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Showing posts from February, 2023

Strategic Farming: Let’s talk crops! session talks frequently asked questions regarding cover crop

By Angie Peltier, UMN Extension crops educator, Anna Cates, PhD, UMN Extension soil health specialist, Monica Schauer, University of Wisconsin-Madison research specialist, and Eric Yu, UMN graduate student On February 22, 2023, Anna Cates, Monica Schauer and Eric Yu joined UMN Extension crops educator Liz Stahl for a conversation about frequently asked questions regarding cover crops. This was an episode in the 2023 Strategic Farming: Let’s talk crops! series of webinars. To watch the full episode: Cover crops perform ecosystem services Even in fields that aren’t tilled, after harvest there can often be little crop residue left. Soil that is not covered is exposed to wind and falling raindrops, both of which can contribute to soil erosion. Cover crops are crops that are grown not to harvest in whole or part, but rather to cover the soil during late fall through early spring when a cash crop is not being grown. In areas in which corn is grown for either ho

For the second year in row, taking a pre-plant soil nitrate test this spring could pay big

By: Brad Carlson, Extension educator The 2022 growing season was the second year in a row in which Minnesota experienced dry conditions across a majority of the state’s corn acres. The effects of drought extend beyond the growing season, with potential impacts on the following year’s crop. One area of interest is the potential for carryover nitrogen in the soil profile. Most of Minnesota’s soils (coarse-textured sands excluded) mineralize significant amounts of nitrogen from soil organic matter throughout the summer. This nitrate is consumed by the growing crop until the crop reaches maturity. Typically, plant uptake of nitrate slows significantly around the first week of September and comes to a halt a few weeks after that. Mineralization of organic matter continues, however, with significant amounts of nitrate accumulating between early September and late October. Because the loss process of nitrate is water-based and requires saturation of the soil, a typical wet spring will

Learn about irrigation BMPs at 2nd annual Minnesota Irrigator Program

Are you an irrigator concerned about matching your irrigation with crop water use? Are you wondering how to improve water use efficiency and reduce water costs? The University of Minnesota Extension is offering the Minnesota Irrigator Program (MIP), to help answer these questions and more. This 3-day event will be held in-person at U of M Extension’s Regional Office in Farmington, MN on Wednesdays, March 1st, 8th, and 15th from 8:30am-3:30pm. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Register now With its sandy soils and limited precipitation, irrigation is a key component of production agriculture in the central region of Minnesota. Programming will include a discussion of irrigation systems, how to use soil moisture sensors on your farm, irrigation scheduling, and special topics like variable rate irrigation and remote sensing. In addition to learning about the most effective irrigation management, MIP attendance is one of the requirements to attain the Irrigation Endorsement of the Mi

Insect forecasting for 2023: was winter cold enough to help with Minnesota pests?

Dr. Anthony Hanson Extension Educator & Assistant Professor - Field Crops Integrated Pest Management Cold winters help prevent many potential pest insects from establishing in Minnesota or require species that cannot survive our winters, like potato leaf hopper or black cutworm, to migrate up from southern states. Extreme cold can also knock back species that are established here. Generally, cold weather is troublesome for farmers and livestock, but the cold can be a welcome event for pest management. Each year, I try to get a rough snapshot of how winter may have helped us out with reducing pest insect populations by using temperatures on the coldest night of the year. 2019 was a prominent example where much of the state was below -30 °F which caused significant mortality for pests like soybean aphid. So far, Feb. 3 has been the coldest day during winter 2022-23 for much of the state with morning low air temperatures below -20°F in the northern half of the state and near -1

Soil health and drainage: Haney test results from northwest Minnesota don’t differentiate by drainage

By: Anna Cates, Extension soil health specialist Soil health can be measured in many ways . Often, tests estimate the capacity of soil biology, and the Haney test is one way of estimating how much food, in the form of organic carbon (C) and nitrogen (N), is available to microbes in the soil. Recently, UMN colleagues and I applied the Haney Soil Health Test to silty clay loam soils with and without tile drainage at the Northwest Research and Outreach Center in Crookston. We compared drained and undrained plots to see if changing the soil water regime with drainage would alter microbial activity enough to detect differences in the Haney Soil Health Test. No differences with drainage were found, but measurements of organic C and N were greater in April or May than summer or fall sampling. Seasonal variability and N supply Organic C and N pools measured by the test are mostly decomposed, soluble in water, and ready for microbes to take up as food. Other research in Wisconsin and Ohio al

Strategic Farming: Let's talk crops focused on weed management

Phyllis Bongard, Educational content development and communications specialist, and Debalin Sarangi, Extension weed specialist Multiple herbicide-resistant waterhemp infestations in a Renville County, MN soybean field. Photo: D. Sarangi Weeds take the top spot as the most problematic pest problem farmers manage. Evolution and spreading of herbicide-resistant weeds, strategies for weed control in conventional corn, and preserve the new products or premixes for future use contribute to the challenges. Failures to control waterhemp – a troublesome weed - are frequently reported in Minnesota. Are failures due to increased herbicide resistance or other application factors? To help answer this, Dr. Debalin Sarangi, University of Minnesota Extension weed specialist, collected 120 waterhemp samples from 56 counties for resistance screening. Waterhemp resistance screening  Each waterhemp population was exposed to full (1x) and high (3x) rates of eight commonly used postemergence herbicides. Whe

Fridays with a Forester start this week

Do you have woodlands on your farm? Join University of Minnesota Extension foresters to discuss some of the key issues facing woodland owners in Minnesota. In a series of free online meetings, Extension educators and other experts will introduce a topic, give a brief presentation, then leave plenty of time for any related questions you have about your property. All webinars will be from 9 am to 10 am. Register once to attend any or all the webinars in the series. You'll receive reminder emails with a link to each webinar prior to the event. Dates and topics February 24 - Maple Syrup Basics March 3 - MN School Forests: A collaboration between the MN DNR and Minnesota’s schools March 17 - Climate Adaptation in Minnesota March 24 – Windbreaks/Living Snow Fences – Designs and What to Plant March 31 - Foraging for Wild Edibles April 14 - Things to Think about when Planning a Timber Sale April 21 – Strategies to keep your woods healthy and resilient. April 28 - 2023 Participatory Scie

Some private pesticide applicator recertification options for 2023 end soon

by Tana Haugen-Brown, Extension Educator and Co-Coordinator, PSEE Photo credit: Ohio State University Private pesticide applicators who need to renew a certification that ends on March 1, 2023 have through the end of February to do so to keep their certification from expiring. If you are unsure of your applicator status, you can check your certification status here: Farmers, who reside in Minnesota and plan to use Restricted Use Pesticides on land or sites for the production of agricultural commodities must renew their certification if it expires on March 1, 2023. The cost is $75 for each option and certification is good for three years. Here are the options to recertify through the end of February: Option 1: Attend an in-person workshop  They offer a great opportunity to review regulations and safety issues related to pesticide application, while providing you with the latest University research on integrated pest management. A complete list of rema

Commercial Animal Waste Technician (CAWT) trainings now available in-person or online

By: Extension educators Chryseis Modderman & Brenda Postels, and Extension manure management specialist Melissa Wilson There are several upcoming opportunities for Minnesota commercial manure haulers and site managers to attend the Commercial Animal Waste Technician (CAWT) recertification workshops. This year, there will be both in-person workshops and an online course. In-person workshops will take place in Hutchinson (Feb. 16th), Slayton (Mar. 7th), Owatonna Farm and Power Show (Mar. 16th), Sauk Center (July 19th) and Farmfest in Redwood County (August 3rd.) Online training will be available starting late spring or early summer and will be open until November 1st, 2023. Learn more at Cost The registration fee is $10 for either in-person or online recertification training. For in person workshops, payment will be taken at the door by cash, credit card or check, payable to UMN Extension. Sign up to receive CAWT updates The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MD

Strategic Farming: Let’s talk crops! session talks biologicals on corn and soybean

Photo: Claire LaCanne By Angie Peltier, UMN Extension crops educator, Seth Naeve, UMN Extension soybean agronomist and Daniel Kaiser, UMN Extension soil fertility specialist On February 8, 2023, Seth Naeve, Ph.D., UMN Extension soybean agronomist and Daniel Kaiser, Ph.D., UMN Extension soil fertility specialist, joined UMN Extension crops educator Lizabeth Stahl for a conversation about the latest research on biologicals for corn and soybean. This was the fifth episode of the 2023 Strategic Farming: Let’s talk crops! webinars in this series. To watch this episode: Biological seed treatments for soybean In recent years, the marketplace of biological products on the market has been growing and is projected to be a $12-13 billion industry in the US by 2024. Biological seed treatments claim to improve nitrogen (N) fixation, assimilate organic and inorganic phosphorus (P), increase nutrient use efficiency or uptake, stimulate root growth or expand root absorp

Winter damages to forages: ice sheets

Figure 1.  Ice sheet damage to a field of alfalfa.   By: Craig Sheaffer, Nathan Drewitz, and Troy Salzer Ice sheeting can have a lethal effect on forage crop stands (Figure 1). Typically, ice sheeting occurs on poorly drained areas of a field where water congregates, but sometimes it can occur over an entire field. Ice sheets form following freezing of standing water resulting from melting of snow or from rainfall in winter and spring followed by freezing temperatures. In other parts of the state ice sheeting occurs in areas where the soil is frozen and ponds until the frost leaves the soil allowing the water to infiltrate. While once viewed as a problem mainly in central and southern Minnesota, ice sheeting has become a much more significant issue in the last 15-20 years in northeast Minnesota due to changes in snow fall patterns. Ice sheet damage is related to its thickness, duration, and timing during the dormant season. Mechanism of ice damage Because ice has high thermal conduct

Reminder: Plan to attend the Midwest Soybean Gall Midge Research Update

Join our free, live webinar on February 27th from 1 - 4 pm CST to hear soybean gall midge research updates from Extension entomologists from around the region. 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 Midwest Soybean Gall Midge Research Update , you'll receive a confirmati

Watershed planning and nitrate reduction podcast

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, we’re talking about watershed planning and nitrate reduction. What are watershed plans and what goes into them? How do watershed plans affect nutrient management decision-making? What should farmers know about edge-of-field and nutrient management planning in relation to water quality goals? TRANSCRIPT Guests: Wayne Cords, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Brad Carlson, Extension nutrient management specialist (Mankato) Jeff Strock, Extension soil scientist (Lamberton) Additional resources: Advanced Nitrogen Smart , Feb. 13 - March 17 at various locations around the state Minnesota Nutrient Reduction Strategy (MPCA) One Watershed, One Plan (MN BWSR) Where Can I Get Support? (MN BWSR) Minnesota State Programs (USDA FSA) --- For the latest nutrient management information, subscribe to the Nutrient Management Podcast wherever you listen and never miss an episode! And don't forget to subscribe to the Minnesota Crop News daily o

Strategic Farming: Let’s talk crops! session talks short-statured corn and soybean cyst nematode resistance breeding

By: Angie Peltier, UMN Extension crops educator On February 1, 2023, Aaron Lorenz, Ph.D., UMN soybean breeder and geneticist and Rex Bernardo, Ph.D., UMN professor, endowed chair and corn geneticist, joined UMN Extension crops educator Lizabeth Stahl for a conversation about short-statured corn and SCN-resistant soybean breeding efforts. This was the fourth episode of the 2023 S trategic Farming: Let’s talk crops! webinars in this series.   Alternatively, watch the episode here: Short-statured corn While known by different names such as dwarf, semi-dwarf, or short corn, short-statured corn is corn that does not grow as tall as the typical Midwestern field corn hybrid. The concept of breeding shorter crops to combat production challenges has been around for long time; for example, short-statured rice supports adding additional nitrogen to improve grain without increasing lodging potential. While research on short-statured corn began in in the 1960’s on corn

Stay Frosty with Small Grain Winter Updates

  Herbicide resistant weeds , rotation adapted insect pests , and narrow windows for doing all field operations can seem insurmountable. Can adding a small grain help with any of those issues? Once we get these species in the ground, what is the best way to ensure profitability and yield? University of Minnesota Extension is offering small grain workshops across Minnesota in February to address successful small grain management. Workshops will focus on production agronomics, variety selection, and economics, and will include an open-forum discussion for related topics and on-farm experiences. These events are sponsored by the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council. Presenters may vary by location, but all will include Jochum Wiersma, University of Minnesota Extension Small Grain Specialist. Le Center and Slayton workshops will also include Diane Dewitte, University of Minnesota Extension Swine Educator who will discuss research involving organic rye and hog production. Please r