Welcome Rain

Much of South Central and Southeast Minnesota received some much needed rain this past weekend. However the rainfall amounts dropped off rapidly in the southern portions of the region and in Southwest Minnesota. The rainfall on Friday night and Saturday ranged from almost nothing in the southern portions of South Central and Southwest Minnesota to over six inches of rain in the Owatonna area. Many other areas received anywhere from one-half inch to over three inches of much needed rainfall. The locations in Steele, Waseca and Blue Earth Counties that received three to six inches of rain did incur some standing water that could result in some drown out damage to crops. The southern portions of South Central and Southwest Minnesota that received very little rain are still in need of some beneficial rainfall to avoid crop stress in the coming weeks. Subsoil moisture is still at 75-100% of capacity in most areas.

In general, crop conditions across the region are average to very good, with the exception of some spotty stands on later planted soybeans, and some crop stress to corn on lighter, sandier soil types in the extremely dry areas of Southern Minnesota. Most corn height is now one foot or taller, with the early planted corn reaching two feet tall, which is ahead of normal in most areas. The recent rainfall should be very beneficial for the cutting of alfalfa, which had received very little precipitation since the first alfalfa crop was harvested. Most small grains are now heading-out, and look good to excellent. Pea harvest in South Central Minnesota is just beginning.

Soybean Aphids And Rust

Crop consultants and agronomists confirmed some soybean aphids in isolated soybean fields in Southern Minnesota during the week of June 5-11. It was not an aphid count that required treatment, and it is still far too early to consider treatment; however, it does give us an indication that aphids could develop in some areas in 2006, and that growers and crop consultants should be scouting for soybean aphids. Also, there have been no serious threats regarding soybean rust in the major soybean producing areas of the U.S. The only confirmed cases of soybean rust in 2005, and thus far in 2006, have been in the extreme Southern portions of the U.S. However, there is always the possibility that the rust could move further north, as we get into the season for hurricanes and tropical storms that tend to originate in the Gulf of Mexico and move north from late June until early September.

Some good web sites for soybean rust and aphid updates and information are:

· University of Minnesota – www.soybeans.umn.edu

· Farm Assist Web Site – www.farmassist.com/soybeanrust

· USDA Soybean Rust Web Site – www.sbrusa.net

Editors 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