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)

Agronomy News for 5/5/15

UW-Madison places 5th in the world for Agriculture and Forestry in the 2015 QS World University Rankings.

Alumnus Bryan Decker joins La Crosse Seed sales team.

Shawn Conley and Adam Gaspar discuss early spring soybean planting.

The 6th Annual Wisconsin Soybean Yield Contest has begun! The first place award in each division includes a $1,000 cash prize; second-place honors include a $500 prize. Winners will be selected for having the highest soybean yield based on bushels per acre at 13% moisture.


“Those numbers aren’t as big as they could be”: Climate Change affects Soybean Farmers Even In Good Years

MADISON, Wis. — Even during good years, our nation’s soybean farmers are, in essence, taking a loss. That’s because changes in weather patterns have been eating into their profits and taking quite a bite: $11 billion over the past 20 years.

This massive loss has been hidden, in effect, by the impressive annual growth seen in soybean yields thanks to other factors. But that growth could have been much greater—30% higher—if weather variations resulting from climate change had not occurred, says a study published last month in Nature Plants.

“We are still making yield gains because of breeding and other strategies, but those numbers aren’t as big as they could be,” says lead author Shawn Conley, a University of Wisconsin-Madison agronomy professor and UW-Extension soybean and wheat specialist.

In the study, researchers isolated the impacts of changing temperature and precipitation on soybean yields in a much more precise way than previously done. While earlier approaches relied on estimates, Conley’s team used data gathered from their own field trials, giving them access to reliable and consistent information about the genetics of the soybeans being grown, the management practices being used and the weather the fields saw throughout the growing season. Spyridon Mourtzinis, a post-doctoral fellow in Conley’s lab with expertise in statistics, took care of the number crunching.

“Spyridon removed the effects of the management strategies and genetic improvements, so that we could just focus our analysis on the impacts of weather variability,” says Conley.

Averaging the data across the U.S., the researchers found that soybean yields fell by around 2.4% for every one-degree rise in temperature. Considering the impacts of both temperature and precipitation together, they found quite a bit of variability among soybean-growing states, yet a trend emerged.

In Wisconsin and most other northern states, including South Dakota and Minnesota, the changes in climate factors actually led to higher soybean yields. Wisconsin, for instance, saw an increase of 17.5 kg/hectare/year over the 20 years studied. At the same time, most soybean-growing states further south, including Ohio, Arkansas and Kentucky, experienced decreases in yields.

These divergent responses have to do with historical norms. In colder northern states, soybeans seem to be enjoying the new warmer weather, whereas in states further south—where conditions had previously been fairly ideal—the additional heat is causing stress.

Because the states with the biggest yield losses are also our nation’s biggest soybean producers, the national impact comes out to a 30% yield loss overall, which amounts to an $11 billion economic loss, over the past 20 years.

Now that the impacts of weather variations are becoming clearer, the next step is to help growers minimize the negative impacts. Farmers have already been incorporating some strategies—earlier planting, no-till practices and growing later maturing soybeans—into their farming practices. The researchers’ goal is to further improve those strategies by producing region-specific suggestions that account for weather patterns at different times of the growing season.

Only then, says Conley, can the full potential of soybean yields be realized.

Original courtesy of Morning Ag Clips

Grain Production Clinics Offered

Two identical grain crops production clinics will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 18. The locations are Cobblestone Creek Dining and Banquet, 740 W. Ryan St., Brillion, and Doxbee’s Banquet and Buffet, N6744 County Road C, Seymour.

Topics include: How to Keep Drying Costs Down –  Joe Lauer, University of Wisconsin-Madison corn specialist; Improving Soybean Yields – David Marburger, a UW soybean doctoral candidate; Managing Fertility in a Low Grain Price Environment – Carrie Laboski, UW soil-fertility specialist; Remote Sensing – Brian Luck, UW Extension precision Ag specialist; and Federal Farm Programs – Ag agents Kevin Jarek and Scott Reuss.

The cost is $25 per person. Register for the Brillion meeting with the Calumet County Extension Office, 920-849-1450, and for the Seymour meeting with the Outagamie County Extension Office, 920-832-5121.

Wisconsin Soybean Grower Conferences to take place 12/2-12/4

MADISON, Wis. — A series of one-day Wisconsin Soybean Growers Conferences will prepare farmers for the 2015 season. In early December, growers, media and others interested in the state’s $59 billion agriculture economy will converge at regional soybean conferences held around the state. More than 75 farmers are expected to attend each of the conferences, where they will receive updates for next year’s growing season. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, these day-long events are scheduled for December 2 in Janesville, December 3 in Eau Claire and December 4 in Ripon.

Workshops at the series of Wisconsin Soybean Grower Conferences will cover a wide range of agricultural concerns and issues. At each location, the topics will include presentations on 2014 Soybean Diseases, Marketing Hints for 2015, and Irrigation, Soil and Water Management. Among the expert presenters is Dr. Shawn Conley, Soybean Extension Specialist at University of Wisconsin, Madison. He says, “Growers will learn what is new from a seed, crop protection and innoculants perspective, as well as managing inputs for 2015.”

Mike Cerny, president of the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board adds that the conferences offer soybean farmers a great opportunity. “Attendees will be able to obtain up-to-date information so they can make more informed decisions for the 2015 planting season,” Cerny says. The workshops also offer soybean farmers a chance to ask questions of the expert presenters.

Here are the conference dates and locations. Each event runs from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.

• The Janesville Wisconsin Soybean Conference will be presented Tuesday, December 2, at the Holiday Inn, 3100 Wellington Place.

• The Eau Claire Wisconsin Soybean Conference takes place Wednesday, December 3, at the Sleep Inn Suites and Conference Center, 5872 33rd Avenue.

• The Ripon Wisconsin Soybean Conference convenes on Thursday, December 4, at Royal Ridges, 1 Westgate Drive.

For particulars about the conferences and more information about Wisconsin-grown soybeans, visit the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board website at www.wisoybean.org.

(As seen on MorningAgClips.com)

Gaspar, Smidt, Marburger featured in Corn and Soybean Digest

Graduate students Adam Gaspar, Ethan Smidt, and David Marburger are featured in the late November 2014 edition of The Corn and Soybean Digest, discussing their high-yield soybean research.

“You can’t approach 100 bushels without at least covering what they remove — 130 pounds of potassium per acre and 85 pounds of phosphorus per acre,” says Gaspar.

Marburger, Gaspar, and Smidt are graduate students with Shawn Conley.

“So this is comparable not to breaking the door or even just knocking on the door, but to knocking on the door while wearing cologne.”

The mechanical force that a single fungal cell or bacterial colony exerts on a plant cell may seem vanishingly small, but it plays a heavy role in setting up some of the most fundamental symbiotic relationships in biology. In fact, it may not be too much of a stretch to say that plants may have never moved onto land without the ability to respond to the touch of beneficial fungi, according to a new study led by Jean-Michel Ané, a professor of Agronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Soybean plants

Legumes like soybean plants, pictured in Jean-Michel Ané’s lab, can grow without nitrogen fertilizer when engaged with rhizobia.

(Photo: Jean-Michel Ané)

“Many people have studied how roots progress through the soil, when fairly strong stimuli are applied to the entire growing root,” says Ané, who just published a review of touch in the interaction between plants and microbes in the journal Current Opinion in Plant Biology. “We are looking at much more localized, tiny stimuli on a single cell that is applied by microbes.”

Jean-Michel AnéJean-Michel Ané

Specifically, Ané, Dhileepkumar Jayaraman, a postdoctoral researcher in agronomy, and Simon Gilroy, a professor of botany, studied how such a slight mechanical stimulus starts round one of a symbiotic relationship — that is, a win-win relationship between two organisms.

It’s known that disease-causing fungi build a structure to break through the plant cell wall, “but there is growing evidence that fungi and also bacteria in symbiotic associations use a mechanical stimulation to indicate their presence,” says Ané. “They are knocking on the door, but not breaking it down.”

After the fungus announces its arrival, the plant builds a tube in which the fungus can grow. “There is clearly a mutual exchange of signals between the plant and the fungus,” says Ané. “It’s only when the path is completed that the fungus starts to penetrate.”

Mycorrhizae are the beneficial fungi that help virtually all land plants absorb the essential nutrients — phosphorus and nitrogen — from the soil. Biologists believe this ubiquitous mechanism began about 450 million years ago, when plants first moved onto land.

Mechanical signaling is only part of the story — microbes and plants also communicate with chemicals, says Ané. “So this is comparable not to breaking the door or even just knocking on the door, but to knocking on the door while wearing cologne. Clearly the plant is much more active than we thought; it can process signals, prepare the path and accept the symbiont.”

Beyond fungi, some plants engage in symbiosis with bacteria called rhizobia that “fix” nitrogen from the atmosphere, making it available to the plant.

Rhizobia enable legumes like soybeans and alfalfa to grow without nitrogen fertilizer.

When Ané and his colleagues looked closer, they found that rhizobium symbiosis also employs mechanical stimulation. When the bacterium first contacts a root hair, the hair curls around the bacterium, trapping it.

The phenomenon of curling has been known for almost 100 years. “But why would nature develop such a complicated mechanism to entrap a bacterial colony?” Ané asks. “We propose the purpose is to apply mechanical stimulation” so the plant will start building a home for the rhizobium — for mutual benefit. “We have preliminary evidence that when the entrapment is not complete, the process of colonization does not happen,” he says.

“Clearly the plant is much more active than we thought; it can process signals, prepare the path and accept the symbiont.”

Again, the two-step communication system is at work, Ané adds. “The curling process itself can only begin when the plant gets a chemical signal from the bacterium — but the growing tube inside the root hair that accepts the bacteria requires something else, and nobody knew what. We propose it’s a mechanical stimulation created by entrapping, which gives the bacterial colony a way to push against the root.”

In many respects, this symbiosis parallels the older one between plants and beneficial fungi, Ané says. Indeed, he says legumes have “hijacked” the mycorrhizae system. “Plants used the symbiosis toolkit to develop this relationship with mycorrhizae, and then used it again for bacteria. This dual requirement for chemical and mechanical signals is present in both associations, even though the association between rhizobia and legumes is only 60 million years old.”

-David Tenenbaum (as seen on wisc.edu)