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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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Replanting corn and soybeans

  • May 6, 2020

Both corn and soybean planting progressed at about normal speed into May, with 56 percent of the Illinois corn crop and 31 percent of the Illinois soybean crop planted by May 3. Unfortunately, the period of warmer, drier weather we have been hoping for has not yet materialized.
Over the ten days through May 5, about two-thirds of Illinois has gotten from 3 to more than 6 inches of rainfall. Temperatures have not cooperated very well,…

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Planting corn and soybeans in 2020

  • April 7, 2020

March rainfall in Illinois ranged from normal to a couple of inches above normal, but the last week of March and first week of April have been relatively dry, and field operations are getting underway. The April 6 NASS report indicates that there were 3.1 days suitable for fieldwork in Illinois during the week ending on April 5, but no planting was recorded. As is often the case in early April, soils are wet over most of the state.…

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Managing Nitrogen for Corn in 2020

  • March 24, 2020

As was the case a year ago, there have been limited opportunities to apply nitrogen fertilizer since last fall. Rainfall in Illinois through the first three weeks of March has been at or above average, and temperatures have been a few degrees above normal. Soils remain wet, and there is little in the current weather pattern to indicate that a drying period is on its way soon. Potential drying rates will increase as temperatures rise, though,…

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Nutrient movement off frozen and snow-covered soil

  • December 16, 2019

Snow has now fallen throughout much of Illinois, and temperatures have dropped going into the last weeks in 2019. With the recent Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy biennial report highlighting P and N levels in Illinois waterways, this is a good time to review the application of nutrients on frozen and/or snow-covered soils.
Last spring, after a short and often-muddy fall fertilizer season, a considerable amount of fertilizer—mostly P in the form of DAP or MAP and K as KCl—was applied during the first week of March when the soil surface was frozen.…

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Wet grain, test weight, and late corn harvest

  • November 21, 2019

According to NASS, 20 percent—some 2 million acres—of the 2019 Illinois corn crop was still in the field on November 17. Following unprecedented delays in planting, the warm weather in September helped move the crop towards maturity, and frost did not come earlier than normal. So most of the corn in Illinois was at or close to maturity by mid-late October, but temperatures have been below to much-below normal over most of the past month, and this has delayed drydown of the crop.…

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