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Showing posts from April, 2024

Organic row crop and forage needs assessment survey

Claire LaCanne, Extension educator - crops We want to hear from organic row crop and forage producers and agriculture professionals who work with organic producers! The University of Minnesota Extension Crops team would like to better understand the educational needs of our organic row crop and forage producers. To customize our educational programs to the interests of our organic producers, we would appreciate your input through the completion of the following survey. You do not have to be currently certified organic to take this survey - you could be considering transitioning, or simply using organic practices. We would also like to hear from grain buyers, crop consultants, and other agriculture professionals who work with organic growers. This survey is anonymous and should take 8-12 minutes to complete. Please complete our short survey . Your input will help us refine our programming to make it useful and relevant to you!

Alfalfa Harvest Alert Program kicks off for 2024

Taylor Herbert, Extension educator With spring just around the corner, alfalfa fields are greening up and it won’t be too long before we are thinking about the first cut of hay. The goal of the Alfalfa Harvest Alert program is to help forage producers make a decision on the first cut of alfalfa to optimize forage yield and quality. This project is in its 28th year and is a collaboration between the Central Minnesota Forage Council and University of Minnesota Extension in conjunction with various agribusinesses sponsors, and farmers. Cooperator sites have been arranged in Stearns, Benton, Morrison, Wright, McLeod, Sibley, Nicollet, and Carver counties. How the program works Estimating alfalfa quality using the PEAQ stick. This project kicks off when alfalfa reaches between 14 to 16 inches tall. Cuttings of sample fields will be taken on Monday and Thursday mornings and sent for analysis to determine Relative Feed Quality (RFQ), Relative Feed Value (RFV), Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF), a

Strategic Farming: Field Notes launches May 8 with weed and insect updates

Join us for the 2024 launch of  Strategic Farming: Field Notes  when we welcome Dr. Debalin Sarangi, Extension weed specialist, and Bruce Potter, IPM specialist, for updates on weed and insect concerns for the 2024 growing season. The new webinar series begins May 8 and continues throughout the growing season on Wednesdays from 8 to 8:30 a.m.  Field Notes features a live, interactive webinar with specialists addressing in-season issues as they arise.  Crop producers and other ag professionals are invited to join us for timely topics including weather impacts, insect and disease issues, soil fertility concerns, agronomics, and more.  Can’t make the live session? No problem. The discussion-based series will be posted immediately following the webinar to your favorite podcast-streaming service to listen to at your convenience. Register for the series For more information, visit the Strategic Farming webpage .

Black cutworm moths arrive in Minnesota

Bruce Potter, IPM specialist Black cutworm (BCW) moths arrived in Minnesota right on schedule this spring. The first moth was captured April 6 in McLeod County. Cooperative Black Cutworm Trapping Network results from 2012 to 2023 show the earliest migration arrival detected was March 30, 2021, and the latest was April 13 in 2018. Numerous cooperators traps reported captures from April 6 through April 19. The number of moths captured in most traps has been low to moderate. The first exception was a Brown County trap where an 8-moth capture occurred April 8. This is a significant capture. The network has been using 2 moths captured over a 2-night period as an indication that a large migration has occurred and an increased potential for crop damage. Other significant captures occurred April 14 in Steele Co, and July 16 -17th in Nicollet, Redwood, Renville, and Swift Counties. Maximum black cutworm moth captures over 2 nights from April 13-19. Black cutworm larvae have a wide host rang

Are you overspending on fertilizer?

By: Brad Carlson, Extension educator The FINBIN database summarizes farm financial data from thousands of farms involved in Minnesota farm business management programs. What does the data say about fertilizer costs for the most profitable farms versus the least profitable farms? Fertilizer cost comparison Beginning in 2016, I decided to look at fertilizer expenses on a per acre basis in the FINBIN database to see if farmers were overspending on fertilizer. I looked only at corn acres (both rented and owned) for the southeast, south central, southwest, and west central parts of the state (the primary corn producing areas). Because assigning cost to manure is complicated and individual farms use different methods, I excluded all manure users. What I discovered in 2016 was that the 20% most profitable farms’ fertilizer costs averaged $138 per acre while the 20% least profitable farms spent $177 per acre – a 28% difference. My first inclination was that maybe the least profitable farms

MN CropCast: Minnesota April planting and weather update with Tom Hoverstad

This week’s University of Minnesota Extension Minnesota CropCast has as its guest Tom Hoverstad, Researcher at the Southern Research and Outreach Center, Waseca, MN. Tom provides an update about this season’s weather and its effect so far on the growth of the area’s corn and soybean crops. In addition, Tom discusses in detail that this winter at the Waseca Research and Outreach Center was the mildest recorded since 1931; a full 10 degrees warmer than normal. The snowfall total was only 15.5 inches, which was 37 inches less than normal. Tom also reviews his guidelines for the successful planting and establishment of desired corn and soybean stands this April. Finally, Tom provides an in-depth analysis about the significant changes in weed species and management over the last thirty years across southern Minnesota.. 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 this new podcas

FRST Fertilizer Recommendation Support Tool launches nationwide to digitize crop nutrient management

The FRST project partners are proud to announce the nationwide release of the FRST (Fertilizer Recommendation Support Tool), a decision-aid that provides an unbiased, science-based interpretation of soil test phosphorus and potassium values for crop fertilization. The FRST project is a collaboration of over 100 soil science and agronomic professionals representing nearly 50 universities, four divisions of the USDA, several not-for-profit organizations, and one private sector partner. This diverse partnership underscores the collective effort and expertise invested in the development of FRST. The University of Minnesota is represented on the project by Extension nutrient management specialist Daniel Kaiser. Kaiser noted that, “while the FRST group is excited about the launch of the decision support too, the tool is the first step in a process to evaluate fertilizer decisions and will still need research support to add additional data to the database behind the fertilizer recommendation

Unharvested sugarbeets in your fields this spring? Here are some nutrient management considerations

By: Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist I have received a few questions this spring regarding nutrient management considerations for fields with unharvested sugarbeets. The main question is whether the sugarbeets left in the field could provide a potential nitrogen (N) credit for this year’s crop. The issue this spring seems to be directed towards the northwest Minnesota growing region, and the answer on what to do is a bit more complicated with more crops potentially being grown in 2024. However, here are a few key takeaways. Can you take a nitrogen credit? While many would consider there to be some potential for additional N availability, there is no credit given to the unharvested portion of the beet. Beet tops alone might provide an N credit to next year’s (2025’s) crops depending on how green the beets were when the tops were removed. However, the decomposing root can actually tie up nitrogen for the 2024 crop, so adjustments may need to be made where N rates are

Field School for Ag Professionals registration is open

Bob Koch, Extension soybean entomologist The 2024 Field School for Ag Professionals will be held July 30 and 31 at the University of Minnesota Agriculture Experiment Station in St. Paul.  This two-day event is the premier summer training opportunity that combines hands-on, interactive training with real world field scenarios.  The first day of the Field School program focuses on core principles in agronomy, entomology, weed and soil sciences to build a strong foundation of skills and knowledge. The second day builds on this foundation with timely, cutting-edge topics that participants can select.  This program is targeted toward agronomists, crop production retailers, seed dealers, consultants, crop protection industry representatives, Extension educators, government agency personnel, and summer field scouts. First day program The first day's program will be held on Tuesday, July 30 with registration starting at 8:00 am, orientation beginning at 8:45 am and the individual sessions

Register now for the UMN Extension Cover Crop Academy

By Liz Stahl, Extension Educator - Crops, Phyllis Bongard, Educational Content Development & Communications Specialist, and Anna Cates, Extension Specialist in Soil Health Register now to reserve your spot with the University of Minnesota Cover Crop Academy! This new, innovative program is a hybrid, year-long, statewide course designed for those who work with farmers including crop advisors, consultants, educators, agency personnel, agronomists, ag lenders, and personnel at non-profits, Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offices. This unique opportunity will take a deep dive into cover crops and will be tailored to Minnesota cropping systems and conditions. We will address the challenges and opportunities associated with using cover crops in Minnesota and attendees will be able to participate in research trials members develop to help address some of the unknowns around cover crops. The academy will kick off with in-

Soybean fertilizer management: IDC, sulfur, P and K soil tests, and more

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, we’re talking about soybean fertilizer management. What should farmers who are growing soybeans this year be thinking about, including IDC concerns from last year? What does new research tell us about soybean and sulfur? Are there other nutrients or practices that you do or don't suggest for soybean based on current research? What tips do you have for Minnesota soybean growers looking to increase yield? TRANSCRIPT Guests: Daniel Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist (St. Paul) Jeff Vetsch, U of M researcher (Waseca) Seth Naeve, Extension soybean agronomist (St. Paul) Additional resources: Managing iron deficiency chlorosis in soybean Is it worth applying sulfur to your soybean crop? Sulfur fertilizer application: Does S carry over from one year to the next? Soybean fertilizer guidelines --- For the latest nutrient management information, subscribe to the Nutrient Management Podcast wherever you listen and never miss an

Risk management for early planted soybean

 Anibal Cerrudo, Researcher, and Seth Naeve, Extension soybean agronomist Key points Photo: Dave Nicolai Early soybean planting can lead to higher yields : Early planting offers advantages in resource utilization, potentially resulting in increased yields compared to delayed planting. Consideration of frost dates and plant-to-emergence stage is essential : When planning early planting, it's crucial to assess the local risk of late frosts after emergence, germination chilling injuries, and the duration of the plant-to-emergence stage to determine optimal planting windows. Seed quality and protection are imperative : Ensuring seed vigor and employing technologies like fungicides and insecticides are essential for early plantings to enhance crop resilience against environmental challenges. Utilize available data and technologies : weather records, leveraging local monitoring, weather forecasts, and seed technologies can aid farmers in making informed decisions to reduce risks while s

Is it worth applying sulfur to your soybean crop?

By: Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist One question I have been receiving lately has been, what is the value of sulfur for soybean? Sulfur is an essential nutrient needed by all crops. Research has shown that sulfur can increase the yield of soybean in Minnesota but the larger responses that we have seen in Minnesota occurred before sulfur was being consistently applied to row crops in the state. Sulfur carryover While the crop-available form of sulfur (sulfate) is leachable in the soils, the movement of sulfate is not rapid, and some sulfate can be carried over from one year to the next. One example is a study funded by AFREC where sulfur was applied at 25 pounds per acre as ammonium sulfate (AMS) ahead of the corn crop over a period of six years. Corn was grown in years 1, 3, and 5 while the impacts of carryover sulfate were measured on soybean in years 2, 4, and 6. During the first application of sulfur, there was little crop response to the applied sulfur, but ove

MN CropCast: An in-depth discussion about successful corn and soybean planting in 2024

In episode #32 Dave Nicolai and Seth Naeve chat with Dr. Jeff Coulter, University of Minnesota Extension corn agronomist about planting the 2024 corn crop in Minnesota. In addition, Seth, U of MN Extension soybean specialist, discusses the outlook for soybean planting this spring. Jeff talks about optimal corn planting dates, desired soil conditions, corn planting populations and corn maturity hybrid planting dates. Seth also discusses in detail the results of early soybean planting date research and recommendations for soybean planting populations. While recent snow/rain events in Minnesota decreased the level of moderate drought (D1) ratings in Minnesota to 43% as of March 28th compared to 75% the previous week, Minnesota is still in the category of “Abnormally dry”. However, both agronomists indicate that April precipitation can still have a significant effect on increasing soil moisture, thus corn and soybean planting should proceed in a traditional timetable based on soil conditio

GreenCovR: Cover crop management tool provides local information on green cover achieved by management

By: Bailey Tangen, Extension educator, water resources and soil health If you or someone you know is growing cover crops this spring, help us get local data on cover crop growth that can provide context for cover crop management. Take a photo right before spring termination and submit it to . Join the ongoing effort for data collection For every photo with cover crop management information you submit, your contact email will be entered in a drawing to win a $50 gift card. A winner will be selected for every 20 photos submitted. The deadline for entry is June 15th, and winners will be notified by June 30th. We will also be looking to collect photos at the end of the 2024 growing season. The more data we have, the better likelihood we have of helping our farmers achieve cover crop success! Cover crop management in Minnesota Cover crops are important soil covers during times when fields are normally left bare. These covers protect soil, water quality, and farmers’ bot

Can soil health management get you into the field earlier?

By: Anna Cates, Extension soil health specialist; Katie Black, Extension educator, climate adaptation & resilience; Bill Lazarus, Extension economist; Amit Pradhananga, Department of Forest Resources Center for Changing Landscapes; & Bailey Tangen, Extension educator, water resources & soil health  Field workability. It’s difficult to quantify, because whether it’s a good time for field work depends on the work you’re trying to do, your equipment, your soil type, as well as maybe your tolerance for compaction and the other time-sensitive elements of the farm system. But lots of growers using soil health practices describe being able to do the work they needed to in more diverse conditions. For example, Vance Johnson, a farmer in Wilkin County, MN, described in a recent talk how he was able to finish planting in a light rain in a reduced-till field with lots of residue, while in a conventionally tilled plot he could barely make it to the end of the field to get out, and stil