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Showing posts from September, 2018

Soggy Conditions Hinder Harvest

By Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator - Crops

Although conditions were already soggy from rain showers over the past several days, a significant storm front tore across southern Minnesota Thursday, dropping anywhere from 0.5 to over 3 inches of rain across the region. For the month of September to date, many parts of southern Minnesota have received 6 to 9 inches of rain. Soggy conditions have halted harvest across the region and water is standing once again in areas impacted by wet conditions earlier in the growing season. With corn and soybeans at physiological maturity, keep in mind the following as we wait for field conditions to improve and harvest to proceed.

Cover Crops Following Sweet Corn and Processing Peas

In 2017, Minnesota ranked #1 in the US for both processing sweet corn and pea production with over 120,000 acres of sweet corn and 49,000 acres of peas planted.  Both of these crops have a relatively short growing season as they are harvested at an immature stage of growth and then processed for canned or frozen vegetables.  For peas planted early, a second crop of soybean is often planted for a double crop during that season.  For sweet corn and later planted peas, there is not enough growing season left to plant and harvest a second cash crop; however, there is ample opportunity to plant and establish a cover crop that can stabilize the soil and take up residual nutrients from pea or sweet corn residue.

Because peas and sweet corn are harvested as immature crops, significant nutrients and in particular nitrogen, remain in the residue.  In general, sweet corn stover can contain as much as 60-80 lbs of N/A with a C to N ratio of 30 or less.  Pea vines can contain even more nitrogen t…

Late-Season Window for Seeding Cover Crops

By Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator – Crops and M. Scott Wells, Forage and Cropping Systems Specialist

A key window to seed cover crops in soybean in Minnesota is around the time soybeans reach physiological maturity (when 95% of pods on the plant reach a mature, brown color). As soybean leaves drop off the plant, the canopy opens, allowing more sun to reach the soil surface to promote cover crop germination and growth.

Evaluating Fertilizer Purchase Decisions: Frequently Asked Questions

Tight profit margins are making decisions on inputs to crops difficult for farmers. Decisions on when and where to use fertilizers can be important to ensure maximum profitability. Decisions on nutrients such as nitrogen are easy for crops like corn, wheat, and sugar beet as these crops will likely respond to nitrogen. Other nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur can benefit crops but it depends on soil test levels and a crops need for a specific nutrient.. Here are five frequently asked questions we hear about making fertilizer decisions in the fall.

1. Do I need it or not?

The advent of commercial fertilizers is one of the most important reasons why we have seen crop production increase the past fifty years. While the use of P and K fertilizers has increased the fertility levels of some soils there is a point where additional fertilizer doesn’t give an immediate return on investment (ROI) or the chance of an ROI to the nutrient applied is low. Recent AFREC funded resear…

Seeding cereals this fall? Be aware of herbicide carryover risks

Jared Goplen, Jochum Wiersma, and Jeff Gunsolus
Whether planting winter cereals for grain or as a spring or winter cover crop, there is always the potential for herbicides applied to previous crops to carry over and affect the cereal crop stand. The potential for herbicide carryover varies widely based on the product used, when and where it was applied, and what the weather has been like since the time of application.

Tips for Planting Winter Cereals

By Jochum Wiersma, Jared Goplen, and Phyllis Bongard

We are quickly approaching the optimum time for planting winter wheat and rye in Minnesota. The optimum planting date windows are between September 1st and the 15th in the area north of I-94, between September 10th and the 30th south of I-94, and between September 20th and October 10th in the part of the state south of I-90.

New Runoff Risk Tool Determines Best Manure Application Timing

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the National Weather Service has designed  a new tool for those applying manure in Minnesota called the Minnesota Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast. The interactive map is designed to help farmers and custom manure applicators decide on the optimal time to apply manure by predicting or modeling when runoff events are likely to happen. As a bonus, the tool also provides forecasted precipitation amounts, as well as soil temperatures at 2 and 6 inches of depth to help with manure application decisions.

How does the runoff risk model work? It does more than just look at the rain forecast. It also takes into consideration soil moisture content, temperatures, and if applicable, snow accumulation and melt. With this information, it predicts the chance of runoff in the next one, two, or three days, at least when the ground is not frozen or snow-covered. Once the model moves into “winter mode,” it calculates the runoff risk potential fo…

Research Update Field Day: Interseeding cover crops and alfalfa in corn

M. Scott Wells, Extension agronomist
The University of Minnesota Extension program is sponsoring a Research Update Field Day. Agricultural professionals, growers, and the general public are invited to the Rosemount Research and Outreach Center for a tour of the latest in agricultural research. Extension specialists will lead a guided tour of the Research Center’s test plots, presenting their research on interseeding cover crops and alfalfa into corn production systems.

Agronomic strategies to maximize rotational benefits from alfalfa to corn

By Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Agronomist
Corn grown after alfalfa usually has increased yield, reduced nitrogen requirement from fertilizer or manure, and reduced pest pressure compared to when corn follows other crops. The extent and consistency of these benefits in first- and second-year corn are influenced by the effectiveness of alfalfa termination, as alfalfa can greatly complete with corn for water and nutrients.