Category: Conservation

Cover crops a popular option for prevent plant fields; what to know

Many Minnesota farmers have been forced to take a prevented plant designation on acres left unseeded due to what was a terrible spring. After taking prevent plant, farmers are faced with the decision of what to do with fields sitting on the sidelines for 2019.

After speaking with their crop insurance consultant, many farmers are turning to cover crops to protect their soil over the growing season.

Axel Garcia y Garcia is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota’s Southwest Research and Outreach Center who researches cover crop implementation.

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Nitrogen Smart seminar continues from the comfort of your home

Nitrogen Smart recently wrapped up its fourth year of seminars across Minnesota farm country focused on the fundamentals of nitrogen management. For farmers unable to attend, University of Minnesota Extension launched an online version of Nitrogen Smart that farmers can now take year-round at home.

An identical curriculum to in-person seminars, Nitrogen Smart’s new and interactive training program creates a unique experience for producers based on their own operation and region.

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Study shows cover crops are effective in reducing nitrate loss in drainage tile

To better protect water quality throughout Minnesota, the state’s corn growers are investing in research preventing nitrogen loss on the farm. Cover crops have recently emerged as an effective tool to help keep the vital nutrient for corn productions where it belongs—in the soil.

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) and Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council (MCR&PC) supported a study that examines the role cover crops play in reducing nitrogen loss to surface waters through tile drainage.

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Nitrogen Smart seminars put dollars in farmers’ pockets

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Minnesota farmers could save $77 million dollars a year from improved nitrogen management practices, experts told the audience at a University of Minnesota Extension Nitrogen Smart seminar last week in Owatonna.

“If we do better at nitrogen management, it puts money in our pockets,” said Brad Carlson, an Extension educator who helps lead Nitrogen Smart seminars. “As an industry, the cheapest thing we can do to reduce nitrate losses is managing nitrogen with more precision.”

While helping farmers save through improved management practices,

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Phosphorous produces on-farm benefits with careful use

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Like nitrogen, phosphorous pays off with better yielding crops, while also warranting careful use. This was one of the vital messages at the recent Nutrient Management Conference in St. Cloud, organized by the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center.

Heidie Peterson, who leads the phosphorous program at the International Plant Nutrition Institute, spoke to a room full of farmers and crop consultants to emphasize that point.

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Innovation Grant Program funds 12 projects in 2019

The Minnesota Corn Innovation Grant Program returns for its fourth year in 2019, funding farmer-led, conservation-minded research projects. Each project will test a novel solution that prevents nitrogen and phosphorous loss on the farm. 

Farmers had until Dec. 31 to submit their Innovation Grant proposal. The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) and Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council funded 12 of those for the 2019 growing season.

Participants in 2019 include both new recipients of grants and farmers who are continuing projects initially funded in past years of the program.

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Nitrogen fertilizer application

Minnesota farmers are up to the nitrogen challenge

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Western Minnesota farmers who apply urea after harvest are becoming increasingly disappointed with the yield returns from their investment. 

Research by University of Minnesota Professor Fabian Fernandez over the past three years shows that fall urea placement in southwest, west central and northwest Minnesota has become less effective, and farmers should shift to anhydrous ammonia or spring placement of urea in order to get better results.

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Cover crops become focus at U of M Winter Crops Meeting

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

University of Minnesota Professor M. Scott Wells laid out a good news, bad news situation for Winter Crops Day attendees: The good news is cover crops are performing well in Minnesota. The bad news is farmers aren’t making any money at it.

The topic was very much of interest to the more than two dozen farmers meeting at Winter Crops Day in Rochester earlier this month.

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Minnesota farmer recognized for soil health efforts

(Brian Ryberg with Soil Health Partnership Executive Director Shefali Mehta (left) and Field Manager Tricia Verville)

Buffalo Lake farmer Brian Ryberg was honored with a “Seeds of Change” award at the Soil Health Partnership’s 2019 Soil Health Summit in St. Louis last week. Ryberg received the “Super Sprout” award for his tremendous contributions as a first-year member of the Soil Health Partnership.

Ryberg dove headfirst into the SHP program,

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Nitrogen fertilizer application

Nitrogen Smart builds on nitrogen management offerings in fourth year

University of Minnesota Extension’s Nitrogen Smart returns later this month with seminars scheduled across Minnesota farm country focused on the fundamentals of nitrogen management. Now in its fourth year, the program has expanded on its acclaimed curriculum to offer online and advanced education options.

Nitrogen Smart’s research-based education on nitrogen management returns Jan. 28 in Rochester, with dates following in Waseca, St. Cloud and Lamberton (full schedule below). More than 700 farmers have attended Nitrogen Smart sessions to date,

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