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Showing posts from 2012

U of MN Field Crop Trials Bulletin Available

By Lizabeth Stahl

The University of MN Field Crop Trials Bulletin is now available in print and electronic forms. The new publication, dated January 2013, provides results from U of MN trials conducted in 2012 across the state. The varieties tested are from both public and private breeding programs and include U of MN developed forage, grain, and oilseed crop varieties.

Plant varieties tested include alfalfa, barley, birdsfoot trefoil, canola, corn for grain, corn for silage, oat, soybeans, spring wheat, and winter wheat. Trials were conducted at Research and Outreach Centers across the state at St. Paul, Becker, Crookston, Grand Rapids, Lamberton, Morris, Rosemount and Waseca, and also in farmer's fields. Results are from replicated trials conducted at several locations, which allows growers to evaluate how varieties performed across various environments, while accounting for variability within a location and across locations.
The variety trials bulletin is available online thr…

Nutrient Management Planner v. 4.0

Nutrient Management Planner for Minnesota software, version 4.0 for M.S. Windows 7 and Access 2010 is now available on a CD from UM Extension,, at the Extension Store. NMP helps producers and their advisors plan field-specific fertilizer and manure applications that meet crop needs and agency requirements. Recommendations are consistent with current University of Minnesota fertilizer recommendations, the USDA-NRCS-Minnesota 590 (Nutrient Management) Standard, and Minnesota State 7020 Feedlot Rules. The software generates reports that meet NRCS and MPCA requirements, and that serve producers' farm management needs. The software includes a farm nutrient supply and demand calculator to determine the acres needed for manure applications. NMP V 4.0 requires a computer with MS Windows 7 and MS Access 2010. More information is at

Tires, Traction, and Compaction Field Day: Videos Discussing Four Main Topics Now Available

In September, 2011, University of Minnesota Extension, partnered with NDSU Extension, brought you the Tires, Traction, and Compaction Field Day near Fergus Falls, MN. There are now four videos highlighting the key messages presented during the day. Each video takes you to the unique soil pits constructed for that day to illustrate soil structure and effects of equipment traffic on soils. Each video is under six minutes yet captures the field experience for those unable to attend. They represent a great refresher for the 200+ participants who were there.

Watch For Potential Corn Ear Rots and Mycotoxins After Dry and Hot Weather in Parts of Minnesota

By Dean Malvick, Extension plant pathologist
Development of corn ear and kernel rots and associated mycotoxins in grain may have been favored by the dry and hot weather in some areas of Minnesota this summer. Although few problems with ear rots or mycotoxins seem to have been reported so far, only about 12% of corn was harvested in Minnesota as of September 16 and there is much grain to be harvested where potential problems may have occurred. Several different types of ear rots occur in Minnesota, but Aspergillus ear rot and Fusarium ear rot are of greatest concern because they produce mycotoxins and are favored by hot and dry conditions.

Tips for Planting Winter Wheat Late

The unusually warm summer this year now means that there are many acres that have been harvested that potentially could be planted to winter wheat. It appears that the lack of rainfall could be a deterrent to winter wheat planting, at least to getting it planted during an optimum period. Our current recommendations are to plant winter wheat in the northern half of Minnesota by the middle of September and the rest of the state by October 1st. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be any rain in the immediate forecast. Planting into dry soil and waiting for rain is a viable option. In this scenario, put the seed about an inch deep so that it will be able to emerge quickly once rainfall is received. Though seeds that just begin the germination process will vernalize (meet the necessary cold requirement to produce a spike in the summer), a much larger seedling typically has a better chance of overwintering and being more productive. In the last three years of our research, the early pl…

Performance problems surface again with Bt corn rootworm traits

By Ken Ostlie and Bruce Potter, University of Minnesota Extension

Bt-RW problem field with lodged corn
Calls over the last two weeks indicate Bt-RW trait performance problems may be expanding in scope. Field observations suggest corn rootworm populations have increased markedly in corn after corn fields since 2011; recent calls indicate a major expansion of the geography of performance problems into SC and WC Minnesota. Unfortunately the drought has masked the primary tip-off to severe corn rootworm injury—lodging. With injury largely completed and corn rootworm emergence peaking, now is the time to check fields for signs or symptoms of performance problems with your Bt-RW traits. Getting a handle on Bt trait performance is critical before making seed purchases for 2013. You may need to change your corn rootworm management strategy/strategies.

Small grains disease update

This year proved to be an interesting in more ways than one for the cereal crops in Minnesota. The mild winter and spring saw many growers planting their crops very early. However these same conditions conspired to give us early influxes of aphids carrying Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV). While this disease can always be found in low levels in wheat, barley and oats (characterized by yellowing and eventually drying of leaf edges originating for the leaf tip and progressing down towards the stem in wheat and barley and red to purple discoloration in oats), symptom severity this year was far more extreme in a lot of cases due to plants being infected at very early growth stages. This resulted in severe dwarfing and excessive tillering, something rarely, if ever, seen before in Minnesota.

Using Drought-Stressed Corn for Forage

By Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator - Crops
Drought conditions continue to intensify in areas across the state including Southwestern Minnesota. According to the July 24, 2012, U.S. Drought Monitor report, the southwest corner of the state is now rated in the "Severe" drought category. The western half and southern counties of the state are also rated as "Abnormally Dry" or in the "Moderate" to "Severe" drought categories, and throughout this area soil moisture levels are low. For example at the U of MN Southwest Research and Outreach Center in Lamberton, soil moisture levels are less than half the historic average for this time of year, and what moisture remains is almost all at a depth of more than 3 feet. In areas hardest hit by the drought, growers are assessing grain yield potential and if or when to harvest drought-stressed corn for forage.

Spider mites: some points to consider

From the University of Minnesota Extension Southeast Crop Connection newsletter

Photo 1. Spider mites Spider mites are the concern today. Symptoms have become more obvious in some fields, especially along field edges, drought pockets and drier area in the region. Is this a "tornado watch" or "warning"? A watch in most fields, but we have touchdown (warning), with damage in some (more drought stressed conditions). You need to scout now.

Crop revenues and costs resulting from drought

Don Nitchie, Extension educator,
How quickly crop conditions have changed from the wet weather of May.

Extreme heat and lack of rainfall throughout June has resulted in USDA Crop reports having been dramatically revised to reflect deteriorating crop progress throughout the U.S. Corn Belt. At the moment, conditions appear not quite as severe in SW Minnesota as in other regions but, that could change soon. I hope it is for the better as the result of rainfall.

Dry conditions threatening to generally impact final yields across the U.S. Corn Belt have historically had significant impacts on "old crop" and "new crop" prices. We have certainly seen that in the last few weeks. If market demand for corn or soybeans remain the same and stocks are tight, a relatively small change in expected supply leads to a larger change in prices.

Relief spelled R-A-I-N for some

Dan Martens, Extension educator,
Rain during the last week to 10 days provided some relief to some crops through central Minnesota in various amounts. Crops are at a lot of different stages. Some scorched corn crop may not benefit much from rain anymore. Pollination may have been hurt for some corn. There is a large amount of corn, soybeans and hay crops that will benefit significantly from recent rains.

Small Grains Disease Update

Temperatures are set to be high again this week with maximum temperatures forecasted from the high 80s to mid 90s. Humidity will be lower than we have seen in the past week. Most of the wheat crop is now in the soft to hard dough stage of development.

With the warmer weather, stripe rust is finally entering the resting stage of its life cycle evident as black telial pustules on leaves. Leaf rust incidence is moving North and West through the state with the highest incidences (up to 100%) and severities (up to 30%) being reported in Otter Tail county.
Incidence of tan spot is on the increase as well - in some cases 100%,of affected - with low to moderate severity. This trend is likely to continue in the central and eastern parts of the state over the next few days.

Risk of leaf rust in the central and eastern part of the state will trend much higher in the next couple of days. The risk for tan spot remains high throughout the state.
Scab risk remains moderate to high in the north wes…

Small Grains Disease Update


Temperatures are set to be slightly cooler this week than last, and expected to stay in the low to mid 80s. Humidity will be lower than we have seen in the past week. Most of the wheat crop is now in the late milk early dough stage of development.

Stripe rust is still prevalent across the state. However weather conditions are now becoming favorable for development of leaf rust which is evident in the south and west of the state with severity ranging from moderate to severe. Sibley county being the worst affected at present. Septoria diseases have progressed with 100% of some fields affected with moderate to high severity.

Risk of leaf rust in the central and eastern part of the state will trend much higher in the next couple of days . The risk for tan spot remains high throughout the state. Scab risk remains moderate to high in the north west of the state.

Reports of fields with a unusual amount of dead heads with little or no grain have been reaching us. Incidences as hi…

Dry Conditions During Corn Pollination in Minnesota

By Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Agronomist
Tassels became visible in early-planted corn fields around Minnesota at the beginning of last week, coinciding with unusually hot and continued dry weather. While some isolated areas in Minnesota received a little rain late last week, most did not.

This week, a large percentage of the corn in Minnesota will be pollinating. Although air temperatures across Minnesota during the next ten days are forecast to be near optimal for corn (mid- to upper 80s), there is little chance of rain during this time. How will these weather conditions affect the corn crop?

The critical period for avoiding stress in corn is during the two weeks before and two weeks after tassel emergence, with the most important time being about eight days after tassels emerge. Drought and heat stress around tassel emergence can affect the success of pollination and the number of kernels per ear.

Spider Mites in Soybeans

We've been getting calls about spider mites in soybeans, not surprising given our high temps and the dry conditions in some locations. As temps get into the 90's, spider mite reproduction and development rates increase significantly. Drought also exacerbates spider mite populations, and when drought conditions are relieved by rain, spider mite populations may not necessarily decrease. Consequently, even after drought conditions pass, best to continue scouting for spider mites damage.

Spider mites are tiny and only large females are visible to the naked eye (unless you've got really good eyesight!). The best way to see spider mites is to shake a plant over a piece of white paper - any moving pieces of dirt are likely spider mites... So to scout for something that small, it's best to look for damage. Spider mite damage will first appear as small yellow spots (stippling) on lower leaves. There is currently no solid treatment threshold in soybeans, but If stippling…

Aphid Alert 2012 - Ian MacRae (UMN), Robert Koch (MDA)

The aphid monitoring network, Aphid Alert, lives again....

The network, which ran from 1997 through 2003, was designed to monitor the seasonal dynamics of aphid vectors of viral diseases of seed potatoes. The national epidemic of Potato Virus Y (PVY) has been increasingly impacting marketability of MN & ND seed potatoes. Vector control is an important part of PVY management, but is dependent upon a clear understanding of the spatial and temporal dynamics of vector populations. To provide this data to producers in MN and ND, we are re-establishing the Aphid Alert network.

Aphids have already been found in the Crookston location trap and in plots at the NWROC. It looks to be an early year!

Weekly results and updates can be found on:

Small Grains Disease Update

Weather conditions have been getting steadily warmer over the last week, routinely in the mid-80s° F. This trend is set to continue over the next week with temperatures reaching the low 90s° F. This unusually dry and warm weather is having a direct impact on the range and severity of diseases and plants reactions to other stresses such as herbicide drift and drought. With the majority of wheat in the end of milk and into the early dough stage, many plants are clearly showing evidence of heat stress. This heat stress is exacerbating other diseases that are not normally prevalent.

Stripe rust is still very evident across the state with high severity on spring and winter wheat in to the mid canopy. A number of fungicides will give good control of stripe rust provided they are applied before symptoms are evident on the flag leaf. Fungicide application will not cure already visible or latent infections. Although the warm temperatures will slow stripe rust development, cooler night time tem…

Tall Off Types in Wheat.

Jochum Wiersma, Small Grains Specialist

Photo 1. Variable wheat height. A fair number of spring wheat fields appear to be quite variable in plant height this season. Obviously varying degrees of drought stress can create height differences that are, in some instances rather striking (Photo 1). Differences in height, however, are more interspersed and without clear delineations and/or transitions as is the case in photo 1, it is probably not drought stress per se but one of three things:

a variety blenda variety that is segregating for plant heighta variety that suffers from a genetics anomaly that results in a chromosome being lost across generations.

Small Grains Disease Update

While a 11-plus inch deluge made for national headlines in Duluth, much smaller but timely rains have helped stave a worsening of the drought stress in parts of northwest Minnesota. Drought stress is pretty evident is many fields as evidenced by differences in plant height across the field. On June 19, the majority of northwest Minnesota is still rated to be in a moderate drought while a large portion of west central Minnesota is still considered abnormally dry. Timely rains will be needed to allow grainfill not to be impacted by drought as the crop needs nearly a 0.25 inch of water daily at the beginning of grainfill.

Small Grains Disease Update


The spring wheat in many parts of the state is now fully headed or pretty close to it. The drought stress has been partially abetted with some timely rains over the weekend. Yield potential, however, of the most drought stricken fields has been greatly reduced as tillers and lower leaves were aborted. This is very visible as the canopy opened up. Some of the worst field will likely not yield much over 35 to 40 bushels.

As far as diseases are concerned, these are some of our own observations and those of the scouts that are paid for through a grant of the Minnesota Wheat Research & Promotion Council. Tan spot is still the most prevalent disease, closely followed by stripe rust. Both diseases have progressed to the middle of the canopy, particularly on more susceptible varieties, as is the case for Faller and stripe rust

BYDV like symptomology can be readily found in barley, particular in the southern half of the state. Disconcerting in these cases is the high inciden…

Small Grains Disease Update

The Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council funded a disease survey in small grains in 2012. This is a summary of what the scouts have found in the past few days:

The winter wheat is mostly at or just past anthesis is looking very good overall. The spring wheat is not far behind and is more variable. Drought stress is evident in the central and northern portions of the Red River Valley with the area around Crookston being the hardest hit by drought. Available soil moisture at the NWROC is between ~ 2.7 to 3.3 inches in the top 5 ft of three soils series that were sampled last week (or less than 25% of field capacity), with less than 0.5 inch in the top two feet of two of the three samples.

Crop Water Usage, Available Soil Moisture and Irrigation for Small Grains.

Jochum Wiersma, Small grains specialist
For high yields, small grains need 14 to 17 inches of water depending on weather conditions and length of growing season. The water used for optimum growth is a combination of stored soil moisture, rain and irrigation. Small grains require about six inches of water as a threshold for grain yield. Each additional inch of water will provide four to five bushels per acre. In deep well-drained soils, the roots of small grains will extract water to a depth of three feet. Small grains are most sensitive to water stress in the boot to flowering stage of growth.

Freeze injury in small grains

Jochum Wiersma, Small grains specialist
The last two mornings thermometers have dipped below 32°F in many places across Northwest Minnesota. Unlike the freezing temperatures we endured in April, these lows may have actually caused some damage as most fields are now at or past the jointing stage. Kansas State University has published an excellent bulletin about freeze injury in wheat that describes in detail what the damage looks like and what the yield impact can be. Simply follow this link: Spring Freeze Injury to Kansas Wheat

Understand that any freeze injury is probably localized to sheltered and low lying areas. You should also now that damage to the growing point may not be evident immediately. Leaf tissue that is damaged should show symptoms after a day or two.

Small Grains Disease Update


Winter and the earliest spring wheat fields are heading across the State. While producers in the southern half of the State comment that their winter and spring wheat has never looked this good, the northwest part of the State suffered enough drought stress to impact the yield potential of the spring and winter wheat crops. The drought and last week's heat caused tillers to be aborted and crop phenology to advance rapidly, with some field moving from jointing to having the flag leaf fully emerged in just over a week. A few initial counts of the number spikelets per spike were disappointing.

There are confirmed reports of stripe rust across the state but there are no confirmed cases of leaf rust to date. More details scouting reports will be available as of next Monday morning.

Now is the time to scout the fields to assess yield potential and the presence of any foliar diseases such as tan spot and leaf or stripe rust. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and the disease …

Scouting Alfalfa Fields for Nutrient Deficiencies

By Daniel Kaiser, Extension Nutrient Management Specialist
The dry conditions in March and April have given way to extremely wet areas in some parts of Minnesota.  Since alfalfa stands got an early start this year there were a few concerns popping up early in the southeastern part of the state on areas of fields yellowing.  While there may have been some effects due to the cool weather in April a couple of nutrient could be of concern.

Potassium and Dry Soils

Daniel Kaiser and Jochum Wiersma, University of Minnesota Extension
Weather conditions have been extremely variable around the state of Minnesota this year. While some areas have experienced near record rainfalls others have still been in the midst of a drought. These differences have brought some interesting questions regarding management of potassium and soil testing in the midst of dry soil conditions.

Dry soil conditions can be challenging for crops to take up nutrients.  Elements such as phosphorus and potassium move to the plant roots via diffusion.  Diffusion is a process by which things move from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration.  If you can think back to high school science if you open a bottle of ammonia at one end of the room over time you will smell the ammonia as it diffuses through the air.  That is a simplistic explanation of a more complex process in the soil.

When it rains, it pours! What is happening to my nitrogen?

John A. Lamb and Daniel E. Kaiser, Soil Fertility Specialists
Nitrogen is important for corn growth. This has been a concern on growers' minds since March. First concern was with the poor tillage conditions last fall. Did the nitrogen applied stay in the soil. We attempted to answer that question in a March 18 Crop News. At the time of that E-news, drought was the weather condition on everyone's mind. Now with the record rainfalls, there are concerns if nitrogen has been lost to leaching or denitrification.

Volunteer Corn - An Issue in Corn and Soybean

By Liz Stahl and Jeff Coulter
Growers are finding high populations of volunteer corn in their fields this spring. Factors likely contributing to this include lodging in many fields last fall due to poor stalk quality and drought conditions, and higher harvest losses due to low grain moisture at harvest. Other factors that can lead to high populations of volunteer corn the following year include storm damage and ear droppage. The question arises: When are populations of volunteer corn high enough to warrant control?

Figure 1. Volunteer corn in corn

Not all Yellows are Created Equal (or, more correctly, not all yellows have an equal creation...)

Ian MacRae (UMN), Jochum Wiersma (UMN), Janet Knodel (NDSU), and Bruce Potter (UMN)
Leafhopper populations are increasing in the northern RRV. Fields which held low numbers on Friday have significantly increased populations this week. These are all winged adults and so are likely the populations from the southern part of the state that are migrating north. We don't have any data on what impact on yield these higher populations of leafhoppers may have on small grains but sap-feeding leafhoppers generally don't impact yield. Having said that, leafhopper populations in typical years are much lower; in dry conditions, sap feeders have been known to exacerbate drought stress. Generally, leafhoppers are more important as vectors of the disease, Aster Yellows (AY). Caused by a phytoplasm, AY can infect wheat, and under the right conditions cause yield loss. Symptoms show up a couple of weeks after infection by the leafhopper and include yellowing of leaves, often accompanied with re…

Update on Aster Leafhoppers in Wheat

by Ian MacRae, Jan Knodel, Bruce Potter, Jochum Wiersma
High populations of Aster Leafhopper (also called 6-spotted Leafhopper) have been reported in small grains over the past couple of weeks. Starting in the south but now spreading to northern MN and ND. Aster Leafhoppers are greyish leafhoppers; the adults have clear wings and 6 spots between the compound eyes (Figure 1). Other than their coloration, the adults and nymphs both very much resemble potato leafhopper. The leafhopper uses it's piercing sucking mouthparts to feed on the plant's sap. The damage caused by Aster Leafhopper feeding is more localized than that produced by potato leafhopper. Feeding may produce localized necrosis or stippling (Figure 2), however, damage is much less than that caused by the Potato Leafhopper.

Alfalfa Hail Damage and Management Decisions

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

Hail did some damage to alfalfa fields as well as automobiles and homes on Tuesday afternoon and evening on May 1 at places  from out toward Padua in western Stearns County to Albany. In some fields nearly all stems in established alfalfa were broken as stripped of leaves. These will need to start again with new shoots from the crown. In new emerged alfalfa seedlings, stems broken below the leaves are done. I'll attach an article here written previously by Wisconsin Extension Specialist Dan Undersander that offers some discussions about decisions that might be made.
Hail Alfalfa Undersander.pdf

You can also check this article by Undersander and Krishona Martinson at U of M, also from a previous hail experience: Alfalfa hail damage and management decisions

On Farm IDC Management Strip Trials

Daniel Kaiser, University of Minnesota Soil Fertility Specialist
Research on Iron Deficiency Chlorosis (IDC) has been identifying methods to manage the problem for soybeans. Since 2010 research has been conducted using strip trials within farmers' fields. Currently we are looking for a 5 acre area to conduct a field study looking at the effect of Soygreen and oat cover crops on areas of the field that range from no-IDC to severe IDC. Our goal is to determine the economic benefits of the treatments on varying IDC severity within fields planted with two soybean varieties with varying tolerances to IDC.

Small Grain Disease Forecast System and Disease Commentary Online

The 2012 growing season is well under way. The spring planting progress has been at a record pace, a consequence of a very dry fall and winter and a very warm March. Winter wheat has very little winter injury and stands are generally very good.

The winter wheat crop is at or near jointing and some of the earliest spring wheat fields are not far behind. This means that it is time to start scouting for early season tan spot.

To aid in your decision whether a fungicide is needed to control early season tan spot you can go to to evaluate the risk that conditions are favorable for tan spot to develop. Make sure to select the model for tan spot in the left hand model.

An overview article of control of early season tan spot can be found here:

Be aware that tank mixing fungicide with certain herbicides can result in temporary crop injury. See here for details here http://ww…

Assessing fields for "pop up" starter fertilizer damage

Daniel Kaiser, Extension Soil Fertility Specialist
Dry fall and early spring soils have led to questions about starter fertilizer application this spring.  While that planting with starter in a dry seedbed can significantly increase the risks, the overall effect will not be known until after planting.  Assessing the situation after emergence will be the best way to determine if damage has occurred due to "pop-up" fertilizer application.  With some corn already planted and fertilizer decisions made there are a few key points to remember when dealing with starter fertilizers.

Recommendations for Managing Glyphosate-Resistant Waterhemp in Roundup Ready® Sugarbeet

Written by: Dr. Jeff Stachler, University of Minnesota and North Dakota State University and edited by Al Cattanach, Mark Bredehoeft, and Mike Metzger
Questions from sugarbeet growers have been coming in to Extension and Sugarbeet Cooperative Ag Staff about how to properly manage glyphosate-resistant waterhemp. The three Sugarbeet Cooperatives and Jeff Stachler recently met to determine the best strategy to manage glyphosate-resistant waterhemp in Roundup Ready sugarbeet.

Planting Date Considerations for Corn

Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Agronomist

For many growers, this unusually early spring may offer the earliest opportunity of all time for corn planting. This makes it especially important to weigh the risks and benefits of early planting in terms of crop insurance, yield and frost risk:

When is Early too Early?

Jochum Wiersma, Small grains specialist
The record breaking temperatures of the past week make it feel more like the middle of May than the middle of March. Obviously, as the fields look ready, the question arises whether this early is too early. With the very late start of 2010 and the disappointing wheat and barley yields that followed still fresh in memory, everyone understands that early planting is paramount. What are the risks of planting too early? Is there such a thing as too early for seeding wheat and other cool season grasses?

Thinking nitrogen for the spring

Daniel Kaiser and John Lamb, Soil Fertility Extension Specialists
The snow is gone and summer is here? The change in weather this spring has allowed for earlier field work to begin. Questions that come to mind include what kind of tillage should I do and do these condition affect me nitrogen management program for corn.

What's Manure Worth?

UMN Extension has developed a new web-based calculator to determine the value of manure

William F. Lazarus - Extension Economist, Jose A. Hernandez - Extension Educator, and Les Everett - Water Resources Center Education Coordinator. University of Minnesota - Extension
A new web-based tool developed by Dr. William F. Lazarus, Extension Economist and Professor in the Department of Applied Economics, is now available. The web-based calculator may be used to compare the economic value of manure from alternative manure application rates and methods. The value is based on crop nutrient needs for a specific field and crop rotation, fertilizer prices, manure hauling costs, manure type, and application method. In addition to assisting with management of current livestock and crop operations, the calculator can be useful in budgeting new facilities or evaluation of contract production through estimating the effect of manure and manure management on cash flow. The calculations can also assi…

A Perfect Illustration Why Standing Stubble is Essential for Winter Wheat

Jochum Wiersma, Small grain specialist

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousands words. This photo of the winter wheat variety trial on the Northwest Research & Outreach Center was taken on January 10, 2012 in the afternoon as temperatures were a balmy 39°F. The warm temperatures over the previous few days had melted the little snow we had in the surrounding fields. The winter wheat trial was still blanketed, thereby protecting the seedlings.