The crop in southern Minnesota surprised most this past year with good yields considering how dry it was. Early planting, extra moisture early in the growing season and cool temperatures later in the season likely are factors that led to good crop yields.

No one knows what is in store for the 2013 season, but crop management decisions are underway now and that will be the focus of the University of Minnesota, Southern Research and Outreach Center (SROC) annual Winter Crops Days.

Producers, farm managers, ag consultants and salespeople, or others interested in learning more about economically favorable and environmentally sustainable practices for ag production, will benefit from attending one of the five locations on Jan. 16, 17 and 18.

Tom Hoverstad, scientist or Jeff Vetsch, assistant scientist at the SROC will begin each program at 9 a.m. with the crop year in review.

They will summarize weather data collected at Waseca and explain what role the 2012 weather had on crop production, and how the dry fall conditions may impact the 2013 crop.

Atypical weather patterns can affect nutrient management in corn and soybean production systems.

Vetsch will discuss how 2012 weather patterns influenced nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and sulfur responses in corn and soybeans. He'll also discuss how the dry fall may affect nutrient availability for the 2013 growing season.

Weed species that are most frequently causing problems for corn and soybean growers will be discussed. Hoverstad will also talk about results from university trials examining herbicide performance on these specific weeds.

Jeff Coulter, Extension agronomist, will present U of M research in corn that examines plant population and fertilizer rates to optimize efficient corn production.

At the Caledonia location, Craig Sheaffer, professor in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, will discuss variety selection, cutting management, winter survival and replant decisions for alfalfa producers.

At all locations local Extension educators will provide a summary of research in local areas and upcoming outreach activities.

Dean Malvick, U of M plant pathologist, will discuss plant diseases that have the potential to cause problems in corn or soybeans. He will provide information on how to identify these diseases and which control measures may be effective.

Recent problems where transgenic corn has failed to control rootworms in certain fields will be presented by Ken Ostlie, professor in entomology. He will present information on what led to the problem and what control measures are available where transgenic corn is failing.

Cost for the event is $35, which will include morning refreshments, lunch and handout materials. Continuing education credits have been applied for certified crops advisers.

Locally, the program will be on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at the Good Times Restaurant, 118 Bissen St. in Caledonia.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at all locations, and the program runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For speaker information or specific topic times, details can be found at the SROC website at http://sroc.cfans.umn.edu or contact your local or regional Extension office or the SROC at (507) 835-3620.

Editor's note: this column is a combination of Jerry's submitted column and a press release submitted by the SROC office staff.