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Adjusting Nitrogen Fertilizer Rates to Price Changes

  • April 28, 2021

Corn planting progress continues, with 23% of the Illinois crop planted by April 25, and planting continues with some rain delays the last week of April. The warm temperatures that finally arrived will be good for emergence of both corn and soybeans, but there are some reports of damage to early-planted soybeans from frost on April 21 and 22.
Warmer soil temperatures will start the mineralization process by which microbes release N from soil organic matter,…

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A Tough Week Ahead

  • April 19, 2021

In the week ending on April 18, planted acreage moved up in Illinois, from 5 to 12% for corn and from 2 to 5% for soybean. The forecast for cool temperatures this week has turned even cooler, with highs in the 40s for several days, and with frost possible, including temperatures that may drop into the upper 20s in some places in mid-week. There may be some snow as well, which as it melts will move as cold water into the soil.…

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Cool Temperatures at Planting

  • April 16, 2021

Planting is off to a fast start in Illinois, with 5 percent of the corn crop and 3 percent of the soybean crop planted by April 11 (NASS). With the exception of much of western Illinois, where heavy rain fell on April 8-9, most of Illinois remains dry, and planting continues, but with some concern about low temperatures that persist.
Temperatures the first half of April were close to average, but were above average the first week and below average the second week of the month.…

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Does This Product Work?

  • April 6, 2021

“Every agronomic decision is a good one for someone” is a quote that I saw recently that reminds us that being “entrepreneurial” is high valued in today’s business world, rewarded in some cases by large amounts of venture capital invested in startup companies. That’s as true in crop agriculture as in any other business, and it means that startups are under pressure to find or create niches and product(s) to fill them, and to demonstrate that these products are widely sellable.…

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Planting-time Considerations

  • March 23, 2021

March rainfall in Illinois has ranged from as much as an inch below normal in the northern third of the state, to close to normal in central Illinois, to as much as 2 to 3 inches above normal in the southern third of Illinois. This, along with some rain this week, has dampened the hope for a March start to planting in most areas. That gives us time to think about issues related to planting and early-season management.…

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Soil temperatures and fall ammonia application

  • October 26, 2020

As we indicated in a recent Bulletin article, nitrogen applied as anhydrous ammonia in the fall is an effective source of N for the corn crop, but is also a little more subject to loss compared to N applied in the spring. One of the main factors that determines how much of the fall-applied N is subject to loss is how much of the ammonia converts to nitrate (is nitrified) in the fall and early spring,…

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Is Fall a Good Time to Apply Nitrogen?

  • September 30, 2020

Applying anhydrous ammonia in the fall to provide N to the corn crop the following year has a long history in Illinois and in other parts of the Corn Belt where rotation, tillage, and manure management practices allow it.  Fall application means getting a major field operation done when soil conditions are generally more favorable than they are in the spring, and it helps to spread the work load across more months. Historically, the cost of ammonia has also been lower in the fall than in the following spring,…

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Weather and the 2020 Illinois Corn and Soybean Crops

  • August 5, 2020

What a difference July rainfall makes. The U.S. Drought Map based on data through July 28 showed that only six percent of Illinois was rated as abnormally dry or with moderate drought, down from nearly 19 percent two weeks earlier. Above-normal rainfall over the past week in the southern half of Illinois will erase at least half that area, and with cooler weather this week, crop stress should be minimal during the first half of August,…

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Hoping for rain: crops at mid-season 2020

  • July 9, 2020

While the record will show that planting progress for both corn and soybean crops in Illinois was close to normal in 2020, heavy rainfall in May and again in early June in some places this year led to some replanting, and some ponded areas don’t have a stand. Stands are mostly good otherwise, but crop condition ratings in Illinois have been mediocre so far, with percent good + excellent percentage in the low 60s for both crops in early July.…

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Frost/freeze damage report: will plants recover?

  • May 14, 2020

Temperatures over most of Illinois dropped to the upper 20s or low 30s on Saturday morning, May 9. This resulted in damage or even death to emerged and emerging corn and soybeans. The extent of damage was closely tied to when fields were planted.
Corn planted during the warm part of April—the first week—was up and growing (slowly) by May 1, with limited leaf area. In some fields, emerged stands were already subpar, especially in the wettest parts of the state,…

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