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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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A request for 2019 yields

  • November 1, 2019

On October 17, 2019, the UI College ACES put out a news release that described an effort to gather yields from a lot of Illinois corn and soybean fields in 2019. We’re doing this because of the unique opportunity we have to try to get a handle on how planting date affected yields in 2019, so we know better what to expect if and when planting is this late again.
Although late planting is nothing new in Illinois,…

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Soil temperatures and fall ammonia application

  • October 25, 2019

According to NASS, Illinois producers harvested 36 percent of the corn crop and 52 percent of the soybean crop by October 20. That’s still behind the average pace of harvest, but harvest continues in many areas this week, and as it progresses, fields in many areas are becoming available for fall field work to begin.
Many producers in central and northern Illinois have fall anhydrous ammonia application high on their to-do list, especially after the fall of 2018 and the spring of 2019,…

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Fall fertilizer considerations in 2019

  • September 27, 2019

The high number of prevented-planting fields in some areas, the late start to harvest, and the inability to apply P and K fertilizer as planned last fall or this past spring combine to raise a number of questions about fall application of P, K, and lime over the next few months.
Prevented-planting fields
If P and K fertilizers were applied last fall or this past spring but no crop could be planted, there’s no reason not to count all of the applied P and K as available for the 2020 crop.…

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Corn and soybean crops limp towards the finish line

  • September 5, 2019

After the worst start to a cropping season in decades, mid-season lack of rain in parts of Illinois, and season-long low crop ratings, it’s time to take a look at what comes next as the 2019 cropping season moves into its final stages.
Corn
To no one’s surprise, various crop tours in recent weeks have confirmed that corn yields in parts of Illinois are likely to be disappointing. If there is a positive, it’s that the crop may look a little better than we thought it would by now after more than half of it was planted after June 1.…

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Corn and soybean crops at mid-season, 2019

  • July 19, 2019

The 2019 Illinois corn crop reached 50% planted during the first week of June, more than a month later than the average of the past five years. The soybean crop reached 50% planted a few days later than corn, and more than three weeks later than the average of the past five years. May rainfall was above normal over most of Illinois, and June brought near-normal rainfall over much of the state. Still, the late planting coupled with too much or too little rainfall after planting produced July crop condition ratings of only about 40% good + excellent for both crops,…

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Cover crops on prevented-planting acres: an update

  • July 3, 2019

There have been a number of developments since my June 17 article on managing prevented-planting (PP) fields. A major change was the granting of permission to harvest cover crops planted on PP acres after September 1, instead of November 1. In addition, harvesting after September 1 can now be done with a forage harvester—as silage—rather than only by grazing or making hay.
In simple terms that means that cover crops on PP acres can be managed as forage crops,…

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Managing Prevented-Planting Fields

  • June 17, 2019

With a lot of acres of corn and soybeans still unplanted as we move into the second half of June, prevented planting (PP) is unfortunately going to be a major part of the story of the 2019 cropping season in Illinois. Here we’ll look at goals and options for managing acres on which the intended crop—corn or soybean—does not get planted.
The main goals of managing PP acres will be: 1) providing a vegetative cover in order to keep the soil in place and to prevent “fallow syndrome”;…

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Rain, late planting, and nitrogen

  • June 5, 2019

One of the most pressing questions as planting continues into June after a very wet May is whether or not the high rainfall amounts over the past month have affected the amount of nitrogen fertilizer needed for the corn crop this year. This is a complicated question, related both to concern about how much early-applied N might be lost and to decreased yield potential from late planting that might lower the need for N. The recent price increase in corn also provides an incentive to make sure the crop gets enough N.…

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Dealing with very late planting

  • May 31, 2019

Despite the fact that the “active” weather pattern gave no signs of changing over the past month, few of us thought we’d see so little planting progress by now. But here we are, with only 35% of the Illinois corn crop and 14% of the soybean crop planted by May 26. With more rain this week, we will have less than half the corn and less than a fourth of the soybeans planted before June 1 in Illinois.…

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