col Irrigation scheduling help available

For farmers who irrigate crops, how much water to apply and how often to apply it are key questions. A combination of scheduling tools can help, says Jerry Wright, University of Minnesota Extension engineer.

Wright recently updated a U of M bulletin titled "Irrigation Scheduling: Checkbook Method.''

The bulletin is designed for use in combination with a soil probe, rain gauge and daily crop water evapotranspiration information, Wright said. The revised bulletin includes daily crop water use estimation tables for conventional crops such as alfalfa, corn, potatoes, soybeans, dry beans and sugar beets. It also has a new ET table that estimates the daily crop water use for a generic full-canopy crop throughout the growing season.

Printed copies of the bulletin are available for a nominal cost from county Extension offices.

Alfalfa can be planted in summer


Late summer seeding is an excellent opportunity to establish alfalfa if soil moisture is sufficient for germination, says Dan Martens, Benton County (Minn.) Extension educator.

Weeds are much less likely to germinate late in the summer than in spring. This often allows alfalfa to be seeded without a cover crop and without use of herbicides to control weeds.

Late summer seeding needs six weeks of growth before a killing frost so that it is established as a perennial before winter. Alfalfa will usually survive the winter well if it has grown to three to four inches, Martens said. This allows for the development of a crown, which provides buds and nutrients for spring growth.

In central Minnesota, alfalfa should be seeded by Aug. 5-10 because the average date of a killing frost is generally the last week of September.

Spreadsheet helps in dealing with farm bill

The Extension Service has a free spreadsheet to help with making farm bill decisions.

Because of the complexity of farm bill decisions, using a computer is the easiest way to help calculate the best option, says Kevin Klair, University of Minnesota economist. The Extension's Web site is

"This spreadsheet is more comprehensive than some earlier spreadsheets,'' he said. "However, it still doesn't accommodate all the potential crops a producer may need to evaluate. It also doesn't help answer questions about how to verify past yields.''


Book focuses on livestock odor control

A new book with up-to-date, detailed information on livestock odor management is available from the University of Minnesota.

"Outdoor Air Quality'' was written by U of M engineers and by engineers from other land-grant universities.

The book outlines a science-based approach to measuring air quality and emphasizes basic principles for controlling odor and dust. It's designed to serve as a tool for producers, educators, Extension specialists, regulators, lawmakers and others dealing with odor issues.

The book costs $19.70 for Minnesota residents and $18.50 for non-residents of Minnesota.

To order, send a check to MWPS Orders, 219 Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, University of Minnesota, 1390 Eckles Drive, St. Paul, MN 55108-6005.

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