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Field Notes discussed cool, wet spring and forecast's impact on crop and pest development

By Angie Peltier, UMN Extension crops educator Photo: Liz Stahl, UMN Extension Some Minnesotans are experiencing a bit of ‘weather whiplash’ as some areas that experienced a historically severe drought in 2021 are currently experiencing very wet weather. In addition to delaying spring planting, the weather also impacts when crop pests will emerge or arrive.  On May 11, 2022, Dr. Dennis Todey, Director of the USDA Midwest Climate Hub, Bruce Potter, University of Minnesota Extension IPM specialist, Drs. Jeff Coulter, UMN Extension corn agronomist and Seth Naeve, UMN Extension soybean agronomist, joined UMN Extension educators David Nicolai, Anthony Hanson and Jared Goplen for a wide-ranging discussion of how the wet 2022 spring weather and forecast for the rest of the growing season will affect spring field operations, summer crop growth and development and the arrival and emergence of crop pests. This was the first episode of the 2022 Strategic Farming: Field Notes program in this serie
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Crop production after heavy rain and field flooding

Anthony Hanson, Extension educator - IPM; Jeff Coulter, Extension corn agronomist; Seth Naeve, Extension soybean agronomist; Dean Malvick, Extension crop pathologist Heavy flooding and ponding in central MN meadows and fields. Photo: Adam Austing near Howard Lake, Wright County. A large swath of central Minnesota saw 4 to 7 inches of rain between May 7-14, with some locations reporting over 8 inches. This resulted in heavily flooded fields with standing water, even on sandy soils, or heavy runoff on hillsides. This all occurred only recently after conditions were finally fit for planting, especially for corn. This has left many growers asking how long recently planted seeds can survive underwater or in heavily saturated soil, and if there is any action they should be taking now, especially if soil crusting is a concern. Flooding Whether a seed or seedling survives flooding is based on the length of time that flooding lasts and the soil temperature. Warmer temperatures increase plant re

Q&A with Dan Kaiser on Minnesota’s updated fertilizer guidelines for corn

Dan Kaiser, University of Minnesota Extension nutrient management specialist, recently updated the fertilizer guidelines for corn and soybeans in Minnesota. Below are some common questions he gets about the corn guidelines and his answers: How should growers use the fertilizer rate guidelines? We know there can be variability from field to field, and even within a field, in terms of fertility requirements. What our fertilizer rate guidelines provide is a starting point for growers and advisors, backed up by real world data. One of the main focuses of our Nitrogen Smart program is to start with the university-suggested rate and adjust a little bit up or down based on what you know about your field. For example, this year , following a dry 2021 growing season, would have been a good year to take a pre-plant  nitrate test (PPNT)  to see if there’s some carryover nitrogen (N) left in the soil that you could credit for this year’s crop. Then, you could apply a lower overall N rate this sp

Corn and soybean fertilizer guidelines for Minnesota: Spring 2022 update

By: Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist Proper nutrient management is a key component of profitable corn and soybean operations. With new data come new fertilizer guidelines for corn and soybean. These guidelines reflect recent research findings from around Minnesota. This blog post highlights the changes and provides links to web pages with the full guidelines for both crops, as well as printable PDFs of both publications. Corn fertilizer guidelines With the addition of data from the 2019, 2020, and 2021 growing seasons, we updated the suggested nitrogen rates (Table 1) in the  corn fertilizer guidelines . Suggested nitrogen rates for non-irrigated corn grown in the southern two-thirds of Minnesota increased slightly for both corn-following-corn and corn-following-soybean. Current fertilizer prices are hovering at or around the 0.15 price ratio. At that price ratio, the updated suggested rates are similar to those in the previous guidelines when fertilizer prices were

Dealing with planting delays

 Liz Stahl, Extension educator - crops On top of a cold, wet start to the season, recent rains have led to further planting delays across SW MN and other areas of the state. If conditions are keeping you from wrapping up planting, the following are some points to consider: Projected yield impacts Both corn and soybean hold their yield potential pretty well when planted up until mid-May, especially when the season starts out as cool as it has in 2022. After this point, however, decreases in yield potential become more significant. If planting is delayed until May 20, long-term U of MN research shows yield potential in corn can be expected to range from 92 to 95% of maximum, and around 94% of maximum in soybean. If planting is delayed until May 25, yield potential for corn drops to around 87 to 92% of maximum, and to 91% of maximum for soybean. If planting is delayed until May 30, yield potential for corn drops to 82 to 89% of maximum, and to 87% of maximum for soybean. If plantin

Crusting and Emergence Problems

Last week’s heavy rains have caused widespread crusting problems.  Dr. David Franzen, NDSU Extension Soil Scientist, summarized the options available to you in an article more than a decade ago.  It has been reprinted here as a refresher.   Crusting results from rains breaking down soil aggregates into particles that cement into hard layers at the soil surface when drying occurs rapidly. In soils that have not been seeded, the crust prevents further soil drying by sealing off the underlying soil from the air. The crust also reflects sunlight, in effect insulating the soil and maintaining cooler soil temperatures that further slow drying. Crusts in unseeded fields can be broken by working the fields very shallow, no deeper than the depth of the crust, with such tools as a rotary hoe, a field cultivator with narrow shovels or spikes, or a rigid harrow.  Breaking the crust will help dry the field more quickly and warm the soil. Some compaction will result from the extra trip over the fi

Fertilizing Winter Wheat and Winter Rye: Sooner Rather Than Later

Currently, the general recommendation for winter wheat and winter rye is to apply the majority of the nitrogen fertilizer early in the spring. Residual nitrogen and starter fertilizer provide adequate nitrogen to allow the crops to grow and tiller in the fall and the early spring timing reduces the risk of leaching and demineralization, thereby increasing overall nitrogen use efficiency, and creating flexibility should the winter wheat completely winterkill.   Ideally, we like you to apply the balance of the nitrogen as soon as the crop breaks dormancy and resumes growth. Winter wheat, like spring wheat, has the greatest need and uptake of nitrogen between jointing and heading. Winter wheat will take up nearly 3/4 of the total amount of nitrogen it will use in a season in that period.   This spring has been cold and wet. Consequently, you may have been holding off, waiting for drier conditions.  Unfortunately, time is not on your side, and the application needs to be made sooner rather