NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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March 22, 2010 Ag Column


The topic everywhere is how much water will IMPACT us this spring.  I was made a liar of last spring as I thought it was impossible for a, near 4 foot raise last year.  One due to the enormous amount of land that needed water over the top plus the fact that the rest of the lake also needed to raise an additional 4 feet, to include Stump lake.  This was all to happen by July of 2009.  Well, it did happen and I had to apologize for my lack of ignorance.  Well once again I am wondering the same question.  I will never disagree with those that know but as I drove across the northern and eastern half of the county, on Sunday, there is not a lot of snow left.  There are many places where the water looks to have gone down and other areas where it would look like the flow has gone down.  PLEASE, keep in mind, there are many areas of water to come to Devils lake and there are coulee’s that are running very good presently however I sure did not see a lot of snow left in the fields.

While we talk about the water and all we also need to be getting ready for the upcoming planting season.  Input costs, machinery costs and land costs are some of the hot topics.  Machinery costs are all self inflected meaning each individual farmer made those decisions, based on many factors to include farming operation, time to upgrade mode or financial reasons.  Whatever those decisions are is what each of you will deal with.  Land costs have been going up at an alarming rate, and do concern me.  We again each have our own farming plans and ideas of our farming operation but we do have a tendency to get caught up in the moment.  I receive many phone calls each winter season asking about cash rents and the information I provide comes directly from the North Dakota Agricultural Statistic Service or (NASS).  This publication is published using the information you provide to the service.  It has the high and lows for the county and also provides the most common rent value.  The last thing I would like to talk about briefly is inputs.  There has been much conversation this year about the unknown nutrient part of plant uptake.  By the unknown I talk about phosphorus and Potassium.  We all know about them but we really do take great pride in knowing about nitrogen.  After soil sampling we generally know our results and how that might affect crop uptake.  I have learned this winter that only small portions of those two nutrients are available to the crop during the season.  Much of those two nutrients are tied up within the soil particle.  In the case of Potassium the plant only has 2% of the total amount available to the plant.  This information was brought forward by Dave Franzen (NDSU Extension Soil Specialist) and George Rehm (University of Minnesota soil scientist).  Crop rotations like corn, wheat and barley are relatively low users of potassium (in the 15-20 pound range) where legumes are much higher users of potassium (60 pound range).  Well, we have all changed our farming practices over the years to include Soybeans and edible beans (at a higher percentage) would indicate that our available potassium is lowering.  Cereal grains use so little that water can actually move potassium out of the soil particle to the outer surface, in enough time, to make that available to the plant. So, when we look at our soil test results of a high or very high level of potassium is really good but how much of the potassium is available to the plant, during the growing season.  My DISCLAIMER is; I am not a soil scientist and therefore do not know about the obvious but only conveying the message.


March 29   Private Pesticide Training, courthouse meeting
                   room, 6 pm. 



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