Ag Briefs: Toddler killed in farm accident

Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin briefs


A toddler involved in a farm machinery accident on May 8 has died.

According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Department, shortly before noon, the Monroe County 911 Communication Center received a call that a child had been involved in a farm machinery accident at an address on Lilac Avenue in the town of Wilton. The caller indicated that the child, 2, had been run over and was not responsive.

Despite life-saving attempts, the child died at the scene. The incident remains under investigation by the Monroe County Sheriff’s and Medical Examiner’s Offices.


21 fire departments respond to Eden barn fire

Several cattle died in a fire that destroyed a barn in the town of Eden on Tuesday, May 10, 2021.

According to the Fond du Lac Sheriff’s office, a call came in to the Fond du Lac County Dispatch Center around 3:25 p.m. reporting a barn on fire at N4334 Pine Rd., Eden. Dispatchers alerted firefighters there were calves inside the structure. When emergency workers arrived on scene the barn was engulfed in flames.

A MABUS alarm summoned fire departments from Calumet, Campbellsport, Theresa, Mt. Calvary, St. Cloud, Lamartine, City of Fond du Lac, Kohlsville, Kewaskum, Oakfield, Glenbuelah, Eldorado, Town of Fond du Lac, Waupun, Brownsville, Greenbush, Ripon, Allenton, Brandon/Fairwater, Lomira to assist Eden.

The fire appeared to have started on the west side of the barn and spread quickly throughout the entire structure. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Area firefighters from 14 volunteer Fire Departments helped battle a woodpile fire Monday, May 9 that got out of control in Fond du Lac County.  The landowner on Highway HHH had been burning wood scraps and sawdust last week, and the smoldering pile was ignited by strong winds. 

The fire spread into the nearby swamp, burning  approximately two acres, and causing minor damage to a barn.  Highway HHH was closed for approximately three hours.

Firefighters in Winnebago Countyalso responded to a barn fire on May 7 on Larson Road in the town of Clayton. No details were available.


WI corn, soybeans, milk all see large increases from last year

The average price received by farmers for corn during March 2022 in Wisconsin was $6.34 per bushel according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Agricultural Prices report. This was 50 cents above the February price and $1.59 above March 2021. 

The March 2022 average price received by farmers for soybeans, at $15.20 per bushel, was 50 cents above the February price and $2.20 above the March 2021 price. 

The March average oat price per bushel, at $5.39, was 83 cents below February but $2.24 above March 2021. 

All hay prices in Wisconsin averaged $151.00 per ton in March. This was $2.00 below the February price and $7.00 below the March 2021 price. The March 2022 alfalfa hay price, at $161.00, was $1.00 above the previous month but $11.00 below March 2021. The average price received for other hay during March was $120.00 per ton. This was $9.00 below the February price but $3.00 above March last year. 

The average price for milk was $25.30 per cwt, $1.30 above the February price and $7.60 above March 2021. Prices received for milk cows for dairy herd replacement averaged $1,710 per head as of April 1, 2022.


Spring planting picks up speed

While last week started with below normal temperatures, farmers in the northern part of the state were able to make some headway on the 2022 planting season. According to the Crop Progress and Condition report, spring tillage was reported 29% complete, three weeks behind last year.

Seven percent of the corn crop and 6% of the soybean crop were reported planted. Statewide hay fields and pastures continue to green up with warmer weather. The hay condition was reported at 60% good to excellent.


Bird Flu identified in Sauk, Pierce, Barron Counties

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has identified cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in backyard flocks in Pierce (33 birds on May 4, 2022) and Sauk (36 birds, May 3, 2022) counties and a commercial flock in Barron county (22,000 birds on May 6, 2022). Birds on both on all sites will be depopulated to prevent spread of the disease.

Eleven counties in Wisconsin have been confirmed with HPAI in domestic flocks. Flock owners are encouraged to continue practicing strong biosecurity measures to protect their birds from the virus. This includes washing hands, disinfecting equipment, restricting access to birds, and separating new birds from existing flocks for at least 30 days. Poultry owners are asked, when possible, to keep their birds indoors.

DATCP also encourages poultry owners to register their premises. State law requires that all livestock owners register where their animals are kept, and registration helps animal health officials communicate with flock owners during disease outbreaks.


Wisconsin officials issue wildfire warnings across the state

Wisconsin officials have issued wildfire warnings across the state. The state Department of Natural Resources has listed 52 counties in the "very high risk" category for fires, mostly in northern areas. Eight counties are listed as "high risk" and all other counties are at "moderate risk."

Authorities say high winds, dry conditions and low humidity will make it easier for fire to spread. Officials are asking people to avoid all outdoor burning, including campfires, and to use caution when operating off-road vehicles. More than 250 wildfires have been reported in Wisconsin this year, covering about 440. Debris burning is the leading cause of wildfires.


DATCP receives 500 applications for meat processor grants

Five meat processors across the state of Wisconsin will receive grants from DATCP in 2022. These grants aim to grow Wisconsin’s meat industry and improve the long-term viability of the state’s livestock industry. 

A total of $200,000 was available for this year’s meat processor grants with a maximum of $50,000 allowed for each project. Grant recipients were selected through a competitive review process and are required to provide a match of 100 percent of the grant amount. 

DATCP received 100 applications with more than $4.4 million in grant requests. The five grant recipients and their planned projects include: Nordik Meats, Viroqua-Expanding frozen storage, purchase of a walk-in freezer unit and forklift, and increasing labor; Paulie’s Chop Shop, Luxemburg-Construction of a new butcher shop, training, and purchasing numerous pieces of equipment; JM Watkins, Plum City-Construction of a new building and purchase of a new smoker; Crescent Meats, Cadott-Addition of more than 19,000 square feet to existing facility and Sorg Farm Packing, Darien-Reconstruction of an existing carcass cooler and freezer and expansion of processing and cutting room. 


Bird flu impacting cost of consumer staples

The lead protein economist for CoBank says the impact of highly pathogenic avian influenza isn’t likely to let up anytime soon. Brian Earnest told Brownfield Ag News that he anticipates lingering impacts of tighter supplies throughout 2022.  

He says eggs are typically a low-cost, high-protein staple for families at the grocery store. Four years ago it wasn't uncommon for eggs to cost $1 dozen, prompting shoppers to purchase more than a dozen eggs at a time. However, Earnest says we’re at a situation where we may be easing back on some of those staple goods if we get that higher price.

Earnest says more than 20 million layers have been depopulated because of the virus.


New appointees named to Wisconsin FSA committee 

Five new appointees have been names to the Wisconsin Farm Service Agency. According to the FSA official Marcus Graham, new committee members will "play an integral role in the continuity of operations, equitable and inclusive program administration and ensure the overall integrity of services to the nation's agricultural producers."

Making up the new panel are: Joshua Tranel of Hazel Green, chairperson; Clara Hedrich, Chilton; Tina Hinchley, Cambridge; Joe Koch, Wilson; and Heidi Randall, Cambria.


April Class III third highest on record, DMC enrollment falls

USDA announced April’s Class III price to be $24.42/cwt., the third-highest on record behind September 2014, which delivered $24.60 and July 2020 at $24.54. April’s 2022 price increase was a whopping $1.97/cwt more than the previous month.

With 2022 delivering high milk prices and the forecast showing more of the same, it is of no surprise that enrollment in the USDA’s 2022 Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program showed a negative decline, Dairy Herd Management reported. 

USDA released the 2022 DMC program enrollment, showing more than 17,500 dairy farms had enrolled in the 2022 DMC program. This represents 71.5% of those farms with established milk production history. The report showed a loss of 1,500 farms compared to 2021 DMC enrollment.


U.S. average all-milk price sets record high in March

The highest-ever monthly U.S. average all-milk price was reported by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service for March, at $25.90/cwt. This was twenty cents per cwt higher than the previous record, in September 2014, the only year – until now – in which the monthly all-milk price topped $25.00/cwt. 

The futures-based outlook for the milk price for all of calendar year 2022 halted its steady ascent since last summer during the fourth week of March, but it hasn’t dropped below $26.00/cwt since then, indicating there may be more monthly records ahead for this key measure of U.S. dairy farmers’ gross incomes from milk sales, NMPF reported.


Ransomware attack hits major farming equipment maker

A ransomware attack has disrupted production at AGCO, a major US provider of farming equipment, including tractors and harvesters, PC Magazine reported. 

The company confirmed the incident on Monday, May 10, 2022, after media in France reported a cyberattack had hit several AGCO sites in the country arlier, including a tractor assembly facility.  

The company said: “AGCO is still investigating the extent of the attack, but it is anticipated that its business operations will be adversely affected for several days and potentially longer to fully resume all services depending upon how quickly the company is able to repair its systems."

The ensuing disruption caused AGCO servers to become inaccessible and forced production at the affected company sites to stop.