Alfalfa weevil populations are high this year, creating challenges for producers. Questions have arisen on how to get some value out of the forage by grazing it rather than putting it up for hay.
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.
Hay that contains sweet clover can be an excellent feed as long as the dicoumarol level is known and feeding management is used to prevent poisoning.
Producers across South Dakota are harvesting small grains. These crops provide an excellent window for adding a cover crop into your rotation.
Spring green-up is the time to be watching for black grass bug activity. Large populations of this early-season pest can cause severe damage to pasture (up to 90% forage reduction) and infest the edges of wheat fields.
In last few years, interest in using cover crops has been increasing tremendously among crop and livestock producers in South Dakota. Growing cover crops following small grain is gaining more attention due to feasibility in cover crops species selection and also the time of the year where cover crops receive longer growing and establishing time than following row crops.
It’s time to begin scouting pasture and wheat for the presence of black grass bugs. Last year, we saw the highest populations in areas of Central and Southwestern South Dakota. If left untreated, black grass bug populations tend to increase year after year.
Feeding damaged wheat to livestock is one way to salvage value from the crop. Wheat can work well in cattle diets with some limitations.
Cover crops have been gaining a reemerging acceptance over the last decade, with very few producers disagreeing about the potential soil health benefits of adding cover crops to their farming operation.
Significant education efforts for natural resource conservation have occurred in South Dakota during the last five years. Many stakeholder groups have brought awareness for soil health and water quality to the forefront.