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    Feedstuff Inventory: Quality and Quantity

    Summer has brought cooler temperatures to our growing season, and with this in mind we need to start thinking about feedstuff inventory both in terms of quality and quantity. Hay inventories for the upcoming winter feeding could fall a bit short in some areas across the state, while other areas have an abundant quantity, but may not have the quality.

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    Corn Silage Harvest Moisture and Management

    Producers have started harvesting corn for silage, and here are some tips that could help to get the best out of this crop. Corn for silage should typically be harvested between 60-70% moisture. This moisture range is the most ideal for optimum fermentation and a rapid drop in pH to preserve the feed value of the crop.

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    Silage Management

    This is the time of the year that we need to be thinking about how to manage and minimize corn silage shrink losses. Stored silage can provide quality feed to support many different livestock systems. Corn silage is a major ingredient in most dairy rations in the United States. Corn for silage should typically be harvested between 60-70% moisture to ensure good storage and fermentation.

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    SDSU WEEDS Group at the Fair

    The SDSU WEED project will be at the fair to answer your questions again. This year the feature will be the amaranth “pigweed” species. There is a lot of confusion on what species we have in the state and how we can control them. This is your one stop location to get your questions answered by the experts.

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    Minimizing Storage Losses in Hay

    Each harvest season brings concerns regarding storage options for hay. Indeed, producers need to find ways to prevent shrink losses in their bunkers and storage systems. Hay storage losses are around 5% when it is harvested at 15% moisture and stored under dry conditions. Stored forages provide essential nutrients for livestock when pastures are inadequate and are a consistent feed supply for dairies, sheep flocks, cow/calf producers, and beef feedlots. However, some of these nutrients can be lost if forages are not stored properly.

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    Using Cover Crops for Forage Supply and Dairy Production

    Grain producers are often looking for ways to increase revenues from their land. In the Upper Plains it might not be economical, or even practical, to plant another grain crop during the growing year; however, it may be in the producer’s interest to consider a cover crop. Cover crops provide multiple benefits to the producer and the environment.

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    Record-High Alfalfa Weevil Populations: Available management options

    “There are record high populations of Alfalfa weevils this year” says our Sheep Field Specialist, Dave Ollila. Monitoring for alfalfa weevils is being conducted since last week of April and it was not until the last week of May that significant numbers were observed. It appears that the weevil activity lagged approximately three weeks behind average degree day requirements. Almost each and every field in Fall River and Butte counties have weevil numbers beyond economic thresholds and the damage is significant.

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    SDSU WEEDS Group at the Fair

    The SDSU WEED project will be at the fair to answer your questions again. This year the feature will be the amaranth “pigweed” species. There is a lot of confusion on what species we have in the state and how we can control them. This is your one stop location to get your questions answered by the experts.

    Read More »

    Glyphosate Resistant Waterhemp: A Growing Problem

    Among the four glyphosate resistant weeds in South Dakota, common waterhemp has the potential to have the highest impact areas where a corn-soybean rotation is the mainstay. Thirty years ago waterhemp was only found in the very southeast corner of the state. It was a tough weed to control then and still is.

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    Early Winter Storm & Wet Fall: What it means for insect management next year

    While the aftermath of winter storm Atlas is still being felt by ranchers, growers of field and forage crops in storm hit areas of western South Dakota might see an unexpected positive outcome for the coming season. The timing of storm and the amount of precipitation might have a negative impact on field insect populations leading to low insect pressure on crops.

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    Interpreting Soil Test Micronutrient Values

    Soil analyses prior to planting can be an invaluable tool in determining nutrient application rates and diagnosing potential in-season deficiencies. Overwhelmingly, the focus of these tests is on the primary or macronutrients – Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). Typical soil tests often report essential micronutrient contents, termed for their trace amounts found in plants and soil, and these numbers should not be overlooked.

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    Manage Weed Escapes And Prevent Next Year’s Weed Seed Bank

    A very important weed management strategy is to reduce the number of weed seeds present in the field and by limiting the potential weed populations during crop production season. This means watching for and managing weed escapes. If allowed to mature and go to seed these weeds will contribute to the next seasons weed seed bank. This is very important as it relates to herbicide resistant weeds.

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    Cover Crops

    Some questions regarding cover crops have arisen lately. Cover crops have been an interesting area of focus for the past 6-7 years. Growing them has included an ongoing learning curve and with each year we gain some insight and knowledge. Last year there were very few acres planted as it was too dry to consider a post- wheat or mid-summer cover crop.

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    Our Changing Soil pH

    Soil pH is one of the most basic of soil measurements and one of the most telling for soil productivity. Soil pH can directly influence plant and soil microbial growth. Soil pH can also influence soil nutrient availability, as well as indicate the presence of free lime and an excess of some ions such as sodium and aluminum.

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    Surprising Yields With No-Till Cropping Systems

    Producers using no-till practices have observed that crop yields can greatly exceed expectations based on nutrient and water supply. For example, Ralph Holzwarth, who farms near Gettysburg, SD, has averaged 150 bu/ac of corn on his farm for the past 6 years. We were surprised with this yield, as corn yields in eastern South Dakota (Brookings County) averaged 140 bu/ac during this same time interval.

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    Fall Cover Crops Boost Soil Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Which Can Lead To Reduced Inputs

    Fall cover crops provide multiple benefits to producers. These benefits include pathogen and pest protection, drought protection, weed control, reduced soil erosion, nutrient acquisition and retention, increased soil organic matter, and conservation of soil water by improvement of soil structure that increases infiltration and water holding capacity.

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    Protecting Pollinators from Insecticide Exposure

    Summer is in full swing! Soybeans are beginning to bloom, corn is tasseling, and sunflowers will start to show their flashy yellow flowers soon. Include the vast fields of alfalfa with the aforementioned crops and it’s clear that there are many acres of flowering crops in South Dakota that are extremely attractive to pollinators. I have been asked at nearly all Extension events organized by the SDSU Extension Service this summer about the impact of insecticides on pollinators.

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    Cover Crop Considerations in 2014

    Moisture conditions across the state may have people considering growing cover crops this year. Wheat harvest is just around the corner and many wheat producers in central South Dakota have found that cover crops planted after wheat can provide some benefits. This year with the positive moisture situation across many areas of the state, cover crops after wheat harvest will be an excellent fit.

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    Growing Teff Grass

    “Have you considered teff grass?” This is a growing response to those who are looking for more crop choices in their operations. In Western South Dakota the growing interest is linked to no-till systems and cover crops. Teff (Eragrotis tef), is native to Ethiopia in Africa where it is mainly grown for its grain used in making the staple, injera. Although there is an increasing market for its grain, teff is mainly a forage crop in the US.

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    Early Winter Storm & Wet Fall: What it means for insect management next year

    While the aftermath of winter storm Atlas is still being felt by ranchers, growers of field and forage crops in storm hit areas of western South Dakota might see an unexpected positive outcome for the coming season. The timing of storm and the amount of precipitation might have a negative impact on field insect populations leading to low insect pressure on crops.

    Read More »

    Palmer Amaranth Found in South Dakota

    SDSU weed science team confirms the finding of Palmer Amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) in South Dakota. The Palmer Amaranth plants were found in a sunflower field in Buffalo County next to the Missouri River in central South Dakota. Palmer Amaranth is a vigorous weed that is a member of the pigweed family that also includes common waterhemp, redroot pigweed, prostrate pigweed and others.

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    Pre-harvest Weed Control in Row Crops

    Interesting weather throughout the spray season has left some fields with more weed problems than normal. There is still an opportunity to keep some of these weeds from having viable seed and also help with killing the weeds to make harvest easier. 2,4-D, a growth regulator herbicide, can be sprayed on corn after the brown silk stage on most labels.

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    Why Grow Sorghum (Milo)?

    With advances in corn genetics to tolerate dry conditions, and the adoption of glyphosate resistant corn, many farmers may ask, “why should I grow grain sorghum?” Grain sorghum, or milo, has long been known as a drought tolerant crop. Sorghum shares the water use efficiency of other warm-season grass crops. While sorghum requires about 6.5” of moisture to get to the point where it will produce grain, the production with additional moisture is very efficient; accumulating about 500 lbs of grain or about 9 bushels per acre-inch once that point is reached.

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    Early Weed Control In Grain Sorghum

    Starting of the planting season with a clean field and early postemergence weed control measures in sorghum are critical. A combination of a burndown, preplant/preemergence, and early postemergence weed control timings as needed should be using herbicides with several modes of action to increase broad-spectrum control and reduce development of or management of herbicide resistance in weeds. What herbicide program options do sorghum growers have? Are there any new herbicides labeled for sorghum?

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    Late Planting Dates For Crop Insurance

    Late planting period starts this weekend (May 25th) for corn in Northern counties of South Dakota. South Dakota producers routinely purchase crop insurance on corn, soybeans, wheat and sunflowers. The most commonly used insurance products have provisions for prevented planting, late planting, replanting, and planting of a second crop. In addition to agronomic considerations for how well a crop may recover or how late a crop could be planted with a reasonable chance of success, several dates are important from an insurance standpoint.

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    Palmer Amaranth Found in South Dakota

    SDSU weed science team confirms the finding of Palmer Amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) in South Dakota. The Palmer Amaranth plants were found in a sunflower field in Buffalo County next to the Missouri River in central South Dakota. Palmer Amaranth is a vigorous weed that is a member of the pigweed family that also includes common waterhemp, redroot pigweed, prostrate pigweed and others.

    Read More »

    Pre-harvest Weed Control in Row Crops

    Interesting weather throughout the spray season has left some fields with more weed problems than normal. There is still an opportunity to keep some of these weeds from having viable seed and also help with killing the weeds to make harvest easier. 2,4-D, a growth regulator herbicide, can be sprayed on corn after the brown silk stage on most labels.

    Read More »

    Sunflower Disease Update: White mold and Phomopsis stem canker developing in a few fields

    Sunflower is now at the growth stage when most diseases will start showing up. Several fields scouted in west-central counties were relatively disease-free but eastern-most counties had sunflowers starting to develop white mold, Phomopsis stem canker and Alternaria leaf spot. White mold is caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum and produces three different diseases: Sclerotinia wilt (basal rot), middle stalk rot, and head rot.

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    Tarnished Plant Bug (Lygus bug) in Sunflowers in Central South Dakota

    We’re entering the time of the year for sunflower pests and sunflowers seem to be bustling with insect activity. One of the serious pests of confection and dehulled oilseed sunflowers that has been recently reported in central South Dakota is tarnished plant bug (Lygus lineolaris). These small insects with tiny sucking mouthparts can do serious damage to sunflower seeds, and are a particularly important insect to manage in confection and dehulled sunflowers.

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