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Showing posts from September, 2020

Commercial Animal Waste Technicians (CAWT) who still need to recertify for 2020 can now do so online

For CAWT Site Managers and Applicators who were unable to attend a recertifying workshop in 2020 due to COVID-19, the University of Minnesota Extension, along with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, is now offering Commercial Animal Waste Technicians the ability to recertify by taking the course online. For more information and to register: interactive course includes reading text, watching short videos and taking quick quizzes. The course costs $10 and should take approximately 3 hours to complete. Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to print off a certificate, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture will be notified and you will be officially recertified.
Note: This course is for recertification only. For initial certification, new applicators must watch this video and take a quiz.

For more information regarding the course, contact Extension educator Brenda Postels at or …

Fall fertilizer decisions: Research and recommendations to consider this year

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, four U of M researchers discuss fall fertilizer management. What were summer growing conditions like across Minnesota? Is there any nutrient management research currently underway that crop producers may be interested in? What should growers consider when making fall fertilizer decisions?Listen to the podcastView the podcast transcriptGuests: Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialistFabian Fernandez, Extension nutrient management specialistLindsay Pease, Extension nutrient management specialistBrad Carlson, Extension educator 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).

Prepare for corn harvest

by Jeff Coulter, Extension corn agronomistCorn maturity Much of the corn in Minnesota has reached maturity. Corn hybrids planted in Minnesota typically reach maturity at about 55 to 60 days after silking, or 10 to 12 days after kernels reach the half-milk stage. At maturity, kernels no longer contain milk, the kernel milk line is no longer visible, kernels have reached maximum dry weight, and a black layer is present at the tip of kernels where they connect to the cob. The black layer can be observed by scratching off the tissue at the tip of kernels or cutting kernels lengthwise.
Grain moisture and dry-down Grain moisture is around 32% when kernels first reach maturity. The optimal grain moisture at which to begin corn grain harvest is a balance among several factors, including the risk of ear loss due to stalk lodging or dropped ears, the likelihood of wet weather and its potential for slowing harvest and favoring the development of ear rots and pre-harvest losses, the time require…

Field Crops IPM Podcast: Weed management in fall and what to do with weed escapes

Welcome to the 4th IPM Podcast for Field Crops of 2020. Subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode on iTunes, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. This Podcast is sponsored by the UMN Extension Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program. In this week’s podcast, we feature Dr. Debalin Sarangi, who was recently hired as an Associate Professor in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics and as an Extension Weed Scientist at UMN. He discussed some of his background in weed science working in Wyoming, Nebraska, and Texas before coming to Minnesota, and he outlined his research plans and current activities he's been working on in the state. Herbicide-resistant weeds such as waterhemp continue to be a major concern for farmers, and invasive species such as Palmer amaranth pose additional threats if they become established. Integrated weed management will be vital for managing these weeds as resistance issues continue to occur. Dr. Sarangi is currently conducting a survey for weed samp…

Corn yield forecasts and grain dry-down guidelines

By Jeff Coulter, Extension corn agronomist

End-of-season forecasts of corn grain yield were recently made by researchers from the University of Nebraska for several locations across the Corn Belt, including three in Minnesota. These forecasts suggest above-average yield for the Minnesota locations, but high variability in yield for rainfed corn across the Corn Belt. Averaged across locations, the predicted yield is near the long-term (2005-2019) average and 15% less than that in 2019.

Most corn in Minnesota has reached physiological maturity. When corn reaches physiological maturity, a black layer is present at the tip of kernels where they connect to the cob. The black layer can be observed by scratching off the tissue at the tip of kernels or cutting kernels lengthwise. Grain moisture content is about 32% when kernels first reach maturity. 
To help plan harvest, typical in-field dry-down rates for corn grain in Minnesota are listed below. These rates vary due to factors such as solar r…

Managing Foreign Material in Soybeans: Pre-harvest preparations

Seth Naeve, Extension soybean agronomist, David Nicolai, Extension educator-crops, Jared Goplen, Extension educator-crops, and Debalin Sarangi, Extension weed scientist 

Soybeans are an important cash crop to farmers in the Dakotas and Minnesota. Soybean acreage has continued to grow in the region to meet both domestic and export demand. Because of the region’s proximity to infrastructure that can rapidly deliver soybeans to important markets like Asia, a high percentage of soybeans from North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota are exported each year.

Customers around the world demand quality products, which includes soybeans with minimal foreign material. Sanitary and phytosanitary concerns are prompting global buyers to focus on the amount and types of foreign material in soybeans they purchase. Weed seeds are of particular concern for buyers as they work to curtail the spread of noxious weeds.

Producing high quality grain for export has a dual purpose. Farmers can help maintain imp…

Ongoing study could help Minnesota farmers use manure more efficiently

By: Paul McDivitt, Extension communications specialist

For Minnesota farmers who apply manure, it can be difficult to know how much nitrogen (N) is in the manure they’re applying and when it is available to the crop. This makes it hard to make decisions about how much additional N fertilizer to apply. An ongoing study by the University of Minnesota is studying six different types of manure over several years in an effort to update the university’s manure guidelines.

One of the key takeaways from the study so far is that the amount of bedding in the manure matters.

“If you are applying dairy or beef manure with bedding, then you should probably be aware that the nitrogen release is going to be slower,” said Melissa Wilson, U of M Extension manure management specialist and lead researcher on the project. 
The six types of manure being studied are bedded beef pack, swine finishing manure, raw dairy manure, liquid separated dairy manure, composted chicken layer manure, and turkey litter. 

Plan to attend the Pre-harvest considerations in corn webinar

Jeff Coulter, Extension corn agronomist Pre-harvest considerations for corn, including corn maturity, grain moisture, in-field dry-down of grain, yield monitor calibration, stalk quality, pre-harvest losses, and harvest losses will be the focus of the online Pre-Harvest Corn Agronomy Forum on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, from 3:00 p.m. to 3:40 p.m.

This program is designed for corn growers and ag professionals, and is focused on enhancing the profitability of corn production. This program will involve a 15-20 minute presentation, followed by a question-and-answer/discussion period.

There is no cost for this program, but pre-registration is required. Please register in advance at: Pre-Harvest Corn Agronomy Forum.

Once you register for this series, you'll receive a confirmation email. You'll also receive reminder emails with a link to the webinar before the event.

There is no need to download any apps or programs to join. Simply click on "Launch from my browser" in the …

Herbicide-resistant weed screening survey in agronomic crops

Debalin Sarangi, Extension weed scientist

Herbicide resistant weeds are widespread in MN and several reports on weed control failure following herbicide applications were reported recently. Therefore, testing weed populations for herbicide resistance is important to plan the future weed management practices more efficiently.

The University of Minnesota Extension has started an initiative to screen the weed populations collected from agronomic crop fields for herbicide resistance. We are requesting the stakeholders from MN to submit the seed samples for weeds that survived the pre emergence and/or post emergence herbicide treatments. We are targeting the common weed species including, but not limited to, pigweeds (waterhemp and redroot pigweed, etc.), giant ragweed, common ragweed, common lambsquarters, marestail (or horseweed), kochia, foxtails, and barnyardgrass.

The resistance screening is FREE! Follow the steps below to submit the samples:
Step 1: Locate weed escapes The samples can b…

Planting date matters for cover crops too

By Liz Stahl, Extension Educator – Crops, and Axel Garcia y Garcia, Sustainable Cropping Systems Specialist

As corn and soybean reach maturity and the crop canopy starts to open, a prime window also opens for seeding a cover crop. A cover crop can be interseeded in the fall into standing corn and soybean via the air or with ground equipment such as a high-clearance seeder. Cover crops can also be seeded after corn or soybean harvest, which allows use of a drill for more accurate seed placement and seed-to-soil contact. Waiting to seed a cover crop until corn or soybean are harvested for grain, however, may leave little if any time for the cover crop to establish and grow in the fall. Regardless, adequate moisture and seed-to-soil contact will aid in successful establishment.
How important is seeding timing in the fall? Cereal rye is the most common cover crop in MN for a number of reasons. It is relatively inexpensive, easy to establish, and seed is typically widely available. A…

Weed control ahead of the combine

Jared Goplen and Dave Nicolai, Extension educators - crops 

For the most part, it’s too late to control weeds this year, but there is still time to limit weed seeds going back into the weed seedbank. Combine harvesters are notorious for spreading weed seeds. Hand-pulling or mowing weed patches are some of the last lines of defense before harvest. Taking the time now can pay dividends for weed management in the upcoming years.
Weed Biology is Important Know the biology of the weeds you are trying to control. Waterhemp can produce over 250,000 seeds per plant. If waterhemp is prevented from producing seed for 4 years, over 99% of the seed bank can be degraded. The giant ragweed seedbank is degraded even faster, with over 95% degraded in just 2 years. However, a few weed escapes can produce enough seed to replenish the seed bank and negate past weed control success. The pigweed species waterhemp and redroot pigweed are able to produce viable seed within 10 days after pollination. If pig…

How to take and interpret the basal stalk nitrate test

By: Extension soil fertility specialists Dan Kaiser & Fabian FernandezTools for evaluating nitrogen management have provided mixed results. Their ability to determine whether nitrogen is deficient or sufficient in fields is often not 100% accurate. Nonetheless, tests like the basal stalk nitrate test are useful as a report card on nitrogen management within a field, or area of a field, within a growing season. Proper sampling of the right section of the stalk at the correct time is key when taking basal stalk samples. Knowing what needs to be done before you go to the field and the limitations of the test are also important to make sure you get the most accurate results from basal stalk nitrate values.Taking the basal stalk nitrate testThe basal stalk nitrate test is a diagnostic test taken at the end of the corn growing season. Results will show how well you did with your nitrogen management during the season. While this test won’t tell you how much nitrogen you need to apply nex…

Fall fertilizer outlook

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, four U of M researchers discuss fall fertilizer management. What were summer growing conditions like across Minnesota? Is there any nutrient management research currently underway that crop producers may be interested in? What should growers consider when making fall fertilizer decisions? Thank you to Minnesota's Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council (AFREC) for supporting the podcast.

Predicting the last irrigation for corn and soybeans

Updated by: Vasudha Sharma, Assistant Extension Professor-Irrigation Specialist
*Article was first published in July 1988 by Jerry Wright and Extension Agronomists, Leland Hardman & Michael Schmitt.
*Article was revised in 2006 by Jerry Wright, Retired Extension Engineer, Dale Hicks, Retired Extension Agronomist, Seth Naeve, Extension Soybean Agronomist
With a lot of variability in planting dates and precipitation throughout the state in 2020 growing season, both corn and soybean are at different growth stages in different regions of the state. The best way to determine if more irrigation is needed is to go through a step-by-step procedure. This article will present some guidelines for predicting the last irrigation for corn and soybeans.

Determining the amount and timing of the last few irrigations of the season is one of the most critical water management decisions. Discontinuing too early in the season to save water or reduce pumping cost could mean a much greater reduction in…

Don't forget about potassium when making fertilizer plans for next year

By: Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist & Jeff Vetsch, soil scientist

Dry weather conditions early in the 2020 growing season brought about some issues related to potassium (K) that we have not seen for a few years. Soil moisture is required for plants to access soil potassium. Dry weather conditions and soils where K is stratified near the soil surface can lead to more prevalent K deficiency with plants on marginal K soils.

Potassium fertilizer guidelines for corn and soybean were updated before the 2019 growing season, suggesting higher critical levels for loam and clay loam soils. Suggested K application rates were also adjusted for soybean, particularly for the medium soil test K category (101-150 ppm). Two research projects are underway to further refine the fertilizer K guidelines for corn.
A study funded by the Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council (AFREC) is trying to determine whether the suggested reduction in the K application rate in t…

Scout fields now for Palmer amaranth

Jared Goplen, Extension educator - crops and Debalin Sarangi, Extension weed management specialist

We are coming into the most critical time for Palmer amaranth scouting and rouging. Palmer amaranth is on Minnesota’s prohibited noxious weed and seed list with the intention to eradicate Palmer amaranth before it becomes widely established in the state. Now is a good time of the year to scout for Palmer amaranth, as mature Palmer amaranth plants are easier to distinguish from other closely-related pigweeds like waterhemp.
Identification is key Palmer amaranth is closely related to other amaranth (pigweed) species and can be challenging to differentiate during the early vegetative stages. When scouting this time of year, be on the lookout for pigweeds with long terminal seed heads (up to 2-3 feet long) and long petioles (longer than the leaf blade) (Photo 1).
Scouting tipsLook for long, terminal seedheads or pollen heads, up to 2-3 feet long, which are usually longer than other pigwee…

Palmer amaranth in feed ingredients?

Nathan Drewitz, Extension educator; Jared Goplen Extension educator-crops; Adam Austing, Extension educator, and Chryseis Modderman, Extension educator-manure management

Keep an eye out for Palmer amaranth hitching a ride into Minnesota via contaminated feed ingredients. Minnesota has at least one infestation in the state that arrived via contaminated cattle feed. The potential for this to happen again is high, especially when sourcing feed ingredients from areas where Palmer amaranth and other problematic weeds are more common. Pay attention to weeds growing around livestock feeding areas, near manure storage areas, or in fields with a history of manure application. These are likely the areas where Palmer amaranth and other new weeds will show up first.
Why the concern? Palmer amaranth is a highly competitive pigweed that is closely related to waterhemp. Like waterhemp, Palmer amaranth emerges throughout the growing season, and can grow 2-3 inches per day, causing large yield reduc…