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    South Dakota Drought Update: June 6, 2017

    Dryness has been lingering in South Dakota for the last several weeks. The month of May was near average for temperature, and even a little on the cool side for the Eastern region. But now that temperatures have soared into the nineties and above, in combination with some wind, drought conditions have rapidly taken over Northern South Dakota.

    Read More »

    Field Studies: Replicated Comparisons vs. Side-by-Side Comparisons

    The season is upon us and producers are heading out to the field to get their crops planted and established. Producers are interested in knowing what works best, yields the most, and especially what is most profitable during these tight economic times. Some may want to compare products or practices on their own farm or look at information from other farms or industry studies.

    Read More »

    2017 SDSU Extension Wheat Walks

    SDSU Extension will host Wheat Walks in the Pierre and Wall areas on May 25, 2017 and in the Clark area on June 1, 2017. The goal of these events is to provide wheat producers with the latest information to effectively manage their crop. SDSU Extension experts will be on hand at each location, providing expertise in plant pathology, weed control, entomology, soil fertility and agronomic information.

    Read More »

    The Ethics of Decision Making

    Leaders often make challenging decisions. In your leadership role, you agreed to take on the responsibility that comes with the role and your actions are constantly being viewed by others. How you choose to make decisions will impact the type of leader you are and how followers like employees, committee members or volunteers will respect you. Will they view you as a leader with integrity or not?

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    Winter Wheat: Winter Kill?

    Adverse winter weather can result in damage and even death to winter wheat in South Dakota. Snow cover on fields can insulate the wheat and mitigate cold and fluctuating temperatures. Lack of snow cover on fields increases the incidence of winterkill. Ice from rain could also result in problems, as oxygen supply to dormant plants may be cut off due to water puddling and ice formation.

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    Insuring Corn and Other Spring Crops

    With producers evaluating marketing strategies and the looming March 15 insurance sales deadline, several trends are emerging. By monitoring these trends, producers may be able to refine their marketing plans for corn, soybeans and spring wheat. New crop futures prices are tallied during February and their average during the month determines the projected price for insurance purposes.

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    USDA Provides New Cost Share Opportunities for Organic Producers & Handlers

    In recent times, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has shown increased interest in organic agriculture. As a result, on December 21, 2016, the USDA announced that starting March 20, 2017, organic producers and handlers will be able to visit over 2,100 USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices across the country to apply for federal reimbursement to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic or transitional certification.

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    Yield Goal… Truly Defined

    Whether it’s over a cup of coffee in December or back in the combine at harvest, yield is on the producer’s mind. In the spring, goals are set, plans are made, and crops are planted. Although plans are carefully drawn, we never know what might happen during a given growing season. Having measurable, specific goals for your business is always a good idea, and one of the most important goals is maximizing yields.

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    South Dakota Climate & Drought Summary

    As of June 15, 2017, 45% of South Dakota is in drought, and an additional 35% is experiencing abnormally dry conditions. The last four weeks have been marked by rapid degradation in drought severity and extent.

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    Understanding Drought & Heat Stress in Crops

    South Dakota has seen higher than average temperatures in the last few weeks and the current U.S. drought monitor shows that almost 80% of the state is facing moisture deficit conditions with Central and North Central region facing the worst.

    Read More »

    Dry Conditions: Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

    Most of the Great Plains have always been considered a semi-arid area of the U.S. This Region is characterized by hot, relatively short summers (with a rainfall pattern), and usually cold, dry winters. Annual precipitation increases by almost 70 percent between the Western (East of the Rockies) and Eastern ends of the Region.

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    South Dakota Drought Update: June 6, 2017

    Dryness has been lingering in South Dakota for the last several weeks. The month of May was near average for temperature, and even a little on the cool side for the Eastern region. But now that temperatures have soared into the nineties and above, in combination with some wind, drought conditions have rapidly taken over Northern South Dakota.

    Read More »

    Is Drought Affecting You?

    Drought conditions have rapidly worsened in South Dakota over the last two weeks. A dry spring season affected early growth in grasses, pastures and yards across much of the northern and central regions. Now that the heat has been turned on, it is challenging for SDSU Extension and others who monitor drought conditions to keep up with the impacts of drought around the state.

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    How to stop drift before it floats away! Part 2

    The goals of applying any crop protection products include increasing effectiveness, and maximizing profits all while mitigating drift. Weather is the primary factor influencing drift, including wind (direction and speed), temperature, humidity and air stability/inversions.

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    How to stop drift before it floats away! Part 1

    The goals of applying any crop protection products include increasing effectiveness, mitigating drift, and maximizing profits. We will focus on mitigating drift, even though all three interact with each other. Mitigating (decreasing) drift will increase spray effectiveness and in turn maximize profits.

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    2017 West River Field School: June 20th in Rapid City, S.D.

    The third annual SDSU West River Field School is set for June 20th and will be held at The SDSU West River Ag Center. This event is intended to provide continuing education to crop advisors and others who work with farmers and ranchers in central and western South Dakota. Attendees will have a chance to receive hands-on, in-field experience during this one-day event.

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    Field Studies: Replicated Comparisons vs. Side-by-Side Comparisons

    The season is upon us and producers are heading out to the field to get their crops planted and established. Producers are interested in knowing what works best, yields the most, and especially what is most profitable during these tight economic times. Some may want to compare products or practices on their own farm or look at information from other farms or industry studies.

    Read More »

    The A, B, Cs of Food Production: Almonds, Bees, and Cooperation

    According to 2015 UN estimations by 2050 the U.S. will have a population of 402 million, 25% greater than today. In order to feed this population and sustain the country’s economy through commodities’ exports, agricultural output needs to increase by a similar amount by that year. These figures are projections based on current population and food production dynamics. One critical component of this equation is going to be the presence of enough pollinator activity. Pollinators are crucial to maintain global food production and a healthy ecosystem.

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    2017 SDSU Extension Wheat Walks

    SDSU Extension will host Wheat Walks in the Pierre and Wall areas on May 25, 2017 and in the Clark area on June 1, 2017. The goal of these events is to provide wheat producers with the latest information to effectively manage their crop. SDSU Extension experts will be on hand at each location, providing expertise in plant pathology, weed control, entomology, soil fertility and agronomic information.

    Read More »

    Four Feedback Foes

    As a supervisor you should set time aside at least once a year, to conduct formal performance reviews for your employees. The value in doing so will definitely outweigh the time it will take out of your busy schedule to conduct this important management element. Annual reviews should be a productive time to have an open discussion with employees, share your thoughts about their work and performance progress, discuss their future with your farm/ranch or agri-business, and allow for focused discussion without distractions.

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    Five Tips on Time Management

    Have you ever heard anyone say they are not busy? I am guessing not. No matter how much technology we have at our finger tips or improved ways to complete an agricultural related task, you won’t find many people saying they don’t have their plate full or even over-flowing. Heavy workloads, and the feeling of being overwhelmed or stressed does not may our days very enjoyable. Is the reason for always seeming busy a time management issue? and learning some important tips to help your organize your time and help with focus.

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    Three ways to understand difficult people

    Managers and supervisors have many challenges to deal with daily in order to strive to help their company reach goals, be productive, and profitable. One of these challenges is dealing with difficult people. Their ability to lead difficult employees, which create an unproductive working environment and shift the employee into a high performing worker is an important skill for managers.

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    Compared to What? Interpreting Research Results

    In this information age, farmers may find it challenging to identify trustable sources. There are many companies trying to sell products attached to claims that may or may not be true. It is important for farmers to find a path through the hype and be able to determine if a product will benefit them or not. Statistical analysis is one way to separate fact from fiction.

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    Four Steps to Clear Communication

    The greatest challenge with communication is remembering to do so! Busy times around farms, ranches and agri-business companies, lend us to often forget to actually communicate with those we work with. We think— I’ll just send a text and they will know what project I’m working on. A text can definitely provide an update, but when communication calls for a face-to-face discussion, how can one build an environment conducive to effective communication?

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    How to stop drift before it floats away! Part 2

    The goals of applying any crop protection products include increasing effectiveness, and maximizing profits all while mitigating drift. Weather is the primary factor influencing drift, including wind (direction and speed), temperature, humidity and air stability/inversions.

    Read More »

    The Fusarium Head Blight Prediction System is Active

    Winter wheat is starting to head. It is important to monitor weather conditions from when wheat is heading until flowering to decide the need for fungicide application to manage Fusarium head blight (FHB). Wheat is most susceptible to FHB around the flowering growth stage because the fungal pathogen that causes it infects wheat through the flower. Rainfall during wheat heading through post flowering is the main risk factor for FHB.

    Read More »

    Understanding Drought & Heat Stress in Crops

    South Dakota has seen higher than average temperatures in the last few weeks and the current U.S. drought monitor shows that almost 80% of the state is facing moisture deficit conditions with Central and North Central region facing the worst.

    Read More »

    2017 SDSU Extension Wheat Walks

    SDSU Extension will host Wheat Walks in the Pierre and Wall areas on May 25, 2017 and in the Clark area on June 1, 2017. The goal of these events is to provide wheat producers with the latest information to effectively manage their crop. SDSU Extension experts will be on hand at each location, providing expertise in plant pathology, weed control, entomology, soil fertility and agronomic information.

    Read More »

    Soil Health Principles

    Soil health is a very important natural resource concern; however, knowledge of how to build soil health is not widespread. The principles of soil health should be addressed as often as possible. At a recent South Dakota Soil Health Challenge meeting in Mitchell, Jay Fuhrer (USDA-NRCS) presented his five principles of soil health: 1. Soil Armor,  2. Minimizing Soil Disturbance, 3. Plant Diversity, 4. Continual live plant root and 5. Livestock Integration.

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    Soil Testing Labs

    Crop Producers, agronomists, gardeners, homeowners and anyone else who is thinking about taking soil samples this fall or next spring need to be aware that South Dakota State University no longer offers commercial testing. (Effective Oct, 2011). Below is a list of nearby state or private laboratories that can be used for crop production fields, gardens and lawns. The private laboratories are not necessarily recommended or endorsed, however many will give university recommendations when asked. Crop producers, agronomists, gardeners, and home owners with questions on sample submissions, analysis charges and recommendations should contact the laboratory of interest.

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    Cover Crop Adoption: Farmers’ perceived benefits & barriers

    Cover crops are generally defined as crops planted between cash crops to cover and protect the soil. Some demonstrated benefits of cover crops include: reduced soil erosion, increased soil organic matter, increased biological diversity, increased nitrogen supply, and weed control. Depending on the farmers’ objectives, different species of cover crops can be planted. For example, if a farmer’s main objective is to increase nitrogen supply, then legume cover crops best suited to the farm area should be selected.

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    Gypsum Misconceptions

    The consideration of gypsum as a soil amendment has become a popular topic in crop production agriculture. However, correctly understanding the chemical function of gypsum and lime in soil is needed to properly place this amendment. Gypsum, which is calcium sulfate after applied to the soil and dissolved in the water it disassociates into calcium and sulfate.

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    New SDSU Extension report provides status of native grasslands & woodlands in Eastern S.D.

    SDSU Extension, in partnership with a variety of non-government, state, and federal agencies, has recently released a public report on the status of native plant communities in Eastern South Dakota. The report is based on a comprehensive look at the Eastern South Dakota landscape that incorporated the use of field and tract-level historic Farm Service Agency (FSA) cropland history, coupled with high resolution aerial photographs provided through the USDA National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP).

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    “Tighty Whities”

    Soil is probably our most important natural resource. It is the foundation or factory for producing food. Without healthy soil, the system eventually fails; many civilizations in history have risen and fallen with the over-exploitation and demise of their soil resources. Soil offers several services for plant and animal production that include providing an anchor for healthy plant roots, offering essential plant nutrient uptake, supplying water storage, and cycling and storing carbon and other nutrients for improved and sustained plant growth in future years. 

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    Soil Health Farming Practices: “Merit or Myth”?

    No-till farming practices, diverse crop rotations, cover crops and integrating livestock into crop production require a different kind of management when compared with conventional farming.  Although most crop and livestock producers have a good idea of the desired outcomes that center on improved soil health, achieving these is not always easy. Somewhere, in most producers’ history, practices such as no-till that favor improved soil health may have been attempted.

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