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Showing posts from October, 2019

Alfalfa doesn’t need fall potassium fertilizer application to aid winter hardiness in Minnesota, research shows

Image credit: Paul McDivitt/University of Minnesota Extension By: Paul McDivitt, Extension communications specialist Alfalfa growers in Minnesota typically apply potassium (K) fertilizer twice each year: once during the growing season and once in the fall to promote overwintering. However, recent research by the University of Minnesota indicates that a second, fall K application has no effect on alfalfa’s winter hardiness. The data show no difference between spring alfalfa stands that received a fall K application and those that did not. This contrasts with older information and common knowledge prevalent today. The researchers attribute their findings to two likely factors: Modern alfalfa varieties have been bred for greater winter hardiness, so they don’t need as much K for overwintering as past varieties. Previous research showing a benefit from fall K application was likely done on soils with much lower K levels than we have today.  They recommend testing soils and ap

Fall soil sampling

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, we discuss fall soil sampling . Is there a best time to take samples in the fall? What is a good strategy for sampling banded fields? Grid versus zone sampling, which is the better option? Thank you to the Minnesota Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council (AFREC) for their support of this podcast.

How soil compaction impacts fertilizer decisions

Image credit: Paul McDivitt/University of Minnesota Extension By: Extension specialist Dan Kaiser, Extension educator Brad Carlson, and UMN Soil scientist Jeff Vetsch Another wet fall means that harvesting crops from saturated fields could lead to compaction issues. Many farmers believe the old adage that nothing you do in the fall can hurt the soil because the freeze-and-thaw cycle of winter will even everything out before the next growing season. While this may have been largely true 50 years ago, when equipment was small and light, modern equipment can cause long-lasting problems through traffic or tillage when the soil is too wet. Should you be concerned about soil compaction when making fertilizer decisions? It depends. The uptake of plant nutrients relies on a healthy, actively-growing plant root system. Compaction creates barriers that limit root growth, impacting the uptake of nutrients and limiting yield. There are two big-picture issues. First, are you fertilizin

Yet another Survey…. (And yes, I like to complete it)

The Wheat Initiative ( ) is a global collaboration and network platform for wheat. It was created and endorsed by the G20 Agriculture Ministries in 2011. It provides a framework to establish strategic research and organization priorities for wheat research at the international level in both developed and developing countries. The US is a major sponsor of the Wheat Initiative. Extension colleagues of mine developed a survey that seeks to learn how wheat growers around the world obtain their agronomic information. Please follow the link to this survey and complete the eight questions when you have a few minutes to spare (and not fighting mud, standing water, rain, and snow while harvesting soybeans, corn and/or sugar beets). Thank you. Jochum Wiersma

2019 U of M SE Minnesota regional soybean yield results available

Lisa Behnken and Ryan Miller, Extension educators Performance comparisons of early (1.0-1.8) and late (1.9-2.5) maturity soybeans in southeastern Minnesota are now available. Soybeans evaluated in this trial were tolerant to one or more of the following herbicides: glyphosate, glufosinate, dicamba, 2,4-D and/or a specific HPPD herbicide. Traits for each entry are included in tables 1-4. Yields for 26 early-maturity entries ranged from 59.9 to 73.6 bushels per acre and from 60.3 to 71.3 bu/a for the 26 late-maturity entries. Study details The studies were conducted near Rochester, MN (Lawler site) on a Port Byron silt loam: Planted May 15, 2019 with a 4-row John Deere planter equipped with cone units. Seeding rate: 165,000 seeds per acre at a depth of 1.5 inches. Row spacing: 30-inch rows. Plot size: 4 rows by 22 feet. Machine harvested center 2 rows of each plot on October 9, 2019. 2019 Soybean yield results Tables 1 and 2 provide the yield for the early maturity entrie

Corn and soybean potassium fertilizer: What to know for fall 2019

Potassium deficiency symptoms in corn. (Image credit: Dan Kaiser/University of Minnesota Extension) By: Dan Kaiser, Extension soil fertility specialist  Changes were made to the corn and soybean potassium (K) guidelines in spring 2019. These changes reflect research funded through fertilizer checkoff dollars provided by Minnesota's Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council (AFREC), the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, and the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. Funds provided by each were instrumental in evaluating current soil test methods, current critical levels for corn and soybean, and a re-evaluation of rate recommendations. This research represents the beginning of a larger re-evaluation of potassium guidelines for Minnesota. What should growers be aware of this fall? The primary changes made to the guidelines were to the soil test classifications for corn and soybean, where the critical level for K was adjusted from 160 ppm to 20

How irrigation management impacts nitrate leaching and groundwater quality

Image credit: Vasudha Sharma/University of Minnesota Extension Groundwater is the major source of drinking water in Minnesota and provides almost all water used for irrigation purposes, making it a key area of focus for natural resource, agriculture, and public health officials. Groundwater contamination (due to agricultural nitrate leaching) and decreased water levels in lakes and streams (due to high groundwater withdrawals for irrigation) are two critical environmental problems in the central sands region of Minnesota. In a new webinar hosted by the North Central Region Water Network, Assistant Extension Professor Vasudha Sharma talks about irrigation management's relationship with groundwater quality and her on-going research projects aimed at addressing irrigation-induced groundwater quality issues in Minnesota. Her presentation includes some preliminary data from the 2019 growing season. Watch the webinar on YouTube: You can also  download the presentation slid

MN Cover Crops “Recipes” now available

Anna Cates, State soil health specialist, Liz Stahl, Extension educator and Axel Garcia y Garcia, Assistant Professor Cereal rye interseeded into corn. Wondering how to do cover crops? UMN Extension, in collaboration with the Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC), has produced cover crop “recipes” for two scenarios: Post corn, going to soybean and Post soybean, going to corn. The recipes are intended to provide step-by-step guidance to some of the lowest-risk starting points for cover crops. They don’t cover the whole spectrum of possibilities, but they can help beginners get most pieces in place to incorporate cover crops into a farm operation. The two recipes were developed to address Minnesota’s most common crop cropping system, the corn/soybean rotation. The “Post corn, going to soybean” recipe suggests cereal rye, which provides an overwintering ground cover. Soybeans often thrive when planted into standing dead or living cereal rye residue. The “Post soybean, going to co

Haney soil test webinar available

Liz Stahl, Extension educator and Anna Cates, state soil health specialist The Haney test, a test for soil health, is being used to assess biological activity in the soil.  Growers are using these tests to qualify for programs, explore their soil health, and in some cases, plan crop fertility needs. However, many questions remain about interpreting Haney test information, especially for Minnesota soils. Dr. Anna Cates, state soil health specialist and Liz Stahl, Extension educator in crops, discuss the Haney test in this webinar recorded by the State of Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources. Dr. Cates discusses the various measurements and calculations, while relating results to conditions in Minnesota. Stahl discusses U of MN research comparing results from standard soil testing procedures to the Haney test, and the implications if one were to use the Haney test in determining fertilizer needs. Watch the Haney test webinar For more information, see “ Can soil health

Managing frosted forage crops on prevent plant acres

Jared Goplen, Extension educator Harvesting sorghum-sudangrass for forage Temperatures in much of the state have already been below freezing, or will be soon. If you are still planning to graze or mechanically harvest forage on cover crop acres it is important to keep forage species in mind as some species can have toxic effects on animals. Is my forage crop safe? There is not an issue with grazing or feeding forage of most frosted forage crops. Alfalfa, clovers, peas, small grains, and common pasture grasses have little to no concern of being toxic to livestock. There may be a slightly increased risk of bloat with frosted legumes but these crops do NOT produce toxic compounds like prussic acid following a frost. Typical bloat management will alleviate any issues with grazing legumes. Sorghum species are primary concern If you are planning to graze or harvest sorghum, sorghum sudangrass, or sudangrass alone or as part of a species mixture, special precautions are needed to

Fall fertilizer economics: What to know this year

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, we discuss fall fertilizer economics. How early is too early when planning nitrogen applications? Are we looking at a year where farmers should be considering inhibitors? What makes the most sense economically for all fertilizers this fall?  Listen to the podcast View the podcast transcript Subscribe 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).

Field tour highlights cover crops, integrated weed management, robots and beyond

Please join us on Monday, October 21st at the Rosemount Research and Outreach Center (RROC) for cover crops, integrated weed management, robots, and beyond. Farmers, ag professionals, government agency personnel and the public are invited to attend. The University of Minnesota, Forever Green Agricultural Initiative (FGAI) and Rowbot™ are sponsoring the research field tour and demonstration that will include: An overview of the Forever Green Agricultural Initiative. PRE and POST emergence herbicide options for cover crops in a corn and soybean production system. Cover crop establishment methods utilizing robots within corn production systems. New crops, and new opportunities: A discussion on supply chains and potential of enhanced profitability. Field tour details When : Monday, October 21, 12:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Where: Rosemount Research and Outreach Center located at 16085 Alverno Ave, Rosemount, MN 55068 Registration and cost:  Registration is free , but pre-registrat

Weather challenges corn harvest

By Dave Nicolai, Liz Stahl, and Jared Goplen, Extension educators in crops Corn field near Crookston, MN on October 11, 2019. Photo: Angie Peltier The development of Minnesota’s corn crop is highly variable this year, due to numerous weather challenges and wide ranges in both planting dates and hybrid relative maturities. The rain and snow this week added even more challenges, requiring corn growers to prioritize fields for harvest and to make difficult grain-drying and storage decisions. There are several important points to consider when making these decisions. Did the corn reach maturity before a killing frost? Corn physiological maturity is often determined when a black layer is formed at the kernel tip. At this point, kernels have reached maximum dry matter accumulation and grain moisture will typically range from 28 to 35%. If corn is not mature before being killed by frost, a black layer will form prematurely, but grain moisture will often be greater than 35%. Y

A challenging soybean harvest is ahead for Minnesota

Seth Naeve, Extension soybean agronomist Soybean field near Crookson, MN, October 11, 2019. Photo:  Angie Peltier Whether it’s ‘insult to injury’ or a ‘nail in the coffin’, rain and snow beginning on October 10, 2019 was not the weather that soybean farmers were looking for. Even in a normal year, rain during the second week of October is not welcome. But, add snow, cold temperatures, and a hugely delayed crop maturation to the mix and we have a real mess on our hands. According to USDA-NASS, only 80% of soybeans in Minnesota had dropped leaves as of October 6, 2019. This means that far more than 20% of the crop had not reached final maturity by this past Friday. The crop moved along this week, but significant acres will not be fully mature when potentially freezing weather hits this weekend. Only 8% of the crop had been harvested by Friday, compared with the five-year average of 43%. As bad as the fall of 2018 was for Minnesota producers, 36% of the crop had been har

Update on tar spot of corn in Minnesota

By Dean Malvick, University of Minnesota Tar spot on corn in Minnesota. As reported last week in Minnesota Crop News, tar spot of corn was found and confirmed for the first time in Minnesota in late September in southern Fillmore County. This find raised the question of whether tar spot also occurs in other areas in Minnesota. Now we know that tar spot has developed in multiple field and counties in Minnesota. As of October 11, tar spot was confirmed in three additional counties. It has been found in two fields in Winona County, one field each in Faribault and Freeborn Counties, and in one additional field in Fillmore County. This fungal disease was at low levels overall in all of those fields, with no measurable yield loss expected due to the disease. These finds of tar spot in more areas emphasize the importance of scouting for this disease, both this year and next, so we know where the disease risk is highest and can take timely steps to manage it if needed. The low l

Tips from the pros for applying manure in adverse weather conditions

By: Chryseis Modderman, Extension educator - manure management (Morris, MN) Here we go again, another wet fall. Many manure applicators around the state are having flashbacks to last year and bracing to face those challenges once again. Last year, Minnesota farmers, on average, had about seven days between harvest and substantial snowfall or ground freeze in which to apply manure. And certain areas – I’m looking at you, southern MN – had far less than that. The problem is a struggle between minimizing runoff and logistics. If time runs out for applications, storage overflow can become a problem in the winter. Unfortunately, cows aren’t going to stop crapping, so that manure has to go somewhere. This was the focus of a discussion activity I led this past winter with commercial manure haulers: what do you do when faced with dwindling storage space but fields are too wet or frozen/snow-covered? The goal was for participants, and myself, to learn from each other, and to plum the

A second species of gall midge associated with widespread white mold in Minnesota soybean fields: Factors that favored both

James Kurle, Plant pathologist; Bob Koch, Extension entomologist; Dean Malvick, Extension plant pathologist; and Bruce Potter, Extension IPM specialist Part 2. The fungus. Why was white mold so prevalent in 2019? Figure 1. White mold mycelium with sclerotia on senescing soybean stem. Photo: R. Koch White mold ( Sclerotinia sclerotiorum ) has been unusually severe and widespread this year because of ideal environmental conditions, inoculum produced in previous years, and the prevalence of susceptible soybean varieties. Environmental requirements for white mold Moderate temperatures and high relative humidity, ideal conditions for disease development, have accompanied all soybean reproductive stages. Sclerotia are specialized, dark, hardened, masses of mycelia (Figure 1) that allow the white mold fungus to persist in fields for several years. Abundant precipitation in July and August stimulated germination of soilborne sclerotia to form spore producing fruiting structures (a

Soil compaction and ruts: What can you do?

Jodi DeJong-Hughes, Extension educator Minnesota has experienced an extremely wet year. As of September 12th, Minneapolis has had the second-wettest year in weather records. It is no wonder that growers are concerned about harvest equipment causing ruts and compacting the soil. How do ruts affect yield? To find the answer, UMN Extension Educator Jodi DeJong-Hughes and private consultant Frenchie Bellicot performed GPS analysis on seven pairs of ruts and neighboring non-rutted area in four fields near Clarkfield, Minnesota. Six of the fields were fall chisel-plowed with spring field cultivation and one field was fall disk-ripped and spring field-cultivated. In the spring of 2010, the observation areas were flagged. Corn height, population and growth stage were tracked during the growing season. The plant population was not statistically different between rutted and non-rutted areas, but the non-rutted corn was 8.5 inches taller and was one growth stage ahead of the rutted corn