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    Drought Concerns: Milo & Forage Sorghum as Potential Alternatives

    Northeastern and Western South Dakota are lacking 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, and is drought tolerant by going semi-dormant which makes it a good fit for dryland and limited moisture situations.

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    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.

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    Leafy Spurge Biocontrol Season is Here

    Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) is a state-level noxious weed in South Dakota that can be found in nearly every corner of the state. Landowners are obligated to control noxious weeds, and the best strategy for weed control is an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach. Some of the most successful IPM programs for controlling leafy spurge rely heavily on biological control.

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    Managing Heat Stress in Dairy Cows: Is genetic selection a solution?

    The summer season is just around the corner, and the knowledge and understanding of the effects of heat stress on cow production and how to mitigate these effects are important for dairy operations. The combined effects of high heat and high humidity make a very uncomfortable environment for both farmers and lactating dairy cows. The decrease in milk production as a result of heat stress is readily seen, but there are less immediate negative effects of heat stress such as reduced fertility.

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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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    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.

    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 »

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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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.

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    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.

    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?

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    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.

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    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 »

    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 »

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