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Schmidt: Ag improvement meeting set for Feb. 10

By Staff | Jan 23, 2015

The annual meeting of the Pierce County Agricultural Improvement Association (PCAIA) will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Rugby Eagles Club.

All interested agriculturalists are invited to attend. There is no cost to attend the meeting. There will be a $3 fee for those wishing to join or renew their PCAIA membership.

Program topics include:

Farm Bill options and economics

Pierce County dry pea & lentil and oilseed-sunflower commodity elections

PCAIA annual business meeting and seed increase update

Small grain variety update

Winter wheat survivability

Commodity market outlook

Energy price outlook

To help us plan for food and materials, please RSVP by Thursday, Feb. 5 by calling the Pierce County Extension office at 776-6234 ext. 5.

Popular seasonal publications available

The 2015 Weed Control Guides have arrived! In addition the 2014 Annual Research Reports for the Minot, Carrington and Langdon Research Extension Centers have also recently arrived. Stop by the Pierce County Extension office to pick up your copy.

NDSU offers updated crop compare program for 2015

The North Dakota State University Extension Service has updated the Crop Compare program, which is a spreadsheet designed to compare cropping alternatives and provides a tool for producers to check the changing scenarios until final planting decisions are made this spring.

The program uses the direct costs and yields from the 2015 projected crop budgets for nine regions of North Dakota, but producers are encouraged to enter the expected yields and input costs for their farm.

The user designates a reference crop and enters its expected market price. Depending on the region, a broad selection of nine to 18 crops are compared. The program provides the prices for competing crops that would be necessary to provide the same return over variable costs as the reference crop.

“Producers can compare these ‘break-even’ prices to expected market prices to see which crop is most likely to compete with the reference crop,” says Andy Swenson, NDSU Extension Service farm management specialist. “Grain prices can move quickly. The program provides a tool for producers to check the changing scenarios until final planting decisions are made this spring.”

It should be noted that an underlying assumption is that fixed costs, such as machinery ownership, land, and the owner’s labor and management, do not vary among crop choices and, therefore, do not need to be included in the analysis.

“In practice, there may be differences in fixed costs that should be considered,” Swenson says. “For example, there may be additional labor, management and risk associated with a competing crop. If all the labor and management is provided by the owner-operator, it would be considered a fixed cost and could be excluded. However, the producer should add some cost if he or she would only want to produce the crop when an adequate reward would be received for the extra time and management required relative to the reference crop.” A similar rationale could be used if a competing crop is considered higher risk.

The Crop Compare program is available on the Web at ag.ndsu.edu/farmmanagement/tools.

Also, the complete 2015 crop budgets are available at ag.ndsu.edu/farmmanagement/crop-budget-archive or at your local NDSU Extension Office.

Variety Trials Provide Valuable Information

Selecting the crop varieties that will grow best in a particular area can make a huge impact on a producer’s profitability. Each year, NDSU agricultural researchers conduct trials to help determine which varieties produce the best yields under a range of growing conditions. The researchers evaluate the varieties based on a number of characteristics. Using that data, producers should choose the varieties that, on average, perform the best at multiple locations near their farming operation during several years. Corn, Barley, Oat, Rye, Hard Red Spring Wheat, Hard Red Winter Wheat, Soybean, and Sunflower 2014 Variety Trial Results and Selection Guides are available online at: ag.ndsu.edu/varietytrials/ .

All of the above mentioned publications are also available at the NDSU Extension Service Pierce County office. Copies will also be available at the NDSU Extension Service display during the North Central Dakota Ag Show next month.

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