Blog Banner

Acres of Knowledge

All issues concerning Small Farms, Agriculture, Local Food Systems, and the Natural Resources.
Crop Management
LateSeasonPodFeeders
click image to view 3 more

Harvest Crop Conditions - September 28, 2018

Here in central Illinois, we have had over ten days of open, dry harvest weather. This has been great for farmers wanting to get their crops harvested. However, this is leading to overly dry crops, especially soybeans harvested at moistures less than 10 percent moisture. It is an unfortunate situation leading to yield reduction due to moisture shrink. Another issue popping up is "weak"...

Read More >

DroughtMonitor-20170912 IL
click image to view 3 more

Crops, Weather and Low Prices

2017 has provided this part of Illinois with another "interesting" growing season. According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map from the USDA and NOAA, a portion of central Illinois stretching from southern Champaign County through parts of DeWitt, Piatt, Logan, Sangamon, Cass and Morgan to the Illinois River is in a "Moderate Drought". This has led to a story of two different growing condi...

Read More >

Ugly-LoRes

Wet, Cool Soils Tough on Crops

The month of May has given local farmers wet, soggy and cool soils with the result being fields with uneven stands of corn and soybeans. Cool, wet soils slow the germination and emergence of plants, which leads to increased seed rots, seedling blights, occurrences of insect damage, nutrient deficiency and herbicide injury. As I check fields, it is not uncommon for me to see corn plants...

Read More >

Cover Crops-C S-112216L
click image to view 3 more

What Late Cover Crops Can Do?

Since 2011, I have been planting cover crops and I have grown different types: spring oats and radish; cereal rye; and cereal rye with rapeseed. I like cereal rye and we grow 250+ bushel per acre corn after cereal rye. It can be done. Why do I like Cereal Rye? In an effort to keep my costs as low as possible, my cover crops are planted after corn and soybean harvest in October and depen...

Read More >

Armyworm-CornDamage
click image to view 2 more

Moths Are Flying, Farmers Beware

The 2017 Illinois Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Program has started and cooperators are reporting high captures of Black Cutworm moths and True Armyworm moths in their pheromone traps. Recent articles in the Purdue University Pest & Crop Newsletter have high...

Read More >

Weed Height

Amaranth Has Defeated Two Herbicide Groups

If farming was baseball and Team Herbicides was at bat against the weed Team of Amaranths, then right now, there are two strikes against Herbicides. A new report from the University of Illinois Plant Clinic bears this out. This has weed scientists across the Midwest very concerned and it should have Illinois farmers and farmland owners concerned. In a U of I Bulletin post, the Plant Cli...

Read More >

WPS-New Rules

New Worker Protection Standard Rules In Effect

The Worker Protection Standards (WPS) established specific requirements for employers to follow in order to reduce the potential for worker exposure to pesticides. New revisions to these standards went into effect January 2, 2017. They will give farm workers health protections similar to those that are already afforded to workers in other industries. There is a new training requirem...

Read More >

Sensitive Areas

XtendiMax Herbicide Approved with Restrictions

On November 9, 2016, the USEPA approved the use of XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology starting in 2017 on Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybeans. This is a new formulation of dicamba herbicide that promises to have low volatility. A new tool to combat the tough to control weeds, such as tall waterhemp and palmer amaranth. Its herbicide site of action is Synthetic Auxins, Group 4. READ THE LABE...

Read More >

IL Soy Conditions-090716
click image to view 2 more

Pay Attention to Lodged Soybean Fields

The soybean crop in our area is tall and full of pods. Statewide the weekly USDA NASS soybean progress report is showing one of the best looking crops in the past 20 years with 79% of the Illinois' soybean crop in the Good or Excellent category....

Read More >

Top Death-LoRes
click image to view 2 more

Top Dieback or Top Leaf Death in Some Area Corn Fields

Recently I have been noticing a growing number of local corn fields are showing "top dieback" or the death of the top leaf (or leaves) of the corn plant. This can happen due to several causes. The cause that is worrying me and that I am noticing is a few scattered fields caused by Anthracnose. If the corn field is showing leaf death at both the top and bottom, this can be the typical dr...

Read More >

WH-Escape-LoR

Crop Conditions in Central Illinois

Currently our corn and soybean crops look very good and the commodity traders at the Board of Trade seem to know this as well. New crop corn and soybean prices have fallen since their recent mid-June highs - $0.80 for corn and $1.30 for soybeans. As far as crop issues: Corn is looking good, except for areas that have been affected by strong storms and high winds. In th...

Read More >

WheatStripeRust2-052516
click image to view 3 more

Field Happenings - May 25

Out in local fields, this week. If you are growing wheat this year and applied foliar fungicides to protect the flag leaf, then you did the right thing. The cool, wet start to May was a great environment for leaf diseases and the diseases are evident in local wheat fields.  In the attached...

Read More >

CoverCrops-INLRS

Farmers Might Face Tough Nutrient Management Rules

Today, I learned about the recent Supreme Court decision to uphold the USEPA plan to reduce nonpoint source pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Over the past year, I have heard numerous speakers tell me that Illinois agriculture needs to follow the voluntary Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS) otherwise we will have regulations like the Chesapeake Bay. Also, I have heard numerous farm...

Read More >

AnnualRyegrass1

Successfully Terminating An Annual Rye Grass Cover Crop

Annual rye grass (ARG) is a popular choice by some for an over wintering cover crop. ARG is very good at scavenging excess soil nitrogen and it is excellent for breaking up deep soil compaction. However, its adaptability, quick establishment, and aggressive growth are also considered to be characteristics of a weed. For all these reasons, this cover crop can be one of the most difficul...

Read More >

Brix-CompactionZone2

Deep Soil Compaction - Is It Your Yield Thief?

Have you noticed that your field is not draining as fast as it did a decade ago? Do your yields vary greatly between a "dry" year and a "normal" one? Have you checked your soil for deep soil compaction or subsoil compaction? Compaction that is deeper than 8 inches. The use of heavier equipment, multiple field operations, operating in less than ideal conditions due to time constrictions,...

Read More >

StalkBreakage

Check Your Fields for Stalk Quality

From my recent visits to local corn fields, I have been surprised by the rapid decline in this year's crop quality. In a sampling of corn fields in an area that has not received the flooding rains that others have. 20-100 percent of the stalks FAILED the "push" strength test. As you might expect, this is not good at all. In the last week, a number of corn belt universities have recommen...

Read More >

Leaf1
click image to view 2 more

Nitrogen Deficiency and Disease Issues in 2015 Crops

I was out in area corn and soybean fields recently and the crops look good considering the growing season so far in 2015. Every corn field shows some signs of nitrogen deficiency and varying levels of foliar diseases. The yield estimates from these fields look to be be good, but there is a lot of variability within each field due to the heavy June rainfall. My concern with this year's c...

Read More >

FallingPrices

Grain Prices Being Felt in Land Prices

Two recent articles on the subject of farmland prices and rental rates showed the effect that lower grain prices can have on farmland values. In a recent farmdoc DAILY article, University of Illinois Extension economist, Dr. Gary Schn...

Read More >

Lambs

Are Your Pastures Ready for Spring Grazing?

Have you surveyed your pastures? Do any areas need to be renovated? It is too late, this year, to do any frost seeding in those area. However, there is still time to use a no-till drill to plant grass or legumes in any “thin” areas needing more forage plants. Remember a legume in a pasture adds high quality forage and extra nitrogen for the grass. Do you have a plan for handling the “...

Read More >

ARG-CerealRye

Do You Know How to Control Your Cover Crop?

During the past month, I have talked with several farmers and learned that they had assumed that all cover crops could easy be controlled with herbicides.  To make matters even worse, most of them have planted a cover crop that is difficult to control with herbicide; and this is their first time growing a cover crop.  In other words, they have the “perfect” plan for not controlling that cover c...

Read More >

Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy

On November 25, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency released for public comment the long awaited “Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy”. With its release, Illinois joins nine other states in the Mississippi River basin that are developing nutrient reduction loss strategies in an effort to reduce the size of the hypoxic area in the Gulf of Mexico. This year, the hypoxic ar...

Read More >