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Showing posts from 2018

Nitrogen Conference and Nutrient Management Conference

Join us in February for two essential conferences U of M Extension and Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center (MAWRC) are pleased to invite you to the Nitrogen Conference and Nutrient Management Conference.

Each conference offers continuing education credits (CEUs) in soil and water and nutrient management for Certified Crop Advisers (CCA).

5th Annual Nitrogen Conference February 5, 2019 in Mankato

This conference brings together experts to focus entirely on this valuable input. Current topics in crop production and environmental stewardship will be relevant and informative for today's agricultural producers and professionals.

View details on the Nitrogen Conference, including breakout sessions.

11th Annual Nutrient Management Conference February 19, 2019 in St. Cloud

Sessions will cover challenges in phosphorus and sulfur management, nitrogen applications under irrigation, and effects of phosphorus availability due to residue management.

Get more details on the Nutrient…

2018 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 2018 Field Crop Trials Bulletin. Simply follow this link to find the results for your crop of interest or follow these links to find cornsoybeansspring wheat, winter wheat, barley, oatsalfalfa or silage corn directly.

2019 Research Updates for Ag Professionals - January 8-10 & 15-17

by David Nicolai, Institute for Ag Professionals Program Coordinator

The 2019 Research Update sessions are scheduled for these locations: Waseca, Rochester and Lamberton (Jan 8, 9 and 10 respectively) and Morris, Willmar, and Crookston (Jan 15, 16 and 17 respectively) from 12:30 pm–4:40 pm for each location. Registration fee is $55 through 1/4/2019, $60 beginning 1/5/2019 or at the door. Online registration and session abstracts are available on our website at or on-site registration begins at 11:30 a.m. at each location.

Biostimulants: What are they and do they work?

In recent years, biostimulants have sparked an interest with many crop producers. With these products getting more attention, we find there is much to debate on their effectiveness. Before we discuss whether Extension recommends them, let’s talk about the different types and what they actually do.
What are biostimulants? A legal definition of biostimulants has yet to be decided. However, the European Biostimulants Industry Council describes them as “Substances and/or microorganisms whose function when applied to plants or the rhizosphere is to stimulate natural processes to benefit nutrient uptake, nutrient use efficiency tolerance to abiotic stress, and/or crop quality, independently of its nutrient content.”

There are many categories of biostimulants. The most popular are humic acids, seaweed extracts, liquid manure composting and beneficial bacteria and fungi.
Humic and fulvic acids – parts of soil organic matter resulting from the decomposition of plant, animal, and microbial resi…

Optimize corn hybrid selection

By Jeff Coulter, Extension corn agronomist
Hybrid selection is one of the most important decisions in corn production. Results from the 2018 University of Minnesota corn grain and silage performance trials are available at

Hybrids that consistently perform well across multiple locations or years in a region are desirable because next year’s growing conditions are uncertain.

Consider trial results from multiple sources, including universities, grower associations, seed companies, and on-farm trials. Results from other corn trials are available at:
Minnesota Corn Growers AssociationIowa State University University of WisconsinNorth Dakota State University South Dakota State University Criteria for selecting corn hybrids for grain:
Identify an acceptable maturity range based on the growing degree days required for a hybrid to reach maturity. Selected hybrids should reach maturity at least 10 days before the first average freeze to allow time for grain dry-down…

Nutrient Management Podcast: On-Farm Research

On-farm research can provide great management benefits when done the right way. The key is in paying attention to the details and having a plan every step of the way. On this podcast, Brad Carlson, Anne Nelson and Dan Kaiser discuss what makes a good on-farm test, what to do with your data and how to ensure that data is good.
Click here to listen to the podcast.

Subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode on iTunes or Stitcher!

For the latest nutrient management information, like UMN Extension Nutrient Management on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or visit our website.
Support for this project was provided in part by the Agricultural Fertilizer Research & Education Council (AFREC).

On-Farm Research

Anne Nelson, Brad Carlson and Dan Kaiser talk through on-farm research: what makes a good trial, what to do with your data, what makes for good reporting and some snafus they've seen along the way. If you're considering on-farm trials for spring, listen to this first.

Fall Fertilizer Application Outlook

Fall 2018 has brought late fertilizer applications followed by cold temperatures and freezing soils. Frozen soils can present problems for the application of commercial fertilizers. All commercial fertilizers are water-soluble. However, we see variation in how long it takes for the material to fully dissolve. It is important for reactions with the soil for the fertilizer to dissolve. Any material that has not had some reaction with the soil may be susceptible to loss should water move across the field.

Late fall fertilizer applications brings water quality concerns surrounding the loss of nitrogen and phosphorus. Potential loss of urea can occur until hydrolysis converts urea to ammonium which can be held by charges on soil clay. Urea is a neutral molecule and will readily move with water. Full conversion to nitrate also presents issues as nitrate is not retained by soil.

Phosphorus loss can occur when fertilizer is applied to the soil surface and not incorporated. Research in Iowa h…

Got wet (or damaged) beans?

by Seth Naeve, Extension soybean agronomist
It has been a tough season for soybean farmers in Minnesota, on many fronts. The icing on the cake has been the difficult and lingering harvest season. Record rainfalls in early October, followed by below average temperatures complicated the lives of many farmers across the state of Minnesota. Fortunately, the USDA-NASS November 19 Crop Progress report indicated that 98 percent of the soybeans in the state have been harvested.

Timely Tips for Soybean Nutrient Management

Nutrient management questions are common for soybean across Minnesota as soybean is a major rotational crop in many areas. While our research has not always shown a great benefit of fertilizer applied directly to soybean it does not mean that soybean should be forgotten about when making fertilizer decisions. Even with yield levels less than corn, nutrient concentrations in the soybean grain are substantial enough where continual removal of nutrients can result in deficiencies over time. Here are a few tips based on current research to get the most out of your fertilizer dollar for soybean.

1. Don’t forget about your beans

Fertilization prior to the crop preceding soybean is common in many areas across Minnesota. Recent data suggests that soybean will respond to nutrients applied ahead of the previous crop as long as you apply a sufficient rate. If soils test low in P or K, you’ll likely be able to maximize yield of the first year crop but with an insufficient rate you may be losing …

Applying Manure When the Soil Is Frozen or Snow-covered

It’s been a wet fall in many parts of the state and now winter has come early. Many producers face the difficult task of getting manure land applied to avoid overflowing storages. While we do not generally recommend applying manure to frozen or snow-covered soils due to runoff risks, sometimes there is no other option. Here are some possible things you can do to minimize the risks:

For liquid manure, empty your storage enough to make it through the winter then apply the rest in spring. This will allow you to apply manure at lower rates in each field.Find fields that are level and have crop residue.Keep a distance from sensitive features. When you cannot incorporate because of winter conditions, regulations state you need a 300 foot setback from streams, lakes, drainage ditches, and open tile intakes.Pay attention to weather and field conditions. Especially avoid surface manure applications when:There are 2 inches of snow, or more, and the weather forecast predicts temperatures to go h…

Controlled Release Nitrogen: Another Tool in the Toolbox

With harvest wrapping up this fall our attentions are being drawn to the next growing season already. Now’s the time to choose what seed hybrid to plant, which tillage method to implement, how much fertilizer to apply, and in some cases what source of that fertilizer to use. Controlled release fertilizers (CRF) have been on the market for some time now and have shown good results in certain situations. Before you jump in, consider how a CRFs work and whether it would be a good fit for your operation.
What are the main forms? CRFs fall under a broader group of fertilizers called enhanced efficiency fertilizers (EEFs). This group includes: Controlled release fertilizers. Physical barrier such as a resin or polymer. Release affected mainly by temperature, but also by thickness of the coating, moisture, handling, and placement. Rate of release is fairly consistent. Slow release fertilizers. Microbial or chemical barrier effected by temperature, moisture, soil pH, and microbial activity. R…

Take a proactive approach to managing Palmer amaranth in Minnesota crop production fields

Jeff Gunsolus, Extension weed scientist
Early detection and eradication of Palmer amaranth will pay you dividends in reduced management costs. Differentiating Palmer amaranth from the other common amaranth species is challenging. However, because Palmer amaranth and tall waterhemp are biologically similar, you can approach this challenge with the weed management tactics that you would use for effective tall waterhemp control.

Register now for the Crop Pest Management Short Course

By Dave Nicolai, Institute for Ag Professionals Program Coordinator
The three-day Minnesota Crop Pest Management Short Course program and Minnesota Crop Production Retailers Trade Show starts Tuesday, December 11th and continues through Thursday, December 13th. The Crop Pest Management Short Course educational sessions will begin on Wednesday, December 12th from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM and continue on Thursday, December 13th from 8:00 AM to 2:20 PM. The trade show and educational sessions will take place at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The University of Minnesota educational session agendas and session descriptions may be accessed at the Crop Pest Management Short Course website.

A Look Back at Soybean and Corn Diseases in Minnesota in 2018

Dean Malvick, Extension plant pathologist
This article is a recap of some of the most common and problematic diseases of soybean and corn in Minnesota in 2018. Looking back at diseases that affected crop growth and yield can help explain why yields were not as expected in some areas and help prepare for next year. This reflects a broad overview, although much variation occurred across Minnesota fields based on weather, variety, cropping practices, soil type, and geography.

2018 U of M SE Minnesota regional soybean yield results available

by Lisa Behnken, Ryan Miller, Liz Stahl and Fritz Breitenbach
Performance comparisons of early (1.1-1.8) and late (1.9-2.4) maturity glyphosate and or dicamba tolerant soybean in southeastern Minnesota are now available. Yields for 23 early-maturity entries ranged from 48.8 to 63.6 bushels per acre and from 55.1 to 64.4 bu/a for the 21 late- maturity entries.

Managing the potential for volunteer corn in 2019

by Dave Nicolai, Liz Stahl and Jeff Gunsolus
The 2018 corn growing season was challenging for Minnesota growers. Excessive precipitation in some areas of the state and dry conditions in others, along with wind storms and tornadoes, has taken its toll on consistency in corn yields. The weather, along with disease and the early dying of some corn hybrids, has led to limited stalk strength at harvest. As a result, we expect the occurrence of volunteer corn to be greater in areas of the state in 2019 due to a higher potential for corn ears and kernels to be left in the field this fall.

Nutrient Management Podcast: Tips for Fall Applications

This fall has been wet and now soil temperatures are beginning to cool. What is your plan for fall fertilizer and manure application? Dan Kaiser, Fabian Fernandez, Chryseis Modderman and Melissa Wilson join us this podcast episode to talk through what you need to be thinking about for fall applications right now.
Click here to listen to the podcast.

Subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode on iTunes or Stitcher!

For the latest nutrient management information, like UMN Extension Nutrient Management on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or visit our website.
Support for this project was provided in part by the Agricultural Fertilizer Research & Education Council (AFREC).

Oct. 4 Sauk Centre Hay Auction

Nathan Drewitz, Extension Educator-Crops, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties

Keeping up with current hay prices is important for most livestock farmers. For this purpose, we categorize and organize information from recent hay auctions in Sauk Centre, MN. We then use that information to calculate the average prices and feed quality within those categorized hay lots. We also keep historical price data for selected hay lots and create graphs for the medium square alfalfa bales of four different levels of quality.

Listed below are the summary, history, and graphs related to the October 4th, 2018 hay auction in Sauk Centre. Also listed are summaries from the two hay auctions that were held in September.

October 4, 2018 Summary

September 20, 2018 Summary

September 6, 2018 Summary

History of Selected Lots

Graphs of Alfalfa Lots 2001-2018
All historical graphs have been updated to show all summer hay auctions since the start of summer hay auctions in September 2009.

For more hay market informat…

Sample for SCN now to Preserve Future Soybean Yield Potential

Angie Peltier, Jared Goplen and Phillip Glogoza, Extension educators

Now is crunch time for row-crop producers: harvesting, hauling and drying the crop, fall tillage and perhaps fall fertilizer applications need to take place before the snow sticks around. With recent rain events leaving fields unfit for heavy machinery traffic now might be a perfect time to collect soil samples to monitor soybean cyst nematode (SCN).

SCN is the top yield-limiting soybean pathogen and can cause up to 30% yield loss without obvious symptoms. Recently some SCN populations have shifted to overcome the most commonly available source of varietal resistance (called PI88788) resulting in higher SCN egg counts and yield losses. Knowing your SCN numbers is an essential component of an integrated SCN management strategy.

Wait, Consider Your Options Before Applying Nitrogen This Fall

Farmers are some of the hardest working people I know. Many highway drivers seeing fields harvested as they travel may think, “farmers are done for the year.” For farmers, the reality is that the work is just beginning for the next cropping season. Among the many decision that farmers need to make, nitrogen decisions are one of the major ones right now. The recent wet conditions, including snow, create certain level of anxiety to get things done before the winter. But before you get into too much of a hurry to apply nitrogen, here are a few things to give serious consideration.
When to apply Soil temperature can greatly impact the efficiency of fall nitrogen applications. Although nitrifying bacteria are active until the soils freeze at 32°F, their activity is substantially reduced once soil temperature drop below 50°F. For this reason, you should direct fall nitrogen applications by soil temperature and not by date of year. This guideline applies equally for any acceptable nitrogen …

Detecting and Reporting Palmer amaranth in Minnesota – Timeliness is key

Jeff Gunsolus, Extension Agronomist-Weed Science

This fall, Palmer amaranth was discovered for the first time in soybean fields in Redwood and Jackson counties. In Redwood County, 1 female and 3 male plants were found and in Jackson County, 1 female plant was found. All plants were destroyed, no seed was discovered and no additional plants were found within a 5 mile radius. The seed source is under investigation but likely routes would include contaminated field equipment and water and manure transport. North Dakota is experiencing a similar situation.

Storing, Drying, and Handling Wet Soybeans

By Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator - Crops and Seth Naeve, Extension Soybean Agronomist

While almost impossible to accomplish in most years, harvesting soybeans at a moisture content between 13 to 15% helps maximize yields while minimizing harvest losses. Cool, cloudy, and rainy conditions this fall, however, have led to large increases in soybean moisture content. With cool conditions in the forecast, soybeans may be harvested at much higher moisture levels this fall than usual. 

Reducing Risks of Manure Application During Wet Weather

It’s been cold and wet so far this October, delaying crop harvest. This makes it challenging to get manure applied in a timely fashion and for liquid manures there is a risk of overflow from storage basins. The following is a list of possible things you can do to limit the environmental impact of manure application during wet conditions.

Instead of land applying:

Consider temporary stockpiling for solid manures until field conditions are better. MPCA rules on stockpiling can be found here.For liquid manure, you may want to pump the basin partially to avoid overflow, land applying only what is necessary (see tips below) or finding a different storage space (make sure it is permitted!). Then apply the remaining manure later in the fall under better conditions, or in the spring. Try to avoid winter application (on frozen or snow-covered soils) if possible.
Tips for land application in wet conditions:

Start first in the parts of the fields that have adequately dried, like higher ground.For b…

Soybean drying and storage

Seth Naeve, Extension soybean agronomist
With continued cold, cloudy, and rainy conditions across Minnesota, farmers are beginning to question when they will be able to get into the field to harvest their soybeans. Excessive rains have left fields at 100 percent field capacity.

With low evaporation and no transpiration to remove the water, fields will be very slow to dry. It is possible that the crop itself will be fairly dry by the time the soils will support combines, but certainly, soybeans will come off wetter than in most years.

Tips for Pasture Fertility Management

As we approach mid-October, the question is: is there a benefit in fertilizing my pasture? Nutrient management in pasture situations can be tricky because you’re fertilizing on top of actively growing plants. While the plants continue to grow, we do not suggest a full rate of nitrogen be applied. However, if you are considering re-seeding a pasture and will till up the ground then you may want to consider application of P and K prior to tillage to incorporate the nutrients. Here are a few more tips to make your pasture fertilization more successful.

1. Adjust rates based on expected yield and species grown

Application of nitrogen should vary based on whether the pasture contains 100% grasses or a grass/legume mixture. If only grass is grown then apply N at a rate of 30 lbs per ton of dry matter expected. Typically 90-120 lbs of N per acre is enough annual N application for a grass pasture to maintain adequate growth. For grass-legume mixtures N rate is not suggested to exceed 60 lbs o…

Free farm financial counseling available

One-to-one financial counseling for Minnesota farmers experiencing serious financial distress is available from University of Minnesota Extension. A team of farm financial analysts has been pulled together to provide free and confidential counseling sessions to help farmers explore options in this difficult agricultural climate.

Call the Farm Information Line to set up an appointment or learn more about service: 1-800-232-9077 (8:30 am -12:30 pm M-F, or leave a voicemail after hours) Email our websites:Farm financial counseling (see the brochure)Resources for difficult timesFarmer-Lender mediation

Is It Feasible to Lower My Soil pH?

There are a lot of ideas out there on how to manage pH of soil to optimize plant growth. One major issue with high pH soils is iron deficiency chlorosis (IDC) in soybean. Soybean growers have been looking for the magic bullet for managing IDC and while there are options out there, nothing is long term.

Some wonder if soil acidification to lower pH would help solve IDC. In most Minnesota soils, which are poorly buffered, adding nitrogen fertilizers over time will acidify soils. Of the nitrogen sources, ammonium sulfate has the greatest potential for acidification but is mostly applied for sulfur and rarely used as the sole nitrogen source. Elemental sulfur has been used in horticultural crops, but it’s required in high amounts and might not be effective if oxidation is slow.

Buffering capacity is an important process to understand when it comes to liming. The buffering capacity is a measure of the reserve acidity or alkalinity in the soil. This dictates how easy it is to change the pH…

2018 Conservation Tillage Conference to be hosted in Fargo

University of Minnesota Extension and North Dakota State University Extension Service are co-hosting the 2018 Conservation Tillage Conference on Dec. 18-19 in Fargo, ND at the Hilton Garden Inn Conference Center.

Roll up your sleeves for some practical, hands-on information that will save you soil, time, fuel, and money. This conference emphasizes proven farmer experience and applied science. Straight from the fields, learn how heavier, colder soils aren’t necessarily the challenge they’re made out to be. Hear from long-time no-till, reduced tillage, and cover crop farmers as they share their experiences, so you can be spared the same hard-learned lessons.

Nitrogen Credits for 2019

With a wet growing season in some areas of the Midwest, we’ve received a lot of questions about nitrogen credits in 2019. Here’s a look at how soybean and cover crops will affect nitrogen crediting for next season.

The amount of available nitrogen in a field depends on several key processes in the nitrogen cycle. Precipitation and moisture influence most of that variability. The processes of immobilization, mineralization, nitrification and denitrification will influence nitrogen availability through the remainder of the fall and continue into next spring. For these reasons, if you suspect more than normal N carryover, we recommend doing a pre-plant nitrate test or a pre-sidedress nitrate test in the spring to check availability. Guide your fertilizer rate decisions on those numbers.

The question of whether you need a nitrogen credit in a corn-soybean rotation comes down to the environmental factors that affect soybean residue and soil nitrogen leading into corn. The N credit…

Nutrient Management Podcast: What You Need to Know About Cation Exchange Capacity

We've heard a lot of questions about cation exchange capacity, base saturation and what that means for N and K applications. Dan Kaiser, Carl Rosen, Brad Carlson and Fabian Fernandez talk about what they're hearing on this episode of the podcast.

We cover:
What cation exchange capacity (CEC) isHow it's measuredWhy it's importantThe link between CEC and the amount of nitrogen or potassium a soil can holdThe link between base saturation and CECClick here to listen to the podcast.

Subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode on iTunes or Stitcher!

For the latest nutrient management information, like UMN Extension Nutrient Management on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or visit our website.
Support for this project was provided in part by the Agricultural Fertilizer Research & Education Council (AFREC).

Harvest considerations for storm-damaged corn and soybean

By Dave Nicolai, Extension educator – crops, Jeff Coulter, Extension corn agronomist, and Seth Naeve, Extension soybean agronomist

On September 20, fast-moving storms moved across southern Minnesota, resulting in damage to crops and property.

Claire LaCanne, agriculture Extension educator in Rice and Steele counties provided the following report of recent storm damage in these counties:
The National Weather Service (NWS) reports ten tornadoes struck parts of southeastern Minnesota on September 20 and that preliminary information indicates Rice County was hit by six tornadoes. The storm zone included Waseca, Owatonna, Faribault, Northfield, and Cannon Falls, plus surrounding towns.

Soybeans are leaning, but look okay in general. Other soybeans are lodged but holding onto their pods. Sweet corn in affected areas was completely lodged and lying on the ground. Field corn in the most severely impacted areas was mostly busted over, with ears hanging close to the ground. Farmers are concerne…

Soggy Conditions Hinder Harvest

By Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator - Crops

Although conditions were already soggy from rain showers over the past several days, a significant storm front tore across southern Minnesota Thursday, dropping anywhere from 0.5 to over 3 inches of rain across the region. For the month of September to date, many parts of southern Minnesota have received 6 to 9 inches of rain. Soggy conditions have halted harvest across the region and water is standing once again in areas impacted by wet conditions earlier in the growing season. With corn and soybeans at or very close to physiological maturity, keep in mind the following as we wait for field conditions to improve and harvest to proceed.

Cover Crops Following Sweet Corn and Processing Peas

In 2017, Minnesota ranked #1 in the US for both processing sweet corn and pea production with over 120,000 acres of sweet corn and 49,000 acres of peas planted.  Both of these crops have a relatively short growing season as they are harvested at an immature stage of growth and then processed for canned or frozen vegetables.  For peas planted early, a second crop of soybean is often planted for a double crop during that season.  For sweet corn and later planted peas, there is not enough growing season left to plant and harvest a second cash crop; however, there is ample opportunity to plant and establish a cover crop that can stabilize the soil and take up residual nutrients from pea or sweet corn residue.

Because peas and sweet corn are harvested as immature crops, significant nutrients and in particular nitrogen, remain in the residue.  In general, sweet corn stover can contain as much as 60-80 lbs of N/A with a C to N ratio of 30 or less.  Pea vines can contain even more nitrogen t…

Late-Season Window for Seeding Cover Crops

By Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator – Crops and M. Scott Wells, Forage and Cropping Systems Specialist

A key window to seed cover crops in soybean in Minnesota is around the time soybeans reach physiological maturity (when 95% of pods on the plant reach a mature, brown color). As soybean leaves drop off the plant, the canopy opens, allowing more sun to reach the soil surface to promote cover crop germination and growth.

Evaluating Fertilizer Purchase Decisions: Frequently Asked Questions

Tight profit margins are making decisions on inputs to crops difficult for farmers. Decisions on when and where to use fertilizers can be important to ensure maximum profitability. Decisions on nutrients such as nitrogen are easy for crops like corn, wheat, and sugar beet as these crops will likely respond to nitrogen. Other nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur can benefit crops but it depends on soil test levels and a crops need for a specific nutrient.. Here are five frequently asked questions we hear about making fertilizer decisions in the fall.

1. Do I need it or not?

The advent of commercial fertilizers is one of the most important reasons why we have seen crop production increase the past fifty years. While the use of P and K fertilizers has increased the fertility levels of some soils there is a point where additional fertilizer doesn’t give an immediate return on investment (ROI) or the chance of an ROI to the nutrient applied is low. Recent AFREC funded resear…