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    Seeding-Year Harvest Management in Alfalfa

    For production, consider forage quality when selecting a harvest schedule. Most harvest schedule decisions include date of cut, stage of maturity, interval between cuts, and cutting height. The interval between the stage of maturity, yield, forage quality, and persistence is frequently used to decide when to harvest alfalfa.

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    Thinking About Forage Quality?

    Livestock production depends largely on the feeding program, and what you should feed your animals will depend on forage quality analyses. Forage quality determines the potential of a forage to produce the desired animal response. It can measure intake, palatability, digestibility, nutrient content, animal performance, and anti-quality factors.

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    2016 Scouting Recommendations for Alfalfa Weevils

    Last week, we received the first report of alfalfa weevil larvae causing serious defoliation in the crop. Lower temperatures at the end of the week likely slowed the alfalfa weevil larvae development and alfalfa growth, which makes it important to scout for this pest to prevent economic injury to the first cutting. Alfalfa weevils can be a pest of alfalfa throughout the growing season so scouting should continue after the first cutting.

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    Soil Stewardship for Healthy Landscapes

    During the middle of the 20th Century, a European visitor asked an Iowa farmer, “how deep does your black soil go?” to which the farmer is reported to have answered “All the way, I guess.” This rich, black topsoil, that has supported agriculture and, indeed, national prosperity since the time of settlement in the nineteenth century, resulted from long-term development beneath the extensive Great Plains prairies.

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    Alfalfa & Dandelions: Is there anything we can do?

    As we move into the growing season, dandelions can cause many potential headaches not just in your lawn but also in your alfalfa field. It is important to remember that dandelions establish in the fall, do not have any toxins, and provide high-quality forage. However, they can cause wet and moldy spots in hay bales when harvested and their presence is an indicator of a weak stand.

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    Alfalfa at the Start of the 2016 Growing Season

    Alfalfa is considered one of the most important forage-legume species in South Dakota. It is a deep-rooted legume that grows best in moderate to well-drained soils. In South Dakota, under optimum growing and soil conditions, along with proper management, yields can exceed 3 to 4 tons DM/acre of hay when irrigated, and 1 to 2 tons DM/acre on dryland.

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    Integrated Crop Livestock Systems: Enhancing economic profit & soil health

    Introducing livestock into arable cropping systems can improve soil health and provide economic benefits. In the integrated crop livestock systems, cover crops and crop residue provide feed to livestock, while plants capture nutrients from the livestock waste. Potential economic benefits include reduced fertilizer cost for the cash crop, yield/profit increase from subsequent cash crop, and additional cost savings from supplemental hay.

    Read More »

    Spanish Sessions on the Spot for Enhancing Milk Production

    The Central Plains Dairy Expo in Sioux Falls is the largest annual dairy exposition in South Dakota. This annual exposition provides an opportunity to interact with private companies and producers from the I-29 corridor. This year, the Dairy Science Department and SDSU Extension offered one big session dedicated to the Spanish-speaking dairy workforce. The session was titled “Cows talk! Are you listening? Learn how to read cow body language and use the information to detect and correct health problems”.

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    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.

    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

    South Dakota NRCS State Conservationist Jeff Zimprich announced on December 1st 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 »

    Weather Offers Extended Opportunity for Fall Weed Control

    Fall can be an excellent time to control many winter annuals like penny cress, shepherds purse, prickly lettuce, downy brome and marestail. Most years the window for applying herbicides in South Dakota is finished by early November. This year, however, climatologists are suggesting that we may not have a hard freeze in South Dakota for another couple of weeks. This weather will give winter annuals the opportunity to continue to germinate and grow.

    Read More »

    Latest First Fall Frost Dates

    As the warm fall season continues in October, gardens are still producing and fall planting and harvest activities are in full swing. A pattern of warmer than average weather is upon us. Most of the state still has not seen much frost, let alone a hard freeze, which begs the question, when is the latest first freeze we have seen in South Dakota?

    Read More »

    Prevention of Stored Grain Pests

    With harvest just around the corner it is time to start thinking about pre-harvest bin maintenance and ultimately preventing the new crop of stored grain from being infested by insects. Unfortunately, scouting and management decisions don’t stop once the crop is harvested, and actually continue until it is sold and delivered.

    Read More »

    True White Grub & June Beetle Update

    Throughout South Dakota, there are continued reports of grub injury in pastures and rangeland. After visiting additional sites, we observed that nearly all of the true white grub populations are currently in their adult form (May or June beetles). June beetles normally move from the lower soil horizon towards the surface as air and soil temperatures warm up. We found beetles in the root zone of the grasses, just below the soil surface.

    Read More »

    Integrated Crop Livestock Systems: Enhancing economic profit & soil health

    Introducing livestock into arable cropping systems can improve soil health and provide economic benefits. In the integrated crop livestock systems, cover crops and crop residue provide feed to livestock, while plants capture nutrients from the livestock waste. Potential economic benefits include reduced fertilizer cost for the cash crop, yield/profit increase from subsequent cash crop, and additional cost savings from supplemental hay.

    Read More »

    Ant Mounds in Pastures

    Pastures and rangeland host numerous insect species. While the majority of these insects are benign, some are considered pests. The latter is especially true when insects inhabit areas where they were not previously observed, or areas where their presence is a nuisance. In some instances, these perceived pests are actually providing valuable ecosystem services. Recently, a report came in of large ant mounds in a pasture. After investigation it was determined that the mounds are the creation of the Allegheny mound ants (Formica exsectoides), which are native to North America.

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    True White Grubs in Pastures and Rangeland

    Over the course of the winter and spring, many reports came in of grub damage to pastures and rangeland. Many species of grubs feed on grass roots, which may result in reduced grass stands as the root systems are destroyed and the grass is killed. After visiting pastures with infested areas we determined that the damage to grass stands is primarily due to true white grubs. However, there are likely more than 40 species of true white grubs present in South Dakota, all of which are capable of causing damage to pasture or rangeland.

    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 »

    Grass-Fed Beef Labeling Issues

    In early January there was a short flurry of media activity focused on the announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) that the agency was foregoing it labeling policy for grass fed beef. What was a reasonable attempt at clarification of labeling authority spawned a great deal of initial confusion.

    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.

    Read More »

    2015 SDSU Extension Millet Variety Trials

    Based on the latest USDA statistics, South Dakota produces nearly 16% of the nation’s proso millet – growing over 2 million bushels. This ranks South Dakota as the third largest proso millet producing state in the country. For South Dakota producers, its primary value is as a feed source for cattle. However, the grain can also be used in birdseed and human consumption. In 2015, we evaluated standard and experimental proso millet varieties for yield, agronomic characteristics and adaptation to Western South Dakota. This work was in collaboration with the University of Nebraska, which has one of the few active millet-breeding programs in the country.

    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.

    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

    South Dakota NRCS State Conservationist Jeff Zimprich announced on December 1st 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 »

    Weather Offers Extended Opportunity for Fall Weed Control

    Fall can be an excellent time to control many winter annuals like penny cress, shepherds purse, prickly lettuce, downy brome and marestail. Most years the window for applying herbicides in South Dakota is finished by early November. This year, however, climatologists are suggesting that we may not have a hard freeze in South Dakota for another couple of weeks. This weather will give winter annuals the opportunity to continue to germinate and grow.

    Read More »

    Latest First Fall Frost Dates

    As the warm fall season continues in October, gardens are still producing and fall planting and harvest activities are in full swing. A pattern of warmer than average weather is upon us. Most of the state still has not seen much frost, let alone a hard freeze, which begs the question, when is the latest first freeze we have seen in South Dakota?

    Read More »

    Prevention of Stored Grain Pests

    With harvest just around the corner it is time to start thinking about pre-harvest bin maintenance and ultimately preventing the new crop of stored grain from being infested by insects. Unfortunately, scouting and management decisions don’t stop once the crop is harvested, and actually continue until it is sold and delivered.

    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 »

    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 »

    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

    South Dakota NRCS State Conservationist Jeff Zimprich announced on December 1st 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 »

    Weather Offers Extended Opportunity for Fall Weed Control

    Fall can be an excellent time to control many winter annuals like penny cress, shepherds purse, prickly lettuce, downy brome and marestail. Most years the window for applying herbicides in South Dakota is finished by early November. This year, however, climatologists are suggesting that we may not have a hard freeze in South Dakota for another couple of weeks. This weather will give winter annuals the opportunity to continue to germinate and grow.

    Read More »

    Latest First Fall Frost Dates

    As the warm fall season continues in October, gardens are still producing and fall planting and harvest activities are in full swing. A pattern of warmer than average weather is upon us. Most of the state still has not seen much frost, let alone a hard freeze, which begs the question, when is the latest first freeze we have seen in South Dakota?

    Read More »

    Bumble Flower Beetles on Crops and Produce

    The bumble flower beetle attracts increased attention in the late summer and early fall. This is in part due to the presence of the adult beetles on crops, garden produce, and trees. The bumble flower beetle is medium-sized and makes a distinct buzzing sound during flight. These beetles can vary in color from yellow-brown to dark red-brown, with a pattern of dark spots that are very noticeable on their abdomens.

    Read More »

    Prevention of Stored Grain Pests

    With harvest just around the corner it is time to start thinking about pre-harvest bin maintenance and ultimately preventing the new crop of stored grain from being infested by insects. Unfortunately, scouting and management decisions don’t stop once the crop is harvested, and actually continue until it is sold and delivered.

    Read More »

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