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Showing posts from 2017

Five Tips for Getting the Most out of Fall Soil Sampling

Dan Kaiser, Soil Fertility Specialist

1. Sample at the correct depthWe calibrate soil test results to a specific sampling depth, so it's important to get this right. Immobile plant nutrients tend to accumulate near the soil surface, so shallow sample depths can inflate results. For immobile nutrients and soil pH, sample at zero to six inches. For fall nitrate, sample at zero to 24 inches.

What is a Fair Farm Rental Agreement?

By David Bau, Extension Educator

Landlords, Farmers, Agri-Business Professionals should make plans to attend one of the informative meetings being held across Minnesota. These free meetings are being provided by the University of Minnesota Extension. Farmer profits are low or negative and farm land rental rates declined slightly while commodity prices have decreased significantly. Determining a fair profitable farm rental agreement is a challenge in today’s economy with recent record corn and soybean prices and record farm land values as recently as 2012 but commodity prices continued to decline since then.

Negotiating a fair rental agreement that satisfies the land owner and the farmer is a challenge. David Bau and Nathan Hulinsky, Extension Educators in Ag Business Management, will provide several ways: by examples, factsheets and worksheets to determine a fair farm land rental rate for both parties.

Topics covered at the meetings will include local historic and projected farmland r…

2017 Conservation Tillage Conference

SAVE THE DATE 2017 Conservation Tillage Conference
December 5-6, 2017  |  Willmar, MN

Click HERE to Register / More Information

Stressed out corn?: Crop might be at risk for stalk rots and lodging

While corn maturity and harvest are still some time away, it is never too early to be aware of potential challenges to crop growth and development and harvest.

Are you at risk of leaving some ears behind? As ears fill out and eventually begin to mature and dry down, corn plants become very top-heavy. Stalk rots increase the chance that plants will fall over (lodge) due to a combination of gravity and weather. In addition to being not-so-fun to harvest, lodged plants can significantly decrease harvestable yield by literally leaving some ears on the ground.

Stress conditions favor stalk rots. The combination of mid-season environmental conditions that favor kernel-set followed by conditions that stress plants increases the risk of stalk rot. This year, weather conditions in much of Northwestern Minnesota were relatively mild during silking and pollen shed, favoring good kernel set. However, since then much of the crop has experienced abnormally dry or even moderate drought conditions duri…

Soybean Plot Tours in NW Minnesota | August 29 - 31, 2017

Soybean Plot ToursNW MinnesotaAugust 29 - 31, 2017

Plan to attend the Strip-till Expo on September 6, 2017

Jodi DeJong-Hughes, Extension educator

Plan to attend this year’s

Strip-Till Expo Wednesday, September 6th
Location:  west ofFergus Falls, MN at the University of Minnesota - North Dakota State University Tillage Research Trials  (see directions below)

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the program will run from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Update: Wheat Stem Sawfly infestation levels found in Polk County

Wheat stem sawfly (WSS) are being found at significant levels in Polk County. Field surveys were conducted from August 14 to 18, 2017 to learn more about the levels of infestation and the possible size of the area impacted. 

The inspected fields had infestations on the field margins ranging from a low of 0 to a high of 15 WSS/row foot. Every field inspected had fewer infested stems as sampling moved further into the field. Edge effects are pretty strong with this insect as they overwinter in stubble and migrate to nearby wheat the next year.

Target weeds after small grain harvest

By Jared Goplen, Tom Peters, and Dave Nicolai
One of the many benefits of including small grains in crop rotations is improved broadleaf weed control and breaking up weed lifecycles. Although freshly harvested small grain fields have a clean look, they often have weeds hiding in the stubble. The most prominent weeds in stubble fields are often late-emerging weeds like waterhemp and other pigweed species that emerged after early season herbicide applications were made. Control escaped weeds now to prevent seed production and weed seed bank replenishment.

Wheat Stem Sawfly Causing Problems in Polk County Wheat Fields

Prepared by Phillip Glogoza, Jochum Wiersma and Ian McRae
As wheat harvest moves northward, we are detecting infestations of Wheat Stem Sawfly in fields in Polk County. Recent storms and strong winds have helped bring these problems to front and center.

UPDATE: NW MN Soybean Aphid Scouting Summary for July 31 to August 8, 2017

Soybean aphid populations continue to increase in west and south central Minnesota, though we are approaching a time when growth stage, day length and natural controls in those fields are likely to lead to declining populations soon. More fields have been treated, BUT not every field is at threshold and scouting to determine treatment needs is highly recommended. 

Also, be sure to follow up treatment by scouting to determine control success. Some of the fields we have scouted in NW MN show lots of dead aphids. HOWEVER, it is not uncommon to see plants where aphids survived, numbering into the 100's on some of those plants. These are fields most likely treated with a Pyrethroid - Organophosphate premix.

Where we have treated research plots with chlorpyrifos, kill has been very good. The only aphids in those sites have been winged, migrating aphids in the tops of plants. Their numbers and their babies have remained low in number and time should be on our side in those locations.

Here are three recent updates, all relating to weed management issues:

Assessing and documenting yield loss due to dicamba injury in soybean
by Jeff Gunsolus, Extension weed scientist

Photo 1. Leaf cupping symptoms of dicamba injury in soybean. Photo: Bruce Potter As we enter August, the big unknown in fields presenting dicamba injury symptoms will be dicamba’s impact on soybean yield. Unfortunately, due to the sensitivity of non-Xtend soybeans to dicamba, injury symptoms are not reliable indicators of yield loss. The level of yield loss depends on exposure at vegetative or reproductive stage of growth, persistence of injury symptoms, and growing conditions post-exposure.
Read more »

Response of soybean yield to dicamba exposure: A Research-based report by Jeff Gunsolus, Extension weed scientist

Xtendimax drift onto non dicamba-tolerant soybean. Photo: Liz Stahl As you continue to assess and document the impact of dicamba injury on soybean yield, I thought it would be timely to make you aw…
Pyrethroid resistant soybean aphids: What are your control options?

Bruce Potter (Extension IPM Specialist, U of MN), Robert Koch (Extension Entomologist, U of MN), Phil Glogoza (Extension Educator – Crops, U of MN), Ian MacRae (Extension Entomologist, U of MN), and Janet Knodel (Extension Entomologist, NDSU) 

We are receiving an increasing number of reports of pyrethroid insecticide failures for soybean aphid management from northwest and central Minnesota, and northeastern North Dakota this year. However, many areas of Minnesota and North Dakota still have low, non-yield threatening aphid numbers and scouting should continue to determine when to apply insecticides. 

In this article, we review the insecticide groups used for soybean aphid control (Table 1) and discuss the potential role of and challenges associated with insecticide mixtures. 
We are all familiar with the multistate, researched-based economic threshold of 250 aphids/plant for determining when to apply insecticides for soy…

UPDATE: NW MN Soybean Aphid Scouting Summary for July 21 to 28, 2017

Soybean aphid populations continue to increase in NW Minnesota. Populations are increasing in the west central and central areas, too. More fields are being treated, HOWEVER, not every field is at threshold. 

Reports for southern MN can be found at Southwest Minnesota IPM Stuff Newsletter

Comments from his July 31 report:
"Treatment of economic threshold populations are now being made in more southerly areas and the general trend is trend is economic threshold populations developing from north to south.

"Parts of Central Minnesota are receiving insecticide applications and sentinel plots at Morris had a fairly uniform 40 aphids/plant early last week. Some fields in parts of the Minnesota River Valley are at economic threshold now.

"As of last week, there were many areas of MN, including most of the SWROC, that still had low aphid populations. Winged aphids can change that quickly.

"The next two weeks will be the critical scouting window for most areas. Remember that …

NW MN Soybean Aphid Scouting Summary for July 17 to 22, 2017

Soybean aphid populations continue to increase in NW Minnesota. Below is a summary of scouting reports from July 17 to 22. The map reflects increasing numbers and treatment decisions in the NW region. 

Fields scouted in the west central and south central also show increasing numbers from last week. 

Bruce Potter, UMN Extension IPM Specialist, reports fields in those southern areas where populations are approaching treatable numbers that will likely be sprayed this week in southern MN. He adds that some fields have already been sprayed, not many but some. Additional reports for SW MN can be found at Southwest Minnesota IPM Stuff Newsletter prepared by Bruce. Subscribe or follow the link to read his updates.
FRIDAY, JULY 21, 2017
Robert Koch (Extension Entomologist), Ian MacRae (Extension Entomologist), Bruce Potter (Extension IPM Specialist), and Phil Glogoza (Extension Educator – Crops)

By now you should be scouting your soybean fields for soybean aphid on a regular basis. Soybean aphid can be found in most fields throughout the state and populations have reached economic threshold (250 aphids per plant) in some fields in northwest Minnesota and have require insecticide application to protect soybean yield. In northwest Minnesota (especially around Norman County), applications of pyrethroid insecticides are failing to adequately control aphid populations in some, but not all, fields.

This is the third year in a row that we have received reports of failures of pyrethroids to control soybean aphid in Minnesota. In 2015 and 2016, field-level failures of pyrethroid insecticides were repo…

MDA Meetings in NW MN for the Proposed Nitrogen Fertilizer Regulation

MDA extends comment period on proposed nitrogen fertilizer regulation

Public input sought at meetings scheduled in Northwestern Minnesota

St. Paul, MN - The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has extended the public comment period for its draft proposal for the use of nitrogen fertilizer in Minnesota. The purpose of the proposed Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule is to minimize the potential for nitrate-nitrogen contamination from fertilizer in the state's groundwater and drinking water. Public comments will now be accepted through Friday, August 25, 2017.
The Dicamba Dilemma:Facts and speculations

Used with permission by Aaron Hager, University of Illinois

Dicamba injury to non-target crops has dominated Extension discussions this week. Non-tolerant soybeans are extremely sensitive to this chemical and damage has been reported in a number of fields throughout the state. The following article by Dr. Aaron Hager at the University of Illinois echoes observations we have been making in Minnesota and summarizes injury symptoms on soybean, possible routes of exposure, and potential yield effects. His article is reprinted in its entirety

Read more »

A review of the biology and economics behind soybean aphid insecticide recommendations

As farmers and their advisers begin to make soybean aphid decisions for their fields, the timing is right for a fact-based review of what is known about soybean aphid, their effect on yield, and cost-effective management of this pest. 

Soybean Aphid in Red River Valley fields are increasing - Fields at threshold levels being reported

Soybean aphid populations have been increasing and fields with threshold level infestations are being treated. Populations in Northwest Minnesota are greatest in the counties of Norman and Polk, MN and in Grand Forks and Walsh counties of ND. 

Meet the newest member of the Extension crops team

On June 30 Angie Peltier joined the University of Minnesota as an Extension educator focusing on crops. She is housed at the Northwestern Regional Extension Office in Crookston and her research and education efforts are to focus on corn and soybean. 

While Angie was born, raised and educated in Wisconsin, she most recently spent close to 6 years as a crops educator working for the University of Illinois Extension at the Northwestern Illinois Ag R&D Center in Monmouth. There her research focus was corn and soybean disease management. 
Angie looks forward to both meeting corn and soybean farmers and other agricultural professionals in Northwestern Minnesota and learning more about their most pressing research and educational needs.
Angie can be reached by mail, phone or email:

Extension Regional Office, Crookston 510 County Road 71, Suite 119 Crookston, MN 56716
Phone: (218) 281-8027 Email:

Small Grain Crop Survey Updates

The newest small grain scouting maps are posted on line.

Barley: Grasshopper:

Commentary: Small Grains Disease Update 06/19/2017 
                       Dr. Madeleine Smith, Plant Pathologist 

In many areas applications are now being made for late season leaf disease, and Fusarium head blight. 

What's Out There? 


written by:   R. Jay Goos NDSU Soil Science Professor
published June 22, 2017 NDSU Crop and Pest Report #8

Reports of iron deficiency chlorosis (IDC) of soybeans are coming in. The unifoliate leaves of soybeans are usually green, being fed by iron reserves in the seed, but as the trifoliolate leaves appear, chlorosis often develops when soybeans are grown on alkaline, poorly-drained soils. Iron is very immobile in the plant, so the deficiency appears first on the youngest leaves. Under severe conditions, the growing point is injured, recovery is limited, and yields are devastated.

Wheat Disease Forecasting Web Site

The Wheat Disease Forecasting Web site is available for consulting to assess disease risk for:

Fusarium Head BlightTan SpotSeptoriaLeaf Rust
This valuable tool is updated with current weather conditions. The models provide a forecast for risk of developing these diseases based on the environment.

The Head Blight / Scab model can also be customized by the user to select for wheat genetics. If a variety is known to be very susceptible, susceptible or moderately resistant, the user can select that condition and get a forecast for risk based on those varietal traits. Numerous, specific varieties can also be selected for their risk forecast 

In addition, there is regular commentary on crop and disease development from:

Dr. Madeleine Smith, UMN Small Grains Pathologist Dr. Jochum Wiersma,UMN Small Grains Specialist
Both are located at the UMN Northwest Research and Outreach Center, Crookston.

There are numerous other resources provided through the disease forecasting site. Be sure to make this a m…

Wheat Crop and Pest Report through June 9

The newest small grain scouting maps are posted on line.


Lessons Learned from Preemergence Corn Herbicide Research this Spring

Note: The following two videos have been produced by UMN Extension Educators for Crops who are based in Rochester, MN. The message regarding preemerge herbicides is valuable. The two videos presented here provide a review of herbicide performance in corn, the first from May 27, 2017; the second is a follow-up posted June 8, 2017. I hope you find them informative when considering your own preemerge and post emerge herbicide program planning.Phillip Glogoza, UMN Extension Educator for Crops Extension Regional Office - Moorhead

by Ryan Miller and Lisa Behnken
Last week, we shared a video on Spring herbicide activity concerns due to cool and wet conditions following preemergent corn herbicide applications(Spring herbicide activity concerns -- May 27, 2017). In the video, we noted that weeds were coming through and wondered if the preemergent herbicides that had been applied would do their job. 
We are back in the research plots in Rochester and checking-in to see how things have been progress…

A Brief Review of Key Soybean Seedling Diseases

by Dean Malvick

Conditions are favorable for soybean seedling disease in many areas. Wet soil, slow emergence, and delayed planting have been favorable for seedling diseases in many areas of southern and central Minnesota. Now as the soil dries and warms up, infected plants may wilt and collapse rapidly due to damaged root systems. 

Problems with seedling disease have been reported from several areas, and more will likely be noted as plants continue to emerge. Given that seedling diseases have developed in some of the well-drained soil at Rosemount, MN, these problems are not restricted to poorly-drained fields this year. This is a good time to scout fields for seedling disease problems.

Wheat Crop and Pest Survey Maps

The first maps summarizing current small grain crop stages, disease and insect incidence have been posted. The southern areas of Minnesota represent winter wheat, which is much further developed than the NW HRSW, oats, and the occasional rye. West central and northwest will consist mainly of HRSW and Barley (similar for North Dakota).

IPM CROP SURVEY STARTS for Wheat, Barley and other crops

We have a group of field scouts for the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Crop Survey for 2017. Field scouts will survey wheat, barley (other small grains, too) and soybean for major disease and insect pests. The purpose of the survey program is to monitor for these economic pests and to provide pest alerts and related IPM strategies for producers and crop consultants. Field pest data that has been geo-referenced with GPS coordinates is compiled weekly and regional maps are created to show incidence and severity of pests in areas of Minnesota and North Dakota.

Maps are now being posted weekly at:
Wheat - - -
University of Minnesota Extension participates in the IPM Crop Survey in coordination with North Dakota State University Extension Service. In Minnesota, scouts are located in Crookston, Morris and Blue Earth, MN. Phillip Glogoza, Madeleine Smith and Jared Gop…

"Yellow Brick Field"

posted by Jochum Wiersma, UMN Small Grains Specialist

The Wizard of Oz's Yellow Brick Road may have been fictional element.  Some springs, solid yellow small grain fields are not.  

Although few reports of early seasoning yellowing have come in to date, Memorial Day Weekend is just around the corner and historically that's often the time one of the causes of early season yellowing is observed.  

Follow this link to an article I posted in 2016 that discusses the most common causes of early season yellowing. 

Early Season Yellowing of Wheat, Barley, and Oats.

Barcodes in Wheat, Barley, and Oats?

prepared by Jochum Wiersma, UMN Small Grains Specialist

The beautiful, dry sunny weather with high winds this past week and weekend has allowed many of you to make great strides with planting. Unfortunately this also exposed young small grain seedlings to same conditions. 

The daytime heat at the soil surface can and has caused heat canker. The tender young tissue at the soil surface basically has been 'cooked' and this appears as a yellow band that is slightly constricted (Photo 1). As the leaf continues to grow, this yellow band (1/8 - 1/4") moves upward and away from the soil surface. 

If the hot and dry weather last for several days, its is possible to see repeated bands, much like a barcode. The damage is nicely depicted on page 81 of the second edition of the Small Grains Field Guide. Because of the high winds, the tips of leaves may fall over or even break off at the yellow band and give a field a very ragged appearance.

Damage from heat canker is temporary and should …

Tall trees catch much wind..or how to avoid the risk of lodging in small grains.

posted by Jochum Wiersma, UMN Small Grains Specialist
The meaning of Dutch proverb "Tall trees catch much wind" doesn't have anything to do with lodging and more to do with the propensity of people to be jealous of those that stand out, but in this context is a nice way to describe the physics off lodging. Simply put, it takes less wind power for a tall crop to lodge, simply because the amount of force needed to bend the stem is less.

Last spring I wrote a summary about the use of growth regulators to reduce the risk of lodging. 
 It can be found here:
Can I Reduce the Risk of Lodging?

Preemergence Herbicides are a Proactive Approach for Weed Management

prepared by Tom Peters, Extension Sugarbeet Agronomist, NDSU & U of MN 
and Rich Zollinger, Extension Weed Specialist, NDSU

Agriculturalists frequently advocate for use of preemergent herbicides. You heard state Extension Specialists recommend this in presentations during winter meetings and you have read it in trade magazines while you relax at home. Now it is time to put what you have heard and read into action. However, you are not so sure anymore, for some reason. The following evidence is intended to encourage you to apply herbicides preemergence.

Looking for Soybean Growers to participate in a research study on Soybean Aphid Population Levels and Buckthorn Density

We are looking for soybean growers who have 10 or more acres of woodlands or forests that they own and/or are publicly owned and adjacent to their soybean field.

Soybean aphid has quickly become one of the most damaging pests of soybean in the Great Lakes Region, negatively impacting soybean yields and quality.  There are numerous options for managing soybean aphid ranging from aphid resistant soybean varieties, insecticides, and predatory insects. These treatments focus solely on the field. 

However, soybean aphid requires buckthorn to overwinter. Buckthorn is a widely distributed, invasive shrub common in forests, woodlands, and hedgerows. There has been little research exploring the relationship between buckthorn density and soybean aphid populations.

The MN Soybean Research and Promotion Council has recently funded a project to explore this topic. The long-term goal of this proposal is to explore treatments methods for controlling buckthorn, decreasing soybean aphid populations, thus…

Stink Bug Information now available on-line through the Journal of Integrated Pest Management

Identification, Biology, Impacts, and Management of Stink Bugs (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) of Soybean and Corn in the Midwestern United States

Robert L. Koch Daniela T. Pezzini Andrew P. Michel Thomas E. Hunt

J Integr Pest Manag (2017) 8 (1): 11. DOI:

Published: 04 May 2017

Farm Business Transitions: Where do I begin?

by Betty Berning

Farm Business Transitions: Where do I begin?June 6, 2017  Halstad Legion Recreation Center  (580 2nd Avenue West, Halstad, MN 56548).  registration at 9:00 a.m., includes lunch concludes at 3:30 p.m.

"Farm Business Transition: Where Do I Begin", presented by the Women in Ag Network, is an interactive program designed to help families understand how to start the transition planning conversation.

Participants will learn about different communications styles; transferring labor, income, management, and assets; retirement considerations for the senior generation; assessing an operation’s financial viability; and goal-setting. Through fun, hands on exercises, families will learn how to apply these concepts to their farm and begin their own transition and succession plan.

The program will be held June 6, 2017 at the Halstad Legion Recreation Center (580 2nd Avenue West, Halstad, MN 56548). The event begins with registration at 9:00 a.m., includes lunch and concludes at …

And then it snowed...any free N with that?

by Jochum Wiersma, Small Grains Specialist, University of Minnesota
With the 5 inches of snow or so that fell overnight in Crookston, I was asked earlier this morning how much free N we received with that. Ron Gelderman, former Professor & SDSU Extension Soils Specialist, wrote an article a few years ago for iGrow on how much N is deposited when it snows in early spring. This is a re-posting of his original article.

When it snowed in Brooking, SD in the early spring of 2013 they received 9 inches of snow . This contained the equivalent of about 2 inches of water. The nitrate-N content of the snow was 0.4 ppm while the ammonium-N content was 0.3 ppm. This was equivalent to only 0.3 pounds-per-acre of available nitrogen. Not exactly a windfall of nitrogen, but also very typical nitrogen precipitation concentrations for this area.

The National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) has measured nitrogen and other nutrients in precipitation for a number of stations around the country …

It's Not All About Herbicides: Three key tactics for managing weeds

Lizabeth Stahl, Jared Goplen, and Lisa Behnken, Extension Educators - Crops

Weed management tools can be divided into three main categories: mechanical, cultural, and chemical. Historically in conventional systems, chemical control options, or herbicides, have been relied on heavily.

Herbicide-resistant weed populations, however, are limiting herbicide options and effectiveness in many fields. Implementing non-chemical options, such as cultural and mechanical control tactics, can help make weed management systems more effective and durable. Understanding and considering weed biology is a key step in developing a successful program. To develop a more robust weed management program, consider the following three key strategies:

Read more at Minnesota Crop News . . .