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Introduction by Pete Sexton, Farm Supervisor.

This report provides summaries of most of the research trials done at the SDSU Southeast Research Farm in 2018. The overall objective of the farm is to contribute to the public welfare for folks in southeast South Dakota by conducting unbiased agricultural research. The farm’s strategic goals as set by our Farm Board continue to be:

  1. Improve character of the soil (soil quality);
  2. Achieve grain yield goals and optimize cost of production and profitability;
  3. Optimize livestock production including use of novel approaches in integrating livestock and crop production;
  4. Increase association membership and improve public relations and outreach;
  5. Broaden scope of research to include small-scale and beginning farmers and horticulture work as opportunity permits.

Toward these ends we continue to work on no-till systems, both as a matter of economy and as a matter of trying to improve soil quality. This past year we have started doing more work with annual forages. This is a an important topic for producers who have cows; we hope incorporating annual forages into grain production systems works out to be a profitable and sustainable path to follow. My guess is that in the years to come there will be a lot of work at research farms and in farmer’s fields trying to optimize and mix and match both annual and perennial forages into grain crop production systems. In terms of long-term sustainability, there are a lot of strong arguments for working with forages, and of course it needs to be profitable in the short run also – so there is a lot of scope for work here. We have done some work with winter canola and soft white winter wheat this past year, as some new crops for our area. The winter canola is really a struggle to work with in terms of over-wintering survival. This is a topic that will need some more work to resolve. The very warm and wet weather in late May and June lead to a severe outbreak of bacterial leaf streak disease in our winter wheat. So this also is not as straight-forward as I had hoped. It means we’ll probably need to do a little more work with screening varieties and maybe with planting dates in the future. Of course we continue to work with corn and soybeans as the main-stays of our cropping system. Improvements continue to be made to the farm. This year the length of the cement pad in the feedlots was increased to 20’. We are working on improving our roads every year. In a major development, the board took a decision to purchase a small-plot combine that is small enough to be hauled around on a trailer. This will open a door for us to more off-station trials with farmer cooperators in the future. We plan to carry on with our collaborators at SDSU as a primary mission of the farm to facilitate their work with livestock and crop research. We are always looking to improve on our efforts and like to listen to new ideas. Please feel free to stop in and visit or call to share suggestions and comments about our research. We plan to have our summer field day on July 9, and a fall plot tour on September 12, God willing. We hope that you can make it to Beresford for both events. We hope you have a good year ahead.

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