Ag and Extension Briefs

Life in the Pits: A look at soil management and crop health

University of Minnesota Extension, Renville, Yellow Medicine and Swift SWCD offices, and Hawk Creek Watershed invite farmers and crop consultants to an up-coming field day to learn about soil health on Sept. 10, in Granite Falls. The event will be from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the American Legion, 60 6th Ave, Granite Falls.

This is a unique, small-group field day which will equip participants with the ability to identify different levels of soil structure and help them understand management strategies to improve the soil. Most importantly, participants will be able to connect the visual and physical impacts belowground to how it is treated aboveground. At the end of the field day, attendees will be able to take a shovel to any part of their field and have a better understanding of what they are seeing.

Field day activities will include opportunities for attendees to learn how to determine soil texture and the benefits and challenges of various soils management practices. Presenters will discuss soil structure, the benefits of aggregated soils, and the habitat earthworms and microbes need to thrive. Participants will learn the basics of soil sample analysis and by digging in soil pits, and will understand soil compaction and how to avoid or remedy the situation on their land. 

The day’s events will start with a welcome and overview about soil health, then participants will be divided into groups to view three unique stations to further their understanding about soil structure and management techniques. Presenters include soil specialists from Minnesota, North Dakota, and Manitoba.

Space is limited. Sign up now to ensure a spot at z.umn.edu/SHfarmer or call Mary Jo at 320-235-0726 x2001.

North Dakota ranks high for blackbird crop damage

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota agricultural officials said there’s help available for the millions of dollars in crop damage caused by blackbirds each year.

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildlife Services program loans nonlethal management equipment to farmers to help disperse blackbirds that attack sunflower and grain crops.

Strong fall apple harvest forecast for Michigan orchards

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan apple growers are expecting another strong showing this fall.

A crop estimate of 25.25 million bushels was announced Friday. That’s about the same as the harvest in 2018.

Reynolds says she’s pushing Trump to reverse ethanol moves

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said she is pushing the Trump administration to restore billions of gallons of ethanol demand lost when the Environmental Protection Agency exempted 31 oil refineries from blending ethanol with gasoline to meet the requirements of federal law.

Reynolds on Tuesday speculated that President Donald Trump may not have fully understood the impact of granting the waivers on the ethanol industry. Now, she says at least one ethanol plant in Iowa has shut down production.

Officials expect irrigation water to be restored this week

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Officials expect water to start flowing again to Wyoming and Nebraska farmers by the end of this week after their irrigation water was cut off last month when a tunnel collapsed.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported the Goshen Irrigation District announced that crews finished construction on the tunnel Monday and are in the cleanup phase.

Montana US Sen. Steve Daines going to China to talk ag trade

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines of Montana says he’s traveling to China next week to continue agricultural trade discussions.

In 2017, Daines announced a tentative agreement with one of China’s largest retailers to import $200 million of beef raised by members of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. That effort has stalled amid the escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

Missouri law on health rules for large farms delayed

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri judge is extending an order blocking a new Missouri law that sought to shield large farms from stringent local health rules.

Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green banned enforcement of the law until he rules on a Sept. 16 court hearing. Another judge’s earlier ruling delayed the law until Thursday.

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