Skip to main content


Join your fellow farmers for a soil health panel discussion on Tuesday, February 20!

A soil health panel discussion featuring Crookston-area farmers will be held next week Tuesday, February 20 from 2 to 4 pm at Bede Ballroom in the University of Minnesota Crookston's Sargeant Student Center and sponsored by the West Polk Soil and Water Conservation District and UMN Extension. Park in lot A on the north end of campus. On the panel will be farmers that have had demonstrated success strip-tilling sugarbeets or have participated in research projects with University of Minnesota. They will be willing to share both what has worked well (or not so well) for them in their operation and can provide suggestions for how best to incorporate these soil conservation practices into your larger cropping system.  To get an accurate head count and make sure we have plenty of refreshments and chairs available, grab a family member or neighbor to bring along and RSVP in one of three ways: 1) Call: (218) 281-6070 2) Call or text: (309) 299-1993 3) Register here:
Recent posts

Still time to register for the Advanced Crop Advisors Workshop

Many farmers work with a crop advisor who works either independently or for an ag service provider. During winter, it isn't only farmers that spend time learning about all of the latest research results to improve crop yields and quality and farm profitability. The crop advisors that work with and for farmers also spend their winters learning about how best to assist the farmers that they work with to improve their crops' yield and quality and improve overall farm productivity.  The Advanced Crop Advisors Workshop provides value The Advanced Crop Advisors Workshop is one key learning opportunity geared specifically toward crop advisors each winter meetings season. One key to setting a speaker and topic lineup of value to crop advisors is including crop advisors in the process; several crop advisors serve on the workshop planning committee. Crops experts from universities in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin will interact with workshop participants regarding

Mind the moldy dust during harvest

By Angie Peltier and Liz Stahl, Extension educators - crops Photo: Dave Nicolai Saprophyte – this is a fancy term for fungi that make their living by colonizing and extracting nutrients from dead tissue. Saprophytes are the reason continuous corn fields aren’t packed with piles of corn residue taller than us – saprophytic fungi help to degrade dead tissue as they complete their own life cycles. In years where we have rain after the corn crop has matured, but before the crop is harvested, saprophytic fungi are able to colonize and begin degrading corn tissue. The dark-colored dust that has been trailing combines in southern MN this year is most likely spores of saprophytic fungi that are helping to decay corn residue. When you are out 'push-testing' your crop, the mold can even work its way through your clothing and cover your face ( Figure ). Figure. The author covered in a 'mold beard'. Note: the shirt has gone through a heavy-duty wash cycle twice and still is not cl

Variable stalk strength this fall in northwest Minnesota

One of my favorite times of the year is when I get to spend some 'quality time' in northwest Minnesota corn fields looking for European corn borer injury and checking stalk strength. Corn harvest will be delayed with the rainy weather. As you are waiting for soil to dry a bit before resuming harvest, time spent checking stalk strength will be time well spent. Kernels demand sugars. Developing corn kernels place a very high demand on the plant for sugars. Stress reduces the rate of photosynthesis, thereby reducing the amount of sugars that the plant is able to produce. Many different stresses can reduce the rate of photosynthesis: too much or too little moisture, nutrient imbalances, plant injury (ex.: hail, insects, diseases), excessive plant populations, and even long-periods of cloudy weather. In northwest Minnesota in 2023 these stresses from May 1 through September 15 included average daily high temperatures 2 to 4 degrees warmer than normal ( Figure 1 ), average

Soybean tentiform leafminer in northwest Minnesota soybean

A survey trip last week of soybean fields in Red Lake, Pennington, Marshall, Roseau and Kittson Counties found the soybean tentiform leafminer (STL), a pest that until recently was only known to feed on two native plants in the same plant family as soybean, American hog peanut and slickseed fuzzybean. The survey trip focused on examining soybeans growing near trees as it is thought that this may be where STL survives the winter.  Figure 1. The bottom of a soybean leaf with soybean tentiform leafminer mines on one leaflet.   While STL was found in Crookston at the Northwest Research & Outreach Center several weeks ago, during last week's survey, mines of STL ( Figure 1 ) were found not in soybeans growing near trees in field windbreaks or shelter belts, but rather only in two soybean fields that were immediately (within 5 feet or less) adjacent to larger wooded areas. Figure 2 shows what the top side of the leaf mines in Figure 1 look like; this did have the 'tented' o