Ag Briefs: Harvest gains momentum in Wisconsin

Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin briefs


Harvest gains momentum in Wisconsin

Despite a killing frost in norther WIsconsin and temperatures ranging 4 degrees below normal, farmers across the state were able to make progress on the fall harvest. According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, 94% of corn had reached the dent state, with 69% of the crop being rated mature, just 3 days behind last year. Corn condition was 79% good to excellent statewide.

Corn for silage harvest was 59% complete, 12 days behind last year. Soybean coloring was 97%, with 81% of the crop dropping leaves. Just 11% of the soybean harvest was completed. Soybean condition was 76% good to excellent.

The fourth cutting of alfalfa was reported at 94 percent complete, and fall tillage was 17% complete.


WI places in Top 10 National 4-H dairy judging contest

Wisconsin placed in the Top 10 during the 100th National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest at World Dairy Expo. While a team from Pennsylvania garnered top honors with 1,994 points, a team from Wisconsin racked up 1,859 points to capture ninth place.

Team members from Wisconsin include Brady Dorshorst, Ava Hebgen, Rebecca Murphy and Paige Sweatt. The Badger state team was coached by Craig Carncross and Nicki Hebgen.

The Wisconsin team placed eighth in the reasons category with Hebgen placing tenth in the individual division.


Low river levels slow harvest barge traffic

While farmers are making progress with the harvest, getting that bounty down the Mississippi River may not be so easy due to low water levels.

Thanks to weeks of drought, just 89 barges have unloaded in New Orleans since Sept. 1, according to USDA's grain transportation report. Farm Journal says this is nearly 40% fewer ships than the five-year average. Harvest progress is up, but river levels are down.

Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition told Farm Journal low water levels will play a more acute role as harvest ramps up.

Already barge freight rates have jumped to a record 1,250% of tarieff ($49.88/ton), 95% higher than the five-year average. And unless barge supply improves, the increased demand for barges from grain shippers will likely put even more upward pressure on barge rates, according to USDA. Lower water levels may also force companies to reduce the tonnage on barges to assure they're able to navigate the river.


Youth fitting contest kicks off World Dairy Expo

Youth across North America participated in the 2022 World Dairy Expo Youth Fitting Contest on Oct. 2 at the Alliant Energy Center. There were 78 participants registered, representing 12 U.S. states, Denmark and Canada.

Contestants, ages 13-21, were given one hour to prepare their animal to be showring ready. 

Brooke Hammann of Barron, Wis., topped the Sr. Female division, while Brian Mccullough, Juda, Wis. placed fourth in the Sr. Male division. Haley Beukema, New Richmond, Wis. and Alexis Blankenberg, Platteville, Wis. placed third and fourth respectively in the Senior female division.

Ellie Larson, Evansville, Wis. had a runnerup finish in the Intermediate female division while Matthew Winch, Fennimore, Wis. placed third in the Intermediate male division.

Nagel and Brooke Hammann, Barron, Wisconsin, received clippers sponsored by Clipper Parts & Repair for topping the Senior Male and Senior Female Divisions, respectively. Adhyn Schell, Lewiston, Minnesota, and Logan Shoop, Wimauma, Florida, were selected as the top contestants from the Intermediate Female and Intermediate Male Divisions, respectively and received fitting mats sponsored by Weaver Livestock for their achievements.


Levi Nelson honored as Wis. Dairy Athlete of the Month

Varsity footballer, Levi Nelson of Heartland Ridge Farm/Ter-Rae Farms, Inc., Ellsworth, Wis., is the first recipient of the Wisconsin Dairy Athlete of the Month sponsored by (WSN) in partnership with Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW).

WSN’s Wisconsin Dairy Athlete of the Month initiative aims to showcase Wisconsin’s dedicated dairy farmers and the youth who grow and raise food for their local communities.

Nelson is a sophomore at Ellsworth High School. He is currently a running back on the varsity football team with plans to exceed last year’s successes in wrestling and track and field.

Nelson is tasked with animal care on the farm where he owns six Holsteins on his own and three heifers in partnership with his niece. In addition to his athletic interests and helping his family on the farm, he is a member of the Springbrook 4-H Club and the Ellsworth FFA Chapter where he gets involved with service work throughout the community.


Smithfield Foods sending food to Fla. 

Smithfield Foods is sending more than 37,000 lbs. of food – the equivalent of 150,000 servings – to Fort Myers, Fla., through its Helping Hungry Homes program in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian.

The protein will be delivered to Mercy Chefs, a Portsmouth, Virginia-based nonprofit that deploys to disaster zones across America, to serve free, chef-prepared, restaurant-quality hot meals to victims, volunteers and first responders in Fort Myers.


Newson approves farmworker unionization law

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has approved one of the most contentious bills before him this year. It's a measure aiding efforts by farmworkers to unionize that was backed by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Their support pinned Newsom in a difficult political position after his office previously criticized the proposal. But Newsom negotiated upcoming changes before signing the bill, Associated Press reported.

The law he signed gives farmworkers new options to vote to unionize beyond at physical polling places. Proponents say that will help protect workers from union-busting and other intimidation. Farm owners say it lacks necessary safeguards to prevent fraud.


Federal court finds 3rd Iowa ag-gag law unconstitutional

A federal judge in Iowa has struck down the third attempt in recent years by the Iowa Legislature to stop animal welfare groups from secretly filming livestock abuse, finding once gain that the law passed last year violates free speech rights in the U.S. Constitution.

According to Associated Press, the decision rejected the law approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds in April 2021 that makes it a crime to trespass on a property to place a camera to record or transmit images. The law made the first offense punishable by up to two years in prison and subsequent offenses a felony.

The case is one of many so-called ag-gag laws that have surfaced in the U.S. in recent years that pit the right of farmers to protect their property from trespassers against animal welfare advocates.


Denmark to allow 'significantly reduced' mink production

Denmark’s government says a temporary ban on mink breeding will expire Jan. 1, allowing mink production to resume in the country but at a ”significantly reduced” level compared to before the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Associated Press, the government nearly two years ago ordered a cull of millions of minks and banned mink farming to minimize the risk of the small mammals retransmitting the virus.

The Environment and Food Ministry said Friday that health officials now think “there is a limited risk to public health by resuming significantly reduced mink production and by introducing infection prevention measures.” The government says breeders will be required to implement procedures for handling COVID-19 in their herds.