Written by Dr Jeff Strock, U of M SWROC Soil Scientist
Initial 2013 measurements taken at the Southwest Research & Outreach Center, near Lamberton indicate soil moisture deficit according to data collected beginning May 1 but recent precipitation has reduced the size of the deficit. The overall average soil moisture deficit as of May 1, 2013 was 1.1 inches in the upper three feet and 1.6 inches in the upper five feet of the soil profile. This means that, on average, 1.1 inches of water is needed to fill the upper three feet of the soil profile or 1.6 inches is needed to fill the upper five feet to equal the long-term average for May 1 of 6.1 inches. This compares to deficits of 2.2 inches in the upper three feet and 3.0 inches in the upper five feet of the soil at the same time in 2012. Read the entire article on soil moisture (pdf).
Congratulations to Molly Werner, SWROC Executive Office and Administrative Specialist, on receiving the 2013 ROC Initiative Award. This award is given to ROC staff whom promotes excellence in work performance that leads to extraordinary or significant positive project or program outcomes. Molly was recognized for her work as a key contributor in the process of diversifying the makeup of the staff and faculty at the SWROC. She has been the go-to person for all matters related to hiring personnel as it relates to following procedures, filing paperwork and serving on search committees. Thank you Molly, for a job well done.
Written by Wendi Wendt, Regional Communication Specialist with Wide Open Thinking
Lamberton, Minn. – Minnesotans have long been committed to improving the quality of the state’s education system, making it a priority in many communities. Today, there are fewer students pursuing science-based fields of study. Without igniting a spark of interest early on, engaging students in these fields becomes more difficult. That’s why the University of Minnesota’s Southwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC) has developed a program to make that effort easier.
Funded by North Central Region - Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (NCR-SARE), the Sustainable Inquiry Research and Education Network (SIREN) program at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC) conducts training for K-12 teachers and provides them with curriculum and teaching materials to incorporate in their classrooms. SIREN integrates experimental teaching strategies into sustainable agriculture projects designed by producers and experienced scientists. This program offers science and agriculture teachers the opportunity to work with area producers, connect with scientists, attend workshops and increase understanding of the inquiry process. MSR&PC’s Education Chair, Vernon Pooch says the program gives a tremendous advantage for students. “They’re learning about nutrient deficiencies and soil pH using state-of-the-art equipment. Through SIREN, we’re able to give kids opportunities they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.”
Southwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC) Head, Pauline Nickel presented the new experimental equipment; a balance, pH meter and other smaller equipment to Westbrook-Walnut Grove, Wabasso, Lafayette Charter, and Worthington High Schools and applauded program supporters. “Minnesota Soybean is a huge contributor to this program and it’s vital to recognize the farmers who support this project through the soybean checkoff. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without their dedication to our education system.”
Wabasso High School science teacher, Sandy Scheff-Belaen, joined the program three years ago. “Through the trainings and on-farm visits, I’ve learned so much about today’s agriculture and sustainable farming that I can bring back to my students,” said Belaen. “Science class in a vacuum doesn’t always spark interest in students. When science is taught in an interactive and hands-on environment, it shows students how science directly affects them. This increases their desire to learn and makes them excited about it.”
SWROC delivers K-12 educational programming statewide. The purpose is to support a strong science program with an emphasis on content areas that are vital to rural communities. These programs are aligned with the Minnesota Graduation Standards and support classroom teachers with curriculum resources designed to improve student knowledge about science and related disciplines. Nickel said the focus of the program is to support teachers and ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and materials when entering the classroom. “Our goal is to connect the teachers with the University of Minnesota’s resources to create a better learning opportunities for our students.” SIREN has been implemented in three other schools across southwest Minnesota and will serve as a pilot program to develop hands-on based curriculum for students across the state.
Local county Corn and Soybean Growers Associations are affiliated with the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), a non-profit organization controlled by a board of elected soybean producers from across the state who direct the investments of the state’s soybean checkoff dollars into programs designed to increase the profitability of Minnesota’s soybean farmers.
Read R.E.A.L. farm stories straight from Minnesota farmers by visiting http://www.therealstorymn.com
The second soil moisture readings for 2013 have been calculated. The current soil moisture levels (samples collected April 15) are available on the SWROC's weather information page. A graph with the 2013 totals and a comparative graph from 2008 - 2013 with historic averages are available. The SWROC has been collected soil moisture levels since 1966.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will be the topic of a workshop held at the SWROC on Thursday, April 18 from 9 am - 3 pm. Speakers Dr. Robin Rumsey and Dr. Amy Esler will share diagnostic criteria, ASD assessment, share research on early identification, common interventions, applied behavior analysis, and case examples.
Dr. Rumsey is Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, and member of an interdisciplinary team which evaluates children for possible autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Her clinical interests include early identification of ASD, evaluation of neuropsychological functioning of children and adolescents with ASD, and facilitation of care coordination between caregivers, health care providers, and educators. She received her Ph.D. in Urban Education with specialization in School Psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and has had a Pediatric Neuropsychology Internship and Fellowship through the U’s Medical School.
Dr. Esler is Assistant Professor in Pediatrics seeing patients at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital. Her focus is on children with ASD. Clinical interests include early detection and diagnosis of ASD, evidence-based family-implemented interventions for very young children, functional behavioral analysis to promote social communication, behavioral supports for severe behavior problems, and intervention services to improve personal well-being in adults with ASD. She received her Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Minnesota, 2001.
The cost to attend the workshop is $25. The registration deadline is Friday, April 12. Early pre-registration is encouraged as the workshop will be capped at 85 participants. The workshop is coordinated by the University of Minnesota Extension and the Southwest Research and Outreach Center in partnership with the University’s Center for Neurobehavioral Development and Children, Youth & Family Consortium.
The Southwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC) hosted their annual Winter Crops and Soils Day at three locations from February 5-7, 2013. Over 150 people participated on either Tuesday, February 5 at the Blue Mound Banquet Center in Luverne; Wednesday, February 6 at the SWROC near Lamberton; and Thursday, February 7 at the Bootleggers Supper Club in Granite Falls. This program featured timely information on soil and water management, pest management including rootworms, weed management, the new Farm Bill, and current drought conditions. Speakers included Dr. Jeff Strock, Bruce Potter, Kent Thiesse, Dr. Mark Seeley (Lamberton & Granite Falls), Dr. Dennis Todey (Luverne), Dr. Jeff Gunsolus and Dr Ken Ostlie. To be included on the SWROC mailing list or email list for future events, please email your contact information to Molly Werner.
Data will be collected from around Minnesota and a summary map, which indicates where significant captures have occurred, will be prepared. This map and a short newsletter will be posted to the SWROC website each week. The newsletter will contain information on the black cutworm, its biology, damage to crops and management decisions.
If you have any further questions regarding the 2013 Black Cutworm Monitoring Project, please call Bruce Potter (IPM Specialist – Lamberton) at (507) 752-5066, Fritz Breitenbach (IPM Specialist – Rochester) at (507) 280-2870 or Ken Ostlie at (612) 750-0993.
Issue 3 - May 21, 2013. This newsletter features information on crop weather with some links and a May snowstorm and tornadoes in Oklahoma are a reminder of the unpredictability and risks of weather in the middle of the continent; herbicide reminders; cutworms, wireworms and maggots...oh my!; alfalfa insects; black cutworm - info on scouting and threshold; scouting early season insects in corn and soybeans and connect with crops, Extension and other websites. To be included in the electronic distribution of the IPM Stuff Newsletter, please send an email to Molly Werner.
The SWROC has completed the May 15 soil moisture readings. The current soil moisture level is 5.33" which is 1.15" below the historic average of 6.48". To view charts related to soil moisture, view the SWROC's weather page. Soil moisture readings are collected on the 1st and 15th of the month from April through November. For additional drought information, visit the USDA Drought Monitor website. The Drought Monitor is produced in partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the USDA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Another website of interest would be the Weekly Palmer Drought Indices on the NOAA website.
The University of Minnesota Extension, University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center (Waseca), University of Minnesota Southwest Research and Outreach Center (Lamberton), Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, and University Center Rochester, as well as many local cooperators and agribusinesses, collaborated to conduct field trials throughout southern Minnesota. The majority of these projects are funded through grant dollars, entry fees and support from our cooperators. Read the 2012 Southern Minnesota Regional Research Report (pdf).
A 2004 - 2010 study at the U of M SWROC examined the effect of crop rotation and management on corn and soybean yields. Intensively managed continuous corn out-yielded conventionally managed rotated and continuous corn but yielded less than invensively managed rotated corn. Both corn and soybean yields were increased by rotation but more than two years of corn were needed to produce a soybean yield response over an annual rotation. This project was conducted by Bruce Potter and funded by the MN Soybean Research and Promotion Council and the MN Corn Research and Promotion Council. Read the entire report (pdf).
Written by: Ken Ostlie, Extension Entomologist and Bruce Potter, IPM Specialist
Since 2009, an increasing number of fields planted to Bt‐RW traited corn have shown unexpected root injury from corn rootworms. Problems were first reported in the SE and SW corners of Minnesota but since then have been reported from an ever wider geography in Minnesota. While the majority of Minnesota reports regarding performance problems have come from VT3 hybrids, all traits have experienced at least occasional problems. Previous data indicates no yield benefit for at‐plant insecticides on Bt‐RW hybrids when the trait is performing well (and no early season stand reducing insect problems occur). A yield response to at‐plant soil insecticide on Bt‐RW traited corn could indicate rootworm damage, and perhaps provide a sign of developing trait resistance. Read the entire article(pdf).