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Showing posts from April, 2020

Low residual soil nitrate tests: Should corn growers adjust nitrogen rates?

By: Extension nutrient management specialists Dan Kaiser & Fabian Fernandez Recent wet growing seasons have put a greater emphasis on nitrogen management. Summary data form MVTL labs sent by Brian Williams shows that nearly two-thirds of the basal stalk N tests were in the low category in 2018 and 2019. The closest years before that were 2014 and 2016, with nearly 50% of the samples in the low category, but the remaining years dating back to 2011 had only 25-33% of samples in the low category. If we factor in the marginal categories for 2018 and 2019, roughly three-fourths of fields tested likely had some N deficiencies while only 10% of fields came back with excessive N levels, which clearly illustrates that N loss was a significant issue the past two growing seasons. Residual nitrate levels in the soil post-harvest Jeff Vetsch, a soil scientist at the Southern Research and Outreach Center (SROC) in Waseca, documented 2019 residual soil test levels lower than he has seen i

Should farmers consider biostimulant products?

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, three U of M researchers discuss biostimulants. What are they and what products are currently on the market? What classes of products are gaining a larger foothold in agriculture? What does research in Minnesota say about these products? Should farmers be taking a greater look at biostimulants? Listen to the podcast View the podcast transcript Mentioned in this episode: Iowa State University's  Compendium of Research Reports on Use of Non-Traditional Materials for Crop Production Subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode on iTunes and 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 by Minnesota's Agricultural Fertilizer Research & Education Council (AFREC).

Webinar recordings available now

Phyllis Bongard, Lisa Behnken and Liz Stahl If you missed attending any of the “socially distant” webinar series we offered this winter/spring, no worries. Recordings and additional resources for the  Strategic Farming: Optimizing management for 2020, Soybean Symposium and Essential row crop management (collaboration with Iowa State University) webinar series are available now on the University of Minnesota Extension website. Strategic Farming: Optimizing management for 2020 The Strategic Farming series provides up-to-date crop production strategies to help you optimize your inputs for the 2020 growing season. The series included 5 one-hour webinars with university specialists; each webinar focused on a different topic area and included time for Q&A with the participants: A back to basics approach for nutrient management with Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist and Brad Carlson, Extension educator in water quality Soybean management for 2020 and beyo

Interactive tool: Explore an on-farm corn research plot studying nitrogen economics in Minnesota

By: Extension educator Greg Klinger, Extension digital learning designer Alison Holland, and Extension communications specialist Paul McDivitt Have you ever been curious about what goes into University of Minnesota nutrient management research plots? With this interactive tool , Extension educator Greg Klinger takes you on a virtual journey through one of the nitrogen management studies he worked on with U of M soil scientist Jeff Vetsch in 2019. Like others conducted across the state every year, this on-farm trial near Elgin, Minnesota explored which nitrogen rate and timing are most economical for Minnesota corn growers. Learn how U of M researchers study nitrogen management and calculate the most profitable nitrogen rate. The tool combines aerial drone imagery, 360-degree images, and embedded videos, data, and graphs. Data come from presidedress nitrate tests, chlorophyll sensors, preplant and residual soil nitrate tests, basal stalk tests, and more. How to use the to

Grain management webinar to address pressing spring and summer issues on April 22

By Liz Stahl, Extension educator – crops, and Phyllis Bongard, Educational content development & communications specialist Source: Dr. Ken Hellevang, NDSU For many farmers across Minnesota, 2019 ended with a late harvest and grain going into storage that was wetter than normal. Grain that has been stored wet can lead to significant quality, handling and safety issues as we move into the spring and summer months. On Wednesday, April 22 at 10:00 a.m. CDT , six experts from land-grant universities in the North Central and Southern regions of the US will address questions and issues that may arise related to grain handling and storage on the farm or at the elevator. This is an excellent opportunity to hear from experts throughout the region on key issues around grain handling and management. A panelist format style will be used, and topics addressed will focus on: Grain conditioning (drying grain stored wet through the winter, condensation management, etc.) Stored

Evaluate alfalfa stands this spring

Jared Goplen, Dave Nicolai, Extension educators - crops Figure 1. A 3-year old thinning alfalfa stand on a north facing, wind swept slope. Photo: Dave Nicolai Many alfalfa stands in southern Minnesota fared well through the winter of 2019-2020 and started to green up prior to the recent cold spell. Compared to previous years, the winter of 2019-2020 was relatively mild with sufficient snow cover to insulate the alfalfa crowns from lethal temperatures, aside from windblown ares of  fields (Figure 1). Crown temperatures in Morris and St. Paul, MN remained well above lethal temperatures this winter (Figure 2). Alfalfa producers should still take this opportunity to scout existing alfalfa fields to determine if areas of these fields have lower-than optimal stands due to stand age, disease, competition from weeds, or winter injury. Some winter injury has been noted in wind-blown areas of fields where insufficient snow cover allowed plants to desiccate or be exposed to lethal tempe

Have to dump surplus milk? Land application or adding to manure storage are options

Image credit: Jim Salfer/University of Minnesota Extension By: Extension manure management specialist Melissa Wilson, Extension manure educator Chryseis Modderman, and Extension engineers Erin Cortus and Kevin Janni Market disruptions from COVID-19 are affecting dairies across the nation, forcing some farmers to dump surplus milk that cannot be processed. As a fat- and protein-rich product, proper disposal reduces the risk of environmental impacts. Two options for the milk are landspreading or adding it to manure storages. Either can be done and are good ways to recycle the nutrients in milk, but there are potential issues to be aware of. Always check local ordinances to see if either of these are allowable! Direct land application For the same reason milk is a valuable food product, it can be a good source of nutrients for crops. It has a high nutrient content: a University of Wisconsin report says milk has the equivalent of 46 pounds of nitrogen (N), 26 pounds of phos

Please give us your thoughts on soybean composition

Seth Naeve, Extension soybean agronomist Farmers are the cornerstone of our global food system. Our products fuel the animal ag sector and provide important food ingredients. However, the fruits of our labor are often shipped far from our farms and processed and utilized in distant lands. We may not be aware how our ag products are utilized or the importance of various quality factors for end-users. Please take five minutes to answer a handful of questions about managing soybeans for yield and quality. Your answers will help the United Soybean Board in maximizing profit opportunities for all US soybean farmers. Take the survey (Click on the image below or scan the QR code to go to the survey)

Really...another April blizzard?

I have stressed more often than not that in Minnesota you ought to seed your small grains as early as possible.   The very late starts in the past two years and the disappointing wheat and barley yields that followed in especially the southern half of the state are a testament to my position on planting dates.  I try to practice what I preach and so I seeded trials last Thursday and Friday near Rochester, New Ulm, LeCenter, and Becker. I was happy to see that some of you were also seeding your first small grains.   And then it snowed again and the thermometer will be stuck near or below the freezing point much of this week. Should you and I be worried about these early seeded small grains? Spring wheat (and spring barley and oats) will start germinating in earnest when soil temperatures reach 36⁰F to 40⁰F.   Once the imbibition phase starts there is no return to dormancy and the germination/emergence should be as quick as possible to establish a healthy, vigorous seedling.  


In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, three U of M researchers discuss biostimulants. What are biostimulants and what products are currently on the market? What classes of products are gaining a larger foothold in agriculture? What does research in Minnesota say about these products? Should farmers be taking a greater look at biostimulants? Thank you to Minnesota's Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council (AFREC) for supporting the podcast.

To credit or not to credit nitrogen following fallow fields?

By: Dan Kaiser & Fabian Fernandez, Extension nutrient management specialists A previous blog post  mentioned a potential nitrogen (N) credit for a crop following a fallow situation. The current U of M guidelines suggest that up to a 75-pound N credit can be taken when a crop follows fallow conditions. To be clear, fallow includes only situations where a crop was not grown during the previous cropping season and does not include situations where a crop that may induce fallow syndrome is grown. Going into the 2020 growing season, growers may be wondering: Should I take any additional N credits? Under what circumstances should I credit N? Where does this N credit come from? Under normal N crediting circumstances we assume that a plant, such as a legume like soybean or alfalfa, is biologically fixing nitrogen which may in turn be available to the following year’s crop. Under fallow conditions when no crop is growing, where would a potential N credit come from? Mineralization

Sauk Centre March 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. 

What to know about phosphorus and potassium soil testing

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, three U of M researchers discuss optimal phosphorus and potassium levels in the soil. What are some key takeaways that growers should know about interpreting soil tests? Environmentally, what is the threshold at which we should avoid applications to prevent significant nutrient loss? Is there really an optimal soil test level that farmers should shoot for? Listen to the podcast View the podcast transcript Subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode on  iTunes  and  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 by Minnesota's Agricultural Fertilizer Research & Education Council (AFREC).

Spring Management of Prevent Plant Acres

By Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator – Crops; Anna Cates, Soil Health Specialist; and Lisa Behnken, Extension Educator - Crops Fall-seeded cereal rye the following spring.  Photo:  Liz Stahl The spring planting season is soon upon us. Prevent plant acres, or fields that were too wet to be planted to a cash crop last year, may need some special attention this season. As final preparations are made for planting, suggested strategies will depend on how these areas were managed in 2019. In fields where a cover crop was planted: Be sure to have a termination plan for cover crops that overwintered, such as cereal rye. To protect yield, a general guideline is to terminate the cover crop 10 to 14 days prior to planting the cash crop, particularly if planting corn, since an overwintering cover crop can create a “green bridge” for insect and disease pests. This timing can be less stringent for soybean, although it is recommended to terminate the cover crop prior to planting t