Ramsey County Extension Agent Bill Hodous predicts this year will be the year that producers will be looking for that 20 cent, 30 cent or 40 cent where they can make a profit, and perhaps not the big wind-fall.
He says the winter of 2016 that the region has experienced thus far has been one of the nicest on record. If it continues as it has, he expects farmers may be able to get into the fields as early as April because the surface moisture has not been at the “normal” level that’s been seen the past 30 years.
That could change, however, with weather uncertainties and the closer spring comes, the better to predict what may lie ahead for farmers in the Lake Region.
Hodous says that if producers have correctly done their analysis in the spring, factored in all living expenses into the budget and come out with a modest profit, it’s a good year.
“We always hope for better,” Hodous adds, “But any year you make your budget and get a little left over, that’s a good year.”
Hodous says it’s not so much climate change that has affected the kinds and types of crops that are grown in the Lake Region so much as research and innovation.
He says there used to be corn and soybean varieties, for example, that really struggled to produce in the region. Now through genetics and research there are varieties that do quite well here.
This year there will be a non GMO soybean variety available for planting for local farmers, it is called N.D. Henson and is available through the NDSU Extension office.
World-wide economic issues are a major factor in local farming success. “We can produce the bushels,” Hodous said.
“We’ve proven we can do that. The problem comes from commodity prices and the value of the world’s currency.” Presently there is an abundance across the world. Unfortunately, one of the things that would help commodity prices for area farmers would mean farmers somewhere else in the world would have to suffer a major crop loss.
Barring that happening, he predicts that farmers in the Lake Region will be looking for small successes, not big ones for 2016.