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Will's Windmill column: Bovine TB meeting set for April 8 in DL

Livestock producers interested in the anticipated downgrade of the state's bovine TB status are invited to an informational meeting at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8 in Detroit Lakes.

The meeting will be held in Room C103 at Minnesota State Community & Technical College, located on East Highway 10 in Detroit Lakes. This meeting is free of charge and open to all area livestock producers.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health and University of Minnesota Extension Service will present information about the state's TB status downgrade, interstate movement requirements, the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance, and split state status.

The USDA allows for a Modified Accredited Advanced (MAA) state to find three TB infected herds in a twelve-month period. Because Minnesota has identified four infected herds since October 2007, our status will change to Modified Accredited (MA). Subsequently, Minnesota cattle producers will be subject to a stricter set of shipping regulations.

At the Feb. 13 meeting of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, members approved a motion to proceed with obtaining split-state status in order to allow the majority of the state to upgrade its status, while the counties surrounding TB affected area would remain MA.

The Board is committed to limiting the impact of bovine TB on the state's cattle industry as a whole.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health adopted the DNR-defined zones for establishing cattle management requirements to minimize exposure of cattle to deer that could be infected with TB. These requirements became effective in June 2007.

All cattle producers in the 'Core Area' of Roseau and Beltrami counties and 'Management Zone' of Roseau, Lake of the Woods, Beltrami, Kittson and Marshall counties are required to test their herds for TB annually. In addition, producers in the 'Core Area' must receive a movement permit from the Board of Animal Health and ensure each animal has a current TB test before it is moved off the farm.

Producers in the 'Core Area' must also implement the recommendations of a wildlife risk assessment performed on their premises to reduce cattle/deer interaction.

Per USDA requirement, Minnesota must test all cattle, bison and cervidae herds within 10 miles of a previously infected herd or a TB-infected deer (referred to as 'Area Testing'). In December 2007, the Board announced the conclusion of its Statewide Bovine TB Surveillance.

The testing campaign, aimed at verifying that the disease was located only in northwestern Minnesota, tested more than 1,550 cattle herds across the state. All herds were negative. For more information on Minnesota's efforts to eradicate bovine TB, log onto the Board's website at

For more information about the April 8 TB meeting in Detroit Lakes, please contact me, Will Yliniemi, Hubbard/Becker County Extension educator, at 1-218-732-3391 or 1-218-846-7328, by cell at 1-218-252-1042, or by e-mail at

Plant corn early for higher yields

There's no doubt that early planting is important for high corn yields. Extensive research over many locations and years in Minnesota has shown the yield advantage of early-planted corn. And Minnesota corn growers have responded by planting corn earlier.

Corn is now planted an average of 23 days earlier compared to the mid 1960s. Since 1968, the average planting date for Minnesota's corn acreage has been earlier by about one-half day per year. The average planting date for corn was May 20 in 1968, and May 3 in 2005.

Based on several years of research in Minnesota, 23 days earlier has resulted in substantially higher corn yields. An analysis of yields and planting dates shows that corn planted prior to May 1 has averaged more than ten bushels per acre higher than trend yields.

While early planting is important to achieve good corn yields, it does not guarantee high yields because many other factors affect yield. However, early planting is an important "stage setting" factor. In replicated research where planting date is a variable and all other factors are held constant, there's a definite yield advantage to late April and very early May planting dates for corn in Minnesota.

In addition, maturity occurs earlier in the fall, allowing more time for field dry-down or calendar time to harvest and complete fall tillage practices. For questions, and for more information about early planting of corn, please contact Will Yliniemi, Hubbard/Becker County Extension educator at 1-218-732-3391, or 1-218-252-1042, or by e-mail at: