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    Maximize Your Best Asset – Your Employees

    There never seems to be a slow time around a farm or ranch. The to do list is always there, and as a result farm owners and managers who oversee employees and or work alongside family members sometimes can overlook how important it is to allocate time to enhance the skills and abilities of those who work for you. There are great opportunities year round, such as tours, field days and seminars employers can take advantage of as continued educational opportunities for your employees.

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    Tips for Reducing Conflict During Agriculture’s Busy Time

    For those involved in the day-to-day workings of agriculture you know things are getting busier and busier as we move into spring. Calving season is in full swing meaning late night checks or even a 3 a.m. wake up call to make sure all is fine. Those involved in crop production are preparing equipment and making the necessary final seed orders to be ready to hit the field as soon as possible. The result is long days ahead for agricultural producers, their employees and families. In times like these, stress builds, tempers can get short and adequate communication can oftentimes fall by the wayside.

    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.

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    Ag Employees First Day on the Job vs. Employee Retention

    Many employers complain, including those in agriculture, that they can’t keep people around. Statements such as “we just get them trained and they leave” are common. If this statement is all too familiar, you may need to take a look at your “onboarding” program. Many have heard that statement that “first impressions are lasting impressions”, this is also true when it comes to retention of employees.

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    Northeast South Dakota: 2016 Potential Crop Profitability

    An analysis of the potential profitability of crops for 2016 for Northeast South Dakota was performed. This study examined returns given modified South Dakota State University Extension crop budgets for central & east mid production areas that include estimates for both direct and fixed costs.

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    East Central South Dakota: 2016 Potential Crop Profitability

    An analysis of the potential profitability of crops for 2016 for East Central South Dakota was performed. This study examined returns given modified South Dakota State University Extension crop budgets for central & east mid/high production areas that include estimates for both direct and fixed costs

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    Southeast South Dakota: 2016 Potential Crop Profitability

    An analysis of the potential profitability of crops for 2016 for Southeast South Dakota was performed. This study examined returns given modified South Dakota State University Extension crop budgets for central & east mid/high production areas that include estimates for both direct and fixed costs.

    Read More »

    North Central South Dakota: 2016 Potential Crop Profitability

    An analysis of the potential profitability of crops for 2016 for North Central South Dakota was performed. This study examined returns given modified South Dakota State University Extension crop budgets for central & west production areas that include estimates for both direct and fixed costs.

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    South Central South Dakota: 2016 Potential Crop Profitability

    An analysis of the potential profitability of crops for 2016 for South Central South Dakota was performed. This study examined returns given modified South Dakota State University Extension crop budgets for central & west production areas that include estimates for both direct and fixed costs.

    Read More »

    Central South Dakota: 2016 Potential Crop Profitability

    An analysis of the potential profitability of crops for 2016 for Central South Dakota was performed. This study examined returns given modified South Dakota State University Extension crop budgets for central & west production areas that include estimates for both direct and fixed costs. This analysis also incorporates risk associated with yields, crop prices, and fertilizer prices. Distributions for the risk variables were developed to include in the model.

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    Wheat Fungicide Applications: Apply at flag leaf or wait for flowering growth stage?

    With the rains that we’ve had so far throughout the state this spring, moderate levels of some wheat leaf diseases are developing, notably powdery mildew, stripe rust, and tan spot. Some producers are wondering whether to apply a fungicide now that wheat is at flag leaf growth stage, or wait and apply when the wheat is at flowering to manage both the leaf diseases and Fusarium head blight (FHB).

    Read More »

    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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    2016 SDSU Extension Wheat Walks

    SDSU Extension will host Wheat Walks near Clark and Aberdeen on May 25 and near Pierre and Wall on May 26, 2016. The goal of these events is to provide wheat producers with the latest information to effectively manage their crop. SDSU Extension Agronomy Field and State Specialists will be on hand at each location to discuss plant pathology, weed control, entomology, soil fertility and agronomic information. Each specialist will give a brief presentation, followed by time for discussion and questions for the specialists.

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    April 2016 Summary and May Outlook

    In like a lion, out like a lamb—is that how the saying goes? April 2016 ended with a big roar in South Dakota, as weekly rainfall totals reached over three inches in the South Central part of the state. There was some amount of rain and/or snow nearly everywhere with cool temperatures over the last seven days. Weekly temperatures were six degrees or more below average helping bring down the overall monthly averages.

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    April Ends Wet and Cool

    As April comes to a close this week, we are experiencing some unusually cold and wet weather for this time of year. Over five inches of rain have been forecast for this week in the south central part of the state, with nearly everywhere in the state expecting one and a half to three inches of rain. Climatologically speaking, April and May typically bring wetter weather, but as of Tuesday this week, some areas through the middle of the state have already had five inches or more in the last 30 days.

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    2016 Winter IPM Short Course Recap

    SDSU Extension held the 2016 Winter IPM Short Course on March 15 at the Sioux Falls Regional Extension Center. The event featured hands-on experiences and participants worked with live samples of diseased plants, aphid infested soybeans, and weeds.

    Read More »

    Spring Soil Temperatures

    Soil temperatures across South Dakota can be found online at the SDSU’s Climate and Weather web page. Temperatures are measured at the 4-inch depth in bare and vegetation covered (under perennial plants) soils. A look at the map of automatic weather stations across South Dakota, shows that soil temperatures on March 20, 2016 at the 4-inch depth in bare soils ranged from 34 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The soil temperatures at a 4-inch depth for vegetation covered soils ranged from 33 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

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    “Think Spring” Wheat Nutrition

    Fertilizers are considered one of the most important factors for producing healthy crops, thus one of the highest farm expenses. Among other inputs, crop growers regularly face situations of making decisions on different fertilizers to be applied on crops without any detrimental effects on grain yield. Macro nutrients such as Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) were applied alone or in combination with micronutrients Zinc (Zn), Sulphur (S), and Boron (B) to study yield response in spring wheat.

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    2016 Private Applicator Training Available

    Certification courses and exams are available for new and existing private pesticide applicators. If you plan to apply any pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, and/or fungicides) to an agriculture commodity worth $1000 or more, you need to be certified. Individuals have three options to obtain private applicator certification: attend a recertification class, complete the paper exam, or take the exam on-line. All three options are free of charge.

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    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 »

    Who Are Agricultural Leaders?

    Researchers have proven anyone can be a leader, leadership is not just for the select few — like CEO’s of major corporations, celebrities, political leaders and those with other major titles. Traditional thought was leadership has always been something for those with added charisma but leadership is for those who have passion and purpose to make a difference.

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    How Did South Dakota Honey Bees Fare Last Year?

    The Bee Informed Partnership recently reported the preliminary results of their annual honey bee management survey. Overall, the total reported annual honey bee hive loss for 2015-2016 was 44.1 percent, which is higher than the 40.6 percent losses reported in 2014-2015. Summer hive losses were equal to winter hive losses with both at 28.1 percent.

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    Farm Equipment, Safety on the Road, Everyone’s Role

    Spring brings the onset of an increase in farm activity as planting and the moving of livestock to pasture gets underway. As a result we will see an increase of encounters with farm equipment on the road, whether it is a tractor with a planter attached, a swather, a tractor and baler, someone hauling feed between farms, or the local elevator hauling fertilizer or heading out to spray crops for a producer. The point is we all need to be vigilant as a producer, ag industry person or a motorist encountering agricultural farm equipment on the road.

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    Tips for Reducing Conflict During Agriculture’s Busy Time

    For those involved in the day-to-day workings of agriculture you know things are getting busier and busier as we move into spring. Calving season is in full swing meaning late night checks or even a 3 a.m. wake up call to make sure all is fine. Those involved in crop production are preparing equipment and making the necessary final seed orders to be ready to hit the field as soon as possible. The result is long days ahead for agricultural producers, their employees and families. In times like these, stress builds, tempers can get short and adequate communication can oftentimes fall by the wayside.

    Read More »

    Communication Means Listening Too

    Communication is becoming more and more challenging with the influx of social media in our society. Face-to-face discussions with people we work with on our farms and ranches, in our organizations or even our families continue to decline. The use of email surged and now it’s considered old school and communication in the social media world is by texting and many other new aspects keep entering our society every day.

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    Grains of Truth: What is Folic Acid?

    January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Folic acid, a form of folate, has become a household word in recent years. Folic acid is a B vitamin that is used to fortify foods and has been shown to protect against neural tube defects such as spina bifida (a birth defect in which the spinal cord is not completely encased in bone) and anencephaly (a fatal defect in which part of the brain never develops). It may also prevent against oral and facial birth defects such as cleft palate.

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    Wheat Fungicide Applications: Apply at flag leaf or wait for flowering growth stage?

    With the rains that we’ve had so far throughout the state this spring, moderate levels of some wheat leaf diseases are developing, notably powdery mildew, stripe rust, and tan spot. Some producers are wondering whether to apply a fungicide now that wheat is at flag leaf growth stage, or wait and apply when the wheat is at flowering to manage both the leaf diseases and Fusarium head blight (FHB).

    Read More »

    Winter Wheat: Scouting for aphids vectoring Barley yellow dwarf virus this spring

    The SDSU Plant Diagnostic Clinic received a sample of winter wheat this week that was infected with Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) and infested with aphids. In addition, reports of large populations of aphids in winter wheat fields came in this week. There are three species of aphids capable of vectoring BYDV to wheat in South Dakota. Although there were no reports of aphids in winter wheat last fall, it appears that the populations are arriving this spring.

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    SDDA Sensitive Site Registry: Protecting sensitive areas from chemical drift

    The SD Dept. of Ag. recently announced updates to the Sensitive Site Registry. First launched in 2013, the Sensitive Site Registry is designed for producers and applicators (private and commercial) to better understand where chemical and fertilizer drift and misapplications are to be avoided. This registry has the potential to be an excellent tool in fostering positive communications between those who apply chemicals and those who are concerned with drift, and SDDA specifically created the registry to provide information about farms and ranches that would be adversely affected by accidental fertilizer or pesticide application or drift.

    Read More »

    Wheat Diseases: What to watch for this spring

    The 2016 winter wheat growing season started with good crop establishment last fall. The heavy foliage produced last fall may have provided good inoculum build-up for spring infections to take place. Additionally, the mild winter may have led to the survival of several pathogens that would normally be killed. These conditions are contributing to an earlier than usual disease onset in winter wheat.

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    Stripe Rust: Earlier than normal detection in wheat is concerning

    Stripe rust was found in a winter wheat field south of Miller in Hand County. The incidence and severity were low, however, the leaves that were observed with stripe rust had heavy pustules. Stripe rust infection and progress is favored by cooler temperatures and wet conditions. Cold conditions may halt progress of this rust but infection can still take place down to 45° F.

    Read More »

    2016 Winter IPM Short Course Recap

    SDSU Extension held the 2016 Winter IPM Short Course on March 15 at the Sioux Falls Regional Extension Center. The event featured hands-on experiences and participants worked with live samples of diseased plants, aphid infested soybeans, and weeds.

    Read More »

    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.

    Read More »

    SDDA Sensitive Site Registry: Protecting sensitive areas from chemical drift

    The SD Dept. of Ag. recently announced updates to the Sensitive Site Registry. First launched in 2013, the Sensitive Site Registry is designed for producers and applicators (private and commercial) to better understand where chemical and fertilizer drift and misapplications are to be avoided. This registry has the potential to be an excellent tool in fostering positive communications between those who apply chemicals and those who are concerned with drift, and SDDA specifically created the registry to provide information about farms and ranches that would be adversely affected by accidental fertilizer or pesticide application or drift.

    Read More »

    Spring Soil Temperatures

    Soil temperatures across South Dakota can be found online at the SDSU’s Climate and Weather web page. Temperatures are measured at the 4-inch depth in bare and vegetation covered (under perennial plants) soils. A look at the map of automatic weather stations across South Dakota, shows that soil temperatures on March 20, 2016 at the 4-inch depth in bare soils ranged from 34 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The soil temperatures at a 4-inch depth for vegetation covered soils ranged from 33 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

    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 »

    Immobilizing Nitrogen through the Use of Cover Crops

    It has been well-documented that annual precipitation across parts of South Dakota and the Midwest has increased over time. It does not come as a complete surprise then that we have seen an increase in the installation of subsurface tile drainage systems in eastern South Dakota. Tile drainage can reduce sediment erosion and particulate-bound phosphorus losses on agricultural land with poor natural drainage. Studies have also shown, however; that tile drainage may increase exports of soluble nutrients to surface waters such as nitrate-nitrogen and dissolved phosphorus.

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    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.

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    From the Top Down

    Recently, I attended the 1st in a series of 5 tours called the I-29 Soil Health and Cover Crop Field Tours. It was a chain of tours along the I-29 corridor during the month of September that began near Sioux Falls and ended near Raymond, South Dakota. The main purpose of the tours was to assess cover crops for beneficial soil health properties and forage/feed value for grazing livestock. Several long-term no-till operations however were also evaluated with regards to soil structure and its effect on water quality and quantity on the landscape.

    Read More »

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