Tag: University of Minnesota (UMN)

Changing Nitrogen Use: good for yields, good for the environment

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

“You can adapt to change!” was the rallying cry issued to several hundred farmers who came to hear the latest science about nitrogen fertilizer.

Prof. Fabian Fernandez used these words to open the second annual Minnesota Nitrogen Management Conference last week in Rochester. The conference was titled, “Nitrogen: Minnesota’s Grand Challenge and Compelling Opportunity.”

A series of experts spoke through the day and took different angles at the issue of nitrogen,

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Myth vs. Fact on farming, nitrogen, buffers and water quality

Myth: Farmers apply too much nitrogen on crop land.

Fact: University of Minnesota Best Management Practices for Nitrogen Use identifies an acceptable range of nitrogen fertilizer (N) at 130-180 pounds per acre for corn after corn and an acceptable range of 100-140 pounds per acre for corn after soybeans. An example of actual application rates, Minnesota farmers applied an average of 140 pounds per acre of nitrogen fertilizer on corn acres in 2010.

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Agriculture and water quality in Minnesota: Is it all doom and gloom?

When it comes to water quality in Minnesota, agency report after agency report and media story after media story paint a bleaker and bleaker picture. If you read enough of these reports and stories – and we read them all here at the Minnesota Corn office – you feel like Minnesota’s water quality is beyond repair.

The finger is pointed at agriculture as a major cause of water degradation in almost all of these reports or media pieces.

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Innovative project could help farmers overcome drought and protect water quality

An innovative project managed by University of Minnesota researcher Dr. Jeff Strock could help farmers boost yields while also improving water quality.

Later this summer, Strock will oversee the installation of an on-farm storage pond on a farm in Southwestern Minnesota. Surface and subsurface drainage water will be diverted to the pond instead of nearby waterways. Later in the summer, the water can be used for irrigation when thirsty crops need it most.

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4-Hers solve ag problems, develop leadership skills in Science of Agriculture Challenge

How can cattle farmers reduce hay loss from ring feeders? What can be done about bees overwintering in Minnesota? What’s the next step in using insects as human food? What are the benefits of biofuels?

These were a few of the questions addressed by 12 youth teams who participated in the 2015 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge, held June 17-19 at the University of Minnesota.The challenge was an opportunity for youth teams to find solutions to real agriculture challenges in their communities.

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The sights and sounds of Ag Awareness Day 2015

A little bad weather wasn’t going to slow down Ag Awareness Day 2015 at the University of Minnesota.

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA), together with about 15 other farmer-led organizations and agriculture-related groups, braved temperatures in the 30s, occasional snow showers and high winds to participate in Ag Awareness Day 2015 on the campus of the University of Minnesota on Tuesday.

Students on their way to and from class stopped by the MCGA booth to play a game of corn toss for a chance to win a fuel card from Holiday.

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Rehm: Farmers can adjust their fertilizer program downward without ‘falling off a cliff’

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

It’s well known: macronutrients phosphorous and potassium impact crop yields.

But the data are somewhat contradictory about how much of each will lead to what result, Prof. George Rehm told the packed audience at the 2015 Minnesota Crop Nutrient Management conference in Mankato.

Looking at studies — some four years, some eight years and longer — across a half dozen locations in Minnesota,

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‘Big Data’ grows up on the farm

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Surveys show two-thirds of crop farmers now use some form of precision ag technology. Data collecting/crunching software helps farmers make the most of global positioning systems (GPS), auto steer and variable rate planters and sprayers.

The 2015 University of Minnesota Production Agriculture Symposium drew some of the top experts in the science of lining up management decisions with Big Data. Mapping soils and how crops respond to them is the current star of the Big Data revolution on the farm.

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How do water levels in the soil impact crops?

Minnesota cornWhat if farmers could input their farm data into a computer model that would help them decide whether to invest in drainage systems? Or how much fertilizer (enough, but not too much) to take maximum advantage of current soil moisture conditions?

A four-year research project funded by the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council (MCR&PC) is looking at the interrelationship of drainage, soil type and farmer management decisions to the vigor of crop plants and,

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Building a better plastic from the ground up

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Petroleum-based microfibers — polyester and nylon — are washing out of our clothes, flowing right through wastewater treatment plants and on into the Great Lakes. These fibers end up in the bodies of fish, and all the creatures who eat the fish. Plastic micro pellets from face cleansers and lotions share a similar fate.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, says Prof. Marc Hillmyer,

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