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Early planting in Minnesota - Tips for a successful season

Early planting in Minnesota - Tips for a successful season

By Scout Nelson

The 2024 planting season in Minnesota kicked off early but was not without its challenges, largely due to variable weather conditions. Drs. Jochum Wiersma and Dean Malvick, from the University of Minnesota, alongside moderator Anthony Hanson, recently explored these issues during a session of Field Notes.

Small Grains Update: In Minnesota, small grains like wheat faced diverse planting dates, from late March in the south to mid-May in the north. Despite some fields suffering from saturation and potential replanting needs, the overall growth stages are promising, particularly for winter rye which is already heading.

Disease and Pest Management: The experts highlighted the importance of vigilant disease scouting, especially for powdery mildew and tan spot in winter cereals, with Dr. Andrew Friskop providing economic insights on tan spot management.

Aphid populations, vectors for barley yellow dwarf virus, were noted, with updated control thresholds provided by North Dakota State University suggesting integrated pest and herbicide treatments.

Nutrient Deficiencies: Early season yellowing in fields might indicate nitrogen or sulfur deficiencies, common under cool, wet conditions. Historical studies suggest that supplemental nitrogen can occasionally boost yields, particularly on sandy soils. Lack of sulfur might necessitate targeted fertilization, especially if not included initially.

Cover Crops and Disease Interaction: The interaction between cover crops and disease is complex. While some cover crops might exacerbate pathogen risks like Pythium, others may suppress disease through enhanced soil health or physical disruption of pathogen transmission.

Innovative Solutions and Digital Assistance: Minnesota’s agricultural community benefits from resources like the Digital Crop Doc, an online service providing disease diagnoses to aid farmers in managing emerging issues effectively.

This comprehensive discussion underscores the dynamic nature of agricultural management, where ongoing monitoring and adaptive strategies are crucial for success.

As the season progresses, Minnesota farmers are encouraged to remain proactive in scouting and managing both diseases and nutrient deficiencies to ensure a productive year.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-mvburling

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Categories: Minnesota, Crops

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