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April 2011 Archives

organic-farmers.jpgAlfalfa and other forages can provide great benefits to organic farmers. One producer from Lac Qui Parle County saw his operation begin to turn around once he incorporated alfalfa into his rotation. He found better soil, higher yields and improved weed control.

Organic production is risky, but there are ways to limit risk.

Weather conditions in Minnesota are leading to a slower start for the 2011 corn planting season. Last year, 13 percent of the corn in Minnesota was planted by April 18 and 63 percent by April 25.

In order to maximize yield and economic return, a general guideline for growers in Minnesota is to stick with the planned seed choices until May 25. When planting occurs between May 25 and May 31, it is wise to switch to hybrids that are 5 to 7 relative maturity units earlier than full season for the region.

Corn planting is still weeks away in much of Minnesota because of wet conditions and cool soils. Long-term data from the University of Minnesota indicate that the optimum planting date for corn in Minnesota is during the last week of April and the first week of May. The average yield reduction is about a half-bushel per acre each day that planting is delayed from April 28 until May 21. In addition to higher yield, earlier planting can result in earlier maturity, allowing more time for drying of grain in the field prior to harvest and fall tillage.

While timely planting is important, the advantages of an earlier planting date can be lost if tillage and planting operations occur when the soil is too wet.

The median net farm income among crop farmers more than doubled, and livestock farmers moved their median net farm income back into the black in 2010, a new joint report by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and the University of Minnesota shows.

Overall, median net farm income was $119,915 among about 2,500 Minnesota farms in 2010, up from $33,417 in 2009 when net farm incomes were depressed by low profits in the livestock sector and increased production costs, the analysis shows. Median net farm income means half of the producers earned more and half earned less.

University of Minnesota Extension is moving its coordinated system from flood preparation mode into recovery. In March, Extension announced its coordinated system of educational resources available for those with flood-related questions.

Thumbnail image for family-budget.jpgApril is National Financial Literacy Month, a time to increase our knowledge about personal financial education. It's a perfect time for parents to begin teaching their children about finances.

Many factors play into custom rate decisions in individual situations. Factors might include field size, field conditions, hazards like rocks, availability, travel distance, trading work, ownership and operating costs, and other personal and business goals.

Iowa State Extension recently posted their Custom Rate Survey information for 2011 (available at A custom rate survey, like a lot of other information, should be viewed as a "starting point" for considerations about custom rates.

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