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July 26 and 27, 2016 - St. Paul, MN

Field School for Ag Professionals

University of Minnesota
Plant Growth Facilities and Greenhouse Classroom
1522 Gortner Ave. St. Paul Campus

Registration is now full, but if you would like to be added to a wait list, click on the link below:



"Great, practical instruction."
– Field school participant

A hands-on, in-field program emphasizing crop and pest management diagnostic skill building in field crops.

The first day's program, held on July 26 starting at 9:00 a.m., will consist of Herbicide Mode of Action and Crop Injury Symptoms, Corn and Soybean Growth and Agronomics, Identification of Insects and the Injury they cause in Field Crops, and What is in your Soil Test Results?

The second day's program, held on July 27 starting at 8:00 a.m., will consist of multiple concurrent one–hour sessions, allowing participants to obtain one Certified Crop Advisor CEU per session. Students can self–select six different sessions from a menu of ten session topics, ranging across all of the four major agronomy disciplines which are designed to be timely, cutting–edge topics for today's Ag Professionals.

This program is targeted toward agronomists, crop production retailers, seed sellers, consultants, Extension educators, agriculture government agency personnel, farm managers and summer field scouts. Participants will have the opportunity to enhance their troubleshooting and crop management skills in specially designed plots that display actual cropping situations.

Field School Curriculum for Core Principles: "Building a Foundation"

Tuesday, July 26, 2015

Six total Certified Crop Advisor Continuing Education Units (CEU) for Core Principles

Herbicide Mode of Action and Crop Injury Symptoms

CEU: PM = 1.5
Instructors: Dr. Jeff Gunsolus and Tom Hoverstad, University of Minnesota

This in-field session will involve observing crop injury symptoms and integrating information from 10 different herbicides, representing 8 different sites of action, sprayed across 14 different crops of varying herbicide susceptibility. Based on field observations, participants will be challenged to determine each herbicide's mode and site of action. Participants will also have the opportunity several weeks before the Field School session begins to review a YouTube video that explains the mode and site of action concepts using video from a previous Field School session. The participants will then be asked to work through a "flipped classroom" tutorial in preparation for the Field School activity.

Corn and Soybean Growth and Agronomics

CEU: CM = 1.5
Instructors: Dr. Jeff Coulter and Dr. Seth Naeve, University of Minnesota

Ag professionals who understand the growth process of corn and soybean plants can assist growers with efficient production practices in order to obtain higher yields and profit. In this session, participants will gain the knowledge to stage corn and soybean plants in order to understand the importance of crop growth stage relative to weather and biological stresses, agronomic management, and their impact on yield.

Participants will:

Identification of Insects and the Injury they cause in Field Crops

CEU: PM = 1.5
Instructors: Dr. Robert Koch, Dr. Ken Ostlie, and Edwin Benkert, University of Minnesota

Improve your ability to identify pest and beneficial insects in Minnesota field crops. In this session, participants will examine samples of insects and insect-injured plants collected from the field. Participants will be able to apply this knowledge of insect identification to improve their Integrated Pest Management decision making.

What is in your Soil Test Results?

CEU: NM = 1.5
Instructors: Dr. Dan Kaiser, University of Minnesota

All soil tests do not measure the same amount of nutrients, such as phosphorus (P), in the soil. Knowing what tests will measure and why certain tests are suggested in Minnesota is important to ensure the data obtained from the soil testing lab will be useful in making fertilizer decisions. New soil health tests have been developed for use, but they are not calibrated. Knowing the pros and cons of certain tests and how the tests are incorporated into fertilizer guidelines is the goal of this session.

Field School Curriculum for Current Research Sessions: "Building on a Foundation"

Wednesday, July 27

The second day's program will consist of multiple concurrent one–hour sessions, allowing participants to obtain one Certified Crop Advisor CEU per session. Participants can select six sessions from the following menu of ten topics.

Corn and Soybean Diseases: Development and management

CEU: PM = 1
Instructor: Dr. Dean Malvick, University of Minnesota

Understanding disease development, diagnosis, and management will aid participants in scouting for, answering questions, and managing diseases when they occur in the field. The planned focus for this session will be on northern corn leaf blight and Goss's wilt of corn. Thus, if the diseases develop as planned in inoculated field school plots, participants will see the diseases as they appear and develop on different hybrids and have the opportunity to look closely at samples with different management options employed. Because crop diseases do not always develop in the field according to plan, the backup plan is to focus on leaf and root disease samples collected in other fields, which may also include soybean sudden death syndrome, Rhizoctonia root rot, and others.

Many questions arise relating to diagnosis, disease development, and disease management. This session will highlight a few of those diseases, emphasizing how and when they develop and how they can be managed. Participants will have the opportunity to:

Principles of Weed Seedling and Mature Weed Identification

CEU: PM = 1
Instructors: Dr. Beverly Durgan and Lisa Behnken, University of Minnesota

Even in today's world of glyphosate resistant crops, it is important that Ag professionals retain the ability to correctly identify common weed seedlings and become familiar with mature weed identification keys. Two of the three sessions are designed to acquaint the learner with the skills and references needed to identify seedling broadleaf and grass weeds common to Minnesota field crop production while one advanced session will concentrate on the identification of mature weeds common to Minnesota field crops. Live plant seedlings and mature weeds will be used in this hands–on session.

Stand Establishment, Hail Damage, and Replant Decisions for Corn

CEU: CM = 1
Instructor: Dr. Jeff Coulter, University of Minnesota

Ag professionals need to understand the challenges in successful stand establishment, agronomic practices for improving stand establishment, the impact of stand establishment problems on yield, and how to make accurate replanting decisions. Knowledge obtained from this session will help participants understand the effects of stand establishment problems and hail injury on corn growth, development, and yield, and how to integrate scouting observations with decision aids to provide accurate replant decisions.

Cover Crop Interseeding: Understanding establishment and competition

CEU: CM = 1
Instructor: Dr. Scott Wells, University of Minnesota

The knowledge acquired from this session will aid ag professionals in the selection of cover crops to meet the needs of their farmers. The participants will see first hand the impact cover crops can have when planted too early in corn (i.e. in competition with corn). The goal of this session is that participants will also be able to advise farmers on new technologies for planting cover crops along with herbicide and termination strategies. Participants will:

Insecticidal Seed Treatments in Corn and Soybean Pest Management

CEU: PM = 1
Instructors: Dr. Robert Koch, Dr. Ken Ostlie, and Edwin Benkert, University of Minnesota

In this session, participants will have an opportunity to develop a better understanding of the use and role of insecticide seed treatments, and the current debate on their use and impacts. Participants will be able to apply this knowledge to help growers make better decisions on the appropriate use and sustainability of insecticidal seed treatments. Finally, participants will be able to make improved decisions on insecticide seed treatments and optional practices to manage these insects.

Doing it Right: Assessing corn needs and applying nutrients during the growing season

CEU: NM = 1
Instructor: Dr. Fabián Fernández, University of Minnesota

Understanding when and how nutrients such as nitrogen should be applied in the growing season to enhance the efficient use in corn is very important for corn production in Minnesota. Ag professionals at this session will be provided with an overview of corn nutrient uptake patterns. They will also learn how the root system of corn develops and takes up water and nutrients throughout the growing season. This baseline knowledge is needed by ag professionals in order to recognize the value and potential pitfalls of sensing nutrient status of the plant with crop canopy sensors. The goal is that ag professionals will increase their knowledge concerning how and when additional fertilizer should be applied.

Managing Soybean Populations to Maximize Yield

CEU: CM = 1
Instructor: Dr. Seth Naeve, University of Minnesota

Soybean populations can be extremely deceiving based on date of planting, date of evaluation, planter type and row spacing, the type of stand establishment problem, or type of crop injury. Therefore, through this session, participants will both better understand how to accurately determine actual plant stands, methods of alleviation, and the resulting yield potential, including identification of critical soybean populations to maximize soybean yields. Participants will gain knowledge in estimating soybean populations and will learn how these populations relate to yield potentials. Participants will also gain critical knowledge in the evaluation of yield potentials of existing stands versus those of potential replants to allow for a critical determination of cropping decisions after hail or other severe environmental stresses.

Small Grains Growth and Development

CEU: CM = 1
Instructor: Dr. Jochum Wiersma, University of Minnesota

A good understanding of growth and development of cereals and the correct application of the three commonly used growth and development scales will greatly assist in proper timing of crop inputs, including herbicides and fungicides, and prevent off-label application of those inputs.

Crop Diagnostics and Management for Alfalfa, Corn and Soybean

CEU: CM = 1
Instructors: Dave Nicolai, Ryan Miller, Dr. Scotty Wells and Dr. Roger Becker, University of Minnesota

Learn more about scouting fields and recognizing potential problems, fine-tune your trouble-shooting and crop management skills. For this session, small groups will rotate through field problems with University of Minnesota Extension specialists and educators role playing as farmers. Through digging up plants, asking questions and consulting references, participants will make a diagnosis of the problem being observed and a recommendation for correction. Each participant will experience twelve separate diagnostic scenarios. Participants will:

Enlist and Xtend Soybean Response to Various Herbicides

CEU: PM = 1
Instructor: Dr. Jeff Gunsolus, University of Minnesota

A good understanding of the herbicide specificity associated with the Enlist and Xtend soybean technology will greatly assist in preventing as well as diagnosing herbicide-induced crop injury complaints and will provide a better understanding of how to diversify a weed management program in response to herbicide resistant weed concerns. The goal of this session is that participants will gain a broader understanding of Enlist and Xtend soybean technology, while considering the consequences of misapplication of herbicides on the Enlist and Xtend soybeans.

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Past participant comments

Love all the hands-on sessions! St. Paul, 2015

As a young person in this industry, interacting with the other participants was priceless! St. Paul, 2015

Both the Herbicide MoA and corn, soybean, and wheat growth staging sessions were great and very hands–on and explained things in an effective way. St. Paul, 2014

All were very good, really like the diagnostic classes. St. Paul, 2014

I really enjoyed the weed seedling identification course. St. Paul, 2013

Pre–emergence strategies. It was taught well and was very informative. St. Paul, 2013

Crop diagnostics – was a real world situation, I liked it. St. Paul, 2013

Most relevant to my career and most interactive. St. Paul, 2012

Disability accommodations

For Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations, please call 612-626-1333.


David Nicolai, Institute for Ag Professionals program coordinator, or 612-625-2778 or Larisa Jenrich, Institute for Ag Professionals program assistant, or 651-480-7732.

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