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Friday, July 3, 2015

Armyworms in Small Grains

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Take advantage of crop education this summer

Dave Nicolai, Extension Educator-Crops and Phyllis Bongard, Educational Content Development and Communications Specialist

Several opportunities to learn about the University of Minnesota's research in crop production are available this summer at locations throughout the state. Crop producers, their advisors and other ag professionals are encouraged to attend. The following field days are listed in chronological order:

Monday, June 29, 2015

2015 Small Grains Plot Tours in Northwest Minnesota

Plan to attend one of five upcoming Small Grain Plot Tours in Northwest Minnesota. The programs include Drs. Madeleine Smith and Jochum Wiersma discussing small grain variety performance, plant diseases, and other small grain management considerations. Feel free to bring plant samples with insect or disease problems and participate in an open discussion around small grain production.  Each event will take place on small grain research sites, offering hands-on demonstrations and real field scenarios.

Dates, times, towns are as follows:

July 13, 2015 at 5:00 pm on the John/Chad Walkup Farm near Campbell.  Plots are located just east of Cnty Rd 3 @ 46.105661,-96.172238.  Supper and refreshments will be served. 

July 13, 2015 at 1:00 pm on the Bryan Hest Farm near Perley. Plots are located just east of Perley along Cnty Rd 39 @ 47.179404,-96.793272. Refreshments will be served.

July 14, 2015 at 9:00 am on the Swenson Seed Farm near Oklee. Plots are located just north of the farm along MN Hwy 92 @ 47.777498,-95.859160. Refreshments will be served.

July 17, 2015 at 8:30 am on the Hunt Seed Farm near Hallock. Plots are located west of Hallock on Cnty Rd 1 @ 48.753913, -96.988984. Breakfast and refreshments will be served at the farm.

July 17, 2015 at 1:00 pm on the Kukowksi  Farms near Strathcona. Plots are located just east of the seed plant on Cnty Rd  6 @ 48.572687, -96.155133. Lunch and refreshments will be served at the farm.

July 22, 2015 at 1:00 pm north of the CHS plant west of Roseau @ 48.846407, -95.787437. Refreshments will be served.

Contact Jochum Wiersma @ 218-281-8629 or wiers002@umn,edu for additional details

Corn yield forecasts for Minnesota in 2015

Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Agronomist

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

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

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

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hay Auction Summary June 4 Sauk Centre

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 19, 2015

Nitrogen management: Considerations for sidedressing

Fabián G. Fernández, Daniel Kaiser, Jeffrey Vetsch

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

The transformation of ammonium to nitrate, or nitrification, is done by soil bacteria that need warm temperatures and oxygen. In general we had cool temperatures or warm days followed by cool days that likely caused slow nitrification rates. In fields where ammonium-base fertilizers were applied within a few days before soil conditions became excessively wet, the potential for N loss from the fertilizer is minimal as there was not enough time for the fertilizer to nitrify. Further, once soils are saturated the lack of oxygen slows down nitrification and the potential for N loss from N in ammonium form. Since urea is soluble in water, the only concern would be if substantial precipitation occurred soon after urea was applied in well drained fields. In sandy soils or heavily tile-drained soils it is possible to move urea or nitrate as much as a foot for each inch of rain. On the other hand, movement is only approximately five to six inches for each inch of rain in a clay loam or silt loam soil. That said, between rain events nitrate will start to move back up as evaporation from the soil surface create an upward suction force that moves water and nitrate closer to the surface. Similarly, evapotranspiration from actively growing crops will result in a similar suction force in addition to some nitrate uptake by the crop.
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