Ag Briefs: Corn silage harvest begins

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs

GIBRALTAR, WI

Storm includes large hail, powerful wind, heavy rain

Strong storms brought heavy rain and wind and large hail to eastern Wisconsin Tuesday morning. 

Hail up to the size of a baseball fell in parts of Brown, Outagamie and Waupaca counties. 

In Door County, trees and power lines were knocked down and Highway 42 was closed between county Highway A and Gibraltar Road because a live wire was arcing on the roadway. 

The National Weather Service issued a thunderstorm warning for Sheboygan and Fond du Lac counties. Winds of 60 mph were expected. 

MADISON, WI

Corn silage harvest begins

With near normal temperatures and little rainfall, farmers across Wisconsin began making inroads to the silage crop. According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service corn is reported 91% in the dough stage or beyond, with the crop being rated 75% good to excellent.

Soybeans are reported 97% setting pods. Leaves are coloring in 40% of soybeans, with 6% dropping leaves. Oats are 93% harvested, while the 33% of the potato harvest is complete.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay is 93% complete, with nearly half of the last crop of hay laying down in the field. All hay condition was rated 76% good to excellent.

OMAHA, NE

Tyson, Perdue to pay $35M to settle with chicken farmers

Two of the industry's biggest poultry companies have agreed to pay nearly $35 million to settle a lawsuit that accused them and several other firms of conspiring to dominate the industry and fix the prices paid to farmers who raise the chickens.

Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms agreed to the settlements last week without admitting any wrongdoing while the lawsuit remains pending against several other industry giants, including Pilgrim's Pride, Koch Foods and Sanderson Farms, Associated Press reported. 

The lawsuit that Alabama farmers filed in Oklahoma federal court alleges that the contract grower system the meat companies created pushed them deep into debt to build and maintain chicken barns that met company standards.

They also said the companies colluded to fix farmer compensation at low levels to boost corporate profits, making it difficult for the farmers to survive financially. 

The farmers who sued reported earning between $12,000 and $40,000 a year while working 12-to-16-hour days all year long while major meat companies like Tyson and Pilgrim's were reporting annual profits over $1 billion.

Previously, major meat companies have defended the system as fair; it calls for farmers to provide barns and labor to raise chickens while the companies provide chicks, feed and expertise.

This lawsuit is an example of a case that might be easier  for farmers to bring in the future because the Biden administration has said it plans to issue new rules encouraging competition in the agriculture sector and protecting farmers against the country's largest meat processors.

MADISON, WI

DNR confirms CWD on Outagamie and Langlade Co. deer farms

A deer farm in Outagamie County will remain under quarantine after the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of Chronic Wasting Disease.

According to the DNR, the farm of approximately 30 deer was already under quarantine after receiving animals from a CWD affected farm. 

A positive sample from a 1-year-old doe on a deer farm in Langlade County was confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. All 57 deer at the 6-acre farm were already under quarantine after receiving animals from a CWD affected farm.

Both herds will remain under quarantine while an epidemiological investigation is conducted by DATCP and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) veterinarians and staff.

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN

Farmer sentiment improves in August; inflationary concerns mount

In August, producers had a more positive view of their farms' financial situation than earlier this summer as more farmers indicated they expect profitability to be better this year compared to 2020.

Although corn, soybean, and wheat prices have declined in recent weeks, farmers have more confidence in their 2021 revenue expectations.

Producers are becoming increasingly concerned about farm input price inflation. On the August survey, 39% of respondents said they expect input prices to rise by 8% or more in the next 12-months, up from 30% who felt that way in both June and July. One in five producers (21%) expect farm input price inflation to exceed 12% in the next 12-months.

JUNEAU, WI

Pernat-Haase Meats issues recall of packaged salami

Pernat-Haase Meats issues recall of packaged salami distributed to retailers in Juneau, Ixonia, and Johnson Creek areas. The recalled product includes: Italian salami with wine, 1 to 1.5 lb. packages, packaged on March 17, 2021

This is a Class II recall resulting from evidence collected during a routine inspection by state inspectors. The evidence shows that the product contained monosodium glutamate (MSG) but was misbranded as “no MSG added.” 

No illnesses have been reported as a result of consuming this product.

WASHINGTON D.C.

Ag leaders urge farmers, rural communities to get vaccinated

Last week, more than 30 state and national agricultural organizations representing farm, commodity and agribusiness communities joined together to promote vaccination among farmers and other rural Americans.

In an open letter to association members, the organizations added another voice to the call to get vaccinated. 

The effort is in response to the continued challenge of the COVID-19 Delta variant which has rural communities particularly hard, saying “Farmers make science-based decisions every day to protect their farms and their communities - they should make these same decisions to protect their health as well."

SUN PRAIRIE, WI

Compeer returns record patronage

Compeer Financial returned a record $145 million in patronage payments to eligible member-owners in August.

After seeing strong performance in the Compeer portfolio in 2020, the cooperative’s board of directors voted to increase this year’s patronage payment by $20 million.

Patronage payments are based on the amount of products and services purchased by member-owners, along with the organization’s financial performance. Including $52 million in allocated equities already paid out in February, in total, member-owners will receive over $197 million in patronage returns in 2021, which is nearly 45 percent of the organization’s 2020 adjusted earnings.

IRVINE, CA

Grapes may go unpicked due to worker shortage

The number of workers has declined by a quarter to 40 percent in the first annual labor shortage in decades. Industry experts familiar with this situation rank labor shortages as the industry’s biggest challenge, before drought, California News Time reported.

Amidst this situation, the shortage of qualified grape workers is unique. Producer costs have risen across the board, including reducing the number of hours agricultural workers spend in a week before overtime begins from 60 to 45 hours due to state regulations.

While this year’s crops are of high quality on all accounts and as abundant as last year, there are not enough people to choose everything, so it may rot on the vines.