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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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How widespread is dectes stem borer in Illinois? Help us find out

  • September 1, 2021

Have you had issues with dectes stem borer in soybean over the last several years? We are kicking off a project this fall to better understand dectes stem borer populations in Illinois – where they are most common, how severe they are, and how they vary from year to year. If you are interested in contributing to this effort, we are seeking volunteers willing to do the following:
Choose one or more soybean fields. This could be a field where you have had dectes problems in the past,…

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Fall Armyworm in Pasture, Alfalfa, and Double-cropped Soybean

  • August 25, 2021

Over the last two weeks, reports of fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) activity in southern and western Illinois have been on the rise, with reports of severe injury in some cases. The Southern U.S. has had a big year for fall armyworm (you can read more about their experience here, as well as find links to additional control information from the states involved: This is a migratory pest, and moth flights have been arriving both earlier and at higher numbers than in previous years.…

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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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Preharvest Intervals for Herbicides Applied Postemergence in Soybean

  • July 12, 2021

Nearly all herbicide labels (soil-applied or postemergence) have rotational crop intervals that specify the amount of time that must elapse between herbicide application and planting a rotational crop.  This becomes particularly important with late-season herbicide applications, and when soil moisture is limited. Additionally, the labels of almost all postemergence soybean herbicides indicate a preharvest interval or a soybean developmental stage beyond which applications cannot be made.  Labels of some products may indicate both a developmental stage (before soybean bloom,…

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Guess Who’s Back – Japanese Beetle Emergence Begins in Illinois

  • June 22, 2021

Japanese beetle emergence is beginning throughout Illinois. While they get a lot of attention every year, the real impact on corn and soybean yield is generally pretty minor. (If you have roses, sassafras trees, or a golf course, different story). A few things to keep in mind when you scout:
Check the field interior as well as the edges. It’s not uncommon to find higher numbers (and damage) at the edge of the field than the interior.…

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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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Reminder: University of Illinois Weed Science Field Research Tour

  • June 17, 2021

The weed science program at the University of Illinois invites all weed management practitioners to our annual weed science field tour on Wednesday, June 23 at the Department of Crop Sciences field research location known as the Clem Farm, located at 1114 County Road 1200 East, Champaign. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the tour will start at 9:00 a.m. Preregistration is not required, but please let us know in advance if you will be bringing a large group of participants so we can plan accordingly for meals.…

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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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