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What is today's news | Monday, January 31, 2022

Kick off the week strong and catch up on the latest news.

From cover crop subsidies to rain in Argentina, below is a roundup of the headlines to help keep you informed.

Crops news

Only 5% of U.S. cropland is planted to cover crops amid debate over their financial benefits to farmers. Congress may need to offer a “sizable” subsidy to growers if it wants large-scale adoption of the farming practice, said two university economists.

If the history of crop insurance is a guide, “the subsidy needed to obtain a large planting of cover crops will need to be sizable and will need to increase as the target acres of cover crops increase,” wrote economists Carl Zulauf of Ohio State University and Gary Schnitkey of the University of Illinois at the farmdoc daily blog.

The final full week of January 2022, week-ending January 29, was the fifth coolest and sixth wettest in more than 30 years for the growing regions of Argentina, according to data from WeatherTrends360.

Although rainfall is desperately needed and may be beneficial for some later-planted crops, the rain may have arrived too late to salvage some of the early-planted crops.

Farm management

Editor Jodi Henke covers the steps to take to incorporate conservation practices into leases.

Draw up a farm lease that is tailored to the unique needs of each party and to the land itself. To be sustainable, it should address conservation ideas and concerns, and ensure a profitable arrangement for both landowners and tenants.

The XtremeAg team checks in this week with updates from Lee Lubbers in South Dakota and Chad Henderson in Alabama.

Henderson says, “This week we are going to be out in our wheat scouting for aphids and other pests before side-dressing. It’s also a good time to add an insecticide if needed. The ground should allow us to start within the next week.”

Lubbers says the weather is a roller coaster. “It seems like every few days we go through a big swing in temperatures. We are 50°F. above, then the next morning we will be 0°F. with the wind blowing. The big swings are not what we like to see on our winter wheat.”

After reaching an eight-year high thanks to massive pandemic payments in 2021, net farm income — USDA’s gauge of profitability — is expected to fall precipitously this year. The USDA will make its first forecast of farm income on Friday.

Income would fall in the face of higher costs of production and federal payments that will be a fraction of last year’s $27 billion, according to analysts. Commodity prices and ag exports would remain strong but not high enough to offset the expiration of pandemic relief programs.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health crisis, the American Farm Bureau can help with a one-stop program for mental health support.

In this Successful Farming radio episode, Editor Jodi Henke interviews Terri Moore, vice president of communications of American Farm Bureau about the “Farm State of Mind” online program. It is specifically geared toward farmers, ranchers, and rural communities, and includes resources that can help.

Three families of environmental stewardship award program winners offer their tips and experiences for a healthy ranch.

They are: Jerry Doan and family of Black Leg Ranch near Bismarck, North Dakota; John and Kathryn Dawes who raise Angus seed stock cattle near Alexandria, Pennsylvania; and Grant and Dawn Breikreutz, who own and operate their Redwood Falls, Minnesota, farm raising Red Angus cattle.

Watch the video for their recommendations.

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