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Showing posts from September, 2014

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.