Blog Banner

Northern Illinois Agriculture

University of Illinois Extension
waterhemp

Amaranth, oh my!

Posted by Russel Higgins - Weeds

This morning I had the opportunity to attend the Region II Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts meeting. I enjoyed visiting with regional representative Joe Bybee and many of the county representatives in attendance. One of the topics we discussed in relationship to cover crops was the looming weed issues in production agriculture in Illinois. For those who have attended meetings or f...

Read More >

1-DSC 0541

A combine rolls in northern Illinois

Posted by Russel Higgins -

I'm certain this is not the first corn that has been harvested in northern Illinois, but it is the first combined field that I have seen in my travels (just south of the Illinois river). Several producers that I visited with suggested the Tuesday following Labor Day as their targeted date for initiating harvest. We will have to see how the remnants of Hurricane Isaac track this weekend to see i...

Read More >

Another trip to campus

Posted by Russel Higgins - Corn

After spending most of the summer at the NIARC, it seems that I am catching up on my traveling. Today the Extension marketing committee started planning for the upcoming 100th anniversary of Extension. It will be exciting to revisit early successes and the unlimited future for Land Grant Colleges and Extension! While in Turner hall I had the chance to visit with Dr. Carl Bradley. Carl shared...

Read More >

1-DSC 0534

Two days with the Illinois Corn Growers

Posted by Russel Higgins -

For the last two days I had the opportunity to attend the Illinois Corn Growers board meeting in Bloomington. It was very educational to hear reports from across the state, and also how the drought is affecting other areas of agriculture. One of the guest speakers shared a report of the navigability of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers for barge traffic. It was shared that currently at Memphi...

Read More >

1-DSC 0522

Yield checks

Posted by Russel Higgins - Corn

Here we are, in the third full week of August in the 2012 growing season. Crops are beginning to show signs of maturity. In those areas of northern Illinois that missed recent rains the maturity is being hastened. Hit and miss thunderstorms have been rule rather than exception around the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center for the past month. We have accumulated enough rain to resuscitat...

Read More >

A trip to Bloomington

Posted by Russel Higgins -

Today I attended the Local Food Connections & Technical Summit hosted by the Illinois Farm Bureau at their state office in Bloomington. Why would a commercial ag educator attend a local foods meeting? In the near future I plan on presenting programs with my peers who serve as Small Farm/Local Foods educators in northern Illinois. It is important for me to gain a little knowledge on the topi...

Read More >

farmers bank

Leasing questions for 2013

Posted by Russel Higgins -

What to ask for or what to offer is one of the most challenging agreements to reach and also one that has a substantial impact on the economic success for both the farmer and the landowner. With the expected volatility and uncertainty resulting from the 2012 growing season, risk increases for producers and more uncertainty arises about the amount of cash rent to pay. On the other side of the ne...

Read More >

1-DSC 0519

Now it rains?

Posted by Russel Higgins -

After a summer of missed rains, Mother Nature added insult to injury and chose Thursday to unleash several ominous storm systems upon the south farms on the University of Illinois campus. The mid-morning storm caused an early halt to the field tours taking place as part of the 2012 Agronomy Day. Early arrivers did manage to get in two tours before the cancellation took place. Dr. Fabian Fernand...

Read More >

Texas visitors

Posted by Russel Higgins -

Today the NIARC hosted a group from the Texas Farm Bureau AgLead program.  We enjoyed visiting with our guests and sharing information on...

Read More >

1-DSC 0514

Finding tile lines..... in a drought?

Posted by Russel Higgins - Soybeans

I noticed an interesting phenomenon this summer in several soybean fields. A distinct pattern could be seen across certain fields represented by taller soybeans. Looking at the pattern that became more evident as the soybeans matured and the dry weather continued. I have ruled out tillage, fertilizer, chemical and tire tracks. I believe the tall beans are the result of their planted location ov...

Read More >

1-DSC 0505

Newest crop and yield estimates

Posted by Russel Higgins - Corn

Some important news was shared recently concerning the corn crop nationwide and in the state of Illinois. The USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand report released on Friday lowered U.S. feed grain supplies for 2012/2013 with corn  production forecast 2.2 billion bushels lower. The forecast U.S. corn yield was reduced 22.6 bushels per acre to 123.4 bushels as the drought has taken i...

Read More >

1-DSC 0439

Is it to dry to plant a fall forage crop?

Posted by Russel Higgins -

Recent rains continue to be very isolated; it's frustrating to watch a baseball game in Chicago delayed because of heavy rains when those clouds simply passed over most of northern Illinois. While some farms have been the fortunate recipient of localized rains, other corn fields are well on their way to an early death. While riding my bike in the Grundy County evening there is a very distinct s...

Read More >

1-DSC 0495

Welcome Greg!

Posted by Russel Higgins - Soybeans

This week Greg Steckel joined Dave Lindgren and I at the NIARC. Greg's official title will be research agronomist at the center. Greg's education includes an undergrad degree at Western Illinois University, M.S. at Missouri and a Ph.D. in weed science from the University of Illinois. Greg and his wife Cindy and their three children will soon be relocating to northern Illinois. The chest high so...

Read More >

1-DSC 0477

Windy weekend

Posted by Russel Higgins -

Today I visited with producers at a workshop hosted by the Will-South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District. The primary topic of the day was cover crops and the workshop included a farmer panel that was very enlightening. I had the opportunity to share information on the history of and research projects currently underway at the NIARC. It is always enjoyable to visit with folks I had not s...

Read More >

IMG 0956

Aspergillus ear rot

Posted by Russel Higgins - Corn

I expect many producers to visit their corn fields this week for a number of reasons We are finally supposed to have several sub-90 degree days Farmers want to see if they have any damage from last weekend's wind It's finally time to make a yield estimate on the corn crop While scouting fields be aware of Aspergillus ear rot. My counterpart Rob...

Read More >

302358 4024849191946 1173698925 n

On the road

Posted by Russel Higgins -

The past two days I have been traveling from the NIARC, a rarity this summer. On Thursday I joined my co-worker Richard Hentschel for his radio program "Green Side Up" on WDCB 90.9 recorded at the College of DuPage. Today was a trip to campus to deliver frozen soil samples and an opportunity to do a windshield survey of crops between Grundy and Champaign Counties. I did not see any combines ope...

Read More >

1-DSC 0466

Mid-week observations

Posted by Russel Higgins - Soybeans

Today at the NIARC our final fungicide application was made on our late planted corn. That corn is finishing silking and is serving as a magnet for both Western and Northern corn rootworm beetles. If you have a later planted field that is still pollinating I  would encourage scouting for silk clipping. Several soybean studies now at R3 were treated and will be evaluated after fungicide/insecticide...

Read More >