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Showing posts from January, 2024

Strategic Farming: Let's talk crops! focused on big data and corn genomics

Phyllis Bongard, Extension content development and communications specialist, Candy Hirsch, Professor, Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics , and Tom Hoverstad, Researcher, Southern Research and Outreach Center What does the use of big data in corn genomics mean for today’s producers? Dr. Candy Hirsch, a corn geneticist and genomics professor, and Tom Hoverstad, Researcher at the Southern Research and Outreach Center, described how sequencing DNA can lead to improvements in corn production in the January 24 Strategic Farming: Let’s talk crops session. Generating big data in corn genomics How can big data help maximize yield increases in corn? As corn genomic data expands, it will ultimately allow plant breeders to predict performance for a very large number of progeny without having to grow every individual in every field environment. Dr. Hirsch’s Maize Translational Genomics lab at the University of Minnesota generates big data to study these relationships between corn genetics,

Registration for the Online Research Update for Ag Professionals Now Open

Did you miss the in-person Research Update for Ag Professionals in Owatonna, Willmar, or Crookston because of inclement weather, a prior commitment, or a flat tire? Registration for the online Research Update for Ag Professionals is open.  You might miss the cookies and coffee but you will not miss the other essentials. The online edition will feature many of the same speakers and topics and is spread out over three dates to create flexibility for you and reduce your Zoom fatigue. The complete list of speakers and titles is in the listed below and can also be found  here . Register  here  for the online edition of the Research Update for Ag Professionals. As always, the complete program will be approved for CCA continuing education credits and each individual session offers 1.5 CEU. Speaker and Titles for the Online Research Updates for Ag Professionals:       Section 1 (February 6th) Bob Koch - Biology and Management of Two New Insect Pests of Soybean - Soybean Gall Midge and Soybean

Improving your irrigation efficiency: Minnesota Irrigator Program (MIP) returns in March

By: Taylor Herbert, Extension Educator, Crops - Wright, McLeod, & Meeker Counties; Dr. Vasudha Sharma, Extension Specialist-Irrigation; Brenda Postels, Extension Educator Over the past few years, efficient agricultural irrigation has become a hot topic in Minnesota. With its sandy soils and limited precipitation, irrigation is a key component of production agriculture in the central region. Combined with these conditions and the limited and varying rainfall we have been experiencing, matching irrigation with crop water use has become more important. An understanding of the plant-water-soil relationship, proper irrigation system maintenance, and use of irrigation scheduling are just some of the tools irrigators use for cost-effective crop production. If you want to improve your irrigation use efficiency, the University of Minnesota Extension is offering the Minnesota Irrigator Program (MIP) to provide you with the information you need to make irrigation decisions in 2024. Minnesota

MN CropCast: Wheat breeding and more with Dr. James Anderson

In episode #27 of Minnesota CropCast, David Nicolai and Seth Naeve sit down with Jim Anderson from the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics at the University of Minnesota. As the spring wheat breeder, he has released at least 19 cultivars and co-developed 8 more. Jim is well known in the small grains communities. He speaks regularly with farmers and commodity organizations and is a leader in the wheat breeding community.   Jim is a pioneer in breeding technology with research focused on identifying genes underlying economically important traits and implementing marker-assisted and genomic selection for cultivar and germplasm development. In addition to wheat, he leads plant improvement programs focusing on intermediate wheatgrass (Kernza®) and field pennycress. He is also an extremely active advisor for graduate and undergraduate students and teacher in the classroom.  Please join Dave and Seth for a conversation about breeding established and developing crops for Minnesota on t

2024 Fridays with a Forester Zoom series starts February 9

Join the University of Minnesota Extension foresters to discuss some of the key issues and questions around forest and woodlands facing Minnesota landowners. These online sessions will be very informal, open to the public and free of charge. Each session will start with a brief presentation, followed by a discussion framed around participant questions on the topic. Each zoom will be from 9 am to 10 am. Dates and topics February 9: Selecting and Working with a Professional Logger February 16: Offal Wildlife Watching - A research and citizen science project to better understand scavenging of deer gut piles. February 23: Tree and forest impacts from recent droughts and floods March 8: Recreational Trail Design for Woodland Owners March 15: Forestry for Minnesota Birds March 22: Stocking first aid kits: What to bring into the woods. March 29: Climate Ready Woodlands April 12: Status Update on emerald ash borer (EAB) in Minnesota April 19: MN Ticks and Mosquitoes – What you sh

Free ‘Nitrogen College’ events in Mahnomen, Morton can benefit corn farmers

Nitrogen continues to receive a lot of attention from farmers and the ag industry as a whole. Between the high fertilizer prices experienced over the past few years and environmental issues, there is a lot to consider when making N management decisions. Building on the popular Nitrogen Smart program, University of Minnesota Extension will host two free “Nitrogen College” events January 30-31 at the Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen and February 5-6 at Jackpot Junction near Morton. Both events will feature five sessions over two days. Attendees can choose to attend any or all of them. As usual, there is no cost to attend thanks to the support of the Minnesota Corn Growers and pre-registration is not required. The five sessions are: “A Deep Dive Into the 4 Rs” – 9am on first day – This curriculum goes into detail about the different types of N fertilizer and how they are best managed. This session includes a detailed look into determining the best rate for a field in a specific year. “

Small Grains Update

Regenerative agriculture, resilient cropping systems, and soil health are just a few of the buzzwords that are busied a lot these days. One of the simplest and fastest ways to accomplish many of the goals that these concepts set out to accomplish is extending your crop rotation beyond the corn-soybean rotation that dominates much of Minnesota.  Can spring or winter wheat, hybrid winter rye, or oats be that third crop? And if so, what does it take to end up in the black with that third crop at the end of the year? The 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 workshops are sponsored by the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council. We ask that you register online ( for these free wo

Perennial forages provide continuous living cover and so much more!

Craig Sheaffer, Extension forage agronomist  Alfalfa grown in contour strips with corn. Alfalfa and perennial grasses are among the best year- round living cover crops. Source: NRCS, USDA A recent study entitled “ Putting Down Roots: Analyzing the economic and environmental benefits of continuous living cover for Minnesota’s farmers, water and climate ”  has shown the environmental and economic impacts that alfalfa and perennial grasses have as continuous living covers (CLC). Other new CLC crops are being developed within the Forever Green initiative  at the University of Minnesota to diversify our predominant summer annual cropping systems. The crop categories that were analyzed for environmental and economic potential include: Perennial forage and pasture (alfalfa, cool and warm season grasses) Perennial grains (Kernza, perennial wheat, etc.) Winter annual oilseeds (winter camelina, pennycress) Winter annual cereals and legumes (hybrid winter rye, winter pea) Woody perennials (haz

Private pesticide applicator recertification options for 2024

By Tana Haugen-Brown, Extension Educator and Private Pesticide Applicator Program Manager, PSEE Private pesticide applicators who need to renew their private applicator certification by March 1, 2024, to use restricted-use pesticides, 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: . There are several options to recertify in 2024. 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 Workshops have begun and 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 remaining workshops can be found at . Anyone attending a workshop for rece

AFREC research roundup: 2023 nutrient management findings

This episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast is our 2023 AFREC research roundup.   What is AFREC and how does it help our panelists conduct their research? What AFREC-funded projects are they currently working on? Have there been any interesting findings from the 2023 growing season? What have been our panelists’ favorite AFREC research projects and why? What would happen if AFREC were to go away? Transcript Guests: Daniel Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist (St. Paul) Jeff Vetsch, U of M researcher (Waseca) Lindsay Pease, Extension nutrient and water management specialist (Crookston) Fabian Fernandez, Extension nutrient management specialist (St. Paul) Additional resources: 2024 Nutrient Management, and Nitrogen conferences AFREC website AFREC video MDA web page on AFREC --- 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 C

Buying alfalfa seed: Seed coatings

Craig Sheaffer, Extension forage agronomist Seed coating adds weight and color to seed. The yellow seed is uncoated. Today, seed coatings are widely used on forage legumes and some grass seeds. The overall goal with seed coatings is to improve germination, seedling vigor, and seedling survival. They also increase seed flowability and help distribute small seeds more evenly.   Coatings vary in their constituents and coatings affect pure live seed percent within a bag as described by Newell (2018) and Hayward (2017). A 34% seed coating is widely used for alfalfa seed. Standard components include Rhizobium for nitrogen fixation and fungicide treatments for seed and seedling protection, along with binding and coating polymers, minerals, and colorants.  Many seed companies add optional treatments based on marketing strategies. These can include specialized components like growth promoters, micronutrients (Mn and Fe), mycorrhizae, insecticides, bio-enhancers, and hydroscopic materials to at

Buying alfalfa seed: Pay attention to the seed label

Craig Sheaffer, Extension forage agronomist Establishing a productive stand of alfalfa or other forage begins with quality seed. The seed label contains information that allows farmers to evaluate the quality and value of the seed they purchase. The seed label    Federal and Minnesota seed laws require labeling of all seed sold to farmers. This applies to a single crop or a mixture and applies whether the seed is sold on-farm or at a retail business. Information on the seed label helps growers evaluate the quality and value of the seed. They also provide for fair marketplace competition among seed suppliers. To ensure truth in labeling, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture inspects seed. Attached is a fictional/example alfalfa seed tag showing information required by the Minnesota seed laws. While all the information is important in describing the seed in the bag, there are several key items to pay attention to. A fictional alfalfa seed label. Kind The kind identifies all desired s

Attend 2024 Commercial Animal Waste Technician (CAWT) training - in-person and online

By: Extension educators Chryseis Modderman & Brenda Postels There are several upcoming opportunities for Minnesota commercial manure haulers and site managers to attend the Commercial Animal Waste Technician (CAWT) recertification workshops. There will be five in-person workshops and an online course offered in 2024. In-person workshops will take place in Sauk Centre (Jan. 25th). Hutchinson (Feb. 15th), Slayton (Mar. 7th), Owatonna Farm and Power Show (Mar. 15th),  and Farmfest in Redwood County (August 8th.) Online training will be available starting late spring or early summer and will be open until October 31st, 2024. 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. 2024 workshop topics CAWT Licensing, Requirements and Regulations  Precision Agriculture and Equipment Safety Considerations for

MN CropCast: Tom Slunecka - Working for Minnesota farmers

In this episode of Minnesota Crop Cast, David Nicolai and Seth Naeve sit down for a chat with Tom Slunecka, Chief Executive Officer of the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council ( MSPR&PC ). Tom grew up on a beef ranch in central South Dakota, received his degree from SDSU, and went on to serve in a number of roles in the ag sector. Tom led important contemporary farmer focused programs with both public and private organizations. Tom is a true servant to Minnesota and U.S. agriculture. Tom joined the MSR&PC in 2012 and continues to support farmers in their efforts to increase economic and environmental sustainability and resiliency. Tom led the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association ( MSGA ) and the MSR&PC in efforts to develop the Ag Innovation Campus ( AIC )  in Crookston, MN. The AIC is a soybean processing plant and much more. It is an incubator for agricultural innovations that develops novel products and increases the value of agriculture. The AIC fills an

Strategic Farming: Let's talk crops! focused on the crop market situation and outlook

Phyllis Bongard, Extension content development and communications specialist, and Dr. Frayne Olson, Crop economist and marketing specialist, North Dakota State University With recent softening in the corn, wheat, and soybean markets, what is the outlook for 2024? Dr. Frayne Olson, Crop economist and marketing specialist from North Dakota State University, addressed several factors shaping the current crop market and outlook in the January 10 kickoff session of Strategic Farming: Let’s talk crops. USDA data out January 12 Crop prices softened and trade volume decreased during the “holiday hangover” leading to concern. Producers started wondering if this might be a long-term trend. What might we expect going forward? USDA released four major reports on January 12 that are closely followed by market traders and analysts in the US and around the world. They serve as a reference point and help set expectations for the markets going forward: WASDE (World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estim

Get ready for 2024 with the latest crop production information!

Photo: Liz Stahl, UMN Extension Get ready for the 2024 growing season and learn about the latest developments in crops research from both University of Minnesota Extension and the Regional and Outreach Centers.  Take advantage of the following opportunities: Strategic Farming: Let's talk crops starts January 10 (online) Strategic Farming kicks off January 10 with Dr. Frayne Olson, Crops economist at North Dakota State University. He will discuss grain prices and marketing strategies in light of geopolitics and increased soybean crushing capacity. Join us at 9 a.m. Wednesdays from Jan 10 through March 27 and come with your questions! To see the full program and to register, visit . Winter Crops Day, Southern Research and Outreach Center, January 11 Registration begins at 8:30 with the program beginning at 9:00 am and concluding at 3:00 p.m. This event is FREE to attend and you do not have to pre-register. CEUs will be available for Certified Crop Advisors

The soybean tentiform leafminer has been found in 51 counties in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota

By Arthur V. Ribeiro (Post-doctoral Associate) and Robert L. Koch (Professor & Extension Specialist), Department of Entomology, U of MN Since its first detection feeding on soybean in the United States in 2021, we have been keeping a close eye on this potential new pest, which now has an official common name: the “soybean tentiform leafminer”. The soybean tentiform leafminer ( Macrosaccus morrisella ) is a tiny moth native to North America where it has been known to feed on two native plants: American hog peanut and slickseed fuzzybean. However, it has recently developed the ability to feed on and infest soybean. Survey efforts have expanded to determine how widespread are the infestations of this insect in soybean. In 2021, soybean tentiform leafminer was detected in the Twin Cities Metro Area, in Ramsey and Dakota counties. In the following year, we received 12 new reports extending from the Twin Cities Metro Area to southeast South Dakota. These new reports raised concerns about