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Extension > Minnesota Crop News > May 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Central MN Alfalfa Harvest Alert May 31 UPDATE

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties

Check  Alfalfa Field Data 05 31 2011.pdf  for Alfalfa Scissors-Cut and PEAQ information we have so far from fields sample May 30/31 ... UPDATED June 1 about 5 p.m. Fields are being sampled on some variable schedules due to Memorial Day Holiday - a couple on May 30, some May 31. The McLeod and Meeker fields will be sampled on Wednesday June 1 for this week.

Many fields in our sampling area are at a place where they could be harvested now with the first good weather opportunity; and weather forecasts continue to look like we'll be dancing around egg shells some.

The end of the report offers a May 30 update on Alfalfa Weevil Growing Degree Days and information from an Alfalfa Grass Mixed Sample a couple miles south of Foley.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Oh Where Oh Where did my Nitrogen Go?

by Daniel Kaiser and Jeffrey Coulter, University of Minnesota Extension Specialists

With all of the flooded soils and wet fields there likely are questions on denitrification and whether side-dress nitrogen (N) should be applied. The fact is that it can be difficult to predict the amount of N lost. However, two things should be considered when dealing with denitrification:

  1. Denitrification only occurs when nitrogen is in the nitrate form. For fall applied N as long as application occurred after the soils cooled down to appropriate levels then the risk of N loss over the winter and in early spring should be low, especially since soil temperatures have been fairly low for most of the spring.
  2. Denitrification is due to microbial processes. Therefore, as soil temperatures decrease microbial activity decreases and the risk for denitrification decreases.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Central MN Alfalfa Harvest Alert May 26 Update

By Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties

Check "continued reading"   for an update of PEAQ and Forage lab data from fields checked on Thursday May 26 as of Friday May 27 about 5:00 p.m. The NORMAL technology failed me in trying to attach a pdf document. You'll have to look back at the first May 26 posting for previous test results on individual farms.

Weather: Notes at the end of the report include comments from Extension Climatologist Mark Seeley about weather prospects over the next couple of weeks.

Alfalfa Weevil: Notes at the end of the report include a couple observations about alfalfa weevil also.

Look back at archived 1st May 26 posting for previous readings. Some samples have not made it to or through the lab yet.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sauk Center Hay Auction Reports May 2011

By Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties

This information is from Hay Auction held at Sauk Centre MN ON May 5 and 19. An additional Auction will be held on June 2.

SC Hay Auction 05 05 2011.pdf   A list of all tested hay lots and bedding materials sold on May 5... grouped by kind of hay and type of bale ... cost per  pound of dry matter and cost per RFV point are calculated.

SC Hay Auction 05 19 2011.pdf Same for May 19 auction

History of Selected Lots 2010 2011.pdf    A summary of auctions held this year: Medium Square Alfalfa 101 to 200 RFV divided into 25 RFV groups, and bedding material.  Sometime during the next couple of weeks, I'll calculate averages through the 2010-2011 season.

Graphs of Med Sq Alf 2001 to 2011.PDF     Line graphs of auction seasons from 2001 to 2010.

Throughout the year, you can also get USDA Hay Market reports at https://www.ams.usda.gov/

Central MN Alfalfa Harvest Alert May 26

By Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties marte011@umn.edu 800-964-4929

Click Alfalfa Field Data 05 26 2011.pdf    for Alfalfa PEAQ and Scissors-Cut samples from Thursday May 26. More results will be received on Friday afternoon and an update should be posted later Friday afternoon or evening. Then we will not have new results until Tuesday afternoon May 31.

"Continued reading" offers an note from Extension Climatologist Mark Seeley about weather prospects over the next 2 weeks and another note on "alfalfa weevil."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Heat Canker and Frost Damage in Small Grains

Jochum Wiersma, Small grains specialist

heat-frost.png
Photo 1. Frost injury on young barley plants
The title of this short article may seem a paradox, but leave it to a Minnesota spring to create the conditions for both problems within a day or two. Last night's lows may have caused some frost damage in northwest Minnesota. Fortunately, for spring wheat and barley the damage is cosmetic and will not require replanting. The reason for this is as simple as it is elegant. The tender growing point from which all leaves and eventually the spike is produced is insulated and protected by the soil. Up the approximately the 5-leaf stage the growing point is located at the crown at ± 1.5 inch below the soil surface. The crown is easy to recognize as a hard knob from which both roots as well as leaves start. This evolutionary adaptation to keep the growing point hidden and protected from the elements is precisely why small grains fit so well in this area. Frost damage will initially have a dark green, water soaked appearance that will quickly dry out, leaving the tissue white to tan (Photo 1). Frozen and dried up leaf tips will often break off with a little wind and give the field a very raged appearance. New growth should not show any symptoms.

Timing of Herbicide Applications is Critical for Effective Weed Control in Sugarbeet

by Dr. Jeff Stachler, U of MN Extension and NDSU Agronomist - Sugarbeet/Weed Science

Sugarbeets have emerged or are beginning to emerge. That means it is time to begin postemergence herbicide applications to sugarbeet. Timing of the first postemergence herbicide application is the MOST critical weed management tactic, regardless of the type of sugarbeet planted.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Switch from corn to soybeans? Not so fast!

Kent Olson, Extension Economist
Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Agronomist
May 25, 2011

Delayed Corn Planting.jpg
With a wet spring and delayed planting, many farmers are thinking of switching from corn to soybean due to potential yield losses in corn as planting is delayed. However, if farmers consider potential net revenue, they may not make this switch as fast as if they consider just the potential yield loss.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Crop insurance options for prevented planting

By Gary Hachfeld, University of Minnesota Extension

Originally published in Ag News Wire

Farmers who are prevented from planting their crops due to wet spring weather can manage this risk if they have purchased federal crop insurance.

Yield protection, Revenue Protection and Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Exclusion policies all include prevented-planting coverage. There is no prevented-planting coverage with Group Risk Plan or Group Risk Income Protection insurance.

Guidelines for Late-Planted Corn and Soybean in Minnesota

Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Agronomist and Seth Naeve, Extension Soybean Agronomist


May 24, 2011

Fig. 1. Late Planting.jpg
Figure 1. Heavy and frequent rainfall have made timely corn and soybean planting a challenge this year in Minnesota.


As of May 22, only 81% of the corn and 38% of the soybean in Minnesota were planted (USDA-NASS, 2011). This is well behind the 5-year average of 93% for corn and 68% for soybean. With significant amounts of rain this past weekend, planting in many fields will be further delayed. This is leading to several questions about late-planted corn and soybean that are addressed below.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Central MN Alfalfa Harvest Alert May 23

By Dan Martens, U of M Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties

Click here Alfalfa Field Data 05 23 2011.pdf for information from field sampling on May 23 that we have back as of 4:30 on Monday afternoon.
The first page shows information received so far for all farms on May 23. The next pages show information for each farm individually so far this spring. These are listed generally from south to north: Scott, Carver, McLeod, Meeker, Wright, Stearns, Benton, Morrison Counties.
Samples from some farms are mailed to the forage lab and it takes another day to get information back.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Central MN Alfalfa Harvest Alert May 19

By Dan Martens, U of M Extension Educator, Stearns - Benton - Morrison Counties

I'm posting here a link to data from fields checked on May 19. The first page shows information for all farms for May 19, followed by all tests so far listed by individual farms. These are listed generally from south to north: Scott, Carver, McLeod, Meeker, Wright, Stearns, Benton, Morrison Counties.

This information was updated around 3:30 pm. on Friday May 20.

Click here for the updated May 19 report Alfalfa Field Data 05 19 2011.pdf

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Central MN Alfalfa Harvest Alert Report

By Dan Martens, U of M Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties
I'm posting a link here to data from fields checked on Monday May 16. Barry Visser from Vita Plus sampled at the Poppler farm in Wright County where alfalfa measured 18 inches; and says most fields he has checked are in the range of 15 to 17 inches for tallest stems.
For the May 16 Field Data Report click here Alfalfa Field Data 05 16 2011.PDF



Monday, May 16, 2011

Central MN Alfalfa Scissors Cut Sampling Underway

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties
The information we have so far from sampling on Monday morning May 16 is:
In Wright County, at the Poppler Farm near Waverly, tallest stems 18." With favorable weather, that kind of field could be ready to harvest within the next two weeks.
At the Krause farm west of Buffalo 15.5"
In Benton County at the Scapanski Dairy northeast of Sauk Rapids and at O & S Dairy east of Rice 14 to 14.5 inches.
Of course feed quality numbers are much higher that we want for harvest yet, but we can see as other field work has been at a standstill, the hay crop has been making some progress. I'll post a chart with feed quality tests as we get more of that information. More information about doing scissors cut sampling on your own farm, using PEAQ sticks, or using this information can be found at www.extension.umn.edu/forages


Friday, May 13, 2011

Emergency Options for Seeding Small Grains

Jochum Wiersma, Small grains specialist

As the wet and cold weather continues to delay fieldwork and the window for small grain seeding is closing, you may be considering alternatives. Broadcast seeding methods, whether by air or with a pneumatic fertilizer spreader (floater), are an emergency option you can consider if you plan to stick with small grains. The chances of success are greatly improved when you heed the following:

Managing a late start to soybean planting

By Dave Nicolai and Seth Naeve

Originally published in Ag News Wire

With only 28 percent of corn acres planted prior to May 9 in Minnesota, growers face the difficult decision of when to begin planting soybeans in order to maintain adequate yields. Soil conditions are of primary importance when considering delayed planting.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Proper management of waterhemp - now is the time to take control

By Jeff Stachler, Jeff Gunsolus and Rich Zollinger

Waterhemp is an annual weed species in the pigweed family that is capable of producing greater than 1 million seeds per plant and due to a limited number of effective herbicides, especially in sugarbeet and soybean, is difficult to control compared to most weed species.  In addition to the production of large quantities of seeds, continual germination throughout the growing season and an increased frequency of herbicide-resistant biotypes adds to the degree of difficulty in keeping this weed species under control.  The good news is that the longevity of waterhemp seeds in the seedbank is relatively short compared to most species (1 to 12% survival after 4 years), meaning complete control (zero seed production) of all plants over a three to four year time period should significantly reduce the waterhemp seed bank densities, allowing the farmer to take control of this difficult weed problem.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Winter Wheat Stand Evaluation

by Jochum Wiersma, Small grains specialist

It's time to determine whether the winter wheat came through the winter well enough to keep the stand. The best way to do this is to do a stand count. To do a stand count, use one of the following two methods:

  1. Count the number of plants in a foot of row at several locations in the field. Take an average and convert in plants per acre using Table 1.
  2. Take a hula-hoop, let it fall, and count the number of plants inside the hoop. Repeat this at random several times across the field and calculate an average. Use Table 2 to convert the count to an approximate population per square foot or acre.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sauk Centre Hay Auction Report April 2011

By Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties

I am posting information here for the April 7 and 21 Sauk Centre Hay Auctions. This includes:
SC Hay Auction 04 07 2011.pdf  A list of all tested hay lots and bedding materials sold... grouped by kind of hay, 25 RFV points ... cost per pound of dry matter and per RFV point.
SC Hay Auction 04 21 2011.pdf Same as previous
History of Selected Lots 2010 2011.pdf A summary of auction held this year: Medium Square Alfalfa in 25 RF points showing average and range for price and RFV.
Graphs of Med Sq Alf 2001 to 2011.PDF   A line graph of auction seasons from 2001 to 2011. The bold red line is this years season. A dash line indicates information not available.
Read more about plans for Alfalfa Scissors Cut Sampling in Central Minnesota for 2011
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