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Best of the Best workshop brings ND, MN soybean and wheat farmers together

By Carol Stender
cstender@agrinews.com

Date Modified: 03/12/2013 3:09 PM

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MOORHEAD, Minn. — It was a long drive for Bernie Zinda, of Holloway, but the information offered at "The Best of the Best in Wheat and Soybean Research" winter meeting in Moorhead was worth the two hour-plus trip.

University of Minnesota and North Dakota State University researchers presented findings on a range of production topics from soybean cyst nematode management to spray nozzles and drift. Several hands-on demonstrations were also held.

The workshop took place at two sites, Moorhead and Grand Forks, with close to 100 wheat and soybean farmers attending.

Berlin Nelson, NDSU plant pathologist, gave some unsettling news. If SCN is in the field, it's most likely going to remain a problem.

SCN likes the growing conditions of the region, he said. It favors lighter soils and takes longer to build up populations in clay. It cannot reproduce as quickly in a cool year.

Population density depends on the susceptibility of the cultivar.

Nematodes are also persistent. They will adapt to resistant cultivars, he said.

Yield loss can occur without above-ground symptoms, he added. The damage can range from small to dramatic.

Farmers may note lower populations in years of high soil moisture, he said. A good crop rotation and resistant varieties are means of controlling populations.

A new online wheat varietal selection tool has been developed by NDSU and the U of M, said Northwest Research and Outreach Center small grains specialist Jochum Wiersma. The online tool was developed through the Wheat Information Project

"Instead of splitting the 80 (acres) on your farm to test varieties that might work for you, this tool can show you how varieties did at research locations in your area," he said.

On the site www.ag.ndsu.edu/varietyselectiontool/, farmers can enter their zip code and learn how varieties fared in the nine closest locations. The user can refine the results by eliminating locations.

Multiple-year, multiple-location data is valuable information when selecting varieties, he said.

The price of the crop depends in part on how crops fare in other global regions, said Frayne Olson with NDSU Extension. Winter wheat prices are impacted by the conditions in the Black Sea region.

Production problems in Australia and Argentina will help spring wheat prices in the United States, he said.

Olson expects wheat exports to grow especially in the last half of the marketing year. But it will take time to build the market and stocks, he said.

Wheat prices have followed good corn prices. Despite the drought, this region of the United States had good wheat production last year.

What has traders concerned is the U.S. drought monitor. The drought is expected to remain in most of the winter wheat production area of Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Dakota and Montana, he said. Winter wheat is coming out of dormancy now. Farmers and grain traders are monitoring crops.

Managing field and crop conditions was the focus of the hands-on workshops. U of M Extension educator Dave Nicolai focused on spray nozzles and drift. He said it may take more than one nozzle size to accomplish the task. Particle size is also important in controlling drift while effectively covering plants.

NDSU Extension specialist Hans Kandel focused on sub-surface water management. Control structures placed about three feet in the soil along the tile line can capture water during wet periods and release it as needed later in the growing season.

Information from the sessions is available at the small grains website.