Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from May, 2020

Alfalfa Harvest Alert 5-29 and May Hay Auctions

Nathan Drewitz, Local Extension Educator-Crops, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties
ndrewitz@umn.edu or (608) 5151-4414


This will be the last samples collected for many of the fields in the program. There will still be a few left on Monday to collect however, many fields in the program are planned for harvest over this weekend.

Below is the Alfalfa Harvest Report for samples collected on May 28th
Alfalfa Harvest Report May 28th

Below is each farm's progress up to samples collected on May 28th
Individual Farm Progress 2020

Keeping up with local hay prices is also important for livestock producers along with monitoring hay quality. 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 is listed below.

Click the links below for the results of the May 2020 Hay Auctions
May 7th, 2020
May 21st, 2020

Click the links below to view the summari…

Save the date for the Soil Health Expo

Jodi DeJong-Hughes, Extension educator - water quality

The Rollofson family is holding a unique and educational Soil Health Expo on Wednesday, Sept. 9th from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm near Barrett, MN to discuss and demonstrate soil health management tactics being implemented in west-central Minnesota.

Learn how to economically integrate no-till, strip-till, and cover crops into your system from experienced farmers.  Topics include:
Soil fertilityNutrient managementHow to integrate cover crops into reduced till operationsTrue cost of field erosion A farmer panel will discuss the challenges that local producers face when striving to improve soil health. Lastly, watch some equipment get dirty in the side–by–side equipment demonstrations presented by regional and national manufacturers of cover crop interseeders, strip-till implements, and no-till planters. 
There is no cost to attend the event. However, pre-registration is requested to help with meals, grounds planning, and updates concerning …

Managing agricultural PPE needs when supplies are short

Lizabeth Stahl, Extension educator - Crops

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is necessary to protect farmers and other agricultural workers from pesticides, grain dust, mold, and other hazards. The COVID-19 global pandemic, however, has stressed the supplies of PPE since the emergency needs of our medical care providers and first responders must be met. The following are some considerations if you are a farmer, applicator, or other agricultural professional facing a shortage of PPE.
What level of PPE do you need? For pesticide applications, a long-sleeve shirt, long pants, shoes and socks are typically the minimum required PPE when mixing, loading, and applying a product. Protective eye-wear including goggles or a face shield, chemical-resistant gloves, additional clothing such as a chemical resistant apron or coveralls, and/or a respirator may also be listed on the label.

Always check the pesticide label for specific PPE requirements – the label lists what is required to l…

Alfalfa Harvest Alert 5-27

Nathan Drewitz, Local Extension Educator-Crops, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties
ndrewitz@umn.edu or (608) 515-4414

Alfalfa stands made good strides over the Memorial Day weekend. All of the cooperators in the program have submitted samples as of Tuesday. Harvest also started today in Wright County. Remember that stored hay and haylage usually has a Relative Feed Value 15 to 25 points lower than the fresh-cut sample. Make sure to take this into account when determining your own harvest date.

Below is the Alfalfa Harvest Report for samples collected on May 26th.
Alfalfa Harvest Report May 26th

Below is each farm's progress up o samples collected on May 26th.
Individual Farm Progress 2020

The goal of this program is to encourage growers to be strategic with alfalfa hay crop harvest. This is not to determine the date hay harvest should occur.

If you are interested in receiving regular updates on the Alfalfa Harvest Alerts and Sauk Centre Hay Auctions please contact Nathan Drewitz.…

Nitrogen fertilizer economics: Urea vs. anhydrous ammonia, on-farm storage options, & more

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, three U of M researchers and a special guest from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture discuss nitrogen economics. How does the sale of nitrogen fertilizer in Minnesota break down by source, and what trends have we seen in nitrogen use for crops in Minnesota? Are farmers shifting towards more on-farm storage of nitrogen fertilizer, and what do farmers interested in storing and applying their own fertilizer need to be aware of?
Listen to the podcastView the podcast transcriptGuests:
Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist Fabian Fernandez, Extension nitrogen management specialist Brad Carlson, Extension educator Jane Boerboom, agricultural chemical consultant, Minnesota Department of Agriculture 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…

COVID-19 resources for farmers and small ag business owners

By Megan Roberts, Extension educator

Extension’s Ag Business Management team writes timely updates regarding risk management topics, including COVID-19 economic programs, on their blog. You can sign up for email alerts at blog-abm-news.extension.umn.edu.

You’ve likely seen that both the Minnesota state legislature and the federal government recently passed bills in response to the COVID-19 situation. But what do they mean financially for farmers and other agricultural small business owners? This article offers a short summary of some of the recent legislation.
Families FIRST The Families FIRST act requires all employers to offer paid sick time for eligible absences related to COVID-19. Farmers are not exempt from this requirement.
CARES act The CARES act created the Payroll Protection Program, which can cover up to 8 weeks of payroll and certain other eligible expenses. An additional law in late April included more PPP forgivable loan funding and made agricultural enterprises eligibl…

Alfalfa Harvest Alert 5-24

Nathan Drewitz, Local Extension Educator-Crops, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties
ndrewitz@umn.edu or (608) 515-4414


Things are really starting to heat up with alfalfa stands across the area. The first few stands hit the budding stage this past week which means harvest is not too far ahead. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and give us a few decent days to get alfalfa cut and stored.

Below is the Alfalfa Harvest Report for samples collected on May 21st.
Alfalfa Harvest Report May 21st

Below is each farm's individual progress up to samples collected on May 21st.
Individual Farm Progress 2020

The goal of this program is to encourage growers to be strategic with alfalfa hay crop harvest. This is not to determine the date hay harvest should occur.

If you are interested in receiving regular updates on the Alfalfa Harvest Alerts and Sauk Centre Hay Auctions please contact Nathan Drewitz.

Fusarium Head Blight, Fungicides and Rye?

Rye too is susceptible to Fusarium head blight or scab. Likewise the presence of deoxynivalenol or vomitoxin will result in steep discounts in rye too.  Interestingly enough the presence of vomitoxin does not influence the suitability to mash it and distill it for whiskey.  Unfortunately very little research has been done to date to look at the efficacy of fungicides in rye.

Rye reaches heading and the grain fill period even a bit sooner than winter wheat; the first hybrid rye fields in southern Minnesota are heading as I write this. Like winter wheat, rye will escape the scourge of FHB most years in Minnesota, simply by being this early. And while escape is a perfectly good approach it is not a failsafe method is a climate as variable as Minnesota’s.

The question of whether a fungicide can help reduce the incidence and severity of FHB rye therefor warrants some attention.  Unlike the other small grains rye is a cross-pollinating species.  If an application of a fungicide to reduce sc…

Alfalfa Harvest Alert May 20th

Nathan Drewitz, Local Extension Educator-Crops, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties
ndrewitz@umn.edu or (608) 515-4414


The Alfalfa Harvest Alert program is in full swing. All of the cooperators in the southern region have submitted samples and the northern region started this week. The frost and colder weather last week slowed alfalfa growth some but stands still made progress.

Below is the Scissor Cut Report for samples collected on May 18th.
Alfalfa Harvest Alert Report May 18th

Below is each farm's individual progress up to samples collected on May 18th.
Individual Farm Progress 2020

The goal of this program is to encourage growers to be strategic with alfalfa hay crop harvest. This is not to determine the date hay harvest should occur.

If you are interested in receiving regular updates on the Alfalfa Harvest Alert and Sauk Centre Hay Auctions please contact Nathan Drewitz.

Weeds ready, set, go! Test your ID savvy!

Liz Stahl Extension educator - crops, Phyllis Bongard, Educational content development & communications specialist, Lisa Behnken, Jared Goplen and Dave Nicolai, Extension educators - crops

Warmer temperatures and adequate moisture have set the stage for rapid weed growth in the coming weeks. Since very few weeds were present at the time of pre-plant tillage this year, timely and effective herbicide applications will carry much of the weight in most weed management programs.

Scout fields now for weed emergence, regardless if a preemergence (PRE) herbicide was not applied or not. In much of southern Minnesota, insufficient rain fall was received until recently, delaying activation of PRE herbicides. Weeds that emerged prior to PRE activation may require a pass with a rotary hoe or an additional herbicide application to be controlled.

Weeds can affect yield as early as two weeks after crop emergence, especially when dealing with a very competitive weed species (e.g. giant ragweed)…

Variable rate nitrogen and nitrogen advisory tools: Do they work?

By: Brad Carlson, Extension educator, and Fabian Fernandez, Extension nitrogen management specialist
There has been an explosion in the availability of tools and advisory services intended to make nitrogen recommendations for corn over the past several years. While soil scientists know in general how these products are making their recommendations, the specifics of how these products work, and therefore, how well they work, is usually a mystery due to the proprietary nature of any commercial product. This has left us on the university-side to not pass judgement on these products, pending careful research and evaluation. Now that several years have passed since the introduction of many of these technologies, some of that data is starting to emerge.

There are three general categories of N advisory tools: sensing, modeling, and sample-based. The sensing tools have been around the longest and include devices that measure light and color in the plant or use photography or imagery to…

Alfalfa Harvest Alert May 15th

Nathan Drewitz, Local Extension Educator-Crops, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties
ndrewitz@umn.edu or (608) 515-4414


Stands were slowed down by this recent cold snap. That should change as temperatures and rainfall are predicted this weekend.

Below are the scissor cut reports for samples collected on May 14th.
Alfalfa Harvest Report May 15th

Below are each farm's progress up to the samples collected on May 14th.
Individual Farm Progress 2020

The goal of this program is to encourage growers to be strategic with alfalfa hay crop harvest. This is not to determine the date hay harvest should occur.

If you are interested in receiving regular updates on the Alfalfa Scissor Cut and Sauk Centre Hay Auctions please contact Nathan Drewitz.

"Bunches" of black cutworm moths finally arrive in Minnesota: Start scheduling scouting

Bruce Potter, Extension IPM specialist

Once again this spring, cooperators across Minnesota have been checking pheromone traps for black cutworm (BCW) moths migrating into the state from overwintering areas in the south.

Last week, their traps have picked up more immigrating black cutworm moths; particularly in the western part of the state where two traps had significant captures (Figure 1).

The southerly system on May 4-6 provided the largest number of moths. A Lac Qui Parle County trap captured 9 moths May 5th-6th and a Murray County trap captured 12 moths over the same period. Traps in other counties also captured moths throughout the week.

Fortunately, when and where, these larger flights arrived in Minnesota, most corn and sugarbeet, and many soybean fields, had been already been worked and planted, thereby reducing their attractiveness to moths laying eggs.
Risk of economic damage While the timing of 2020 BCW moth arrival into Minnesota is similar to 2019, the frequency, dis…

5 things to know about the Haney soil health test

By: Anna Cates, Extension soil health specialist

The Haney soil health test, named for USDA scientist Rick Haney, includes more than a dozen different soil test values. These include standard macro- and micro-nutrients for plant consumption, but what’s different about the Haney test is that it also estimates nutrients for microbial consumption, focusing on how much carbon (C ) and nitrogen (N) is in the soil.

These are sub-pools of the total soil organic matter (OM), like soil respiration, water-extractable C, and water-extractable N. Generally, these pools are correlated with total soil organic matter, so if you have a higher percentage OM, you should have higher microbially-available OM.

The Haney test is intended to pick out robust soil biological activity even if your overall %OM isn’t very high. But it’s an open question of what “enough” biological activity is, so interpreting tests like the Haney can be difficult. Below are some points to keep in mind if you’re looking at Han…

Preemergence herbicide injury on soybeans? Or maybe not?

Jared Goplen, Dave Nicolai, Extension educators, crops and  Bruce Potter, IPM specialist

Many soybeans in southern Minnesota were ready to emerge when the recent cold weather brought concerns of both frost and herbicide injury.

Most soybeans were still below ground and protected from freezing temperatures. However in some areas of the state, seedlings may show injury after extended contact with preemergence herbicides in the soil (Figure 1).

When evaluating soybean stands in the coming days, keep an eye out for herbicide-induced crop injury, especially in wetter areas of the state.
Dry areas unlikely to have herbicide injury Much of southern Minnesota has had minimal precipitation since planting (Figures 2, 3). If less than 1/2” of rainfall has accumulated since application, preemergence herbicides have likely not been “activated.” This means there has not been enough rainfall to put the herbicides into soil solution, which is required in order for them to be taken up by weeds.
The go…

Alfalfa Harvest Alert May 13th

Nathan Drewitz, Local Extension Educator-Crops, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties
ndrewitz@umn.edu or (320) 968-5077


Despite the recent cold snap, samples were still submitted last Monday. Alfalfa stands are still around the 10 to 14-inch height across the fields in the program.

Below is the scissor cut report for samples collected on May 11th.
Alfalfa Harvest Alert May 11th

Below is each farm's scissor cut progress updated to May 11th.
Individual Farm Progress 2020

The goal of this program is to encourage growers to be strategic with alfalfa hay crop harvest. This is not to determine the exact date hay harvest should occur.

If you are interested in receiving regular updates on the Alfalfa Scissor Cut project and Sauk Centre Hay Auctions please contact Nathan Drewitz.

Nitrogen economics

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, three U of M researchers and a special guest from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture discuss nitrogen economics. How does the sale of nitrogen fertilizer in Minnesota break down by source, and what trends have we seen in nitrogen use for crops in Minnesota? Are farmers shifting towards more on-farm storage of nitrogen fertilizer, and what do farmers interested in storing and applying their own fertilizer need to be aware of? Thank you to Minnesota's Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council (AFREC) for supporting the podcast.

Frosted alfalfa?

Jared Goplen, Extension educator, Crops

The recent cold weather has caused stress for many emerged crops in Minnesota, including forages. The warm weather earlier this spring allowed many alfalfa stands to produce significant spring growth, with stands in some areas approaching one foot, or more, in height. Some alfalfa fields have experienced frost damage with the recent sub-freezing temperatures, with the greatest potential for frost injury occurring this morning (5/12) (Figure 1).

Alfalfa is relatively tolerant of cold temperatures, especially smaller plants. Most stands should recover just fine with no more than a few frosted leaves (Figure 2).


This article includes several important points on managing frosted alfalfa stands.
Air temperature doesn’t mean alfalfa temperature Frost injury to alfalfa can be difficult to predict, as microclimates around or within fields of alfalfa can have large influences on the actual temperature of alfalfa plants. Air temperature readings are of…

Save the dates for the Soil Management Summit (formerly CTC)

Jodi DeJong-Hughes, Extension educator

Creating healthy soil takes a diverse approach, a wide range of knowledge and many different tools. That’s why, to better reflect its breadth of educational and hands-on content, and thanks to an online poll of past conference attendees, the former Conservation Tillage Conference (CTC) will make its debut as the newly renamed Soil Management Summit (SMS) this December 15-16, 2020 in Mankato.

The name change highlights what attendees can expect to hear and discuss over two days - how to improve soils, environment and economics while feeding the world. The traveling University of Minnesota Extension conference will emphasize proven farmer experience and applied science. In addition, the SMS will feature keynote speakers, breakout sessions, table talks and vendor booths. Attendees who stay for the entire conference will be offered CCA continuing education units (CEUs).

Bookmark z.umn.edu/SMS20 for more information about the event, speakers and to re…

Seed corn maggot forecasting for 2020

Anthony Hanson, Extension Postdoctoral Associate, Entomology

Overlap between how temperatures affect planting timing and pest development frequently affects management decisions, and our warm spring of 2020 is no different in that case.

Seed corn maggot feeds on newly emerging seedlings where adult females lay eggs in disturbed soil beginning in spring, and multiple generations continue throughout the growing season. Infestations are most common in cool wet springs and areas with high organic matter (e.g, manure or recently incorporated plant material). Corn and soybeans are the most economically affected crops, but seed corn maggot has a wide host range on various agronomic and horticultural crops.

To predict pest risk, two questions need to be answered:
When will the pest show up? Will it have sufficient population size to cause significant damage? Predicting damage timing The timing of damage occurs in fields planted during the adult population peak for each generation, which can b…

Plant pathogens ignoring social distancing recommendations

As we slowly but inevitably enter the Minnesota growing season, the Plant Disease Clinic (PDC) is happy to announce that we are still open and ready to help! The PDC is housed on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota and since 1956 has provided plant disease diagnostic service to MN growers as well as those outside the state.

Along with disease diagnosis we will pass along the current management recommendations for the diagnosis. We can currently receive samples by mail or by pre-arranged no-contact drop-off. For further description of services, list of fees, mailing address and other submission instructions please consult our website at pdc.umn.edu.

Alfalfa Harvest Alert May 8th

Nathan Drewitz, Local Extension Educator-Crops, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties ndrewitz@umn.edu or (320) 968-5077

The Alfalfa Harvest Alert Program is now underway. The goal of this project is to alert alfalfa growers to start first crop harvest when the crop is at a level of quality and yield potential that meets their specific needs.

Keep in mind, the goal of this project is not to try and name the day that you should harvest. Rather the goal is to encourage growers who are busy with the management of other crops to be more strategic with hay crop harvest as it relates to their needs.

Attached below is the scissor cut reports for samples collected on May 4th and 7th.
Scissor Cut Report May 4th
Scissor Cut Report May 7th

Attached below is each farm's scissor cut progress updated to May 7th.
Individual Farm Progress 2020

If you are interested in receiving regular updates on the Alfalfa Scissor Cut project and Sauk Centre Hay Auction, please contact Nathan Drewitz.

Cool and dry forecast: How does that impact weed control?

by Lisa Behnken, Jared Goplen, Dave Nicolai, and Liz Stahl, Extension educators - crops

Planting has progressed rapidly this spring across much of Minnesota and a considerable amount of corn and soybean acres were planted by May 4. Progress has been much faster compared to recent years, thanks to below-average precipitation the last 30 days for much of the state.

Warming soils in late April promoted early crop growth but also early-season weed growth, with flushes of giant ragweed, lambsquarters, and even waterhemp occurring in some areas.

The most recent monthly outlook from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center indicates drier than normal conditions with below normal temperatures into the first several weeks of May. What does this scenario mean for weed control?
Timely rains for timely control Where preemergence (PRE) herbicides have been applied, timely rainfall after application will allow “activation,” or movement of the herbicide into the weed seed germination…

Frosty forecast for May, 2020

Seth Naeve, Extension soybean agronomist, David Nicolai, Extension educator - crops and Tom Peters, Extension sugarbeet agronomist

What a difference a year (or two) can make. This year's spring planting conditions have been a real blessing for most Minnesota farmers after two absolutely miserable planting seasons.  Where conditions were good, farmers were ready to take advantage of the extended period of warm and dry weather at the end of April.

The May 4 USDA-NASS Crop Progress report showed Minnesota corn acreage to be 76% planted. Only Iowa and North Carolina had larger fractions of corn planted at 78 and 79%, respectively. The average planting rate for Minnesota over the past five years was 36%. Minnesota soybeans were 35% planted compared with 10% in the previous five years.

However, weather patterns have changed, and the Northwest winds have been blowing. High temperatures in the 50's have arrived, and they look to hang around for a week or so. More concerning for …