Skip to main content


2019 Field School for Ag Professionals July 30 &31

by Dave Nicolai, IAP Coordinator

Register soon for the 2019 Field School for Ag Professionals which will be held on July 30 - 31 at the University of Minnesota Agriculture Experiment Station in St. Paul. Field School for Ag Professional is the summer training opportunity that combines hands-on training and real world field scenarios. 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. Watch the 2019 Field School video for more information:

The University of Minnesota Institute for Ag Professionals Field School offers an opportunity to enhance troubleshooting and crop management skills in specially designed plots that display actual cropping situations. A key feature of the Field School is the small learning groups to enhance the learning experience. Register early (by J…
Recent posts

Check Driftwatch/FieldCheck (FieldWatch) before you spray

Tana Haugen-BrBrown, Pesticide safety and environmental education coordinator, and Larry VanLieshout, MN Department of Agriculture

The Driftwatch program has been around for a number of years. This voluntary program’s goal is to promote pesticide sensitive site awareness and enable communication between applicators and producers of sensitive crops to prevent unwanted pesticide drift. DriftWatch is not owned by MDA and it is not a regulatory program. 

Larry VanLieshout from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture shares this important information to help your spray season go well: 

To reduce the potential for pesticide drift injury to sensitive crops and beehives check the FieldCheck (FieldWatch) map prior to application.

FieldCheck, DriftWatch, and BeeCheck are free, voluntary online registries that allow specialty crop producers (including beekeepers) to communicate the location of their pesticide-sensitive sites to pesticide applicators. Applicators can then take necessary precautions …

Small Grains Disease and Pest Update 06/14/2019

Scouts continue to find tan spot in both winter wheat and spring wheat in their second week of scouting. There were no reports for Septoria spp. or leaf rust. The reported incidence and severity of tan spot increased a bit from the previous week. The risk assessment models mirror their findings as conditions for septoria and leaf rust were not as favorable as have been for tan spot.

As temperatures and relative humidities are forecasted to increase in immediate weather forecast so are the risk for all three leaf disease complexes are also trending higher.

If you have not completed weed control in spring wheat yet, consider tank-mixing half a labeled rate of a registered fungicide with your weed control program to control early season tan spot in spring wheat when tan spot can found in your fields.

Winter wheat is flowering or Feekes 10.51 in the southern half of Minnesota. To date, the risk model for FHB continues to be trending low, largely because of the cooler temperatures rather t…

Palmer amaranth in manure: What can you do?

Chryseis Modderman, Extension educator – manure nutrient management

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has identified manure as a pathway of introduction for Palmer amaranth. Specifically, Palmer amaranth seeds that contaminated sunflower screenings were fed to cattle. Some of those seeds survived digestion, and when that manure was spread onto cropland, those seeds germinated.

As a newly-identified problem in this state, it is worth taking a moment to examine seed viability in manure and what this might mean for Minnesota livestock and crop producers. Note that this article’s focus is manure and it will not delve into the specifics of Palmer amaranth and the challenges it presents. In short, this is an Eradicate Prohibited Noxious Weed, meaning the goal is to entirely eradicate this weed; and it is illegal for this seed to be transported or sold. UMN Extension has more information, and MDA has put out a press release about this problematic weed.
Reducing Palmer amaranth seed in …

IPM podcast: Weed management under delayed planting conditions

Welcome to the 2nd IPM Podcast for Field Crops – 2019 The purpose of the IPM podcasts is to alert Growers, Ag Professionals and Educators about emerging pest concerns on Minnesota Field Crops - including corn, soybean, small grains and alfalfa. We also review recent pest trends and research updates.

Our guest this week was Dr. Jeff Gunsolus, University of Minnesota Extension Weed Specialist for corn and soybeans. Since 1986, Dr. Gunsolus has had an active extension and research program in Minnesota that is focused on helping growers’ diversify their weed management programs. We met with Dr. Gunsolus on June 12th to provide an update about weed management under this year's delayed corn and soybean planting conditions.

This podcast was held at the Entomology Department, University of Minnesota and hosted by Dave Nicolai, Crops Extension Educator & Coordinator for the Extension Institute for Ag Professionals. Special thanks to Anthony Hanson, Extension Post-Doctoral Associate fo…

Gopher Coffee Shop podcast: Late planting and fertility concerns

In this installment of the Gopher Coffee Shop podcast, Extension educators Ryan Miller and Brad Carlson sit down with Jeff Vetsch, Soil scientist at the Southern Research and Outreach Center, to chat about Minnesota agriculture and the current 2019 growing season. This week’s conversation includes a variety of topics related to the late start of the growing season with a focus on fertility concerns.

Recent Minnesota Crop News blog posts that have focused on these topics can be found at:
Minnesota Crop News blog: up to receive Minnesota Crop News: to the podcast The Gopher Coffee Shop Podcast is available on Stitcher and iTunes.

For more information, visit University of Minnesota Extension Crop Production.

Scouting for insects in alfalfa

Anthony Hanson, Extension postdoctoral associate and Bill Hutchison, Extension entomologist

Late-May and June is the time to begin scouting for insect problems in alfalfa. Primarily two insects can occasionally cause economic damage in Minnesota: alfalfa weevil in spring, and potato leafhopper throughout the growing season as population levels increase.
Alfalfa weevil Alfalfa weevil is an early-season pest of alfalfa in Minnesota. Larvae are the most damaging stage that can skeletonize leaves where only leaf veins or holes remain (Fig. 1). Larvae are yellow to green color with a black head and a white stripe along their back. Often, growers become aware of the larvae when they find them on their mower during the first cutting of the year.
Scouting Scouting should occur in mid-May through June by using a sweep net to determine if larvae are present. If present, select and cut 30 plants across the field at ground level. Record each plant’s height and shake in a 5-gallon bucket to determ…