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Corn and soybean after a slow start to the 2024 season

  • June 4, 2024
  • Giovani Preza Fontes

Although April-May rainfall exceeded normal amounts in Illinois by up to 50 percent in some areas, and average temperatures have exceeded normal by several degrees, the weather record fails to capture what the 2024 planting season actually looked like. Planting in parts of the state was nearly complete by early May, while in other places, many acres remain to be planted going into June.
Planting began early, with 1 percent of both corn and soybeans planted in Illinois by the end of March.…

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Notes on Nitrogen as Planting Gets Underway

  • April 12, 2024
  • Giovani Preza Fontes

March was relatively warm and dry in Illinois, and corn planting started early: NASS reported that 1% of the Illinois corn crop was planted by March 31, and 2% by April 7. Those are no record-early starts, but it’s rare to have enough planted acreage to report by April 1. Most of the state has had above-normal rainfall for far in April, so we expect limited planting progress in the coming days.
In this article we’ll consider a few nitrogen-related issues to keep in mind as planting progresses in 2024:
Due perhaps to an article in the Ohio State C.O.R.N newsletter this week,…

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Nitrogen Supply for the Corn Crop

  • October 25, 2023

An article in the online Prairie Farmer on October 11, 2023 titled “How much nitrogen does corn get from fertilizer?” followed by the subheading …”80% of a corn crop’s N comes from the soil…” This has caused a great deal of discussion and consternation among those who sell and use nitrogen fertilizer on corn.
The basis for the article was a May 2023 news release from the University of Illinois College of ACES, which summarized findings from several studies conducted in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences by Dr.…

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Wheat and Double-Crop Soybeans

  • May 15, 2023

Planted wheat acreage in Illinois increased by 35%, from 650,000 acres in 2022 to 880,000 for the crop to be harvested in 2023. Wheat acreage by county or crop reporting district is not available, but indications are that some of the additional acreage is in parts of central Illinois where wheat acreage has been limited in recent decades. Wheat yields in Illinois were record-high (79 bushels per acre) in both 2021 and 2022, which along with high wheat prices added to expectations that wheat would be a profitable crop in 2023.…

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Low temperatures and Illinois crops

  • May 5, 2023

The first half of April was dry and warm in Illinois, and 159 growing degree days accumulated, compared to the average of 99. The second half of April was also dry in most areas, but only 92 GDD accumulated, compared to the average of 132. Some producers who would normally plant as fast as possible during the second half of April decided to delay planting due to low temperatures. That’s very unusual when soils are in good working condition,…

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Thinking about crop emergence

  • April 21, 2023

By April 16, 10 percent of the Illinois corn crop and 4 percent of soybeans had been planted. Rainfall across Illinois is below normal so far in April, with an unprecedented 10 (of 20) days with no rainfall recorded anywhere in the state. Topsoil moisture ranges from slightly above to slightly below normal across Illinois; there are no areas of really wet or of really dry soils. Some rain fell over the last 24 hours, but little rain is forecast for the next week.…

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Two-rate nitrogen trials

  • April 11, 2023

Hundreds of full-rate N trials run over the past decade in Illinois have been used to develop the N rate calculator that generates Maximum Return to Nitrogen (MRTN) N rates. While using the MRTN rate maximizes the dollar return to N, it is a lower N rate than many producers use currently. Reluctance to lower rates following years of high yields with high N rates is understandable, given that the yield-goal-based N rates used into the early 2000s called for raising N rates as yields increased.…

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Planting corn in 2023

  • April 8, 2023

March rainfall ranged from about normal to an inch above normal in the northern half of Illinois to twice normal in the southern end of the state. NASS reported 1.7 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending on April 2, and soil moisture is rated as adequate or surplus in more than 95% of the state. Up to an inch of rain fell in the first week of April, but dry weather is in the forecast,…

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Winter Wheat Update

  • March 31, 2023

Illinois producers planted 650,000 acres of winter wheat in the fall of 2021 and harvested 560,000 acres in 2022, with an average yield of 79 bushels per acre. Boosted by high world wheat prices, high wheat and good doublecrop soybean yields, and dry fall weather, planted acreage for 2023 rose to 880,000 acres. That’s 45 percent higher than the average of the past ten years, and the highest planted wheat acreage in Illinois since 2008. Crop condition ratings on March 26 were good,…

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Nitrogen for the 2023 Corn Crop

  • March 15, 2023

Helped more than hurt overall by periods of dry weather during the season, the 2023 Illinois corn averaged 214 bushels per acre, the highest yield on record. We’ll look at some results from N fertilizer trials in 2022 and consider how we manage N for the upcoming season.
N rate
Figure 1 below shows N responses for corn following soybean in nine N rate trials in central Illinois in 2022. These are drawn using actual data points (yields at each N rate averaged over reps),…

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