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Showing posts from March, 2024

Video: What to know about nitrogen inhibitors and other enhanced efficiency fertilizers

In this short video, Extension nutrient management specialist Fabian Fernandez discusses nitrogen inhibitors and other enhanced efficiency fertilizers. What types are there? Where do they make the most sense? Should you use them this spring? Enhanced efficiency fertilizers, such as nitrogen inhibitors and slow- and controlled-release products, are fertilizer that has been modified to reduce losses to the environment and increase nutrient availability. These products can help farmers increase yield, save on fertilizer costs, and protect the environment, but there are some things you should keep in mind. Nitrogen inhibitors Inhibitors are sometimes referred to as stabilizers, but I believe this word can be misleading. In the soil, there is nothing stable about urea or ammonium. They will eventually transform to a form of nitrogen that can be lost. The most important thing to remember about inhibitors is that they delay nitrogen transformation. Nitrogen inhibitors are classified into two

Reducing Bt trait acres in 2024 Minnesota Corn Production? Implications for European corn borer

Anthony Hanson, IPM Extension Educator; Fei Yang & Bill Hutchsion, Extension Entomologists, Bruce Potter, Extension IPM Specialist; Angie Peltier, Ryan Miller, & Liz Stahl, Crops Extension Educators If you plan to have non-Bt corn fields in 2024, we are looking for potential European corn borer fall survey sites. To volunteer non-Bt fields for the 2024 fall survey, click here or contact Fei Yang ( ) or Anthony Hanson ( ). The economics of corn production challenge farmers to minimize production costs. Hybrid selection is one way to reduce costs. Planting corn hybrids without Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) proteins for protection against European corn borer (ECB) (Fig. 1), corn rootworm, or both will reduce seed costs. However, farmers could inadvertently reduce crop revenues by selecting hybrids without carefully considering hybrid yield potential or insect populations in their fields. Figure 1. European corn borer tunneling in corn

Reminder: Register for Midwest Soybean Gall Midge update on April 5

Photo: Bruce Potter Join Extension entomologists from four universities for the 2024 Midwest Soybean Gall Midge Research webinar on April 5th from 9 to 11 am CST . This webinar will feature several short presentations on recent developments in its biology, ecology, and management strategies. The session will offer plenty of time for questions and discussion. Certified crop advisors will be able to earn 2 pest management CEUs for attending.  Register now The webinar is free, but you must be registered to attend. For more information, visit Midwest Soybean Gall Midge Research Update ( SGM2024 )

Proper Spring Grain Drying and Storage Critical

By: Dr. Kendell Hellevang, NDSU Extension Engineer and Professor Photo: Angie Peltier The warmer winter and early spring have increased the potential for grain storage problems and the need for grain monitoring and management, says Ken Hellevang, North Dakota State University Extension agricultural engineer and grain drying expert. Stored grain temperature increases in parts of a bin in the spring, which is not only due to an increase in outdoor temperatures but also due to solar heat gain on the bin. Solar energy produces more than twice as much heat gain on the south wall of a bin in spring as it does during the summer. That, in addition to the solar heat gain on a bin roof, can create an environment conducive to grain spoilage. A ten degree increase in temperature reduces the allowable storage time of grain by about one-half. For example, the allowable storage time of corn at 17% moisture is reduced from about 130 days at 50 degrees Fahrenheit to about 75 days at 60 degrees and 45 d

Strategic Farming: Let's talk crops focused on fungicide efficacy

Ryan Miller, Extension Educator – Crops, Dr. Kiersten Wise, Extension Specialist in Plant Pathology, and Dr. Dean Malvick, Extension Plant Pathologist Tar spot on corn leaf with 5% coverage.  Source:  Crop Protection  Network severity tool .https:// corn/tar-spot-stroma Corn diseases tend to be less of a yield limiting issue in Minnesota, but questions do arise about fungicides and fungicide efficacy. The Crop Protection Network (CPN), , is an excellent online resource to help with these questions. Crop Protection Network is a collaboration between University Extension Plant Pathologists from the U.S. and Canada. CPN is a platform for multi-state extension pest management information, including publications, webinars, fungicide efficacy data, and tools. Publications The fungicide efficacy guides provide a non-biased assessment on how different fungicide products should work for managing various plant dise

Do you have nitrogen carryover?

By: Brad Carlson, Extension educator Following three dry years in a row in Minnesota, many soil samples taken last fall showed large amounts of nitrate in the soil. In fact, many fields had nitrogen credits over 155 pounds. Given current corn prices, taking a pre-plant soil nitrate test this spring could be a great way to boost profitability. Doesn’t the corn nitrogen rate calculator account for residual N? The corn nitrogen rate calculator uses the Maximum Return to Nitrogen (MRTN)  method, where data from N rate trials is fed into a database used to calculate the optimum N rate, given current corn and fertilizer prices. Because this method uses actual data, N credits are not used for corn on corn or corn following soybean situations (manure use excepted). This does not mean that there isn’t any carryover N from the previous year. It simply means that its presence is accounted for by the yield response in the studies. This method is very good at accounting for “average” conditions

All about corn: A decade of outstanding education

Craig Sheaffer, Extension Agronomist All about Corn , a narrated online education resource, has been available for a decade and has had over 85,000 pageviews! It has been widely used by diverse audiences, including high school and undergraduate students as well as educators who have incorporated the lessons into agriculture, crop production, botany, physiology, and crop breeding classes. All about Corn contains four modules each about one hour in length on the following subjects: Corn Biology: Growth and development, morphology, and taxonomy Corn Breeding: Origin of corn, hybridization, breeding techniques Corn production: Cropping systems, fertilization, tillage, and pests Uses of corn: Human and animal foods, and fuels. All About Corn was developed by a team of University of Minnesota educators including Kristine Moncada, Craig Sheaffer, Jeff Coulter, John Lamb, Jill Sackett Eberhart, Jeff Gunsolus, and Amy Jacobson. Its development was funded by the Minnesota Agricultural Exper

MN CropCast: Mitch Hunter and the U of MN Forever Green Initiative

In episode #31 Dave Nicolai and Seth Naeve chat with Mitch Hunter, Associate Director of the Forever Green Initiative at the University of Minnesota and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics. In this podcast Mitch discussed the Forever Green Initiative (FGI) which is developing Kernza as the first commercially viable perennial grain crop. Mitch is a native of Minnesota and his parents continue to raise organic grass-fed beef in southeast Minnesota.. His postdoctoral research at the University of Minnesota focused on dual-use management of Kernza® intermediate wheatgrass for forage and grain production. Mitch did his PhD in agronomy at Penn State where he studied cover crop mixtures, climate resilience, and sustainable intensification. In this podcast, Dave and Seth discuss with Mitch how and why FGI is developing and improving winter-hardy annual and perennial crops that protect soil and water while driving new economic opportunities for growers

Strategic Farming: Let's talk crops focused on corn insect pests

Liz Stahl, Extension educator – crops and Fei Yang, Extension corn entomologist Overwintering European corn borer larva and its feeding damage within the lower stalk. Photo: Bruce Potter Although European corn borer (ECB) populations dropped dramatically after widespread adoption of Bt-corn hybrids, the discovery of Bt-resistant populations reminds us to not let our guard down on this pest. Corn rootworm (CRW) is another major corn pest in Minnesota where resistance to Bt traits has led to management challenges. ECB and CRW were the topic of discussion on the March 13th, Strategic Farming: Let’s Talk Crops program with Dr. Fei Yang, Extension Entomologist with University of Minnesota Extension. European corn borer (ECB) European corn borer, specifically the larva, caused significant yield losses and economic damage throughout the U.S. Corn Belt prior to the introduction of Bt hybrids. Injury from ECB can lead to stalk breakage, ear droppage, stalk rots, ear rots, mycotoxins,

Soil test pH and liming: Common questions and answers

By: Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist When it comes to soil tests, I commonly receive questions about pH and liming. Below are some common questions I get and my answers. What exactly is the buffer pH?  Soils are routinely analyzed for water pH where equal weights of water and soil are mixed, and a pH electrode is used to determine the pH of the solution. The water pH represents what we call the “active” pH of the soil. When the water pH drops below a certain point, most labs will then run a buffer pH on the soil, which is used to determine the amount of limestone needed to raise the water pH to a desired value. Buffer pH methods use various extraction solutions and are meant to measure both the active and reserve acidity of the soil, which provides a better indication of how the active acidity will change when limestone is applied. The two tests will not return the same value and it is common for the buffer pH value to be higher than the water pH in nearly all soils

Did My Winter Wheat and Winter Rye Survive the Last Cold Snap?

Temperatures keep gyrating back and forth between hard freezes and very mild conditions.  I had received several reports that winter wheat and winter rye had started to green up before last week's return to freezing temperatures. You may be wondering whether the fields survived this last cold snap. The month of March truly is the 'witching hour' for winter wheat and winter rye. The crowns are aging and as a result, are less winterhardy than they were in December and January. I also explained in an earlier article that the crop is not able to return to the same level of winterhardiness if warm weather allows the crop to break dormancy. ,  To evaluate whether your winter wheat survived the last cold snap, I suggest you do the following: dig up several seedlings across the field and cut them longitudinal (lengthwise) with a very sharp knife or a safety razor blade. If the crowns look white/yellow to light green, they are healthy and will continue to grow. If you find that the

Strategic Farming: Let's talk crops focused on getting your best fertilizer ROI

Phyllis Bongard, Extension content development and communications specialist, Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist, and Jeff Vetsch, Researcher, Southern Research and Outreach Center Dry conditions and the winter that wasn’t is accelerating nutrient management decisions. Should fertilizer be applied now? How can you get the best return on your fertilizer investment given current prices and costs? Ryan Miller, Extension educator – crops, steered this wide-ranging discussion with Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist, and Jeff Vetsch, Researcher at the Southern Research and Outreach Center, to address these and other nutrient management questions in the March 6 Strategic Farming: Let’s talk crops session. ( Watch a recording of the full webinar on YouTube. ) Early spring fertilizer application Current field conditions are pushing early fertilizer application decisions. If phosphorus, potassium, or lime didn’t get applied last fall, this could be a good tim