Dan Undersander to Receive Three Crop Society Awards

Congratulations to Agronomy faculty member Dan Undersander, who has been selected to receive three awards at the ASA/CSSA Annual meeting in November: the ASA Agronomic Extension Education Award, ASA Agronomic Service Award, and CSSA Crop Science Extension Award.

The Agronomic Extension Education Award recognizes educational contributions of extension agronomists, industrial agronomists, or others whose primary contributions are in teaching or education outside the university classroom.

The Agronomic Service Award recognizes development of agronomic service programs, practices, and products for acceptance by the public. The focus will be on agronomic service with associated educational, public relations, and administrative contributions of industrial agronomists, governmental, industrial, or university administrators and others.

The Crop Science Extension Award is presented in recognition of excellence in extension teaching activities in the area of crop science.

The awards come with recognition at a ceremony at the Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ and award funds.

2016 WI Agronomy Update Meetings

MADISON, Wis. — The Department of Agronomy will offer Crop Production and Management Meetings at eight locations during 2016. Joe Lauer, Dan Undersander and Shawn Conley will present the latest information on hybrid/variety performance, an analysis and discussion of last year’s growing season, and updated recommendations for field crop production.

The registration fee includes a meal and materials. Please pre-register with the Host Agent. A “walk-in” (Late) fee will be charged to those who have not preregistered. Additional information packets will be available for $18.00 each. Certified Crop Advisor CEU credits have been requested (3.0 hours in Crop Management). Below is a list of topics, meeting sites, dates and times. Please join us at meeting in your area.

Packet Materials

2015 Wisconsin Hybrid Corn Performance Trials – Grain and Silage (A3653)

2015 Wisconsin Soybean Variety Test Results (A3654)

2015 Perennial Forage Variety Update for Wisconsin (A1525)

Winter wheat varieties for grain in Wisconsin – 2015 (A3868)

Wisconsin Crop Improvement Association updates

Extension publications

Agronomy Advice articles

Discussion Topics



• Reduced lignin alfalfa management

• New race of anthracnose

• Coated grass seed


• A retrospective of WI corn production decisions

• RIB hybrid performance

• Do we need to do tillage for corn production in WI?

Soybeans and Small Grains

• Prioritizing Soybean Inputs to Maximize Grower Profitability in 2016

• Cover Crop or Fall Forage… Spring Grains Options Planted After Winter Wheat


(Originally from Morning Ag Clips, here)

Crop Production and Management Meetings – January 2015

The Department of Agronomy will offer Crop Production and Management Meetings at eight locations during January of 2015. Joe Lauer, Dan Undersander and Shawn Conley will present the latest information on hybrid/variety performance, an analysis and discussion of last year’s growing season, and updated recommendations for field crop production.

The registration fee includes a meal and materials. Please pre-register with the Host Agent. A “walk-in” fee will be charged to those who have not preregistered. Additional information packets will be available for $18.00 each.

Certified Crop Advisor CEU credits have been requested (3.0 hours in Crop Management). Below is a list of topics, meeting sites, dates and times. Please join us at meeting in your area.

Packet materials

*2014 Wisconsin Hybrid Corn Performance Trials – Grain and Silage (A3653)
*2014 Wisconsin Soybean Variety Test Results (A3654)
*2014 Perennial Forage Variety Update for Wisconsin (A1525)
*Winter wheat varieties for grain in Wisconsin – 2014 (A3868)
*Oat and Barley Variety Performance (A3874)
*NCSRP SCN Sampling Publication
*Extension publications
*Agronomy Advice articles
*Wisconsin Crop Improvement Association updates

Discussion Topics

*Alfalfa stand changes stand over time.
*Performance of GM alfalfa varieties and potential for gene transfer to non GMO fields
*When to use alfalfa-grass mixtures

*Corn Response to Seeding Rate: The Implications for Variable Rate Seeding
*Is the corn-soybean rotation sustainable? Evidence from long-term cropping system trials

Soybeans and Small Grains:
*WI Soybean and Winter Wheat Year in Review
*Multi-State High Yield Soybean Project Results: a First Look
*Should we consider in-furrow applications in soybean?

Locations, dates and times:

Janesville: Monday, Jan. 5 at noon

Monday, Jan. 5 at noon

Holiday Inn Express 3100 Wellington Dr

Nick Baker
Rock Co. Extension Office
51 S. Main St.
Janesville, WI 53545-3978
(608) 757-5696 nbaker2@uwex.edu

Madison:Tuesday, Jan. 6 at 7:30 am

Dane Co. Extension Office
1 Fen Oak Ct., Rm. 138
(SE Madison, Take Hwy 51 exit off Beltline, go N to E. Broadway and Agriculture Drive. Turn N)

Jennifer Blazek
Dane Co. Extension Office
5201 Fen Oak Drive., Rm. 138
Madison, WI 53718
(608) 224-3716 heidi.johnson@ces.uwex.edu

Fond du Lac, Tuesday, Jan. 6 at noon

Rm. 114 University Center

400 University Drive

Mike Rankin
Fond du Lac Co. Extension Office
400 University Drive
Fond du Lac, WI 54935-2998
(920) 929-3171 michael.rankin@ces.uwex.edu

Kimberly, Wednesday, Jan. 7 at 7:30 am

Liberty Hall
800 Eisenhower Drive
(Hwy. 441, College Avenue Exit, East 1 block)

Kevin Jarek
Outagamie County
3365 W Brewster St.
Appleton, WI 54914
(920) 832-5121 kevin.jarek@ces.uwex.edu

Wausau, Wednesday, Jan. 7 at noon

Luncheon at VFW Hall, 388 River Drive, then Meeting at Marathon County UWEX Office
212 River Drive

Dan Marzu
Marathon County UW-Extension Office
212 River Drive
Wausau, WI 54403
(715) 261-1230 daniel.marzu@ces.uwex.edu

Eau Claire, Thursday, Jan. 8 at 7:30 am

Clarion Hotel Campus Area/Green Mill Restaurant and Bar (Campus area)
2703 Craig Road

Mark Hagedorn
Eau Claire Co. Extension Office
227 1st Street West
Altoona, WI 54720-1601
(715) 839-4712 mark.hagedorn@ces.uwex.edu

Sparta, Thursday, Jan. 8 at noon

Jake’s Northwoods Hwy 21 (NE side of town) 1132 Angelo Rd.

Bill Halfman
Monroe County – UW Extension
14345 County Highway B, Room 1
Sparta, WI 54656-0309
(608) 269-8722 bill.halfman@ces.uwex.edu

Belmont, Friday, Jan. 9 at noon
Belmont Inn & Suites Convention Center/Banquet Hall

103 W Mound View Ave. (North of Hwy 151 at Belmont)

Ted Bay
Grant Co. Extension Office
916 E Elm St.
Lancaster, WI 53813-0031
(608) 723-2125 ted.bay@ces.uwex.edu

Wisconsin Crop Management Conference
January 13-15, 2015, Alliant Energy Center, Madison

Midwest Forage Association Forage Production and Use Symposium
January 20-21, 2015, Chula Vista, Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Corn Growers Association, Wisconsin Soybean Association, CORN / SOY EXPO
January 29-30, 2015, Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells

(As seen on Morning Ag Clips: https://www.morningagclips.com/wisconsin-agronomy-update-meetings/)

Fall alfalfa management can make or break survival, says Dan Undersander

While farmers gear up for corn silage harvest, they should not overlook sound fall management of their alfalfa as the end of summer draws near.

For good winter survival and quick green-up next spring, that last cutting needs to be early enough for the alfalfa to be able to regrow and replenish root reserves, or be so late that it does not regrow much at all, reports Dan Undersander, UW-Madison forage specialist.

Undersander was part of a webinar sponsored last week by Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW).

Undersander says producers tend to worry about alfalfa and winterkill, while actually of more concern is winter injury to this forage. In other words, the alfalfa is slower out of the starting gate and first-cutting yield is not as big as it could be come spring.

Alfalfa gets ready for winter by hardening or changing to its winter structure, says Undersander. How effectively the crop hardens depends on genetics and fall weather conditions.

The fatty acid composition of the alfalfa root changes during hardening due to the preferential accumulation of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The preferential deposition of linoleic and linolenic fatty acids causes an increase in the average number of unsaturated bonds in the fatty acids. Lipid metabolism of the roots is altered during hardening from saturated fatty acid to unsaturated.

More fall-dormant cultivars harden faster than less-dormant ones, i.e., 3s and 4s, versus 5s and 6s, respectively. Many farmers lean toward less-dormant types as they tend to recover faster after cutting and yield more, yet they also do not get ready for winter quite as quickly either.

Hardening starts when the crown temperature gets to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, with hardening happening fastest between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Hardening is actually increased by fluctuating temperatures of daytime highs around 50 degrees Fahrenheit and lows near freezing.

Long warm falls that end suddenly with a cold snap can predispose alfalfa to potential winterkill due to lack of hardening. The good news is that while in older varieties, fall dormancy and winter survival traits were highly related, today’s newer varieties are winter hardy at higher fall dormancy values.

During an untimely winter warm-spell, de-hardening can threaten alfalfa. The threat is when temperatures are more than 60 degrees and the soil temperature at 2 to 4 inches is more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

As the industry moves toward planting alfalfa with a fall dormancy rating of 5, versus a 4 rating, there is more risk of the crop breaking dormancy during a week of unseasonably warm weather during winter.

Fall cutting management influences alfalfa tap root reserves and winter survival.

The traditionally recommended no cut window for Wisconsin has been from Sept. 1 to a killing frost; however, it’s now known that the timing of the last cutting is not really related to a killing frost, but rather determined by growing degree days (GDDs).

GDD equals (daily maximum temperature minus daily minimum temperature) minus 5, all divided by 2.

Alfalfa needs 500 GDDs (base 41 degrees) until a killing frost (25 degrees) after the last cutting of the season in order to regrow sufficiently for good winter survival and yield next year.

In other words, date is not as important as temperatures following the last cutting and how much the alfalfa regrows. This means Wisconsin growers can cut late as long as it looks like 500 GDDs will accumulate and not hurt winter survival.

On the flipside, growers also can safely take a late cutting if it looks like little regrowth will occur, in other words, if it looks like 200 GDDs or less will occur. The alfalfa will not use up significant amounts of root carbohydrates by regrowing.

It’s important to remember that growers do not need to wait for a killing frost to make that final cutting, says Undersander.

They must only wait until its cool enough so little-to-no regrowth occurs, or, as noted, it’s warm enough so that there is sufficient regrowth prior to that killing frost.

In summary, farmers should aim for more than 500 GDDs for good growth and recovery, or less than 200 GDDs, for little reserve usage and regrowth.

He also mentions that leaving residue improves overwintering, as it provides some insulation for tender crowns and helps hold the snow, too, which offers further insulation.

At Eau Claire, Marshfield and Plymouth, 100 percent, 97 percent and 93 percent of the time, respectively, 500 GDDs are accumulated after Sept. 1, based on 42 years of tracking the data.

The probability of 500 GDDs accumulating before a 25-degree frost falls to 60 to 70 percent 1 week later. Thus, for farms at those locations, not harvesting after Sept. 1 is the safe alternative, but oftentimes, being a week later was not detrimental.

The last half of September is the riskiest in those areas, with low probability of either more than 500 GDDs or less than 200 GDDs accumulating. Waiting until mid-October is often safer at those locations, whether or not a frost has occurred.

As for southern Wisconsin, based on UW research at its Lancaster and Beloit trials, 500 GDDs or more always accumulate after Sept. 1. While the probability remains 100 percent for 500 GDDs or more at Beloit, it falls to 74 percent at Lancaster by Sept. 8.

The middle of September through mid-October is the riskiest time to cut alfalfa in southern Wisconsin, based on 42 years of weather monitoring.

Because alfalfa forage quality changes little during September, Undersander says harvesting versus delaying harvest should be based on the likelihood of winter injury or survival, if the stand is to be kept.

Growers need to select winterhardy varieties for less chance of winter and less yield loss at first cutting due to winter injury, i.e., buds from the fall killed and spring growth delayed and reduced.

Alfalfa with a winter survival score of 2 or less is very winter hardy, and at Arlington and Lancaster, also came in with higher season-long yield in research trials. Couple a winter survival score of 2 with a fall dormancy of 4 for southern Wisconsin, where decent snow cover can be fickle.

Alfalfa growing on low pH soil also has greater risk of winterkill or injury. Undersander recommends fall fertilizing with potassium and sulfur to increase alfalfa’s chances during the winter. This application can be done into October, as long as the ground is not frozen. He adds that 50 to 55 pounds of potash are removed with every ton of harvested forage.

Finally, there is lots of interest in alfalfa-grass mixtures for feeding cows. Undersander looks at fall management of those mixes. If a stand is thin, growers can seed tall fescue or meadow fescue into it late summer, early August is best for doing so.

If a stand has more than 50 percent alfalfa, manage it as you would straight alfalfa, he advises. If the stand is less than 50 percent alfalfa, manage it as if it were a grass stand. The recommendation for grass stands is to cut late in the fall to have less than 6 inches of growth going into winter.

That is so the grass does not mat down, creating snow mold and spots that die out.

– Jane Fyksen

(As seen on Agriview)