The SWROC will host a What is a Fair Farm Rental Agreement? workshop on November 20th at 9:30 a.m. Landlords, farmers, and agri-business professionals are encouraged to attend one of this free and informative workshop provided by the University of Minnesota Extension. 

Negotiating a fair rental agreement that satisfies the land owner and the farmer is a challenge. David Bau and Nathan Hulinsky, Extension Educators in Ag Business Management, will provide several ways to determine a fair farm land rental rate for both parties. Topics covered at the meetings will include local historic and projected farmland rental rate trends, current farm land values and sales, a worksheet that will help determine a fair rental agreement.

The University of Minnesota Southwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC) near Lamberton recorded 22.25” of precipitation during the 2019 growing season (May 1-Sept. 30). This marks the sixth consecutive growing season of above-average precipitation in southwest Minnesota.

The growing season began with cold temperatures and rainy weather. The average high temperature for May was 63ºF, while the historic average high temperature for the month is 71ºF. On top of the cool weather, 4.80” of precipitation during May delayed planting for many area farmers. July and September were also high precipitation months with precipitation totals of 6.86” and 6.02”, respectively.

High and low temperatures were near the historic averages the majority of the growing season. A warm end to September helped increase the 2019 growing degree day (GDD) total to 2450, just behind the historic average GDD of 2540.

Growing season precipitation chart

The cool, wet start to the growing season has many producers wondering how 2019 compares to 1993 - the year of "The Great Flood" that caused many farmers to plow their crops under.

As seen in the table below, March and April of 2019 were far wetter than 1993. In the months of May and June, however, 1993 was far wetter than 2019. SWROC weather records from 1993 show 7.09" of precipitation in May and 11.14" of precipitation in June. Throughout the 1993 growing season, 31.12" of precipitation were recorded, with 21.66" of that total recorded in the months of June, July and August 1993. As of July 12, 2019, SWROC has recorded 10.66" of precipitation during the 2019 growing season.

1993 Monthly Precipitation 2019 Monthly Precipitation
March 1.54" 2.70"
April 2.55" 5.91"
May 7.09" 4.80"
June 11.14" 2.35"
July (as of July 12th) 3.47" 3.51"

2019 has been warmer than 1993 as well, allowing more growing degree days to accumulate. While 2019 is ahead of 1993 in growing degree days, 2019 is still about 100 degree days behind the historical average. 

The University of Minnesota (UMN), in collaboration with the University of Saskatchewan, has released a new white hull oat variety called ‘MN-Pearl.’ MN-Pearl is a high-yielding variety with good straw strength and high groat percentage. It also has good overall disease resistance including moderate crown rust resistance and excellent smut resistance.

The University of Minnesota (UMN) has released a new hard red spring wheat variety called ‘MN-Washburn.’ MN-Washburn features excellent straw strength and good overall disease resistance. In particular, it contains the bdv2 gene for resistance to Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV) making in an excellent choice in years when BYDV is prevalent.

2019 has been an active spring for black cutworm (BCW) flights into Minnesota. Throughout the UMN Cooperative Black Cutworm Reporting Network, pheromone trap captures indicating moth flights large enough to pose risk to corn, sugarbeets, and other crops have occurred through the past few weeks and are continuing. Minnesota's southern tiers of counties have seen the most activity but traps located in more northern areas have seen issues as well. The NWS precipitation forecast shows conditions likely favorable for insect migration from the south. Unfortunately, these same conditions will be unfavorable for fieldwork. Another influx of BCW moths with these systems is expected. Other migrant crop pests including true armyworm, potato leafhopper and cereal aphids may show as well. 

Unfortunately, these immigration events coincide with a late planting season in much of Minnesota. This increases the risk of economic injury to crop seedlings. Find out more about the UMN Cooperative Black Cutworm Reporting Network.

maps of black cutworm moth captures throughout MN

SWROC IPM Specialist Bruce Potter recently released Crops Q & A - Manure Management for Spring 2019. This is the first video in a series connecting local growers and ag professionals with University of Minnesota expertise. If you have a production question you'd like answered or a topic you'd like discussed in future Crops Q & A videos, email Emily Evans at or Bruce Potter at

The 2018 Corn Grain Field Crop Trials Results are available now. View the pdf here. The Minnesota Corn Evaluation Program is conducted by the University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station to provide unbiased information for use by corn growers when they choose which brand of corn to buy and grow. The trials are conducted throughout southern, central and northern Minnesota.

SWROC scientists Dr. Axel Garcia y Garcia and Dr. Jeff Strock collaborated with colleagues to write a feature article for Open Rivers Journal. Read The Future of Agriculture in a Water-Rich State here.

This trial was conducted at two sites, one at the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC), Morris, and the other at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center, Lamberton, MN.  At each location, there were two plots: one managed by organic practices and the other was in conventional production.  The Morris conventional trial was corn during 2016 and received 150-60-0-15 of fertilizer in the fall 2016.  The organic trial was planted with alfalfa for two years and liquid swine manure was applied in the fall of 2016.  Read more.