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One More Call for Soybean Production Information

  • January 12, 2018

A number of times over the past 30 months I’ve asked Illinois soybean producers for help in gathering field-level information on soybean fields to feed into a study, led by the University of Nebraska and funded by the North Central Soybean Research Program, looking at weather, soil, and management effects soybean yield over the Corn Belt.
The last growing season from which we are collecting information is 2017, so this is probably the last time I’ll ask.…

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Timing Fall Nitrogen

  • October 19, 2017

The substantial rain that fell over central and northern Illinois between October 5 and 15 mostly soaked into the soil that was dried out by crop water use, and harvest has moved back to full speed in most areas. With harvest, thoughts turn to application of fall ammonia in central and northern Illinois. Almost everyone is on board with waiting until soil temperatures are at or below 50 degrees before applying ammonia. Cool soil (along with use of nitrification inhibitor) lowers the rate of nitrification,…

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Using the N rate calculator

  • September 27, 2017

A group of people who work on nitrogen fertilizer met in 2004 to talk about an alternative to the yield-goal-based N recommendation system that had been in widespread use for some three decades. The main concern with the yield-goal-based system was that, as corn yields increased over time, N rate trials were showing that the amount of fertilizer N needed to maximize yields was not going up as fast as yields. On the other hand, the amount of fertilizer N needed on lighter soils,…

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Issues as Harvest Approaches

  • September 16, 2017

It is looking like at least some harvest surprises may be positive after an up-and-down 2017 season in Illinois. The September 1 yield predictions released by the USDA this week are for Illinois corn yield to average 189 bushels per acre, up a bushel from the August 1 estimate. The soybean yield estimate is unchanged at 58 bushels per acre. Both would be outstanding after the tough start to the year and dry weather at times over much of the state.…

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New Grain Phosphorus and Potassium Numbers

  • September 7, 2017

Corn and soybean take up relatively large amounts of phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), and much of this P and K ends up in the grain that is taken off the field during harvest. In order to keep soil nutrient levels from dropping over time, the amounts removed need to be replaced by applying fertilizer or manure.
In order to know how much nutrient a crop removes, we need to know how much there is in a bushel of harvested grain.…

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Crunch time for corn

  • July 3, 2017

While the record will show that corn planting progressed at a more or less normal rate this spring in Illinois, wet, cool conditions that developed after nearly half of the crop had been planted resulted in a great deal of replanting, especially in the flat-soil areas of Illinois. Some fields damaged by water and some that were too wet to plant before late May likely were planted to soybeans instead of corn. The June 30 acreage report shows Illinois corn acreage dropping by 500,000 from 2016 to 2017 (to 11.1 million acres) and soybean acreage increasing by 290,000 acres,…

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The Corn Crop and Sidedress Nitrogen

  • June 10, 2017

The weather has turned from cool and wet to warm and dry, with thoughts now turning to when it might rain next. The US Drought Monitor at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/ shows no drought in the Corn Belt, and water use is still low, but some plants whose roots are not growing well or are in compacted soil are starting to show afternoon leaf curling, and water demand is increasing as plant growth rates increase. We hope rainfall returns soon.…

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Positive signs for nitrogen

  • June 1, 2017

The welcome return to Illinois of drier and warmer weather has allowed most of the remaining crops to be planted, and has brought a lot of improvement to the corn crop that struggled through cool, wet weather during the first and third weeks of May. The plants in many fields have gotten back their green color (or have gotten it for the first time) and the early-planted crop is about to enter the period of rapid growth.…

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How much nitrogen is gone?

  • May 18, 2017

The heavy rains of late April and early May have paused and the weather has warmed enough to allow corn and soybean planting (or replanting) to resume in Illinois, except in the low spots in some places.
With a lot of nitrogen fertilizer applied early, and with rainfall totaling 5 inches or more over most of the state in the two weeks before May 10, many people are worried about N loss and the possible need to apply more nitrogen than planned.…

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A Little Drier, But Not Yet Warm

  • May 8, 2017

Very little corn or soybean planting took place in Illinois over the past week, and while planting progress is not far behind average for the end of the first week of May, crop development is starting to lag as temperatures remain cool. Crop emergence has been slow, with only less than half of the corn crop that was planted by the end of April emerged by May 7.
One of the most visible consequences of the cool weather has been the poor corn crop color of recent days.…

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