Annual Western Dakota Crops Day is Dec. 20

Farmers are hoping to get spring planting underway soon. Most corn farmers are staying the course, in spite of low corn prices, while farmers are planning to cut back on wheat. Photo by Amanda Radke.

This year’s crops day will provide information on soil health and the latest in cropping systems research.

Regional agronomy research results, dealing with saline and sodic soils and the latest research on regenerative cropping systems will be featured topics at the 35th annual Western Dakota Crops Day, hosted by the North Dakota State University Hettinger Research Extension Center (REC). The event will be held at the Hettinger Armory on Dec. 20.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. with coffee and doughnuts, and presentations starting at 10 a.m. Participants will be able to view exhibits and visit with vendors throughout the day.

Topics will include updates on new crop varieties, new herbicides, crop production and current agronomy issues in the West River region.

“This year’s crops day will provide excellent information on soil health and the latest in cropping systems research, along with the traditional variety performance and ongoing regional agronomy research,” says John Rickertsen, Hettinger REC research agronomist.

Chris Augustin, NDSU Extension Soil Health specialist at the North Central REC in Minot, will give a presentation on soil issues facing western Dakota producers. Saline and sodic soils are common problems and often have similar symptoms, but are not the same thing and require different management strategies to correct. Augustin also will discuss decreasing soil pH mainly caused by near-surface application of ammonium-based fertilizers on soils which have a relatively low cation exchange capacity.

Dwayne Beck serves as manager of Dakota Lakes Research Farm east of Pierre, S.D., where he has done cropping systems research using low disturbance no-till and diverse rotations since 1989. Beck’s research explores the important role of diverse crop rotations in minimizing weed, disease and insect problems while increasing potential profitability. He will discuss his current research including no-till, diverse crop rotations, cover crops, intercropping and grazing livestock as a holistic management approach to regenerative agriculture.

Results from agronomy research in the western Dakotas will be presented by Rickertsen; Caleb Dalley NDSU Hettinger REC weed scientist; Ryan Buetow, NDSU Dickinson REC area Extension cropping systems specialist; Chris Graham, South Dakota State University West River Ag Center Extension agronomist, Rapid City; and Patrick Wagner, SDSU Extension entomology field specialist, Rapid City.

The show will also include commercial exhibits by several seed, chemical and agricultural service companies displaying their newest products and innovations. The event is free of charge and lunch will be provided. For more information, contact the Hettinger REC at 701-567-4323.

–NDSU Extension