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Sunday, April 24, 2016

2016 University of Minnesota Field School for Ag Professionals Registration is Now Open

 By Dave Nicolai, IAP Program Coordinator

The 2016 Field School for Ag Professionals will be held on July 26 - 27 at the University of Minnesota Agriculture Experiment Station, St. Paul Campus, University of Minnesota. The St. Paul campus, located in Falcon Heights, MN next to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds at Larpenteur and Gortner Ave, is this year's site for the Field School for Ag Professional which is the summer training opportunity that combines hand-on training and real-world field scenarios that no winter program can offer. 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.

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

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.

Some winter kill is to be expected in Minnesota. This past winter was relatively mild but bare by Minnesota standards. The warm conditions at the end of March allowed dormancy to break early but cool weather that followed has meant that fields have been slow to green up and have just started to put on new leaves and tillers, especially north of Interstate 94. This past week was probably the first time that evaluating surviving plant density was fairly straightforward. 

Winter survival in all likelihood will variable within a field and depending on topography (windblown hilltops having less stand than protected areas of the field). If stands are reduced uniformly across the field, stands of 17 plants/ft2 can still produce near maximum grain yields. Even stands as low as 11 plants/ft2 can still produce a 40 bu/A yield.

To do a stand count, use one of the following two methods:

  1. Count the number of plants in a foot of row at several locations in the field. Take an average and convert in plants per acre using Table 1.
  2. Take a hula-hoop, let it fall, and count the number of plants inside the hoop. Repeat this at random several times across the field and calculate an average. Use Table 2 to convert the count to an approximate population per square foot or acre.

Table 1. Average number of plants per foot of row for different row spacing and plant densities per acre.
Table 1 Stand Count Wheat JJW.jpg

Table 2. Adjustment factors to multiply the number of plants inside a hoop and convert the number in to number of plants per acre.
Table 2 Stand Count Wheat JJW.jpg

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.
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