Carrington Research Extension Center


Center Points

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Fall Tree Care


One of the sure signs of autumn is fall foliage in the landscape as woody plants prepare for winter.  Here are some things that you can do to prepare your trees for the long dormant season:

  1.  PLANT.  Yes, fall is a great time to plant trees.  Cooler temperatures enable plants to acclimate to a new home without the stress of high air and soil temperatures.  While selection at nurseries may be limited, trees are often on sale in the fall.  Make diverse species choices that are suitable for North Dakota’s alkaline soils – don’t buy something just because it seems like a good deal.  And don’t plant more green ash, the most dominant tree in our state’s urban and country landscape.  For winter interest, choose a tree with interesting bark or fruit that hangs on the tree beyond fall.
  2. DON’T FERTILIZE newly planted trees, and only apply slow-release fertilizers on established trees.  Applications of nitrogen will encourage new tree growth which won’t have a chance to harden off before winter.  If you’re fertilizing your lawn, you’re also fertilizing any trees nearby.   Trees have a root spread equal to or greater than the height of the tree.
  3. WRAP newly planted trees with brown kraft paper, starting at ground level and working your way up the tree to the first branch. White plastic tubing can also be used.  This protects young trees from winter sunscald on the southwest exposure of the trunk, and will also deter rodents from feeding on the bark.  Trees most susceptible include fruit trees, mountain ash, honeylocust, maples and linden.  Tree wraps should be removed in the spring.

  4. WATER trees before freeze-up.  Tree roots remain active until soil temperatures dip below 40 degrees.  Watering is especially beneficial for evergreens, which transpire tiny amounts of moisture through their needles throughout the winter months. 
  5. HERBICIDE APPLICATIONS should be done with caution around trees.  Herbicides are most effective on lawns in the fall, but some herbicides can be detrimental to tree roots, especially with repeat applications.  Spot spray, if possible.  Learn to tolerate a few weeds – a diverse habitat is pollinator-friendly!
  6. PRUNING is best done when trees are dormant, so leave that task until early spring.  Routine pruning in early spring before buds swell enables the tree to naturally seal off pruning wounds most effectively.  Broken branches should be properly pruned as soon as they are noticed.  Don’t use pruning sealer, tar or paint on any tree cuts or wounds.  A proper pruning cut doesn’t require sealer, and no amount of sealer can fix a bad pruning cut. 
  7. FIREWOOD.  For those who burn wood, fall is a popular time to harvest and cut firewood, or purchase it from a seller.  Keep invasive pests away by purchasing or harvesting firewood locally.  Transport of infested firewood is most likely how emerald ash borer (EAB) will make its way to North Dakota.  With new finds in 2018, EAB is now established and confirmed in 35 states including Minnesota and South Dakota, and Winnipeg.  This invasive pest is closing in upon North Dakota.  Don’t move firewood.  Protect North Dakota’s trees!

FallFoliageHappy Fall!

Gerri Makay

ND Forest Service, Community Forestry Program Manager

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Some Changes, but Familiar Faces, at Farm Management Education


Many local producers rely on services and advice offered by the impartial Farm Management Educators across the state of North Dakota, and the Carrington REC is pleased to continue to host ND Farm Management Education in our area.

The purpose of the FME program is to assist clients in meeting business and personal goals through the use of quality records and sound business decisions.  North Dakota FME provides instructional assistance in four major areas:

  • Business and family goal setting
  • Farm and ranch business records and accounting
  • Planning, including budgeting, marketing, and succession
  • Business analysis

The Carrington FME program began in 1980 with Steve Metzger, who had an office in the Carrington High School Ag. Ed. Building, where he taught high school vocational agriculture classes and worked with adult producers part-time.  The FME program moved to full-time status in 1985, and in 1997 Steve moved his office to the Carrington REC.  Until last year, local instructors have been employed by Carrington Public Schools. Steve “retired” to part-time status in 2015.

After the resignation of Jory Hansen this summer, the program has transitioned employment and management to Lake Region State College, but still has its office at the CREC. The FME program will operate as it has in the past, with the same services and programs.

Joel Lemer is one of 16 FME instructors across the state, but he is not new to agriculture nor to education.  Joel most recently served eight years as the Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent for Foster County, and prior to that was an Ag. Ed. Instructor and FFA advisor at Carrington Public Schools for 28 years. Joel is originally from Drake, ND, is married and has three adult children and five grandchildren.

Joel recently mailed packets to current participants, outlining new procedures required by Lake Region State College.  Most notable is a change in registration:  clients enroll as students at Lake Region, and pay college tuition instead of program fees. (Farm Management Education 241 is for producers just beginning the program, and FME 242 is for veterans.)  Fees have increased slightly, but producers earn college credits for their participation.  Clients must enroll for both semesters to retain year-round coverage.  New clients are welcome!

As with all higher education, there are deadlines.  Enrollment for the Fall Semester is due by September 15.

And Steve Metzger?  He’s continuing to work part-time, now as staff at Lake Region State College, with his office still at the CREC.

If you have Farm Management Education questions please call 701-652-2951 or visit Joel/Steve in person at the CREC.


Welcome to the CREC, Joel!

CREC Staff

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Ergot and Cattle Feed Don’t Mix


Grain screenings are routinely used as cattle feed.  Since the price of screenings is substantially reduced compared to other feedstuffs, it is an economical feed source for the cattle producer. The use of this feed source also helps grain farmers avoid discarding or landfilling the screenings.

HOWEVER, this year’s small grains or small grain screenings may contain ergot.  Some fields may be affected with ergot more or less than others. There are purchasing elevators that have rejected small grains this season because of ergot levels. The next question is:  “If the elevator rejected the grain can I sell it or use it for cattle feed?”

The poison is in the dose and dilution is the answer.   Let’s use this example:  The elevator rejected the grain since it was over 0.5% ergot bodies by weight. The NDSU toxicologist’s recommended maximum is 0.1% ergot by weight. If the feed was 0.2% ergot by weight, then limiting this feed at 50% of the ration by weight may not show symptoms of toxicity.  Another example:  if the feed was 2.0% ergot by weight, then limiting this feed at 5% of the ration by weight may not show toxicity.

Be careful to obtain a representative feed sample.  If the sample containing ergot was not representative of a more concentrated portion of the feed, then you will be mistakenly feeding a more toxic ration. 

Ergot comprises multiple compounds including ergotamine, ergovaline, ergocryptine, ergocornine, and ergocristine.  The compounds are persistent vasoconstrictors; they reduce the blood flow.  Reduced blood flow to the extremities can cause loss of hooves, tails, and ears.  In the summer, the cattle cannot dissipate heat and are heat stressed.  In the winter, reduced blood flow to the extremities can lead to frostbite.  Decreased fertility, abortion and poor cattle performance are other symptoms.

Ergot-containing feed can be analyzed for the active ergot compounds. The NDSU Veterinary Diagnostic Toxicology laboratory can analyze ergot-containing samples for a fee.

Ergot can affect rye.  The long black ergot bodies in rye are easily detected. Ergot in wheat is described as black or dark purple hard outside shells with white to grey insides.


The picture above has about 80 ergot bodies per 1000 kernels of wheat. Roughly, that’s 8% ergot. That would be limit feeding to 1% of the cattle ration.  If you decide to feed at 1% of the ration, be sure to have excellent mixing capabilities since a ‘hot spot’ or an inadequately mixed feed could harm a calf or cow.

ErgotScreeningsScreenings should always be suspect for ergot.

Karl Hoppe, Ph. D.

Extension Livestock Specialist

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What App Should I Use to Fly My DJI Drone on My Farm?


First of all, why DJI drones? DJI drones are among the most popular and easy to fly drones on the market today (models such as Phantom and Mavic). The choice about what app to use should be based on the goals of the flight.

There are many apps that can be used to fly a drone. I will focus on three free apps (DJI GO 4, DJI GS Pro, and Pix4DCapture) that I often use to fly our Phantom 4 Pro. With the exception of DJI GS Pro, the apps are available for both Android and IOS devices. I am not going to dig into too much detail about each app. There is a wealth of information online covering those topics. My goal is to provide some guidance on what app to use for different purposes on your farm.

If you are planning to fly a drone around to capture videos and pictures of your property, DJI GO 4 would be my recommendation. The app will give you a live view from the camera and allow you to easily switch between picture and video, among many other features.

Figure 1. DJI GO 4 app main screen.

If you are planning to use your drone as a scouting tool, the DJI GS Pro would be my recommendation. The app allows you to create a route of waypoints (Figure 2) just by touching the screen. The route can be adjusted by dragging the points around and/or by adding points. Once the route is finalized, one can set actions for each point (hover time, gimbal angle, capture a photo, etc.). Once parameters are set for one point, they can be pasted to all points. On this type of mission, pictures will be taken at each point only, which is different from a survey mission.

Figure 2. DJI GS Pro waypoint mission example (left) and a zoomed in picture collected during that mission (right).

To fly a survey mission (to map a large field), I would recommend Pix4Dcapture (Figure 3). Two of the reasons I like Pix4Dcapture are the templates for the different types of missions (polygons, grid, double-grid, and circular), and because it saves the previous missions (under project list) and the “duplicate” feature allows you to fly the same mission over and over again. The grid and duplicate mission features have saved me a lot of time on mission planning!

Figure 3. Grid mission example (left, approximately 40 acres) and Pix4Dcapture app main screen (right).

If you need help using the apps listed above, you are welcome to send me an email ( or give me a call (701.652.2951), and I will do my best to assist you. The last thing that I will mention, and it applies to all apps, is that you will have a better experience flying drones using a tablet type devices (larger screen), instead of using smaller screen devices (smartphone).


Paulo Flores, Ph. D.
Precision Ag Specialist

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Phosphorus Fertilization of Wheat Significantly Improved Yield and Crop Vigor



To assess yield impact of phosphorus on four spring wheat varieties grown in North Dakota.


  • Varieties grown (2018): Albany, Bolles, Linkert, Prosper
  • Triple super phosphate fertilizer was broadcast and incorporated one day before seeding, at the equivalent rate of 0, 12, 24 lbs P2O5/ac.
  • Another treatment was applied with the seed at 7.2 lbs P2O5/ac.
  • Soil test for P was low (4 ppm). The NDSU phosphorus recommendation for spring wheat is that, application with the seeds should be reduced to one third of the broadcast rate.


  • Yields were significantly different between varieties in this order: Albany (54.2 bu) = Prosper (53.7 bu) > Bolles (48.7 bu) > Linkert (44.1 bu).
  • There was no clear evidence to suggest that phosphorus had significantly more impact on yield of one variety than another.


  • Application of 7.2 lbs P with the seed significantly improved grain yield by 6.4 bushels compared to the control (0 lbs P), and by 4.2 bushels compared to 12 lbs P applied by broadcasting.
  • Yield improved by 4.9 bushels with 24 lbs P broadcast and incorporated, compared to the control.
  • Meanwhile, yield differences were not significant between the control and 12 lbs rate, and between 12 and 24 lbs P rates.

  • Crop vigor was assessed 42 days after planting, by measuring light reflectance (NDVI) from the crop canopy of each plot using the GreenSeeker sensor.
  • The most vigorous treatments were at P = 7.2 lbs seed applied, and 24 lbs broadcast and incorporated.


  • In-furrow application of starter phosphorus at one third the recommended broadcast rate produced the highest yields. This is consistent with the in-furrow recommended rate of phosphorus as a percentage of the broadcast rate for yield optimization in the current growing season.
  • Consideration for rates to apply must include, in addition to soil test, cost of application and grain price. For more on phosphorus recommendation for spring wheat visit this page by Dr. Dave Franzen


Jasper M. Teboh, Ph. D.
Soil Scientist

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Corn, Dry bean and Soybean Production Tour at CREC on August 23


What are the most economically important disease threats in corn, soybean and dry bean, and how to manage them? How can I get the most return on my starter fertilizer in corn and dry bean? Why should I consider using rye in my soybean or dry bean fields? Farmers and crop advisers will have these and other production questions answered during the annual row crop field tour on Thursday, Aug. 23, at North Dakota State University’s Carrington Research Extension Center.

Registration (with refreshments) will start at 4 p.m. and the tour will begin promptly at 4:30.

Tour topics are:

  • Goss’ wilt and leaf blight management in corn
  • Managing soybean cyst nematode and root diseases in soybean and dry bean
  • Choosing row spacing to minimize the impact of white mold in soybean
  • Optimizing fungicide control of white mold in soybean and dry bean
  • Research update with rye as a cover crop for soybean and dry bean
  • Soybean and dry bean variety performance and selection
  • Corn and dry bean starter fertilizer research update

A supper sponsored by North Dakota Soybean Council and Northarvest Bean Growers Association will follow the tour.

Continuing education credits in crop (1), pest (1), nutrient (0.5), and soil and water (0.5) management will be available for certified crop advisers participating in the event.

If you have questions you may contact Greg at 701-652-2951.

Greg Endres

Agronomy Extension Specialist


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August is Full of It!


Green stuff? Brown stuff? The brown stuff makes green stuff? I could go on and on. Jokes in the “manure world” are endless and make me smile. If you’re looking for your fill of fun and education on manure and nutrient management, August is the month for you!

You’ve heard me talking about it for a year and now it’s finally time. The North American Manure Expo will be co-hosted by NDSU Extension on August 15-16 in Brookings, SD. If you have livestock that produce the brown/green stuff, have ever wondered about using manure as a fertilizer, or just think the Manure Expo sounds interesting, then plan to head south next week. You will not have the opportunity this close to home to have experts in the industry (including livestock and crop farmers) answer your questions at the educational sessions, see the latest manure spreading equipment go head-to-head on the demonstration fields, and attend the largest (only? But it IS big!) manure industry expo. Tours on August 15 are $20 to hold you seat on the bus. The Manure Expo on August 16 is free, but registration is appreciated. If you make the trek south, make sure you find me and say hi!


If sticking closer to home is more your thing, don’t worry, because the week following Manure Expo is Nutrient Management (NM) Day at the Carrington Research Extension Center. Plans are finalized and registration is open for the August 22 event. Every year I wonder if there’s anything new I can share with you and every year I get more excited once NM Day is planned. This year you will find me in the front row taking in all the latest information:  new technologies in the compost industry, how to manage herbicide residuals in compost and manure, integrating the manure spreader with autosteer and adjusting the application rate automatically,  and checking out actual results of product inconsistency and the importance of knowing what’s being spread where. We have speakers from NDSU Extension, Hefty Seed Company, Centrol Crop Consulting, Corteva Agriscience, and Topcon Agriculture joining us. Folks, I haven’t been this excited for a NM Day since…last year! You can find more details on the LEM website: The event runs from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

And if you’re more of an on-the-farm person, this final manure event is for you! On Friday, August 24 we will be at Bloms Land and Cattle, LLC in Renville County for a manure compost demonstration day. The event will run from 10 a.m. to noon. We will discuss the process of composting manure, do a live turner demonstration, hear from the producer who has been running the turner and answer questions about using compost as a fertilizer. This event is free and there is no registration. Event details can be found here:

Manure Compost Demo Day on-farm site.

August will be a (slurry) flurry of manure excitement and I hope to see you at one of these events. Let me know if you have any questions or 701.652.2951.


Mary Berg
Extension Specialist/ Livestock Environment Management


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Good Bugs II: Farming with Native Beneficial Insects for Pest Control


The Carrington REC is hosting the program Good Bugs II on Thursday, August 16th, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (and in Grand Forks on August 15th). It will be both an overview and have some specific information on beneficial insects and the habitat they require. Insects include pollinators, but also predators for crop pests.  We will discuss what both homeowners and farmers can do to increase or improve the necessary habitat. 

Register here:!

We hope to reach gardeners/homeowners, farmers, ranchers, certified crop advisors and Extension agents. If you enjoy insects as much as I do, and hate pests – this workshop is for you! (Of course, you can always forward to your buggy friends.) There are a lot of simple things we can do in our local environment to help insect communities.


1: Friend or Foe? -Ambush Bug

At the CREC orchard, we have a great plain of dandelions just south of the orchard and many more within the fence. These, along with willows in the shelterbelt, provide very-early spring food sources for bees and warblers.  Half the fenced area is old tree trials that burst into bloom in mid-summer with clovers and alfalfa.  After Field Day, I stop mowing the orchard and let the clovers get going for fall flowers.  Over the past 4-5 years, I feel like I really see a lot more birds nesting and good numbers of wild bees and syrphid flies. We find several kinds of beneficial wasps, too. I could still use more early bumble bees though.

Conservation biological control is a science-based pest management strategy that seeks to integrate beneficial insects back into cropping systems for natural pest control, ultimately reducing and in some cases eliminating the need for pesticides. Participants will learn how common farm practices can impact beneficial insects and how to assess and create farm habitat for beneficial insects.

2: Friend or Foe? -Katydid Nymph

The Good Bugs II meeting is put on by Xerces Society, SCD, NRCS and Extension. Its real name is “Farming with Beneficial Insects for Pest Control” but we are going with Good Bugs II.  Hope to see you there!

3. Friend or Foe? -European Honey Bee

Answers to the Friend or Foe questions below:

  1. Ambush bugs are smaller, heavier-bodied cousins to assassin bugs but instead of stalking other insects, they wait motionless for their prey to wander near. The ambush bug seizes the insect with its powerful forelegs and quickly dispatches it with a stab from its sharp beak.  Ambush bugs eat everything that walks by, so they eat insects both harmful and helpful to plants.
  2. Katydids include members that eat both plant parts (leaves, flowers, seeds) and that are exclusively predatory on other insects or snails.  So, they are both friend and foe.  However, the one pictured here is a plant eater – so probably a foe.
  3. Honey Bees are tricky.  They are friends to humans since we get economic gain from their work.  However, they are foes of other wild bees, the ones most helpful to pollinating the world around us.  Honey bees strip nectar and pollen early in the day leaving little for their wild cousins.  In addition, they may carry diseases that can be transmitted to wild bees just by visiting the same flowers.

Kathy Wiederholt
Fruit Project Manager

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Is It Over Already?


Last week was a busy one for us here at the CREC. Those who attended know that we held our Annual Field Day on July 17th. We also had follow up field events the rest of the week which made time fly past. We always enjoy having visitors (even during our busy seasons) and welcome you to call (701.652.2951) or stop by the office anytime to schedule a tour. Following are a few highlights from our 2018 Annual Field Day.

The agronomy tours had an excellent turnout to go along with a great lineup of speakers and topics. Guests got to hear the latest information about remote sensing, protein premiums, field pea and soybean marketing, cover crops, wheat variety development, legume disease management, corn growth and development, and more! All in attendance had something new to think about for their own operations. - Mike Ostlie

Participants of the 2018 CREC Annual Field Day agronomy tour learn about corn growth and development. 

Attendees of the fruit project tour enjoyed a beautiful day as they received information on growing aronia from Dave Vander Werf. Vander Werf and his wife grow and harvest 15 acres of aronia, which was planted in 2012, near Hawarden, IA.  In the afternoon, guests enjoyed a taste of aronia ice cream and frozen aronia berries while they listened to a discussion on aronia sales and marketing. About 55 people attended each session. – Kathy Wiederholt

Dave Vander Werf and guests standing near aronia shrubs at the 2018 CREC Annual Field Day fruit project tour.

Fifty-nine people attended organic tour this year. Ancient grains, einkorn, emmer, and spelt were featured with presentations covering topics from production research to current marketing trends. We also learned about current development related to organic field pea varieties that will be available to organic farmers in the near future. Current organic oat was also highlighted. Overall, the organic tour had a good representation from both the public and private sector educating the participants on topics related to organic research conducted at the CREC. – Steve Zwinger

Organic emmer was a focus area for the 2018 CREC Annual Field Day organic tour.

The livestock production tour featured a variety of presentations from CREC, Extension and other main campus guests. Presentations covered topics including beef quality assurance, feedlot management, and reproductive management in beef cows. Demonstrations highlighted turning manure compost and ultrasound of beef cows for pregnancy determination. Approximately 40 people joined the livestock tour this year. - Bryan Neville

Folks gathering on the wagon heading to the livestock production tour during the 2018 CREC Annual Field Day.

As always, be sure to send us tour stop suggestions for next year!


Mary Berg
Extension Specialist/Livestock Environmental Management


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Tomorrow is the Day!


Tomorrow is our annual Field Day – our largest showcase event of the year.


Of course, we are always available to answer your questions on the phone or in person, and we host many tour groups each summer.  Please call to schedule your group, whether everyone is local or you have a carload of visitors from out of state.  We cater tours to the size and interest of your group. We hope to see you soon.


CREC Staff

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