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Published January 10 2014

Ag calendar/briefs (Jan. 10)

Dairy conference set

The annual I-29 Dairy Conference will be held at the Best Western Ramkota Inn and Conference Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., Jan. 15-16.

The conference is a multistate collaborative educational program developed by the dairy specialists from the North Dakota State University Extension Service,

South Dakota State University Extension Service, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, University of Minnesota Extension, Midwest Dairy Association and

Southwest Minnesota Dairy Profit Group.

The conference begins Jan. 15, with registration at 4:45 p.m. and exhibits opening at 5, followed by a social and dinner. Livestock advocate and blogger Amanda Radke will give the keynote address, called “When City and Country Collide,” at 7 p.m.

Activities Jan. 16 include morning workshops on understanding the energy audit program and its impact on dairies, the Affordable Care Act, the latest in herd health recommendations and a producer perspective on cover crop use on dairies.

During the afternoon, participants can attend breakout sessions on

topics like succession planning, evaluating energy use changes in the barn and using cover crops on the dairy operation.

The cost is $45 per person and includes the Wednesday

night meal and keynote address and all programs, breaks and lunch on Thursday. The fee is waived for members of their state dairy producer organization.

To register online, visit http://igrow.org. For more information, contact Schroeder at (701) 231-7663 or jw.schroeder@ndsu.edu.

Farm and Ranch conference planned

The North Dakota Farm Bureau Farm and Ranch Conference will be held Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at the Holiday Inn in Minot, N.D.

Guest speaker Mike Boehlje, a distinguished professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and the Center for Food and Agricultural Business at Purdue University, will teach participants how to grow their farm or ranch for the future.

Holly Hoffman, a Eureka, South Dakota rancher, mother of three and finalist on CBS reality show “Survivor Nicaragua” will also speak.

Breakout sessions include basic computer training in Microsoft Excel, financial management for the farm and ranch, communications and more. Activities for youth and daycare is available for kids.

Register at: www.ndfb.org/frconference or call Joey Tigges at 701-318-2252.

Agricultural Drainage Design Workshops Set

A Drainage Design Workshop will be held in the Tech Center, Room 87, on the campus of the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton Feb. 11-12 and in the Sargeant Student Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota - Crookston March 5-6.

The workshops are a collaborative effort by the University of Minnesota

Extension, North Dakota State University Extension Service and South Dakota

State University Extension Service.

The workshops are intended for farmers, landowners, consultants, drainage contractors, government agency staff, water resource managers or anyone interested in a more complete understanding of the planning and design principles and practices for drainage and water table management systems.

The two-day workshops start at 8 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. on day two. The workshops will focus on the planning and design of agricultural tile drainage systems to meet profitability and environmental objectives.

Two similar workshops are planned in the region for those unable to attend the meetings in Wahpeton or Crookston. They are Jan. 29 - 30 at the SDSU Extension Regional Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. and March 18 -19 at the

Holiday Inn in Owatonna, Minn.

To register for the workshops, go to https://www.regonline.com/2014Drainage. The early registration fee is $225 but increases to $300 three weeks before the start of each workshop. Each workshop is limited to 65 participants.

Positive returns projected in 2014 for most crops

Projected crop budgets generally show some return to labor and management for 2014, although the price of most crops declined significantly in 2013 and are not expected to improve, according to Andy Swenson, North Dakota State University Extension Service farm management specialist.

A reduction in total costs per acre provides a slight cushion to the impact of lower crop prices.

Crop insurance premiums should be lower because of a drop in the crop prices used to determine revenue guarantees and seed prices are generally flat.

Projected per-acre returns to labor and management for producing spring wheat and corn are generally positive but paltry. The range is from minus $13 to a positive $18 for corn and minus $8 to a positive $37 for spring wheat across nine regions of the state.

Soybeans project solid per-acre returns to labor and management by averaging $63 outside of the western regions, while peaking at $84 in the southeastern region. Soybean labor and management returns are $21 and $28 in the southwestern and northwestern regions, respectively.

Dry beans also look strong, with per-acre returns to labor and management averaging more than $100.

Canola returns to labor and management range from $45 per acre in the northeastern region to minus $25 in the southeastern region.

Flax per acre returns to labor and management are $71 in the northeastern region, $56 in the north-central region and nearly $50 in the southwestern and northwestern regions. The lowest return for flax is $19 in the southeastern and south-central regions.

Malting barley per-acre returns to labor and management are around $50 to $60 in the northeastern, north-central, northwestern and south-central regions. If barley does not make malting quality and is sold for feed, the returns are around minus $40 per acre. Rye returns more than $60 per acre in regions for which it is budgeted.

Projected lentil returns to labor and management should be about $30 per acre. Oats and millet are the only two crops that show very negative returns in all regions.

The projections do not account for variability in yields and prices.

Cold weather can affect bulls’ reproductive health

When temperatures drop, cattle producers should make bulls are bedded well, out of the wind, and getting the right amount of a balanced ration for proper maintenance and growth.

Bulls often are separated from the main herd and do not have the benefit of the herd environment when it comes to survival so they can be at risk for a frozen scrotum, according to the North Dakota State University Extension Service

Because the scrotum is designed to allow heat out of the body, bulls exposed to wind and cold, could be neutered by morning, the Extension Service states.

In severe cases, the bull will not be able to reproduce. But if damage is limited to the scrotum, the heat of the inflamed scrotum will damage the sperm producing and storage capacity of the bull’s reproductive system, which usually means the bull will be infertile for a couple of months.

All bulls should have a breeding soundness exam in late March or early April.