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Showing posts from January, 2023

Climate factors and nitrogen fertilizer management: What should Minnesota corn growers know?

By: Angie Peltier, Extension crops educator Did you miss last week’s Strategic Farming webinar on climate factors and nitrogen management? Don’t worry! This blog post features written highlights from the episode as well as a link to a full video recording of the webinar at the bottom. The episode featured Extension water quality educator Brad Carlson and Extension nutrient management specialist Dan Kaiser, joined by Extension crops educator Ryan Miller. This was the third episode of Extension’s 2023 Strategic Farming: Let’s Talk Crops! webinar series . This year’s episodes include a variety of topics related to crop pests and pest resistance concerns, agronomic issues, and soil fertility questions. Register now to watch the live online webinars every Wednesday from 9-10 am on Zoom. Climate factors that influence nitrogen loss Climate plays a huge role in the fate of applied nitrogen fertilizer. The two primary loss processes of nitrogen in the soil are both water-based: Leaching, wh

Minnesota springs are getting wetter. What’s at stake for farmers?

Signs of a healthy ecosystem in the field with soil health management (left), compared to signs of crusting and compaction in the plowed field (right). By: Bailey Tangen, graduate research assistant, and Anna Cates, Extension soil health specialist Climate change is projected to change the timing, frequency, and severity of spring precipitation in Minnesota, and farmers might notice those changes first. Increases in the  number and quantity of rains are expected early in the growing season in Southern Minnesota, where acres of corn and soybean dominate the landscape. Besides increasing the risk of water erosion in these fields, erratic rain patterns cause a lot of stress to farmers looking to plant corn and soybeans in May. “Weather has always been unreliable, but the extreme weather throws us for a loop. I still remember a really wet year in the early 80s where we planted on April 28th and didn’t get wheels in the field until June 6th, because of all of the rain,” remembers Mark Ditl

Nutrient management on owned vs. rented ground

By: Dan Kaiser, University of Minnesota Extension nutrient management specialist, & Jeff Vetsch, University of Minnesota soil scientist Nutrient management decisions can become difficult when land tenure comes into play. While the soil is typically thought of as a “bank” that stores nutrients such as phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), the bank analogy isn’t completely accurate. You don’t always get back what is put into the soil. Also, with short-term land tenure, it doesn’t make sense to greatly increase soil test values if it will benefit another renter on the ground at a later date. What is your attitude towards risk? Soil tests for P and K help farmers understand how likely it is that a fertilizer application will increase crop yield. As soil test values increase towards what we call the critical level the need to apply fertilizer to achieve optimal yield should be low. It should be noted that some people consider the critical level to be at 95% of maximum yield while others con

Strategic Farming: Let's talk crops! session talks corn insect pests

By: Angie Peltier, UMN Extension crops educator On January 18, 2023, Bruce Potter, University of Minnesota Extension IPM specialist, and Dr. Anthony Hanson, UMN Extension IPM educator, joined UMN Extension crops educator Ryan Miller for a wide-ranging discussion of insect pests of corn in Minnesota. This was the second episode of the 2023 Strategic Farming: Let’s talk crops! webinars in this series. Alternatively, cut and paste this link: European corn borer (ECB) In recent years, UMN Extension entomologists, specialists and educators have conducted a European corn borer survey in Minnesota, continuing a tradition that began in 1963 by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. This survey serves multiple purposes, including improving our understanding of:  Whether ECB Bt traits are still effective How Bt hybrids affect ECB population dynamics in fields planted to hybrids with and without ECB Bt traits The footprint of different ECB biotypes (univolt

Growing sweet corn or peas in Minnesota? Updated fertilizer guidelines now available

By: Dan Kaiser and Carl Rosen, UMN Extension nutrient management specialists Sweet corn and peas are major crops grown primarily for processing in Minnesota. The state currently ranks second in the U.S. for both sweet corn and pea production with approximately 93,100 acres of sweet corn and 53,400 acres of peas harvested annually. View the updated fertilizer guidelines: Sweet corn Peas For the most part, these crops are grown under rainfed conditions on fine-textured soils in southern and south-central Minnesota, often in rotation with field corn and soybean . Relative to field corn and soybeans, sweet corn and peas have a relatively short growing season because the crops are harvested at an immature stage of growth and then processed for canned or frozen products. Nutrient requirements will therefore differ relative to the other major agronomic crops produced for grain. The updated guidelines for sweet corn are based on a three-year study funded by the Agricultural Fertilizer Resea

Strategic Farming: Let’s talk crops! launched with a grain marketing and climate outlook

By: Phyllis Bongard, Extension content development and communications specialist After three dry years, can this winter’s snowfall mitigate the drought? How does the grain market look considering world events? Ed Usset, Extension grain marketing specialist, and Pete Boulay, Assistant State Climatologist for the Minnesota DNR, joined Extension Educator Dave Nicolai for a wide-ranging discussion in the 2023 Strategic Farming: Let’s talk crops! webinar series launch. Grain market observations and outlook The bullish argument Several factors favor a bullish argument for rising crop prices in the next six months, according to Usset. Ending wheat stocks are projected to be the tightest in 15 years, excluding China’s stockpiling. The same is true with world corn ending stocks. In addition, basis is strong and in southwestern Minnesota, the best on record in over 30 years, with the exception of the drought years of 2012-13. The bearish argument Other factors favor a bearish argument. The do

Reminder: Feb. 21 Nutrient Management Conference available in-person or online

University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center’s 15th annual Nutrient Management Conference is Tuesday, February 21 in St. Cloud. This annual event brings together soil scientists and educators from Minnesota and neighboring states to share their research and recommendations. This year’s topics include: a comparison of potassium guidelines from Minnesota, Iowa, and North Dakota; irrigation and nitrogen fertilizer; manure management; biological products; and more! Register now: In-person event or online event (Zoom) In-person event location: Holiday Inn and Suites, 75 37th Ave S, St. Cloud MN 56301 Certified crop advisers (CCAs) can earn continuing education credits (CEUs) in soil & water and nutrient management by attending the conference. Presentations What do AFREC dollars mean for farmers and Minnesota - Mike Schmitt, U of M Climate smart agriculture: What to expect for future nutrient management - Greg Klinger, U of M Potassium recommen

Reminder: Feb. 7 Nitrogen Conference available in-person or online

University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center’s 9th annual Nitrogen: Minnesota's Grand Challenge and Compelling Opportunity Conference is Tuesday, February 7 in Mankato. This annual event brings together soil scientists and educators from Minnesota and neighboring states to share their research and recommendations on nitrogen management and water quality issues. This year’s topics include: sugarbeet’s nitrogen fertilizer needs, using the pre-sidedress nitrate test, polymer-coated urea, on-farm research, soil health, bioreactors, and more! Register now: In-person event or online webinar (Zoom) In-person event location: Mayo Clinic Health Systems Event Center, 1 Civic Center Plaza, Mankato, MN 56001 Certified crop advisers (CCAs) can earn continuing education credits (CEUs) in soil & water and nutrient management by attending the conference. Presentations Nitrogen management for sugarbeet, John Lamb, U of M (retired) PSNT as a way to man

Mark your calendars for the Midwest Soybean Gall Midge Research Update

Join Extension entomologists from four Midwestern universities to get the latest updates on soybean gall midge (SGM), a new soybean pest. Join our free, live webinar on February 27th from 1 - 4 pm CST to hear updates from the experts. This virtual program will feature several short presentations with plenty of time for questions and discussion. Growers, crop  consultants, educators and industry representatives are encouraged to attend. Soybean gall midge topics  Get the latest research-based updates on biology, ecology, and management: Biology and ecology updates, including field survey risk factors Newly discovered soybean gall midge hosts Latest in soybean host plant resistance Biological, chemical, and cultural control updates Three pest management (PM) Certified Crop Advisor CEUs for the live event have been applied for.  Registration Registration is required. However, thanks to our generous sponsors, there is no fee to watch live or on-demand sessions. Once you register for the M

Variable rate technology: How should farmers evaluate outcomes?

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, we’re talking about variable rate technology. What are some reasons that farmers might want to use variable-rate fertilizer instead of applying a single rate? Is there a difference between variable-rating different nutrient types? What are the technologies that are used to prescribe variable-rate fertilizer and what is the theory behind them? If farmers apply fertilizer at a variable rate, how should they evaluate those outcomes? Transcript Guests Brad Carlson, Extension educator (Mankato) Daniel Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist (St. Paul) Jeff Vetch, Extension nutrient management researcher (Waseca) Additional resources: Variable rate nitrogen and nitrogen advisory tools: Do they work? Fertilizer recommendation technology: What is success? On-farm precision ag research update: In-season site-specific side-dress nitrogen rate recommendations for corn --- For the latest nutrient management information, subscribe to the

Let it snow!

Craig Sheaffer, Extension forage agronomist, and Nathan Drewitz, Extension educator - crops Figure 1. An alfalfa field covered with 4 inches of snow. Alfalfa stubble can  catch snow in the field and can also reduce injury  from ice sheeting. Photo: Nathan Drewitz Winter snowfall provides recreational activities, snow shoveling, and travel disruption, but for hibernating alfalfa, it provides a blanket of protection against winter air temperatures. So far this winter, the risk of alfalfa winter kill is minimal because throughout much of Minnesota the plants have been well insulated by snow during periods of very low air temperatures. Snow as an insulator -  Snow is a mixture of air and ice and has low thermal conductivity compared to pure ice and soil. It is a natural insulator of the soil and buffers against low and fluctuating air temperature. Snow cover protects dormant alfalfa plants from freezing and desiccating and reduces the depth and duration of soil freezing (Figure 1). Snow

Reminder: Strategic Farming: Let's talk crops kicks off Wednesday

By Dave Nicolai, Extension Educator – Crops and Phyllis Bongard, Content development and communications specialist Photo: Liz Stahl Join us this Wednesday,  January 11th, 9-10 a.m.  for the  Strategic Farming: Let's talk crops!  webinar series kick off when we look ahead to 2023 and discuss weather, economic and supply chain forecasts with guests Ed Usset and Pete Boulay. Ed Usset, University of Minnesota Grain Marketing Economist, Center for Farm Financial Management will review and update price prospects for old and new crop grain. He'll also analyze the upcoming expansion of the soybean crushing industry and long-term impacts on Minnesota and national markets. Will there be any drought relief this winter? Pete Boulay, Assistant State Climatologist in the Minnesota State Climate Office, will discuss the outlook for temperatures and precipitation this winter and discuss how that may impact drought-stressed areas of Minnesota this spring and the potential for recovery before fi

Women in Ag Conference to focus on building resilience

Photo: CT Ryan Photography “Building Resilience on your Farm and in your Family,” the 2023 Women in Ag Network Conference will be February 7 in Willmar at the Willmar Conference Center (240 23rd Street SE, Willmar). This event will be a day of learning and networking for women involved in agriculture. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with the conference program from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monica McConkey, a rural mental health specialist and founder of Eyes on the Horizon Consulting, will be the keynote speaker. McConkey grew up on a farm, giving her first hand insight into farming operations and the unique experiences and barriers farmers and farm families encounter. That paired with 25 years of experience in the behavioral health field has given Monica valuable insight into emotional stress on the farm. She will be speaking about how difficult times can make us stronger and more resilient and how to implement strategies to manage our stress, improve our mindset, and feel inner peace amongs

Full slate of nitrogen education on tap for this winter

Nitrogen management continues to receive a lot of attention from farmers and the ag industry as a whole. Between the high prices experienced over the past few years and environmental issues, there is a lot to consider when making N fertilizer decisions. Building on the popular Nitrogen Smart program, University of Minnesota Extension is offering a whole slate of Advanced Nitrogen Smart courses this winter. Four different topics are now being offered, giving attendees a chance to explore several factors that are important for making the right nitrogen management decisions for your operation: “A Deep Dive Into the 4 Rs”: This curriculum goes into detail on the different types of N fertilizer and how they are best managed, and includes a detailed look at how to determine the best N rate for a field in a specific year. “Adapting N Management to Climate”: This session looks at the stresses put on N fertilizer by temperature and moisture, with an eye on adapting management based on conditi

Research Update for Ag Professional in Waseca Canceled

Due to the winter storm, the Research Update for Ag Professional in Waseca has been canceled for today, Tuesday, January 3, 2023.  This forecast includes a wintry mix of rain, sleet, and ice across southern Minnesota with some locations seeing a quarter inch of ice, and an Ice Storm Warning is in effect. Your options include the following: Transferring your registration to Oronoco (tomorrow), Lamberton (Thursday), Morris (Jan 10), Willmar (Jan 11), or Crookston (Jan 12) Canceling your registration and receiving a full refund. Please respond to this email with your preference. You can find out more about your alternative locations at: .  Additionally, there is a Winter Crops Day scheduled for Thursday, January 12 in Waseca with CEUs available as well.  Find more information on this event at events/wintercropsday .