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WCROC Summer Center Day is July 12

Summer Center Day will be held at the University of Minnesota, West Central Research and Outreach Center on Friday, July 12. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. with tours running approximately 90 minutes in length. Tours will run twice, once at 8:00 a.m. and a second time at 10:00 a.m. There are four crop production tours to choose from. All tours will leave from the farm shop. Everyone is invited to attend.

WCROC is located 1 mile east of Morris on State Hwy 329 off of Hwy 59.

Tour 1:

Current and Potential Crop Pest Issues that have arisen in the past 2-3 weeks will be discussed by Bruce Potter, U of M, IPM Specialist. He will also discuss potential crop disease and insect problems that could arise as the crop year progresses.

George Rehm, MAWRC, Discovery Farms Coordinator will discuss Potassium and Sulfur. Thirty years ago, potassium and sulfur were not included in most University of Minnesota fertilizer suggestions for corn production. Now, it seems that use of these two nutrients in a fertilizer program is quite common. What's changed? Is it more intensive sales programs? Have the soils changed? Some new data has been collected and this information will be explained and evaluated in this presentation.

Tour 2:

The benefits of using and operation of Variable Rate Technology Application Equipment will be discussed by Darrel Bliss and Darrick Henrich, Morris Coop Association. The trend in crop production has turned more to precision farming practices. By using GPS and GIS farmers can manage cropland better. Using these tools, farmers can manage field variability with variable rate technology (VRT). With VRT mounted on equipment, input application rates can be varied across fields in an attempt to specifically manage field variability. This strategy can reduce input usage and environmental impacts along with increasing efficiency and also provides economic benefits. In our local area, we are seeing an increased use of VRT. There seems to be a definite advantage to be able to try to even-out the fertility of a field. There are spots in every field where the potential yields are higher or lower, by identifying these areas yields can be increased.

Gridding and Zoning Tools for VR Applications will be presented by John Mahoney, CENTROL Inc. Crop Consultant. Centrol’s goal has always been to maximize grower’s profitability. With today increasing seed and fertilizer costs it has become much more important to increase precision in our placement of both seed and fertilizer. This is where the variable rate technology has really taken off the past few years. On the fertility side, fields can be laid out in a grid or zone. Gridding works well when there were considerable amounts of manure applied in the past. Zoning is a nice fit for variable ground, those fields with a mix of lighter and heavier soils. There are many different tools that can be used to help develop accurate fertility and productivity zones: yield maps, satellite imagery, soils imagery, topography, soil type, Veris cart reading, and now even imagery by drones, are all tools to develop these zones. Many times it takes a combination of 2 or more of the above to develop these zones. It is very important to have field knowledge of the field being zoned to help “ground truth” the zone being created. Once the zones are created the field can be soil sampled, and then variable rate prescriptions can be made for both fertilizer and seeding.

Tour 3:

Jeff Gunsolus, Extension Weed Scientist, U of M, will be discussing Pre-emergence Weed Management. Different weeds germinate and emerge at different times. Early-season weed control provides a consistent return on investment by reducing the stress of early-season weed competition and targets weeds when they are the most susceptible to control. However, different preemergence use patterns have been used over the years. This study evaluates five preemergence corn and soybean herbicides used alone at full label-use rate; at a full rate followed by a non-glyphosate treatment; and at a reduced rate followed by glyphosate.

For mechanical weed control to be effective weeds must be controlled when they are small. Repetitive trips are normally required for mechanical control due to different weed germination and emergence rates. However, weeds sometimes don’t cooperate and control of larger weeds may be necessary. Row flaming is one method to control larger weeds. Various methods of Mechanical Weed Management will be evaluated, George Nelson, WCROC.

Tour 4:

Jim Anderson, Wheat Breeding and Genetics, U of M, will be presenting the Characteristics of Wheat Varieties Emphasizing Recent U of M Releases. He will cover wheat varieties adapted to Minnesota with emphasis on those released in the past 3 years, including the University of Minnesota varieties Rollag, Norden, and Linkert.

Jochum Wiersma, Extension Educator, Small Grains, U of M, will be providing insight into the value of your wheat straw, and the decision process involved in whether to sell your straw or to return it to the field in Straw-Drop it or Spread it and also provide information on access to the Small Grain Pest Survey Site, which is available to all producers as an aid in making small grain disease management decisions.