Skip to main content


Strategic Farming: Field Notes launches April 21

An all-new weekly crops program from the University of Minnesota Extension Crops Team! The growing season is filled with a host of challenges, including insect, disease, and weed pests, resistance concerns, agronomic issues, and soil fertility questions. The Field Notes program is designed for farmers and agricultural professionals as a weekly webinar program addressing all your crop-related questions in real-time in an interactive, discussion-based format. The Field Notes program will begin on April 21st and continue throughout the 2021 growing season on Wednesday mornings from 7:30-8:00 a.m . The program will feature a live webinar with interactive discussion with attendees, addressing in-season cropping issues as they arise. Weekly topics will be announced on the week of the program, and may include topics related to soil fertility, agronomics, pest management, equipment, and more. Can’t make the live session? No problem. The discussion-based series will be posted immediately foll
Recent posts

There’s still time to take the Alfalfa Management Survey!

Jared Goplen, Extension Educator – Crops If you produce alfalfa or work with alfalfa producers to make management decisions, please participate in the quick, 10-minute survey regarding alfalfa production in the Midwest. For more details and to participate in this survey, visit . This survey is part of a multi-state project exploring how changing crop rotations and alfalfa production methods affects soil health, crop and dairy production systems, and farm profitability. The anonymous information you share will help us understand how alfalfa production varies across the upper Midwest and where production practices could be improved. Participation is completely voluntary, and information remains anonymous. We thank you in advance for your participation!

Planting date is just one factor affecting yield potential

By Lizabeth Stahl and Jared Goplen, Extension educators - crops It is well known that planting date plays a key role in determining yield potential in corn and soybean. Long-term University of Minnesota trials demonstrate, for example, that corn yield is usually optimized when corn is planted from April 25 to May 10. Long-term data also show that soybean yield is optimized when planting occurs around May 1. Planting earlier than these guidelines rarely leads to greater yields but does increase risk of stand loss from frost or cool conditions after planting. This can lead to reduced yield or even the need to replant. Chances are many of us have learned valuable lessons in recent years, perhaps pushing a bit too hard and planting into sub-optimal conditions. Keep these lessons in mind as we head into a planting season that looks like it may bring better conditions than recent years. Let’s revisit 2019 (only for a little while) Many of us have been trying to forget the excessively we

Fallow fields last year? Here’s what you should know to prevent fallow syndrome

Photo credit: Liz Stahl/University of Minnesota Extension By: Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist & Anna Cates, Extension soil health specialist While the 2020 growing season was relatively to abnormally dry for much of Minnesota, there were pockets of the state where fields were too wet for crops to be harvested. Fallowed fields can present challenges to some crops through a process called “fallow syndrome.” Fallow syndrome can cause issues for corn, which depends on vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae (VAM) to help the plant uptake nutrients and water. Corn grown following a fallowed field can result in a lack of VAM colonization, which can reduce phosphorus (P) and zinc in the soil. A previous post from 2020 focused on how to prevent fallow syndrome in corn. Identifying risks for fallow syndrome Before talking about prevention, it is important to evaluate your field for risk of fallow syndrome. Fallow syndrome generally occurs when a field is either fallowed, t

Timing matters: How to limit spring nitrogen loss for corn

By: Taylor Becker, Extension educator As we get closer to spring in Minnesota, the birds are singing, snow is melting, and planting is on the horizon. When it comes to nitrogen leaching, there is no better time to think about it than in the spring. High precipitation and minimal crop demand for water makes for perfect conditions for water to move quickly through the soil profile, taking nitrogen with it. Although we cannot control the weather, there are a few management practices, including application timing, that can help prevent excess nitrogen losses in the spring. This graph shows 30-year normal precipitation with corn water use as evapotranspiration (ET) from a project in Waseca, Minnesota. Tile drainage shows a peak in the spring months of April and May when excess nitrogen applications could be more susceptible to leaching. (Randall, 2004) When should nitrogen be applied on coarse-textured soils? Coarse-textured soils can be found throughout the state but are more prevalent in

Steps to optimize corn planting

 by Jeff Coulter, Extension corn agronomist Successful stand establishment is key to profitable corn production. Consider the following planting guidelines for optimal corn stand establishment. Planting date Planting date is one of many factors that can affect corn yield. However, other factors such as the uniformity of emergence, weather conditions during the two weeks before and two weeks after tasseling, hybrid selection, crop nutrition, weed and pest control, and crop rotation typically have a greater effect on yield than planting date.  Across 26 planting date trials conducted across Minnesota from 2009 to 2016 by the University of Minnesota, corn grain yield was within 1% of the maximum when planting occurred between April 25 and May 12, and yield loss due to delayed planting did not occur until more than 140 GDDs had accumulated since the first planting date (Table 1). However, in years when warm weather arrives earlier than normal and persists, planting in mid-April can prod

How to approach carbon market opportunities

By Jodi DeJong-Hughes and Anna Cates There has been a lot of buzz concerning the carbon credit market. In this article we’ll discuss the importance of carbon and carbon markets, what they can offer producers in the Upper Midwest and what questions you should consider when investigating carbon credits. What is Carbon? Carbon is the basic building block for all living things. It is present in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO 2 ), in living and nonliving organisms, as organic matter in soils, in fossil fuels, and in the oceans as shells, coral, and sedimentary rock. Carbon is all around us. While carbon is essential for all life, there is a balance between where the carbon is located and stored within the earth, oceans, and atmosphere. In the past 60+ years, carbon, as carbon dioxide, has accumulated in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is one of several greenhouse gases causing global climate change. Climate change includes warmer temperatures in many locations, record-breaking hurrican