BISMARCK, N.D. (NDDA) - Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring met recently with U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and commended him for efforts to address the issue of U.S. Fish and Wildlife wetland easements in the state.
"Delineating wetlands where Fish and Wildlife hold an easement is important in order to determine which wetlands and acres are under their direct control," Goehring said. "This allows landowners to manage the adjacent land in a responsible manner using best agricultural practices to support food, feed and fiber production.
In 2015, the North Dakota Legislature created the Federal Environmental Law Impact Review Committee (FELIRC) to review federal environmental legislation and regulations that detrimentally impact or potentially detrimentally impact the state's agricultural, energy or oil production sectors. The committee consists of 11 members with Goehring as the chairman. The committee has taken an interest in the issue and has been actively trying to find a solution.
"We hadn't seen much movement on this issue until Secretary Zinke took office. He has added more people and resources to address the issue," Goehring said. "We are extremely grateful to the Secretary for his continued action to help push U.S. Fish and Wildlife to delineate wetland easements.
FARGO, N.D. - Based on November 1 conditions, North Dakota's 2018 soybean production is forecast at 247 million bushels, up 1 percent from last year according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Area for harvest, at 6.85 million acres, is 3 percent below 2017. Yield is forecast at 36 bushels per acre, up 1.5 bushels from last year.
Corn production is forecast at 426 million bushels, down 5 percent from last year's production. Area to be harvested for grain, at 2.92 million acres, is down 10 percent from a year ago. Yield is forecast at 146 bushels per acre, up 7.0 bushels from last year.
Sugarbeet production is forecast at 6.09 million tons, down 6 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 210,000 acres, is down 1 percent from 2017. Yield is forecast at 29.0 tons per acre, down 1.4 tons from last year.
Potato production is forecast at 23.7 million cwt, down 3 percent from last year. Planted acres, at 74,500 acres, were down 500 acres from 2017. Acres harvested are estimated at 73,000 acres, down 1,000 acres from 2017. Yield is estimated at 325 cwt per acre, down 5 cwt from last year.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A super weed that can devastate corn and soybean crops has now been found in five North Dakota counties, but a university expert says there is still hope for preventing a widespread infestation of Palmer amaranth in the state.
The aggressive pigweed species can grow as tall as 7 feet and produce hundreds of thousands of seeds. It's strong enough to stop combines and resist many herbicides.
It's native to the desert regions of the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico, but it has slowly spread to southeastern and Midwestern states and in recent years has moved into South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.
It was first confirmed in soybeans in southeastern North Dakota's McIntosh County in August, and it now has been confirmed either by extension specialists or through laboratory analysis in Benson, Dickey, Foster and Richland counties, in soybeans, livestock feed and in the wild.
The infestations have been small, with officials in most cases pulling the plants by hand, according to Tom Peters, sugar beet agronomist with the North Dakota State University Extension Service.
"We can manage these small fields of Palmer amaranth," he said. "If we allow it to become established, I think then it's going to change the way we grow crops in North Dakota."
A heavy Palmer amaranth infestation can cut soybean yields by as much as 79 percent and corn yields by up to 91 percent, according to research by Purdue University. The threat from the weed is so great that NDSU Weed Science officials named it the "weed of the year" in both 2014 and 2015, even though it hadn't yet been found in the state.
Officials determined the weeds found in the past few months had a variety of likely sources - migratory birds, farm equipment, a railroad car and livestock feed brought in from out of state. All of the plants so far have been found in eastern North Dakota, which borders states where Palmer amaranth also is present.
The weed has not yet been found in Montana, but western North Dakota could still be susceptible, especially with the large amount of out-of-state hay trucked in during the 2017 drought, according to Peters.
Diligence by farmers, other landowners, gardeners and even hunters is key to diminishing the threat, according to Peters. State Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has encouraged farmers to scout fields this harvest, and the state Game and Fish Department has asked hunters to keep an eye out.
"I think there's great hope," Peters said. "I think we have to continue what we've been doing, and that's be curious, be suspicious. If something looks different on the landscape, ask questions."
(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)