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Notes on fall fertilization

  • October 26, 2018

With harvest winding down in most of Illinois after another year with high to very high yields, it’s time to review some basics of fall fertilization. Neither fertilizer nor grain prices are historically high, so there’s reason to be aware of costs while making sure to cover the nutrient basics.
In a webinar on October 19 organized by the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association, we looked at some of the nitrogen response data that have come in so far this fall and considered what this might mean in terms of fall N management.…

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Will the August 1 crop yield predictions hold up?

  • September 4, 2018

Illinois corn and soybean yields in 2018 were predicted in the August 1 NASS report (released on August 10) to be 205 and 65 bushels per acre, respectively, both an all-time record for this great state. Corn yields in the U.S. were predicted at 178.4 bushels per acre, a new all-time high, and for U.S. soybean the August 1 prediction was 51.6 bushels, which is very slightly below the 2016 U.S. yield.
Trying to guess which way and how far the yield numbers will move from predicted levels is a popular pastime,…

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Is the 2018 soybean crop as good as it looks?

  • July 24, 2018

If the appearance of the soybean crop going into late July predicts how it will yield, the 2018 crop in Illinois is going to be a high-yielding one. The crop in Illinois was rated at 78% good + excellent (G+E) as of July 22. Conditions across the US soybean growing regions are somewhat variable, but the 2018 crop is in good condition overall.
As I did with corn in the Bulletin on July 6,…

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The 2018 Illinois Corn Crop at Mid-Season

  • July 6, 2018

The crop progress report from NASS showed that on July 1, 40 percent of the Illinois corn crop was silking, the crop rating was 85 percent good + excellent (G + E), and more than 85 percent of Illinois was reported as having adequate or surplus soil moisture. While this combination is very supportive of prospects for high yields, questions remain about whether the crop is actually as good as it looks, and about how dry weather in the coming weeks might affect crop prospects.…

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Crop conditions and potential in mid-June

  • June 14, 2018

Warm temperatures continue in Illinois, with growing degree day (GDD) accumulations since May 1 running from 150 above average in northern Illinois to about 250 GDD above average in the rest of the state. With GDD accumulations of 900 to 1,000 since May 1, the corn crop planted in early May is at V10 to V14, about 30 to 60 inches tall, and needing only about 350 to 450 more GDD to tassel and silking. With daily accumulations at about 25 GDD,…

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A fast start for the 2018 crop

  • May 18, 2018

We worried our way through the cool month of April, with 32 percent of corn and only 7 percent of soybean acres planted by April 29, and nothing emerged. During the first two weeks of May, the weather was warmer and drier than normal, and adding together corn and soybeans, Illinois farmers planted more than a million acres for each of the 10.3 “days suitable for fieldwork” between April 29 and May 13.
By May 13,…

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Positive Signs after a Slow Start to Corn Planting

  • April 19, 2018

Parts of Illinois received some precipitation for the third Sunday in a row (starting with Easter) on April 15, and in a few places, also for the third Sunday in a row, it came partly in the form of snow. That streak should end this weekend, and less rain and warmer temperatures are predicted to move in for the rest of April.
Some ammonia went on late last week and there was planting activity in places,…

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N Rate Calculator Updated

  • April 11, 2018

Last month (March 2018) we used data from 2017 N rate response trials to update the N rate calculator that provides best-estimate N rate guidelines for different regions and previous crops (corn or soybean) in Illinois. The updating process, which is currently being done by spring each year in Illinois, involves adding the new data and taking out some of the older data.
Many people understand the idea of using data from previous research to try to predict how a management factor will work the next time (in this case,…

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Early-Season Management of Soybean

  • April 10, 2018

If the old saying that rain on Easter means that it will rain on the next seven Sundays applies to snow, we’re in trouble – it snowed across a wide swath of Illinois on Easter Sunday (April 1) and also on April 8.
We had enough dry weather in March to allow some ammonia to go on early, but there has been little opportunity for field work over the last six weeks. Rainfall over the past month has been below normal for the northern third of Illinois and above-normal in the southern half of the state,…

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Last call for soybean information

  • March 9, 2018

I wrote a short article here about a month ago asking for everyone’s cooperation on a project in which we (Corn Belt states) are gathering field-level information on soybean fields to feed into a study, funded (with soybean checkoff dollars) by the North Central Soybean Research Program, looking at weather, soil, and management effects soybean yield over the Corn Belt.
While we got some response to that article, we have so far gathered information on less than half the fields in Illinois that we,…

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