Annual field day highlights farm issues

Published 9:18 am Friday, August 29, 2008

More than 50 farmers and agricultural producers gathered at Keith Kuiter’s farm to learn about issues and concerns with this year’s crop as part of the 37th annual Corn Variety Plot Field Day presented by Riverland Community College and the University of Minnesota Extension.

A major issue for farmers this year is the skyrocketing prices of input costs for next year’s crop, said Barry Kurtz, an instructor of farm business management.

There are higher prices for corn and soybeans, he said, but those profits trickle down to the landowner and seed companies.

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“The higher prices are not increasing the farmers’ profits,” Kurtz said. “That is pretty scary for a lot of people, to everyone.”

Another issue, which University of Minnesota Extension educator Ryan Miller presented, was the aphid issue present earlier this year.

During this growing season, Kurtz said 98 percent of farmers sprayed at least once, some sprayed twice. There are some years where a spray for aphids isn’t necessary at all, but it all depends on the field.

The field day is an educational opportunity for farmers in the area to learn this year’s concerns and issues. Normally the turnout is around 100, Kurtz said, but this year it was down to around 50. But, he said, it is still a good turnout for field days.

Farmers attend field days to see how crops are coming along. They discuss problems and deficiencies as well as how to solve any problems for next year.

This year, Kurtz said the crop is doing well for both corn and soybeans. The area especially will experience a good crop even though it went through a short dry period.

The soybean plants aren’t as tall nor do they have a top plume, he said, but there are a lot of beans on the stalk making it a good crop. However, the beans that farmers have now are what the yield is going to be, so the focus is on improving the existing beans.

It is the same situation with the area’s corn crop. The corn on the stalk now is the corn of the yield, so the focus is to add to the kernel growth and weight, Kurtz said.

The corn crop is roughly a week to 10 days behind schedule for harvest, but soybeans are right on time, according to Kurtz.

Kuiter, whose farm the event took place at, said he helped start the field day more than 30 years ago to test hybrids and growth to show farmers. Through the event, farmers get to meet people and sponsors.

Topics presented at the field day included plant populations and twin-row corn, fertilizer, tile drainage and grain market opportunities. Dennis Byron, vice chairman of Qualisoy also spoke about linolenic soybeans.