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Northern Illinois Agriculture

University of Illinois Extension
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A cautious start

Posted by Russel Higgins -

Several planters are searching for dry fields, or at least parts of dry fields as the first corn that I have witnessed is going in the ground in northern Illinois. At the NIARC we applied nitrogen and worked ground with the intent to plant oats tomorrow. We plan on planting our first corn in our date of planting study this afternoon. (a full month behind our 2012 study)...

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Cover crop biomass collection

The only overwintering species in our cover crop study initiated in 2012 was our winter rye. A 2 ft. x 2 ft. area is harvested at ground level, dried and will be forwarded for laboratory analysis. We expect greater success with other cover crop species in 2013 as we push our planting dates earlier. Lots of planters parked near the sheds, but limited action so far....

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Blue skies!

Posted by Russel Higgins -

With the changing weather and blue skies I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from many Illinois farmers. In a very short time many of you are going to be very busy! Before the planting season starts in earnest, several dates to put on your calenders. July 10th - 9:30 am  NIARC Summer Agronomy Day program, Shabbona August 15th - 7 am  University of Illinois A...

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Clearing skies

Posted by Russel Higgins -

The NIARC totaled ¾ of an inch of rain from yesterday through early this morning, but finally the clouds cleared and the sunshine was welcomed. We are starting the process of replacing one of our bins that split in 2012. The crane was used to remove our cross auger. An unexpected question was sent my way, when is it too late to spring plant an alfalfa crop? I deferred to Jim Mo...

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Planting progress report

Posted by Russel Higgins -

The continued story for farmers in the entirety of Illinois is the limited planting across the state. The National Agricultural Statistics Service released its weekly Crop Progress Report on Monday April 22 nd . http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_Sta...

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Illinois River 2013

Rainfall reversal

Posted by Russel Higgins -

On January 3 rd I photographed the Illinois River as it flowed beneath the Rt. 47 Bridge south of Morris. The resulting image of the record low level of the river was used to illustrate our continued concern the 2012 drought could have upon the 2013 growing season. On Saturday, April 20 th I returned to take another picture (as close as flooded conditions would permit). The...

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What does 4+ inches of rain look like?

Posted by Russel Higgins -

The start of the planting season, at least in northern Illinois has been dealt another setback. Heavy rains over the last two days will prevent fieldwork for a number of days. If we were to look at our current situation from a glass half full perspective, we can appreciate the fact that we do not have seed in the ground under these saturated and cool soil conditions. Dr. Emerson Nafziger shared...

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Climate change?

Posted by Russel Higgins -

Is this climate change? It is certainly a departure from last year, 4.41 inches recorded at the NIARC from yesterday through 8 am this morning with more on the way. Dale Baird, retired Extension Crops Educator gave us a heads up on a severe cell of weather including hail that was heading our way. Dale shared it was the most intense hail storm he had recalled in his 30+ years in the agriculture fie...

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Mid April

Posted by Russel Higgins -

April 15th brought .48 inches of rain to the NIARC. Our April rainfall to date is 2.34 inches with possible heavy rains in the upcoming days. With little else to do field wise, Greg Steckel and I evaluated our cover crop studies initiated last October. Our only species that survived the late planting date and will require termination this spring is winter rye. Current recommendations call for t...

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Why I'm proud of the agricultural community

Posted by Russel Higgins -

April 10th, 2013, new moon, ¼ inch of rain so far today and the current temperature is 41 o . Not the greatest weather to talk about agronomy so let's digress. Every year somewhere in the agriculture world neighbors, friends, and even strangers come together to help, support, or do an incredibly kind act for their fellow man. They harvest a neighbor's crops, they take care of livestock...

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Finally, wheat breaks dormancy in northern Illinois

The last several days have greatly benefited the winter wheat crop in northern Illinois. A remarkable green-up has occurred courtesy of several 60+ degree days and 1/2 an inch of rain at the NIARC. Farm foreman Dave Lindgren applied nitrogen to the wheat variety trials prior to the rain with the granular spreader....

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Animal science page? April fools!

Posted by Russel Higgins -

Why a cow on the North 160 acres blog? Tomorrow I present at the 2013 Illinois Forage Institute in Galva at the Black Hawk College East Campus. My topic for the morning; Weed control in pastures, just as in the row crop world, most newer pasture/range/noncrop herbicides are tank-mixes of existing active ingredients. A short list of products for pastures include Active Ingredient...

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