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A patch of western wheatgrass with ergot fungus growing throughout.

Ergot in Western Wheatgrass and the Potential Effects for Winter Grazing

2019 has been a year fraught with challenges for ranchers across South Dakota. Abundant precipitation is usually a blessing, however, wet conditions coupled with a cool spring followed by warmer temperatures has caused another problem across the rangelands of South Dakota: ergot poisoning.

Hands holding a notebook with a meal planning grid drawn out. The grid has sections for breakfast, lunch and dinner across several days.

Reduce Stress With Meal Planning

We all experience a variety of stress in everyday life. One way to reduce unnecessary stress is the plan meals in advance.

A red sprayer in a green field with a cloudy sky in the background.

How to Stop Drift

The goals of applying any crop protection products include: increasing effectiveness, mitigating drift, and maximizing profits. We will focus on mitigating drift, even though all three interact with each other.

A rancher inspecting the water quality of a small stock pond.

How Do Sulfates in Water Affect Livestock Health?

Poor-quality water will cause an animal to drink less. As a result, they also consume less forage and feed, which leads to weight loss, decreased milk production and lower fertility.

A stock pond with noticable blue-green algae bloom throughout.

Blue-Green Algae and Livestock

With warmer temperatures, the conditions are right for blue-green algae blooms. Different species of blue-green algae contain various toxins, which can poison livestock, resulting in rapid death.

Frozen vegetable aisle at a grocery store.

Fresh May Not Always Be Best

To have a healthy diet all year long, consider all options (fresh, frozen, and canned) when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables.

grey to brown fly with large eyes and elongated mouthparts

What are Those Gigantic Flies?

As we progress later into the summer, we commonly see an increase in horse fly activity.

oats

2018 Field Plot Summaries for Oat and Sorghum Foliar Disease Management Trials

An oat crown rust integrated management trial and a sorghum foliar fungicide trials were conducted to determine the efficacy of fungicides to manage crown rust and fungal diseases in oat and sorghum respectively. Crown rust is one of the most devastating diseases of oat in the state. Stragego fungicide was applied at three different timings to determine the most effective timing for crown rust management. For sorghum, the study investigated the efficacy of two different rates of Nexicor for managing sorghum foliar diseases. The oat field experiment was maintained at Northeast Research Farm (NERF), Southeast research farm (SERF) and Volga research farm. The sorghum experiment was at Volga.

Two groups of cover crops. Left: Oats. Right: Radish.

Herbicide Interactions With Cover Crops After Oats

After oats have been harvested, options exist to keep a living root in the soil. This can be done through growing cover crops. In 2018 an on-farm trial was preformed near Salem, South Dakota to observe how cover crops grown after oats would germinate after common herbicides had been applied.

Mosquito with darker coloration and mosquito with white band on proboscis.

Know Your West Nile Virus Vectors

In some areas of South Dakota, recent precipitation has led to an increase in mosquito activity. To reduce the chances of contracting West Nile Virus, it is important to understand the behavior of the mosquitos capable of vectoring it.