One thing crop producers can depend on from one cropping year to the next is that changes and challenges will occur. Fertilizer and seed prices, new and improved genetics, technology, weather, plant pests and diseases, and many, many other factors can all impact the bottom line of financially and environmentally astute farmers. The need for accurate, comprehensive, research-based information and guidance has never been greater.
University of Minnesota researchers and specialists continue to study many of these factors and will present up-to-date findings of their investigations at the annual U-M Winter Crops Day being presented at five locations January 13-15. Crops Days will be held at the Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca and American Legion in Lake Crystal on January 13 and "Events" in Kasson and the Community Center in Wykoff on January 14. The fifth location is the Community Center in Arlington on January 15.
SROC scientists Gyles Randall and Tom Hoverstad will launch each day's program with a summary of weather and crop observations and relate those to crop performance during 2009. Hoverstad will also present data from trials conducted across the state by U of M researchers featuring information on successful, profitable weed management systems in corn and soybean production.
Recent research related to rate and time of application for double- and triple-stack hybrids, time of hog manure application (with and without fall cover crops), and long-term N management will be presented by SROC soil scientist, Gyles Randall. Randall will also highlight phosphorus management strategies across various soil test levels for rented vs. owned land. At Arlington, Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist, will provide perspectives on current and future sulfur guidelines in Minnesota.
Corn hybrids with genetic traits for rootworm resistance or a combination of traits are being released every year. Extension entomologist Ken Ostlie will update producers on performance of resistant corn compared to conventional insecticides and look at refuge requirements for new traits and packages of traits.
We know there are many factors influencing plant growth which can impact overall yield and quality of corn and soybeans produced in Minnesota. Seth Naeve, Extension agronomist, has been studying factors like row spacing, plant population, and planting and harvest dates to see how growers can produce higher quality soybeans with greater yields. Jeff Coulter, Extension agronomist, is doing the same with corn production looking at row spacing, planting date, previous crop and fungicide applications. Corn trials are conducted across the state, and results of that research will provide Minnesota corn growers with information on how these factors affect yield using the newest genetics.
Growing corn after corn can be considerably more challenging than corn following soybeans, especially on poorly drained soils and during cooler than normal growing seasons like 2008 and 2009. SROC assistant soil scientist Jeff Vetsch will present recent research on how corn production is affected by tillage and nutrient management.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture monitors pesticides in waters across the state. The corn herbicides acetochlor and atrazine have been detected in rivers at levels approaching or exceeding water quality standards. Ron Struss, pesticide BMP coordinator with the MDA, will discuss actions for protecting water quality while using acetochlor and atrazine.
A segment on alternative energy production will be included in the U-M Winter Crops Day program at all locations. Gregg Johnson, SROC agronomist, will discuss new trends and equipment related to the production of crops other than corn and soybeans. Hear more about how woody biomass production can fit into Minnesota farming operations and across the country for energy production.
At all locations, Extension specialists will present updates on local Extension programs and activities. Information will include research trials being conducted on cooperating farms, upcoming educational opportunities, and future plans for Extension activities in southern Minnesota.
Winter Crops Days will be held at the SROC in Waseca and the American Legion in Lake Crystal on January 13; "Events" at Kasson and the Community Center in Wykoff on January 14; and at the Community Center in Arlington on January 15. Registration is still $30, payable at the door, and includes handouts, refreshments and the noon lunch. Certified crop advisers may be eligible to earn continuing education units. For more information, contact your local or regional Extension office or the SROC at 507-835-3620.