Spring 2018 brought plenty of water for our area of Minnesota. June alone brought us about 8″ of rain. We were handling the frequent rains ok until the July 3 rain hit. We received 4-5 inches of rain overnight. This was followed by another 1.5″ of rain over the noon hour on July 3. Needless to say, it was over for any chance of crops doing well in low lying areas. Fields were so full that water was flowing across roads to the neighboring field. Crossing through flowing water was quite risky because you never know if the water washed the road away. Drainage ditches overflowed and water remained across some roads for weeks.
I’m sitting in the office on April 14, 2018 looking at through snow covered windows at a persistent blizzard. Biggest storm of the winter for us! It started yesterday with a wintry mix of rain/ice pellets/snow pellets/snow. Through the night it became all snow. We had a lull this morning to get the steer chores done and now we wait out the storm.
I figure that this is as good of time as any to get caught up on some of our winter happenings. Winter was going so well until we hit March and April. These scenes have been all too common since.
We spent some time, in early March in the shop getting some small projects out of the way. Lawn mowers were gone through and a portable auger was refurbished with all new bearings.
On March 20 we did catch a nice break, where the yard wasn’t too soft, and pulled the planter out of the shed to get it ready for the 2018 planting season. After power washing the dust off of it, we moved it into the comfortable environment of the shop.
We did take some time to attend the 2018 Soybean Symposium at the U of M Landscape Arboretum. There were great topics and plenty of discussion that revolve around soybean quality and trade.
Daniel Kaiser and Fabian Fernandez University of Minnesota Soil Fertility Specialists
Over the winter we have done intensive data compilation and analysis and have a few updates to the corn guidelines publication. The primary update is on nitrogen application rates for corn following corn and corn following soybean. The updated publication is not finished yet, so this article will serve as the current rate guidelines starting spring of 2016.
Neonicotinoid seed treatments are used on a large percentage of soybean acres. However, the value of these treatments was questioned in a 2015 EPA report. In response, field crops entomologists from 12 northern states, including Robert Koch and Bruce Potter from the University of Minnesota, collaborated to create a new multipage extension publication, entitled The Effectiveness of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments in Soybean. Publication announcement page.
A big thank you to all the U of M staff for putting on a fantastic field day at Morris, MN today! Jodi DeJong-Hughes led this multi-station field day. Five different stations were set up to focus on Tillage and Technology:
New tillage technology
Planter set–up for moderate residue levels
Residue management of corn–soybean rotations
Tillage influence on soil properties
Building soil health with improved soil structure
These sessions were followed by equipment field demonstrations showing chisel plow tillage with various points, vertical tillage and strip tillage.
The weather couldn’t have been nicer for a field day. Upper 60s, slight breeze and partly cloudy. It was a great chance to meet old friends and make new connections as well.
Here’s the U of M’s description of the day:
Crop producers and other agricultural professionals can see the latest in variable depth tillage equipment, watch side–by–side field demonstrations by national and regional manufacturers, and learn how to build soil structure for maximum soil productivity. Other highlights include the following:
Discover how strip tillage can fit into your rotation and individual soil situations.
Check out proper planter set–up for improved crop emergence and residue management.
Discuss how to save time and money while building soil productivity.
Visit with equipment reps about their new products and services.
Doing a quick search for Clariva seed treatment I came up with this page from Syngenta touting the great benefits for Clariva to farmers.
Every farmers is constantly being up sold by the seed companies with seed treatments for soybeans. It is a huge market and extremely profitable to the companies selling the products. There seems to be little documented evidence of the benefits to farmers when looking at unbiased university studies.
A lot of meetings dot my calendar for the month of February. It started on February 4th with Winter Crops & Soils Day at the SWROC in Lamberton, MN. We learned about reducing pest management inputs, how phosphorous moves to surface waters, what works and doesn’t work for soybean yield enhancers and protectors and had an overview of crop production profitability.
MNICCA Winter Meeting
Not slowing down much, the next day I attended the MNICCA (MN Independent Crop Consultants Association’s) Winter Educational Meeting. As their Executive Director, I help with membership and organizing of events such as this. Guest speakers were Dan Kaiser and Ken Ostlie from the U of M as well as Bayer representatives addressing the bee issue in regards to neonicotinoid insecticides. They had panel discussions regarding UAVs as well as addressing independent crop consultants relationships to industry, especially in regard to local coops.
No missing a beat, the next Monday, February 9th found us in Mankato, MN at the 6th Annual Minnesota Crop Nutrient Management Conference. Another informative day. Subjects included fertilizer use efficiency, fertilizer pricing, rate of change in soil test values for P & K, dealing with $3 corn. There were also breakout sessions in the afternoon with various fertilizer related topics.
Our final stop on this journey of meetings was at the Redwood County Corn and Soybean Growers annual meeting in Wabasso, MN. After a morning of ice covered roads, plans went forward to hold the meeting that evening despite the weather. Dinner was served, an annual meeting was held with new, ambitious members being elected to the board. The night was topped off with Trent Loos speaking about agriculture and how farmers need to be their own advocates for what and how they farm.