Extension's Response to COVID-19

Managing A Farm During COVID-19

Private Pesticide Training Licenses Extended


DATCAP has extended the date for the private pesticide licenses until December 31, 2021.  If you still want to complete your private pesticide license for this year you can go online and the training will be available March – May 2021.  A manual must be purchased ahead of the training/or testing.  You can purchase a manual at the Barron County Extension Office for $30.00. The cost for the online training is:  $10.00 per person. Trainings Will be held: March 1-14, 2021 April 1-14, 2021 May 1-14, 2021 To access this, visit the UW Pat Store at:  Scroll down on this page to “Private Applicator Training” located in the left column of the page.  Click on General Farming 100/101.  Then look for the B-Online Private Applicator Training main section of the page.  Click on “Add to Cart” the online training session you would like to purchase.  You will be taken to the shopping cart.  Click the button “checkout” to enter your contact information, shipping information, and payment information.  Must complete in one session; cannot log out and then log back in.  Allow 3.5 hours to complete. If you have any questions, please call the Barron County Extension Office at 715-537-6250 and ask for Kim Grover.  


Corn Rootworm Management


The Corn Rootworm Management Update Virtual Meeting is Friday, March 26th, from 10:00 – 11:30 am. University of Illinois, Iowa State University, and University of WI-Madison Extension Programs are offering a virtual 1.5 hour program featuring current research and outreach efforts focusing on corn rootworm scouting, resistance, and management.  This program is designed for famers, agronomists, and conservation professionals interested in learning about research and outreach projects occurring the the tri-state region. There is no charge to attend this meeting, but registration is required:  a meeting link will be provided by 2:00 pm the day prior to the meeting date.  1.5 Pest Management CEUs available.

Featured Presentations:

Introduction to corn rootworm management and research update

Dr. Erin Hodgson, Professor and Extension Entomologist, Iowa State University

BT Resistance and corn rootworm management in Illinois 

Dr. Nick J. Seiter, Assistant Professor and Field Crop Entomology, University of Illinois

Diversifying corn rootworm management to delay Bt resistance

Bryan Jensen, Entomologist, Integrated Pest Management Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison Questions?  Contact Dan Smith at or at 608-219-5170.
This meeting is being organized by Phillip Alberti, University of Illinois-Extension; Josh Michel and Virgil Schmitt, Iowa State University Extension; Josh Kamps and Gene Schriefer, University of Wisconsin-Extension, and Daniel H. Smith, Nutrient and Pest Management  Program, University of WI-Madison.


Wi Badger Crop Connect March 2021


Wisconsin Badger Crop Connect begins March 2021. The University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension’s Badger Crop Connect will be starting its 2nd annual webinar series for the 2021 growing season.  The series provides agronomists, crop consultants and farmers timely crop updates for Wisconsin.  This year’s series will be set up in three parts:  spring, summer and fall. Topics and speakers for the first several webinars include: Wednesday, March 10, 2021:  Shawn Conley, UW-Madison Professor and Extension soybean and Small Grains Specialist, will present on evaluating springtime winter wheat stands and intensive winter wheat management.  Carrie Laboski, UW-Madison Professor and Extension Soil Specialist, will present on winter wheat nitrogen rates, timing, and tips on winter cereals for improved forage yields. Wednesday, March 24th, 2021:  Rodrigo Werle, UW-Madison Professor and Extension Cropping Systems Weed Scientist, will provide considerations for early-Season weed control: Mark Renz, UW-Madison Professor and Extension Weed Scientist, will present on weed control for alfalfa establishment. Wednesday, April 14th, 2021:  Francisco Arriago, UW-Madison Professor and Extension Soil Specialist, will present on determining acceptable field soil conditions:  Brian Luck, UW-Madison Professor and Extension Biological Systems Engineering Specialist, will present on plant set-up and operation. The webinars will be offered, on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday’s of the month at 12:30 pm from March through September 2021.  Badger Crop Connect is hosted by Extension Crops and Soils educators.  CCA credits are available for each webinar.  There is no fee for these webinars, but registration is required. Please register for all the spring sessions at: For more information, please visit the Badger Crop Connect webpage at:  


WI Farm Technology Days - July 20-22, 2021

Current Events


The Future of Farming:  Wisconsin Farm Technology Days Will Forge Ahead in 2021. Green light means go for this year’s Wisconsin Farm Technology Days – a three-day outdoor event showcasing the latest developments in production agriculture – which is scheduled for July 20-22 at Huntsinger Farms, the largest grower and processor of horseradish in the U.S., which is known for its Silver Spring brand. Originally slated for last July, the Eau Claire show moved to 2021 as a result of COVID-19. This year, more than 350 exhibitors from across the Midwest and Canada have committed to the show, which will also feature intimate acoustic performances by singer -songwriter Chris Kroeze each day around lunchtime. A raffle aiming to benefit the local community will offer one lucky winner a private concert, courtesy of Kroeze. “Farm Tech Days Eau Claire is officially on,” said Mike Gintner, executive committee chair, in a media release. “The program committees have put together an amazing range of interesting and entertaining sessions – there’s something for everyone!” Wisconsin Farm Technology Days – originally known as Farm Progress Days – began in 1954, and was first held in Waupaca County. It has only been held in Eau Claire County once before, in 1992, although it has been held twice in Chippewa and Dunn counties over the years. Annually, this agricultural event (the largest outdoor agricultural event in the state!) brings over 45,000 attendees and more than 600 commercial and educational vendors. Tickets for this year’s event will go on sale by June, with final safety protocols and details decided by the Farm Tech Days committee at the end of June. This year, there will not be extended hours on Wednesday, but there will be local eats available for purchase, showcasing the brilliance of restaurants in the Chippewa Valley. “We are working with local restaurants and taverns so that show attendees can easily enjoy food, drink, and entertainment from the wide range of great options throughout the Eau Claire area,” Gintner said. Innovation Square – the heart of the show – will feature diverse area farms including Huntsinger Farms, Superior Fresh – the largest aquaponics grower of greens and salmon in the U.S.; Chippewa Valley Bean – the world’s premiere kidney bean grower and processor and its home farm, Doane Farm; award-winning Marieke Gouda cheese company and its home farm, Penterman Dairy Farm; and Ferguson’s Orchards – one of the largest apple growers and agritourism businesses in the Midwest. Attendees can check out for a real-time map showing exhibitor and exhibit locations, program details, as well as a “My Show Planner” feature to ensure they get the most out of the show. Companies are invited to reserve their spots for the July 2021 show on the website.  


Tile Drainage School March 8, 9, 11, 16


The Tile Drainage School is set for March 8th, 9th, 11th, and 16th, 2021. Wetter weather patterns and fieldwork challenges have led many producers to consider purchasing their own tile plow or adding to their existing drainage system.  Knowing how to properly design, lay out and install a system prevents costly mistakes.  Extension in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa are partnering to host a 4-day virtual Tile Drainage School, 8:00 am—12:00 pm on March 8th, 9th, 11th, and 16th for producers and tile contractors. In this industry-level course, drainage experts from all three universities will walk participants through assessing the field prior to installation, choosing the best lateral spacing, slope and outfall considerations, finding old tile systems and outlets/lift stations.  Agency experts will discuss the steps to avoid regulatory pitfalls, and participants will be able to lay out a system and receive feedback on their approach. The cost is $50 for the first person from a farm/tile installation business, and $25 for each additional person.  To register, visit For more information, contact Kevin Erb, UW-Extension Conservation Professional Training Program at or 920-391-4652.  


WI Manure Applicator Dates


University of Wisconsin –Madison, Division of Extension, is hosting four virtual Manure Applicator Training sessions (Level1/Manure101).  Designed for employees of both for-hire manure applicators and farmers applying their own manure, this 3-hour training covers the basics of manure spill response, setbacks and regulations, neighbor relations and equipment/manure gas safety. Participant can register for any one of the sessions online at  An internet-capable device and internet connection is required, and the cost is $10/person.  Dates/times of the training are: March 4th, 9:00 am—Noon March 11th, 6:00 pm—9:00 pm March 23rd, 9:00 am—Noon For more information, contact any of these Extension staff: or  


Agricultural Workers Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine


The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has announced that starting March 1st, 2021, the following groups will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine:
  • Education and Childcare Workers
  • Public-facing essential workers
    • Utility and communications infrastructure
    • Public transit
    • Food supply chain:  agriculture production workers, agriculture support providers, food production workers, retail food workers, and hunger relief personnel.
    • Non frontline essential health care personnel
    • Congregate living facility staff and resident
Anyone that fits into one of these groups and has a primary healthcare provider should reach out to their provider regarding availability of the vaccine.  Information for signing up through your primary healthcare provider can be found at  If you do not have internet access please call 715-537-6123.  Barron County Public Health will use these lists to match people to vaccine when it becomes available. Please note that March 1st, 2021 is a tentative date.  This is due to the limited vaccine supply from the federal government.  If vaccine supply increases, these groups may be eligible sooner.  However, if vaccine supply decreases, availability of the vaccine may be after March 1st, 2021. For more information or questions, please dial 2-1-1 or visit: https://211wisconsin.communityos.orgf/coronavirus      


Barron County Ag Impact Brochure

Unavailable at this time; updating.

Agricultural Newsletters

2021 ARC & PLC Signup for WI Farmers

Financial Resources


Written by Paul Mitchell, Director of the Renk Agribusiness Institute at the University of WI-farmers As part of the 2018 Farm Bill, each year farmers can make a decision with regard to the commodity support program ARC (Agriculture Risk Coverage) and PLC (Price Cost Coverage).  For the 2021 crop year, sign up is currently ongoing, with the March 15, 2021 deadline rapidly approaching. “The decision this year is clear and recommendations are provided based on commodity prices and program details,” said Paul Mitchell.  “If you have not already visited your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office to make your election for either the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program and to sign your annual enrollment contract, you should call and make an appointment now.” How ARC and PLC Work: PLC creates a price floor at the national level, trigging payments if the national marketing year average price is less than the reference price for a crop.  PLC reference prices are $3.70 for corn, $8.40 for soybeans, $5.50 for wheat, and $2.40 for oats.  If a PLC payment is triggered, the payment is the farm’s PLC yield multiplied by the price loss multiplied by 85% of the farm’s base acres. ARC-CO (County ARC) creates a revenue guarantee for each crop at the county level based on historical county yields and national prices using a detailed formula.  If actual county revenue falls below the  guarantee, ARC payments equal the revenue loss multiplied by 85% of the farm’s base acres.  The ARC-CO revenue guarantee is updated annually for each county.  Local FSA office have the revenue guarantees for each crop in your county. Crop Specific Recommendations: Farmers can choose ARC-CO or PLC separately for each FSA farm and crop.  For example, one of your farms can use PLC for soybeans and another can use ARC-CO.  The crop-specific recommendations below are based on comparing projected prices for the 2021 crop to the PLC reference price and simulations using the ARC/PLC Payment calculator ( developed by the University of Illinois.  A video on the Resources page further explains the logic for these recommendations based on the historical and projected crop prices and the PLC reference prices.  Based on this information, the following recommendations are suggested for the major crops of corn, soybeans, and small grains.  For corn it is recommended to choose PLC, for soybeans ARC, for wheat, barley, grain sorghum and sunflowers choose PLC and for oats choose ARC.  For more details and information visit Markets and Policy on the UW-Madison Division of Extension Farm Management website at:  ( These program payments are not guaranteed but depend on the weighted average of national prices for farmers through the entire marketing year.  The corn and soybean marketing year does not end until August 31, 2022, so these payments, if triggered, would not be paid until Sept./Oct/ of 2022.  For more details and information visit ( Crop Insurance, SCO, and ARC versus PLC These programs have some overlap with crop insurance, but Mitchell recommends making program decisions separate from crop insurance decisions, as they use different acreages, prices and yields.  Crop insurance uses actual planted acres and includes prevented plant coverage, while these programs make payments using base acres.  Crop insurance used current expected market prices, while these programs use average historical prices or pre-set reference prices that can be well above or well below actual crop values.  Lastly, these programs use fixed PLC yields or county yields, while crop insurance uses actual crop values.  Lastly, these programs use fixed PLC yields or county yields, while crop insurance used actual farm yields.  Mitchell noted that the only exception is if a farmer plans to buy SCO (Supplemental Coverage Option) as part of their crop insurance coverage, which means they must choose PLC for the insured crop. SCO is an add-on to crop insurance that covers part of the “deducible.” For example, if a farmer buys Revenue Protection (RP) with a 75% coverage level, the farmer pays the first 25% of losses below their expected revenue as a deductible.  SCO allows a farm to cover part of this deductible using a county policy, with coverage up to 86% of expected revenue.  Farmers already buying RP with an average 85% coverage level may find adding SCO offers similar coverage at lower cost if they reduce their RP crop coverage level.  However, few Wisconsin farmers use 85% coverage for their RP policy—only 5% – 6% of all insured corn and soybean acres in the state in 2019.  In terms of crop-specific recommendations, the few corn and soybean farmers who buy RP with an 85% coverage level may want also choose PLC for their soybeans (not just their corn) and then consider buying SCO and reducing  their RP coverage level slightly.  Mitchell said he generally does not recommend buying RP with an 85% coverage level, as most Wisconsin farmers find RP with a 70% to 80% coverage level the most cost-effective option.  However, interested farmers should discuss SCO with their crop insurance agent.  


Why Use Cover Crops?


Written by Greg Blonde, UW-Extension, Agricultural Agent, Waupaca County and Jamie Patton, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, UW-Madison Reduced Erosion: An obvious effect of growing cover crops is covering the soil surface, which can significantly reduce the potential for wind and water erosion. This is particularly true when precipitation and/or winds are intense and traditional cash crops aren’t actively growing, such as in early spring and late fall. Plant residue, both living and dead, is critical to minimize the impact of rainfall and wind on soil erosion. The estimated amount of residue remaining after corn harvest is often in the 75 to 90 percent range. However, depending on the region and conditions, fields can lose up to 40 percent or more of their residue cover during the winter.  This loss leaves the field more susceptible to erosion during heavy and intense spring rains. Depending on the species grown the planting method, and days of growth, cover crops have the potential to increase soil cover to almost 90 to 100 percent during times of the year when fields are most susceptible to erosion. Minimizing soil erosion to around 100 pounds will lead to an increase in soil depth because the rate of soil formation is greater than the rate of soil loss. Greater soil depth, in turn, results in greater soil and crop production resiliency, sustainability, and productivity. In addition to adding aboveground plant material, the root systems of cover crops help hold the soil in place and reduce erosion. Many soil health advocates recommend planting several species of crops in a single planting to capitalize on species’ differences in the root architecture (think taproot vs. fibrous root systems, shallow vs. deep-rooted plants). They argue that the diversity in root system growth will help hold soil in place, create pore space, scavenge and recycle nutrients and water, and move carbon deep within the soil profile. Increased Soil Organic Matter: Soil organic matter plays several beneficial roles, including enhanced aggregation and aggregate stability, increased soil fertility, and greater biological activity. Increased soil organic matter typically results in an increase in biological activity and the production of organic glues that hold soil aggregates together. Glomalin, a glycoprotein secreted by mycorrhizal fungi, is believed to be one of the primary organic glues for bonding and stabilizing aggregates. The benefits of increased soil aggregation with increased soil organic matter trickle down, leading to increased pore space, improved water infiltration, and reduced runoff, as well as increased water-holding capacity, gaseous exchange, root growth, and microbial activity. Although the concept of soil aggregation seems quite straightforward, farmers’ perspectives on the impact of cover crops on aggregation and soil water dynamics may appear contradictory. Farmers report that increased soil organic matter leads to greater water-holding capacity, yet their fields are drier and can be worked/planted earlier in the spring.  Large pores move water and air through the soil, while small pores hold water. The use of cover crops increases both sizes of pores. Root channels, worm channels, and an increased number of larger aggregates increase the number of large pores in a soil, draining away excess, saturating water. The increase in soil organic matter associated with cover crops also increases the number of smaller aggregates within the soil matrix. These smaller aggregates store up to approximately 25,000 gallons of plant-available water per acre per 1 percent organic matter. The combination of large and small pores allows soil to drain excess water properly and introduces oxygen back into the root zone, while simultaneously holding additional plant-available water.  Increasing soil organic matter by only a percentage point or two can have a huge impact on the ability of that soil to support crop growth in times of water stress—both too much and too little. Soil organic matter also increases cation-exchange capacity (CEC), which is the soil’s ability to hold and supply nutrients over time. With an increase in CEC, more nutrients are stored in the soil profile, leading to a decrease in nutrient loss. Increased CEC also improves the soil’s buffering capacity (ability to resist change), providing a more chemically stable environment for plants and microbes. Additionally, soil organic matter is itself a source of nutrients for plants, particularly nitrogen. As organic matter is decomposed, nutrients become dissolved and available for plant uptake. Predictions of the amount of nutrients released from soil organic matter are complicated, but research is underway to quantify the amount of nitrogen we can expect to come from our soils. Improved Nitrogen Cycling: Cover crops can be used to capture available soil nitrogen, which is stored in previous crop plant tissue. This helps decrease nitrogen leaching. Once the cover crop is terminated and starts to decompose, this nitrogen is released back into the soil system where it can be used by the subsequent crop. A study in Oregon’s Willamette Valley found that a cereal rye cover crop reduced nitrate leaching by 32 to 42 percent over a three-year period, as compared to fallow.  Such reductions in nutrient leaching not only reduce the fertilizer requirements in the year following the cover crop, but protect ground and surface water quality as well. Legume cover crops such as peas, vetches, and clovers can “fix” nitrogen from the atmosphere. Legumes are estimated to contribute anywhere from 40 to 200 pounds of nitrogen per acre. Current research into nitrogen fixation may help farmers utilize legumes more effectively in their rotations.   The rate and amount of nitrogen released from a cover crop is a direct result of the cover crop’s carbon to nitrogen (C: N) ratio. Microbes decomposing the cover crop like to maintain a 8:1 C: N ratio. When plant residue is added to the soil, the population of soil organisms increases to take advantage of the added food source. However, if the residue is relatively low in nitrogen, the microbes consume more nitrogen from the soil system to maintain their 8:1 C: N ratio.  As a result, this nitrogen is temporarily unavailable for plant use until the microbes die. As the microbes decompose, nitrogen is released back into the soil system, making it plant-available again. Residues with low C:N ratios, such as legumes and young plant tissues, typically does not result in immobilization but often release nitrogen back into the plant-available pool quickly. In fact, legume nitrogen can be quickly mineralized, sometimes even before the subsequent crop has a high demand for it. Achieving synchrony of nitrogen release from decomposing residues and crop nitrogen demand is difficult, but can be achieved through effective timing of cover crop termination and an ideal mixture of cover crop species to spread nitrogen mineralization over the growing season. Growing mixtures of quickly mineralized cover crops (legumes and some brassicas) with slowly mineralized cover crops (the grasses) can often achieve this goal.. Enhanced Soil Biology: We’re just starting to realize how important large and small soil organisms are to soil health and diverse population of microorganisms.  Soil organisms play an important role in decomposition.  By growing cover crops and improving soil physical and chemical properties, farmers can enhance the microbial populations found in their soils and reap the benefits of a functioning, diverse soil ecosystem.  These benefits include nutrient recycling, residue degradation, and pore and aggregate creations, among others. Suppress Weeds: Cover crops can be used to suppress weed growth through:
  • Promotion of a weed’s natural enemies, such as seed predators and pathogens
  • Physical suppression (i.e., mulch) to reduce weed seed germination and growth
  • Allelopathy or chemical inhibition to reduce weed seed germination and growth
  • Competition for space, nutrients, and light to reduce weed growth and seed production
Cover crops planted for weed suppression should be aggressive growers that cover the ground quickly, shading the ground to prevent or suppress weed seedling growth. Cereal rye, hairy vetch and red clover are well-known for their quick growth and ability to suppress weeds. The impact of cover crops on weed suppression can be enhanced through proper species selection; timely establishment appropriate seeding rates; and proper row spacing, fertilization, and use of no-till techniques. Insect Support/Succession: Manipulation of cover crops for the control of insect pests is not as simple as it sounds. The underlying principle is to attract beneficial insects and repel pests. However, cover crops may provide both beneficial and pest insects with a supplemental food source and/or shelter. In fact, some insect pests, such as armyworms, wireworms, seed corn maggots, slugs, and white grubs are attracted to the high residue cover of cover-cropped fields in early spring and can become a crop production issue. Insecticides, both surface applied and seed treatments, are often effective in controlling these pests. It is important to note that soil arthropods, springtails, and other soil insects also benefit from cover crops. These small soil dwellers help in organic matter decomposition and serve as predators, keeping microscopic organisms in check while aiding in nutrient cycling. The role of cover crops in insect support and suppression has not been fully researched, but anecdotal accounts support the role they can play in enhancing pest control.  


Wisconsin Cash Rent by County

Hay Market Report for the Upper Midwest


All hay prices quoted are dollars per ton FOB point of origin for alfalfa hay unless otherwise noted.  This information presented in this report is compiled from public and private quality tested sales and reports in the Midwest.  The past several months of hay reports are archived and you may view previous hay reports, go to on the Team forage website and click on the past hay reports section. Hay auction data is collected on the first and third week of the month and posted by or before Tuesday.  Prices quoted in this report are for “as fed” alfalfa hay. Demand and Sales Comments Cold temperatures have set in the Midwest over the weekend; this may have an impact on hay markets in the next few weeks.  With cold temperatures cattlemen may need to purchase forages to supplement livestock.  The hay market remains steady this week.  If you need forage or have forage to sell or straw, connect to the Farmer-To-Farmers webpage at Upper Midwest Hay Price Summary by Quality Grade
Prime (≥151 RFV/RFQ) Small Square 228.00 150.00 320.00
Large Square 223.00 110.00 325.00
Large Round 175.00 90.00 225.00
Grade 1 (125 to 150 RFV/RFQ) Small Square 192.00 160.00 224.00
Large Square 163.00 110.00 275.00
Large Round 136.00 100.00 195.00
Grade 2 (103 to 124 RFV/RF) Small Square 122.00 122.00 122.00
Large Square 135.00 95.00 205.00
Large Round 113.00 70.00 145.00
Grade 3 (87 to 102 RFV/RFQ) Small Square 107.00 75.00 140.00
Large Square 102.00 75.00 150.00
Large Round 96.00 55.00 S130.00
Straw prices— are for oat, barley, or wheat straw.  Straw prices remained steady with limited supply at the market.  Small square bales averaged $4.25 a bale (range of $3.00 to $6.00).  Large square bale straw averaged $41.00 per bale (a range of $20.00 to $75.00).  Large bale straw averaged $36.00 per bale (a range of $20.00—$75.00.) In Nebraska—Hay sales were steady with good demand.  Snow and artic temperatures will have many cattlemen supplementing livestock to stay warm in the harsh weather.  In Iowa, supply is good, demand is steady, and prices are steady. In South Dakota—alfalfa and grass hay prices are steady with few reported sales. Demand was moderate with best demand for dairy quality hay moving out of state. In Missouri—supply is moderate, demand is moderate and prices remain steady.  A number of farmers may list supply of hay as they believe they will have a surplus moving toward spring. In Southwest Minnesota—prices were steady with a supply of lower quality hay at the market.  In Kansas, market prices were steady for all classes of hay on a limited test.   Greatest demand is for dairy quality alfalfa. In Wisconsin—prices are steady for dairy quality hay.  Other classes of hay are at mercy of the buyers at the auction. Data compiled by Richard Halopka, UW Madison, Division of Extension, Clark County Crops and Soils Educator      


Contact Information:

Kim Grover, Administrative Assistant

Barron County Extension Office

Barron County Government Center, Room 2206

335 E. Monroe Avenue

Barron, WI 54812

Phone:  715-537-6250

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  • Crops and Soils