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Everything manure: Midwest experts answer common questions heading into fall

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, we’re talking about fall manure best practices. What are some best management practices for the fall manure application season? If you're a crop farmer thinking about getting manure this fall, what information do you need from the producer or the manure applicator? What are some things to look out for? What's on the horizon for manure application? What are some practical safety solutions surrounding manure and the application of manure? PUBLISHED TRANSCRIPT Guests: Melissa Wilson, Extension manure management specialist (St. Paul) Kevin Erb, Director, Conservation Professional Training Program, University of WI - Madison Daniel Andersen, Extension specialist and assistant professor, Iowa State University Additional resources: Do the "4R's" apply to manure? You betcha! Tips for fall manure application, and how to avoid nutrient loss Manure research in Minnesota StoryMaps MN Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast UW Conser
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Know your SCN numbers: Free fall sampling program available

Angie Peltier, Extension educator-crops Figure. Soybean roots, with yellow arrows pointing to swollen female SCN and the white  arrow to a  much larger nitrogen fixing nodule.  Photo: Angie Peltier Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is a microscopic worm that is attracted to and infests soybean roots where it uses for its own growth and development the water and sugars that the soybean plant takes up to develop leaves, flowers, pods and beans. Capable of causing significant yield loss without alerting a producer of its presence, SCN caused an estimated $7.65 million in lost yield in 2022 in Minnesota (Crop Protection Network, 2023), making it the top yield-limiting pathogen of soybean in Minnesota and throughout the Midwest. At certain points in the Minnesota soybean growing season, plants infested with SCN can be dug up and the soil gently shaken from the roots to reveal creamy, white, lemon-shaped, swollen female SCN (Figure). Much smaller and more uniform in size and shape than nitrogen fi

How do wet and dry years affect corn yield and nitrate leaching under different irrigation and nitrogen management strategies?

By: Vasudha Sharma, Extension irrigation specialist and Andrea Elvir Flores, Graduate research assistant The number of irrigated acres in Minnesota is increasing as more and more growers look for ways to ensure high crop yields during dry years. This blog post provides an update on a field research study being conducted at two irrigated corn sites in Minnesota’s central sands region. After three years of data at one of the sites, we’ve seen some interesting results on how a reduced irrigation strategy could save water and reduce nitrate leaching, saving farmers money and benefiting the environment. Why do this research? In Minnesota, irrigation is common in the central region of the state and a necessary practice for the success of numerous crops such as corn, soybeans and potatoes. However, the lack of precise irrigation recommendations for Minnesota soils and production systems raises concerns about the impact of irrigation on ground and surface water resources and quality. High rate

Minnesota CropCast: Dr. Craig Sheaffer, Part 1: A Career in Forage Research at the University of Minnesota

Dr. Craig Sheaffer has been on the faculty in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics since 1977. Dr Sheaffer’s research on forage production has led to authorship of around 275 scientific publications, as well as scores of book chapters and extension publications. Although he has worked on pasture management and has focused his efforts on many species of forage crops, his true love is alfalfa. In this episode, Craig sits down with David Nicolai and Seth Naeve to talk about his history at the University of Minnesota and his many collaborators, colleagues, and friends there. Craig discussed changes that he has seen in agriculture in Minnesota and talked about alfalfa varieties and the testing program over the years. This is part one of a two-part series that touches on some of the highlights of Dr. Sheaffer’s illustrious career. Part 1 emphasizes his research efforts while Part 2 will highlight his teaching career at the University of Minnesota. Listen to the podcast What is Mi

Urea and sugarbeet stand loss: Should growers change how they manage nitrogen?

By: Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist Urea is one of the most popular nitrogen fertilizer sources in Minnesota, but it can be trickier to manage than some other fertilizers because it has a higher risk of nitrogen loss via ammonia volatilization. It has been documented that spring application of urea can lead to sugarbeet stand reductions. Dry conditions in some areas of the state this year, especially on sandy soils, led to grower concerns about this issue. What does current research say about urea and sugarbeet stand loss? What is the problem? An ongoing study funded by the Sugarbeet Research and Education Board of Minnesota and North Dakota focuses on two areas: 1) Timing and rate of urea applications, and 2) Alternative products such as ESN and inhibitors marketed for urea. Stand reductions occur in both the northern and southern sugarbeet growing regions of Minnesota. While sugarbeet stand can be reduced by small rates of spring-applied N, typically the reductio

Tips and options for drought stressed pastures

Cow grazing in drought stressed field. Photo credit: Mercedes Moffett By:  Craig Sheaffer, Extension forage specialist, and David Nicolai, Troy Salzer, Mercedes Moffett, and Katherine Hagen, Extension Educators Drought has parched many cool-season grass and legume pastures this summer, and in some regions drought has continued into the fall. The drought has affected pasture productivity, plant health, and livestock stocking rate. Here are some tips and options to consider for management of pastures to provide forage for livestock and to insure long term productivity. Avoid overgrazing. Do not graze below a 4-inch height. Cool season grasses and legumes become dormant during drought. They will likely regrow upon resumption of normal rainfall if not subject to extra stress. During dormancy, the leaves and stems stop growing but the growing points and crowns are still alive. Overgrazing, that removes all leaves and stems can weaken plants and lead to stand loss and weed invasion. Per

Considerations for new cover crop rotations

By: Brooke Sonnek Extension ANR Intern, Blue Earth & Le Sueur Counties, Shane Bugeja, Extension Educator, Blue Earth & Le Sueur Counties (reviewer), Liz Stahl, Crops Extension Educator (reviewer) Questions to ask when adding a cover crop to your rotation Cover crops can be used in a crop rotation to improve environmental conditions including soil health attributes. They can also be utilized more like a second cash crop. The University of MN has been developing and testing popular cover crops and developing new ones for farmers to utilize. While there are valid agronomic considerations for including a cover crop in your rotation, before adding them it is important to ask the following questions. Purpose and priorities for your operation When deciding whether to add a cover crop into your cropping rotation, you should first create a plan and understand the priorities of your operation and ask the question, “why?” Considerations could include: Soil health/reducing erosion Nutrien