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Extension > Local Extension Offices > Dakota > County Agriculture Educator > Articles


  • Irrigation water management tools: Soil moisture monitoring

    Monitoring the amount of water stored in the soil can help irrigators decide when and how much to irrigate. With recent advances in cellular telemetry and computer software, many new tools are available to monitor soil moisture and use that information to make irrigation water management decisions. Finding the right tools that meet your needs is all about finding the right equipment, and the right price, to optimize profitability. This article will describe some of the traditional and newer options available for monitoring soil moisture.
  • Report on economic impact of local food operations

    If you've been looking for numbers on the economics of local food production, you might find this new report from the U of M useful: "A study of the financial performance of 11 commercial vegetable operations in central Minnesota."
  • Emerald ash borer update

    Emerald ash borer has been found at three sites in Dakota County. Extension has an updated guide to this tree pest.
  • Private Pesticide Applicator Re-certification Workshops

    Farmers can renew permits again this year by 1 of 3 options.
  • Big Ten News highlights UMN crop breeding program

    UMN's Forever Green Initiative is simultaneously breeding higher-yielding intermediate wheatgrass and also developing the market for the grain. The goal is to improve both farmers livelihoods and the environment.
  • Cover Crop Resources

    Cozy up with one of these books or websites this winter.
  • Guide to Dakota County food policy available online

    With funding from Dakota County Public Health, a local group called Homegrown South hired the Public Law Center to search through local ordinances and prepare a report on how they relate to local food production, from back-yard chickens to farm stands. The report is available free online.
  • Resources to help with transition to organic

    Along with the Dec 3 event in Rochester, the U of M offers two free publications to help farmers who are interested in transitioning to organic.
  • New information for corn after alfalfa

    Product of 4 years of research on 31 farms.
  • Intro to cover crops

    Cover crops are popping up in the news and in fields across Minnesota. This article is meant to be an introduction to the basics for those who feel overwhelmed and want somewhere to start.
  • Focus on Ag Newsletter, November 2015

    Dakota County Extension publishes a print newsletter several times a year, and an e-mail newsletter monthly.
  • MN Farm Assistance Network offers help to farmers in economic hardship

    MFAN provides business and financial guidance at no cost to Minnesota farmers and farm families facing economic hardship. Farm families seeking assistance can call MFAN toll-free at 1-877-898-MFAN (6326). In the Twin Cities metro area, the number is 651-6326.
  • Beyond beauty: marketing imperfect produce

    Extension Professor Terry Nennich and The Good Food Network have published two reports and a webinar on possibilities for expanding Minnesota market opportunities for cosmetically imperfect fruits and vegetables.
  • Free ag plastic recycling: bunker covers, silage bags, bale wraps

    The Rural Solid Waste Commision is offering free recycling of agricultural film plastic at three Dakota County locations.
  • "Cheat-sheets" available for renewable energy grant applications

    Clean Energy Resource Teams just published example applications for the Rural Energy for America Program. These examples are designed to help farmers understand the application, what information the form is looking for, and how the application will be scored.
  • Pioneer Press series on water quality profiles local farmers, residents

    The Pioneer Press has been running a series of articles on water quality. Their September 5th issue featured the conservation efforts of local farmers Greg and Dan Stoffel.
  • Farmland and mentor matching website launched by MDA

    The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announces the creation of Minnesota Farm Link, a web-based tool designed to link farmers and farmland.
  • 2015 field day gives inside scoop on local Extension research

    We had a great field day at the Rosemount Research and Outreach Center this week. Over 40 guests got a guided tour of four of the many research projects going on at the Research Center. Read on to learn what they saw.
  • Dakota County winery featured in Pioneer Press

    A recent article in the Pioneer Press describes the history of the now multi-million dollar Minnesota wine industry, which started at Alexis Bailly Vineyard in Hastings.
  • July Video Picks: Ag drones, innovative seeders, pests, and diseases

    I chose this month's videos as a "trailer" for the August field day. Read on for a preview of what you'll see at the Rosemount research farm on August 25th.
  • Learn about tillage and soil health online

    If you were unable to attend the "What Impact is My Tillage System Having on Soil Health" field day at the SWROC in Lamberton on July 1 or would like to review some of the information presented, you can now view copies of several presentations online.
  • New Deep Winter Greenhouse website

    A new page on Extension's website offers information about how to build a passive solar greenhouse and produce food in winter.
  • New guide to protecting your pets from pesticide poisoning

    University of Nebraska Extension just published a guide discussing concerns about pesticide poisoning in pets, how to prevent accidental exposure, and what to do if poisoning does occur. Examples include pesticide poisoning through contact with pesticides in yards or homes (including ingestion of snail/slug baits), and misuse of flea and tick collars or spot-on treatments.
  • Want help understanding renewable energy options?

    A partnership between Extension, the USDA, and CERTS recently began offering help specifically for farmers and rural small businesses interested in renewable energy.
  • Two state reports on water quality

    The MDH and MPCA both recently published reports on Minnesota water quality. Extension offers educational resources about agricultural practices that can help protect water quality.
  • Avian influenza update

    USDA-APHIS has confirmed H5N2 Avian Influenza Virus in commercial turkey flocks in 21 Minnesota counties. The CDC considers the risk to people to be low. Poultry owners should monitor their flocks and report sick or dead birds to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. Extension has information about biosecurity practices, financial planning, and 4-H activities.
  • U of M research could make cover crops a money maker

    The Forever Green Initiative is breeding pennycress to serve double-duty as both a winter cover and an oilseed cash crop.
  • Elevation maps available online

    Free topographical (elevation) maps of Minnesota are now available online from the DNR. These maps can be useful if you are trying to predict where erosion will happen, design conservation structures, or do other landscaping work.
  • Local 4-H team explores soil health

    The 4-H Topsoil Team is one of 20 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge teams across Minnesota working with local experts to identify solutions in their communities and develop science-based solutions. They're also from Dakota County! And they've been featured in a video on the 4-H YouTube Channel.
  • Health tip: ABCDE's of skin cancer

    For those of us who spend a lot of time out in the sun, keeping an eye on changes in our skin is particularly important. Watch this U of M video to learn about the ABCDE's of skin cancer detection.
  • With spring planting, don't forget about safety

    Spring can be a hectic time, which can lead to long days, tired bodies and mind, and farm accidents. By being cognizant of the dangers of farming, and taking the proper safety precautions, more of these accidents can be prevented.
  • Crop News articles on anhydrous ammonia, irrigation, and more

    If you don't already subscribe to MN Crop News, now is the time. With the growing season starting, timely resources are being posted by Extension specialists on everything from anhydrous ammonia to irrigation to assessing cold damage. Read more for a list of Crop News articles published so far in April.
  • Irrigation Extension Website Launched!

    The new irrigation Extension website is up and running. We have added some new resources and updated some of the past resources. Check it out and watch for updates as we add more resources.
  • New N Recs for Irrigated Sands, Based on Local Research

    Revised fertilizer guidelines for corn grown on irrigated sandy soils have been published by University of Minnesota Extension. These new recommendations are locally important because irrigated sands are relatively common in the eastern part of the county, and because local farmers played a key role in developing the new recommendations.
  • MDA Publishes Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan

    The MDA has published its revised Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan, which is "Minnesota's blueprint for prevention or minimization of the impacts of nitrogen fertilizer on groundwater."
  • How to dispose of waste pesticide and empty containers

    At the Crops Day on March 18th, someone asked me a good question about where to recycle empty pesticide containers. I've done a little digging, and here's what I've found out.
  • Planting? Extension research can help.

    With the above-average temperatures and below-average rainfall so far this spring, many are considering whether to plant early this year. A brand new article by Jeff Coulter can help with that decision for corn, and we also have many resources for soybeans, small grains, and other crops.
  • New info for rotating from alfalfa to corn

    A new Extension bulletin describes management practices for alfalfa termination and the two subsequent corn crops that will help growers utilize the benefits of alfalfa.
  • JEQ Special Issue on Nitrogen Use Efficiency

    The latest issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality features a special section of 14 papers about improving how efficiently we use nitrogen to produce food.
  • Local farmer Martin Diffley featured in national article

    A recent article on breeding plants for organic agriculture features Diffley's new sweet variety.
  • Emerald ash borer found in Dakota County

    Because of this find, Dakota County will join Hennepin, Houston, Olmsted, Ramsey, and Winona counties in a state and federal quarantine. The quarantine is in place to help prevent EAB from spreading outside a known infested area. It is designed to limit the movement of any items that may be infested with EAB, including ash trees and ash tree limbs, as well as all hardwood firewood.
  • Free e-book on Cold Climate Strawberry Farming

    Thinking about adding a fruit crop to your rotation? Already growing strawberries, and looking for ways to improve your system? This new free e-book from the U of M is for you.
  • ASA highlights in-season nitrogen application

    The American Society of Agronomy just published a great article called "What's driving adoption of in-season nitrogen application?" Click to read more about the status of side-dressing and split applications across the Midwest.
  • On-farm research opportunity: soil testing

    Want to participate in a state-wide research project? Extension's Soil Scientist, Dan Kaiser, is recruiting again for his Soil Test Sentinel Program.
  • Grants and Funding: Running Directory

    There are a lot of great programs out there to help farmers adopt conservation practices, do on-farm research, or take courses. Keeping up with all these programs can be confusing, so I will collect links to different funding programs here as I hear about them.
  • Agriculture on YouTube: Nov 2014

    Got five minutes to learn something new? Here is a round-up of YouTube videos on chemigation, hoop-house drip tape, precision nitrogen management, drainage water management, and more. Plus one silly video just for fun.
  • Sustainable Harvest of Corn Residue

    How much corn residue can you sustainably harvest for feed and bedding? How much corn residue do you need to leave in the field to protect against erosion and maintain the soil's organic carbon? Read on for information to help you make these harvest decisions.
  • Video: How to sample groundwater for testing

    Extension's Small Farms group has a helpful video on how to sample water for testing for food safety and Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs).
  • Farm Business Management Scholarship for Beginning Farmers

    The MDA is offering scholarships to MnSCU's Farm Business Management Program. Farmers who have been operating for <10 years are eligible.
  • Dakota County offering grants for well sealing

    If you have an unused well on your property, Dakota County is offering to share the cost of sealing it.
  • Extension on the Radio!

    Hear a weekly Dakota County Extension update on KDHL 920 AM.
  • Nitrogen, irrigation, and soybean aphids at the 2014 Dakota County Field Day

    The 6th Annual Dakota County Field Day was held on August 12, 2014. If you attended and were inspired to learn more, or did not and want to see what you missed, this article is for you. Read on for handouts from the talks and links to related Extension resources on nitrogen management, irrigation scheduling, and soybean aphid IPM.
  • Join the E-mail List

    Would you like to join the e-mail list for Dakota County Ag Extension announcements?
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