Annual weeds are threat to many cropping systems in South Dakota. Palmer amaranth is a newer threat in the state depending upon your geographical location. Confirmed sightings in a few counties in South Dakota include Potter, Sully, Hughes, Lyman, Bennett, Buffalo and Douglas. These are confirmed sightings and there could be other counties as well that could have Palmer amaranth in the state. Most Palmer plants found in South Dakota originated from a contaminated source, such as contaminated machinery, seed or manure. Palmer is an invasive annual plant originally from the southwestern U.S. with male and female plants.
Individuals working with insecticides must take important steps to prevent exposure to themselves and others. This includes reading the label, wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE), exercising caution when mixing and applying insecticides, disposing of used PPE, and laundering potentially contaminated clothing.
When handling insecticides it is important to wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE). Insecticide labels provide the minimum PPE requirements that must be worn when handling containers, spraying, mixing, loading, or conducting maintenance on the sprayer. Chemical resistant gloves are listed as required PPE for almost all insecticide related activities. Wearing the proper gloves when handling insecticide products prevents exposure to the skin on the hands. Insecticides can penetrate skin on different parts of the body to varying degrees.
Fumigants are used to manage insect pests in agricultural fields, grain storage facilities, and residential environments. These products are considered restricted use. Individuals must have a valid South Dakota commercial or private applicator license to purchase and apply restricted use products. It is important to remember that fumigants are toxic chemicals – in addition to killing the intended pest, they can harm humans if used improperly.
Soil health is a very important natural resource concern; however, knowledge of how to build soil health is not widespread. The principles of soil health should be addressed as often as possible. At a recent South Dakota Soil Health Challenge meeting in Mitchell, Jay Fuhrer (USDA-NRCS) presented his five principles of soil health: 1. Soil Armor, 2. Minimizing Soil Disturbance, 3. Plant Diversity, 4. Continual live plant root and 5. Livestock Integration.
Crop Producers, agronomists, gardeners, homeowners and anyone else who is thinking about taking soil samples this fall or next spring need to be aware that South Dakota State University no longer offers commercial testing. (Effective Oct, 2011). Below is a list of nearby state or private laboratories that can be used for crop production fields, gardens and lawns. The private laboratories are not necessarily recommended or endorsed, however many will give university recommendations when asked. Crop producers, agronomists, gardeners, and home owners with questions on sample submissions, analysis charges and recommendations should contact the laboratory of interest.
Certification courses and exams are available for new and existing private pesticide applicators. Individuals needing to become certified or recertified are encouraged to attend one of the 3-hour private applicator sessions hosted throughout the state. The dates and locations of these sessions can be found in this article.
The South Dakota 2017 Pest Management guides are available online as free PDF downloads or as hard copies at SDSU Extension Regional Centers, offices, and events. The guides provide recommendations for herbicides, insecticides, seed treatments, and fungicides that are available in South Dakota to control weeds, insects, and diseases in a variety of crops.
In recent times, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has shown increased interest in organic agriculture. As a result, on December 21, 2016, the USDA announced that starting March 20, 2017, organic producers and handlers will be able to visit over 2,100 USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices across the country to apply for federal reimbursement to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic or transitional certification.
The consideration of gypsum as a soil amendment has become a popular topic in crop production agriculture. However, correctly understanding the chemical function of gypsum and lime in soil is needed to properly place this amendment. Gypsum, which is calcium sulfate after applied to the soil and dissolved in the water it disassociates into calcium and sulfate.