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Is it worth applying sulfur to your soybean crop?

By: Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist One question I have been receiving lately has been, what is the value of sulfur for soybean? Sulfur is an essential nutrient needed by all crops. Research has shown that sulfur can increase the yield of soybean in Minnesota but the larger responses that we have seen in Minnesota occurred before sulfur was being consistently applied to row crops in the state. Sulfur carryover While the crop-available form of sulfur (sulfate) is leachable in the soils, the movement of sulfate is not rapid, and some sulfate can be carried over from one year to the next. One example is a study funded by AFREC where sulfur was applied at 25 pounds per acre as ammonium sulfate (AMS) ahead of the corn crop over a period of six years. Corn was grown in years 1, 3, and 5 while the impacts of carryover sulfate were measured on soybean in years 2, 4, and 6. During the first application of sulfur, there was little crop response to the applied sulfur, but ove
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MN CropCast: An in-depth discussion about successful corn and soybean planting in 2024

In episode #32 Dave Nicolai and Seth Naeve chat with Dr. Jeff Coulter, University of Minnesota Extension corn agronomist about planting the 2024 corn crop in Minnesota. In addition, Seth, U of MN Extension soybean specialist, discusses the outlook for soybean planting this spring. Jeff talks about optimal corn planting dates, desired soil conditions, corn planting populations and corn maturity hybrid planting dates. Seth also discusses in detail the results of early soybean planting date research and recommendations for soybean planting populations. While recent snow/rain events in Minnesota decreased the level of moderate drought (D1) ratings in Minnesota to 43% as of March 28th compared to 75% the previous week, Minnesota is still in the category of “Abnormally dry”. However, both agronomists indicate that April precipitation can still have a significant effect on increasing soil moisture, thus corn and soybean planting should proceed in a traditional timetable based on soil conditio

GreenCovR: Cover crop management tool provides local information on green cover achieved by management

By: Bailey Tangen, Extension educator, water resources and soil health If you or someone you know is growing cover crops this spring, help us get local data on cover crop growth that can provide context for cover crop management. Take a photo right before spring termination and submit it to z.umn.edu/green_covr . Join the ongoing effort for data collection For every photo with cover crop management information you submit, your contact email will be entered in a drawing to win a $50 gift card. A winner will be selected for every 20 photos submitted. The deadline for entry is June 15th, and winners will be notified by June 30th. We will also be looking to collect photos at the end of the 2024 growing season. The more data we have, the better likelihood we have of helping our farmers achieve cover crop success! Cover crop management in Minnesota Cover crops are important soil covers during times when fields are normally left bare. These covers protect soil, water quality, and farmers’ bot

Can soil health management get you into the field earlier?

By: Anna Cates, Extension soil health specialist; Katie Black, Extension educator, climate adaptation & resilience; Bill Lazarus, Extension economist; Amit Pradhananga, Department of Forest Resources Center for Changing Landscapes; & Bailey Tangen, Extension educator, water resources & soil health  Field workability. It’s difficult to quantify, because whether it’s a good time for field work depends on the work you’re trying to do, your equipment, your soil type, as well as maybe your tolerance for compaction and the other time-sensitive elements of the farm system. But lots of growers using soil health practices describe being able to do the work they needed to in more diverse conditions. For example, Vance Johnson, a farmer in Wilkin County, MN, described in a recent talk how he was able to finish planting in a light rain in a reduced-till field with lots of residue, while in a conventionally tilled plot he could barely make it to the end of the field to get out, and stil

Spring and summer grazing in 2024

Craig Sheaffer, Extension forage agronomist, Krishona Martinson,  Extension equine specialist, Troy Salzer, Extension educator, David Nicolai, Extension educator-crops, and Kabita Poudel, UMN graduate student Key points Above normal early spring temperatures followed by precipitation will lead to rapid pasture regrowth as air temperature rise. Grazing of tall and short growing grasses and legumes should be delayed until minimum heights of 8-10 and 4-6 inches, respectively, are reached to allow for recharging of plant energy reserves. Following initial grazing, mostly grass pastures should be rested for a minimum of 2 weeks or until regrowth to 8-10” Planting of warm season grasses like sudangrass grass and sudan-sorghum hybrids is a strategy to provide summer forage should drought occur. Pasture regrowth Regrowth in spring after grazing forage grasses and legumes is described by a general growth curve (Figure 1). Initial forage yield is low because plant energy reserves (carbohydrates

Strategic Farming: Let's talk crops focused on emerging corn and soybean diseases

Phyllis Bongard, Extension content development and communications specialist, and Dean Malvick, Extension plant pathologist Northern corn leaf blight In recent years, several corn and soybean diseases typically observed further south have made their way into Minnesota. Dr. Dean Malvick, Extension plant pathologist, joined moderator Claire LaCanne, Extension educator-crops, to discuss emerging and familiar crop diseases, and how to identify and manage them in the final 2024 session of Strategic Farming: Let’s talk crops. Corn diseases Gray leaf spot Gray leaf spot (GLS) is not a new disease in Minnesota, but it is less of an issue for us than it is for our neighbors to the south. The fungus that causes GLS is favored by prolonged high humidity and warm temperatures, so southern Illinois, for example, is an area that has seen high very levels of GLS. While we certainly experience high humidity during the summer, it doesn’t tend to be on a broad enough scale to favor significant levels of

Video: What to know about nitrogen inhibitors and other enhanced efficiency fertilizers

In this short video, Extension nutrient management specialist Fabian Fernandez discusses nitrogen inhibitors and other enhanced efficiency fertilizers. What types are there? Where do they make the most sense? Should you use them this spring? Enhanced efficiency fertilizers, such as nitrogen inhibitors and slow- and controlled-release products, are fertilizer that has been modified to reduce losses to the environment and increase nutrient availability. These products can help farmers increase yield, save on fertilizer costs, and protect the environment, but there are some things you should keep in mind. Nitrogen inhibitors Inhibitors are sometimes referred to as stabilizers, but I believe this word can be misleading. In the soil, there is nothing stable about urea or ammonium. They will eventually transform to a form of nitrogen that can be lost. The most important thing to remember about inhibitors is that they delay nitrogen transformation. Nitrogen inhibitors are classified into two