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NDSU offers advice on grain drying and storage after drastic outdoor cooling

by Kenneth Hellevang, Ph.D., PE, Extension Engineer, North Dakota State University

The drastic outdoor cooling that has occurred may create some grain storage and drying problems. Dr. Ken Hellevang, Extension Engineer at North Dakota State University, answers several questions that he received in the paragraphs below. The questions are italicized and his answers immediately follow.

"With the sudden change in air temps, what is the best management strategy for running aeration fans on bins to cool grain without freezing the bin?"

The kernels will not freeze together if the corn moisture content is below 24%. There is extensive experience with cooling corn to well below freezing and the corn still being able to flow normally. The acceptable moisture content decreases with more foreign material in the corn. I recommend that corn moisture be less than 24% to hold it until outdoor temperatures are above freezing and at or below 21% to hold corn until spring.

Some people are recom…
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2019 University of Minnesota's variety crop trial results available now

The Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) have just published the 2019 Field Crop Trials Bulletin.  Visit https://z.umn.edu/2019croptrials to see variety trials for 11 crops, including red clover, which returns after several years.

Follow these links to find the corn, soybeans, spring wheat, winter wheat, barley, oats,  and alfalfa trials directly. Because of the late harvest, the U of M Corn Silage Crop Variety Trials are delayed. Data and results for the Corn Silage Trials will be available soon on maes.umn.edu.

Successful crop production begins with variety and hybrid selection. Whether selecting a corn hybrid for grain or silage, a soybean variety or small grains cultivar, choose hybrids and varieties that consistently perform well over a wide range of soil and weather conditions.

Yield stability is critical for minimizing risk, since growing conditions can’t be predicted ahead of time. Average…

Can precision agriculture help growers with nutrient management?

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, the group discusses precision agriculture and nutrient management. What is the current state of precision agriculture? Which areas can growers benefit the most from incorporating precision ag technologies into current farming systems? Is precision agriculture part of the answer for reducing nutrient loss to ground and surface waters? Listen to the podcastView the podcast transcriptSubscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode on iTunes or Stitcher!

For the latest nutrient management information, subscribe to Minnesota Crop News email alerts, like UMN Extension Nutrient Management on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and visit our website.

Support for the Nutrient Management Podcast is provided in part by the Agricultural Fertilizer Research & Education Council (AFREC).

Reducing Bt trait acres in 2020 Minnesota corn production? Implications for European corn borer

Bruce Potter, Extension IPM specialist, Ken Ostlie, Bill Hutchison, Extension entomologists, and Angie Peltier, Extension educator

The economics of 2019-2020 corn production has challenged many farmers to minimize production costs. Hybrid selection is one way to reduce costs. Planting corn hybrids without Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) proteins for protection against European corn borer (ECB), corn rootworm, or both will reduce seed costs. However, if not careful, farmers could inadvertently reduce crop revenues if they select hybrids without considering yield potential or insect populations in their fields.

Yield potential is the first thing to consider when selecting a corn hybrid. Bt traits protect the yield potential of a hybrid, but yield benefits only occur when targeted insects are above economic levels. When insect pressure is low or absent, economic benefit with trait-protected hybrids only occurs if higher costs are offset by greater yields. Switching to less-expensive non-Bt s…

Strategic Farming: A new webinar series

The Strategic Farming educational program is taking a new turn in 2020. In an effort to expand opportunities for farmers to gather and learn about research-based, crop production information throughout the year, University of Minnesota Extension is launching the Strategic Farming – Optimizing Management for 2020 webinar series December 19, 2019.

The fourth season of the Strategic Farming Program will feature five, one-hour webinars with university specialists and educators addressing key management topics. You may join live, which enables you to take part in a question and answer session at the end of each webinar, or tune in later as your schedule allows. All sessions will be recorded and available for viewing at your convenience.

The primary target audience for the series is farmers, but all interested agricultural professionals, agency personnel, educators, etc. are welcome to participate as well. There is no fee to join the webinars, but you will need to register for each …

Four years of tillage research wraps up

Jodi DeJong-Hughes, Extension educator

A variety of tillage practices have been used since the beginning of agriculture. Proper tillage warms and dries the soil, kills weeds, incorporates fertilizers, and breaks up compacted layers. On the down side, tillage breaks apart soil aggregates, creating smaller-sized particles that leads to soil erosion, crusting of the soil surface, hard pans, water quality issues, and over time, a decrease in soil organic matter.

One hundred years ago, there were few choices of tillage tools. However, in the past 25 years, there has been an upsurge in the configurations of shanks, disks, and shovels that till the soil at different depths and aggressiveness levels. These new tools impact soil warming and drying and may ultimately affect crop yield.

Less tillage on cropland allows the soil to take in more intense rainfall before runoff begins, thereby reducing soil loss. Advantages to the crop producer include
better economics. less wear and tear on equip…

Is tillage a fertilizer best management practice?

By: Extension specialists Daniel Kaiser, Lindsay Pease, and Fabian Fernandez

With fall winding down and the hard winter freeze setting in, growers may be asking if fall tillage is an option for some fields. While there are pros and cons in terms of soil conservation, when it comes to fertilizer application, tillage is a good option for broadcast and other surface applications.

Plant nutrients need time to react with the soil in order to reduce the potential for off-target movement. The amount of time needed can vary by nutrient. Commercial fertilizer sources are highly water-soluble but can still take a few days to weeks in order to reduce the risk of nutrient movement off the field. As we push further into the fall and soils freeze, they become impermeable and nutrients cannot move downward into the soil profile as easily.

The potential for loss of nutrients broadcast on the soil surface increases if there is substantial water movement across the soil surface. For example, phospho…