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A planting of alfalfa.

Effects of Late Spring Frost on Alfalfa

Forage research indicates that, although alfalfa is considered to have good cold temperature tolerance, minor frost damage may occur when plants are exposed to air temperatures slightly below freezing for several hours, and more severe damage will be seen when temperatures drop below 25°F for four or more hours.

bunches of Aronia berries still on a bush

What is This Fruit… And is it Edible?

In mid- to late-summer, we often get the questions: “What kind of fruit is this?” and “Is it edible?” To identify a fruit, it is helpful to know both plant and fruit characteristics: Woody or herbaceous plant? Vining or upright? Do the leaves attach to the stem opposite each other (i.e., paired), or do they alternate from one side of the stem to the other? What size and color are the fruit? Is each fruit’s stem attached directly to the twig, or are they in a cluster that attaches to the twig? And, one question I find often helpful in distinguishing among smaller fruits, does it have a single pit, or are there several seed in each fruit?

SDSU Extension Grain Basis Tool output displaying a Corn Spot Basis Map for May 12, 2020.

South Dakota Grain Basis Tools

South Dakota farmers can monitor South Dakota basis for corn, soybeans, spring wheat and hard red winter wheat in their region relative to export bids and historical basis ranges using the SDSU Extension Grain Basis Tool.

SDSU Extension Winter Wheat Variety trials. One plot is showing more yellowing and stress than other plots.

Low Temperature Effects on Winter Wheat

Low temperatures during the early morning hours of May 9–11, 2020 may have had detrimental effects on winter wheat in some areas of South Dakota. However, cooler spring temperatures that have slowed the winter wheat development this year may have actually been beneficial to S.D. producers, as later-maturing wheat is not as susceptible to injury from freezing temperatures.

A lush, green cluster of garden peas with several pods developed.

Peas: How to Grow It

The most common type of pea in American gardens is the shelling pea, also called the “garden pea” or “English pea.” Tender, sweet peas are removed from thin, tough pods before eating.

Green beans growing a garden.

Green Beans: How to Grow It

Snap beans, also called “green beans” or “string beans” (although most modern varieties do not have strings) are harvested when the pods contain immature seeds, and the pods are still succulent.

Two dandelions side by side. The left has a bee foraging on it. The right has a hover fly foraging on it..

Why Those Dandelions in Your Yard Aren’t So Bad

While research has shown that pollinators, specifically honey bees, can’t survive on dandelion pollen alone, this doesn’t mean that the dandelions aren’t still important for pollinators.

Three wheat plants exhibiting disease symptoms. From left: Tan spot, powdery mildew, and Barley yellow dwarf.

Winter Wheat Diseases Update: Fungal Diseases and Barley Yellow Dwarf Developing

Tan spot and powdery mildew as well as barley yellow dwarf were found developing at low levels in winter wheat fields scouted the week of May 24, 2020.

A white and gray, mold-like growth on an ear of sweet corn.

What's Bugging Your Garden? Smut on Sweet Corn

Smut is a fungal disease that can attack the leaves, stalks, tassels, silks and cobs. While many fungal diseases cause spots on the leaves or stems, smut is much more flamboyant.

a close up of buckthorn berries

Woody Weeds: Common Buckthorn

When considering weed control in tree plantings, the focus is generally placed on the control of herbaceous vegetation (grasses and forbs), particularly during the establishment phase. This focus is appropriate since control of herbaceous weeds is generally critical to establish a successful planting. As these plantings mature, providing perching sites for birds, another weed problem develops – the establishment of competing woody vegetation. These woody weeds are often left unchecked for many years because they look “natural” in a windbreak or other area of trees.