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Woody looking zucchini plant.

What’s Killing My Zucchini and Squash Plants?

For many of us, this time of year is tough for our zucchini, squash and pumpkin plants. A close inspection of wilting plants may reveal a sawdust-like substance around the soil surface or on the base of the stem. When pushed, the plants typically break and reveal clear evidence of insect feeding through the stem.

Brown beetle with hairy body with black mottled pattern.

What are Those Large Beetles in My Garden?

One of the insects that starts to attract attention this time of year is the bumble flower beetle.

Black beetles with orange or yellow spots feeding on a ripe tomato.

Insects are Invading My Produce!

Ripe fruit that has been injured as well as ground fall fruits often attract undesirable insects into an area.

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.

A field with patches of soil exhibiting poor water infiltration.

Farm Practices That Improve Soil Health: Cover Crops and Crop Residues

Planting cover crops and returning crop residues (stover) to the soil both adds nutrients and improves overall soil quality. These practices are common with producers across South Dakota and have been recently studied by researchers to identify how they impact the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

A patch of switchgrass growing at the edge of a field.

Farm Practices That Improve Soil Health: Planting Switchgrass on Marginal Lands

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a tall, native, prairie grass that is often seeded on marginal lands in South Dakota. It has gained growing popularity over the past decade not only as a source of biofuel and feed, but also as a method to improve soil properties.

A green tractor planting seeds in a no-till field. Courtesy: United Soybean Board [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Farm Practices That Improve Soil Health: Crop Rotations and No-Till

Implementing diverse crop rotations and no-till practices are common suggestions to reduce erosion, control pests, and improve yields. These practices can also improve soil health through an increase in soil carbon levels.

Left: Soil from long-term no-till field, exhibiting good soil aggregation through clumping and smaller pieces of soil. Right: Soil from conventionally managed field that included tillage and crop residue removal. Notice the soil is lighter brown, indicating lower organic matter, and the pieces of soil are in larger chunks with no visible indication of clumping or structure.

Organic Agronomy Starting to Impact

For decades scientists have known that a handful of soil contained more micro-biological organisms than the number of humans on earth. Science is just beginning to discover these organisms and learn about their functions and contribution to their soil ecosystem.

A map of South Dakota with several colored boxes indicating areas of increased flood risk. For a complete description, visit the National Weather Service website at: https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/long_range.php?wfo=fsd

Get to Know Your Local Emergency Management Director

The warmer weather and spring migration this March have us all thinking of better days ahead. Unfortunately, it also has us thinking about flooding again this spring.

Three children washing their hands together in a bathroom sink.

How to Talk to Your Kids About COVID-19

Parents, it is important to talk to your children about what COVID-19 is and why it is a pandemic so they understand the cancellations and changes in their daily routines. Here are some tips from the CDC to help you talk to your children and how much information to expose them to.