News

University leadership is providing us guidance and support as we navigate through the COVID-19 situation. To protect the health and safety of our employees and the public, the SWROC is functioning under reduced operations. Please note the following as we work through unknowns of the COVID-19 situation:

  • Upcoming meetings and events at the SWROC are cancelled or postponed through at least June 30th. Events beginning in July will be evaluated as the situation changes. With questions about meeting room rentals or events, contact Gretchen Thillen or Molly Werner.

  • Research activity will continue in accordance with CFANS and SWROC policy. If you have research at the SWROC and need information on current protocols, contact Jodie Getting or Steve Quiring.

The 2020 Farm Management Probability Conference is now available to view online free of charge!  Since the in-person conference was canceled,  presenters recorded their presentations for interested producers and ag professionals to view from home. 

The program features Monica Kramer McConkey, Rural Mental Health Specialist with MN Dept. of Agriculture, exploring unique stressors affecting farmers, warning signs that may indicate they are struggling emotionally, and strategies to assist.  U of M Extension Economist & Associate Director of UMN CFFM Dale Nordquist presents a top farmer research study into the characteristics of highly successful farmers. The conference also includes an analysis of the 2019 profitability trends of the Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Association’s (SWMFBMA) member farms and a presentation on Structuring the Farm to Succeed: What Farm Business Entity is Right for You?

To view the recorded conference using your computer on mobile device, visit: SWFM Educational Opportunities

The 2020 Horticulture Day Program and Farm Management Profitability Conference have been canceled. These cancelations follow the CDC recommendation that for the next 8 weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the U.S. 

SWROC is now accepting applications for 2020 summer student plot technicians. These technicians normally work 40 hours per week and are responsible for assisting in the preparation, planting, caring for, sampling, and harvesting of crops and collection of research data. This is a great resume-building opportunity and gives students hands-on experience with research. View and download the full position description and application here.

2019 was a year of high precipitation and snowfall at the SWROC. Most notably, the 82” of snow recorded during the 2019 winter (Oct. 1, 2018-April 30, 2019) set a new snowfall record for the site. The previous record of 77.8” was set in 1984. A cold and snowy month of February contributed significantly to the record-breaking snowfall total. Snow was recorded on 17 days out of the month, bringing February’s monthly total snowfall to 31.9”. Air temperatures averaged a high of 14ºF and a low of -4ºF in February, significantly lower than the historic average high and low of 28ºF and 8ºF.

IPM Specialist Bruce Potter will lead a special soybean gall midge informational meeting at the American Legion in Montevideo on Friday, February 14th from 10:30 am to 11:30 am. The soybean gall midge is a new pest found in several soybean fields in Montevideo's surrounding area during the 2019 growing season.

Sign up to attend the soybean gall midge informational meeting.

This information session is being held in conjunction with the University of Minnesota Extension Private Pesticide Applicator Recertification Workshop. The PPAT recertification workshop will begin after the soybean gall midge meeting at 12:30 pm. 

The Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) have published the 2019 Field Crop Trials Bulletin. Visit https://z.umn.edu/2019croptrials to see variety trial results for 11 crops, including: alfalfa, barley, canola, corn grain, corn silage, oat, red clover, soybean, spring wheat, winter rye and winter wheat.

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.

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