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Notes as Fall Harvest Continues

  • October 20, 2021

After an early start to fall harvest in 2021, widespread rainfall over most of Illinois in the second week of October slowed harvest progress; by October 17, 62% of the corn crop and 51% of the soybean crop were harvested, compared to 5-year averages of 59 and 62% for the two crops, respectively. With rainfall totals of 2-3 inches over most of northern and central Illinois, many fields remain wet as harvest activities resume this week.…

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Fertilizer Decisions, Fall 2021

  • October 6, 2021

With warm and dry weather prevailing over the past month, harvest of the corn and soybean crops has proceeded at a brisk pace in Illinois. By October 1, 41% of the corn crop and 32% of the soybean crop had been harvested; both were ahead of the average over the past five years.
Early harvest as dry conditions continue gets many producers and dealers thinking about fall fertilizer. This has taken on a greater urgency in 2021 due to large increases in fertilizer prices over the past year,…

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Managing Crops after a Lot of Mid-Season Rain

  • July 19, 2021

In an article posted last week I described the effects of rainfall and standing water on corn plants, especially corn roots, and what this might mean for corn crop prospects. Here, we’ll consider the extent to which damage from wet soils can be addressed by management during the second half of the 2021 season.
A short trip on Saturday made clear that a lot of corn and soybeans in fields and parts of fields where water hasn’t stood are in outstanding shape,…

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Wet Soils and Corn

  • July 15, 2021

The 2021 cropping season in Illinois (and the Corn Belt) continues to be a story of haves, have-nots, and have-way-too-much with regard to rainfall. In the first three weeks of June, nearly all of Illinois had below-normal rainfall, and concerns about dryness increased. That ended abruptly: in the three weeks from June 25 through July 14, rainfall totals ranged from below normal in the northwestern counties to 25 to 75% above normal in southern Illinois to 100 to more than 200% above normal in central Illinois,…

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Mid-June Notes on the 2021 Soybean Crop

  • June 17, 2021

The 2021 Illinois soybean crop was planted relatively early, with the 50%-planted date of May 5, more than two weeks ahead of normal. As in most recent years, some producers began planting soybeans before they started planting corn, although the first official record of soybeans planted (5% by April 19) was a week later than that for corn (5% by April 12). Planting conditions for soybeans were fair to good, but weather after planting was not consistently good.…

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Mid-June Notes on the 2021 Corn Crop

  • June 16, 2021

The 2021 corn crop was planted ahead of normal, although “normal” includes the very late planting in 2019 and late planting in 2020, so “typical” might better describe 2021 planting progress. There were no extended wet periods in April or May, but wide swings in temperatures affected emergence and early growth. Crop ratings are about average for mid-June, but have slipped some, probably due to dry conditions in some regions. June temperatures have been favorable for crop growth,…

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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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