New tools to help farmers protect their bottom line will be featured at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Farmfest Booth, August 6 – 8, 2019, at the Gilfillan Estate near Redwood Falls, Minnesota. Attendees can also tour an industrial hemp demonstration plot and visit with farmers enrolled in the MDA’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program who will be on hand to answer questions about this emerging crop.
Two of the featured technology tools are designed to help farmers prevent nitrate losses from the field. The Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast will help farmers and commercial applicators determine the best time to apply manure to fields. This computer model predicts the likelihood of runoff events and alerts farmers by text or email message when there is a low, moderate, or high risk for runoff in their county. The Soil Temperature Network provides farmers with real-time soil temperatures to avoid applying nitrogen fertilizer on warmer days in the fall when there is a higher risk of nitrate losses.
A third tool that will be demonstrated is a phone app that will alert farmers when an air temperature inversion is present. Pesticide manufacturer labels often direct applicators to not apply pesticides during air temperature inversions. Inversions occur when cold, denser air is trapped near the Earth’s surface by warmer air because of a lack of up and down air circulation. A network of 28 ag weather stations in Central and Northwestern Minnesota now have air temperature inversion sensors which will provide the alerts to a farmer’s cell phone.
“New technology provides better data to enable farmers to make more informed decisions and protect their investments,” said MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen. “We’re excited to bring these technologies and industrial hemp to Farmfest.”
The MDA Farmfest Booth is #517S. The industrial hemp demonstration plot is in Seed Row SR04 in the southwest corner of the seed plot section.
Margaret Hart, MDA Communications