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COL Warm winter was bad news for grain

The relatively warm winter was bad news for stored grain, says Bill Wilcke, University of Minnesota ag engineer.

"Grain molds grow faster at warm temperatures,'' he said. "So do stored grain insects. Last winter's mild weather will no doubt lead to an increase in stored grain mold and insect problems this spring and summer.''

Wilcke encourages farmers and elevator managers to check stored grain for signs of mold and insects.

"During the grain inspection, measure grain temperature and moisture at several locations in the bin,'' he said. "If you find warm or wet grain, musty or sour odors or evidence of mold or insect problems, take action soon, well before summer weather arrives.''

Watch out for farm machinery on roads

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Moving farm machines on public roads is a dangerous activity, says Bob Stommes, Pope County (Minn.) Extension educator.

One way to make traveling safer is for tractor operators to use headlights and amber flashers during daytime.

Operators need to remember two things: most roadway collisions involving farm machinery occur during the day, and part of the responsibility of the operator of a slow-moving vehicle is to make the vehicle as visible as possible.

Use of headlights and flashers at all times during roadway travel is an important part of visibility, he said. Using lights and flashers removes the risk that the equipment wasn't seen soon enough to prevent an accident.

No supplemental N recommended now

A University of Minnesota soil scientist at Waseca isn't recommending supplemental nitrogen applications this spring in southern Minnesota fields that received fall nitrogen.

Gyles Randall says precipitation, which causes nitrogen loss, hasn't been excessive either late last fall or so far this spring.

Warm November and early December temperatures caused farmers to be concerned about losing fall-applied N this winter and spring.

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Although Randall isn't recommending supplemental N for fields that received fall applications, the situation could change.

"Greater-than-normal rainfall between now and late June may change this recommendation if N losses seem likely,'' he said.

Call neighbors before applying manure

Applying manure can be a source of considerable odor and conflict for livestock operations. Some steps can be taken to limit tension, says Marvin Zylstra, University of Minnesota Extension educator.

Visit neighbors before spreading manure and find out which neighbors are more sensitive to manure odors. If possible, avoid spreading in their vicinity. Explain what you are doing, he said. Find out of any special activities are planned to avoid manure applications during those times.

Inject manure whenever possible and use low-trajectory spreaders for surface applications. Avoid spreading manure on weekends, holidays, evenings or on hot days when windows are open and manure is extra smelly.

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