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Showing posts from October, 2023

MN CropCast: N research and Extension led by Dr. Fabian Fernandez

In this episode, CropCast hosts Dave Nicolai and Seth Naeve visits with Dr. Fabian Fernandez, Professor at the University of Minnesota Department of Soil, Water and Climate. Fabian is an Extension specialist in soil nutrient management with an emphasis in soil nitrogen. Fabian provides an overview of his background, education, and career. Fabian was born and raised in the Pampas region of Argentina. He earned his Ph.D. degree from Purdue University, and M.S. and B.S. degrees from Brigham Young University. The research and extension education programs of Dr. Fernández focus on soil nutrient management and plant mineral nutrition. His current work at the University of Minnesota concentrates primarily on economic and environmental effects of nutrient management in corn cropping systems. He seeks to identify and implement nitrogen management practices that are sustainable in terms of both minimizing negative environmental impacts, specifically on water quality, and improving crop yields. I

Five things to know about nitrogen management this fall

By: Brad Carlson, Extension educator Nitrogen application practices have been changing over the years, however, fall application remains a popular practice for many Minnesota farms. Here are some things to think about if you are considering or planning on fall N application: 1. Peak N demand for next year’s crop will be in the second week of June. That is a long time from now. Because nitrogen is transient in the environment (it moves), storing it in the soil is a tricky proposition. Have you ever considered that when you make a fall N application you are counting on it to still be available seven months later? An aspect that is frequently lost in discussion about the 4Rs is that decisions about fertilizer type, placement and application timing are usually not independent of each other. This is indeed a system, and if you make a decision to apply in the fall you have made a decision that impacts your choice of fertilizer type, which then dictates placement. Do your homework an

Potato nutrient management research: 5 things we’ve learned

By: Carl Rosen, Extension nutrient management specialist In Minnesota, potatoes are typically grown under irrigated conditions on sandy, low organic matter soils. Because of a high nutrient requirement and a relatively shallow root system (most roots are within the top foot), the crop is often responsive to applied nutrients, particularly the three primary macronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium). Nutrient management research over the years has provided some insight into optimizing nutrient inputs to enhance yields and minimize losses to the environment. More recently, improving soil health in potato cropping systems has also been a focus. Here are five things we have learned so far: 1. There are several strategies available to increase nitrogen use efficiency Of all the essential nutrients, nitrogen (N) is the one most often limiting for potato production. It is also very susceptible to leaching losses as nitrate under conditions of excessive rainfall or unpredicted r

Private pesticide applicator certification options for 2023 close soon

Tana Haugen-Brown, Extension educator and Co-coordinator - Pesticide safety and environmental education Source: Ohio State University Private pesticide applicators who still need to certify in 2023 have two options left to get their certification. You must take either the online or mail-in exam to receive your certification. The cost is $75 for each option and the certification is good for three years. Both options close on October 31, 2023. Visit our website: and click on the “Exams deadlines and instructions” tab for more information. Information regarding the 2024 Private Pesticide Applicator certification program will be on our website in mid-December. If you are unsure when you need to recertify, check your applicator status on this MDA website: . Questions regarding the private pesticide applicator certification can be directed to us at or by phone at 763-767-3840 or 763-260-4423, Monday t

What we learned from 70 years of alfalfa variety trials

Craig Sheaffer, Extension Agronomist, University of Minnesota The alfalfa variety testing program at the University of Minnesota began in the early 1950s and continued for nearly 70 years until 2021. Results were published in the Variety Trials by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station and archived issues  of the trials are available.  The program’s goal was to provide an unbiased evaluation of alfalfa varieties as a service to alfalfa producers and to alfalfa breeders and marketers. Trials showed the improvement in winterhardiness, disease resistance, and forage yield of alfalfa varieties over time. Winterhardiness In Minnesota, winter injury and winterkill can occur due to extremely low temperatures, but also when varieties break dormancy during late winter thaw and freeze cycles. One of the first winterhardy alfalfa varieties in the Midwest was “Grimm”. Grimm was selected in Carver County MN, and the University of Minnesota contributed to its development. At its peak use,

MN CropCast: Corn and soybean variety selection for 2024 with Drs. Jeff Coulter and Dean Malvick

In this week’s MN CropCast, Seth Naeve and David Nicolai welcomed University of Minnesota Extension Specialists Drs. Jeff Coulter and Dean Malvick. Coulter is an Extension corn specialist and Malvick is an Extension plant pathologist for corn and soybeans. These state specialists discussed the selection criteria for growers to consider when choosing their 2024 corn and soybean seeds. While crop yield data from multiple sites in 2024 is extremely important, yield stability over time and environments is essential in the selection process. Drs. Coulter and Malvick also provided advice on 2024 agronomic selection criteria when ordering corn and soybean seed such as corn standability, tolerance to diseases and drought plus other agronomic factors along with soybean disease resistance, iron chlorosis and SCN tolerance. Both specialists emphasized that knowing individual field histories which detail past disease occurrences, crop rotations, fertility, soil types and yields is critical in maki

MN CropCast: Northwestern MN fall field crop harvest update with Dr. Tom Peters and Zach Fore

In this week’s CropCast, Seth Naeve and David Nicolai welcomed veteran agronomists, Dr. Tom Peters and Zach Fore. Dr. Tom Peters is a sugarbeet agronomist specializing in weed control at North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota, Zach works for Pioneer/Corteva in Northwestern Minnesota as a regional agronomist and researcher. These two gentlemen reviewed the crop growing season and early harvest results for sugarbeets, corn and soybeans in western Minnesota. They discussed early planting delays, limited seasonal rainfall, weed concerns and why some early yield results were better than expected. Factors such as genetic improvement and cultural management contributed significantly to the improvement for some area yields. Tom and Zach also provided advice on 2024 selection criteria when ordering corn and soybean (SCN tolerance) inputs as well as pest management and crop rotation of sugarbeets, corn and soybeans. Please join us for another lively Minnesota CropCast. Lis

Confused about differences in phosphorus fertilizer sources? Here are the facts.

By: Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist For most farmers, the source of dry phosphorus (P) fertilizer is limited to what local retailers have on hand. The most common sources sold in Minnesota are mono-ammonium phosphate (MAP) and di-ammonium phosphate (DAP). Triple superphosphate (TSP) and Crystal Green (struvite) are also available in some areas. What are the differences between these sources and how should growers decide which one to use? What are the differences between MAP and DAP? The chemical formulas for MAP and DAP are: MAP: NH₄H₂PO₄ DAP: (NH 4 ) 2 HPO 4 Looking at the chemical formulas, the primary difference between MAP and DAP is the number of ammonia (NH₄) ions present. MAP contains one ammonium ion per phosphate versus two for DAP. An additional difference is that, when MAP is dissolved in water, it tends to produce an acidic pH while DAP is more alkaline (basic). Since MAP is acidifying, it provides more available P for high pH soils. However, most resea

Minnesota CropCast: Corn and soybean update from Jay Zielske and Jared Goplen

In today’s CropCast, Seth Naeve and David Nicolai welcome veteran regional agronomists, Jay Zielske and Jared Goplen. Jay works for Corteva in south central Minnesota, while Jared works for Wyffels Hybrids covering western Minnesota, northwest Iowa, and a few counties in South Dakota. These two gentlemen shared their observations on harvest progress and reported yields in their areas. One cannot discuss variable yields in 2023 without a focus on what brought us here. Planting delays, poor stands, and a chronic drought stressed the crops. In contrast, plant diseases tended to be reduced. If yields are slightly better than anticipated, where did those bushels come from? Jay and Jared also provided advice on selection criteria when ordering 2024 corn and soybean seed inputs. Please join us for another lively Minnesota CropCast. Listen to the podcast What is Minnesota CropCast? Hosts David Nicolai and Seth Naeve discuss the progress and challenges of Minnesota's agronomic crops in

Fall soil sampling BMPs: Grid vs zone, timing, dry soil & more

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, we’re talking about fall soil sampling. What do conditions look like around the state? Is there a best time to take soil samples in the fall? What should you watch out for when sampling dry fields? What should you keep in mind when using grid versus zone soil sampling? Transcript   Guests: Daniel Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist (St. Paul) Brad Carlson, Extension educator (Mankato) Lindsay Pease, Extension nutrient and water management specialist (Crookston) Fabian Fernandez, Extension nutrient management specialist (St. Paul) Additional resources: Video: How to take a soil sample Understanding the soil test report Fall fertilizer outlook: Prices, drought, N sources, soil testing, and more U of M fertilizer recommendations by crop Nitrogen Smart’s online course adds advanced sessions on manure management, the 4Rs Learn about your land using the Web Soil Survey FINBIN: Farm financial database --- For the latest nutr