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University of Minnesota Extension

Extension > Source > Spring 2014 > Meeting the challenges of today's agriculture > Cultivating crop solutions

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Cultivating crop solutions

Extension research and education guides growers on how to cope with extreme weather, insects, weeds and diseases

Small Grains

Wheat, barley, oat, rye and triticale are some of the small grains grown in Minnesota. Since the mid-1990s, wheat yields in northwest Minnesota improved by about 1.6 bushels per acre per year, due in part to Extension research and guidance on varieties, protein content, strength, and management of diseases such as scab and leaf rust.


Minnesota canola was on a downward trend for many years when growers couldn't achieve profitable yields. Now, Extension plant pathologist Madeleine Smith partners across the region to address issues like yieldrobbing white mold and flood damage. She says Minnesota can compete in the growing marketplace for the healthy oil canola produces.


The heavy black soil of Minnesota's Red River Valley makes this region the nation's top red-potato producer. In the lakes regions, fertile sandy soils grow potatoes used for baking, fries and chips. Because potatoes are sensitive to herbicides sprayed on neighboring fields, Extension potato agronomist Andy Robinson is researching how to minimize exposure.

Fruit and Vegetables

Minnesotans have increased access to fresh, local vegetables in recent years, thanks to season-extending technologies such as high tunnels. Extension conducts research in 15 University high tunnels and with 21 growers. Integrated pest management strategies inform those growers, as well as fruit orchardists and producers of peas, beans and sweet corn.

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