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Showing posts from November, 2022

Strategic Farming: Let's talk crops! is back for 2023

By Liz Stahl, Extension Educator – Crops and Phyllis Bongard, Content development and communications specialist Photo: Liz Stahl, UMN Extension Pull up a chair and join in or bring the conversation with you as you go about your day. Whatever works best for you, join us this winter to discuss some of the key issues and questions around commodity crop production facing Minnesota farmers today through the “Strategic Farming: Let’s Talk Crops” webinar series. This live, online program will provide up-to-date, research-based information to help optimize your crop management strategies for 2023. Sessions will be held over Zoom, which can be accessed via your computer, phone or other mobile device, and run from 9:00 to 10:00 am Wednesdays, January 11 through March 29, 2023. Sessions will be very informal and open to all interested. Each session will start with a brief presentation by the discussion leaders for the day, followed by discussion framed around farmer/participant questions on t

Four soil test myths that farmers should know

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, we’re talking about soil test myths. First, why is it important to discuss these pervasive myths surrounding soil tests? Myth 1: the Mehlich-3 test is a better test for farmers to consider: Myth 2: I can predict my nitrogen requirement with the cation exchange capacity test. Myth 3: K base saturation is the better way to predict potassium. Myth 4: I need to run an analysis of all micronutrients. TRANSCRIPT  Guests: Daniel Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist (St. Paul) Brad Carlson, Extension educator (Mankato) Carl Rosen, Extension nutrient management specialist (St. Paul) Additional resources: What is the best soil test option for phosphorus? Understanding the soil test report Fertilizing corn in Minnesota Soybean fertilizer guidelines Video: Micronutrients: Small but mighty --- For the latest nutrient management information, subscribe to the Nutrient Management Podcast wherever you listen and never miss an episode! And

When can you get in the field? Crop farmer survey

Anna Cates, State soil health specialist Photo: Liz Stahl Timing is everything for farmers working in Minnesota’s short growing season. Getting into the field during a window of good weather to plant, spray, or harvest can make the difference between profitability and loss. It can also mean the difference between a frantic, sleepless night and a relaxing evening with the family, and those stressful seasons can add up to long-term differences in quality of life. To better understand how crop management affects farm operations timing and stress, UMN researchers are surveying row crop farmers . We have heard some anecdotes about farmers who no-till and plant cover crops getting into the field faster than neighbors waiting for a compacted area to dry out. We’ve been trying to address that question with field studies exploring how row crop management systems change soil response to rain, and farmer access to fields after rain. We monitored pairs of farms using contrasting management for soi

'Vinter' hairy vetch variety released

Craig Sheaffer, Extension forage agronomist, and Nancy Ehlke, Professor, Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics Vinter hairy vetch Hairy vetch ( Vicia villosa Roth) is an annual legume used as a cover crop, green manure crop, and occasionally as a forage. In the Midwest, it is one of the few annual legumes that is used as a winter cover crop because it is moderately winter hardy. As a winter cover crop, hairy vetch can reduce soil erosion and in the spring be used as a green manure crop to add carbon and nitrogen to the soil. Hairy vetch conducts biological nitrogen fixation and can contribute from 50-150 pounds of fixed N to subsequent crops depending on the spring biomass production. Because of its viney prostrate growth habit, it is often planted with winter rye which supports hairy vetch growth. ‘Vinter’ is a new hairy vetch variety with superior winter survival and spring biomass production. It was developed from the most winter-hardy local ecotypes identified in winter su

P and K “fixation” in the soil: What you need to know

By: Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist One word that often comes up when discussing phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) fertilizer management is “fixation.” What is nutrient fixation and what should farmers understand about it? Fixation generally refers to the tendency for nutrients to become “tied up” in the soil and therefore less available to the crop. This happens when nutrients react with the soil, or ions in the soil solution, forming compounds or holding onto nutrients very tightly. Nutrient fixation is often misunderstood to mean that once a nutrient is “fixed,” it is lost forever and will never be available to the plant. While we know that reactions occur in the soil which can bind elements, the process of fixation is more about “retention.” The so-called “fixed” nutrients may become available at some point, but it can take time. “Pools” of nutrient availability in the soil One way to think about nutrients in the soil is that they are in “pools” that vary in how

5 things to know about removal-based P and K strategies

By: Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist One item I have been providing in our current corn and soybean fertilizer guidelines is estimated removal rates of phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). While our fertilizer guidelines have traditionally not been crop removal-based, growers using crop removal have told me that the concentration of P and K in grain has slightly declined compared to older values used for crop removal. One thing you need to know about calculating removal-based rates is that the so-called rules of thumb for the amount of P and K in grain may or may not represent what you have in the field. One concern I have is that some growers treat their P and K like balancing a checkbook, trying to calculate what is taken off the field and putting that amount back on in fertilizer. In almost all cases, this type of accuracy is not needed for removal-based guidelines. Here is why: 1. The amount of P and K in grain can vary greatly While rules of thumb or standard fa