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What makes groundwater 'vulnerable' in Minnesota?

By: Extension educators Greg Klinger & Taylor Becker

Recently, in response to a previous blog post on the state’s updated Groundwater Protection Rule (GPR), we have been asked why groundwater in some areas of Minnesota is more vulnerable to contamination.

The GPR, which is focused on keeping the nitrate form of nitrogen out of groundwater, has a technical definition of what constitutes “vulnerable” groundwater areas. This definition, based on work done by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, has real-life consequences for farmers and agricultural professionals, as it restricts the application of nitrogen fertilizers in the fall and on frozen soils in these vulnerable areas. While there is a specific technical definition for “vulnerable”, in general terms, one of three factors must be present for groundwater to be more susceptible to contamination from activities on the land surface: sandy or gravelly (otherwise known as coarse…
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Nitrogen study looks at two cover crops’ potential to reduce nitrate leaching

A new Extension handout details research results from a study led by Extension specialist Fabian Fernandez at the Rosholt Research Farm in Westport, Minnesota. The farm is in the Bonanza Valley and has an irrigation system. The handout shows data from 2016 to 2019 for two cover crop systems: winter rye and Kura clover living mulch. 

Started in 2011, this research project is a long-term partnership between the University of Minnesota, the Pope County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, funded by the Minnesota Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment. Since its inception, this project has provided research projects for four graduate students.

The following is a Q&A between Extension communications specialist Paul McDivitt and Fabian Fernandez, lead researcher of the study:
What was your motivation for this study?We actually started this project before the new groundwater protection rule, but we knew that these areas are highly susceptible t…

Gopher Coffee Shop podcast: New weed scientist introduction

In this installment of the Gopher Coffee Shop podcast, Extension educators Ryan Miller and Brad Carlson sit down with Debalin Sarangi, University of Minnesota Extension Weed Scientist with the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics. We learn a little about Debalin’s background in weed science, talk about current issues in weed management, and visit about where he sees weed management headed as we move into the future. You also have the opportunity to help him with a new research project (see link below). Enjoy!

Weed seed sampling project article/request: https://blog-crop-news.extension.umn.edu/2020/09/herbicide-resistant-weed-screening.htmlListen to the podcast Read about current issues in the Minnesota Crop News blog:
Minnesota Crop News blog: https://z.umn.edu/cropnewsSign up to receive Minnesota Crop News: https://z.umn.edu/CropNewsSignup The Gopher Coffee Shop Podcast is available on Stitcher and iTunes.

For more information, visit University of Minnesota Extension Crop Pr…

5 takeaways on Minnesota's new soybean fertilizer guidelines

By: Dan Kaiser & Fabian Fernandez, Extension nutrient management specialists 
The addition of fertilizer can be an important part for profitable soybean production. While research on soybean fertility is ongoing in Minnesota, revisions to the soybean fertilizer guidelines encompassing more recent findings from research across the state are now available. Here are five takeaways on the use of fertilizer for soybean in Minnesota:
1. Nitrogen (N) fertilizer application for soybean is unlikely to pay offCurrent guidelines suggest some N should be applied in northern Minnesota on fields where there is little or no history of soybean being grown or in situations where nodulation may be poor. Research has demonstrated that nitrogen fertilizer application can increase soybean grain yield in very high yield potential situations. However, in our research the amount of N required to increase yield has always been greater than the value of the yield increased by the fertilizer applied. This is…

Gopher Coffee Shop podcast: Corn harvest

In this installment of the Gopher Coffee Shop podcast, Extension educators Ryan Miller and Brad Carlson visit with Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Systems Agronomist. We talk a little bit about things to consider as we enter corn harvest season. Topics covered include phantom yield loss, stalk and grain quality, grain moisture and dry down, compaction, and yield monitor calibration. Enjoy!
Link to recent article: https://blog-crop-news.extension.umn.edu/2020/09/prepare-for-corn-harvest.html
Listen to the podcast Read about current issues in the Minnesota Crop News blog:
Minnesota Crop News blog: https://z.umn.edu/cropnewsSign up to receive Minnesota Crop News: https://z.umn.edu/CropNewsSignup The Gopher Coffee Shop Podcast is available on Stitcher and iTunes.

For more information, visit University of Minnesota Extension Crop Production at http://z.umn.edu/crops.

Nutrient management in northwest Minnesota: 5 things to know

1. Under what conditions is it most economical to apply P fertilizer? A three-year study funded by Minnesota's Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council (AFREC) of corn and soybean in northwest Minnesota found that it was more economical to apply phosphorus (P) fertilizer on low and medium testing soils. When properly fertilized, soils with low and medium P soil test values can yield the same as high and very high P testing soils. The probability of corn and soybean yield being limited is very low when soils test high or very high in soil test P.2. Does ESN provide a yield and protein advantage in hard red spring wheat?  ESN is an effective way to reduce the risk of nitrogen loss. AFREC-funded research in northwest Minnesota has demonstrated the potential for ESN to boost protein content in wheat grain. However, the ratio of ESN to urea is important as increasing the percentage of ESN may result in decreased wheat grain yield in dry years.
3. What is the optimal rate o…

Commercial Animal Waste Technicians (CAWT) who still need to recertify for 2020 can now do so online

For CAWT Site Managers and Applicators who were unable to attend a recertifying workshop in 2020 due to COVID-19, the University of Minnesota Extension, along with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, is now offering Commercial Animal Waste Technicians the ability to recertify by taking the course online. For more information and to register: z.umn.edu/CAWT2020This interactive course includes reading text, watching short videos and taking quick quizzes. The course costs $10 and should take approximately 3 hours to complete. Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to print off a certificate, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture will be notified and you will be officially recertified.
Note: This course is for recertification only. For initial certification, new applicators must watch this video and take a quiz.

For more information regarding the course, contact Extension educator Brenda Postels at post0060@umn.edu or …