Farmers Take Another Financial Hit


For some farmers, it’s insult added to injury.
Low prices have been followed by unexpected disease problems that are cutting income even more.
Jim Olson is live in Minot with tonight’s Eye on Ag.

(Jim Olson/KX News)
You’ve probably heard a lot about the low prices farmers are getting for most of their crops this year.
Now, a disease many tried to proetect against is slicing even more from their bottom line.
The disease is vomitoxin – or VOM – and in Mountrail County, it’s hit farmers and the grain elevators they deal with.

This machine has been grinding wheat and durum a lot this fall

(John Woodbury, United Quality Coop – Ross) “That would be the sample…”

John Woodbury and his staff at United Quality Coop in Ross have been disheartened by what their testing of wheat and durum has shown this year.

(John Woodbury, United Quality Coop – Ross) “This is the most difficult year I’ve dealt with.”

He’s finding high levels of vomitoxin, or VOM, in durum and spring wheat – making an already low-priced crop worth even less.
And he says farmers are not to blame.

(John Woodbury, United Quality Coop – Ross) “It was such an intense year for the pressure that doing things right still didn’t solve the problem. It’s disheartening.”
(Jim Hennessy, Mountrail County Ag Department) “They put their fungicides down, the put their herbicides on, they also went back in at flowering time and put fungicides down then. They spent the money and did things right and yet a lot of them got nipped in the bud with the vomitoxin levels.”

Jim Hennessy says as much as 40% of Mountrail County’s durum crop has taken a hit from vomitoxin.

(Jim Hennessy, Mountrail County Ag Department) “It was a tough thing for a lot of these guys. You’re going to see a lot of guys that probably won’t plant durum. They said they’re done with durum. They said they’re not going to do it anymore.”

And Woodbury says the problem hurts elevators as well as farmers.

(John Woodbury, United Quality Coop – Ross) “It’s definitely affected things. It’s tough for us as well.”>>

Jim Hennessy says some producers are hoping to feed the high-VOM grain to cattle to get some value out of it.
But food companies are simply not interested in it because high VOM levels can make for hard-to-digest foods for humans.
Click here to learn more about vomitoxin.

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