Midwest Briefs: 25 calves killed in blaze

Wisconsin State Farmer
Midwest briefs


Cattle barn fire kills 2 dozen calves

A cattle barn fire has killed about two dozen calves in central Minnesota. 

The Stearns County Sheriff's Office says deputies and Elrosa firefighters were called to a barn fire at the Wuertz Dairy Farm on Aug. 10. 

Deputies arrived to find the barn engulfed in flames. The homeowners were awakened by a passer-by and were able to open a gate to release several of the cows that were trapped inside. 

The barn housed about 30 cows. Authorities say the fire killed about 25 calves. The barn was destroyed. No one was hurt. The cause is under investigation. 


ND Ag officials surveying for dicamba damage 

The state Agriculture Department is asking North Dakota farmers to report any suspected crop damage caused by the herbicide dicamba. 

Dicamba kills broad-leafed weeds but also can damage or kill legumes. This year was the first that any dicamba products were registered for use on post-plant soybeans. 

Whether herbicide drift is causing damage to soybean crops has been a topic in many states including both Dakotas this summer. 

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says his agency wants to quantify the number of potential damage reports and impacted acres through the survey. He says the information that's gathered won't be used for any enforcement actions. 


Second Quarter stockholder report promising

GreenStone Farm Credit Services released its second quarter stockholder report, detailing earnings of $33.4 million for the three months ended June 30, 2017, showing an 19 percent increase over the second quarter of 2016.

Year-to-date earnings for the first half of the year are $71.4 million, a 15 percent increase over the same period in 2016.

These earnings are driven by owned and managed loan volume totaling $8.1 billion at the close of June.  

Officials noted that operating expenses remained well-controlled; acceptable loan credit was 94.6 percent; and total member equity exceeds $1.5 billion.


ND governor asks for more federal drought aid

Gov. Doug Burgum has asked for a presidential disaster declaration because of severe drought conditions across much of North Dakota. 

The governor's request to President Donald Trump has been made through the regional Federal Emergency Management Agency. It would activate individual and direct federal assistance programs. 

Burgum's office says nearly 94 percent of the state is in some level of drought, directly affecting more than 425,000 residents. 

The governor also is asking for additional staff from the USDA and other federal agencies to provide assistance with programs available to help those impacted by the drought. 


Rains quench dry areas, some farmers need more 

Rains quenched dry areas of Minnesota's farm country last week but farmers in some southern and northern counties were left hoping for more. 

The USDA weekly crop progress and condition report for Minnesota noted that topsoil moisture supplies are rated 20 percent short and 5 percent very short. 

But 80 percent of the state's corn crop is in good to excellent condition, down just 1 point from last week. The state's soybeans are rated 74 percent good to excellent, up 1 point from last week. 


Soybean crop damage being investigated 

Some farmers in the northeast region of South Dakota have been complaining about a drifting herbicide that they say is damaging their soybean crops. 

Tom Gere, agronomy services manager with the department, told the Aberdeen American News the herbicide is called dicamba.

"We're getting a lot of phone calls," Gere said. "I don't know what the count is, but yesterday I fielded quite a few phone calls from growers in regard to dicamba." 

Gere said the department is investigating the crop damage, and whether chemicals have been applied incorrectly. The probe could take several more weeks.