Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Frost on the Pumpkins this Morning, May 14

Frost on the Pumpkins....

The morning started with a nice white coating of frost across our farm.  The forecast for morning temperatures over the next few days sound like we will see frost every morning until this weekend.  The good news, the rain passed by and the sun is shining. Alfalfa fields are greening up and many stands look pretty good around the area.  However, there are some dead spots in fields, perhaps where water stood or ice ponds formed, but these are small. We just need some warm weather to push some growth of a very needed forage crop.

Having said this, there are reports of winter injury from areas west of Rochester. The potential issues: 1) snow blew off the fields, exposing crowns to bitter cold winter temperatures, 2) if the last cutting was taken in September, the plants would have gone into the long winter with lower than desirable root reserves, and 3) perhaps a late cutting left shorter than desirable residue, thus reducing the plants ability to hold the precious snow.  If you are seeing fields like that, evaluate the stand, dig some roots and assess the stand.   Here is a good resource to help you evaluate the stand: Alfalfa stand assessment: Is this stand good enough to keep?

More forage resources are located at:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Get Notified when New Posts are Available

Concerned about the transition to blog format?
Many questions and concerns have arisen since announcing we are transitioning to a blog formatted newsletter.  Rest assured we will give some guidance along the way.  First things first, we intend to keep the email list informed of new blog postings throughout the next several months.  So in other words if you have traditionally received the email newsletter, you will continue to get email notifications that “new” items are available on the blog.  However, we would like to encourage you to sign up for the RSS feed.

So what is an RSS feed?
RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication”, many online resources (e.g. websites, blogs) have them.  Here is the standard symbol/link for an RSS feed (typically much smaller size than this one):

After you sign up for a RSS you will be notified when new content is available on the corresponding website, blog, etc.  Usually this is in the form of an email notification.  The email notification will usually contain a link that will take you to the new posting. has a RSS that looks like this:

The above box is how and where you subscribe to Southeast Minnesota Crops Connection blog newsletter RSS.  Notice you get two subscription options, the top one “posts” is the one you want. This will notify you when a new post is available to read.  You will find this RSS subscription box in the right-hand column near the bottom of the page (  As we transition to the blog formatted newsletter, you may consider signing up for our blog’s RSS feed.  Remember, we will continue to notify you of new postings via an email for several months.  This may create a “double” notification for those of you that sign up for the RSS, but please bear with us during the transition.
Another popular option for RSS subscriptions is to use and RSS reader program or application.  An RSS reader is a program or application that manages your RSS subscriptions.  You can think of a RSS reader as a kind of web browser, where you go to see all of your RSS feeds in one place.  Here are two links that critique a few different RSS readers (note these are NOT UNIVERITY links):

You may have to experiment with several different RSS readers until you find one that works for you.  Choosing the best RSS reader will depend on: user preference (e.g. catsup or ketchup), operation system (e.g. PC or iOS), and device used to read postings(e.g. Desktop computer, tablet, or phone).  Good luck choosing one, we would be interested in hearing what worked for you!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Black Cutworm Moth Captures - April 26-May 2

Black Cutworm Update 

Source: Lisa Behnken, UM Extension Educator - Crops, Bruce Potter, UM IPM Specialist SWROC and Travis Vollmer, University of Minnesota Extension.

The Black Cutworm trap at my farm in Olmsted County, located south of Rochester has been very quiet.  Zero moths caught this past week, and only a few over the past several weeks. 

However, there are a few Hot Spots for the week of April 26- May 2 in  southern Minnesota, which can be seen on the map below.  Concerns arises when a trap captures eight or more black cutworm moths over a two night period.  The Faribault County trap had a season high of 16 moths on April 28 and in Lac Qui Parle County there were 8 moths April 28-29.

The Black Cutworm life cycle, from egg to moth takes 1 1/2 months or more. The degree-day model for development predicts larvae large enough to cut plants after 300 degree days have accumulated. (base 50 degrees, just like corn). Only larger, 4th - 6th instar cutworm larvae can cut corn plants. Read complete and past reports at:

Black Cutworm Moth Counts April 26-May 2.