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Sauk Centre March Hay Auctions

Nathan Drewitz, Extension Educator, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties

Keeping up with current local hay prices is important for livestock producers and growers. The Mid-American Hay Auction in Sauk Centre, MN provides an excellent opportunity to get a glimpse of what current hay prices are for the region. That hay auction information is organized, summarized, and listed below. 

Recent posts

What to know about phosphorus and potassium soil testing

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, three U of M researchers discuss optimal phosphorus and potassium levels in the soil. What are some key takeaways that growers should know about interpreting soil tests? Environmentally, what is the threshold at which we should avoid applications to prevent significant nutrient loss? Is there really an optimal soil test level that farmers should shoot for? Listen to the podcastView the podcast transcriptSubscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode on iTunes and Stitcher!

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Support for the Nutrient Management Podcast is provided by Minnesota's Agricultural Fertilizer Research & Education Council (AFREC).

Spring Management of Prevent Plant Acres

By Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator – Crops; Anna Cates, Soil Health Specialist; and Lisa Behnken, Extension Educator - Crops
The spring planting season is soon upon us. Prevent plant acres, or fields that were too wet to be planted to a cash crop last year, may need some special attention this season. As final preparations are made for planting, suggested strategies will depend on how these areas were managed in 2019.
In fields where a cover crop was planted: Be sure to have a termination plan for cover crops that overwintered, such as cereal rye. To protect yield, a general guideline is to terminate the cover crop 10 to 14 days prior to planting the cash crop, particularly if planting corn, since an overwintering cover crop can create a “green bridge” for insect and disease pests. This timing can be less stringent for soybean, although it is recommended to terminate the cover crop prior to planting to minimize risk.

If a non-winter hardy cover crop was planted like oats,…

Gopher Coffee Shop podcast: Nutrient management communications

In this installment of the Gopher Coffee Shop podcast, Extension educators Ryan Miller and Brad Carlson sit down with Paul McDivitt, University of Minnesota Extension Communications Specialist with the nutrient management team. In this podcast about podcasts and Extension communications we visit with Paul and get his take on modern Extension communications and education. Please note this podcast was recorded prior to our COVID-19 shutdown and travel restrictions.
Listen to the podcast The Gopher Coffee Shop Podcast is available on Stitcher and iTunes.

To connect with additional nutrient management resources, visit
Nutrient management podcast: Nutrient management playlist on Crops YouTube channel: For a chance to read about various crop management topics, please see our
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“Essential Row Crop Management” Spring 2020 Webinar Series

A “Socially Distant” Webinar Series for the Spring of 2020

By Lizabeth Stahl and Lisa Behnken, U of MN Extension Educators in Crops; Angela Rieck-Hinz and Meaghan Anderson, Field Agronomists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach; and Phyllis Bongard, U of MN Educational Content Development & Communications Specialist

Extension specialists in Iowa and Minnesota are collaborating to provide a series of short, daily webinars for farmers, ag professionals, Extension personnel and other interested parties from April 6 to April 10. The theme is “Essential Row Crop Management" for spring 2020, with a focus on key topics to be addressed prior to the planting season.

Webinar: Managing Corn and Soybean in Storage for Maximum Quality and Safety, March 31

By Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator - Crops

For many, the 2019 cropping season resulted in corn and soybeans that were higher in grain moisture than normal. As a result, corn and soybeans in storage may be poorer in quality and/or deteriorate rapidly if not managed properly this spring. Wet grain also poses a greater risk for grain bin accidents to occur.

Dr. Ken Hellevang, Agricultural Engineer at North Dakota State University, will present his recommendations for managing corn and soybean in on-farm storage on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 from 8:00 to 9:00 CST.

The connection between soil organic matter and soil water

Anna Cates, State soil health specialist

One benefit of increasing soil organic matter is to store more water in your soil. Why does this happen? Because soil organic matter creates pores in a range of sizes. Exactly how much more water is stored due to soil organic matter will depend on soil texture, though.

Soil organic matter is a busy mix of materials- fragments of last year’s stalks and roots, earthworm casts, and living microbes and invertebrates, to name just a few. These materials are broken down by physical and biological processes. For example, freezing and thawing causes plant residue to lose its structure. Tiny dissolved molecules flow deep into the soil with rainwater. Hungry invertebrates, fungi, and bacteria consume complex living and dead organic material and excrete nutrients they don’t need in a smaller, simpler form. These small organic molecules can stick to clay surfaces. Clay surfaces covered with organic material grow like snowballs, and soil aggregates are form…