Liz Morrison

Liz
Morrison
Articles
Ryan Britt of Salisbury, Mo., discusses weed issues seen during soybean harvest
Create a weed-management strategy 1

You plan years ahead for crop rotation, fertilizer and machinery acquisitions. Since the rise of glyphosate-resistant weeds, you should be doing the same for your herbicide program, says Lisa Behnken, a Minnesota Extension crops specialist.

Farmer stops erosion on highly erodible land

Though fertile — in a good year the Braggers raise 200-bushel corn and 50-bushel soybeans — their clay-loam hills are very vulnerable to water erosion. It’s the kind of terrain that some believe should not be cropped at all. Yet the Braggers farm this fragile land intensively, achieving high yields with little soil loss.

Including soybeans in crop rotation provides advantages

Corn rootworms in this longtime continuous-corn field seem to have become immune to the Cry3Bb1 trait, the most common source of transgenic rootworm protection, says Keith Schrader, who farms with his sons near Nerstrand, Minn. In 2011, YieldGard VT Triple knocked out just 25% of corn rootworms in this field, compared to an expected kill rate of more than 95% in fields where the trait works, says Ken Ostlie, University of Minnesota Extension entomologist.

Resistant Palmer amaranth hits Midwest, changes control programs 9

On July 6, 2011, Joe Steinkamp changed his entire weed-management program. Steinkamp raises seed soybeans and white corn on Ohio River bottomland near Evansville, Ind. On that July day two years ago, his neighbor brought over some weeds that had survived Roundup. “He said, ‘Joe, do you know that these are?’ I said, ‘I sure do!’ ”

Is Conventional Corn Worth Considering? 1

Carter Charles manages insects and weeds in his corn fields near Cyrus, Minn., without the benefit of genetically modified seeds.

How To Avoid Soil Compaction: True, False Q&A 5

Soil compaction is invisible, but its effects are clear to see: cloddy soil, delayed crop emergence, restricted root growth, stunted plants, low water infiltration, poor nutrient uptake and lost yield.

Hybrid Choice is No. 1 | Three Pre-Planting Yield-Booster Tips 2

Before he plants a single seed, Scott Rahn plans a foundation for top corn yields. He and brother Noel focus on field-by-field hybrid selection, crop rotation and seedbed preparation in their fields near Bingham Lake, in south-central Minnesota.

Make Variable Seeding Work 2

Keith Alverson and his family started to variable-rate plant in the 1990s, and now find benefit with the practice on every corn acre. He, his father Ron and uncle grow corn and soybeans on rolling land near Chester, S.D. In the early 1990s, they started reducing seeding rates manually in the dry corners of pivot-irrigated fields, where yield potential is always much lower. The practice cut seed costs by 25% in unwatered sections, and was especially beneficial in dry years, Alverson says.

Upstream-Downstream Drainage Issues

There’s an old adage in drainage lore: Whiskey’s for drinkin’; water’s for fightin’! Upstream and downstream farmers along 100-year-old County Ditch 57 in Blue Earth County, in heavily tiled south-central Minnesota, started out at loggerheads over ditch improvements. But they ended up working together to improve both drainage capacity and water quality – thanks to innovative drainage methods and a determined fundraising effort by local leaders.

Drainage Solutions: Surface Tile Intakes

Gary and Steve Glazik were sick of slogging through standing water in their farm fields to unclog surface tile inlets. Their Paxton, Ill., fields are pocked with low spots where water ponds, and their perforated risers were forever plugging up with residue. “We’d have to go out in hip boots and clean them out,” Gary says.

Better Ways to Drain | Innovations in Surface Tile Intakes Aim to Improve Convenience, Water Quality

Gary and Steve Glazik were sick of slogging through standing water in their farm fields to unclog surface tile inlets. Their Paxton, Ill., fields are pocked with low spots where water ponds, and their perforated risers were forever plugging up with residue. “We’d have to go out in hip boots and clean them out,” Gary says.

Vertical Tillage Tips 1

No two shallow vertical tillage tools are the same, says Curt Weisenbeck, Agronomic Consulting, Durand, Wis. “Each tool behaves differently in different soils and terrain.” For example, independently mounted blades are better for rocky fields or irregular topography. Different types of blades – straight, concave, smooth or fluted – determine how much soil is disturbed.

Vertical Tillage Not a Yield Driver 4

Do improved planting conditions following shallow vertical tillage result in higher crop yields? “Fine-textured soils and early planting are the two conditions where shallow vertical tillage may provide a yield benefit, compared to no-till,” says Mike Staton, Michigan State University Extension soybean agronomist,” in reference to studies from Michigan, Indiana and Canada.

Vertical Tillage Should Be Conservative, Shallow

How much soil is disturbed by shallow vertical tillage? The answer depends on the tool, the soil and the tillage depth, says Kevan Klingberg, a University of Wisconsin Extension outreach specialist. Many farmers value these implements to size residue, condition the seedbed and incorporate nutrients, he says.

Soil Warmer | Shallow Vertical Tillage Aids Residue Management, Seedbed Prep

Cold spring soils are sparking a hot new form of tillage. Shallow vertical tillage tools slice crop residue and loosen the top layer of soil while leaving most of the residue on the surface to protect soil from erosion. The practice speeds up residue breakdown and improves spring planting conditions – without sacrificing the soil conservation benefits of high residue cover.

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