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Showing posts from May, 2021

Alfalfa Harvest Alert: May 27th

Nathan Drewitz, Local UMN Extension Educator - Crops, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties Alfalfa harvest began last Monday for the cooperators in the southern portion of the program. At this point, most cooperators from Wright county and south have harvested and are no longer reporting in information. Reports from the remaining cooperators indicate that this weekend could be a very busy harvest week for Central and Western Minnesota. Alfalfa weevils continue to be an issue in Western Minnesota. A recent article on this can be found here . Again, continue to monitor stands for potential pest problems. Alfalfa Harvest Report for May 27th: Alfalfa Harvest Report May 27th The goal of this program is to encourage growers to be strategic with alfalfa hay crop harvest. Farmers should make decisions based on their specific feed and market needs and field observations. You can also compare the different counties and farms that have participated in the Alfalfa Harvest Alert Program since 201

The time to sidedress nitrogen is now

By: Brad Carlson, Extension educator & Fabian Fernandez, Extension nitrogen management specialist This year’s planting season went off without a hitch for most farmers in Minnesota. With abnormally dry conditions, most of the state’s corn was in the ground by early May. However, cool weather has led to delayed emergence and slow growth. Observation shows that very little field work has occurred in the last couple of weeks as farmers wait for the weather to warm up and crops to grow. The trend over the past few years towards split application of nitrogen (N) fertilizer means that there are still significant amounts of N to be applied. Some who split-apply N believe it is better to “spoon-feed” the crop. In reality, this is not necessary, as needed nitrogen is either present or it isn’t. In other words, if you applied N fertilizer pre-plant and it wasn’t lost (thanks to recent dry conditions), it is likely still available. This means it doesn’t matter if you applied all of you

Alfalfa Harvest and Alfalfa Weevil Management

 Anthony Hanson, Nathan Drewitz, Bruce Potter, and Jared Goplen Mid-May to June is the time to begin scouting for insect problems in alfalfa. With the first crop alfalfa harvest in 2021 approaching or already underway, remember to check for alfalfa weevil. Even if larvae are present, insecticide applications may not be needed if alfalfa fields will be harvested soon. Scouting through early June will determine if any action is needed. Potato leafhopper have started to migrate from the Gulf states, but economically threatening populations are most often encountered during 2nd cutting through mid – August. Alfalfa weevil development Alfalfa weevils overwinter as adults and only go through one generation per year. Larvae are the most damaging stage that can skeletonize leaves where only leaf veins or holes remain (Fig.1). 1st stage larvae are yellow to olive with 2nd through 4th stage larvae becoming green in color with a white stripe along their back. All stages have distinctive black hea

Spring freeze injury to corn in the northern half of Minnesota: What to expect

By: Jeff Coulter, Extension corn agronomist Image credit: Jeff Coulter/U of MN Assessing freeze injury Air temperatures dropped below freezing during the early morning hours on May 28 in portions of the northern half of Minnesota, resulting in freeze injury to corn in some fields. Most of the damaged corn was at the two to three leaf collar (V2 to V3) stages. Symptoms of freeze injury to corn initially appear as discolored water-soaked leaves, which later dry and turn brown. The growing point on young corn plants at the V2 to V3 stages is about 0.75 inches below the soil surface, and it will remain below the soil until the five leaf collar (V5) stage. Therefore, freezing air temperatures prior to the V5 stage typically do not kill corn unless prolonged cold temperatures freeze the upper part of the soil where the growing point is located.  Temperatures across the northern half of Minnesota at 4am on May 28, 2021 (Image credit: NWS Twin Cities). Corn recovery is greatest when freezing o

Register now for Manure Composting Workshops in Minnesota and North Dakota

By: Chryseis Modderman, University of Minnesota Extension  University of Minnesota Extension, in conjunction with North Dakota State University Extension, is hosting two manure composting workshops this summer.  The workshops will be on July 21st at the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center in Carrington, N.D., and on August 11th at the UMN West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris, Minn. Workshops will begin at 8 a.m. and conclude at 4:30 p.m. Appropriate COVID-19 protocols will be followed as dictated by University policy.  Register now The workshops will focus on the basics of turning raw manure into compost, featuring educational sessions, demonstrations, hands-on activities, and discussions with an expert panel. Topics for this workshop include: Site selection Temperature management Moisture management Turning the compost Spreader calibration demonstration Sampling demonstration Understanding analysis reports Economics Q&A with expert compost producer panel Regis

Alfalfa Harvest Alert: May 24th

Nathan Drewitz, Local UMN Extension Educator - Crops, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties All cooperators are now reporting results. Alfalfa harvest has begun as far north as Buckman which means we are almost finished with the Scissor Cut program for this season. There have been some reports of alfalfa weevils in western Minnesota and there is some shot holing in leaves here in central Minnesota. However, pest problems have remained low and the damage present does not yet warrant control. With harvest on the horizon, I would expect these to not be major issues. Regardless, stands should still be monitored for potential pest problems. Alfalfa Harvest Report for May 24th: Alfalfa Harvest Report May 24th The goal of this program is to encourage growers to be strategic with alfalfa hay crop harvest. Farmers should make decisions based on their specific feed and market needs and field observations. You can also compare the different counties and farms that have participated in the Alfalf

Alfalfa Harvest Alert: May 20th

Nathan Drewitz, Local UMN Extension Educator - Crops, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties With most of our cooperators reporting stand heights above 18 inches I would expect harvest to begin at some point next week. While this is good news, there are also reports in the area that some alfalfa stands are under moisture stress. For moisture-stressed fields, consider the height of the alfalfa stand and the cost of harvesting that potential yield. For established alfalfa stands over 10 inches tall, harvest, provided it is economical. Cutting height should not be raised as there is no advantage to the alfalfa plant by increasing the cutting height during moisture stress. Alfalfa forage quality should be higher in moisture stressed fields meaning harvest can be delayed out until flowering without suffering the usual quality losses. For fields under 10 inches tall, cutting is not recommended. New regrowth will come through the existing stand and can be harvested provided moisture condition

Gopher Coffee Shop podcast: Soil organic matter and health

In this installment of the Gopher Coffee Shop podcast, Extension educators Ryan Miller and Brad Carlson sit down with Anna Cates, University of Minnesota Extension Specialist in Soil Health with the Minnesota Office of Soil Health (MOSH). We visit with Anna about soil health, and have a discussion about soil organic matter and its role in crop production. Enjoy! MOSH website: Listen to the podcast Read about current issues in the Minnesota Crop News blog: Minnesota Crop News blog: Sign up to receive Minnesota Crop News: The Gopher Coffee Shop Podcast is available on Stitcher and iTunes . For more information, visit University of Minnesota Extension Crop Production at .

Alfalfa Harvest Alert: May 17th

Nathan Drewitz, UMN Extension Educator - Crops, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties The Alfalfa Harvest Alert program is now in full swing. All of the southern locations have submitted samples and most of the northern locations will have samples collected Thursday, May 20th. The warmer weather has helped alfalfa stands throughout the area make considerable progress over the weekend. This report is for all samples collected on May 17th.  Alfalfa Harvest Alert Report for May 17th: Alfalfa Harvest Report May 17th The goal of this program is to encourage growers to be strategic with alfa lfa hay crop harvest. Farmers should make decisions on their own farms based on their specific feed and market needs and field observations. You can also compare the different counties, and farms that have participated in the Alfalfa Harvest Alert program since 2010 as . We hope that this new tool will be useful in making better alfalfa management decisions. You can get th

Field School for Ag Professionals is on for 2021!

Registration is now open for the 2021 Field School for Ag Professionals, which will be held July 20 & 21 at the University of Minnesota Agriculture Experiment Station in St. Paul. This two-day event is the premier summer training opportunity that combines hands-on training with real world field scenarios. The Field School program focuses on core principles in agronomy, entomology, weed and soil sciences on the first day to build a strong foundation of skills and knowledge. The 2nd day builds on this foundation with timely, cutting-edge topics that participants can select.  The University of Minnesota Institute for Ag Professionals Field School offers participants an opportunity to enhance troubleshooting and crop management skills in specially designed plots that display actual cropping situations. A key feature of the Field School is the small learning groups that enhance the learning experience.  You may choose to attend either day or both days of the field school.  Early bird r

Early Season Disease Control in Small Grains

 Memorial Day weekend is often the first time that reports of leaf diseases reach my desk.  I call tan spot my ‘canary-in-a-coal-mine’ for small grains diseases, in part, because it requires a shorter leaf wetness period from either rain or dew and lower temperatures to start initial infections compared to either leaf rust or Septoria spp. Any wheat on wheat and winter wheat that was seeded early last fall should probably be scouted for early-season tan spot. Do not simply add a fungicide to your herbicide program because it is cheap and convenient ‘insurance’.   If no disease is present at the time, you are not doing any good and any new growth will not be protected anyway.  Very early infections from the tan spot pathogen show up like chocolate-colored specks that very quickly develop a yellow halo around them. The yellow halo is the plant's reaction to the toxin that the fungus produces. Seedlings are very sensitive to this toxin and whole leaves will turn yellow, creating an ap

Cover crop residue and C:N ratios

Anna Cates, State soil health specialist At this time of year, cover crops are being sprayed with herbicide to make way for cash crop growth.  What will happen to the residue remaining on the soil surface? Pretty soon the cover crop will start decomposing, where its leaves and roots break down into molecules that soil animals, bacteria, and fungi use. Those soil organisms eat what they need or what they can, and leave some nutrients behind for plants to use. Nitrogen availability One of these possible leftovers, nitrogen, is of high interest to both scientists and farmers. There’ve been some interesting efforts in other states to estimate how much nitrogen N) might be available from cover crops as they decompose. For example, Penn State created a tool estimating adjustments to N recommendations depending on cover crop growth. A team from University of Illinois and Purdue developed a simulation estimating cover crop growth and C:N ratio of your cover crop in the spring. The Penn State