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    Feeding The World With Alfalfa

    A new large-scale nationwide survey suggests that a large segment of U.S. consumers do not believe farmers should be responsible for addressing projected global hunger. The Center for Food Integrity found that 40 percent strongly disagreed that the U.S. has a responsibility to provide food for the rest of the world. More than half of those surveyed strongly agreed that it is more important for the U.S. to teach developing nations how to feed themselves than to export food to them. However an indirect way of feeding the world is to export livestock feeds to those countries so they can produce their own animal proteins.

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    Low Lignin Alfalfa Field Visits

    Back in March we discussed the importance of reduced-lignin alfalfas and how they might benefit the farmer’s operation in South Dakota. Surprisingly, there are field plots that have been planted with this variety in Brookings, near South Dakota State University. From a distance, a field of low lignin alfalfa will look similar to a conventional alfalfa field. However, low lignin alfalfa will have more leaves, a dense canopy with higher concentrations of leaves in the lower part of the canopy.

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    Insect Updates: Sunflower & Alfalfa

    Sunflower plantings are picking up pace in South Dakota and it is time to watch for cutworms. These caterpillars feed on sunflower seedlings and eventually become moths. Alfalfa is nearing the first-cut stage and many fields have been sprayed for alfalfa weevil. The growers who did not spray and used early cutting to avoid weevil damage have to be cautious and check for the delay in regrowth.

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    Watch Out for a Light Frost in Alfalfa

    Alfalfa fields are starting to grow showing good potential for this growing season. However, as for last night we were under a Freeze Warning, meaning that some crops could be damaged by a light frost or freeze. In fact, calls came into the office regarding this event already. Below are the key points to consider for both new seedling alfalfa and established stands.

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    Drought in South Dakota: Impact on insect activity

    According to the May climate and drought outlook, the majority of South Dakota is classified as being in a moderate drought. The less optimistic weather forecast indicates that crops are going to suffer intermittent moisture deficits during the growing season. When plants are water stressed, levels of free amino acids and sugars in the plants increase, which can enhance the performance of plant feeding insects.

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    Are Alfalfa Weevils Out Yet?

    This is the most common question I am getting from growers and the short answer is yes. A recent survey of alfalfa fields in the Nisland and Vale areas showed that the weevils are out with minimal activity. The early warm temperatures we experienced this spring are favorable for insect activity and we have already seen army cutworms feeding in winter wheat and alfalfa fields. In western South Dakota, alfalfa fields are green with 5 to 6 inches of growth on average.

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    Nitrate Quick Test Trainings

    Weather patterns could suggest that this might be a dry year like we had back in 2012. As such, this is the time that producers start to think about the risk of nitrates in feed supplies and how it will affect their livestock operations. It is well known that certain plants are nitrate accumulators and can contain toxic levels of nitrate when consumed by cattle and sheep.

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    Drought Concerns: Milo & forage sorghum as potential alternatives

    The region is lacking a lot of needed moisture going into the growing season. Due to these conditions we need to start looking at potential alternatives for forage production. Forage sorghum can be grown either as grain or forage crop. The advantage of its use over corn is that it requires less water, is drought tolerant by going semi-dormant which makes it a good fit for dryland and limited irrigation situations.

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    Soil Health Events Held Across South Dakota Can Now Be Viewed Online

    The South Dakota No Till Association, in cooperation with SDSU Extension and the USDA-NRCS, hosted many soil health workshops and field days across South Dakota throughout 2013-15. If you would like to hear the presentations from the soil health workshops, either because you could not attend the workshops or because you would like to listen to them again, the presentations can now be accessed on line at the NRCS’s Soil Health You Tube channel.

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    Rust Diseases on the Rise in Oats

    Stem rust of oats was found in one oats cultivar in the Crop Performance Test plots at the SDSU Southeast Research Farm in Beresford. The level of stem rust severity was moderate. Stem rust on oats is usually not a major problem partly due to good resistance in most oat cultivars. Although stem rust can also infect wheat, the type that infects wheat is different from the type that infects oats. So far, no stem rust has been found in surveyed wheat fields.

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    Soil Health Events Held Across South Dakota Can Now Be Viewed Online

    The South Dakota No Till Association, in cooperation with SDSU Extension and the USDA-NRCS, hosted many soil health workshops and field days across South Dakota throughout 2013-15. If you would like to hear the presentations from the soil health workshops, either because you could not attend the workshops or because you would like to listen to them again, the presentations can now be accessed on line at the NRCS’s Soil Health You Tube channel.

    Read More »

    SDSU Extension Hiring Towards Food Security

    It is estimated that by 2050 the planet will reach 9.1 billion people, 34 percent more than today. To be able to feed this population, food production must increase by 70 percent. Regardless of where this population growth happens we need to step up as a food-producing state and nation and contribute to reduce social unrests spurred by food shortages.

    Read More »

    Managing Saline Soils in South Dakota: Part 1

    A soil has been described as a porous medium consisting of minerals, water, gases, organic matter, and microorganisms. The largest component of soil is the mineral portion, which makes up approximately 45% to 49% of the volume. Some of the mineral portion consists of primary mineral particles. These are the sand and silt particles.

    Read More »

    Crop Variety Selection

    Farmers tend to be busy all year round. For crop growers, spring, summer and fall are times to get physically involved in the field whereas, winter is the time for in-depth planning and preparation for the subsequent three seasons. Taking time to plan on various aspects of crop production including variety selection will pay dividend at the end of the season.

    Read More »

    Glyphosate for Pre-Harvest Drydown

    Late season rains this year resulted in late germinating weeds.  Herbicide options were not available to control these weeds because of the growth stage of the crops. To avoid problems with green material during harvest and to reduce the risk of increased weed issues in the future, many producers may consider applying a pre-harvest desiccant to wheat and pea crops.

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    Disease Concerns in Field Peas

    The condition of South Dakota’s 2015 field pea crop is variable this year. Many fields look excellent, however some fields have developed bacterial blight on tissue damaged in recent storms. It is very common to see bacterial blight on peas early in their life. Often a late spring frost can damage plant tissue and result in bacterial blight. In most years in central South Dakota, the disease does not spread in the plant but remains in the lower tissue.

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    Dakota Lakes Research Center Hosts Annual Field Day

    SDSU’s Dakota Lakes Research Farm will be hosting their Annual Summer Field Day on Thursday, June 25th beginning at 3 PM and running until dark. The Dakota Lakes Research Farm has been operating for 25 years with the mission to identify, research, and demonstrate methods of strengthening and stabilizing the agriculture economy. The research enterprise at the farm is operated by SDSU.

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    Soil Health Events Held Across South Dakota Can Now Be Viewed Online

    The South Dakota No Till Association, in cooperation with SDSU Extension and the USDA-NRCS, hosted many soil health workshops and field days across South Dakota throughout 2013-15. If you would like to hear the presentations from the soil health workshops, either because you could not attend the workshops or because you would like to listen to them again, the presentations can now be accessed on line at the NRCS’s Soil Health You Tube channel.

    Read More »

    SDSU Extension Hiring Towards Food Security

    It is estimated that by 2050 the planet will reach 9.1 billion people, 34 percent more than today. To be able to feed this population, food production must increase by 70 percent. Regardless of where this population growth happens we need to step up as a food-producing state and nation and contribute to reduce social unrests spurred by food shortages.

    Read More »

    Managing Saline Soils in South Dakota: Part 1

    A soil has been described as a porous medium consisting of minerals, water, gases, organic matter, and microorganisms. The largest component of soil is the mineral portion, which makes up approximately 45% to 49% of the volume. Some of the mineral portion consists of primary mineral particles. These are the sand and silt particles.

    Read More »

    Crop Variety Selection

    Farmers tend to be busy all year round. For crop growers, spring, summer and fall are times to get physically involved in the field whereas, winter is the time for in-depth planning and preparation for the subsequent three seasons. Taking time to plan on various aspects of crop production including variety selection will pay dividend at the end of the season.

    Read More »

    Control Post-Emergent Weeds When Small

    When looking at preventing or managing glyphosate resistance, early control of post-emergence weeds is important. Roundup had the ability to control fairly large weeds so timing could be delayed to make sure all the weeds had emerged. When looking at help or control from conventional chemicals the rule of thumb is 2 – 4 inch weeds and it is best to err on the small side of that range. If they get too big the only control left is to cultivate or hand weed.

    Read More »

    Cover Crops for a Dry Year

    An open, dry, winter, followed by a dry, warm spring has left the top soil in many areas of South Dakota much dryer than normal. Livestock producers may find themselves looking for supplemental feed this summer as a result of poor grass growth. In situations of moisture deficits most producers are not going to consider planting a cover crop.

    Read More »

    Soil Health Events Held Across South Dakota Can Now Be Viewed Online

    The South Dakota No Till Association, in cooperation with SDSU Extension and the USDA-NRCS, hosted many soil health workshops and field days across South Dakota throughout 2013-15. If you would like to hear the presentations from the soil health workshops, either because you could not attend the workshops or because you would like to listen to them again, the presentations can now be accessed on line at the NRCS’s Soil Health You Tube channel.

    Read More »

    SDSU Extension Hiring Towards Food Security

    It is estimated that by 2050 the planet will reach 9.1 billion people, 34 percent more than today. To be able to feed this population, food production must increase by 70 percent. Regardless of where this population growth happens we need to step up as a food-producing state and nation and contribute to reduce social unrests spurred by food shortages.

    Read More »

    Managing Saline Soils in South Dakota: Part 1

    A soil has been described as a porous medium consisting of minerals, water, gases, organic matter, and microorganisms. The largest component of soil is the mineral portion, which makes up approximately 45% to 49% of the volume. Some of the mineral portion consists of primary mineral particles. These are the sand and silt particles.

    Read More »

    Crop Variety Selection

    Farmers tend to be busy all year round. For crop growers, spring, summer and fall are times to get physically involved in the field whereas, winter is the time for in-depth planning and preparation for the subsequent three seasons. Taking time to plan on various aspects of crop production including variety selection will pay dividend at the end of the season.

    Read More »

    Protecting Pollinators in Sunflowers

    Anyone who has ever walked through a field of flowering sunflowers will immediately recognize their popularity with honey bees. Sunflowers are native to North America and host numerous insects, including some pests but also many that are beneficial. Sunflower fields in central South Dakota are generally at the R1 to R3 stage of growth right now, and the time to consider applying insecticides to control insect pests is approaching. Following certain precautionary guidelines in choosing the type, formulation, and spray timing can help protect pollinators.

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    Insect Updates in Soybean

    Soybeans in South Dakota are at R1 stage and it is time to pay close attention to soybean aphid populations. During a visit to the soybean research plots last week at the Volga farm, aphids were spotted throughout the plots. While most of the plants had single wingless aphids, a few of them had aphids surrounded by nymphs. Soybean aphids are highly successful due in part to their ability to develop and reproduce quickly.

    Read More »

    Insect Updates: Sunflower & Alfalfa

    Sunflower plantings are picking up pace in South Dakota and it is time to watch for cutworms. These caterpillars feed on sunflower seedlings and eventually become moths. Alfalfa is nearing the first-cut stage and many fields have been sprayed for alfalfa weevil. The growers who did not spray and used early cutting to avoid weevil damage have to be cautious and check for the delay in regrowth.

    Read More »

    Control Post-Emergent Weeds When Small

    When looking at preventing or managing glyphosate resistance, early control of post-emergence weeds is important. Roundup had the ability to control fairly large weeds so timing could be delayed to make sure all the weeds had emerged. When looking at help or control from conventional chemicals the rule of thumb is 2 – 4 inch weeds and it is best to err on the small side of that range. If they get too big the only control left is to cultivate or hand weed.

    Read More »

    Soil Health Events Held Across South Dakota Can Now Be Viewed Online

    The South Dakota No Till Association, in cooperation with SDSU Extension and the USDA-NRCS, hosted many soil health workshops and field days across South Dakota throughout 2013-15. If you would like to hear the presentations from the soil health workshops, either because you could not attend the workshops or because you would like to listen to them again, the presentations can now be accessed on line at the NRCS’s Soil Health You Tube channel.

    Read More »

    SDSU Extension Hiring Towards Food Security

    It is estimated that by 2050 the planet will reach 9.1 billion people, 34 percent more than today. To be able to feed this population, food production must increase by 70 percent. Regardless of where this population growth happens we need to step up as a food-producing state and nation and contribute to reduce social unrests spurred by food shortages.

    Read More »

    Managing Saline Soils in South Dakota: Part 1

    A soil has been described as a porous medium consisting of minerals, water, gases, organic matter, and microorganisms. The largest component of soil is the mineral portion, which makes up approximately 45% to 49% of the volume. Some of the mineral portion consists of primary mineral particles. These are the sand and silt particles.

    Read More »

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