Extension Educator, Commercial Agriculture
June 30, 2012
Rainfall is being fickle in 2012, some farmers and fields have been more fortunate than others as we finish the month of June. An impressive storm front came over the NIARC Friday morning but the resulting rainfall, while welcome, was less than hoped for. Retired University of Illinois Extension Crops Educator Dale Baird reported .8 inches of rain near Franklin Grove but high winds overnight have also flattened or caused leaning in a narrow swath of corn fields in his general area.
2012 is turning into an unusual year for insects. If you have been in your fields in the past month you probably noticed Whitefly populations on the underside of the soybean leafs. Dr. Mike Gray reported on this topic in this week's Bulletin.
Earlier in the week my co-worker Mike Roegge shared that populations tentatively identified as Redheaded flea beetles were being found in pollinating corn and clipping silks at levels that justified insecticide applications in Hancock County. Locally I have noticed impressive numbers of Green June Beetles (Cotinus nitida). These large insects may appear menacing and are occasional pests as grubs but as adults they are attracted to decaying or ripe fruit and not considered corn or soybean pests.
(Editors note - In the July 6th issue of the Purdue Pest & Crop Newsletter additional information was provided on the Redheaded flea beetle by John Obermeyer.
In his article he shared that the feeding by these insects are normally superficial and does not warrant an insecticide treatment. Take home message, if you find large numbers and consider spraying, make sure that silk clipping is actually taking place.)
June 28, 2012
As of 4 p.m. the recorded temperature at the NIARC reached 95.7 degrees. Outside of my home office in Morris we hit triple digits at 4:30 p.m. recording 100 degrees. As a result of the warm temperatures we continue a rapid pace of growing degree day accumulation and will soon begin tasseling in our earlier planted corn fields. One thing that will be very apparent is that we will have shorter corn plants this year. Will this correlate to a diminished yield? Dr. Emerson Nafziger shared his thoughts this week in the Bulletin. Emerson's article "Short Corn, Short Yields?" can be accessed here
Couples counselors suggest you not bring your work home with you. That fact was pointed out when my wife visited our freezer to find something for supper and found it full of soil samples. The samples are from a nitrogen study at the NIARC and need to be kept cold or frozen until analyzed to prevent the loss of N. It was kindly suggested that I plan a trip to campus soon to deliver soil samples and in the future consider using the freezer for food. I'll be going to campus Monday.
June 27, 2012
One of the earliest winter wheat harvests ever is underway at the NIARC. Yield data will be posted at the Illinois Variety Testing site when it is compiled.
More soil sampling, hoeing of weeds, and shoveling the last of our 2011 soybean crop out of the bin. Next time we will order a cooler day for these activities. With expected temperatures to be at or in excess of 100 degrees those planning outdoor activities tomorrow either by plan or necessity; please be cautious.
Key rules for coping with heat are to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and to slow down and cool off when feeling fatigued, experiencing a headache, a high pulse rate or shallow breathing. Overheating can cause serious, even life-threatening conditions such as heat stroke.When heat and humidity combine to slow evaporation of sweat from the body, outdoor activities becomes dangerous even for those in good shape. Err on the side of caution; there are precious few projects that absolutely cannot wait for another day.
June 26, 2012
As the temperatures rachet back up we are noticing various reactions by our crops to post herbicide applications. A certain amount of crop injury is expected with some herbicide families like the diphenyl ethers (can you pick the treated plots in our high yield soybean study?) We are also seeing bronzing and yellowing with other herbicides that are not normally known for crop injury, including our glyphosate applications. Almost certainly the stress that the crops are experiencing is responsible for some of the effects. Most of our soybean is now at R1 at the NIARC. Wheat harvest tomorrow!
June 25, 2012
June 23, 2012
Margaret Larson, Nikki Keltner and Jackie de Batista - Jo Daviess, Stephenson & Winnebago Counties
Vicky Broos - Boone, DeKalb & Ogle Counties
Jordon Ellena, Daryl Wragge – Bureau, LaSalle, Marshall & Putnam Counties
Beth LaPlante – Grundy, Kankakee & Will Counties
Sandra Davis – DuPage, Kane & Kendall Counties
Joe Toman – Northeast Regional office
Some great ideas were shared and I'm looking forward to future collaborations with the counties. Friday was interesting in another way, I scored an insect trifecta. While at the NIARC I spotted adult Southern and Northern corn rootworm beetles both feeding on Giant ragweed. Later in the day while visiting a corn field near Princeton I saw my first adult Western corn rootworm beetles of the year. With both Westerns and Japanese beetle already present in northern Illinois (undoubtedly hungry) it will be important to keep an eye on our corn as it begins the silking process. Be aware of the silk clipping that takes place in your fields.
Still dry at the NIARC as evidenced by the cracks found in the field of our wheat trial (comparative shoe courtesy of Dr. Fred Kolb).
June 21, 2012
June 20, 2012
Like any good agriculturist I enjoy traveling through rural areas and crop scouting via the "windshield method". While we certainly do not condone such scouting as accurate enough to apply economic thresholds, it does make driving more enjoyable. Today I noticed an abnormal number of insects bouncing off my windshield. One of the unlucky beetles was ensnared on my windshield wiper which allowed me to do an "insect identification" on the go! I was reducing the population of Japanese beetle in northern Illinois, this should serve as a reminder for those scouting to watch for this beetle that both defoliates and clips silks. We are sprucing up the NIARC for our first field day of the year. Tomorrow evening at 5:30 pm we are hosting the Northern Illinois small grains meeting, come join us if you can. Whether we get rain in the next few days or not, at least one of our plots will have plants that will not be under moisture stress. Our white mold study crew installed the irrigation system for that study in an attempt to create conditions conducive for that disease.
June 19, 2012
Trying to study roots is challenging because, well, roots are normally underground and hard to measure. But not impossible, Dr. Darin Eastburn and his crew (including masters student Liwei Wen, undergrad Jeff Hausen, and Nan Jang) dug plants, cleaned roots and prepared the plants for travel back to campus where the roots will be measured for length, diameter and number of root tips. This is part of a study funded by the Illinois Soybean Association.
Another windy day at the NIARC that is once again limiting spraying but not the rating of herbicide trials.
June 19, 2012
.3 inches of rain over the weekend, we would have appreciated more but will take anything we can get. Gardeners can appreciate the challenge facing Dr. Adam Davis's crew. They have planted (and replanted) hundreds of weed seedlings to determine the weeds competitiveness once they become established. But until that time they are making trip after trip with the watering cans trying to keep the seedlings alive in 90 degree weather with winds gusting in excess of 35 mph. No spraying on a day like today, Dave Lindgren held on to his hat and spent the day putting in field borders.
June 14, 2012
Sponsored by the Illinois Wheat Association, University of Illinois Extension and USDA Risk Management Agency, the small grains program will feature several presentations from extension and university agronomists, breeders and plant pathologists, including University of Illinois professor and small grains breeder Fred Kolb, who will discuss oat and wheat variety development for northern Illinois.
University of Illinois professor and Extension agronomist Emerson Nafziger will discuss the 2012 Illinois wheat crop and management practices, including a look at the commercial variety trial. Finally, Carl Bradley, associate professor of plant pathology and University of Illinois Extension plant pathologist, will talk to the group about wheat disease management.
Those interested in attending are asked to register in advance by contacting the Illinois Wheat Association office at 309-557-3619 or by emailing Charlene Blary at firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration is $5 per person and includes dinner. For additional information and directions to the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center, please contact Charlene Blary or visit the Illinois Wheat Association website at www.illinoiswheat.org.
In northern Illinois we started to see the result of limited rainfall and elevated temperatures as evidenced by the wrapped corn. Leaf wrapping in corn is the plants defense mechanism to prevent moisture loss through the stomata. Wrapped leaves reduce yield by limiting photosynthesis and carbon fixation.
June 13, 2012
Plan to attend the Northern Illinois Research Center Field Day
Got problems? Find the answers at the 2012 Northern Illinois Research Center Field Day. Learn about the latest crop sciences research being conducted on Tuesday, July 10th.
Producers and agricultural industry representatives are invited to attend the morning program. Join University of Illinois Extension specialists and researchers as they address issues pertinent to the 2012 growing season. The program starts at 9:30 a. m. and will finish with a meal at 12:30. Weather permitting presentations will take place outside at the research plots. The program is open to all who wish to attend.
Field Topics include
Certified Crop Advisor credits will be provided.
The 160-acre Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center, located north of Shabbona, has been conducting crop research since 1948 and is the northernmost research center within the U of I crop sciences system. Annually, more than 45 research and demonstration projects are conducted at the center. Visitors are always welcome.
The research center is located at 14509 University Road, about 5 miles north of U.S. Route 30 on University Road, which runs just east of Shabbona and a quarter mile south of Perry Road.
For more information, contact Russ Higgins at 815 274 1343 or email email@example.com
June 12, 2012
Through the weekend we waited for much needed moisture that was to arrive on Monday. Anxiously we watched the radar as the front moved eastward across northern Illinois only to be disappointed when the system broke apart and the "rainmaker" clouds passed overhead sharing no precipitation. What does this mean to crops at the NIARC and elsewhere in northern Illinois? Moisture is needed to sustain and encourage plant root systems. Without a change in our current weather pattern, continued dry soils will likely decrease our potential yields, especially in corn.
"Doing the best they can" is a good descriptor of most crops in our area that is rated as abnormally dry by the US Drought Monitor
Dr. Emerson Nafziger shared in a recent article that water use accelerates as corn reaches V7-V8, but it is still only about an inch per week. Of concern at the NIARC are the later planted or emerged crops that have a limited root system in place. It is apparent in my daily travels that crops in soils with a higher water holding capacity are faring better than the lighter soils. Unfortunately, wait for rain is the only management option we have for our stressed crops at the NIARC although I did look longingly at an irrigation system on a sod farm on my trip home last night.
Activities today at the NIARC included applications on our high yield soybean study and removing volunteer corn from soybeans.
June 8, 2012
Most in northern Illinois are hoping the rain that is forecast early next week materializes. It is too early to suggest a drought but it is apparent as I performed a "windshield survey" in today's travels that we are moving closer to that status. I noticed corn that was starting to wrap, granted it was in the headland and may have been exacerbated by compaction, but all would appreciate a timely rain to put this discussion aside. Fridays activities at the NIARC included spraying post herbicide applications on our soybean trials. Our plan was to spray the soybean at the V5 stage or when the weeds reached 4". The soybean is only V2 but we have 4" weeds forcing us to spray earlier than intended. When estimating weed heights, be realistic in your estimations; perhaps carry a yardstick in the truck. Many of us have tended to stretch those limits when using glyphosate products, but recent issues with resistance encourages us to follow the labeled maximum weed height recommendations closely.
June 7, 2012
One thing is certain as research projects continue at the NIARC, all of the crops would benefit greatly with some moisture. As mentioned previously, we have late emerging corn and soybean from our mid to late May plantings that are struggling. Weeds are showing no issue with the limited rainfall and are growing rapidly. Giant ragweed is 4-5" in several herbicide plots and appears to be on the verge of explosive growth to 6-8-12" where they become more challenging to control. If you deal with Giant ragweed on your farm, scout your problems areas. Signs are going up at the NIARC which means that future meetings are on the horizon. On Thursday June 21st the NIARC is co-hosting the Northern Illinois Small Grains meeting. Wheat management and wheat and oat variety selection will be covered in depth with the field tour beginning at 5:30 pm. U of I Professor and small grains breeder Fred Kolb will discuss oat and wheat variety development for northern Illinois. U of I Professor and Extension Agronomist Emerson Nafziger will discuss the 2012 Illinois wheat crop and management practices, including a look at the commercial variety trial. Carl Bradley, Associate Professor of Plant Pathology and U of I Extension Plant Pathologist, will talk to the group on wheat disease management.
The program is being co-sponsored by the Illinois Wheat Association, the University of Illinois Extension, and USDA Risk Management Agency. There will be a $5/person charge for a grilled pork chop sandwich meal. To help with the meal count, please register in advance by contacting the Illinois Wheat Association office at 309/557-3619 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 6, 2012
June 5, 2012
June 4, 2012
June 2, 2012