Higher temps let crops mature

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Another week of above-average temperatures and limited rain helped Minnesota crops mature and let farmers make rapid harvest progress.

But the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in its weekly crop weather report Aug. 29, also warns of precipitation shortfalls in the southern third of Minnesota. Topsoil moisture was rated 7 percent very short, 22 percent short, 64 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus, a decline from a week ago.

Spring wheat was 77 percent harvested, surpassing the five-year average of 76 percent. Oats were 90 percent harvested, compared to a 91 percent average, while barley was 76 percent harvested, compared with an 83 percent average.

South Dakota looks at land tax

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) -- Despite a warning from a state tax official, a legislative task force agreed Aug. 29 to look at substantial changes in South Dakota's new system for determining the value of agricultural land for property tax purposes.

Members of the panel said they want to study ways to speed up increases in the taxable value some land and improve the system's fairness so it treats cropland and pasture land in a more equal fashion.

The Agricultural Land Assessment Implementation and Oversight Advisory Task Force did not vote on any proposals, but agreed to look at some proposed changes in more detail when it meets again Oct. 11. The panel may submit proposals to the full Legislature, which would have the final say in any changes to tax law.

Property taxes used to be based on the selling prices of comparable farm land, but that system was scrapped because there were not enough agricultural sales to set a valid market price. Taxable value is now based on income produced by the land.

Corn condition ratings were 24 percent fair and 51 percent good, a slight decrease. Soybean condition ratings fell slightly to 26 percent fair and 50 percent good.

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