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July 2011 Archives

University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have published a new guide, "Ash Management for Private Forest Landowners," to help property owners prepare for the arrival of emerald ash borer (EAB), a significant invasive forest pest.

Beef cowBased on current feed prices and December cattle markets, cattle placed in feedlots right now may not lose money, but may not turn a large profit either.

High corn prices are making it hard to turn a profit feeding cattle. Modified distillers' grains are currently a much better value than corn. Other regionally or seasonally available feedstuffs can also be utilized.

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Modern Minnesota agriculture got its start when a few courageous families moved out on the prairie. They lived in sod houses, faced fierce blizzards and struggled to survive on their newly homesteaded land. Those pioneer families made decisions that laid the foundation for agriculture becoming a leading factor in Minnesota's economy.

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Much of what we hear about the economy these days is gloom and doom with the media focused on the state and federal budget situation. The good news does not get enough attention.

Soybean aphids have become the most damaging insect pests in soybeans; untreated populations can cause 40 percent or more yield loss. There's a very reliable treatment threshold, developed from a multi-state project spearheaded by the University of Minnesota.

Planting conditions from a wet spring left some Minnesota fields unplanted. Emerging crops in some areas have been hit with wind, hail and ponded water. Farmers have been left with three choices: plant a crop that may not fully mature, use tillage or herbicides to limit weeds, or plant a cover crop.

Seventy-five families from around the state, one from each participating county, have been named a "2011 Farm Family of the Year" by the University of Minnesota.

07-11-2011-horse.jpgU.S. farmers plan to harvest 4 percent fewer hay acres in 2011 compared to 2010, according to a recent acreage report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Record-low hay harvests are expected in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Maine, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Together with lower existing hay supplies, higher input costs (fuel, fertilizer, land rent), and higher grain demand and prices (corn and soybean), livestock owners can expect higher hay prices in 2011 and into 2012.

Cropland rental rates continue to vary widely throughout Minnesota, according to a land rental report of historical data issued by University of Minnesota Extension.

The report lists five years of rental rate data from 2006 through 2010. It utilizes actual rental information from a database of nearly 2,400 Minnesota farmers enrolled in farm business management programs through MnSCU and Extension.

large rock island with sunset"Voyageur Skies: Weather and the Wilderness in Minnesota's National Park" chronicles the seasons in Voyageurs National Park through University of Minnesota Extension climatologist Mark Seeley's account of how weather and climate has shaped the park's pristine landscape. Retired Extension photographer Don Breneman, co-author of the book, shows the many stunning facets of the park as they appear through his own lens.

Storms that hit hard across southwestern Minnesota late last week have left many farmers with damaged grain bins. It's important to find alternative grain storage facilities. Grain left uncovered in the rain will deteriorate rapidly.

Recent storms damaged crops in an area from Lyon through Renville counties. Corn in this area had seven to eight leaf collars when damaged, and soybean had three to five fully developed trifoliolate leaves.

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