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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.
Broadacre spraying of pastures is intended to reduce undesirable plants and increase grasses for livestock. This practice often results in unintended consequences, including damage and reduction of native forbs and reduced profitability. One approach to managing perceived “weedy” plants is incorporating different species of livestock into a grazing operation.
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.
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.
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.
Over the growing season, solar radiation, air temperature and plant size are the dominant factors in determining evaporative demand and the rate of water use by wheat. Water use can vary dramatically on a day-to day basis, depending on climate and wheat health.
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.