Most crop producers in southern Minnesota are fairly pleased with the 2007 corn and soybean crop, as of June 1. As usual during the early potions of the growing season, there is a lot of variation in the crop progress, due to planting dates, rainfall amount, and some severe storms in the region. Most crop development on June 1 was well ahead of normal in most portions of south central Minnesota, with much of the early planted corn being close to knee-high by early June. Heavy rains and scattered hail in some areas have led to replanting of portions of some fields, mainly soybeans.

Most producers have been applying post-emergence herbicides for weed control in corn and soybeans in the past couple of weeks. This has been a challenge in the past 10 days due to frequent rainfall events, and periods of conditions with excessive winds for good spraying conditions. With the high amount of acres planted to Roundup 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 pre-plant 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 post-emergence 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:

• Minnesota was the first state in the U.S. to create an organization to promote and advertise dairy products, which eventually led to the formation of the American Dairy Association.

• The average dairy cow produces about 7 gal. of milk per day.

• It takes 9 lbs. of milk to produce 1 lb. of butter.

• Americans drink about 51 billion gallons of milk each year.

• Approximately 119 billion gallons of milk each year in the U.S. are used to produce cheese, butter, ice cream, and other dairy products.

• A strong dairy industry helps improve demand and prices for crop producers raising corn, soybeans, and alfalfa.

• The Minnesota dairy production and processing industry employs more than 75,000 people, which is more jobs than provided by 3M, Medtronic and Northwest Airlines combined.

• Each dairy cow in Minnesota generates nearly $14,000 in economic activity in the state.

• From 1992 to 2002, Minnesota lost about 26% of the dairy cows in the state, with many dairy farmers retiring or going out of business, and very few new dairy farms starting.

• In 1980, Minnesota had just fewer than 900,000 cows, which represented almost 10% of all the dairy cows in the U.S.; however, Minnesota now has less than 500,000 dairy cows, which represents approximately 5% of all the U.S. dairy cows.

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.