Category: Conservation

Field day shares soil health tips and tricks from the pits

University of Minnesota Extension Educator Jodi DeJong-Hughes has spent much of career below ground analyzing soil health from pits on farms across Minnesota. This Sept. 10, she will be hosting a field day that will for the first time share how farmers can do this analysis on their own.

Held in Granite Falls, the field day will share how attendees can take a shovel to any part of their field and have a better understanding of what they are seeing for soil health.

Read more >

Innovation Grant Spotlight: Taking the unknowns out of raising crops

(Velde installed the in-ground drip irrigation system in 2017)

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

The rise in technology is changing how we farm. For example, today’s farmers have the ability to know, in real time, exactly how much moisture and what volume of nutrients lay in the soil.

Yellow Medicine County farmer Brian Velde is testing the impact of these next generation insights as part of the Minnesota Corn Innovation Grant Program,

Read more >

The 2020 Innovation Grant Program RFP is open for Minnesota’s corn growers

Minnesota corn farmers once again have the opportunity to put their innovative conservation ideas into action through the Minnesota Corn Innovation Grant Program. The RFP for the program officially opened earlier this month, with proposals being accepted until Dec. 31.

In its fifth year, the Innovation Grant Program has widened its focus for innovative projects on the farm. Last year, the program expanded to accept solutions to prevent both nitrogen and phosphorous loss to ground and surface water.

Read more >

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.

Read more >

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.

Read more >

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.

Read more >

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,

Read more >

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.

Read more >

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.

Read more >
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.

Read more >