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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Dec. 17 2015 SC Hay Auction Summary

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

I am listing links to view my summary of the Dec 17 Sauk Centre Hay auction and other hay markets and crop news.

1. Dec 17, 2015 Summary - All loads sold, grouped and averaged based on bale and hay or bedding type.

2. History of Selected Lots - averages for recent years, and each sale so far this year, Alfalfa, Grass Hay 5-9% Protein, Straw

3. Graph - Medium Square Groups from RFV 101-200. The Red Line is for the 2015-16 market Oct Through Dec 17.

NOTE: Some of the bouncing might be because of some variation in physical condition of some the hay in these groups at some sales, especially where small numbers of loads are sold. There can be other factors.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Dec 3 2015 Sauk Centre Hay Auction Summary

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

I am listing links to view my summary information from the Dec 3 2015 Sauk Centre Hay auctions and other hay markets and crop news.

1. Dec 3, 2015 Summary - All loads sold, grouped and averaged based on bale and hay or bedding type.

NOTE: I wonder if the prices for the three 176-200 loads ($130-$150-$180) reflects some problems putting up hay in good physical condition with some of the rainy weather through part of the summer. I’d wonder the same about some of the straw prices.

2. History of Selected Lots - averages for recent years, and each sale so far this year, Grass Hay 5-9% Protein, Straw

NOTE: The Red Line October to Dec represents the new market year now. Again I think some of these lines are bouncing a bit, maybe because some variation in physical condition of some the hay in these groups at some sales.

3. Graph - of Medium Square Groups from RFV 101-200. The Red Line is for the 2015-16 market Oct Through Dec 3 so far.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Corn silage trial results and criteria for hybrid selection

by Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Agronomist

Few agronomic decisions for corn silage production are as important as hybrid selection. Results from the 2015 University of Minnesota corn silage performance trials are available at:

When selecting hybrids, it is best to choose those that perform well over multiple locations in a region. Consistent performance over multiple locations with different soil and weather conditions is critical because next year’s growing conditions are uncertain.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Nov 5 & 19 Sauk Centre Hay Auction Summaries

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

I am listing links to view my summary information from the Nov 5 and 19 Sauk Centre Hay auctions and other hay market and crop news notes.

1. Nov 5, 2015 Summary - All loads sold, grouped and averaged based on bale and hay or bedding type.

2. Nov 19, 2015 Summary – Same kind of Info as no.1

3. History of Selected Lots - averages for recent years, and each sale so far this year, Grass Hay 5-9% Protein, Straw

4. Graph - of Medium Square Groups from RFV 101-200. The Red Line is for the last year. For June through November, the black vertical line represents range in prices.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Minnesota Soybean Variety Trials Available

by Seth Naeve, Extension Soybean Agronomist

The 2015 Minnesota Soybean Variety Trials are now available at

Each year Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station scientists conduct performance tests of public and private soybean entries at several locations throughout the state. Yield, quality characteristics, and chlorosis score evaluations of the entries are included by region. The summary also includes special use variety trials and variety performance in SCN-infested fields.

For more information on soybean production, visit

Friday, November 13, 2015

REMINDER: "What’s Working and What’s not in Corn and Soybean Insect Management" Update Session

by Fritz Breitenbach and Lisa Behnken

Questions continue to be asked about how the current corn rootworm and soybean aphid situation in southern Minnesota and how best to manage these pests.

Please join University of Minnesota Extension IPM Specialist, Fritz Breitenbach, and Regional Educator, Lisa Behnken, on Nov 23, 2015 for presentations and discussion on the evolving management of corn rootworm and soybean aphids. Guest speakers will be Dr. Kenneth Ostlie and Dr. Robert Koch, University of Minnesota Extension Entomologists.

When: Monday, November 23rd, 2015
 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Where: Heinz Center, RM HB117
RCTC Campus, Rochester, MN

Meeting location map:

This update session does not have a fee as it is held in conjunction with the MN Extension IPM Program.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Minnesota’s help sought in herbicide resistance survey

Allison Sandve, U of M Extension

Herbicide-resistant waterhemp in a Minnesota field.
Photo: Liz Stahl, U of M Extension

A multi-state team of university researchers needs help from Minnesota farmers to better understand the spread of herbicide-resistant weeds.

Surveys will be sent by email Nov. 20 to recipients selected for diversity of farm size, crops grown and geographic location. About 10,000 surveys will be distributed nationwide. Researchers aim to gain deeper insights into herbicidal resistance in corn, soybean, sugarbeets and cotton—its causes, consequences and strategies used to cope with it.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

NDSU stresses grain management is vital now

Source: Ken Hellevang, North Dakota State University

After enjoying a generally nice harvest season this year, now is the time for upper Midwestern producers to focus on managing the grain in storage, North Dakota State University's grain handling and storage expert says.

NDSU Extension Service agricultural engineer Ken Hellevang recommends producers check the moisture content of the grain at a few locations in the bin because this will determine the management steps they need to take to preserve the stored grain.

Friday, October 30, 2015

SC Hay Auction Summaries Oct 1 & 15, 2015

I am listing links to view my summary information from the October 1 and 15 Sauk Centre Hay auctions and other hay markets and crop news. Prices are lower than a year ago and perhaps there is more price difference between better quality hay and hay shows weather issues during harvest.

1. October 1, 2015 Summary - All loads sold, grouped and averaged based on bale and hay or bedding type.

2. October 15, 2015 Summary – Same kind of Info as no.1

3. History of Selected Lots - averages for recent years, and each sale so far this year, Grass Hay 5-9% Protein, Straw

4. Graph - of Medium Square Groups from RFV 101-200. The Red Line is for the last year. For June through September, the black vertical line represents range in prices.

Sauk Centre Mid-American Hay Auctions will be held 1st and 3rd Thursdays through May.

Steffes Hay Auction in Litchfield 2nd and 4th Tuesdays.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Yield results from early and late GT/RR soybean entries in SE MN available now

Lisa Behnken, Fritz R. Breitenbach, Ryan P. Miller, Thomas Hoverstad, and Jeffrey Vetch

Yield results from a study comparing Early (1.3 to 1.8) and Late (1.9 to 2.5) GT/RR® (glyphosate tolerant/Roundup Ready®) soybean entries in southeastern Minnesota are now available. Twenty-eight early and 30 late soybean entries were planted on May 22, 2015 at a Rochester, MN location. With harvest recently completed, performance results for 2015 can be seen below.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Recap of corn and soybean disease problems in Minnesota in 2015

Dean Malvick, Extension Plant Pathologist

Now that soybean and corn harvest is nearing completion in Minnesota, it is a good time to review some of the diseases issues in these crops across the state in 2015. As is usual, the pattern of diseases across the state is as inconsistent as the weather that drives disease development. Some diseases were common in many fields and areas, but many were much more scattered. This is a summary of some of the most problematic or talked-about corn and soybean diseases in Minnesota.

Monday, October 12, 2015

End-of-season corn yield forecasts and in-field grain drying guidelines

by Jeff Coulter

End-of-season corn yield forecasts for several locations across the Corn Belt are available at Predictions indicate above-average grain yield at the majority of locations.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fall Nitrogen Applications

Fabián Fernandez, Nutrient Management Specialist

Although we are not quite done with the growing season, it is not too early to start making plans for the next growing season.

For some farmers, nitrogen (N) application in the fall is one of the many important decisions to make. Nitrogen is not only a large input in most corn farming operations, but it also represents an important input in terms of the environment. The soil is not a very good place to store N as this nutrient can easily end up in air or water where it can cause environmental degradation. For these reasons, I would like to review important guidelines developed through years of unbiased research in hopes that this will help you make the best decisions for N management.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Sauk Centre Hay Auction Summary Sept 17 2015

I am listing links to view my summary information from the September 17 Sauk Centre Hay auction and other hay markets and crop news.
It was very difficult to make dry hay in some parts of Minnesota through the summer months; and difficult to combine and bale straw for small grain in some areas. It could be helpful to check for signs of moisture issues on hay and straw this year. As with other commodities, moisture can make a difference when buying "by-the-ton."

1. September 17, 2015 Summary - All loads sold, grouped and averaged based on bale and hay or bedding type.

2. History of selected lots - averages for recent years, and each sale so far this year, Grass Hay 5-9% Protein, Straw

3. Graph of Medium Square Groups from RFV 101-200. The Red Line is for the last year. For June through September, the black vertical line represents range in prices.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Updated forecasts indicate high corn yields, but stalk rots create harvest concerns

by Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Specialist

Much of the corn in Minnesota is rapidly approaching maturity (black layer), with some corn already mature. Updated yield predictions on September 16 by University of Nebraska researchers continue to forecast high corn yields for most of the Corn Belt, including two locations in southern Minnesota:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Herbicide resistant giant ragweed control: Alternative herbicide options are limited

by Lisa Behnken, Extension Educator, Fritz Breitenbach, IPM Specialist SE Minnesota, Jeff Gunsolus, Extension Agronomist, Weed Science, and Phyllis Bongard, Content Development and Communications Specialist, University of Minnesota

With the increase in herbicide resistant weeds and no new herbicide chemistries on the horizon, what options remain for good weed control? Achieving acceptable weed control is particularly challenging in parts of Minnesota where giant ragweed is resistant to both SOA 2 (ALS inhibitors) and SOA 9 (glyphosate) herbicides.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Are you happy with your weed control in soybeans this fall?

by Lisa Behnken, Extension Educator, Fritz Breitenbach, IPM Specialist SE Minnesota, Jeff Gunsolus, Extension Agronomist, Weed Science, and Phyllis Bongard, Content Development and Communications Specialist, University of Minnesota

Figure 1. Weed escapes in soybean treated with a single preemergence herbicide application of Outlook and Pursuit on May 5. Photo taken August 6.

With waterhemp becoming more widespread throughout the state and glyphosate resistance increasing, how do your soybeans look this fall? If they look like Figure 1, it may be time to change your weed control strategy.

One strategy for dealing with glyphosate resistant waterhemp is to layer soil residual herbicides. This approach is being evaluated in Rochester, Minnesota and includes a number of residual herbicides in single and two-pass applications. The herbicides in the trial include 1) Dual (s-metolachlor), 2) Outlook (dimethenamid-P), and 3) Warrant (acetochlor). They were selected because of their known effectiveness for controlling waterhemp and their flexibility in application timing. Pursuit (imazethapyr) does not control ​this population of ​waterhemp​ (ALS resistant)​​;​ however, ​it was applied in tank mixes with the pre-emergence herbicides to eliminate other broadleaf weeds.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Updated corn yield, maturity, and freeze injury predictions for the Corn Belt

By Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Specialist

Much of the corn in Minnesota is in the dent stage and silage harvest is underway. Corn in Minnesota generally reaches maturity (black layer) at 55 to 60 days after silking, corresponding to September 15 to 20 for most of Minnesota’s acres this year.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Hay Auction Summary Aug 6 2015, other info

Sauk Centre Hay Auction Summary Aug 6 2015

By Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties,, 320-968-5077 if a local call to Foley or 1-800-964-4929

I am posting information and links to documents with data from:

1. Aug 6, 2015 Summary - All loads sold, grouped and averaged.

2. History of selected lots - Averaged for recent years, and each sale so far this year.

This include AVERAGES CALCULATED FOR THE 2014/2015 SEASON – listed on the first and third page.

3. Graph - Medium Square Groups from RFV 101-200, Grass Hay 5-9% Protein, Straw

The “heavy red line” is for the 2014-15 auction season. The vertical lines for June 4 and July 2 and August 6 represent the range in price from high to low with a spot at the average.

4. Hay Price Distribution Example – to give further thought to what an average may or may not mean.

Mid-American Auction at Sauk Centre starts its regular sale season on Thursday September 3 with sales held on the 1st and 3rd Thursday through May.

Steffes Auction at Litchfield continues with auction on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Updated forecasts of corn yield and maturity available for the Corn Belt

by Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Specialist

Much of the corn in Minnesota is in the milk stage. Soil moisture levels and air temperatures for much of the corn in Minnesota have been favorable since pollination, but some regions have become dry.

Stress due to dry conditions through the end of the milk stage can reduce grain yield by reducing the number of kernels per plant. After the milk stage, kernel number per plant is set and kernels become doughy. Stress occurring between the dough stage and maturity reduces grain yield by reducing kernel weight.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Aphids in corn: The dilemma of post-pollination infestations

Bruce Potter, IPM Specialist, and Ken Ostlie, Extension Entomologist

As agriculturalists re-enter corn fields to scout corn rootworm beetle populations and begin to estimate yield potential, they often find some unwelcome aphid visitors. Heavy infestations on ears and adjacent leaves can grab your attention and trigger the “Should I spray question?” The crop protection urge may be strong with the corn crop we have this year; let’s review what’s known about aphids in corn before you make that spray or don’t spray decision.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Treating late-season soybean aphids

by Robert Koch (Extension Entomologist), Bruce Potter (IPM Specialist) and Ian MacRae (Extension Entomologist)

Late-season management of soybean aphids can be challenging. There have been many winged aphids colonizing fields over the past couple of weeks. Furthermore, the forecasted weather conditions will be excellent for aphid population growth.  Fields that were seed treated with insecticide and those treated early with insecticides tank-mixed with herbicide or fungicide are not immune to infestation. Those early-season prophylactic applications of insecticide do little to prevent soybean aphid populations from reaching damaging levels later in the season. Here, we provide an overview of late-season scouting and management recommendations for soybean aphid.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Take advantage of window to control weeds following small grains harvest

by Dr. Tom Peters, Extension Sugarbeet Agronomist, Dave Nicolai and Doug Holen, Extension Crop Educators
Figure 1. Weed flush after small grains harvest.

Recent travel across Minnesota highlights that it is small grains harvest time. Thrashed fields have a clean look, especially from the highway. However, closer examination reveals a great number of weeds, especially waterhemp, emerging from the stubble. More swathing due to uneven harvest maturity and significant lodging resulted in weeds getting a head start this season.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What to consider when treating a soybean field more than once for soybean aphid

by Robert Koch (Extension Entomologist), Bruce Potter (IPM Specialist), Ian MacRae (Extension Entomologist), and Ken Ostlie (Extension Entomologist)

Soybean aphid populations in many areas of Minnesota are increasing. This year, there are a number of factors making population development and management less predictable than in the previous couple of years:
  • Late summer dispersal of soybean aphids is currently occurring, bringing high numbers of winged aphids to colonize fields; sometimes those that were previously treated.
  • Forecasted weather conditions for the upcoming week look favorable for aphid population growth.
  • A number of fields in southwestern Minnesota have reported unexplained failure (poor performance) of recent insecticide treatments and will require additional applications to control existing populations.
All of these factors point to the importance of weekly scouting for soybean aphids and treating when populations reach the threshold of 250 aphids per plant when 80% of plants have aphids (U of MN guide to soybean aphid scouting). At the threshold, yield loss is not yet occurring, but will if aphids are not soon controlled.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Corn development and updated yield forecasts for the Corn Belt

Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Specialist

Much of the corn in Minnesota has finished pollinating and kernels are in the blister to milk stage. Soil moisture levels and air temperatures for much of the corn in Minnesota were favorable during pollination and continue to remain favorable, but some regions are becoming dry.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hay Auction Summary July 2015 and Other Info

By Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties,, 320-968-5077 if a local call to Foley or 1-800-964-4929

I am posting information and links to documents with data from:
July 2 2015 Sauk Centre Hay Auction and SEASON AVERAGES
And sources of other hay market information

1. July 2, 2015 Summary - All loads sold, grouped and averaged.

2. History of selected lots - Averaged for recent years, and each sale so far this year.

This include AVERAGES CALCULATED FOR THE 2014/2015 SEASON – listed on the first and third page.

3. Graph - Medium Square Groups from RFV 101-200, Grass Hay 5-9% Protein, Straw

The “heavy red line” is for the 2014-15 auction season. The vertical lines on the June 4 and July 2represents the range in price from high to low with a spot at the average.

4. Straw and Grass Graphs – Large Round Straw sold by the ton, Large Round Straw sold by the bale, Medium Square Straw sold by the bale, Large Round Grass 5-9% protein sold by the ton.

5. Dairy Tours & Field Days

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Topics Addressing Small Grain Crop Dry-down and Harvest

Jochum Wiersma, Small Grains Specialist, 
Doug Holen, Crops Extension Educator and 
Phyllis Bongard, Educational Development and Communications Specialist

Small grain harvest is underway in parts of southern Minnesota including winter wheat, winter rye, barley, and even spring wheat.  The common theme to date is harvest maturity.  Many calls and questions are circulating addressing crop dry-down and removal.  Most of this concern comes on the back side of strong wind events across the state resulting in significant lodging. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Parasitic wasps attacking Minnesota soybean aphids: Summary of a collaborative statewide survey

by Joe Kaser (Graduate Student), George Heimpel (Professor), and Robert Koch (Assistant Professor & Extension Entomologist)

An important group of beneficial insects that help control soybean aphids are tiny parasitic wasps (also known as aphid parasitoids). These wasps do not sting or harm humans, livestock, or any insects besides aphids. The biology of these parasitic wasps is like something out of a science-fiction movie. The female wasps inject their eggs into aphids. The larvae that hatch from the eggs then develop inside of their aphid hosts, eventually killing the aphid, and later emerging as winged adult wasps. Aphids attacked by these parasitic wasps become “mummies,” which are the slightly swollen, brown- or black-colored bodies of the dead aphids.  When managing soybean aphid, use of scouting and the economic threshold (250 aphids per plant) will help reduce insecticide inputs and conserve these aphid-killing wasps.  

Managing Cercospora leaf spot of sugarbeet

by Mohamed Kahn, Extension Sugarbeet Specialist

Cercospora leaf spot (CLS) (Figure 1 A, B) is the most damaging leaf disease of sugarbeet in North Dakota and Minnesota. CLS is caused by the fungus Cercospora beticola which does most damage in warm weather (80 to 90 degree F during the day and over 60 degree F in the night) and in the presence of moisture from rain or dew on the leaves. The fungus destroys the leaves (Figure 2) and thus adversely impacts photosynthesis resulting in reduced tonnage and lower extractable sucrose.

Figure 1A. Typical early symptoms of Cercospora leaf spot - circular spots or lesions about 1/8 inch in diameter with ash gray centers.

Figure 1B. Cercospora lesion with "black pepper–like" spots and conidiospores in the center.

Midsummer Corn and Soybean Disease Development in Minnesota

by Dean Malvick

Several different crop diseases have appeared in corn and soybean fields across Minnesota. Although most are at minor levels now, diseases are dynamic and it is important to be alert for these and other diseases that may be developing. More information can be found at the Minnesota Crop Diseases web site:

Sugarbeet crop update

Mohamed Khan, Extension Sugarbeet Specialist


In North Dakota and Minnesota, ideal planting time is in mid- to late-April so that plants can close rows by June 21 to maximize photosynthetic activity during long daylight hours for highest yields. The lack of snow and rainfall preceding and during early April resulted in growers being able to plant over 90% of their sugarbeet crop during April. However, inadequate soil moisture in many areas resulted in delayed emergence, and in some fields, uneven seedling emergence. Fortunately, several rainfall events in May and June have resulted in adequate moisture for the sugarbeet crop as well as recharging of the soil moisture content. May was relatively cool but since June 1, average daily bare soil temperature was over 55°F resulting in rapid crop growth. As such, most fields in Minnesota had a full canopy by the 4th of July.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Corn development and forecasted yields

Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Specialist

Much of the corn in Minnesota is silking or rapidly approaching silking. As a guide, corn typically reaches physiological maturity (black layer) at around 55 to 60 days after silking.

Stress occurring between now and early August, resulting from dry soil conditions and hot air temperatures, can greatly reduce grain yield by reducing the number of kernels per plant. Hail damage to corn at this time also will greatly reduce yield, since all leaves are completely exposed by silking. Fortunately, the season has started with favorable conditions for corn growth in many areas.

To evaluate, in real time, the impact of this season’s weather on corn yield potential and its spatial variability across the Corn Belt, simulations of 2015 yield potential were performed on July 15 by University of Nebraska researchers as part of a multi-state project. Results are available at:

Updated yield forecasts will be provided in late July or early August.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pest alert - Two-spotted Spider Mites in Soybeans

Bruce Potter, Bob Koch and Ken Ostlie.

In spite of the abundant rainfall and the relatively mild temperatures, some Minnesota soybean fields have populations of two-spotted spider mites (TSSM) at or near economic damaging levels and mites can be found at lower levels in others.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Cancellation of Small Grains Plot Tours This week

Madeleine Smith

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the 2015 Small Grains Plot Tours have been cancelled with the exception of the Fergus Falls location. The plot tour scheduled for today, Monday, July 13 will take place at 5:00 p.m. at the John and Chad Walkup Farm located at 11301 150th Ave in Campbell MN.

All other plots tours are cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience caused. If you wish to talk to any of the speakers please feel free to contact them through the University of Minnesota Extension website where their contact details can be found  @

The field day at the Northwest Research and Outreach Center in Crookston is still planned for Wednesday July 15th. If there is rain, an alternative program will be conducted indoors.

Perley, July 13 cancelled
Oklee, July 14 cancelled
Hallock, July 17 cancelled
Strathcona, July 17 cancelled
Roseau, July 22 cancelled

Friday, July 10, 2015

"What Impact is My Tillage System Having on Soil Health" Presentations Now Available Online

By Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator - Crops

If you were unable to attend the "What Impact is My Tillage System Having on Soil Health" field day at the SWROC in Lamberton on July 1 or would like to review some of the information presented, you can now view copies of several presentations online.  They have been posted on the U of MN Extension Soil management and health website ( under "Presentations".

The following is the direct link:

The downside of insurance insecticide applications for soybean aphid

by Robert Koch, Extension Entomologist; Bruce Potter, IPM Specialist; and Jeff Gunsolus, Extension Weed Scientist

For soybean aphid management, we encourage you to rely on scouting (actually getting into the field and looking at plants) and the validated economic threshold (average of 250 aphids per plant, aphids on more than 80% of plants, and aphid populations increasing) to determine when to apply insecticides for soybean aphid (see "Scouting for soybean aphid"). The threshold number of aphids is below the number required to cause yield loss and allows time to apply an insecticide before economic loss is incurred. However, you might be tempted to apply insecticides for soybean aphids at low population levels or without regard to the size of the aphid population in field, just in case you might have a problem. These "insurance" applications of insecticides can have negative impacts.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Refresher on scouting for and managing defoliating insects in soybean

by Robert Koch (Extension Entomologist), Tavvs Alves (Grad. Student), Anh Tran (Grad. Student), and Wally Rich (Junior Scientist)

As you begin scouting soybean fields for soybean aphid, you should also be on the lookout for other insect pests and the injury they can cause on the plants. One such group of additional pests is referred to as “defoliators” or “defoliating insects.” Defoliators are insects that eat the leaves of plants. In soybean, we can find a diversity of defoliators, including various beetles, caterpillars and grasshoppers.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Armyworms in Small Grains

We are receiving calls regarding armyworms in small grains in NW MN.

At this time they are small larvae (1/2"-3/4" long) and feeding in the lower foliage.  Scout for armyworms at grassy margins of the fields, low, weedy areas in fields or in lodged grain; populations are more likely to develop in these areas first.  Armyworms prefer the edges of leaves first and are messy, wasteful eaters.  They generally retreat during the day under soil and plant residue on the ground and feed more often beginning at dusk, it’s easier to scout for armyworm damage than the armyworms themselves.  Look for leaves that have been notched/cut, partially eaten leaf material on the ground, and small round pellets (armyworm frass, i.e. poop) near the base of the plants.

Consider applying insecticide if: there are 4-5 armyworm larvae per sq. ft., caterpillars are ¾ - 1 ¼ in. long, leaf feeding or head clipping is found, and parasites are not evident.  By the time armyworms are more than 1 ½ in long, they have stopped feeding and are getting ready to pupate.  At this point the damage has already been done and control applications will probably not provide an economic return.

There are a number of insecticides registered for use against armyworms in small grains, check the label for rates.  At this time of year, be certain to check the PHI as well.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Corn yield forecasts for Minnesota in 2015

Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Agronomist

A Yield Forecasting Center (YFC) has been established at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in collaboration with agronomists and extension educators from universities throughout the Corn Belt.

In 2014, corn yield forecasts were released at two-week intervals during the growing season. Forecast locations mainly focused on Nebraska and a few additional states across the Corn Belt. In 2015, the YFC has expanded the network of collaborators to include the 10 major corn producing states (NE, IA, IL, SD, KS, IN, OH, MO, MN, WI) and will provide bi-weekly forecasts of corn yield for 45 locations to achieve more detailed spatial coverage of the Corn Belt during the 2015 crop season.

Separate forecasts will be provided for irrigated and dryland corn, depending upon prevalence of the two water regimes at each location. These forecasts will be released starting in July and running until the end of the season. Information regarding the methodologies used in the YFC to forecast corn yield, along with guidelines for interpreting the results, are available at:

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hay Auction Summary June 4 Sauk Centre

By Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties,, 320-968-5077 if a local call to Foley or 1-800-964-4929

I am posting information and links to documents with data from June 4 2015 Sauk Centre Hay Auction ... and sources of other hay market information.

Post-Anthesis Foliar N Applications to Boost Grain Protein in HRSW.

Interest in improving grain protein in hard red spring wheat (HRSW) with in-season applications of nitrogen (N) fertilizer is on everyone mind, since protein premiums and discounts are rumored to be even greater this year than last. 

A "Cliff Notes" summary of foliar feeding of N immediately after anthesis can be found here.  The original Minnesota Crop News article, published in 2006 and reprinted in 2014, explaining the practice in more detail can be found here.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Nitrogen management: Considerations for sidedressing

Fabián G. Fernández, Daniel Kaiser, Jeffrey Vetsch

Nitrogen transformations and loss potential in the soil

Wet soil conditions in the spring create concerns that nitrogen (N) applied in early spring or earlier might be lost. When soils become too wet, the potential for N losses is directly related to the amount of N present in the nitrate (NO3-) form. With the exception of urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN) solutions that contain 25% of the total N as nitrate or ammonium nitrate that contains 50% of the total N as nitrate, most commercial fertilizers being used today are in the form of ammonium (NH4+) or forms that rapidly transform to ammonium (like anhydrous ammonia and urea). In the ammonium form, N is retained in the exchange sites of soil particles and organic matter.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Soybean aphids on Minnesota soybean: They’re out there, but don’t panic

by Robert Koch, Extension Entomologist

Soybean aphids can now be found in soybean fields in southern Minnesota. There are also reports of soybean aphids from west central Minnesota. However, there is no need to panic. The percentage of plants infested and number of aphids per plant are still low (far below economic levels). Furthermore, aphid predators, such as lady beetles, have been observed feeding on soybean aphids in some fields.  As we get into late June, you may want to begin checking soybean fields for aphids.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Waterhemp has emerged in Minnesota

Part of the weeds management strategy is properly identifying weeds in the field. Pigweed identification is especially difficult in the early seedling stages since many species look the same. A ‘pigweed identification guide’ developed at Kansas State University is available on the internet,

The predominant pigweed species that has emerged in fields in May and early June in Minnesota has been redroot pigweed. However, growing degree day accumulation are now sufficient for waterhemp to germinate and emerge. Matter of fact, in southern and west central Minnesota, any new pigweed germinating and emerging in fields probably is waterhemp.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Postemergence Weed Control Strategies in Sugarbeet

Tom Peters, Extension Sugarbeet Agronomist, Univ of Minnesota / North Dakota State University

Sugarbeet are actively growing following ample precipitation the past three weeks and finally some sun and heat. Unfortunately for Farmers, so are the weeds. Farmers should be scouting their fields and preparing for postemergence weed control. With this in mind, I offer the following suggestions:

· Scout fields regularly. I suggest visiting fields at least every 7 days
· Properly identify weeds. Get help if you are unsure about weed identification
· Spray weeds when they are small, preferably less than 2 inches tall
· Use full rates of herbicides and the appropriate adjuvants depending on herbicide or herbicide mixtures
· Consider tank-mixes to provide multiple modes of action, especially on tough-to-control weeds
· Revisit fields for possible sequential herbicide applications

Saturday, June 6, 2015

When is it too Windy to Spray?

by David Nicolai and Lizabeth Stahl, Extension educators - crops and Dr. Dean Herzfeld, Coordinator, Pesticide Safety and Environmental Education

The corn and soybean post-emergence crop protection application season is here. Corn and soybean growers will target post-emergence herbicide applications by the V4 growth stage in soybeans and the four leaf stage in corn to limit yield reductions due to weed competition. Targeting applications by these crop stages will also help ensure applications are made before weeds exceed three to four inches in height, which is the maximum height on many herbicide labels for most effective control.

As crops and weeds enter rapid growth stages, wet soil conditions due to recent rains have made it challenging to make timely herbicide applications. As growers rush to complete weed control operations, under very windy conditions, calls about injury resulting from herbicide drift are anticipated. Where fields of Roundup Ready crops are adjacent to non-Roundup Ready crops, it is particularly important to pay attention to the risk of crop injury from pesticide drift.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Southern Minnesota research highlights: Take control of resistance management

Lisa Behnken, Extension Educator-crops, and Phyllis Bongard, Educational Content Development and Communications Specialist

A large research team comprised of faculty from Extension, the Research and Outreach Centers at Waseca, Lamberton and Rosemount, and the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus conduct field research trials annually in southern Minnesota to address local, timely crop production issues. Highlights from the 2014 research report include a demonstration of weed control timing, herbicide resistance management, and a review of new herbicide technologies. All of the southern Minnesota reports from 2014 are available on the University of Minnesota Crops Research website.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

May 21, 2015 Hay Market Summary / June 1 Alfalfa Observations

May 21, 2015 Sauk Centre Hay Auction Summary

By Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties,, 320-968-5077 if a local call to Foley or 1-800-964-4929

…Quite a yo-yo in the market numbers through March-April-May. Click on links highlighted links for the following.

1. May 21, 2015 Summary - All loads sold, grouped and averaged – lots of hay.

2. History of selected lots - averaged for recent years, and each sale so far this year.

3. Graph - Medium Square Groups from RFV 101-200, Grass Hay 5-9% Protein

4. June 1 Alfalfa Harvest Alert Observations

Thursday, May 28, 2015

May 28 Alfalfa Harvest Alert Data

By Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties,, 320-968-5077 if a local call to Foley or 1-800-964-4929... in cooperation with the Central MN Forage Council and cooperating farmers, agribusinesses and Extension Colleagues.

Here is a link to all the Alfalfa Harvest Alert Scissors-Cut information we have received so far from sampling done on Thursday May 28. There is new data for Stearns, Benton, and Morrison County sites - posted in the evening on May 28.
Click Here: May 28 Alfalfa Harvest Alert Data UPDATE May 29

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Alfalfa Harvest Alert Info - May 26 2015

By Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties,, 320-968-5077 if a local call to Foley or 1-800-964-4929

Here is a link to all the Alfalfa Harvest Alert Scissors-Cut information we have received so far from sampling done on Tuesday May 26. There is new data for 11 of 15 sites.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Seed Purity Standards

There have been some surprises this spring with rye showing up in fields when there was no rye planted previously, at least not intentionally. I figured it would be worthwhile to briefly discuss seed purity standards and control options.

First we have to make a distinction between PVP protected varieties and varieties that are, or are no longer, protected under PVP. If a variety is protected under Title V of the Plant Variety Protection Act, certification of the seed is required. Certification standards for the maximum number of seed of the other crops are 5, 10, and 30 seeds per 10 lbs. of seed for foundation, registered and certified classes of seed, respectively. That is roughly equivalent to 0.004%, 0.008% and 0.024% seed of other crop species in a seed lot of wheat, barley, or oats. The same standards apply to all varieties sold as certified seed - whether PVP protected or not.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Alfalfa Harvest Alert Info - May 21, 2015

By Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties,, 320-968-5077 if a local call to Foley or 1-800-964-4929

UPDATED DOCUMENT Friday May 22 at 5 p.m. (All but 2 Thursday/Friday Data)
Here is a link to all the Alfalfa Harvest Alert Scissors-Cut information we have received so far from sampling done on Thursday May 21: May 21 Alfalfa Harvest Alert Scissors Cut Data

Please let me know if something looks to be in error.

Please note cooperators and sponsors listed in this report, and tell them and cooperating farmers, “Thanks for your efforts with this.”

Please plan and works for a SAFE hay harvest.

Hope you have a meaningful and enjoyable Memorial Day.

On behalf of U of M Extension Colleagues Nathan Winter and Abby Neu, 
and the Central MN Forage Council

Assessing frost injury to soybean: Is there an interaction with soil-applied PPO herbicides?

Jeff Gunsolus, Extension Weed Scientist

As people begin to assess soybean stands following the low temperature conditions of May 19th, questions are coming my way regarding the possible interaction of frost with soil-applied PPO herbicides. Is it possible? My answer is yes. Is it widely prevalent? As I receive more reports from around the state my current answer is, not likely.

An interaction of frost with soil-applied PPO herbicides is possible because cold temperatures slow the rate of emergence of the soybean through the herbicide-treated soil and the soybean is limited in its ability to metabolize the herbicide. However, the crook stage of the soybean plant that is expressing injury symptoms appears to be targeted to soybeans planted in early May (May 2 to 4 are frequently mentioned). Soybeans planted in early May were just cracking from the soil at the time of the low temperature conditions and were vulnerable to freeze damage.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May 7 Hay Auction.... AND Alfalfa Harvest Alert Info thru May 20

By Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties,, 320-968-5077 if a local call to Foley or 1-800-964-4929

I am posting information and links to documents with data from

1. May 7 2015 Sauk Centre Hay Auction

2. May 18-19 Alfalfa Harvest Alert Scissors Cut Data

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Frost injury to soybean

Bruce Potter, IPM Specialist, Phyllis Bongard, Extension Educational Content Development and Communications Specialist, and Seth Naeve, Extension Soybean Agronomist

Figure 1. Minimum and maximum temperatures recorded May 18–19 by NOAA.

Spring frost damage to soybean is relatively rare in Minnesota, as the last average frost dates usually occur before soybeans are normally planted. However, soybean planting and emergence is well ahead of the 5-year average, leaving the crop more vulnerable to early season frost events. Temperatures dropped into the low 30s and upper 20s (F) overnight in the west-central and northwestern parts of the state, likely resulting in some degree of frost injury to emerged soybeans in select areas.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Frost injury to corn: What to expect

Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Agronomist

This year’s early and dry spring has facilitated some of the earliest corn planting dates of all time in Minnesota. This early start to the growing season should allow the corn crop to pollinate earlier than normal. Early corn planting also allow kernels to fill when days are longer, reduces the risk of injury due to an autumn freeze before crop maturity, and allows increased time for grain dry-down prior to harvest.

Assessing frost injury

Patchy frost is expected across Minnesota tonight and tomorrow morning. Frost damage can occur when air temperatures are in the mid-30s on calm nights, as the lack of wind allows the transfer of heat from air near the ground to the air above, resulting in colder temperatures near the soil surface. In general, frost damage tends to be worse in low areas where cold dense air settles, near field edges where vegetation reduces the potential for heat transfer from the soil to the air above, and in fields where high levels of surface residue coverage limit heat transfer from soil. In addition, fields that were recently row-cultivated prior to cold temperatures are more susceptible to frost injury, as tillage dries the surface soil, thereby reducing the amount of heat and moisture that can be transferred between the soil and air.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Will soil-applied herbicides work in a dry year?

Tom Peters, Extension Sugarbeet Agronomist

Two questions are on farmers minds. First, how long will soil-applied herbicides ‘last’ in the soil if it doesn't rain and second, should a farmer consider using a rotary hoe or drag harrow to incorporate herbicides?

Volatility (evaporation), adsorption, and soil moisture effect soil-applied herbicides. Volatility is the change in herbicide physical state, from a liquid to a gas. Most soil-applied herbicides used by farmers have a medium or low vapor pressure meaning they generally will not volatilize during warm and dry conditions. However, understand that herbicides sprayed on soils will move with blowing soil and these effects may impact efficacy. Adsorption is the attachment of herbicides to soils. Herbicides must be bound to soils or they would easily leach away. Most herbicides are moderately or strongly bound to soils colloids and should not be impacted by our dry conditions.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Windbreak and crop yield study

Gary Wyatt, Extension educator - agroforestry

Recent land values, farm innovations and management such as adoption of no-till, minimum till, use of wide farm equipment, and windbreak plantings that are just getting old, have led to many windbreaks being removed. In time, windbreaks need to be renovated to restore the multiple benefits they offer rural landscapes. There are cost share programs available to plant new windbreaks and renovate mature plantings through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). In most areas where windbreaks were planted, there have been documented crop yield increases.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Anhydrous Ammonia Applications

Fabian Fernandez, Nutrient management specialist

Anhydrous ammonia (AA) is one of the most widely used nitrogen (N) fertilizer source in Minnesota and the Midwest. Some of the reasons for its importance include the fact that this source is by far the most concentrated N fertilizer with 82% N (less weight of fertilizer per unit of N); it is readily available since AA is used in the manufacture of many commercial N fertilizers; it can be applied several weeks before planting with less N loss potential than other N sources; and most importantly AA normally represents a less expensive source of N. Some of the drawbacks of AA include the need for special facilities to store this gas as pressurized liquid, and special equipment to transport and applied this fertilizer; the application of AA can be slower than that of some other N sources; and because AA is released as a gas, it can pose a risk to human health if not handled properly. Every year as farmers start applying AA, invariably I get asked similar questions which I will try to address today.

New Irrigation Resources

The new Irrigation Extension website is up and running, and we have been able to add some new resources, and update some of the past resources.
Now that spring has sprung, one of the most powerful tools for maximizing irrigated yield is uniform application of irrigation water.  Testing uniformity every few years is a low cost way to make sure that your water is going where you want it. On a pivot with 15 foot nozzle spacing, one bad nozzle 1000 feet from the center can influence the yield on over 2 acres. That one bad nozzle (that costs about $5 to replace) could cost you over $600 in lost yield.
Below is a quick tutorial on irrigation uniformity testing.

A Quick Test to See Whether Your Small Grains Seed or Emerging Seedlings is Still Alive.

With air temperatures dropping down into the high teens overnight, I have fielded a number of calls already this morning with the question whether the earlier seeded wheat, barley, oats (or any crop for that matter) will make it, especially if the ground is frozen solid.

The fastest way to tell is to dig up some seed or seedlings and place them on a wetted-down paper towel at room temperature.  Within 24 hours you should see elongation of the coleoptile of the seedlings.  With seed that had not germinated yet, you may have to wait another day before you see a radicle and coleoptile appear.  If the seed and the germ are damaged by frost they will turn to mush within 24 hours at room temperature.  If the crop had already emerged, you can simply cut the above ground leaf material and place the seedling on the wetted-down paper towel and wait for new growth to elongate. 

PS) Ensure that the paper towel remains moist throughout the duration of the experiment.

Photo 1: Germinated wheat seed with adventitious roots pointing down and coleoptile pointing up. The radicle is hidden between the adventitious roots.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Forage Quarterly - Spring 2015

Dear Forage Producer,

The University of Minnesota Forage Team is proud to announce the third edition of the Forage Quarterly. Since spring is here, this issues focuses on establishment and early season management of forage production systems. In this edition we highlight seeding strategies, weed management, cover crops, insect control and identification.

We would like to take this time to highlight the contributors to this edition:
  • Bradley Heins, Ph.D. Assistant Professor. Expertise: Organic Dairy Production. Email:
  • Bruce Potter. Assistant Extension Professor. Expertise: Integrated Pest Mgt, crops, and forages. Email:
  • Craig Sheaffer, Ph.D. Professor. Expertise: Alfalfa, forage, and sustainable cropping systems. Email:
  • Deborah Samac, Ph.D. Research Plant Pathologist. USDA. Expertise: Disease resistance mechanisms in alfalfa.
  • Doug Holen. Regional Extension Educator. Expertise: Crops, small-grains, and forages. Email:
  • Jim Paulson. Regional Extension Educator. Expertise: Dairy nutrition,forages, grazing and organic production. Email:
  • M. Scott Wells, Ph.D. Assistant Professor. Expertise: Forages and cropping systems. Email:
  • Reagan Noland. Graduate Research Assistant. Expertise: forages, cropping systems, and precision agriculture. Email:
  • Roger Becker, Ph.D. Professor. Expertise: Agronomy and weed science. Email:

University of Minnesota Forage Team

In this issue
Alfalfa Assessment: Factors Leading to Winter Injury
Alfalfa Establishment: A Pathway to Increased Yield
Preparing for Successful Alfalfa/Grass Production
Using Herbicides to Establish Alfalfa
Aphanomyces Root Rot of Alfalfa Widespread Distribution of Race 2
Alfalfa Insects: What to Look for, How and When</a>

Click to read the Spring 2015 newsletter.

Click to read past issues of the Forage Quarterly.


University of Minnesota Extension Forage Team

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Assessing Damage From In-Furrow or Pop-Up Starter Fertilizer for Corn

By Daniel Kaiser
Extension Nutrient Management Specialist

I have been fielding more questions on seed placed fertilizer in areas where rainfall has been sparse this spring and soils are dry. In my previous post I discussed the use of in-furrow starter fertilizer. Placing fertilizer on the seed can help speed up early plant growth but also can substantially reduce stand if a fertilizer is over-applied or soils are dry. How dry is too dry? That is a good question and the answer depends on the soil corn is being planted in. For medium and fine textured soils, the risk of damage typically is lessened when the soil moisture content is 25% or greater.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

New bulletin helps growers manage the rotation from alfalfa to corn

Jeff Coulter, University of Minnesota

Crops that follow alfalfa usually benefit from reduced or eliminated nitrogen requirement from fertilizer or manure, increased yield potential compared to following other crops, and reduced pest pressure. A new Extension bulletin describes management practices for alfalfa termination and the two subsequent corn crops that will help growers utilize the benefits of alfalfa:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How Deep Dare I Drill Wheat, Barley and Oats Down to Find Moisture?

Ideally we like you to seed wheat, barley, and oats at 1.5 to 2 inches of depth.  The idea is that the seed should be placed deep enough to have access to adequate moisture yet shallow enough to emerge as quickly as possible. Seeds too close to the surface absorb moisture but are at risk of dying because roots cannot reach moisture quickly enough to sustain the germination and seedling growth.  Deeper seeding can reduce stand density and plant vigor because the inability of the coleoptile to reach the surface. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Nitrogen Forecast for 2015: First edition April 9, 2015

John Lamb, University of Minnesota Extension Nutrient Management Specialist

Nitrogen (N) is important for corn, small grains, and sugar beet growth. This year has been OK so far. It has started to rain this week but I would not get too concerned about N losses until I see a large amount of drainage water coming out of the tile lines. In most cases the soil is on the dry side and has room to store the spring moisture. With this in mind, the chances for loss of N fertilizer are low on heavy textured soils. For growers who fall applied their N after the soil temperatures were below 50 degrees, there has been no reason to be concerned about N losses.

New nitrogen guidelines for corn grown on irrigated sandy soils

John A. Lamb, University of Minnesota Extension Nutrient Management Specialist

On March 6, 2015, revised guidelines for fertilizing corn grown on irrigated sandy soils were released by the University of Minnesota. Minnesota has about 500,000 acres of irrigated sandy soils. Corn is grown on about half of these acres in any one year. With the use of irrigation and fertilizer, sandy soils are very productive.

In 2000, the guideline for nitrogen (N) application for sandy soils was around 230 lb N/acre. In 2006, the University of Minnesota joined several North Central Land Grant Universities to develop a common method of developing N guidelines for corn. This method was called the Maximum Return to Nitrogen (MRTN). The goal of this process was to improve the predictability, involve economics, include some adjustment for the user attitude towards risk, and to use a similar method for developing N guidelines across the region. To make the MRTN method work well, a database with a large number of corn responses to N fertilizer was needed. Minnesota had a large number of response information for highly productive non-irrigated soils, but did not have adequate information for corn grown on irrigated sandy soils at the time the MRTN was first developed. Because of a lack of data specific to irrigated soils, a decision was made to use the guideline for corn grown on non-irrigated highly productive soils for corn grown on irrigated sandy soils. This was not a good decision. The MRTN economic involve the ratio of the price of N per pound to the price of corn per bushel. At the common 0.10 ratio ($0.50 N to $5.00 corn) the 2006 guideline was 140 lb N/A with a range of 120 to 165 lb N/A for corn grown after corn or group 2 crops. This was too low.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Should You Consider In-furrow Starter for Corn in 2015?

By Daniel Kaiser
Extension Nutrient Management Specialist

The use of starter fertilizer placement on the seed (known as in-furrow placement) is commonplace in many areas of Minnesota. I commonly receive questions on the value of in-furrow starter fertilizer when corn prices are low. The application of liquid fertilizer with the planter presents additional costs which may or may not be warranted depending on the year and where a field is located within Minnesota. The results of several field trials have recently been summarized in a new publication “Banding Fertilizer on the Corn Seed”. There are a few things to consider the when and what when utilizing starter fertilizer banded on the corn seed.

Ready, Set, Go.

The first spring wheat and oats have already been seeded, although winter will officially with us one more day according to the calendar. Is it too early to already be thinking spring and seeding small grains?  Federal crop insurance guidelines stipulate that small grains are insurable when planted on or after March 21.  And although this may be part of your decision process, mother nature doesn't keep a Julian calendar. So can we already seed small grains successfully?  In 2012 I write a post that describes the requirements to get small grains established successfully and quantifies some of the risks of planting early.  I have provided link to it here.

Bottom-line: The weather forecast for the remainder of the month is trending just slightly above average for both daytime highs and well as nighttime lows. If the frost has come out at least 12 inches and the soil temperatures are reaching 40 degrees F for most of the day, I think spring wheat and oats can be seeded successfully at this time.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Did my earliest seeded wheat, barley, and oats survive this latest cold snap?

The latest cold snap may have you wonder whether the earlier planted wheat and barley have a snowball’s chance in hell to produce a healthy seedling and stand? Wheat, barley and oats do not germinate until the soil temperatures reach 40 F. The germination process starts with the uptake of water, breaking the dormancy and starting the development of the sprout. Once the dormancy is broken the energy stored in the seed is used for the growth and development as well as respiration (basically maintenance). If the temperatures are low or even freezing the growth and development of young seedling slows down or even stops. However, respiration continues albeit at a lower rate and continues to deplete the energy stored in the seed. This will eventually decrease the vigor of the seed and may prevent the sprouted seed to produce a healthy seedling.

With the freezing temperatures the first concerns is whether this can kill the sprouted seed. Reports from the literature indicate that sprouted wheat and young seedling will likely survive temperatures in the low twenties. A quick first check of the color of radicle (first root) and coleoptile (first leaf) is the first step: a white and firm radicle and coleoptile will indicate that the sprout is not damaged by frost after the seed has been allowed to thaw out. . A second test to determine viability of seed is to dig up seed and bring it home, place it between moist paper towels, and keep it at room temperature. If the seed is viable the sprouts should start to grow within 24 hours.

Minimum Stands for Winter and Spring Cereals

Most winter cereals have broken dormancy by now and thus is it time to evaluate stands and decide whether to keep the stand and thus the field or move on to plan B.  The same is true for any early seeded spring cereals. The easiest time to do a stand count is probably when the crop is in the two- to three-leaf stage since tillers are not visible yet, making counting easier.

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.

Keep stands of 15 or more plants per square foot  (or just over 650,000 plants per acre) this early in the year as the crop (either spring or winter) will for plenty of time to continue to tiller, allowing the crop to reach 85 to 90% of its maximum grain yield potential.  

Table 1.        Average number of plants per foot of row for different row spacing and plant densities per acre.

Plants per acre (times 1 million)
Row Width


Table 2.        Adjustment factors to multiply the number of plants inside a hoop and convert the number in to number of plants per acre.

Hoop Diameter
Multiply by


Thursday, February 19, 2015

A 2014 multi-site field study on the effects of Clariva seed treatment on soybean yield and Soybean Cyst Nematode reproduction

Bruce Potter, Senyu Chen, Phil Glogoza and Ryan Miller

The soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is a serious pest of Minnesota soybean and has been managed with crop rotation and soybean varieties with resistance to SCN. SCN populations virulent on (able to infest, reproduce on and damage) SCN resistant soybeans are increasingly widespread. Virulence on the PI 88788 resistance source is the most common, but increasing numbers of field populations virulent on Peking or both PI88788 and Peking resistance sources have been observed (Chen, et al. 2011). Therefore, effective chemical or biological complements to resistant varieties would be helpful to soybean growers’ SCN management programs.

Monday, February 16, 2015

USDA Cover crop guidelines updated

Jill Sackett and Dr. M. Scott Wells, University of Minnesota

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released updated termination and insurance guidelines for farmers using cover crops. An interagency workgroup organized by Farm Service Agency (FSA), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Risk Management Agency (RMA) developed a cover crop management guide in order to have consistent and flexible cover crop policy for the Nation’s farmers. The third version of the guide, NRCS Cover Crops Termination Guidelines, was released in September 2014. RMA also has released updated insurance information on its 2015 Cover Crop FAQ website.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

High resolution elevation data now available through DNR

Les Everett, Agronomist, Water Resources Center

Agricultural professionals and producers, with or without GIS software, now have access at no cost to the Minnesota high resolution elevation data collected with LiDAR laser scanning. The Minnesota DNR released MnTOPO in 2014, a web application for viewing, printing and downloading the data.

From a computer or mobile device you can view contour lines at two, ten, or fifty foot elevation intervals projected over one of four basemaps. They include roads, aerial images, colored terrain, and black and white terrain images. The user can also obtain an elevation profile for a line drawn on the map. MnTOPO navigation is similar to that of Google Earth, allowing zooming and panning to locate a desired area or point, and has a location search capability. The contour lines appear at increasingly higher resolution (decreasing intervals) when zooming in on an area, and each contour resolution can be turned on or off by the user. Maps can be created, saved and printed.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Soybean aphid management webcasts to help prepare you for 2015

by Robert Koch, Extension Entomologist

While soybean aphids are waiting out the winter as eggs on buckthorn, you can prepare yourself to manage these pests in 2015 by watching a series of webcasts. This series of three educational webcasts focused on soybean aphid management are available on the Plant Management Network's “Focus on Soybean” webpage. The webcasts are the result of a multi-state, multi-year research and outreach effort. They provide updates on the latest research related to aphid-resistant soybean, neonicotinoid seed treatments on soybean, and biological control of soybean aphid.
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