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Friday, December 23, 2016

Dec. 15 Sauk Centre Hay Auction

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties, 320-968-5077 or 1-800-964-4929,

See links note to my summaries from Dec 15, 2016 Sauk Centre Hay Auction

1. Dec. 15, 2016 Summary - All tested loads sold, groups based on hay and bale type and quality

2. History of Selected Lots

3. Graph of Selected Alfalfa hay groups.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Start the new year with successful farm business management

Pauline Van Nurden, Extension Educator

The new year is right around the corner and with that comes a blank page to create your financial plan for the coming year. The Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council knows the importance of sound farm financial management as well. They are generously sponsoring two workshop sessions aimed directly at building these skills. "Taking Charge of YOUR Finances: How to Survive & Thrive" workshop will help farmers put these tools into action to gain financial management skills.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Irrigators - Get Nitrogen Smart!

University of Minnesota Extension is pleased to announce three of its popular Nitrogen Smart meetings tailored specifically to the needs of irrigators.  All farmers are under scrutiny for how they manage Nitrogen fertilizer with respect to water quality issues, but none more so than those that have irrigation.

The three hour session will detail water quality issues in Minnesota, how Nitrogen behaves in the environment, recommended Nitrogen fertilizer application practices, and evaluating conservation practices and new technology.

The three meetings will be:  January 2, 1:00 PM, Lakeside, Glenwood; January 4, 1:00 PM, Central Lakes College, Staples, and January 6, 1:00 PM, Pleasant Hill Library, Hastings.  There is no cost to attend due to generous support from the Minnesota Corn Growers and the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resources Center.  Preregistration is not required.  Directions and more information can be found at: 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Dec. 1 Sauk Centre Hay Auction Summary

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties, marte011@umn.ecu, 320-986-5077

Links below for my summaries from Dec 1, 2016 Sauk Centre Hay Auction

1. Dec. 1, 2016 Summary - All tested loads sold, groups based on hay and bale type and quality

2. History of Selected Lots
Shows Oct to May averages for each of last 6 years, including the 2015/2016 season.

3. Graph of Selected Alfalfa hay groups.
The 2016-17 season is the RED line now.

Stubby Root Nematode and Sampling in Sugar Beet - A1821

Mohamed F.R. Khan, Professor and Extension Sugarbeet Specialist, North Dakota State University and University of Minnesota; Sahar Arabiat, Research Associate, North Dakota State University; Guiping Yan, Assistant Professor, North Dakota State University; Ashok K. Chanda, Assistant Professor & Extension Sugarbeet Pathologist, University of Minnesota

Stubby root nematode (SRN) represents an economically important group of nematodes belonging to the genera Trichodorus and ParatrichodorusStubby root nematodes often are found in light (sandy) soils and are more problematic when cool, wet soil conditions exist. For example, yield losses as high as 50 percent can be observed in cool and wet growing seasons.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Aphid-resistant soybean varieties available for Minnesota

by Siddhi Bhusal (Postdoctoral Associate), Anthony Hanson (PhD Student), Aaron Lorenz (Assistant Professor) and Robert Koch (Assistant Professor)

Soybean aphid is a significant pest of soybean in Minnesota. Soybean breeders have developed various soybean varieties that carry aphid-resistance traits, in addition to other promising agronomic characteristics. Aphid-resistant varieties can provide an effective, economical, and more environmentally sustainable means of protecting soybean from soybean aphid. A list of commercially available aphid-resistant soybean varieties suitable for Minnesota can be found in

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Nov 17 2016 Sauk Centre Hay Auction Summary

by Dan Martens, UM Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties, Ph 320-968-5077 or

I am listing links to my summaries from Nov 17 Sauk Centre Hay Auction, and other information, event and date reminders.

1. Nov 17, 2016 Summary - All tested loads sold, groups based on hay and bale type and quality

2. History of Selected Lots - Shows Oct to May averages for each of last 6 years, including the 2015/2016 season, along with select groups for this years auctions.

3. Graph of Selected Alfalfa hay groups.

The 2016-17 season is the RED line now.
I’d guess for the 176-200 RFV average for Nov. 17, with 2 loads selling at $70 and $115, at least the $70 load is skewed by some physical quality issues. Above 200 RFV, a load at 201 RFV sold for $150 and a load at 221 RFV sold for $125.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Farmers - Get Nitrogen Smart!

by Brad Carlson, Extension educator

Farmers have been exploring new and creative ways to manage nitrogen fertilizer in recent years.  Remote sensing, crop growth models, in-season soil testing and variable rate application technology have all drawn significant interest for the potential to add profit, while reducing environmental impact.  Farmers have had to work diligently to determine the value of these technologies, all while keeping water quality issues in mind.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Review of Soybean and Corn Disease Problems in Minnesota in 2016

Dean Malvick, University of Minnesota
    November 15, 2016

Two common themes across much of Minnesota’s croplands in 2016 were rain and high yields.  Conditions were also favorable for diseases in a number of areas. Sometimes there was obvious damage and yield loss, and in other cases the role that disease played in holding back yields from even higher levels was unclear. Disease was again highly variable across the state, even more inconsistent than the weather that favors disease development. Some diseases were common over wide areas, but others were much more scattered.  With harvest nearly complete it is once again a good time to review some of the diseases issues that occurred across Minnesota in 2016.

NDSU offers grain drying and storage tips

by Dr. Kenneth Hellevang, North Dakota State University Extension Service

Farmers are finishing harvest as we transition from a nice warm fall to cooler temperatures and precipitation coming as snow. Following is some guidance on drying and storage during this transition.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Nov 3 2016 Sauk Centre Hay Auction Summary

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Crop Production Emphasis, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties, 320-968-5077, 1-800-964-4929

Here are links to my summaries following the Nov. 3, 2016 Sauk Centre Hay Auction and other market and event information.

1. Nov 3 2016 Summary by groups based on hay and bale type and quality

2. History of Selected Lots
Shows Averages for each of last 6 years, including the 2015/2016 season.

3. Graph of Selected Alfalfa hay groups.
The 2016-17 season is the RED line now. 

Read more for other market information, events, other items.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Warm fall soil temperatures and nitrogen application

by Anne Struffert and Greg Klinger, Extension Educators

Despite delays due to wet weather, harvest is in progress or already finished up for most Minnesota row crop acres. Now, an important decision for many farmers is whether or not, and when, to apply a fall nitrogen fertilizer application.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

October 20 2016 Sauk Centre Hay Auction Summary

by Dan Martens, UM Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties,, 320-968-5077

I am listing links here for my summaries following the October 20, 2016 Sauk Centre Hay Auction and a Land Rent Workshop Schedule.

1. Oct 20 2016 Summary by groups based on type, bale and quality

2. History of Selected Lots - Shows Averages for each of last 6 years, including the 2015/2016 

3. Graph of Selected Alfalfa hay groups.
    I reset my graphs starting in October to match what I’ve graphed in previous years.
    The 2016-17 season is the RED line now.

4. Land Rent Workshop Schedule 
    Offered by Extension Ag Business Management Staff in November and December. You can check     the MN Crop News Website listed below for a little more information. No RSVP required and no       registration fee that I know of.

Monday, October 24, 2016

U of M SE Minnesota dicamba-tolerant soybean yield results now available

by Lisa Behnken, Extension Educator, Fritz Breitenbach, IPM Specialist SE Minnesota, Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator, Jeff Gunsolus, Extension Agronomist, Weed Science, Phyllis Bongard, Content Development and Communications Specialist, and Jeffrey Vetsch, Soil Science Researcher, SROC, University of Minnesota 

Farmer’s interest in planting dicamba-tolerant soybeans continues. There are a number of reasons a farmer may choose to plant dicamba-tolerant soybeans, but a primary one is to potentially be part of their 2017 weed management plan to help in the control of glyphosate-resistant weeds. However, a word of caution, dicamba is currently NOT labeled for application to soybeans at planting or postemergence (read more below).

Thursday, October 20, 2016

U of M SE Minnesota Regional Soybean Yield Results now Available

by Lisa Behnken, Fritz Breitenbach, Liz Stahl, and Ryan Miller

Performance comparisons of early (1.3-1.8) and late (1.9-2.4) maturity glyphosate tolerant/RoundUp Ready soybean in southeastern Minnesota are now available. The studies with 24 early-maturity and 25 late-maturity entries were conducted near Rochester, MN (Lawler site) on a Port Byron silt loam. Trials were planted on May 5, 2016 with a 4-row John Deere 7000 planter equipped with cone units. The seeding rate was 150,000 seeds per acre with seed planted at a depth of 1.5 inches in 30 inch rows. Plots were four rows wide by 22 feet in length and the center two rows of each plot were machine harvested on October 4, 2016.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Oct. 6 Sauk Centre Hay Auction Summary

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties,, ph 320-968-5077

I am attaching my summaries following the October 6, 2016 Sauk Centre Hay Auctions.

1. Oct 6 2016 Summary by groups based on type, bale and quality

2. History of Selected Lots

Shows Averages for each of last 6 years, including the 2015/2016 season. I left the 2010 year on because that’s how far back we go to find prices kind of similar to where we are now.

3. Graph of Selected Alfalfa hay groups.

The 2015/2016 line is hand-drawn yet for summer and fall auctions. I will start a fresh graph after the second October sale. The “vertical line” represents the range of values, High, Average, Low.

There may be some hay around that has been damaged by flooding. Some hay stored outside in some areas has endured a lot of rain. Averages with wide range of values, like $40 to $135 in the Medium Square RFV 151-175 range, may not mean so much. In the list of individual loads, all 6 loads averaged $107, and without the $40 load they averaged $121.

I encourage people to look at other sources of market information also. A couple are noted below.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

New pictorial guide aids in Palmer amaranth and tall waterhemp identification

by Phyllis Bongard and Jeff Gunsolus

With the recent confirmation of Palmer amaranth in Minnesota, it is critical to identify this noxious weed, so it can be eradicated before it becomes widespread. A new pictorial guide compares key characteristics of Palmer amaranth and tall waterhemp at several growth stages throughout the growing season to aid in this identification.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Updates to the corn fertilizer guidelines

Daniel Kaiser and Fabian Fernandez
Extension Soil and Nutrient Management Specialists

A new update has been posted for the corn fertilizer guidelines in Minnesota. Throughout the fall we will be posting information regarding changes made to the guidelines as they pertain to nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur management for corn. For the first installment we will take the time to outline changes made to the nitrogen guidelines for the state of Minnesota.

A previous e-news was set out this spring outlining changes to the nitrogen rate guidelines for non-irrigated corn production. The revised publication was delayed due to questions that arose based on the suggested application rates of N for corn on corn. The new suggested rates are listed in Table 1 of the publication.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sept. 2016 Sauk Centre Hay Auction Summaries

by Extension Educator Dan Martens, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties,, 320-968-5077

I have posted information for the August and September Sauk Centre Hay Auctions with the following links:

1. Aug 4 Summary - List of individual lots sold by groups based on type, bale and quality
2. Sept 1 Summary
3. Sept 15 Summary
4. History of Selected Lots October 2015 through September 2016
5. Graph of Selected Alfalfa hay groups.

The summer and September lines on the graph are drawn by hand, with number of loads noted. The vertical line for each sale represents the range of values, High, Average, Low.

Read further for a couple of observations and related information.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Should soil health test results be used when determining fertilizer needs in Minnesota?

by Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator – Crops; Fabián G. Fernández  and Daniel E. Kaiser, Extension Nutrient Management Specialists

Print-friendly PDF (614 K)

soil test
Photo 1. Soil sampling
Soil health and how to improve and maintain it has been a hot topic in agriculture recently. Soil tests, including the Haney Test, have been developed to help measure indicators of soil health such as microbial activity, the amount of carbon in the soil, and nutrient availability. As more farmers use soil health tests, the question arises if results from these tests can or should be used in determining fertilizer needs for crops like corn in Minnesota.

Final corn yield forecasts and harvest considerations following excessive rainfall

by Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Specialist

Final end-of-season forecasts of corn grain yield were recently made for several locations and states across the Corn Belt by University of Nebraska researchers. These forecasts suggest above-average yield for Minnesota and yields less than USDA’s forecasts for most other Corn Belt states.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Palmer Amaranth in MN: Reporting, preventing further infestation and monitoring

Jeff Gunsolus, Extension Agronomist - Weed Science

palmer amaranth
Photo 1. Palmer amaranth plant from Yellow Medicine County, MN. Photo: Bruce Potter
Following yesterday’s confirmation of the presence of Palmer Amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) in Yellow Medicine County, University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) sent out a joint news release describing where this plant was detected, photos to assist in identification, the biological reasons why this weed is on the MDA’s Prohibited – Eradicate Noxious Weed list and why efforts to eradicate this weed are critical to Minnesota’s commodity crop producers.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Check pollinator plantings for Palmer amaranth

Jeff Gunsolus, Bruce Potter and Roger Becker

Palmer amaranth
Photo 1. Suspected Palmer amaranth plant from Yellow Medicine County, MN. Photo: Bruce Potter
Although we are waiting for final confirmation, we strongly advise people to check their pollinator planting sites for the presence of Palmer Amaranth.

Yesterday Bruce Potter followed up on a crop consultant's request to investigate a newly established pollinator planting in Yellow Medicine County. The grower and consultant are to be commended for detecting and reporting this site during the establishment year.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Tips for Planting Winter Wheat and Rye

The window to seed winter cereals is rapidly closing in the northern part of the state while the optimum window for the remainder of the state is quickly approaching.  Some tips on early fall establishment can be found here.  Meanwhile winter wheat variety information can be found here while some preliminary rye yield data can be found here.

Soybean development is slightly ahead of the 5-year average and that may open up a window of opportunity to successfully seed winter wheat or rye.  Research has shown that even a little standing stubble of soybeans  is enough to make a difference when trying to raise winter wheat and reducing winter kill.

Rye is Not Just a Cover Crop

Jochum Wiersma, Scotty Wells, and Axel Garcia y Garcia

Rye’s reputation in the US is built on its potential as cover crop. The allelophatic attributes of rye to suppress small seeded weeds are utilized in organic production systems while its drought tolerance and winter hardiness make fall establishment as a cover crop nearly fail-safe. Rye, however, is used in other parts of the world as both feed and food. Some of you may have had pumpernickel bread and if you are of Scandinavian descent you may have grown up with knäckebröd. As feed stuff, rye has some interesting properties that have grabbed the attention of hog producers in Denmark and Germany as a way to reduce antibiotic usage and stress in the group housing systems, both mandated by law.

Fall urea: Should I consider it?

Fabián G. Fernández, Daniel E. Kaiser, Jeffrey A. Vetsch

Crop harvest is around the corner and planning for the next growing season is in every farmer’s mind. One important decision is about when to apply nitrogen (N) and what source to use.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Remember these tips when baling corn residue

by Jodi DeJong-Hughes, Extension educator

baled corn stalks
Baled corn stalks
While corn residue is incorporated or left on the soil surface in most fields, some producers harvest the residue for use as livestock feed and bedding. How much crop residue removal is too much? Soil productivity will be reduced if all of the corn residue in a field is removed and other sources of carbon are not added. Below are important factors to consider when determining which fields and how much residue can be removed while maintaining soil organic matter levels.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Updated corn yield forecasts and grain dry-down guidelines

by Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Specialist

Corn in Minnesota is quickly approaching maturity (black layer) and silage harvest is well underway. Corn generally reaches maturity (black layer) at 55 to 60 days after tassels emerge. Stress to corn from dry conditions between now and maturity can reduce kernel weight, accelerate the arrival of maturity and dry-down of grain, and reduce stalk strength.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Keep it simple when trying cover crops

by Jodi DeJong-Hughes, Extension educator

In Minnesota, small grain harvest is complete and sugar beet, sweet corn, corn silage, and pea harvest is well underway. With these early harvested crops, producers have an opportunity to consider planting a cover crop this fall, a practice that has many benefits. This may be a particularly good year to try cover crops, since soil moisture in many parts of the region is ideal for germination.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Forecasts indicate above-average and variable corn yields

By Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Specialist

Much of the corn in Minnesota is in the dent stage of kernel development. At this time, stress to corn from dry conditions can impact yield by reducing kernel size.

To evaluate the impact of this season’s weather on corn yield potential and its spatial variability across the Corn Belt, including three locations in Minnesota, yield forecasts were made on August 24 by University of Nebraska researchers as part of a multi-state project. Statewide forecasts of corn yield also were developed. Updated forecasts are planned for early September.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Brown marmorated stink bug detected in Minnesota soybean

by Robert Koch (Extension Entomologist) and Daniela Pezzini (Graduate Student)

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) was recently detected for the first time in Minnesota soybean. A single adult specimen was collected in sweep net samples from a soybean field in Dakota County on August 17, 2016. Follow-up sampling of that same field performed on August 25, 2016 did not detect any additional BMSB. This invasive pest of Asian origin uses piercing-sucking mouth parts to feed on developing soybean pods and seeds. In more easterly states, this insect has caused significant yield losses to soybean and other crops. In Minnesota, we are unaware of any fields with densities of stink bugs near treatable levels; therefore, we do not envision any insecticide treatments being needed for this pest at this time. The intent of this article is to alert you to the presence of this new invader, which could become a threat to Minnesota crops in the near future. Further information on BMSB and other stink bugs in soybean can be found in “Stink bugs in Minnesota Soybean.”

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Soil compaction management at harvest

Jodi DeJong-Hughes, Extension educator - crops

Compaction is often thought of as a spring problem. However, in seven of the past 10 years, parts of Minnesota have had wet soil conditions during harvest.

What should a producer do when the soil is wet and harvest needs to be completed? Should producers risk significant compaction and harvest the crop or just stay off of the field? The answer is easy: harvest the crop.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Palmer amaranth: A new weed threat to watch out for

Lisa Behnken, Fritz Breitenbach, Jeff Gunsolus, Phyllis Bongard, Liz Stahl

Palmer amaranth
Photo 1. Palmer amaranth in a Tennessee field. Source: Lisa Behnken
Palmer amaranth is not native to the northern US, but has spread northward from southern states, being confirmed in Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska (2011–2013), South Dakota (2014) and other northern states. In 2016, it was discovered in newly-seeded CRP land in Iowa, including Clayton County, just one county away from southeastern Minnesota.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Some things to consider with late-season soybean aphid insecticide applications

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

Soybean aphids and other insect pests are able to reduce soybean yield until the R6.5 stage (yellow pods begin) stage. You want to pay some attention to soybean insect problems (and identify weed and disease issues) until then. However, this year's aphid scouting efforts should increasingly focus on fields with less mature beans. As the 2016 soybean aphid season begins to wind down, there are several aspects of late-season soybean aphid populations that can influence insecticide decisions.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Corn development and yield: Updated forecasts available for the Corn Belt

by Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Specialist

Much of the corn in Minnesota is in the dough stage of kernel development. Once kernels enter the dough stage, about four weeks after tassel emergence, kernel number is established and yield loss caused by stress is due to a reduction in kernel size.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Reducing risk to pollinators in and near soybean

by Robert Koch (Extension Entomologist)

Insecticides are an important tool in the IPM toolbox for protecting crop yields from pests. However, we need to keep in mind that many of the insecticides we use to manage crop pests are also toxic to beneficial insects, such as predators and pollinators. This article will provide an overview of some considerations for reducing the risk of impacting pollinators (e.g., bees and some flies) when foliar insecticide applications are made to crops.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Two miticides recently received registration for use against twospotted spider mites in soybean

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

Growers now have access to two more miticides for use against twospotted spider mites in soybean. These miticides are Agri-Mek SC (Syngenta) and Zeal SC (Valent). These are welcomed additions to the limited suite of chemicals for management of twospotted spider mites in soybean.  They represent insecticide groups (modes of action) not used for soybean aphid.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Assessing and reporting potential cases of soybean aphid resistance to pyrethroids

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

History has shown us many times that over-reliance on pesticides often results in development of pesticide resistance in pests. Last summer in parts of southern Minnesota, some pyrethroid insecticides (bifenthrin [e.g., Brigade, Tundra , Hero and others] and lambda-cyhalothrin [e.g., Warrior and others]) failed to provide adequate control of soybean aphid. Historically, these have been among the top performing pyrethroid insecticides for soybean aphid management. Follow-up laboratory bioassays confirmed resistance  (10- to 44-fold resistance) to these insecticides in a soybean aphid population collected near Lamberton, MN. The majority of these performance issues in 2015 appeared centered in and near Brown, Redwood and Renville counties. In most other areas, pyrethroid insecticides preformed as expected and effectively suppressed aphid populations.  Here, we provide updates on resistance monitoring for 2016, and recommendations for resistance management and how to report potential cases of resistance.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Corn development and yield forecast: Stress now reduces kernel number

by Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Specialist

Much of the corn in Minnesota has finished pollinating and kernels are in the blister to milk stage. Kernels enter the blister stage at about 12 days after tassel emergence and the milk stage at about 20 days after tassel emergence. Stress to corn during the blister and milk stages from dry and/or hot conditions can diminish grain yield, primarily by reducing the number of kernels per plant.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Japanese beetle populations increasing in soybean in parts of southeastern Minnesota

by Robert Koch (Extension Entomologist)

Japanese beetle, an invasive pest from Asia, is making its presence known. These large beetles with shiny green- and copper-colored bodies can be found feeding on many plants, including soybean, in agricultural areas that are in proximity to the Twin Cities, Rochester, and other urban areas in southeastern Minnesota. This beetle is not yet widely distributed in the state and is not likely to be in fields outside of these areas in southeastern Minnesota.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Just the facts (Part 5): A review of the biology and economics behind insecticide recommendations

University of Minnesota: Bruce Potter, Robert Koch & Phil Glogoza
Iowa State University: Erin Hodgson
Purdue University: Christian Krupke
Penn State University: John Tooker
Michigan State University: Chris DiFonzo
Ohio State University: Andrew Michel & Kelley Tilmon
North Dakota State University: Travis Prochaska & Janet Knodel
University of Nebraska: Robert Wright & Thomas E. Hunt
University of Wisconsin: Bryan Jensen
University of Illinois: Kelley Estes & Joseph Spencer

Biology helps determine the profitability of crop production on your farm – Ignoring biology is expensive

None of what we have presented here is new, or groundbreaking information. However, all of what we have presented here is based on science that has been vetted and implemented over thousands of acres for more than a decade. Economic injury levels take commodity prices, labor and control costs into account. Fortunately, the biological components of an EIL are not sensitive to commodity or input prices. The insects on your farm do not eat faster or more when crop prices are high or insecticide costs are low; nor is your crop more sensitive to insect damage (remember the damage boundary). Yield loss occurs at the same level of pest population, regardless of market prices of commodities. It makes no sense to treat if there is no reasonable likelihood of damage.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Just the facts (Part 4): A review of the biology and economics behind insecticide recommendations

University of Minnesota: Bruce Potter, Robert Koch & Phil Glogoza
Iowa State University: Erin Hodgson
Purdue University: Christian Krupke
Penn State University: John Tooker
Michigan State University: Chris DiFonzo
Ohio State University: Andrew Michel & Kelley Tilmon
North Dakota State University: Travis Prochaska & Janet Knodel
University of Nebraska: Robert Wright & Thomas E. Hunt
University of Wisconsin: Bryan Jensen
University of Illinois: Kelley Estes & Joseph Spencer

Costs of treating soybean aphids too early

While some newer insecticides target a narrower range of insects, most insecticide applications are not specific. They will kill beneficial insects (lady beetles, parasitic wasps, etc.) as well as pests, later allowing soybean aphid populations to rebound in fields without those beneficial insects to slow them down. By using the ET, natural enemies will have a chance to suppress the aphid population and possibly prevent it from reaching economically damaging levels. After application, insecticide residues will kill insects for a short time, but insecticide activity invariably declines over time (generally, this is considered a good thing). With most insecticides registered for soybean aphid control (such as pyrethroids), soybean foliage emerging after treatment is not protected. Insecticides that are absorbed and translocated within soybean plants typically move upward only a leaf or two and eventually leave unprotected foliage, especially when applied early in the season.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Just the facts (Part 3): A review of the biology and economics behind insecticide recommendations

University of Minnesota: Bruce Potter, Robert Koch & Phil Glogoza
Iowa State University: Erin Hodgson
Purdue University: Christian Krupke
Penn State University: John Tooker
Michigan State University: Chris DiFonzo
Ohio State University: Andrew Michel & Kelley Tilmon
North Dakota State University: Travis Prochaska & Janet Knodel
University of Nebraska: Robert Wright & Thomas E. Hunt
University of Wisconsin: Bryan Jensen
University of Illinois: Kelley Estes & Joseph Spencer

Economics of soybean aphid infestations: Math and biology matter

Figure 1. Relationship of insect population and crop yield (Modified from Pedigo et al. 1986).
The lowest level of aphid infestation that has been shown to cause yield loss in soybean is several thousand aphid-days. This value, referred to as the damage boundary, is a biological relationship between the insect, crop, and environment, and is independent of crop and input costs. Below the damage boundary, no damage can be measured. Therefore, management efforts directed at treating aphid levels well below the damage boundary cannot provide a return on investment.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Just the facts (Part 2): A review of the biology and economics behind soybean aphid insecticide recommendations

University of Minnesota: Bruce Potter, Robert Koch & Phil Glogoza
Iowa State University: Erin Hodgson
Purdue University: Christian Krupke
Penn State University: John Tooker
Michigan State University: Chris DiFonzo
Ohio State University: Andrew Michel & Kelley Tilmon
North Dakota State University: Travis Prochaska & Janet Knodel
University of Illinois: Kelley Estes & Joseph Spencer

How can soybean aphids reduce soybean yield?

The soybean aphid feeds on the phloem fluids (sometimes referred to as "sap") by inserting piercing-sucking mouthparts directly into the phloem vessels that carry products of photosynthesis from the leaves to other parts of the plant. Prior to feeding, aphids "taste" the sap to determine if the plant is a suitable host species and if the quality is acceptable. Once they settle and begin feeding, the injury from soybean aphid infestations can reduce plant growth, pod number, seed number, seed weight and seed oil concentration (2, 24). Early and prolonged aphid infestations can affect all yield components, while later infestations tend to only reduce seed size (2). In addition, soybean aphids decrease photosynthesis rates of soybean plants (11).

Hot weather during corn pollination

by Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Specialist

Tassels recently became visible in many corn fields across Minnesota. This week a large percentage of the corn in Minnesota will be pollinating. Although air temperatures and soil moisture levels have been near optimal for corn in many areas of this region, hot weather is forecast for the second half of this week.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Just the facts: A review of the biology and economics behind soybean aphid recommendations

University of Minnesota: Bruce Potter, Robert Koch & Phil Glogoza
Iowa State University: Erin Hodgson
Purdue University: Christian Krupke
Penn State University: John Tooker
Michigan State University: Chris DiFonzo
Ohio State University: Andrew Michel & Kelley Tilmon
North Dakota State University: Travis Prochaska & Janet Knodel
University of Nebraska: Robert Wright & Thomas E. Hunt
University of Wisconsin: Bryan Jensen
University of Illinois: Kelley Estes & Joseph Spencer

Before soybean aphid was identified as a pest of soybean in the U.S. in 2000, insecticide applications to northern soybean crops were rare, targeting sporadic insect and mite outbreaks. Although large infestations have been relatively uncommon since the early to mid-2000’s, the soybean aphid is unquestionably still the key insect pest of soybeans in many North Central states. A tremendous amount of research and observational data has been obtained for this pest since its introduction and we have the tools and the knowledge to manage this pest effectively.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Initial forecasts of corn yield available for the Corn Belt

By Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Specialist

Corn has begun silking in many fields across Minnesota. Stress to corn between now and early August resulting from dry soil conditions, especially when combined with high air temperatures, can decrease yield by reducing the number of kernels per plant. Hail damage to corn at this time also can seriously diminish yield, since all leaves have emerged by the onset of silking. Corn typically reaches maturity 55 to 60 days after the start of silking.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Testing common waterhemp for resistance to PPO- inhibiting herbicides

Jeffrey L. Gunsolus, Extension Agronomist / Weed Science

Waterhemp populations that were not effectively controlled by early summer postemergence applications of PPO-inhibiting herbicides may be resistant to the widely used PPO-inhibiting soybean herbicides such as Cobra (lactofen), Flexstar (fomesafen), Marvel (fluthiacet-methyl & fomesafen) and Ultra Blazer (acifluorfen).

Assessing herbicide resistance in the field can be challenging because other factors such as weather, weed height, antagonism with another herbicide in the tank or using the wrong adjuvant could all contribute to poor control. Now one must also consider the likelihood that the waterhemp population is resistant to the PPO class of herbicides (Site of Action Group 14).

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Value of Straw

As harvest is approaching quickly and margins continue to be thin you may be contemplating whether it is worthwhile to bail straw. To put a value on something, we generally look at the marketplace and let supply and demand determine the value of the goods in quest on. To determine the value of straw, we can look at some local or regional hay auctions like the Central Minnesota Hay Auction in Sauke Centre to get some idea what livestock producers are willing to pay. However, we could also look at it from a different angle. Opportunity costs are defined as the costs of using a resource based on what it could have earned if used for the next best alternative. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Recovery and management of corn and soybean following wind and hail damage

by Jeff Coulter and Seth Naeve, Extension Agronomists

Photo 1. Hail-damaged corn in Kandiyohi County, July 6, 2016. Source: Shannon Hauge
Strong winds and hail recently damaged many corn and soybean fields across Minnesota. Most corn was in the mid- to late vegetative stages (V11-V15) and within one to two weeks of tassel emergence when damaged, and soybean had 4-6 leaves and was well into the R1 stage. Damage included root lodging and stalk breakage from wind, along with leaf loss and stem bruising from hail.

Yield potential of hail-damaged crops depends largely on the remaining plant population, the type and severity of damage, and the growth stage when damaged. Information for evaluating recovery and management of damaged crops is available in:

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Demonstrating the Extreme: Autotoxicity in Alfalfa

M. Scott Wells, David Nichol, and Roger Becker – UMN Forage Team

Autotoxicity is the chemical inhibition by a plant on the germination or growth of a plant of the same species, and has been suggested as one of the mechanisms for poor alfalfa emergence and growth. Although several factors influence autotoxicity such as soil texture, rainfall, and termination timing, research indicates a break in the production and/or crop rotation is needed avoid potential stand establishment problems. Typically, autotoxicity in alfalfa is not an issue, given the rotational schemes (e.g. corn following alfalfa). However there are growers that wish to renovate their current alfalfa fields, and commonly ask what are the impacts of doing so. Before we present the UMN Forage Teams recommendations concerning alfalfa autotoxicity, lets take this opportunity to show what happens in the most extreme settings.

Early Season Cover Crop Interseeding in Corn

M. Scott Wells, Alex Hard, Eric Ristau, and David Nicolai – UMN Cover Crop Team

As many are aware, cover crops can provide growers with erosion control, reduce offsite movement of nutrients, support the development of soil organic matter, and in some cases provide additional revenue streams (e.g. forages, oilseeds). Even though cover crops offer several opportunities to growers who utilize them, historical, adoption has been marginal. It is estimated that less than 2% of the agricultural land in MN utilizes cover crops at some point in the rotation. There are several reasons for low adoption rates, but the most obvious reason is associated with the shorter growing season when compared to our neighbors in the South. The reduced growing season offers many challenges to successful integration of cover crops; however, there are new technologies that have the potential to overcome these challenges. The most notable technology involves early or late season cover crop interseeding (i.e. relaying cover crops into cash crops). Interseeding cover crops during the corn or soybean growing season can address some of the potential challenges (e.g. soil moisture and light) associated with shorter growing seasons. Currently the UMN Cover Crop team and Soil Health Partnership are researching innovative techniques, and equipment necessary to interseed cover crops in corn and soybean.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

'Shelly' wheat is newest University of Minnesota release

Shelley wheat
"Shelly" wheat is the newest variety from the University of Minnesota's hard red spring wheat breeding program.
"Shelly" is the newest wheat variety developed by the University of Minnesota and dates for touring demonstration plots have been announced. Released in January, 2016, Shelly is a high-yielding spring wheat variety well suited for much of the spring wheat-growing region.

In state trials it yielded equal to the popular varieties "Faller" and "Prosper," but with slightly better protein. The heading date of Shelly is similar to Faller. It possesses a good disease-resistance package with moderate resistance to scab, leaf rust and bacterial leaf streak. It also has an excellent rating for resistance to stripe and stem rust. Shelly is slightly shorter than Faller and has similar straw strength. It has good test weight and pre-harvest sprouting resistance.

June 2, 2016 Sauk Centre Hay Auction Summary

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties, Crop Production,, 3200-968-5077.

1. June 2 Summary by groups based on type, bale and quality.

2. History of Selected Lots through the auction season this year.

3. Graph of Selected Alfalfa hay groups.

June 2 graph drawn by hand, with number of loads noted. The Vertical line represents the range of values, High, Average, Low.

4. Summer Dairy Tour Flyer attached, including a note about our Central MN Forage Council summer forage tour/workshop.

I’d consider the hay markets kind of in a state of flux. Other sources of market information can be useful. A couple are listed below. Load numbers, variable quality, prices for other commodities and livestock produce can be factors. Consider some of these factors as you consider ranges and averages related to the hay you are looking for or aiming to sell.

Friday, July 1, 2016

White Heads

Jochum Wiersma, Madeleine Smith, and Phil Glogoza

It’s not the name of a band storming the Billboard charts but a simple description of partially or completely bleached wheat heads that stick out like a sore thumb in both spring and winter wheat this time of the year.  The following key will help you decipher the most likely cause of these white heads.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tall off-types in Linkert, Rollag, and other spring wheat varieties.

Acreages of Linkert and Rollag increased this season  as many producers were looking for a stiffer straw variety that was less prone to lodging after the 2015 growing season.  I have had a few calls about the presence of tall off-types in both varieties.  The three basic causes of tall off-types are described here. I'm quite sure that the tall off-types found in Linkert and Rollag are not the result of variety blending but rather have a genetic underpinning. Interestingly enough the genetic mechanism that is described in the link above and which is well understood is not the cause of the tall off-types in Linkert and Rollag as the spring wheat breeding project has done the genetic analysis to confirm the presence of the monosomic deletions in the tall off-types that are found in Linkert and Rollag.  Dr. Jim Anderson has in turn started a small project to better understand what the genetic mechanism is that causes a fair number of the University of Minnesota HRSW releases to have this tendency to produce tall off-types.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Drowned-out or hailed-out crops and prevented planting – What to do now?

By Lizabeth Stahl and David Nicolai, Extension Educators - Crops

Drowned-out area of soybean field in Martin County.
Photo Credit:  Liz Stahl
The growing season of 2016 has gotten off to a challenging start for farmers in areas hit with significant rainfall or hail events. In southwestern Minnesota, for example, some fields planted up to three times with corn or two times with soybeans have drowned out again, while other areas have not been able to be planted at all. If you have drowned-out spots in fields, have crops that were hailed out, or you were not able to plant some areas yet, the following are some key considerations at this point in the season:

Updates on water quality monitoring and best management practices for chlorpyrifos and other agricultural insecticides

by Robert Koch, Extension Entomologist (University of Minnesota) and Jamison Scholer (Minnesota Department of Agriculture)

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) monitors surface and groundwater throughout the state for water quality impacts resulting from pesticides. Between 2010 and 2015, chlorpyrifos (active ingredient in Lorsban, Cobalt, Dursban, Nufos, Yuma and others) has been detected seasonally in several rivers and streams located in agricultural areas of Minnesota.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Managing sugarbeet diseases

by Mohamed Khan, Extension Sugarbeet Specialist

Several fungal sugarbeet diseases cause significant production issues in Minnesota. Management of three of the most important diseases will be discussed here: Cercospora leaf spot, Rhizoctonia root rot, and Fusarium yellows.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Assessing June hail damage to corn and soybean

by Jeff Coulter, Seth Naeve, and Jeff Gunsolus, Extension Agronomists

Photo 1. Hail damaged corn in Redwood County, MN, June 21, 2016
Photo: Dave Nicolai
Recent storms left a large area of south central Minnesota affected by severe hail damage. Especially hard hit were Brown and Redwood Counties, where much of the corn was at the V8-V10 stage (8-10 collared leaves) when damaged and soybean had three fully developed trifoliolate leaves (V3).

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Do foliar fungicides provide a benefit to corn damaged by hail?

by Dean Malvick, Extension Plant Pathologist

Hail damage has recently occurred to corn in Minnesota that was primarily at the V7-9 growth stage. Some producers are asking about the value of applying foliar fungicides to corn damaged by hail. This article will cover key points on this topic and summarize results from field studies.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

My HRSW is heading... Really, already?

A sentiment I heard a few times this past week is that the wheat crop is heading really early and some question why.  Growth and development of HRSW in this region is - in absence of stressors like excess water or low fertility – mostly driven by temperature.  Using daily minimum and maximum temperatures allowed Armand Bauer and A.L. Black at the USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Lab in Mandan to develop a robust growing degree models that predict the growth stage of spring wheat. The NDAWN weather observation network uses this growing degree model to predict the growth stage of spring wheat (  Their model is for an average maturity variety and can be to be corrected for differences in maturity by a simple coefficient for relatively maturity.

Late Season N in Wheat - The Cliff Notes Edition 2.0

Once again there is here is interest in late-season application of nitrogen with the goal to improve the grain protein content of spring and winter wheat. Foliar applications of N during the onset of kernel fill have shown to be able to increase grain protein.

The key points of foliar applications of N on wheat to improve grain protein content follow:

  • Apply up to 10 gpa of UAN with an equal amount of water - the water is needed to reduce leaf burn.
  • DO NOT apply during the heat of the day - early evening application reduce leaf burn considerably.
  • DO NOT tankmix this N with any fungicides at Feekes 10.51, but rather apply the additional N 2 to 5 days after anthesis.
  • The probability of a response by the crop is about 80%
  • Only expect an increase of 0.5 to 1.0 full point in grain protein with the additional 30 lbs N/A
  • All varieties respond equally well to the additional N

Use the decision guide to determine whether an economic return is possibly in relationship to the price of the UAN.  Furthermore, Dr. Dave Franzen's research has clearly shown that product like N-Pact and Coron applied at their recommended, low rates of 1 to 3 gpa near, at or after flowering do not increase grain protein.    

While there is no effect on grain yield, some leaf burn is to be expected when using UAN.  Dr. Dave Franzen also suggests that leaf burning can be further reduced if  urea is dissolved in water to make a urea solution. A word of caution is that the urea to make the solution is not contaminated with biuret. Biuret or carbamylurea is the result of condensation of two molecules of urea and is an impurity in urea-based fertilizers. High quality urea contains less than 0.2% biuret.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

NDSU urges growers to keep grain cool and dry during summer

by Dr. Kenneth Hellevang, North Dakota State University

Stored grain needs to be cool and dry during the summer, a North Dakota State University Extension Service grain-drying expert says.

"Cold or cool grain has been safely stored through the summer for many years," notes Ken Hellevang, an Extension agricultural engineer. "Keeping the grain as cool as possible should be the goal of spring and summer grain storage."

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Got weeds? U of M Extension has resources

Managing herbicide resistance and controlling resistant weeds is a challenge. The U of MN Extension Crops Team is offering new video and web resources to help manage these difficult to control weeds:
  • Weed management website – includes resources on herbicide resistance management, weed identification, herbicide application and chemistry, and research reports.
  • Herbicide resistant waterhemp (video) – Waterhemp has an extended emergence pattern, making it difficult to control. Results from a 2015 trial demonstrating the effectiveness of layering residual herbicides for herbicide-resistant waterhemp control are shown in this video.
  • Herbicide resistant giant ragweed (video series) – Due to its large seed and early emergence, giant ragweed can be difficult to control. This video series describes a study looking at alternative management practices to control this herbicide-resistant weed.

To see additional videos from the U of M Crops Team, visit:

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wet weather raises nitrogen loss concerns

Brad Carlson, Extension educator

Recent, excessively wet weather has raised concerns over the possibility of nitrogen (N) loss in corn for some parts of Minnesota. As the calendar has now turned to June, it's likely that anywhere from half to all of the applied N, regardless of the fertilizer form or application timing, is in the nitrate form. This conversion is due to soil microbial activity and is fueled by heat and moisture. This is significant, since nitrate is susceptible to environmental loss.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May 19 2016 Sauk Centre Hay Auction Summaries

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator with Crop Production emphasis, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties,, 320-968-5077

Links are listed for Summaries from May 19, 2016 Sauk Centre Hay auction

1. May 19 2016 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, Medium Square Alfalfa by 25 RFV groups, 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 1 through May 19.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Alfalfa Harvest Alert May 26

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties,, 320-968-5077

Updated May 27, 106

This includes data from 3 Benton County Farms. Central MN Forage Council Board member Greg Lefebvre reports very little hay cut from around Benton County and parts of Stearns County up through Long Prairie and Staples. I'd speculate farther north as well. This is about where the line would be for hay that way on the young side last week when the weather was nice.

Somewhere along the way as we move north in Minnesota, there is likely still alfalfa that is approaching it's prime for milk cow hay and haylage. Farmers are remarkable people for dealing with the variables they deal with in trying to make a living and making the best of the cards they get dealt. The rest of us could have much to learn from them.

Click on May 26 Harvest Alert Data to see numbers for May 26, bold print near the bottom of the first page... and then individual farm data we have gotten this spring.

Click on Graphs to see line graphs corresponding to farms that were samples on May 26. Graphs for other cooperating farms are posted in the May 23 posting.

Hope you have a meaningful Memorial Day Observance.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Stay on top of giant ragweed

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

Photo 1. Giant ragweed in corn herbicide trial at Rochester, MN, May 20,2016. Plot was planted April 25, 2016.
The recent frost across southeast Minnesota may have slowed down corn and soybean development, but it did not slow down the rate of weed growth. There are plenty of 1-4 inch giant ragweed and 1-2 inch common lambsquarters in corn and soybean fields. Waterhemp is also beginning to emerge (1/4 – 3/4 inch). The current dilemma that needs to be addressed is most evident in fields where a preemergence herbicide was not used or it provided poor giant ragweed control. In addition, our recent 1-2 inch rainfall may limit the ability to get into the field in a timely manner to control the weeds when they are most susceptible to control and before they reduce crop yield potential.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Hail damage and replant options for corn and soybean

By Jeff Coulter and Seth Naeve, Extension Agronomists

Recent storms caused hail damage to crops, especially in central Minnesota. Much of the corn was in the V2 to V3 stage (2 to 3 collared leaves) when damaged, while soybean was in the V1 stage (1 fully-developed trifoliolate leaf) or younger.

In late May, assessing hail damage and making replant decisions can be difficult, with many variables to consider. Answers to many questions regarding crop yield loss and the need for replanting can be found in:

Corn Damage and Replant Guide (48 KB PDF)
Soybean Damage and Replant Guide

Laundering Pesticide-Contaminated Clothing

By Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator – Crops, and Dean Herzfeld, Pesticide Safety Education Coordinator

A question raised at several Private Pesticide Applicator workshops this year was how to best handle pesticide-contaminated clothing. Although waterproof suits and aprons are key pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to wear when handling, mixing, loading, or applying pesticides, conventional work clothing is the primary label-required PPE for many products. Proper handling of pesticide-contaminated clothing can minimize pesticide residues in the home and avoid human exposure.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

May 23 Alfalfa Harvest Alert Data

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


Click on May 23 Alfalfa Harvest Alert Data to see May 19 information from Hoen and Roerick Farms farms, and May 23rd field observations from Gathje's, Lab RFV numbers also from Winkelman, Scapanski, and O & S Dairy. RFQ numbers should be posted on Tuesday late afternoon. 

Click on Alfalfa Graphs to see line graphs of all tests so far. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

May 19 Alfalfa Harvest Alert Data

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties, Crop Production Emphasis, 968-5077 if a local call to Foley or 1-800-964-4929.

Click on May 19 Alfalfa Harvest Alert Data to see information through 4:30 p.m. on May 20. I expect a few more lab report on Friday and will update the document link here. 

Click on Graphs Alfalfa Sampling to see a crude attempt to graph this data. I added trend lines that are formulated by the spread sheet and a couple that I took a guess at. That levels up some of the hills and valleys, but doesn't necessarily tell you what you can bank on. So don't take it too seriously. Generally unless something pretty drastic happens the crop probably doesn't drop like a rock or soar like a rocket.

Click on Example Field Measurements provided by Nathan Winter and Intern Hollie Donnay. This shows how variations across field are accounted for. 1=Vegetative, 2= Bud.

Maybe the best suggestion is - A thoughtful walk in the field related to what the farmer sees the hay to be like based on past field and feeding experience is core to the process.
And … You’re kind of on your own with whatever weather clues you find the most useful.

Can I Reduce the Risk of Lodging?

Weather and crop conditions in the 2015 cropping season resulted in widespread problems with lodging in wheat, barley, and oats. The timing of the weather events (heavy thunderstorms and straight line winds) made not only for a cumbersome harvest but also reduced grain yield.

The rule of thumb is that it is ‘three strikes and out’ when it comes to lodging. After both the first and second time the cells in nodes of lodged stems will stretch on the shaded side of the stem in an attempt to raise the stem upright. The crop can only do that approximately two times before it is unable to straighten itself up.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Alfalfa Harvest Alert May 16

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison County,, 320-968-5077

This is a joint project of U of M Extension, Central Minnesota Forage Council as a chapter of the Midwest Forage Association, Cooperating farmers and agribusinesses.

Click on May 16, 2016 Alfalfa Harvest Alert Data to see sampling information from Monday May 16 2016 - Updated on Tuesday Evening May 17 about 8:30 p.m.

Click on May 16 Test Questions for a closer look at the issue of some sites showing a significant increase in Lab Test RFV and RFQ from Thursday May 12 to Monday May 16, using the Scapanski site as an example.

Read more for more information about harvest prospects, frost.

Potential impact of cold temperatures on herbicide-induced crop injury and effective weed control

Jeff Gunsolus, Extension Agronomist - Weed science

Last week’s cold and wet conditions followed by the weekend’s frost creates the potential for herbicide-induced crop injury from soil- and post- applied herbicides as well as reduced postemergence weed control.

Postemergence applications

The warmer and dryer conditions projected for this week are encouraging for crop recovery. Therefore it is wise to allow for a few days of warm weather for the crops and weeds to recover before heading out to the field to apply any postemergence herbicide. Your crops need time to recover so they can adequately metabolize the herbicide, thus preventing herbicide-induced crop injury and the weeds will need time to recover before they can take up the herbicide and move the herbicide to active growing sites.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Frost injury to corn seedlings unlikely to greatly impact yield

by Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Specialist

Assessing frost injury

Air temperatures below or near freezing during the last couple of mornings in some regions of Minnesota have resulted in frost injury to corn. Symptoms of frost injury on corn are initially discolored water-soaked leaves, which later dry and turn brown. The growing point on corn seedlings is currently about 0.75 inches below the soil surface and remains below the soil until the five to six leaf-collar stage. Therefore, frost prior to the five to six leaf-collar stage typically does not kill corn unless prolonged cold temperatures freeze the upper part of the soil where the growing point is located.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Alfalfa Harvest Alert Data May 12, 2016

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties,, 320-968-5077  
UPDATE MAY 13 p.m.

Click on May 12, 2016 Alfalfa Harvest Alert Data for sampling information for Thursday May 12 as of 8:30 a.m. Friday evening May 13.

Depending on how quickly things get through the mail, I might have a few more of the results by late afternoon, and will update the link here. I’d expect the Carver County sites would have been somewhere around 24 inches on Thursday, similar to others in that area.

Some Observations and Frost Comments in further reading.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Spring alfalfa management: stand assessments, autotoxicity, and emergency forage

Neith Little and M. Scott Wells

Reports of winter injury have been few this year, but it is still important to take the time to assess your alfalfa stands to make sure that there are adequate alfalfa stems to maintain your yield goals. As the old saying goes, the best fertilizer is the soles of the farmer’s boots!

As you walk your alfalfa fields this spring, here is some information to keep in mind about how to assess winter damage, and what to do next if you need to consider replanting to provide needed forage.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Alfalfa Harvest Alert Info May 9 2016

by Dan Martens Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties, or 1-800-964-4929 or 968-5077 if a local call to Foley
UPDATE Tuesday May 10 Evening

The Alfalfa Harvest Alert Project is a joint effort of Central MN Forage Council, U of M Extension staff, and cooperating farmers and agribusinesses.

Click on May 9 2016 Data for a list of data collected as about 6 p.m. on Monday May 9. Due to the variation of some samples going through the mail and some samples being taken direct to labs, this report includes some most recent samples on May 5 and some on May 9. All samples are still in the vegetative stage. Some fields are measuring tallest stems at 20 inches or more. Early bud formation could start showing up in some more advanced fields by the end of this week or early next week. Obviously there is variation with soil types, field management, and local weather variables. Past experience counts.

I will update the linked document as we get more data for May 9.

Please check other article posted at the MN Crop News website for other issues that might be useful to you: significant Black Cutworm flights, Cereal Grain Aphids that might carry viral diseases, etc.

Crusting and Emergence Problems

Problems with crusting, especially in the southern part of the state reached me in the past few days. 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.

Friday, May 6, 2016

May 5 Hay Auction and Scissors Cut Data

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Crop Production Focus, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties, 1-800-964-4929 or 968-6450 if a local call to Foley

Link here for Summaries from May 5, 2016 Sauk Centre Hay Auction
AND Alfalfa Scissors Cut Harvest Alert Data so far from the week ending May 6

Small quantity at sale May 5 - maybe reflects good field work conditions, maybe for buyers and sellers, so you can figure whether it’s a useful indicator of the markets. 
  1. May 5 Summary - All loads sold, grouped and averaged based on bale and hay or bedding type. 
From past Auctions that had not been posted yet:
  1. April 7 Summary
  2. April 21 Summary
  3. History of Selected Lots - averages for recent years, and each sale so far this year, Medium Square Alfalfa by 25 RFV groups, Grass Hay 5-9% Protein, Straw
  4. Graph - Medium Square Groups from RFV 101-200. The Red Line is for the 2015-16 market Oct 1 through April 21.
  5. May 6 ALFALFA HARVEST ALERT DATA so far from week ending May 6

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Three Biggies: Urea, Anhydrous Ammonia, and UAN

Fabián G. Fernández

Nitrogen (N) fertilizer is extremely important for crop production. There are many sources available in the marketplace, but the three most important in order of tonnage sales for Minnesota are urea, anhydrous ammonia, and urea ammonium nitrate (UAN). Since many are very busy applying N and doing other field operations at this time, my purpose is not to go into a lengthy discussion on N sources but I thought it would be good to review a few important points.   

Black cutworm alert

Bruce Potter, Integrated pest management specialist

Several significant black cutworm flights have arrived in Minnesota, with most activity on a diagonal from Rock to Sibley Counties. Neighboring states have also reported large black cutworm flights. Larvae from the March 28 and April 12 flights should be large enough to produce visible leaf feeding and in the case of March 28 flight, be large enough to cut small corn by May 16.

Areas of southern Minnesota are at risk for stand loss from black cutworm larvae. See the UMN Black Cutworm Reporting Network for the latest newsletters with predictions and articles on black cutworm biology and scouting advice.

Check for aphids in winter wheat now

Bruce Potter, Integrated pest management specialist

aphid colonies on rye
Photo 1. English grain and bird cherry-oat colonies on rye leaf. The 85% stems infested action threshold accounts for infestations of cereals by multiple species. The smaller, dark, bird cherry-oat aphid often colonizes leaf sheaths at the base of the plant.
Include aphids in your wheat, barley and oat scouting plans this season. Both bird cherry-oat and English grain aphids have increased dramatically in SW Minnesota the past week. This is the most dramatic early-season infestation I have observed in 19 years at the UMN Southwestern Research and Outreach Center (SWROC). Winter wheat populations reached the treatment threshold of 85% of the stems infested, and we are treating variety trials at the SWROC. This does not mean all fields or areas have high aphid populations.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What Do the Results from Recent Seeding Rate Studies Suggest for New Spring Wheat Varieties?

Last season we concluded a rather large multi-year, multi-location experiment to determine the optimum seeding rate for a range of diverse spring wheat varieties. Because of the large number of new spring wheat varieties made available to growers in recent years, we often get questions about how heavy a new variety should be seeded. In most cases we simple do not have data to support a variety-specific recommendation. Furthermore, generating this information can be expensive and since the environment can play a critical role in the outcome of this type of research, testing must be done in multiple environments and seasons to ensure that the results will be relevant to the varied environments in which the new variety is to be grown. In the study we just concluded we tried to elucidate principles that could be used to guide the decision as to how much to seed of a new varieties using its known genetic and agronomic characteristics and information about the environment in which it will be grown.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

New Nitrogen Rate Guidelines and New Website

Fabián Fernández and Daniel Kaiser

A few weeks ago we announce changes in the nitrogen rate guidelines for corn after corn and corn after soybean:

These new guidelines have been incorporated into the Corn Nitrogen Rate Calculator that has been in use since 2006. Along with these changes in the guidelines for Minnesota, the N rate calculator website has been improved and is now located at a new site:

Monday, May 2, 2016

Rolling soybeans: The Good, the bad, and the injured

Jodi DeJong-Hughes, and Phil Glogoza, Extension Educators - Crops

Ground rolling soybean fields prepares the field for harvesting by pushing rocks down into the soil, shattering corn rootballs, and smoothing the seedbed. This allows the combine head to be set low to the ground with less risk of picking up damaging rocks, rootballs, and dirt.

However, land rolling also poses agronomic, economic, and environmental risks. These include potential plant injury, soil sealing, erosion, and added expense. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of land rolling will help farmers decide if — and when — rolling makes sense.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Early Season Yellowing of Wheat, Barley, and Oats.

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

§  Nitrogen deficiency
§  Sulfur deficiency
§  Early tan spot infections
§  Herbicide injury
§  Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) infections

Nitrogen (N) deficiencies can readily be identified as the symptoms are worst on the oldest leaves and start at the tip of the leaves, progressing towards the base as the deficiency gets worse. The causes of the N deficiencies are several, all which have common denominator, namely excess precipitation. Excessive rainfall causes leaching, denitrification, and an inability of the plants to take up available N.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A multi-site study on the effects of seed treatments on soybean yield and soybean cyst nematode reproduction - 2015 results

Bruce Potter - Extension IPM Specialist,  Senyu Chen,  Nematologist, Phil Glogoza, Extension Educator- Crops, Dean Malvick , Extension Plant Pathologist,  and Ryan Miller, Extension Educator-Crops

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. This approach is becoming less effective, however, because SCN populations virulent on (able to reproduce on and damage) SCN resistant soybeans are increasingly widespread. A seed treatment biological (Clariva™ Complete, Syngenta Crop Protection®) has been labeled for management of SCN. 

Cereal aphids in small grains

Bruce Potter, IPM specialist, Madeleine Smith, Extension pathologist, and Ian MacRae, Extension entomologist

English grain aphid adult
Photo 1. English grain aphid winged adult. Note the black on legs and cornicles (tailpipes).
Unusually large numbers of aphids have been reported in some winter rye and wheat crops this spring. Last week, winged English grain aphids were predominant (Photo 1), but as of this week, there are already a few nymphs. Also present were a few nymphs and adults of bird cherry-oat aphids (Photo 2). Another cereal infesting aphid species, which is less commonly observed in MN, is the greenbug.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Managing risk when using herbicides and cover crops in corn and soybean

By Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator – Crops, Jeff Gunsolus, Extension Agronomist – Weed Science, and Jill Sackett-Eberhart, Extension Educator - Ag Production Systems

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As more farmers look to plant cover crops in their corn and soybean fields, the question “What should I do about my herbicide program?” often arises. There is not a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, and unfortunately there are many unknowns.

Decision Time for Winter Cereal Stands

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

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Read the pesticide label for safety's sake

By Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator - Crops

Reading over the pesticide label is a key step in having a safe and productive cropping season. Even if you think you know a product well, read over the label each time you purchase and handle the product, as the label may have been updated, your practices may have changed, and because it can simply be difficult to remember all the details included on a pesticide label. Be sure to check the label that is attached to the container you are using as internet labels may differ. Reading over the label can help ensure the safety of yourself and others, the crop, the environment, and the food chain.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Corn planting decisions to establish a foundation of success

by Jeff Coulter, Extension corn specialist

Favorable soil temperature

Germination of corn requires that seed imbibe 30% of its weight in water and that soil temperature be 50°F or warmer. More time between planting and emergence increases the potential for stand establishment problems, since imbibition of water by seed is not greatly influenced by soil temperature. Risk of stand establishment problems is reduced if soil in the seed zone has reached or is near 50°F at planting and is expected to warm.

Spring management of cover crops

by Jill Sackett, Extension educator

Spring has sprung in the majority of Minnesota. It's now time to manage cover crops that were planted last summer or fall. Spring management of cover crops is as varied as the different farming operations across Minnesota. The plan of action any given farmer decides to do primarily depends on two things: 1) His or her reasons for using cover crops in the first place, and 2) the specific cover crops used.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Wheat, Buckwheat, and the Law of Unforeseen Consequences.

An interesting e-mail from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)  reached my desk late last week. I have cited a portion of the e-mail below.

‘The NRCS will not recommend buckwheat in conservation plantings in areas in rotation with or adjacent to commodity wheat production that will be planted to wheat within the next 2 calendar years after planting buckwheat because of the potential for buckwheat seed to contaminate the wheat crop, and the health risks that potentially poses. The use of buckwheat in conservation plantings is still permitted in fields or areas that are not used for commodity wheat production.’

Why, may you ask, has the NRCS come out with this statement and updated a number of practice standards, including # 327 – Conservation Cover, 340 – Cover Crops, and 645 – Upland Wildlife Habitat Management?

As the use of cover crops has increased in recent years, contamination of wheat shipments to Japan with buckwheat has also increased.  Unfortunately, the population in Japan has a higher proportion of people with buckwheat allergies, causing issues similar to peanut allergies in the United States.

A pretty interesting example of the law of unforeseen consequences, I think.

For more details on the rule changes, please contact your local USDA Service Center.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Revised Michigan State Handy Bt trait table available

by Bruce Potter, IPM specialist

Most corn hybrids contain at least one transgenic trait for insect or weed control. When it comes to Bt traits, remembering which Bt event does what can be challenging. Dr. Chris DiFonzo, field crop entomologist at Michigan State University, has revised her reference for Bt traits in corn to help keep things straight.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Maximize the rotational benefits from alfalfa to corn

by Jeff Coulter, Extension corn specialist

First- and second-year corn following alfalfa usually benefit from increased yield potential, reduced or eliminated nitrogen requirement from fertilizer or manure, and reduced pest pressure. A recent Extension bulletin describes agronomic practices for alfalfa termination and the two subsequent corn crops that help maximize these benefits:

Monday, April 4, 2016

Nitrogen, Corn Production, and Groundwater Quality in Minnesota's Irrigated Sands

 Fabián G. Fernández, John A. Lamb, and Anne M. Struffert

Corn in irrigated coarse-textured soils can be very productive with nitrogen applications, but excess nitrogen can increase groundwater contamination. To understand how much nitrogen is needed to optimize corn production and minimize the environmental impact of nitrogen fertilizers, a four-year study was done at the Rosholt Farm in Pope County and in Dakota County farmers’ fields.

Urea nitrogen rates ranged from 0 to 280 lb N/acre in 40 lb increments with half of the rate applied pre-plant and the other half at V4. Single pre-plant applications of enhanced efficiency fertilizers: ESN (a polymer coated urea), a blend of urea and ESN, and SuperU (urea with nitrification and urease inhibitors) were also studied. Lysimeters installed below the root-zone and water-balance calculations along with drain gauges were used to quantify the nitrate concentration and the amount of water and nitrate moving pass the root-zone.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Updates to Corn Fertilizer guidelines for 2016

Daniel Kaiser and Fabian Fernandez
University of Minnesota Soil Fertility Specialists

Over the winter we have done intensive data compilation and analysis and have a few updates to the corn guidelines publication. The primary update is on nitrogen application rates for corn following corn and corn following soybean. The updated publication is not finished yet, so this article will serve as the current rate guidelines starting spring of 2016.

The current guidelines still use the maximum return to nitrogen approach. The updated nitrogen guidelines reflect additional sites of nitrogen response data collected starting in 2011 through 2015. At this time, the data have not been uploaded into the online corn N rate calculator as the site is currently undergoing a scheduled maintenance. A future article will be released when the new data are available. The guidelines in Table 1 are for corn grown on non-irrigated soils in southern Minnesota. For growers with irrigation, please refer to the publication:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

When is Deep too Deep?

Like last year,  there are again parts of the state that are very dry and with little stored soil moisture. As seeding of small grains has commenced the question arises whether you can seed too deep and which varieties, if any, tolerate deeper placement of seed than the ideal depth of 1.5 to 2.0 inches. A 2015 blog post detailing the ins and outs of seeding depth can be found here.

This winter, my project screened the coleoptile length of a number of the recent HRSW releases.  The results of that screening are posted below.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Manage waterhemp in soybean with layered residual herbicides

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 waterhemp becoming more widespread and herbicide resistant populations expanding, including multiple-resistant populations, waterhemp is increasingly difficult to manage. In addition, it has a long emergence pattern and frequently outlasts control of an early preemergence herbicide application. One strategy, described in the Crop News article, "Are you happy with your weed control in soybeans this fall?" is to layer residual herbicides to control glyphosate-resistant waterhemp by extending the duration of seedling control.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

U of MN researchers seeking soybean growers to cooperate on study of impacts of seed treatments on soybean aphid and parasitic wasps

by Jonathan Dregni (Scientist), Robert Koch (Assistant Professor & Extension Entomologist), and George Heimpel (Professor)

Insecticidal seed treatments are used widely in soybean production. As with any new pest control technology we need to examine the potential for unintended consequences (see more here). University of Minnesota entomologists are looking for farmer collaborators willing to help study insecticidal seed treatments by allowing researchers to monitor populations of aphids and parasitic wasps in soybean fields planted with insecticide-treated and untreated seeds. Please contact Jonathan Dregni, U of MN scientist, if you or a neighbor would like to be involved, or 651-207-3539.

Considerations when planting dicamba-tolerant soybean

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

Monsanto's Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ soybean, which is tolerant to both glyphosate and dicamba, is available for purchase this spring. While this will eventually offer another option for controlling glyphosate resistant and other tough-to-control weeds, it also brings up label and marketing concerns for the 2016 growing season.

Chomping at the bit yet?

Although there is some snow in the forecast for tomorrow across much of Minnesota, the weather has been unseasonably mild and the frost is already out of the ground in many areas.  The first reports of small grain being seeded reached me yesterday and that begged the question whether it is too early the seed small grains.  In 2012, the last week of winter and first week of spring were also unseasonable warm. At that time I wrote a short article about the risks and rewards of early planting.  Please check back here if you like reread the blog post and  refresh your memory.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

March 3 Sauk Centre Hay Auction Summary

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties, Crop Systems Focus; ph 320-968-5077

I am attaching my summaries for the March 3, 2016 Sauk Centre Hay auction.

1. March 3, 2016 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, Medium Square Alfalfa by 25 RFV groups, 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 1 through March 3.

I don’t remember and auction where I’ve seen as many “outliers” – a load or two in a group that either sold way higher than the rest or way lower. On the graph, the 175-200 RFV group looks like that price dropped some, but if I took out the low load, the other 3 would average very much like the last auction.
Feb 18, 6 Loads RFV 175-200 sold at $105, 155, 160, 170, 170, 185.
Mar 3, 4 Loads RFV 175-200 sold at $95, 135, 140, 185.
Mar 3, a load listed as 4th cutting grass with 25% protein and 13.5 moisture sold for $170. That was a unique load of hay

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Feb. 18 Sauk Centre Hay Auction Summary

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties, Crop Systems Focus; ph 320-968-5077

I am attaching my summaries from the Feb 18 2016 Sauk Centre Hay auctions and links to other hay market info… and noting workshop reminders.

1. Feb 18 2016 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, Medium Square Alfalfa by 25 RFV groups, 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 1 through Feb. 18

Sauk Centre Mid-American Hay Auctions will be held 1st and 3rd Thursdays through May. The Steffes Auction in Litchfield is held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays. There are other markets around as well.

Read further for other links to hay market information and coming events.

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