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Beef, sheep raisers will get $704,000

Minnesota will distribute $704,000 in grant funds from USDA for targeted financial assistance to the state’s beef and sheep producers who suffered severe drought on grazing lands this summer.

"Considering the thousands of impacted producers and hundreds of thousands of animals included in the disaster counties, it’s clear that this relatively limited assistance will cover only a small portion of the actual losses,’’ said MDA commissioner Gene Hugoson. "While MDA would have preferred to deliver this assistance to all types of livestock species, the USDA only allocated assistance based on the number of beef cattle and sheep in these impacted counties.’’

Applications will be made available this week. Contact your local FSA office for more information.

Early seed purchase discounts can pay off

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It’s that time of the year when seed sales representatives call customers with latest information on seed varieties for the next growing season.

Many early payment programs offer their largest discounts in November and December, with the percentage dropping each month, said Greg Kalinoski, Northland College Farm Business Management instructor based in Red Lake Falls, Minn.

Does borrowing money pay off to take advantage of the early-season discounts?

"You’ll still come out ahead as long as the annualized rate of the discount exceeds the interest rate on your borrowed money,’’ Kalinoski said. "Other considerations to buying early can be tax advantages of prepaying and reducing your taxable income.’’

Certification pays for feeder producers

Recently completed research by Iowa State University Extension economists looked at the value to beef producers of using a third-party certification.

Data from 20,000 lots of cattle in 105 auctions at nine locations was collected. The report shows the value of different weaning and vaccination practices, says John Lawrence, lead researcher. More importantly, it shows there is value in third-party certification.

All else being equal, green tag calves, weaned at least 30 days, and with a signed preconditioning certificate, brought $6 more per hundredweight than did a newly weaned calf with no vaccination.

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The signed reconditioning certificate was worth $3 per hundredweight more than if the seller made the claim that the cattle were weaned and vaccinated, Lawrence said.

A copy of the report is available by calling (515) 294-5247.

Some valuable winter grain storage tips

After Nov. 1, turn off the grain bin fan when corn moisture at the top of the bin is less than 17 percent and corn temperature is less than 30 degrees, says Dan Martens, Extension educator based in Foley, Minn.

If the weather forecast calls for a period of warm weather, resume drying until average temperatures drop below 30 degrees again.

After Dec. 1, turn the fan off when corn moisture in the top of the bin is less than 19 percent and corn temperature is less than 25 degrees. After Dec. 15, turn the fan off when corn temperature at the top of the bin drops below 25 degrees, regardless of corn temperature.

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