Volume 3, Issue 4
April 1, 2020
This newsletter is an update on current topics and events in agriculture in Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Marshall, Polk, Story, Tama, and Warren counties.

Meaghan Anderson
Extension Field Agronomist

ISU Extension & Outreach
220 H Avenue
Nevada, Iowa 50201
Office:  515.382.6551
Cell:     319.331.0058

Upcoming Events

IDALS 2020 Pesticide Testing Schedule

March 25-April 29 - Iowa Learning Farms Webinars, online

April 6-10 - Essential Row Crop Mgmt. for Spring 2020, online

Women's events
Agronomy in the Field winter webinar series - email me for more information!

April 7 - early season scouting tips and tricks

Handy Links

Central Iowa Crop Update
Updates from an agronomist and weed nerd in central Iowa.

In this issue:

  • Soil temperature and planting
  • "Question. Persuade. Refer." Free program for the agribusiness community
  • April 6-10: Essential Row Crop Management Webinar Series
  • Spring forage fertilization
  • Invasive species identification and control resources

Soil temperature and planting

Soil temperatures are on the upswing as daytime temperatures have generally been above normal recently. We often hear that the 50 degree Fahrenheit soil temperature is a minimum for planting, but what's most important is that soil temperatures are warming and the warming trend will continue and the short-term (24-36 hr) forecast has no cold spell predicted. Keep an eye on the 4 inch soil temperature here and the National Weather Service forecast.

Here are a few handy articles on considerations for spring planting:

"Question. Persuade. Refer." - Free program for the agribusiness community

Agriculture has significant unpredictability in a normal year, but the last couple growing seasons have given us a roller coaster unlike we've seen for quite awhile. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will offer 7 free, online programs called "Question. Persuade. Refer." beginning on Tuesday, April 14. This QPR program is a suicide prevention program that teaches participants three steps to help save a life from suicide.

ISU Extension and Outreach will offer QPR at a variety of dates and times to meet the busy schedules of the agribusiness community. Each program will last for one hour. Those dates and times are as follows:
  • Tuesday, April 14, at 12 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 15 at 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday, April 21 at 12 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 28 at 12 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 29 at 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday, May 5 at 12 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 6 at 10 a.m.   
Agribusiness professionals, agriculture lenders and bankers, veterinarians, vet techs, commodity group members and producers can register at no cost for any of these programs due to USDA funding.  All Extension staff are also able to register at no cost.   To register or for more information, go to These programs will be offered online via Zoom at

April 6-10: Essential Row Crop Management Webinar Series

Extension specialists in Iowa and Minnesota are collaborating to provide a series of short, daily webinars for farmers, ag professionals, Extension personnel and other interested parties from April 6 to April 10. The theme is “Essential Row Crop Management" for spring 2020, with a focus on key topics to be addressed prior to the planting season.

Each webinar will start at 1:00 p.m. with a 10 to 15 minute discussion followed by time for questions and answers. Since fieldwork and planting season is upon us, sessions will be limited to 30 minutes.

These webinars are free and open to all. Topics and presenters are listed below. 

  • April 6: “Top 3 tips for cover crop termination” with Meaghan Anderson, Extension Field Agronomist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
  • April 7: “Grain storage management for spring” with Shawn Shouse, Extension Ag Engineer, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
  • April 8: “Management of fertilizer spread patterns” with Ryan Bergman, Program Coordinator, and Matt Darr, Professor, ISU Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
  • April 9: “Pre-emergence herbicide programs” with Lisa Behnken, Extension Educator, Crops, University of Minnesota.
  • April 10: “Tillage options this spring” with Jodi DeJong-Hughes, Extension Educator, Water Resources, University of Minnesota

For more information about the series and to register, go to:

Once you register, you will be able to watch any or all of the webinars. If you cannot attend in person, a recording of each session will be posted after the webinar series concludes, with no registration necessary. Additional resources on each topic will also be provided through the website above.

Spring Forage Fertilization

Brian Lang, Rebecca Vittetoe, and Denise Schwab wrote a really nice article summarizing some considerations for spring forage fertilization for our ICM News. Fertilization is essential to maximize productivity of pasture and hay ground.

Nitrogen for all grass or grass with <1/3 legume pasture/hay: Nitrogen (N) applications can either be a one-time, annual application or can be split applied. Suggested N application rates for single application are in Table 1 and rates for split applications are in Table 2.

Table 1. Suggested N application rates for a single annual application

Kentucky bluegrass

April: 60-100 lbs N/acre

Tall cool-season grasses

April: 80-120 lbs N/acre

Warm-season grasses

Late April to early May: 80-150 lbs N/acre


Table 2. Suggested N application rates for split applications

Kentucky bluegrass

  • Early spring (March-April) 60-80 lbs N/acre
  • Late spring (May-early June) additional 30-40 lbs N/acre (optional)
  • And/or late summer (August-September) additional 30-40 lbs N/acre

Tall cool-season grasses

(orchardgrass, smooth bromegrass,
reed canarygrass, and tall fescue*)

  • Early spring (March-April): 80-120 lbs N/acre
  • Late spring (May-early June) additional 40-60 lbs N/acre (optional)
  • And/or late summer (August-September) additional 40-60 lbs N/acre

* Note: For pastures or hayfields with tall fescue, high N rates increase the risk of fescue toxicosis.

Legume-grass pastures/hay: If the stand is more than 1/3 legume, no nitrogen is recommended. Also note that for legume-grass mixed pastures or hayfields, high or frequent applications of N (particularly spring N applications) will make the grass component more competitive and limit the amount of legumes in the mixture. To encourage a greater legume presence, use modest N rates and limit application to summer or fall. 

Read more here to see information on P, K, and lime fertilization suggestions.

Invasive species identification and control recommendations

The Natural Resources Ecology and Management (NREM) team at ISU has put together a page with information about invasive species common to natural areas in Iowa like prairies and woodlands. Several of these are species you may be struggling to manage in woodlands or fringe areas between crops and natural areas. See their webpage on invasive species and click on the species to see more photos and learn more. There's another page called "Chemical Control of Unwanted Vegetation" with helpful information on treatments to control invasives.

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