Ag Briefs: Shortened WDE show a success

Wisconsin State Farmer


Shortened WDE show a success

The numbers are in and organizers are heralding the 2022 World Dairy Expo as a success. In the first year of digital ticket sales and only four days of admission, General Manager Laura Herschleb says 54,525 people visited the event.

Among those guests were 1,375 international attendees hailing from 86 countries. Top countries represented were Mexico, Canada, Germany, Brazil and Colombia. The demographics among the general population were broken down to the following percentages: 35% dairy farmers, 38% agribusiness professionals, 8% students, 2% retired and 17% other.

The dairy cattle show set a new Expo record. Previously set in 2008 with 2,657 animals, the 2022 show housed 2,663 animals competing in breed shows and selling at auctions during the week.

The 16 individuals selected to judge cattle on the colored shavings by Expo's visitors spent 96 hours evaluating heifers and cows. Hershcleb says changes were already in the works in the showring to maximize exhibit space prior to this record-setting year which created adequate room on the floor of the Coliseum for all of the animals and their leads-people.

National briefs


St. Croix Co. confirms bird flu in backyard flock

The Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection says the most recent case of the highly  pathogenic avian influenza was confirmed on Oct. 14 in backyard flock impacting seven birds in St. Croix County.

Another 115 birds were depopulated from a non-commercial flock in Washington County in August.  DATCP says 70,000 turkeys were depopulated from two commercial farms in Dunn County after the disease was detected on September 27, and 10,000 ducks were depopulated from two commercial farms in Racine County after HPAI was found on September 26.

This year, 16 Wisconsin counties have been confirmed with HPAI. All infected flocks are depopulated to prevent spread of the disease.


Feed leachate discharge near FDL Co. creek

The Wisconsin DNR is working with a local dairy farm to respond to a discharge of feed leachate to a tributary of Lomira Creek. The farm, Clover Hill Dairy near Lomira, was able to stop the release and is removing polluted water from the stream.

The impacted stream flows south to join Lomira Creek near Highway 28. Water quality in Lomira Creek and nearby marshes appeared normal Tues., Oct. 11. Upstream from Rolling Drive, DNR staff noted cloudy water, a “sewage” odor and dead fish.

Clover Hill Dairy is a permitted concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) in Fond du Lac County.ement plan or returning it to their waste storage. DNR staff is monitoring the cleanup.


WI corn, soybean production largely unchanged

Wisconsin corn production is forecast at 537M bushels, down 1% from the previous year, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Crop Production report.

Based on conditions as of Oct. 1, yields are expected to average a record 182 bu/acre, up 2.0 bushels from last year. Corn planted acreage is estimated at 3.95M acres. An estimated 2.95M of the acres planted will be harvested for grain.

Soybean production is forecast at 115M bushels, up 1% from the previous year. The yield is forecast at 54.0 bu/acre, 1 bushel lower than 2021. Soybean planted acreage is estimated at 2.16M acres with 2.13M acres to be harvested.

Production of alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures for hay is forecast at 2.23M tons, down 24% from the previous year. 


USDA lowers '22 corn, soybean crop outlooks

The USDA has trimmed its outlooks for 2022 U.S. corn and soybean production slightly as harvest moves forward. 

As of Oct. 1, this year’s corn crop is expected to be 13.8B bushels, a decline of less than 1% from September following a modest reduction to the average yield guess to 171.9 bushels/acre. Harvested area is estimated at 80.8M acres. In 2021, corn totaled 15.0B bushels with an average yield of 176.7 bushels/acre and harvested area of 85.3M acres, according to Brownfield News.

Soybeans are seen at 4.3B bushels, 1% less than last month, with the USDA also cutting that yield expectation fractionally to 49.8 bushels/acre. This year’s harvested area for soybeans is expected to be 86.6M acres. Last year, soybeans totaled 4.4B bushels with an average yield of 51.7 bushels/acre and harvested area of 86.3M acres.


AFBF establishes 2023 farm bill priorities

The American Farm Bureau Federation released its priorities for what may be the most consequential legislation for agriculture in 2023 – renewal of the farm bill. The priorities were identified by a working group of Farm Bureau members and staff from across the country.  

AFBF’s overarching priorities include: Continuing current farm bill program funding; Maintaining a unified farm bill that includes nutrition programs and farm programs together; Prioritizing risk management tools that include federal crop insurance and commodity programs; and ensuring adequate USDA staffing and resources to provide technical assistance.


Survey: No pull back in fertilizer rates, acres despite high prices

Despite sky rocketing fertilizer prices, a recent survey found that many farmers won’t reduce rates or plant less corn in 2023.

Kevin McNew, chief economist with Farmers Business Network, told Brownfield Ag News that he believes farmers, unfortunately, are getting comfortable with high fertilizer prices.

FBN surveyed more than 1,000 farmers in its inaugural Fertilizer Price Transparency Report.

The survey showed than 17% would reduce fertilizer, while 9% plan to increase rates. And, he says, the nitrogen-based fertilizer market remains volatile and expects prices to continue to increase next year.


U.S. ag exports are breaking records

Though the Mississippi River’s low levels are affecting barge traffic, it is a different story overseas as U.S. ag export values continue to break records.

August came in as the highest August in history as USDA economists say $15.5B worth of ag exports were recorded for the month, according to RFD-TV.

In the first 11 months of the fiscal year, ag exports totaled just shy of $183B, which is up almost 15% from last year. Economist Bart Kenner says imports were up almost 20%.

Kenner says corn exports are up 11%, soybeans are up 27%, and cotton is up 40%from last year - all are contributing to a record month for ag exports.


Kroger seeks to create grocery giant in $20B bid

Two of the nation’s largest grocers have agreed to merge in a deal that would help them better compete with Walmart, Amazon and other major companies that have stepped into the grocery business.

Kroger on Oct. 14 bid $20 billion for Albertsons. Kroger will also assume $4.7 billion of Albertsons’ debt. Kroger operates 2,800 stores in 35 states, including brands like Ralphs, Smith’s and Harris Teeter. Alberstons operates 2,220 stores in 34 states, including brands like Safeway, Jewel Osco and Shaw’s.

Together the companies employ 710,000 people. The deal will likely get heavy scrutiny from U.S. regulators, especially at a time of high food price inflation.


Colorado farmers experiment with drought-tolerant wheatgrass

Researchers at CSU's Western Colorado Research Center in Fruita are experimenting with a drought-tolerant strain of wheatgrass that produces a grain most commonly referred to by its trade name Kernza. T

The Colorado Sun reports the center is trying to plant it for the first time in the Grand Valley. It's estimated that Kernza, a perennial, could consume about 30% less water than alfalfa hay, a dominant forage crop in Colorado and elsewhere in the West.

Researchers are excited that Kernza could be a cover crop that's marketed as a grain for artisan bread makers, brewers and whiskey distillers.


Deere to expand in Louisiana; adding 70 new jobs

A well known manufacturer of agricultural and construction equipment will create 70 new jobs in Louisiana with a planned $29.8 million expansion of a facility in Thibodaux.

The South Louisiana Economic Council and the governor’s office said in a Tuesday news release that the new jobs connected to the expansion by Deere & Company will have an average annual salary of more than $47,000. The company will retain 311 existing jobs in Louisiana, including 284 jobs at the Lafourche Parish facility.

The state says the expansion involves a new production line and upgraded equipment for manufacturing medium-chassis cotton harvesters that will replace models built in China.


Drought takes toll on country’s largest cotton producer

Drought and extreme heat have severely damaged much of the cotton harvest in the U.S., which produces roughly 35% of the world’s crop.

Nowhere is this more apparent than the Texas High Plains, the windswept region that grows most of the crop in the nation’s top cotton-producing state.

Forecasters and agricultural economists say that Texas cotton farmers could abandon nearly 70% of what they planted in the spring, making it the worst harvest in more than a decade. Losses could cost the region $1.2 billion, despite the federal insurance payments that farmers rely on during bad harvest years.