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Extension > Agriculture > Crops > Institute for Ag Professionals > Field School for Ag Professionals

July 30 and 31, 2014

Field School for Ag Professionals

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

The 2014 Field School has reached capacity – registration is full.

Upcoming events include a half-day Advanced Field Crop workshop in Crookston on Tuesday, August 26, 2014. More information


"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 30 starting at 9:00 a.m. will consist of Herbicide Mode of Action and Crop Injury Symptoms; Corn, Soybean and Small Grains Growth, Development and Agronomics; Corn and Soybean Response to Various Types of Soybean Injury and Crop Nutrient Deficiency Identification.

The second day's program held on July 31 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 up to six different sessions from a menu of 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.

Small learning groups are a key feature of the Field School. Each subject is led by experienced instructors offering personalized instruction and small group activities.


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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Six Total Certified Crop Advisors Continuing Education Unit (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

Corn, Soybean and Wheat Growth and Agronomics

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

Improve your understanding of corn, soybean and wheat growth and development; and how this affects the response of these crops to stresses and agronomic management.

Corn and Soybean Response to Various Types of Insect Injury

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

Insect pests damage crops in different ways (stand loss, defoliators, sap feeders, root feeders, stalk feeders and ear/pod feeders) and crop species can respond differently to these damage types.

Crop Nutrient Deficiency Identification

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

Identifying between deficiencies, toxicities, and other stresses is important when scouting fields. Students will match plants with foliar symptoms commonly seen across Minnesota. Causes of deficiencies/toxicities including soil chemical characteristics will be discussed such that the students will have knowledge of where and when symptoms may occur.


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

Thursday, July 31

The second day's program will consist of multiple concurrent one-hour sessions, allowing participants to obtain one Certified Crop Advisor CEU per session.

PM = Pest Management, CM = Crop Management, NM = Nutrient Management

Elementary Diagnosis of Soybean and Corn Diseases

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

Sherlock Holmes often said that putting the clues together to solve a mystery was "elementary," but that did not mean the answers were simple and obvious to everyone. Diagnosing a crop disease is sometimes simple and elementary, but more often it is not, and diagnostic skills are built upon experience and knowledge.

This session will focus on the basic steps for diagnosis of crop disease from the field to the laboratory. It will include an overview of disease diagnosis and will concentrate on a few common types of root, stem, and leaf of corn and soybean caused by fungal and bacteria pathogens. The session will also include hands-on observation and work with fresh samples, as well as discussion and demonstration of methods for crop disease diagnosis. In the field, presumptive diagnosis based on characteristic signs and symptoms of disease is often adequate for determining the causes for a crop problem. In many cases this is not adequate to determine the cause of a problem and the best response. In those cases confirmatory diagnosis that starts with field characteristics and ends with detailed laboratory analyses is often needed. This is especially true for diseases that can be confused with look-a-like problems, for diseases lacking distinct symptoms, and for emerging diseases.

The goal of this session is to enable those who participate to improve their diagnostic abilities and to better understand the procedures, challenges, and new tools for crop disease diagnosis. This session will be conducted in a classroom and teaching lab facility on St. Paul Campus.

Principles of Weed Seedling Identification

CEU: PM = 1
Instructors: Lisa Behnken and Kelly Duzan, 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. This session is designed to acquaint the learner with the skills and references needed to identify seedling broadleaf and grass weeds. Live plant seedlings and established weeds from the University of Minnesota-St. Paul Campus weed garden will be used in this hands-on session.

Evaluating Environmental Damage to Corn and Replanting Decisions

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

Nearly every year some corn is replanted in Minnesota. The decision to replant an area or entire field is necessitated due to saturated soils, ponding, hail, frost and disease incidence. This session provides a step-by-step process to use while making corn replanting decisions.

Crop Diagnostics for Alfalfa and Wheat

CEU: CM = 1
Instructors: Dr. Scotty Wells and Dr. Jochum Wiersma, University of Minnesota

Scouting and Thresholds for Soybean Insects

CEU: PM = 1
Instructors: Dr. Ken Ostlie, Trisha Leaf and Elizabeth Schact, University of Minnesota

Soybean Aphid Management

CEU: PM = 1
Instructor: Dr. Robert Koch, University of Minnesota

Managing Soybeans and Selecting Genetics for Higher Yield Gains

CEU: CM = 1
Instructors: Dr. Jim Orf and Nick Weidenbenner, University of Minnesota

Farmers have seen an average yield gain in soybean of about 1/3 bushel per year over the past 90 years. What allows newer varieties to yield more than old varieties? Do new varieties look different from old lines? Do they mature differently? Do they make seed with a different quality profile? Are modern soybeans more resistant to disease?

Genetics has played the primary role in this increase, but what about management? And, does management interact with genetic gain? In other words, do we NEED to treat new varieties differently than old ones? Participants will examine historic soybean varieties to compare them to modern cultivars. Participants will also learn about what makes a good soybean variety and how today's management plays a role in the yield gains noted by farmers.

Scouting Diseases in Small Grains

CEU: PM = 1
Instructors: Dr. Madeleine Smith and Dr. Jochum Wiersma, University of Minnesota

Participants will learn how to effectively scout for diseases in small grains. Participants will gain an understanding of the important role that correctly assessing disease severity and incidence play in making the best management decisions and recommendations to growers. Students will engage in a hands-on activity learning to differentiate rust diseases on wheat and look at ranges of severity based on different fungicide applications and active ingredients.

Crop Diagnostics for Corn and Soybean

CEU: CM = 1
Instructor: Dave Nicolai and Ryan Miller, University of Minnesota

Pre-emergence Herbicide Strategies in Soybean

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


Local accommodations and driving directions to St. Paul Campus


Driving directions to St. Paul Campus

Past participant comments

Herbicide Mode of Action - I felt like it really strengthened my knowledge of common herbicides and their effects. 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

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

I really valued the Herbicide Mode of Action and Crop Injury Symptoms sessions—the info was the most relevant to me and what I do. Waseca, 2011

It was great – the hands on courses are the best. Lamberton, 2010

Transgenic rootworm events and where they are going – industry is changing. Lamberton, 2010

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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