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The North 160 Acres

Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center
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NIARC fieldwork

We missed much of the rain that fell across northern Illinois last night allowing field activities to take place. In addition to several spring tillage operations, farm foreman Dave Lindgren applied nitrogen to plots that are expected to be planted to oats tomorrow. Research agronomist Greg Steckel and I flagged a crop rotation study. While the use of RTK and auto-steer have made planting research...

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Posted by Russel Higgins at 1:21PM on 4/22/2014
Categories: Corn Soil Weather

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Corn planting underway, some wheat fields terminated

Several days reaching the 70's and nearly the 80's dried some fields enough to allow the first corn fields in northern Illinois to be planted. The warm temperature also provided enough heat units for most farmers to successfully evaluate their winter wheat fields. Several have been terminated in the last few days. Approximately 50% of the wheat variety trial plot at the NIARC suffered winter kill....

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Posted by Russel Higgins at 3:58PM on 4/21/2014

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Cover crop termination

Mother nature stepped up and successfully terminated most of the cover crop species planted at the NIARC in the fall of 2013. Some were expected to winter kill, some not. For the second consecutive year cereal rye was the only cover crop that successfully overwintered at our location. Dr. Aaron Hager, University of Illinois Weeds Specialist shared information for producers looking to chemically te...

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Posted by Russel Higgins at 1:14PM on 4/17/2014
Categories: Cover Crops

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Wheat root pathogen survey

A current project under the direction of Dr. Carl Bradley, University of Illinois Extension Plant Pathologist, is a survey of root pathogens in wheat across Illinois. Graduate student Kaitlyn Bissonnette is collecting plants and soil samples that will be evaluated further on campus. Today she and Kelsy Krausz braved the windy conditions of northern Illinois to pull samples. I participated in sever...

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Posted by Russel Higgins at 4:00PM on 4/16/2014
Categories: Wheat

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Snow on the stalks

Surprise! Mid April and farmers awoke to a fresh coat of snow on many northern Illinois fields. Fortunately the white covering was short lived. On Monday NASS released the planting progress report. As expected, very little corn is planted in the state. Illinois has 1 % of the corn crop planted as of April 13th. However, as we learned last year, a lot of corn can go in the ground very quickly when...

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Posted by Russel Higgins at 6:36PM on 4/15/2014

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Managing crop residue

The middle of April and a weather influenced slowdown in field activities in northern Illinois. Don’t put the jackets away just yet! Over the weekend several fields did have anhydrous applied but any type of spraying was absolutely out of the question. At the end of last week daily maximum wind gusts recorded by the Illinois State Water Survey were 36.7 mph in DeKalb County and 53.7 mph in Step...

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Posted by Russel Higgins at 4:14PM on 4/14/2014

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2014 corn date of planting study

Despite the ominous weather forecast for the upcoming week, we planted our first corn of 2014 in our date of planting study in surprisingly good soil conditions. We will attempt to plant at two week intervals for three additional dates. Due to weather challenges our entire study last year was compressed into the month of May. In the study we plant a full season and shorter season varieties. An add...

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Posted by Russel Higgins at 12:08PM on 4/11/2014