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Showing posts from July, 2018

Reducing risks of insecticides to pollinators and increasing understanding between farmers and beekeepers

by Robert Koch, Extension Entomologist

As soybean aphid populations continue to increase and decisions are being made to apply insecticides to some fields, steps can be taken to help reduce unintended risks to pollinators (such as honeybees, native bees, butterflies and hover flies), which may occur in and near soybean fields. Below, I provide some steps that can be taken to help reduce the risk of exposing pollinators to insecticides. In addition, I provide links to two documents that stem from our larger effort to increase understanding and communication between farmers and beekeepers with a goal of reducing risks to pollinators.

Nutrient Management Podcast: Checking in on 2018

How is 2018 shaping up compared to years past? On this episode of the podcast, Ryan Miller, Brad Carlson, Fabian Fernandez and Dan Kaiser talk through what they've seen this growing season, the biggest questions they've gotten and tips to manage. We talk about how the weather has impacted nitrogen loss, the viability of sidedress applications and variable rate technologies, and how 2018 will affect growers' plans in future years.

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Support for this project was provided in part by the Agricultural Fertilizer Research & Education Council (AFREC).

Options for drowned-out spots in fields

By Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator – Crops, and M. Scott Wells, Cropping Systems Specialist
A quick review of climate and weather data from the Minnesota DNR reveals southern Minnesota  has received 4 to 7 inches of precipitation above normal since April 1, 2018, with Southwestern MN receiving 4 inches of rain above normal over the past month. Excessive precipitation has led to ponding and flooding in fields, leaving drowned out spots and unplanted areas as the water recedes.

Checking in on the 2018 season

Ryan Miller, Brad Carlson, Fabian Fernandez and Dan Kaiser look at where we are with nutrient management this season. We talk about how the weather has affected N loss, whether you should consider sidedress or variable rate technologies, and how this will impact growers plans in future years.

Look for Wheat Stem Sawfly in NW MN Wheat Fields

Prepared by Phillip Glogoza and Jochum Wiersma

Wheat Stem Sawfly is still infesting wheat in northwest Minnesota. Areas affected last year are now showing symptoms of this year's infestations. Wheat stems are lodging as the sawfly larvae cut the base of the stem. Polk County is the area of greatest concentration, but reports beyond the Crookston area are also coming in.

We are asking ALL wheat growers in the northwest region to report on if they find lodged stems, their location (Latitude-Longitude or Legal description), and some estimate of cut stems per row foot. Also, indicate where in the field (usually the edge, but how far in is useful knowledge). We are trying to determine how big an area is impacted by this insect.

Controlling weeds with winter camelina planted following sugar beet harvest

Maninder K. Walia, M. Scott Wells, Russ Gesch, Frank Forcella – UMN Cover Crop Team
The growing challenge nowadays for sugar beet growers is how to control herbicide-resistant weeds such as waterhemp and redroot pigweed. A recent study has shown that winter camelina planted immediately after sugar beet harvest can provide excellent control of these weeds.

Sugar beet is an economically important crop in Minnesota with approximately 420,000 acres planted in 2017 (USDA-NASS, 2017). An average sugar beet crop rotation is a 4-year cycle with three years between sugar beet crops. However, production of sugar beet, like most annual row crops in MN, has the potential to impact the environment through nutrient and soil losses. Sugar beets grow actively only for a few months out of a year (i.e. planted in April or May and harvested in early September through October) therefore, the remainder of the year becomes a window of opportunity for these losses. Following sugar beet harvest, the ground …

Getting Ready for Small Grains Harvest

The first winter cereals have already been harvested and spring cereals aren't far behind.  I fielded a few calls last week with questions about heavy foxtail and barnyard infestations that will be troublesome with the harvest.  The heavy pressure of these grassy weeds now is a direct consequence of the delayed planting earlier this spring and the warm weather than immediately followed.  It allowed the foxtail and barnyard grass to emerge almost simultaneously with the wheat, barley or oats.  Most other years the wheat, barley, and oat emerge well before the warm season grasses emerge and shade out any foxtail or barnyard seedling that emerge later.  

If no grass herbicide was applied this spring these small grassy weed seedling just hung on in the bottom of the canopy. Now that the wheat, barley, or oats have started to ripen, sunlight is reaching the bottom of the canopy again. As a result, the grassy weeds have started growing rapidly, thereby turning fields in tall, green pastu…

Managing P and K in Flooded or Ponded Soils

Daniel Kaiser, Soil Fertility Specialist

The 2018 cropping season has been a challenging year for those in areas affected by heavy rainfall and saturated soils. Excessive water can result in the loss of soil nutrients with ponding resulting in a significant risk for the loss of nitrogen. The uptake and removal of nutrients depends on the yield. For areas with low or no yield, you likely won’t see substantial amounts of phosphorus or potassium removed. Here’s a look at how removal rate of P and K in 2018 will affect those nutrients ahead of the 2019 crop.

Unlike nitrogen, P and K a relatively immobile in the soil and are not lost unless erosion occurs, so water ponding won’t affect them in the same way. A soil test itself won’t be able to account for all of the P and K applied, as some of these nutrients will react with the soil and change to a form that may not be accounted for by a soil test prior to 2019.

Even though the soil test may not detect all P and K, it does not mean that i…

Take advantage of the Field School early price discount!

The early price discount for this year's Field School for Ag Professionals expires this Friday at midnight, July 20.

Field School will be held next week on July 25 - 26 at the University of Minnesota Agriculture Experiment Station in St. Paul. Take advantage of this summer training opportunity that combines hands-on training and real-world field scenarios.

IPM Podcast: Soybean aphid alert and IPM update

Welcome to the 5th IPM Podcast for Field Crops – this Podcast is sponsored by the UMN Extension Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program.

During the past week soybean aphid populations have been increasing in several soybean fields, in southern and northwest production areas of Minnesota. Consequently, this is the time of year when fields should be scouted for soybean aphid, to determine if treatment is warranted.

Hay Auction July 12, 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.

Soybean aphid infestations are developing: Recommendations for scouting and managing insecticide resistance

by Robert Koch (Extension Entomologist), Bruce Potter (Extension IPM Specialist), Phil Glogoza (Regional Extension Educator)

Scouting for soybean aphids in Minnesota soybean fields should be underway. While aphid populations are low in most fields, we have received reports of increasing soybean aphid numbers. In parts of central Minnesota, some of these fields are nearing threshold levels and will likely require insecticide treatment soon to protect yield. Early-planted soybean in areas with moderate rainfall this year might see significant aphid populations first. However, aphids are now spreading to other fields putting them at risk too. Below, we provide an overview of scouting recommendations and updates on insecticide resistant soybean aphids.

Scouting and threshold:  How will you know if any of your soybean fields are at economic risk from soybean aphid? The decision to apply insecticide for soybean aphid should be based on scouting and the economic threshold. Briefly, you n…

5 Tips for Effectively Using Plant Tissue Data

Daniel Kaiser, Nutrient Management Specialist

1. Don’t expect too much.

Tissue sampling is not an exact science, so take care to get the most information you can. Optimal nutrient concentration values are specific to a plant part sampled at a particular stage. Sampling the correct part and the correct time is critical when using book values to determine nutrient sufficiency.

2. Know which nutrients are most likely to be deficient.

Crop species vary in their sensitivity to deficiencies of specific secondary- and micronutrients. Think about which nutrients are more likely to result in yield reductions before you make decisions.

3. Understand that uptake of one nutrient can affect the uptake of another.

Macronutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur can limit plant growth and the uptake of other nutrients. When interpreting results, make correcting macronutrient deficiency a top priority. Any perceived micronutrient deficiency may disappear if you correct the deficiency…

Register soon for the Ag Professional Field School July 25 & 26 at the University of Minnesota

By Dave Nicolai, IAP Program Coordinator

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 hand-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. View Detailed Session Descriptions

Flooded Fields and Saturated Conditions Impact Crops

By Liz Stahl, Extension Educator-Crops, Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Specialist, Seth Naeve, Extension Soybean Specialist, and Fabian Fernandez, Extension Nutrient Management Specialist

Flooding, ponding, and saturated soils continue to impact crops across southwestern and south central Minnesota. Intense rains, ranging from 6 to 8 inches or more in several counties in southwestern MN on July 3, has exacerbated the wet conditions. As water from the recent storm events moves downstream, more field flooding and ponding is anticipated. As of July 5, 2018, much of southwestern and south central MN accumulated 4 to 8 inches of rain above normal, or a 3 to more than 4-fold increase above normal precipitation for the previous 30 days.

Managing manure nitrogen with a cover crop

Les Everett, Education coordinator; Randy Pepin, Extension educator; Jeffrey Coulter, Extension corn agronomist; and Melissa Wilson, Extension specialist - manure management and water quality
Producers who apply liquid manure in the fall might consider use of a cover crop as a nitrogen (N) management tool. Recent on-farm research in Minnesota compared manure management with and without a cover crop.

Liquid swine and dairy manure is frequently applied in the fall, prior to planting corn the following spring. However, corn does not begin taking up substantial amounts of N until mid-June or later. Most of the N in swine manure and about one-half in dairy manure is in the inorganic ammonium form, which can rapidly convert to nitrate by microbial nitrification when soil temperatures are above 50 degrees, in either fall or spring. The remainder of the manure N is in the organic form which is more slowly converted to the ammonium form and later to nitrate. Nitrate does not bind to soil par…

IPM Podcast: University of Minnesota Plant Disease Clinic

Welcome to the 4th IPM Podcast for Field Crops – this Podcast is sponsored by the UMN Extension Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program.

In this week’s podcast we are featuring the services of the University of Minnesota Plant Disease Clinic, which is a multi-disciplinary diagnostic laboratory that provides testing for: fungal, bacterial, viral, and other plant health conditions for commercial growers, farmers and the general public. This includes routine diagnosis of agronomic and horticultural plant diseases, virus analysis and other services such as molecular diagnostics. The goal of the Plant Disease Clinic is to provide clients with an accurate, unbiased diagnosis of plant diseases.

Goss's Bacterial Wilt and Leaf Blight image showing bacterial streaming from a corn leaf

What a good night's sleep and small grains both require..

According to science, humans sleep best when nighttime temperatures are between 60 and 67 degrees.  I personally like it another five degrees cooler,  much the same way wheat, barley, oats, rye prefer it.  Cooler nights slow down respiration and are more influential than the daytime high temperatures on final grain yield. 

This is well illustrated in Figure 1 in the following article.  The differences between the two top rows of graphs in Figure 1 are much less dramatic than those in the third row of graphs: The length of the kernel fill was reduced by only a few days as daytime temperatures increased but nearly cut in half when nighttime temperatures increased from 17C (62F) to 28C (82F).  Likewise, average kernel weight was cut in half as well when nighttime temperatures rose to 28C.

It is therefore that I wasn't too worried about the daytime highs this past week, but rather the uncomfortable sleeping weather. The immediate forecast, however, looks better across all but the most…

Corn rootworm emergence about to rocket

Ken Ostlie, Extension entomologist
Corn rootworm emergence typically begins in the days following July 4th. Based on predictive degree-day models and confirmed with flotation of rootworms from dug plants, 2018 will follow this pattern with hotter temperatures even accelerating emergence. Last week we observed early pupae at four locations: Rosemount, Springfield, Litchfield and Hancock. While the fields varied widely in larval density, the lead edge of development had just progressed to pupation. At this time, maximum feeding injury should be occurring in root systems and corn will be at its most susceptible for lodging.