Tricounty News

Protect pollinators while trying to protect your crops


Minimize the risk for bees!

Honey bees and native bees forage in and near soybean and cornfields, especially during dry weather. When treatment decisions are being made for pests of these crops, it is important to consider minimizing the risk to these pollinators.

Bees are the most important pollinators of our fruits, vegetables, and crops including alfalfa hay that feed our farm animals. Honey bees and thousands of native bee species rely on the flowers they pollinate for good nutrition and health. Bees are being pushed to the tipping point by various factors, such as disruption of natural habitats, diseases and parasites, and widespread overuse of pesticides.

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Vietnamese importers see Minnesota as an option

Soybean farmer Paul Simonsen hosts trade team

Vietnamese soybean importers left Minnesota knowing the quality of the soybeans grown here, thanks to a tour across the state that included a stop at soybean farmer Paul Simonsen’s cabin in Atwater.

Simonsen hosted agricultural delegates that are leaders in Vietnam’s soybean importing practices. Their visit to the United States included seeing how soybeans are produced start-to-finish. Before coming to Minnesota, they visited Grey’s Harbor in Washington State to learn about the exporting process and processing plants to show what happens to the beans after they leave the farm. They came to Minnesota to see the soybean fields and equipment used to harvest the crops, furthering the relationship between the two countries.

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Libbesmeier gets a taste of agriculture abroad

According to the Institute of International Education, “U.S. student participation in study abroad has more than tripled over the past two decades.” In the U.S. higher education system, 19,903,000 students have studied abroad in the 2010-2011 school year. The top field of study for studying abroad is social sciences and the top destination is the United Kingdom.W-fam1

Bethany Libbesmeier is one of those fortunate students to study abroad, her destination; Angers, France.

For one month, May 28-June 28, Beth had the opportunity to study in the historical city of Angers. The Sustainable Food Chains program at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities provided Beth with this opportunity. The whole study abroad group consisted of five students from the U of M, five from Wyoming, four from Madison, one student from Maryland, a professor from Russia and 16 students from Texas A & M.

From left are Jordan Meyer, Rene, Vony, Bethany Libbesmeier, and Dana at the Farewell Picnic at school in France.

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Stearns Dairy Field Day Aug. 20 near St. Rosa

Emily Krekelberg, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Extension colleague, provided this information recently. People in the area with an interest are invited to attend. The University of Minnesota Extension will host a Dairy Field Day at Kerfeld Hillview Dairy on Tuesday, Aug. 20, from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. 

Kerfeld Hillview Farm is owned by Tim, Carrie, Art, and Rosie Kerfeld. They, along with their five children, milk 175 cows in a naturally-ventilated 4-row freestall barn with cyclone fans, mattresses and pen pack calving area. There are also some precision technologies used on the farm. The Kerfelds use a Lely Calm Automatic calf feeder, which was installed 4 years ago. They also utilize SCR (Lely T4C) activity monitors for heat detection in both their heifers and cows. They have a monoslope heifer barn that is very labor efficient, also offering custom farming services. Kerfeld Hillview Farm operates under a Partnership and S Corporation.

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Aug. 6 storm causes patchy damage

The radar showed what looked like small patches of intense color Tuesday evening, Aug. 6. They slowly made their way to our part of the state. W-Corn-photo

Rain, hail, high winds, sunshine and rainbows, more rain, more hail, some combination of the above hit us all.  Hail damage to homes, vehicles and crops was the result. 

At right, this previously thriving cornfield northeast of Kimball was shredded by hail. There were several complaints about a low-flying airplane in the days following the storm; it was a crop-duster spraying corn fields to prevent a fungus that develops after hail damage.