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Showing posts from 2014

Sauk Centre Hay Auction Summary Nov. 20, 2014

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties
Contact:  or by phone, if a local call to Foley 968-5077 or 1-800-964-4929

In this post:
November 20 Hay auction & market reportsLand Rent Workshops Winter Forage Meeting UpdateFarm Bill Dairy and Crop Information Update
Hay auction & market reportsNovember 20 Hay Auction Results – Individual lots sold are sorted and averaged by type and quality. With a limited number of loads for some groups, consider averages carefully.

History of Selected Lots 2014-2015.pdf – Includes averages and ranges for selected groups through the year, listed first along with previous 4 years on the first page and again on the last page. The season long average is calculated for the auctions from October through May.

Graph 2001 to 2015 SC Hay Auction A line graph averaging sales from 2001-2007 and for each year from 2008 to 2015. Medium Square Alfalfa groups from 101 to 200 RFV. The graph is for October through May …

NDSU offers advice on grain drying and storage after drastic outdoor cooling

by Kenneth Hellevang, Ph.D., PE, Extension Engineer, North Dakota State University

The drastic outdoor cooling that has occurred may create some grain storage and drying problems. Dr. Ken Hellevang, Extension Engineer at North Dakota State University, answers several questions that he received in the paragraphs below. The questions are italicized and his answers immediately follow.

Potassium Fertilizer Considerations for 2015

By Daniel Kaiser
Extension Soil Fertility Specialist

At times potassium (K) can be the forgotten element when determining appropriate rates of fertilizer to apply.  Nitrogen and phosphorus typically are of main concern due to the potential yield response for corn to nitrogen and many soils around the state historically being low in P but medium to high in K.  Potassium should not be a forgotten nutrient as there are situations where K fertilizer can be profitable.

Taking a soil test is the best option for determining where K is needed.  Soil testing for K can be problematic as K levels can vary over the growing season.  The uptake of K in plant residue can well exceed the amount of K removed in the grain.  Potassium in plant stover can play an important role in the nutrition of crops planted the next year.  As plants mature and begin to decay, K taken up during the growing season can be leached out of drying or decaying residue.  The recovery of K can be rapid for plants that senesce l…

Status of the brown marmorated stink bug in Minnesota

By Robert Koch (Extension Entomologist, U of MN), Theresa Cira (Graduate Student, U of MN), Eric Burkness (Scientist, U of MN), Bill Hutchison (Extension Entomologist, U of MN) and Mark Abrahamson (Supervisor, MDA)
Numbers of the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys), a household invader and potential crop pest, appear to be increasing in Minnesota. This pest, originally from Asia, has spread rapidly throughout much of the U.S. and was first detected in Minnesota in 2010. Since 2010, detections of BMSB have occurred throughout the Twin Cities area and in Duluth and La Crescent. Initially, home owners were encountering one or two bugs on or in homes and other buildings during the fall and winter months. However, home owners in Wyoming, MN are beginning to see more of this invader.

Storing, Drying, and Handling Wet Soybeans

By Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator - Crops

Harvesting soybeans at a moisture content between 13 to 15% helps maximize weight while minimizing harvest losses. This harvest, however, soybean moisture levels of 16 to 18 % or more have been reported.

Spoilage during storage is a concern when moisture levels are high. If storage temperatures are below about 60F, soybeans at 13% moisture can usually be kept for about 6 months without having mold problems. As moisture levels increase, however, the length of time soybeans can safely be stored decreases. How long can soybeans be stored before mold becomes a concern?

NDSU Offers Tips on Harvesting, Drying, and Storing Late Maturing and High Moisture Corn

Kenneth Hellevang, Ph.D., P.E.
Extension Agricultural Engineer & Professor, North Dakota State University
Corn reaching maturity about October 1 will normally dry slowly in the field due to cooler ambient temperatures. Standing corn in the field may dry about 1.5 to 3 percentage points per week during October and 1 to 1.5 per week or less during November, assuming normal North Dakota weather conditions. Table 1 below provides field drying rates for corn in Minnesota.

Assessing your Need for Sulfur Application in Corn

By Daniel Kaiser, Extension Soil Fertility Specialist
It is important to understand where sulfur that is utilized for crops comes from in order to determine where to best target fertilizer application. In Minnesota, sulfur was not recommended for many crops grown on medium and fine textured soils. Numerous studies were conducted during the 1970's, 80's, and 90's with little to know positive benefits shown except for a limited number of studies where corn was grown on eroded soils. Over the past 10-15 years reports increased as to sulfur deficiencies and research has found that sulfur may be needed for crops most sensitive to sulfur deficiency.

Soil tests for sulfate-sulfur only account for a small fraction of the total amount of sulfur in the soil.  Soil organic matter is a large storehouse of sulfur with as much as 95% of the total sulfur contained in organic matter.  Sulfur in organic matter must be mineralized to sulfate before it can be taken up and assimilated by…

Is it Time to Evaluate Your Starter Fertilizer Program?

By Daniel Kaiser, Extension Soil Fertility Specialist
Utilization of liquid fertilizer sources placed directly on the seed at planting has become commonplace in many areas of Minnesota. However, low corn prices as well as challenging planting conditions over the past two growing seasons have caused many to question certain aspects of their overall fertility program.  There are a few suggestions that can be used to ensure the best chance for a profitable return on investment.

Should you skip the Bt traits in your 2015 corn crop to cut production costs?

Bruce Potter, Integrated Pest Management Specialist, and Ken Ostlie, Extension Entomologist
For many farmers, the economics of corn production have shifted from maximizing profit to minimizing losses per acre. Many are understandably trying to find ways to cut input costs for the 2015 crop. One area that some have targeted for potentially reducing costs is hybrid selection. Planting corn hybrids without Bt protection for European corn borer, corn rootworm or both will greatly reduce seed costs. It can also reduce crop revenues if done without considering yield potential and insect populations.

Managing stored grain to minimize storage losses

by Phil Glogoza and Dave Nicolai, Extension Educators-Crops
When grain harvest approaches, it is time to review basic on-farm grain storage principles for maintaining quality of stored commodities. Harvest should include preparation of storage structures to receive grain. Preparation includes several practices that aid in preventing pest infestations from developing within our storage structures.

Got Weeds? Evaluate Your Weed Control Program

By Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator in Crops and Jeff Gunsolus, Extension Agronomist, Weed Science

By the end of the growing season, it is not too hard to spot soybean fields where weed control was less than optimal.  Prior to harvest, waterhemp can be found towering over soybean canopies throughout Minnesota.  Taking some time to evaluate effectiveness of your weed control program now can help enhance future weed control and ultimately protect yield potential and enhance profitability in the long run. 

Mid-September frost on corn and soybeans

Seth Naeve, Extension Soybean Agronomist, Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Agronomist, Dave Nicolai, Extension Educator - Crops, and Phyllis Bongard, Educational Content Development and Communications Specialist
Many corn and soybean fields in central, west central, and southwest Minnesota were affected by frost during the morning hours of September 13, 2014. As is always the case, the frost damage appears to be highly variable based on local climate conditions, crop maturity, and topographical features. For corn, a killing freeze occurs when temperatures are 32°F for 4 hours or 28°F for minutes. A frost or killing freeze can still occur when temperatures are above 32°F, especially in low and unprotected areas when there is no wind. For soybeans, most reports indicated that the crop was unaffected, 'nipped' slightly at the tops, or (in rare cases) frozen down into the canopy.

Phosphorus Fertilizer Considerations for Fall 2014

Daniel Kaiser, Fabian Fernandez, and John Lamb
Extension Nutrient Management Specialists
This week of cool weather has made it clear that fall is fast approaching.  The drop in commodity prices will likely cause a few conversations among farmers, consultants, and retailers on what fertilizer to apply for the 2015 cropping year.  Many fields are currently being soil sampled for phosphorus (P), this fall is a good time to consider what is actually out in the field to best target P fertilizer applications.

If taken properly, a soil sample can aid in determination of the responsiveness of a crop to a given nutrient.  Categories such as low, medium, and high, give a relative estimate of the soil's ability to fully satisfy the needs of a given crop.  For example, a soil testing low in P would have a very low probability of providing sufficient P while a soil testing high in P would have a high probability of supplying the full crops' needs.  Knowledge of the probability of response…

Nitrogen management for 2015

John Lamb, Fabian Fernandez, and Daniel Kaiser, Extension Soil Scientists - Nutrient Management
Labor Day has come and gone and now it is time to think about nitrogen (N) plans for next year. This news article will cover some thoughts about fall applications of N.

Soil sampling
If you plan to use a soil nitrate-N test, you need to wait until the soil temperature is below 50°F to get a soil test value that is useful for predicting fertilizer need.

Soybean aphid populations increasing in some previously treated fields

by Robert Koch, Extension Entomologist
Soybean aphid populations are increasing in some fields that were previously treated with foliar insecticides for soybean aphid. Soybean fields should continue to be scouted until the R6.5 growth stage, even if they were previously treated. This post-treatment scouting will allow you to catch potential resurgence of aphid populations.

Forage Quarterly Newsletter Re-launched

by M. Scott Wells, Cropping and Forages Specialist

With the recent appointment of M. Scott Wells as the Forage and Cropping Specialist, the Forage Quarterly has been re-launched. The newsletter will highlight innovative approaches and technologies to improve the productivity and sustainability of Minnesota's forage systems.

This August edition contains a research update on emergency forages, a discussion of nitrogen needs in corn following alfalfa, helpful information on maintaining large bale quality and tips on pricing and using alternative forages.

To visit the Forage Quarterly home page,
go to
or to subscribe directly,

In his position, Wells will work closely with Regional and Local Extension Educators, State Specialists, USDA-ARS, and University researchers in developing a research program that provides solutions to current and future issues in forage production. Wells will also leverage the results to prod…

Water Quality Best Management Practices for Agricultural Insecticides

by Robert Koch, Extension Entomologist
In July 2014, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) published a series of best management practices (BMPs) for agricultural insecticides (link to BMPs). These BMPs were created in response to seasonal detections of chlorpyrifos in several rivers and streams in the agricultural areas of Minnesota from 2010 to 2012. Subsequently, MDA determined chlorpyrifos to be a "surface water pesticide of concern" which initiates BMP development. Some MDA samples had concentrations violating water quality standards established by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to protect aquatic life, which led the MPCA to list three water bodies as impaired due to chlorpyrifos.

Maintaining Wheat Yield and Quality

The favorable weather conditions for wheat we have enjoyed to date and the unusually late start of harvest may mean that we will encounter more problems with shattering compared to most years. The rationale for the for this worry is twofold; first the yield potential looks very good and a portion of that yield will come in the form of (very) large kernels, secondly the later start will likely mean a slower dry down and more chances for rain and dews. The resulting repeated wetting and drying can cause the glumes, especially if the kernels are heavy, to open up. This in turn can lead to increased chances of shattering. Two varieties are probably slightly more prone to shattering are LCS Albany and Forefront. Harvest the crop sooner rather than later to reduce shattering losses and chose to dry down the crop in the bin rather than waiting for the crop to reach 13.5%.

Soybean aphid populations are building; you should be scouting your fields

Soybean aphids can now be found in many soybean fields. In some fields (but certainly not all fields) in southern Minnesota, soybean aphid populations are approaching levels requiring insecticide application to prevent economic losses. This critical soybean aphid population level, referred to as the economic threshold, is an average of 250 aphids per plant AND aphids on more than 80% of plants AND aphid populations increasing. Many fields are well below this level and do not require insecticide application for aphids at this time. Scouting is required to determine which fields require or may soon require treatment and which fields do not. A guide for soybean aphid scouting in Minnesota was recently posted.

Late season applications of nitrogen in spring wheat

Jochum Wiersma and Albert Sims, University of Minnesota
Interest in improving grain protein in hard red spring wheat (HRSW) with in-season applications of nitrogen (N) fertilizer may increase this year, since protein premiums and discounts are expected to be greater this year than last. Despite the late planting, the cool and wet weather has created a scenario where the crop may be a bit short on N to maximize grain protein.

There is an intuitive appeal to split apply N (N applied preplant and more N applied during the growing season) in HRSW since the crop takes up the majority of its N between jointing and flag leaf emergence. The practice of splitting the total N fertilizer gift in three or even four separate applications is commonplace in winter cereal production in the maritime regions of Europe, including the countries of Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and France. The objective of split N applications is to supply N when the crop needs it, improve N use efficien…

A Closer Look at Herbicide Rotation Restrictions

By Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator in Crops

What herbicides were applied earlier in the growing season can significantly influence the decision of what to do in fields or areas of a field where the original crop was flooded or hailed out.  Planting some kind of a crop can help reduce erosion potential as well as reduce the risk of fallow syndrome (see Reduce risk of fallow or flooded soil syndrome).  However, options can be limited if a herbicide used previously in the growing season has rotational or plant-back restrictions listed on the label.

Reduce Risk of Fallow or Flooded Soil Syndrome with Cover Crops

by Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator in Crops, Fabian Fernandez and Daniel Kaiser, Extension Nutrient Management Specialists

The challenging spring of 2014 has resulted in wide-spread planting delays in parts of the state and a significant amount of acres that remain unplanted at this time. If the decision has been made to take the "prevented planting" option for insurance purposes, the question remains about what to do with these acres. In other parts of the state, extensive flooding and/or severe hail has significantly damaged standing crops. In either case, leaving the ground bare greatly increases the risk of not only soil erosion, but also the risk of "Fallow Syndrome" the following year.

Assessing Hail Damage in Corn and Soybean

By Jeff Coulter and Seth Naeve, Extension Agronomists

Recent storms left large areas of Southwestern Minnesota affected by severe hail damage.  Especially hard hit were the counties of Pipestone, Murray, Rock, Nobles, Jackson, and Martin.  Smaller hail events were common in surrounding counties.  Throughout this area, much of the corn was at the V5-V7 stage (5-7 collared leaves) when damaged, and soybean had three fully developed trifoliate leaves (V3).

In late June, assessing hail damage and making replant decisions can be difficult, with many variables to consider on your way to making a final decision to replant or maintain the existing stand. Many of the answers to questions regarding crop yield loss and the need for replanting can be found in the following online guides:

Corn Damage and Replant Guide:

Soybean Damage and Replant Guide:  http://www.extension.umn.…

Prevented planting? Evaluating your insurance options in 2014

by Kent Olson, Extension Economist
Again in 2014, spring rains and flooded fields have delayed or prevented planting for many farmers in Minnesota. If farmers have multi-peril crop insurance and have not been able to plant by their crop's final planting date, they do have options.

For most of Minnesota, the final planting date for corn is May 31. For the northern counties it is May 25. The final planting date for soybeans in Minnesota is June 10. The late planting period extends for 25 days after the crop's final planting date.

Soybean and Corn Seedling Diseases Increase With Flooded and Wet Soil Conditions

Dean Malvick, Extension Plant Pathologist
Photo 1. Flooded soybean field in Minnesota.
Most of the soybean and corn crop is emerged and growing well across Minnesota. Seedling disease problems in scattered soybean and corn fields have been reported in early June and more are expected due to wet and flooded fields. Abundant (or excessive) rainfall and fluctuating temperatures and have created excellent conditions for seedling diseases. This is a good time to check fields for seedling disease problems and efficacy of seed treatments.

Infection of seedlings before or after emergence can result in dead plants, rotted and discolored roots, stunted and discolored plants, and wilting. The problems often occur in patches in fields. Seedling infection can also lead to damage that may not fully develop until mid to late summer, as with Phytophthora root and stem rot and sudden death syndrome. Disease can cause serious damage, but it is just one of many stresses that seedlings are encounter…

Considerations for Flooded Corn and Soybean

Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Agronomist, Seth Naeve, Extension Soybean Agronomist, Dean Malvick, Extension Plant Pathologist, and Fabian Fernandez, Extension Nutrient Management Specialist
With the recent heavy rains, many corn and soybean fields have areas where crops are experiencing flooded or saturated conditions. This article discusses agronomic and disease issues for corn and soybean exposed to prolonged periods of high soil moisture and cool temperatures.

Agronomic considerations for corn
Growth and development
Young corn can survive flooded condition lasting for about 2 days under warm temperatures (at or above mid-70ºF) to 4 days under cooler temperatures (at or below mid-60ºF). Survivability also is influenced by how much of the plant was submerged and how quickly the water recedes. Corn plants that survived flooded conditions should show new leaf development within 3 to 5 days after water recedes.

Prevented plant: cover crop and forage options

Phyllis Bongard, Educational Content Development and Communications Specialist
The weather continues to challenge farmers in parts of Minnesota. With the late planting window closing, cover crop options for prevented plant acres should be considered. Crops selected for forage use would also be good choices as cover crops. There are several options depending on what a producer's needs and expectations are.

Options for controlling emerged weeds in sugarbeet

by Tom Peters, Extension Sugarbeet Agronomist

I have been traveling the countryside to complete spring planting, like many of our growers in North Dakota and Minnesota. I have traveled past beautiful freshly planted fields, enjoying the contrast between the green ditches and black fields. However, recent heat and rainfall have changed the landscape. One can now row emerged crops in fields. And to no-one's surprise, there are weeds in fields.

Growers have two options for controlling grass and broadleaf weeds in sugarbeets. First option is to implement a postemergence spray program. I suggest you start by reviewing any historical data or fields for weeds to be sure you are absolutely sure of the weed species, weed size and weed density. Use a weed identification guide or ask for help from your ag retailer or extension specialist if you are not sure about the identity of weeds. Consider the following guidelines when using glyphosate:

The Annual Nitrogen Newsletter

John Lamb, Fabian Fernandez, and Daniel Kaiser
University of Minnesota Nutrient Management Team
Nitrogen is important for corn growth, and has been a recent concern. This year similar to many years has not had normal weather. Planting has been delayed by moist conditions and cold temperature. Now with the record rainfalls last weekend (May 30 through June 1, 2014), there are concerns that nitrogen has been lost to leaching or denitrification.

Early concerns
Some of the small grains and corn looked yellow after emergence. This yellow color could have been caused by several conditions and the lack of nitrogen is one of them. First, nitrogen fertilizer applied last fall was lost due to soil water movement from the spring thaw.   If the nitrogen fertilizer had time to convert from an ammonium form to nitrate-N it is possible for movement to occur. This is the reason nitrogen BMP's discourage fall application and use of a nitrate-N source of fertilizer before planting. If the tile …

New Extension Sugarbeet Agronomist supports growers in Minnesota and North Dakota

Dr. Thomas (Tom) Peters recently accepted a position as Extension Sugarbeet Agronomist, North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota.

The position supports sugarbeet growers in the states of North Dakota and Minnesota. In his role, Tom will be collaborating with faculty and staff, the sugarbeet cooperatives and allied industry on a systems approach for controlling weeds in sugarbeet.

Tom retired in February from Monsanto after nearly 24 years with the company. Most of Tom's career at Monsanto was in the biotech organization where he specialized in corn traits development. Tom returns to NDSU where he obtained his doctorate in agronomy, specializing in weed science under the supervision of Dr. Alan Dexter, longtime NDSU/UM sugarbeet weed specialist. Tom grew up on a dairy farm near Sauk Centre in West-Central Minnesota and received his BS degree from the University of Minnesota in 1983 and his MS degree from Nebraska in 1986.

Tom and his wife, Connie, have relocated…

Pay attention to black cutworm when scouting corn and other crops this spring.

It is too early to know if black cutworm will be a significant problem in 2014 MN crop production. However, captures in a cooperative pheromone trapping network indicate vigilance is in order. We do not have complete coverage of the state with this network and cutworm infestations are always variable from field to field so it is best to err on the side of caution. Pay close attention to any leaf feeding, wilted or cut off corn plants as you scout.

Heat Canker in Wheat, Barley, and Oats

The last couple days the weather has given us some dry sunny weather with high winds. This has been great to have fields finally dry off and make strides with planting the crop. Unfortunately this also exposed young small grain seedlings to same conditions. The daytime heat at the soil surface has caused heat canker. The tender young tissue at the soil surface basically has been 'cooked' and this appears as a yellow band that is slightly constricted (Photo 1). As the leaf continues to grow, this yellow band (1/8 - 1/4") moves upward and away from the soil surface. If the hot and dry weather last for several days, repeated bands should become visible. The damage is nicely depicted on page 81 of the second edition of the Small Grains Field Guide. Because of the high winds, the tips of leaves may break off at the yellow band and give a field a very ragged appearance. Damage from heat canker is temporary and should not affect further growth and development.

Photo 1 - Wheat s…

Early Season Scouting in Small Grains: Tan Spot

Madeleine Smith, Small Grains and Canola Pathologist

Tan spot is identifiable by the brown spots often
surrounded by a yellow halo that appear
Having experienced a very late spring as in 2013, we are also experiencing a similar start to the season when it comes to diseases in small grains as last year. Tan spot has made an appearance on wheat and barley around the state.

This may run together to form larger patches of yellowing and browning. Initial infections in young seedlings often result in yellowing of leaf tips as the seedlings react to the toxins produced by this fungus. Tan spot will be particularly prevalent on previous wheat ground. Be careful not to mistake nitrogen deficiency (see recent post to crop e-news by Dr. Jochum Wiersma on early season yellowing in small grains) or symptoms of BYDV for tan spot.

Early Season Yellowing of Wheat, Barley, and Oats.

Reports of yellowing in small grains have started to reach us. There are several reasons why young wheat, barley, or oat plants have a pale green/yellow color. Some of the common reasons for early season yellowing are:

Nitrogen deficiencySulfur deficiencyEarly tan spot infectionHerbicide injury

Switching to Soybeans?

Seth Naeve, University of Minnesota Extension Soybean Agronomist

As June 1 looms in the not-too-distant future, large areas of land intended for small grains or corn remain unplanted in Northwestern Minnesota. Likewise, there are localized areas in East-central and South-central Minnesota where the corn crop has not yet been planted. With recent rainfall, and a May 31 crop insurance cut-off date around the corner, some producers are considering switching to soybeans.

U of MN Launches One-Stop Shop for Crops Research Results

By Lizabeth Stahl and Lisa Behnken, Extension Educators in Crops
Access to results for many of the U of MN crops research trials conducted across the state has now become streamlined with the launch of the new, U of MN Extension Crops Research website.  This one-stop shop can be accessed through the U of MN Extension Crops webpage at under "Research Reports".

The website contains results for small plot and on-farm crops research and demonstration trials conducted across Southern MN from 2003 to 2013.  You can also access research results for crops trials conducted at Research and Outreach Centers located across the state by clicking on the respective link.  Statewide results for weed science research can be accessed through the "Applied Weed Science" link, and results for the Minnesota hybrid and variety trials can be accessed through the "Minnesota Field Crops Variety Trials" link. 

The Research Reports webpage supplements …

Cool, wet conditions this spring may favor seed corn maggot

By Robert Koch, Extension Entomologist

Recent cool and wet conditions may increase the risk of seedcorn maggot infestation in some soybean and corn fields. Seedcorn maggots are small (1/4 inch long), white maggots (fly larvae) that feed on germinating seeds. The maggots can tunnel into seed, which may result in seed death, and can injure the emerging plant tissues, which can affect plant growth or lead to damping off. Such injury can result in stand loss or weakened plants. For example, if the growing point of soybean is killed, "Y-plants" can result when branching develops at the cotyledons. Yield from "Y-plants" may be reduced if competing with neighboring healthy plants. Seedcorn maggot injury can be difficult to distinguish from other problems such as Pythium and other seedling diseases.

Black cutworm traps pick up significant flights

Over the past couple weeks, cooperator-run pheromone traps indicate the potential for localized damaging populations of black cutworm in corn and other crops. Faribault, Lac Qui Parle, Swift and Waseca Counties have had significant captures. Cutting from the earliest of these flights is projected to occur after May 28.

Areas with delayed spring tillage and early season weeds are most attractive for migrant cutworms to lay eggs.

This does not mean insurance insecticide applications are warranted and insecticide rescue treatments work well where economic threshold populations occur.

2014 University of Minnesota Cooperative Black Cutworm Trapping Network newsletters with further information on cutworm biology, scouting, thresholds and control as well as maps of trap captures and cutting predictions can be found at:

Late Planting of Small Grains

Jochum Wiersma, Small grains specialist
Wheat, barley, and oat are cool season annuals and are most productive when they grow and develop during cool weather. The yield potential of a crop is largely determined by the 6 leaf stage. Cool temperatures during this period are particularly important for the development of a high yield potential. For example, the number of tillers that ultimately produce grain at harvest declines as planting is delayed (Figure 1). The number of spikelets per spike is determined during the 4 to 5.5 leaf stage (Figure 2). Spikelet numbers are negatively correlated with temperature; spikelet numbers are greater when temperatures during the 4-5.5 leaf stages are cool.

Crusting and Emergence Problems

Last week's heavy rains have caused widespread crusting problems. Dr. David Franzen , NDSU Extension Soil Scientist, summarized the options available to you in an article more than a decade ago. It has been reprinted here as a refresher.

Crusting results from rains breaking down soil aggregates into particles that cement into hard layers at the soil surface when drying occurs rapidly. In soils that have not been seeded, the crust prevents further soil drying by sealing off the underlying soil from the air. The crust also reflects sunlight, in effect insulating the soil and maintaining cooler soil temperatures that further slow drying.

Evaluating Winter Wheat Plant Stands

Jochum Wiersma, Small grains specialist
One of the hardest decisions with growing winter wheat is evaluating the amount of winter kill and making the decision whether to keep a stand. Winter wheat is planted in the fall and develops in the spring during relatively ideal conditions for tiller development. Therefore the optimum plant stands of winter wheat can be less than that of spring wheat. A stand of 900,000 - 1,000,000 plants/acre or 21 - 23 plants/ft2 will be enough to maximize grain yield.

Some winter kill is to be expected in Minnesota. This past winter was cold even by Minnesota standards. The extreme cold, combined with little snow cover in parts of the state, and that the fact some of winter wheat was planted on prevent plant acres that had little or no standing stubble to collect the limited snow that fell, means that winter kill is very likely this year. Roots are generally less winter hardy than crowns and regrowth may be very slow, even if roots and shoots appear dead.

Tebuconazole Resistant Fusarium Head Blight Isolate Found in New York State

Researchers at Cornell University recently discovered an isolate of Fusarium graminearum (the organism which causes Fusarium head blight (FHB)) with greatly reduced sensitivity to tebuconazole. Tebuconazole is the active ingredient (A.I.) in fungicides such as Folicur and one of the A.I.s in Prosaro. These fungicides are routinely used to control both leaf diseases and also for FHB suppression.

The researchers conducted a study to examine the sensitivity of 50 isolates of Fusarium to tebuconazole and another A.I , metconazole (the A. I. in Caramba). They found one isolate out of these 50 (designated TEB-R) so have such a reduced sensitivity to tebuconazole, they deemed it tebuconazole-resistant.

Better Long-Term Weed Management Demonstrated by the "PRE Challenge"

By Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator in Crops
Benefits of a preemergence (PRE) herbicide application in soybean were demonstrated through the "PRE Challenge" - a series of on-farm research and demonstration trials conducted across southern MN in 2012 and 2013. In these University of Minnesota Extension trials, made possible through financial support of the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, cooperators compared a postemergence-only herbicide program to a program that included a PRE herbicide application.

One benefit observed with a PRE application was a significant reduction in weed densities early in the season.  Although the cooperators were able to make timely postemergence applications in these trials, this is not always possible in each field every year.  Crop yield can be reduced when weeds are left to compete with the crop for too long early in the season.  How long is "too long" depends on factors such as weed density, weed species, enviro…

April Showers Brings May Flowers, or Cover Crops.

by M. Scott Wells - Forage and Cropping System Agronomist

Being new to this state, I have been curious about how this spring compares to the previous year as it relates to precipitation. This time last year, much of Minnesota reported below normal precipitation (Figure 1a). However, across Southern Minnesota this year there has been greater than normal precipitation reported with some areas departing more than 6-inches from the normal (Figure 1b).

Figure 1.Minnesota Monthly Departure from Normal Precipitation for April 2013 (a) and 2014 (b). NOAA - Advance Hydrological Prediction Services.

Hold your Current Soybean Varieties

Seth Naeve, Extension Soybean Agronomist
The continuous rainy weather that we've been experiencing can take an emotional toll on a farmer. It's easy to feel a little helpless looking out at those soggy fields. The common response is to keep active and begin to make contingency plans. Some producers are beginning to get nervous about their variety choices and are calling on their seed dealers to inquire about sourcing earlier maturity soybeans.

While this is a very normal response to the situation, it's important to remember that soybean maturities need not be adjusted for some time. The standard University of Minnesota recommendations state that soybean maturities should not be adjusted until a target planting date of June 10 is reached. We will have MANY good working days before then.

Back to Basics for Soybean Planting

Seth Naeve, Extension Soybean Agronomist
As we enter soybean planting time, the most critical management period for soybean production, it's a good time to remember a few of the most critical decisions that can be made, including:

Select and plant only the best varieties:  Not all soybeans are equal.  Each year, seed companies sell soybean seed with a wide range in yield potential.  Typically, the best-yielding varieties produce between 20 percent and 40 percent greater yields than those at the bottom.  Don't get stuck with a dog.  Make your initial selections carefully by using third-party yield information, and only accept substitutions with proven yield potential.

Weather Delays Corn Planting but High Yield Potential Exists

By Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Specialist
Expected yield is high for corn planted by mid-May
Today's USDA crop report indicates that only 4% of Minnesota's corn acres have been planted, with the majority coming from southwestern Minnesota. In comparison, the 5-year average (2009-2013) is 30%. With the recent and expected rainfall, many growers may not be able to resume field work until at least this weekend or early next week. This has led to questions about corn yield potential when planting is delayed.

University of Minnesota planting date studies show that highest corn yield typically occurs when planting is completed by mid-May. In a study from 2009 to 2011 at Lamberton, Morris, and Waseca, MN that was funded by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, average grain yield was within 98% of the maximum if planting was completed by May 15. In another study from 1988 to 2003 at Lamberton, MN, a planting date of May 15 resulted in grain yields that averaged 95% of the maximum.…

Diversification Tools for Effective, Long-term Weed Management

By Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator in Crops
Does glyphosate perform as well today as it did when you first used it?  When producers were asked this question at University of Minnesota Private Pesticide Applicator Training sessions across southern Minnesota in 2014, 87% of the respondents said "No".  This percentage is up significantly from 2009, when 55% of respondents answered "No" to this question.  Increasing issues with resistance to glyphosate is likely, at least in part, behind reported reductions in weed control.  To address issues of reduced weed control with glyphosate, diversification is key. 

U of MN Extension Launches Crops YouTube Video Site

By Lizabeth Stahl and Lisa Behnken, Extension Educators in Crops
University of Minnesota Extension has recently launched a U of MN Extension Crops YouTube video site. It can be accessed through the newly updated U of MN Extension Crops webpage at under "Social Media".

Have you been wondering how much influence nozzle type can have on drift potential?  Check out the "Herbicide Spray Drift Demonstration" video for an in-field comparison of herbicide applications using various spray nozzles under high drift conditions.  Would you like a better understanding of how herbicide resistant weeds develop and how different types of herbicides affect or kill susceptible plants?  Check out the herbicide resistance management videos which help explain how herbicide resistant populations develop and the mode of action of important herbicide chemistries.

The site also contains a series of videos on soil compaction.  Topics covered range from a discussi…

Just in Time for Spring: University of Minnesota Unveils Newly Rebuilt Forage Website

M. Scott Wells - Extension Forage and Cropping Systems Agronomist
We are excited to announce that our University of Minnesota Forage website has emerged from its complete rebuild. Visitors to the U of M Forage website will be able to successfully navigate with ease through a host of informative topics associated with forage production such as:
Forage and Variety SelectionSoil and Water ManagementEstablishmentNutrient ManagementGrowth and DevelopmentUtilization and ManagementOrganic Production

Predicting the future: Alfalfa winter injury in Minnesota

by M. Scott Wells, Extension Forage/Cropping Systems Agronomist
Over the past two and half months as the new U of MN Forage and Cropping System Extension Agronomist, the one question I have been asked the most is, "Are you surviving the winter?" Being from the southern US, I replied that I have now experienced real winter. Some of these experiences have been novel and interesting, such as tossing boiling water into the air and watching it become snow, and blowing bubbles in -15°F weather (if you not have tried the bubbles, I highly recommend it), whereas other experiences (truck not starting because its so cold) have been less thrilling.

This question about "surviving the winter" is an important one when considering the devastating impact of the 2012-2013 winter on alfalfa stands throughout Minnesota. If you are an Alfalfa producer, the question of alfalfa winter injury, and to a greater extent winterkill, is definitely on your mind as it is on min…

U of M Extension Crop Events Calendar Available Online

University of Minnesota Extension has published a Crop Events calendar on Extension's main Crops webpage. Up-to-date information on Private Pesticide Applicator Recertification workshops, conferences and other crops programs are included on this statewide event calendar. For a look at the wide variety of timely, research-based Extension events that are being offered, visit and look for "Upcoming Events."