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Extension > Minnesota Crop News > May 2018

Thursday, May 31, 2018

IPM Podcast: Early Season Weed Control in Corn and Soybeans

Welcome to the second in a series of IPM Podcasts for Field Crops – this Podcast is sponsored by the UMN Extension Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program.

giant ragweed
Giant ragweed seedlings. Photo: Lisa Behnken
Our goal with these Podcasts is to alert Growers, Ag Professionals and Educators about emerging pest concerns on Minnesota Field Crops - including corn, soybean, small grains and alfalfa - and offer some useful pest management strategies. This podcast was hosted by Bill Hutchison, Coordinator of the MN IPM Program,  Dave Nicolai, Crops Extension Educator & Coordinator for the Extension Institute for Ag Professionals and Ryan Miller Crops Extension Educator based at Rochester, MN. Special thanks to Anthony Hanson, Extension Post-Doctoral Associate in Entomology for the recording technical assistance.

The Color Yellow

Although not nearly as heart-wrenching as the novel 'The Purple Color', Memorial Day weekend is often the time that the color yellow is a cause for concern in spring wheat, barley, and oats.  This year is no exception. The cause in this time doesn't appear to early-season tan spot just yet but more so heat canker. The hot and windy weather this past weekend were ideal conditions to cause this physiological phenomenon.  More details about early season yellowing in general and heat canker specifically can be found here and here.


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Why Is My Rye Short?

Rye is generally known as being unwieldy tall and prone to lodging.  Yet this spring the crop appears to be extremely short with some of the earliest crop already heading while just being knee high. What gives?

The much shorter crop is an outflow of the very cool months of March and April.  The very late spring has resulted in very little (vegetative) regrowth this spring.  Now that spring finally has arrived, its photoperiod response in combination with high temperatures is forcing the rye crop to immediately transition to reproductive growth, resulting in a very short crop. 

What is photoperiod sensitivity?  Photoperiod sensitivity is an evolutionary adaptation to avoid adverse conditions.  Flowering plants use photoreceptor proteins to sense changes in night length rather day length and use this information to transition from vegetative to reproductive growth, i.e. flower. Long-day plants flower when the night length falls below their critical photoperiod.

The progenitors of modern wheat, barley, oats, and rye were all long-day plants.  This ensured that the crops would flower, set seed, and mature before (extreme) the summer heat and drought of the dessert or frost in the mountain plateaus in the centers of origin could threaten the viability of the next generation. Amongst the cereals, rye has probably the strongest photoperiod response, as it is most adapted to northern latitudes, where a strong photoperiod response is most advantageous.

If you are interested in learning more about rye production, including hybrid rye, I encourage you to attend one of the field days that will be held across the state this coming month. The first field day will be held next week Tuesday from 10:00 – 12:00 at Anthony Farms (42505 Co Rd 15, St Peter, MN) in collaboration with KWS.  The University of Minnesota’s Small Grains Summer Plot Tours stops near LeCenter and Kimball will include rye as well.  Details about those plot tours are forthcoming.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Central MN Hay Auctions May 2018

by Randy Pepin, UMN Extension Educator, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties
pepin019@umn.edu or (320) 333-1369

Keeping up with current hay prices is important for most livestock farmers. We calculate price averages, quality averages, and the corresponding ranges of the various hay lots from recent hay auctions in Sauk Centre, MN. We also keep an updated history of recent years of some selected hay lots and create graphs of four different quality types of medium square alfalfa bales. This is posted every month, about a week after the last auction of the month.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Alfalfa Scissor Cuts May 24-25, 2018

by Randy Pepin, UMN Extension Educator, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties
pepin019@umn.edu or (320) 333-1369

Harvesting high quality alfalfa hay is a prime concern of most dairy farmers.  The ideal time to cut first crop alfalfa has many variables such as: spring weather, severity of the winter, the weather last fall, how the field was managed last fall, age of the alfalfa stand, alfalfa variety, fertility level, and each farmers criteria on desired hay quality.  Collecting a series of scissor cuts samples of an alfalfa stand beginning early in the growth stage will monitor the progress of the alfalfa maturity.  We harvest scissor cuts on a number of fields throughout central Minnesota to help dairy producers observe the maturing progress across several fields.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Will Wheat Catch Up to the Calendar?

Jochum Wiersma and Michelle Meijer

A few weeks ago, I was asked whether the wheat crop would catch up in its growth and development now that planting was delayed compared the last few years.  To explore this question we went back into the NASS crop progress reports between 1990 and 2017 and gleaned the date that seeding commenced, reached the halfway mark, and was near completion in Minnesota.  We then used those three dates to calculate the heading date using the Fargo NDAWN station.

Figure 1 shows the three regression lines that resulted from this exercise.  The blue line represents how much quicker the spring wheat cropped reached heading when planting was delayed from April 1 through the end of the month of April. The green line represents how much quicker the cropped reached heading when planting was between April 15 and May 15 and the red line represents how much quicker the crop reached heading when planting was delayed from the beginning of May through early June.  Each of the three regression lines explained about 80% of the observed variation in the data.

Figure 1 - Number of days to heading for an early, average, and late planting dates for each year between 1990 and 2017 using the NASS crop progress reports and NDAWN weather record for Fargo, ND.

The loss of the number of days to heading, i.e. the faster the pace of development as planting is delayed, is most severe in the first period and the least severe in the last period.  This may seem a bit counter-intuitive but think of it this way – in early April the average temperatures are much lower than in early May or June and thus fewer growing degree days are accumulated each day. Planting delays will move the crop into a time period where the average differences in daytime high temperatures and nighttime lows are smaller when compared to the previous two week period. 

So what does this mean in terms of actual heading date?  Using the three regression lines, a crop seeded in April 1st near Fargo is expected to head on June 10th, while a crop seeded on May first will head on June 22nd. The difference of a month in seeding date is reduced to less than two weeks.


How does this correlate to yield? The relationship with yield is less clear than with days to heading.  In the same analysis, the yield loss was about ¾ bushel per day of planting delay when using the mid-point planting date data set but the model only explained about 10% of the observed variability.  This suggests that yield potential is reduced as planting is delayed but that weather conditions during grain fill (i.e. nighttime and daytime temperatures) and absence or presence of disease (remember the early nineties are included in this data set) have more to do with the final yield than the fewer number of days to heading.

Alfalfa Scissor Cuts through May 23,2018

by Randy Pepin, UMN Extension Educator, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties
pepin019@umn.edu or (320) 333-1369

Harvesting high quality alfalfa hay is a prime concern of most dairy farmers.  The ideal time to cut first crop alfalfa has many variables such as: spring weather, severity of the winter, the weather last fall, how the field was managed last fall, age of the alfalfa stand, alfalfa variety, fertility level, and each farmers criteria on desired hay quality.  Collecting a series of scissor cuts samples of an alfalfa stand beginning early in the growth stage will monitor the progress of the alfalfa maturity.  We harvest scissor cuts on a number of fields throughout central Minnesota to help dairy producers observe the maturing progress across several fields.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

2018 Field School for Ag Professionals

By Dave Nicolai, IAP Program Coordinator

people-standing-in-field
Agronomy training available this summer at the University of Minnesota Extension's 2018 Field School for Ag Professionals

The 2018 Field School for Ag Professionals will be held on July 25 - 26 at the University of Minnesota Agriculture Experiment Station in St. Paul. Field School for Ag Professional which is the summer training opportunity that combines hands-on training and real world field scenarios. The two-day program focuses on core principles in agronomy, entomology, weed and soil sciences on the first day to build a foundation for participants; and builds on this foundation with timely, cutting-edge topics on the second day.

Integrated Pest Management Podcast: Black Cutworm Alert, Reporting Network - 2018

Welcome to the first in a series of IPM Podcasts for Field Crops – this Podcast is sponsored by the UMN Extension Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program.


Black cutworm damage to a young corn plant. Photo: W.M. Hantsbarger, Bugwood.org
Our goal with these Podcasts is to alert Growers, Ag Professionals and Educators about emerging pest concerns on Minnesota Field Crops - including corn, soybean, small grains and alfalfa - and offer some useful pest management strategies. The podcast is hosted by Bill Hutchison, Coordinator of the MN IPM Program and Dave Nicolai, Crops Extension Educator & Coordinator for the Extension Institute for Ag Professionals.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Prevented plant resources

Dave Bau, Extension educator

wet-unplanted-field
Heavy spring rains resulting in flooded fields have delayed planting for many farmers in southern Minnesota. Many of these farmers will have to decide what to do when the final planting dates of May 31 for corn and June 10 for soybeans.

The USDA’s Federal Crop Insurance Corporation policies have prevented planting provisions for payment if planting cannot occur before the final plant date. There are also options to plant after the final planting date, but with reduced insurance coverage.

For most of Minnesota, the final planting date for corn is May 31. It is May 25 for northern counties. The final planting date for soybeans in Minnesota is June 10. The late planting period extends for 25 days after the crop's final planting date. At this point the insurance coverage is reduced to 55% for corn and 60% for soybeans.

Assess your risk for fertilizer N loss and manage N application decisions with late planting

Brad Carlson, Extension educator

Continued wet weather and increasing temperatures in southern Minnesota are raising concerns about potential nitrogen fertilizer loss. Extension Educator Brad Carlson discusses how the risks of nitrogen loss differ with fall vs. spring applications, weather conditions and sources in the new video, Spring 2018 nitrogen concerns.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Soybeans and the Spring of 2018: One for the books

Seth Naeve, Extension soybean agronomist

wet-field
Photo: Liz Stahl
Spring came late to all of Minnesota, but for farmers in Southern Minnesota, it came with too many May showers. This has made #Plant18 an especially tough one for farmers in the region. Many seasoned farmers have reported that this will be the latest start in their long memories.

It is natural to feel anxious and frustrated with the weather, but it’s important to know that fields will get planted and yields can still be quite good. For the most part, farmers should proceed as normal when windows of good weather allow.

Central MN Hay Auctions April 2018

by Randy Pepin, UMN Extension Educator, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties
pepin019@umn.edu or (320) 333-1369

Keeping up with current hay prices is important for most livestock farmers. We calculate price averages, quality averages, and the corresponding ranges of the various hay lots from recent hay auctions in Sauk Centre, MN. We also keep an updated history of recent years of some selected hay lots and create graphs of four different quality types of medium square alfalfa bales. This is posted every month, about a week after the last auction of the month.

Corn Fertigation: How Much and When?

Anne Struffert, Extension Educator
Fabián Fernández, Nutrient Management Specialist

In the Central Sands of Minnesota, planting is under way. With a week of warm and windy weather, things are drying out and warming up quickly. While most growers have made decisions on variety and tillage, one thing you may not have nailed down is when and how many times should you fertigate nitrogen on corn.



Loss potential in the spring is almost always high on sandy soils. With a combination of snow melt, excess rain, and a crop that is not yet needing much water or nitrogen, much of the nitrogen that we apply can leach out of the profile because it has nothing to hang on to. Because of this we suggest delaying any nitrogen application until the V2 development stage. If you need a little peace of mind and want to apply 10 to 20 pounds at planting, that is fine, just remember to keep that rate low.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Soil compaction: What can you do?

by Jodi DeJong-Hughes, Extension educator

emerging corn
As you head back into the fields this spring, plan to reduce your soil compaction. As the weight of farm tractors and field equipment becomes larger and heavier and as the annual precipitation increases in Minnesota, there is a growing concern about soil compaction.

Here's How to Select the Right Starter Fertilizer for Corn


Daniel Kaiser, Nutrient Management Specialist
Jeff Vetsch, Soil Scientist

We had a late start to the season, and planting is later than usual. Should you use a starter fertilizer? The answer to that question is that it depends. Some research has shown later plantings will still benefit from starter due to decreasing time to silking. Decreasing the rate applied may be an option to speed up planting if you are questioning whether to keep using starter. There is no right or wrong answer whether to use starter or not in your production system. If you do choose starter here are five tips which may help you get the most out of your investment.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Large influx of black cutworm moths arrive in Minnesota

by Bruce Potter, Integrated pest management specialist

Minnesota map
Figure 1. Maximum black cutworm moth captures by county April 27 - May 4, 2018.
The past week brought rain and black cutworm (BCW) moths to many trap locations, both unwelcome. This is as large and widespread early-season influx of moths as we have seen for several years.

Many counties have more than one trap operating. The reported maximum 2-night moth capture for all traps in a county during the week are shown in Figure 1.

Table 1 shows counties that reported significant (numbers indicating potential risk for economic damage to row crops) captures and dates.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Gearing Up for the Use of Dicamba Tolerant Soybean Technology in 2018

Andrew Thostenson, Pesticide Program Specialist, North Dakota State University and Liz Stahl, Extension educator

tractor-in-field
Note: Andrew Thostenson, Pesticide Program Specialist with North Dakota State University, recently posted the article “Gearing Up for the Use of Dicamba Tolerant Soybean Technology in 2018.” He discusses some very good points pertinent to Minnesotans, considering the delayed start to planting this season, in his article reprinted below.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Do you still need training or certification to apply dicamba?

For the 2018 growing season in Minnesota, there is a special training needed to use the new dicamba products. Specifically, these dicamba products are: Engenia®Herbicide, FexapanTM Herbicide plus VaporGrip® Technology, and Xtendimax® with VaporGrip® Technology.

If you haven’t been trained yet this year for dicamba, or if you still need to be certified or licensed to use Restricted Use Pesticides, this information will help you get started.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Respirator fit testing resources in Minnesota

Certain pesticides and agrochemicals require handlers to wear a respirator. In order to safely wear a respirator, you must be fit tested to make sure that the respirator fits to your face correctly. Fit testing can be hard to find in Minnesota; the following map shows locations around the state that are offering fit testing to farmers. 
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