Nearly all corn and soybeans across southern Minnesota were planted by June 1, with a large majority of the corn and soybeans emerged. Crop growth has responded well to warmer temperatures in the past couple of weeks, following cooler-than-normal temperatures that existed during most of late April and early May. There have been some reports of crop emergence problems in portions of fields – due to dry topsoil following planting – primarily with some later-planted soybeans. Overall, the crop conditions across the region are quite good for the beginning of June. It continues to be quite dry across southern Minnesota, with the exception of portions of southeastern Minnesota, which received more significant rainfall in late May. This continued dry weather pattern will become more of a concern as the growing season progresses.

At the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center at Waseca, the average air temperature in May was 58° F, which compares to 53.3° F in 2008 and to a 30-year average May temperature of 58.4° F. The accumulation of growing degree units (GDUs) at Waseca in May was 327 GDUs, compared to 258 GDUs in May 2008, 428 GDUs in May 2007 and a 30-year average of 337 GDUs accumulated in May. The total precipitation recorded in May at Waseca, was only 1.90 in. during May – 0.60 in. which fell since May 9. That compares to 3.82 in. in May 2008, and an average precipitation for May of 3.96 in. Total precipitation in April at Waseca was 2.39 in., compared to a normal of 3.23 in. Stored soil moisture varies across southern Minnesota, ranging from near capacity in some areas to slightly more than 50% of capacity in other areas.

Postemergence Herbicide Application
Most producers have begun applying postemergence herbicides for weed control in corn and soybeans, and will be continuing in the next couple of weeks. With the high amount of acres planted to Round-up Ready corn hybrids and soybean varieties, or similar crop genetics, a majority of the weed control in corn and soybean production is accomplished through the use of postemergence herbicides that are applied after the crop and the weeds are emerged and growing. By comparison, 10-15 years ago, postemergence herbicides for weed control were secondary to the use of soil-applied preplant and pre-emergence herbicides to control weeds before they emerged. In addition to giving crop producers better options and more flexibility for weed control, the move toward a higher percentage of postemergence herbicides has also been more environmentally friendly. The postemergence herbicides are generally safer to use, and are much less likely to run off into lakes, rivers, streams or tile lines, as compared to many of older soil-applied chemicals.

June is Dairy Month

For decades in Minnesota, June has been known as Dairy Month. Following are some interesting facts and figures about the dairy industry:

  • There are approximately 65,000 dairy farms in the U.S., of which about 99% are family owned farm businesses.
  • The average U.S. dairy herd has 135 cows; however, 77% of all dairy farms in the country still have less than 100 cows.
  • The average dairy cow produces just under 7 gal. of milk/day, or 2,300 gal. of milk/year.
  • It takes 9 lbs. of milk to produce 1 lb. of butter.
  • Approximately 21 billion gallons of milk each year in the U.S. are used to produce cheese, butter, ice cream and other dairy products.
  • A dairy farmer receives less than $1/gal. from the amount paid for milk by consumers at the grocery store (approximately $3/gal.).
  • A strong dairy industry helps improve demand and prices for crop producers raising corn, soybeans and alfalfa.
  • The dairy industry has a strong impact on the economy of rural America, with a direct multiplier effect of approximately 2.5 times in the local economy.
  • Dairying is the No. 1 agriculture industry in nine states, including California, where the dairy industry accounts for $47 billion of economic activity and employs over 400,000 people
  • The Minnesota dairy production and processing industry employs nearly 75,000 people, which is more jobs than provided by 3M, Medtronic and Northwest Airlines combined.

Bottom line: A strong, vibrant and profitable dairy industry is very important toward building a healthy economic future for Minnesota and the nation.

Editor’s note: Kent Thiesse is a former University of Minnesota Extension educator and now is Vice President of MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. You can contact him at 507-726-2137 or via e-mail at kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com.