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    Minimizing Hay Storage Loss from Heating or Fires

    Successful hay storage is essential to preserving high quality forage, while ensuring desired performance from livestock and deterring economic losses from unwanted hay storage fires.  The predominant reason that fires occur in hay is because of excessive moisture in the plant residue that results in heating when it is baled or stacked for long term storage.

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    Nitrate Toxicity

    This year’s weather patterns provide drought concerns throughout the region in South Dakota. As such, it is more than appropriate for producers 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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    Heat Exhaustion & Stroke: Protecting yourself and your employees

    For those whose livelihood depends upon working outdoors or in less than favorable conditions, the coming weeks look to be quite difficult with higher than normal temperatures and humidity predicted. For example, cows still need to be milked and fed, barns are not air conditioned, even though there is emphasis on cow comfort through ventilation and cooling, we sometimes get lax on also protecting ourselves and employees from the effects of heat.

    Read More »

    Preventing an Unwanted Baler Fire

    Dry conditions this year have reminded many how quickly fires can ignite causing damage, destroying equipment, future feedstuffs and hopefully NOT injuring you in the process. We need to be cognizant at all times of the potential for fires to start while baling hay or straw and take measures to minimize the potential of a fire occurring.

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    Understanding Conservation Easements

    Conservation easements are a common, yet often misunderstood, real estate transaction tool. This article is intended to provide factual information regarding the rules and regulations that govern the use of conservation easements in South Dakota. Source citations include references to both direct sources and compilations that include additional references to law, case law, and easement publications.

    Read More »

    NRCS Cropping Systems Inventory: Landowner & agency cooperation important for soil health

    Late last year South Dakota NRCS State Conservationist Jeff Zimprich announced the release of the latest South Dakota Cropping Systems Inventory (formerly referred to as the “CTIC residue management survey”) at the joint annual meeting of Ag Horizons and the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts.   The data contained in this inventory is valuable to anyone participating in agriculture and natural resource conservation in South Dakota.  

    Read More »

    Alfalfa Update

    Many parts of South Dakota are experiencing warmer and drier conditions. The Northeast and West Region (Black Hills) of the State are lacking a lot of needed moisture going into the middle of the growing season. The Black Hills growing area has a large area of moderate to severe drought. Many producers across the region are concerned about their forage production amounts and market value this year. At this point farmers and ranchers in western South Dakota are having a hard time getting their first cutting of alfalfa, which can really have a significant impact in hay production for the Region.

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    Agronomic Considerations During Drought

    In spite of technological advances, weather factors still play a major role in crop production, especially precipitation. The July 5, 2016 U.S. drought monitor shows that more than half of South Dakota is under abnormally dry or moderately to severe drought conditions. The current drought stress in SD is more pronounced in the Northeastern and Western regions. Even though the crop producers with established irrigation systems are usually able to manage crop water needs more effectively, some agronomic considerations may prevent the situation from getting worse for producers under dryland management systems.

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    Thistle Control

    South Dakota is home to many thistle species, with the most prevalent being Canada thistle followed by bull and musk thistle. Other species include plumeless, tall and Flodman’s thistle. Understanding thistle biology is necessary to know how to control them. Canada and Flodman’s thistle are perennials, meaning one plant can exist for more than two years.

    Read More »

    Heat Exhaustion & Stroke: Protecting yourself and your employees

    For those whose livelihood depends upon working outdoors or in less than favorable conditions, the coming weeks look to be quite difficult with higher than normal temperatures and humidity predicted. For example, cows still need to be milked and fed, barns are not air conditioned, even though there is emphasis on cow comfort through ventilation and cooling, we sometimes get lax on also protecting ourselves and employees from the effects of heat.

    Read More »

    Understanding Conservation Easements

    Conservation easements are a common, yet often misunderstood, real estate transaction tool. This article is intended to provide factual information regarding the rules and regulations that govern the use of conservation easements in South Dakota. Source citations include references to both direct sources and compilations that include additional references to law, case law, and easement publications.

    Read More »

    NRCS Cropping Systems Inventory: Landowner & agency cooperation important for soil health

    Late last year South Dakota NRCS State Conservationist Jeff Zimprich announced the release of the latest South Dakota Cropping Systems Inventory (formerly referred to as the “CTIC residue management survey”) at the joint annual meeting of Ag Horizons and the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts.   The data contained in this inventory is valuable to anyone participating in agriculture and natural resource conservation in South Dakota.  

    Read More »

    Agronomic Considerations During Drought

    In spite of technological advances, weather factors still play a major role in crop production, especially precipitation. The July 5, 2016 U.S. drought monitor shows that more than half of South Dakota is under abnormally dry or moderately to severe drought conditions. The current drought stress in SD is more pronounced in the Northeastern and Western regions. Even though the crop producers with established irrigation systems are usually able to manage crop water needs more effectively, some agronomic considerations may prevent the situation from getting worse for producers under dryland management systems.

    Read More »

    Sustainability in the Loess Hills of Minnehaha County

    At the end of May, I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon touring the loess hills area of Minnehaha County with Anthony Bly, SDSU Extension Soils Field Specialist; Al Miron, SD Corn and SD Soil Health Coalition Board Member; and Jim Ristau, SD Corn Sustainability Director. Loess is defined as material transported and deposited by wind and consists primarily of silt-sized particles.

    Read More »

    Livestock Integration Positively Influences Soil Health & Nutrient Test Levels

    Soil health is recently a new term that encompasses 17 soil quality indicators used for describing soil that is resilient against negative climatic events that cause water and wind erosion. The Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS) formerly the Soil Conservation Service is the ultimate source for any term, process or analytical procedure involving soil. The NRCS has identified the 17 soil health indicators, which include biological, chemical and physical properties.

    Read More »

    The South Dakota Wetland Exchange

    According to the South Dakota Farm Bureau, a proposal currently under review by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) may soon create the framework for South Dakota’s first agricultural wetland mitigation bank. Wayne Smith, Wetlands & Land Use Specialist with the SD Farm Bureau, explained that the process began in 2014 when the Bureau received a SD NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) to create the framework under which a mitigation bank would operate. That product was turned back over to SD NRCS in September 2015, which has since been elevated to Washington D.C. for review and approval.

    Read More »

    Heat Exhaustion & Stroke: Protecting yourself and your employees

    For those whose livelihood depends upon working outdoors or in less than favorable conditions, the coming weeks look to be quite difficult with higher than normal temperatures and humidity predicted. For example, cows still need to be milked and fed, barns are not air conditioned, even though there is emphasis on cow comfort through ventilation and cooling, we sometimes get lax on also protecting ourselves and employees from the effects of heat.

    Read More »

    Understanding Conservation Easements

    Conservation easements are a common, yet often misunderstood, real estate transaction tool. This article is intended to provide factual information regarding the rules and regulations that govern the use of conservation easements in South Dakota. Source citations include references to both direct sources and compilations that include additional references to law, case law, and easement publications.

    Read More »

    NRCS Cropping Systems Inventory: Landowner & agency cooperation important for soil health

    Late last year South Dakota NRCS State Conservationist Jeff Zimprich announced the release of the latest South Dakota Cropping Systems Inventory (formerly referred to as the “CTIC residue management survey”) at the joint annual meeting of Ag Horizons and the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts.   The data contained in this inventory is valuable to anyone participating in agriculture and natural resource conservation in South Dakota.  

    Read More »

    Agronomic Considerations During Drought

    In spite of technological advances, weather factors still play a major role in crop production, especially precipitation. The July 5, 2016 U.S. drought monitor shows that more than half of South Dakota is under abnormally dry or moderately to severe drought conditions. The current drought stress in SD is more pronounced in the Northeastern and Western regions. Even though the crop producers with established irrigation systems are usually able to manage crop water needs more effectively, some agronomic considerations may prevent the situation from getting worse for producers under dryland management systems.

    Read More »

    2016 Field Pea Scouting Recommendations: Tarnished Plant Bug

    During a visit to field pea we observed the presence of several insects, including the tarnished plant bug. This insect is also referred to as the Lygus bug. Although the field we were sampling was below the recommended threshold, it is important to monitor tarnished plant bug populations. Populations of tarnished plant bug in field pea can increase very rapidly due to their presence in other crops that may be harvested prior to field pea, which ultimately forces the tarnished plant bugs to seek new hosts.

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    2016 Field Pea Scouting Recommendations: Pea Aphids

    While scouting two locations of the SDSU Extension Pea Variety Trials we noticed areas within the fields harboring large populations of pea aphids. However, these areas were few and far between, and at this time would not be considered above threshold considering the many areas that didn’t have pea aphids present. At the time of scouting only a few peas had begun to flower; however, as flowering continues it is important to continue monitoring pea aphid populations.

    Read More »

    Sustainability in the Loess Hills of Minnehaha County

    At the end of May, I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon touring the loess hills area of Minnehaha County with Anthony Bly, SDSU Extension Soils Field Specialist; Al Miron, SD Corn and SD Soil Health Coalition Board Member; and Jim Ristau, SD Corn Sustainability Director. Loess is defined as material transported and deposited by wind and consists primarily of silt-sized particles.

    Read More »

    June 2016 Field Pea Crop Progress

    Field peas in Central South Dakota will begin to flower this week. Some fields may be a little behind and some may be ahead of this growth stage. Planting date, field location and variety will play a role in date of flowering. It appears that seeding was a fairly smooth process this year. Peas and lentils emerged in a timely fashion and plants appear to have functioning and healthy nodules on roots. Rhizobia bacteria applied to seed, or in seed trench at seeding, develop nodules on the roots of the pea plants.

    Read More »

    Heat Exhaustion & Stroke: Protecting yourself and your employees

    For those whose livelihood depends upon working outdoors or in less than favorable conditions, the coming weeks look to be quite difficult with higher than normal temperatures and humidity predicted. For example, cows still need to be milked and fed, barns are not air conditioned, even though there is emphasis on cow comfort through ventilation and cooling, we sometimes get lax on also protecting ourselves and employees from the effects of heat.

    Read More »

    Understanding Conservation Easements

    Conservation easements are a common, yet often misunderstood, real estate transaction tool. This article is intended to provide factual information regarding the rules and regulations that govern the use of conservation easements in South Dakota. Source citations include references to both direct sources and compilations that include additional references to law, case law, and easement publications.

    Read More »

    NRCS Cropping Systems Inventory: Landowner & agency cooperation important for soil health

    Late last year South Dakota NRCS State Conservationist Jeff Zimprich announced the release of the latest South Dakota Cropping Systems Inventory (formerly referred to as the “CTIC residue management survey”) at the joint annual meeting of Ag Horizons and the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts.   The data contained in this inventory is valuable to anyone participating in agriculture and natural resource conservation in South Dakota.  

    Read More »

    Agronomic Considerations During Drought

    In spite of technological advances, weather factors still play a major role in crop production, especially precipitation. The July 5, 2016 U.S. drought monitor shows that more than half of South Dakota is under abnormally dry or moderately to severe drought conditions. The current drought stress in SD is more pronounced in the Northeastern and Western regions. Even though the crop producers with established irrigation systems are usually able to manage crop water needs more effectively, some agronomic considerations may prevent the situation from getting worse for producers under dryland management systems.

    Read More »

    Reports of Severe Insect Injury to Sorghum

    Incidences of severe insect injury to sorghum, specifically grain sorghum, have been reported in South Dakota. Sorghum plants are being cut at the base, which is indicative of several species of cutworms. However, due the difficulty of observing cutworms during the day and the timing of these reports we were unable to visit the injured fields. Therefore, an exact identification of the cutworm species responsible for damaging these sorghum fields is not possible.

    Read More »

    Sustainability in the Loess Hills of Minnehaha County

    At the end of May, I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon touring the loess hills area of Minnehaha County with Anthony Bly, SDSU Extension Soils Field Specialist; Al Miron, SD Corn and SD Soil Health Coalition Board Member; and Jim Ristau, SD Corn Sustainability Director. Loess is defined as material transported and deposited by wind and consists primarily of silt-sized particles.

    Read More »

    Livestock Integration Positively Influences Soil Health & Nutrient Test Levels

    Soil health is recently a new term that encompasses 17 soil quality indicators used for describing soil that is resilient against negative climatic events that cause water and wind erosion. The Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS) formerly the Soil Conservation Service is the ultimate source for any term, process or analytical procedure involving soil. The NRCS has identified the 17 soil health indicators, which include biological, chemical and physical properties.

    Read More »

    The South Dakota Wetland Exchange

    According to the South Dakota Farm Bureau, a proposal currently under review by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) may soon create the framework for South Dakota’s first agricultural wetland mitigation bank. Wayne Smith, Wetlands & Land Use Specialist with the SD Farm Bureau, explained that the process began in 2014 when the Bureau received a SD NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) to create the framework under which a mitigation bank would operate. That product was turned back over to SD NRCS in September 2015, which has since been elevated to Washington D.C. for review and approval.

    Read More »

    Don’t Forget the Small Grain in Rotations

    The current low prices of grain crops are adding to planting decision challenges in 2016. Reduced prices for corn, wheat, and soybeans, the three crops most commonly grown in South Dakota, will make it more important than ever for producers to use best management techniques to reduce risk and production costs. One tactic that can provide numerous benefits is to have diversity in the crop rotation.

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    Sunflower Receptacle Maggot Flies in S.D. Sunflower

    While scouting a sunflower field near Onida last week I observed rather unusual looking flies on some of the plants. A closer examination revealed that they were sunflower receptacle maggot fly adults. Although there were a few adults flying around in the field they didn’t warrant further examination, as there are no thresholds for this insect. This is partly due to the fact that their larvae feeding on sunflower has not been associated with economic yield loss. However, it is always nice to know what insects are present in the field.

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    Scouting for Sunflower Moth and Banded Sunflower Moth in S.D.

    There are several insects that can negatively affect sunflower in South Dakota. The banded sunflower moth and the sunflower moth (also known as sunflower head moth) are two such pests that can potentially reduce sunflower yield. Scouting for these moths should begin when the majority of the sunflowers in the field have midsized buds (R3 growth stage). Banded sunflower moths overwinter in South Dakota and begin emerging as moths in late June through July.

    Read More »

    Understanding Conservation Easements

    Conservation easements are a common, yet often misunderstood, real estate transaction tool. This article is intended to provide factual information regarding the rules and regulations that govern the use of conservation easements in South Dakota. Source citations include references to both direct sources and compilations that include additional references to law, case law, and easement publications.

    Read More »

    NRCS Cropping Systems Inventory: Landowner & agency cooperation important for soil health

    Late last year South Dakota NRCS State Conservationist Jeff Zimprich announced the release of the latest South Dakota Cropping Systems Inventory (formerly referred to as the “CTIC residue management survey”) at the joint annual meeting of Ag Horizons and the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts.   The data contained in this inventory is valuable to anyone participating in agriculture and natural resource conservation in South Dakota.  

    Read More »

    Agronomic Considerations During Drought

    In spite of technological advances, weather factors still play a major role in crop production, especially precipitation. The July 5, 2016 U.S. drought monitor shows that more than half of South Dakota is under abnormally dry or moderately to severe drought conditions. The current drought stress in SD is more pronounced in the Northeastern and Western regions. Even though the crop producers with established irrigation systems are usually able to manage crop water needs more effectively, some agronomic considerations may prevent the situation from getting worse for producers under dryland management systems.

    Read More »

    Dectes Stem Borer Adults Present in S.D. Sunflower

    Dectes stem borer is a pest of sunflower in South Dakota. Large populations of adult Dectes stem borer were observed recently on volunteer sunflowers. It is important to begin scouting for this pest since sunflower emergence is underway throughout most of South Dakota. The Dectes larvae feed within sunflower stalks and damage the plant at the end of the season when they girdle the plant and increase the potential for sunflower lodging.

    Read More »

    Cutworms Causing Problems in S.D. Sunflower

    We have received reports of cutworms feeding on newly emerged sunflower plants. As their name implies, cutworm caterpillar feeding often results in the stem or stalk of a new plant being fed around or through. This feeding injury results in the plant being “cut” as the stalk is no longer able to support the weight of the plant. Depending on the age of the plant, this method of feeding may also remove an entire portion of the stalk, which also results in the cutting injury.

    Read More »

    Sustainability in the Loess Hills of Minnehaha County

    At the end of May, I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon touring the loess hills area of Minnehaha County with Anthony Bly, SDSU Extension Soils Field Specialist; Al Miron, SD Corn and SD Soil Health Coalition Board Member; and Jim Ristau, SD Corn Sustainability Director. Loess is defined as material transported and deposited by wind and consists primarily of silt-sized particles.

    Read More »

    Livestock Integration Positively Influences Soil Health & Nutrient Test Levels

    Soil health is recently a new term that encompasses 17 soil quality indicators used for describing soil that is resilient against negative climatic events that cause water and wind erosion. The Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS) formerly the Soil Conservation Service is the ultimate source for any term, process or analytical procedure involving soil. The NRCS has identified the 17 soil health indicators, which include biological, chemical and physical properties.

    Read More »

    The South Dakota Wetland Exchange

    According to the South Dakota Farm Bureau, a proposal currently under review by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) may soon create the framework for South Dakota’s first agricultural wetland mitigation bank. Wayne Smith, Wetlands & Land Use Specialist with the SD Farm Bureau, explained that the process began in 2014 when the Bureau received a SD NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) to create the framework under which a mitigation bank would operate. That product was turned back over to SD NRCS in September 2015, which has since been elevated to Washington D.C. for review and approval.

    Read More »

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