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Showing posts from January, 2020

Sauk Centre January 2020 Hay Auctions

Nathan Drewitz, Extension Educator, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties Keeping up with current local hay prices is important for livestock producers and growers. The Mid-American Hay Auction in Sauk Centre, MN provides an excellent opportunity to get a glimpse of what current hay prices are for the region. That hay auction information is organized, summarized, and listed below. 

Nutrient Management Podcast: 2020 research update

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, five U of M researchers discuss their 2019 research projects and what they'll be studying in 2020. Topics include sulfur sources, urea timing, split application of N, banding P and K, soil health tests, cover crops, irrigation management, variable rate N technologies, the pre-plant nitrate test, and more. Listen to the podcast View the podcast transcript Learn more at one of our Nitrogen Smart sessions: 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 Minnesota's Agricultural Fertilizer Research & Education Council (AFREC).

Blister beetles in alfalfa hay

Krishona Martinson, Equine Extension specialist;  Jared Goplen, Extension educator; Bill Hutchison, Extension entomologist; and Roger Moon, Professor emeritus Swarm of blister beetles. Photo: Doug Danforth The shortage of horse quality hay in Minnesota has many owners purchasing hay from outside Minnesota and the Midwest. Along with this comes the risk of purchasing alfalfa hay infested with blister beetles. While rare, beetle-infested hay can cause health problems and death in horses and other livestock. Blister beetles are black elongated beetles that are attracted to and feed on the flowers, pollen, and leaves of blooming alfalfa and weeds. Although not uncommon in Minnesota, blister beetles tend to be more numerous in alfalfa produced in arid southern states and plains states where grasshoppers are problematic because developing beetles feed on grasshopper eggs. Pay attention to production details When buying hay, owners should learn as much as possible about its product

New land lease? How to incorporate conservation practices

Anna Cates, State soil health specialist Farming rented ground is a reality for most Minnesota producers. When there’s interest in implementing conservation practices on rented ground, renters and owners will need to come to an agreement. As land leases are finalized for next year, it’s a good time to think about incorporating land stewardship practices into those agreements. Sometimes the renter drives the change to reduce costs by reducing tillage or sometimes the owner may want to see more residue or winter cover crops to reduce soil erosion. Either way, it may take several conversations, over more than one season, to come to an agreement that makes both parties happy. Consider a longer-term lease Since conservation practices promote long-term benefits and require multiple seasons to implement, it may also be a good time to consider a longer-term, written lease rather than an informal one-year agreement. In order for a renter to qualify for multi-year conservation programs wi

Why I invested in drainage

By: Lindsay Pease, Extension nutrient management specialist This past fall, I made the decision to invest in a new subsurface drainage system at the Northwest Research & Outreach Center (NWROC) in Crookston. Over the next several years, I will be taking northwest Minnesota farmers on this journey with me as I evaluate my investment. Like any major financial investment, there is some amount of risk involved in this decision. Times are hard right now, and not everyone can take on the risk of installing a new subsurface drainage system. We are doing this to help you decide whether investing in drainage is right for your farm. I was willing to take this on because I do not believe that installing drainage is that much of a risk. I invested in drainage because I believe it will improve the profitability of our operations. Previous drainage research conducted at NWROC from 2001 to 2004 indicates that we should look beyond grain yield as the only way to profit from subsu

Nitrogen management

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, three U of M researchers discuss nitrogen management. Should growers consider split-applying N? Is fall urea too risky? Is ESN worth the cost? Thank you to Minnesota's Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council (AFREC) for supporting the podcast.

When You Inherit the Farm from Your Children

Like many of you, I too grew up on a farm, albeit in the Netherlands. To this day, I am more likely to refer to myself as a farm kid (who happens to work in agricultural research and extension) rather than as a scientist (who happens to work in agriculture).  Like many of you, our farm operation was multi-generational; while my grandfather was still very much involved in the day-to-day operations, a pint-size version of me was already helping with feeding calves, thinning beets, or pulling wild oats by hand. It must have been during those early years that this sense of obligation/duty to the farm developed.  The best way I can describe that sense is to argue that you do not inherit the farm from your parents but from your children. I only say this to illustrate that while your parents, like mine, may have actively tried to dissuade you from entering the operation, you decided to farm anyway. My parents succeeded. I did not take over the farm right after I finished my Ph.D. in 1995. 

Is ETgage an effective tool for irrigation management?

By: Vasudha Sharma, Assistant Extension professor - irrigation Determining crop water use, or evapotranspiration (ETc), is the most important component of irrigation scheduling. Weather data is key to calculating crop water use, but growers may not have a weather station nearby, and regardless, weather conditions can vary dramatically from field to field. Irrigators in Minnesota are looking at new tools, such as ETgage, that can provide the field-level data they need to calculate crop water use. This past year, we tested ETgage in Minnesota in order to see how accurate it is compared to a weather station. Calculating crop water use In general, a two-step approach is used to calculate crop-specific water use, as per the following equation: ETc = ETref x Kc In this equation, ETref is reference evapotranspiration, the evapotranspiration of the reference crop (usually gra

Nitrogen Smart is back for its fifth year

Join University of Minnesota Extension for Nitrogen Smart, a free program for producers to help maximize economic return on nitrogen and minimize losses. Nitrogen Smart programs are available at 14 locations across the state this year, with the first session on January 21st. Pre-registration is not required and there is no registration fee. View dates and locations Why attend Nitrogen Smart? According to a survey of past participants: Over 3 out of 4 attendees changed at least one practice as a result of attending the meeting. Our survey data of past participants and estimates show at least a $3,243 value for each attendee, when calculating acreage, rate reduction and potential increased yield in timing of application.  All meetings will begin with the fundamentals session at 9am. There will be an Advanced Nitrogen Smart session at each site beginning at 1pm. Those that have never attended Nitrogen Smart are encouraged to attend the fundamentals session, and may also

2020 research update

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, five U of M researchers discuss their 2019 research projects and what they'll be studying in 2020. Topics include sulfur sources, urea timing, split application of N, banding P and K, soil health tests, cover crops, irrigation management, variable rate N technologies, the pre-plant nitrate test, and more. Thank you to Minnesota's Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council (AFREC) for supporting the podcast.

Don't get robbed by hay and silage storage losses

Jared Goplen, Extension educator – crops, and Nathan Drewitz, Extension educator A lot of time and energy is spent harvesting quality hay and silage. All of that can be wasted without proper storage. For hay and silage, up to 50% losses in dry matter can occur in some instances, which could be the equivalent of leaving half of your acres unharvested! Losses up to 20% can occur without even noticing. While hay storage losses are often related to moisture, silage losses are often due to exposure to oxygen during storage and feed out. Taking precautions now can help minimize storage and feeding losses, helping your hard-earned forage supplies last longer. Minimize silage losses To minimize silage storage losses, limit the exposure of stored silage to oxygen. Oxygen allows microbes to metabolize dry matter and affect forage quality. Every effort to limit oxygen exposure will decrease losses and enhance quality and profitability: Ensure proper moisture and packing density at ha

Plan to attend a Small Grains Update this winter

Jared Goplen, Extension educator - crops University of Minnesota Extension is offering Small Grains Updates at 11 locations across Minnesota in January and February to address small grain production. Small grains add many advantages to crop rotations. Small grains help manage busy spring and fall workloads, and help manage row crop pests like herbicide resistant weeds, soybean cyst nematodes, and other insect and disease pests becoming more problematic across Minnesota. This program is designed to help farmers make small grains profitable on their farm and in their rotation. It will provide the tools needed to make small grains a successful crop in their operation with topics including the following: Cutting-edge research on production agronomics  Variety selection  Disease identification  Fungicide use Soil fertility Quality and economics  Time will be set aside for an open forum to discuss related topics and on-farm experiences. Dates and locations Visit the Smal

2020 Commercial Animal Waste Technician (CAWT) recertification workshops

By: Chryseis Modderman, Extension educator - crops, manure management There are several upcoming opportunities for Minnesota commercial manure haulers and site managers to attend the Commercial Animal Waste Technician (CAWT) recertification workshops. Each workshop has a base fee of $10, though certain locations may be more due to lunch being provided. The base fee helps pay for speaker travel. Cash, checks, or credit/debit cards are accepted at the door. Get more details, including dates and locations, for the 2020 workshops Topics to be covered in the 2020 workshops include: MDA CAWT program update Resources for CAWTs  New manure nutrient rate guidelines  Where to apply manure? Situational awareness  Recordkeeping  Biosecurity  Recertification reminders: Bring your CAWT card to class to be scanned for credit. NEW applicators who have not been previously certified: You must watch a video and take a quiz for your initial certification. You cannot receive ini