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Managing when planting is delayed

  • May 6, 2019

With only 9% of the Illinois corn crop planted by April 28 and with 3 to 5 inches of rain this past week in the northern half of the state, and above normal rainfall just about everywhere else, there has been little further progress. The start in 2018 wasn’t much earlier than this, but planting was very fast once it started, and we finished earlier than normal. That will not repeat in 2019. In fact, the progress report released today (May 6) shows that corn went from 9 to 10% planted over the past week (it was 68% one year ago),…

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Variable vs. Uniform Seeding Rates for Corn

  • April 16, 2019

Along with colleagues from Ohio State University, we took a look recently at data from a lot of corn plant population trials in both Ohio and Illinois to see if we could come up with estimates of the value of variable-rate corn planting. This work was published in Agronomy Journal (reference is at the end of this article) and my OSU colleagues also put the findings in an Extension fact sheet, available here.…

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Cooperators sought for Insect Trapping and Field Surveys

  • April 1, 2019

We are starting to look for cooperators that are willing to place and monitor traps for black cutworm and true armyworm this spring and European corn borer, corn earworm, fall armyworm, and western bean cutworm this summer. We provide traps and lures. We ask cooperators to place and check traps several times a week, reporting trap catches to our site.
We will also be looking for cooperators to participate in our summer field surveys as well.…

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Managing Nitrogen for Corn in 2019

  • March 26, 2019

The fall of 2018 and so far in 2019, there have been limited opportunities to apply nitrogen fertilizer. Average rainfall through the first 25 days of March ranged from a little less than normal in the northern half of Illinois to an inch or more above normal in south-central Illinois. But temperatures have averaged 3 to 4 degrees below normal, which slowed drying. There were several days in the first week of March when it was frozen on the surface and a considerable amount of P and K went on.…

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Too wet to sample for SCN?

  • November 8, 2018

Soybean Cyst Nematode is an extremely important, yield limiting pathogen of soybeans in Illinois, reducing yields an average of 1-3% across the state.  As I have written in earlier posts, sampling your fields every 3-5 years to assess SCN levels and HG types is the first step in managing this issue.  The best time to sample for SCN is after harvest in the Fall, and this can easily be added onto any samples you gather for soil nutrient testing. …

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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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Corn disease updates

  • July 19, 2018

This week there has been a slight uptick in the amount of foliar disease reports in corn, likely as many people are actively scouting prior to making a fungicide application decision.  The most common disease, as you may expect is Grey leaf spot.  This disease is present to varying degrees in most fields.  No big surprise there.
We have seen and received several reports and samples of Diplodia leaf streak.  This disease can be caused by two different species of Diplodia,…

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Managing Japanese Beetles in Corn and Soybean

  • July 19, 2018

It is proving to be a big year for Japanese beetles in Illinois, and while populations should be starting to decline in much of the state, there is still a lot of feeding going on. The damage these insects cause can be eye-catching, especially on the edges of fields where Japanese beetles tend to congregate; however, before you decide to put out an insecticide, you want to be sure that decision is justified by the economics of the system.…

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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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