansas amid uncertainty to the full extent of storm damage. 

The Wheat Quality Council's tour forecast Thursday that farmers will cut 281.7 million bushels. The average yield was pegged at 46.1 bushels per acre. 

This year's wheat harvest is projected to bring in 185 million fewer bushels than last year. 

Kansas farmers planted 7.4 million acres of wheat last fall. Disease and damage from snow and freezes may eliminate many fields. That factored into the estimate.