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Northern Illinois Agriculture

University of Illinois Extension
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Will Tar spot overwinter in northern Illinois?

Posted by Russel Higgins - Weather

In earlier posts we shared that Tar spot, specifically caused by Phyllachora maydis, had been confirmed in Illinois. We are now trying to determine if the fungus will survive our winter months. A trial was established in cooperation with Dr. Santiago Mideros, University of Illinois plant pathologist. Corn leaves exhibiting Tar spot symptoms were collected and placed in mesh bags. Samples...

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Flooded fields

Posted by Russel Higgins - Weather

Storm fronts dropping up to 5 inches of rain have swept across northern Illinois with additional rain in the forecast. The question asked by many farmers as they scout saturated fields from the truck is "how long" can crops in standing water survive? Flooding reduces yields by decreasing stands, and slowing dry matter accumulation or both. The most obvious effect of flooding is the lack of oxyge...

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Corn emergence

We are nearing the end of April when we would normally expect to see early planted corn emerging in northern Illinois. In my travels I have yet to see any corn that can be rowed from the road, despite being planted over two weeks ago. At the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center we have corn that has now been in the ground for three weeks in our date of planting study that we expect to emerge...

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Back in the field

Despite an overnight low that reached 25.6 degrees early this morning we are following the advice of Dr. Emerson Nafziger and returning to plant fields that are in suitable condition at the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center.  In a Bulletin article posted on April 22nd Emerson addressed the question of Planting into Cool Soils - Yes or No....

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Did I plant too early?

Did Northern Illinois farmers jump the gun? After several days of above average temperatures that allowed many to start planting,  the weather pattern has shifted dramatically. State climatologist Dr. Jim Angel has shared that in the near-future, the 6-10 and 8-14 day forecast indicate that colder-than-average conditions will prevail for the next two weeks. For precipitation, there is an increa...

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Planting underway in Northern Illinois

Powerful storms traversed Northern Illinois last week, limiting field operations, but reports of corn going into the ground in areas that missed the precipitation are trickling in. Most farmers will be anxious to start planting when field conditions now become suitable. We managed to plant our first corn at the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center on April 7th, earlier than our recommenda...

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Will 2015 be as good as 2014?

Last week the Northern Illinois Crop Management Conference took place at Malta and featured a number of speakers and specialists who shared their expertise. Here are some of the takeaway comments that I garnered from Dr. Emerson Nafziger. He took a look back at 2014 and posed the question, is this as good as it gets? Despite high yields and record-high cr...

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Harvest continues

Harvest activities continue at the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center, our latest planted and last soybean were harvested this week. Much of the yield data will require closer scrutiny before final release of the results, but here are a few preliminary impressions from the combine seat. At our location, even in a favorable weather year, our continuous corn appears to fall significantly...

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Killing frost?

Over the weekend the NIARC experienced a minimum recorded temperature of 31.6 degrees. We expect a temperature of 28 degrees or lower to kill the entire corn or soybean plant, but cool temperatures near 28 can injure or damage the upper leaves of plants. That is what we are observing on our late planted soybean at the NIARC. With funding from the Nutrient Research & Education C...

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Minimum temperatures Sept 2014

Effect of cooler weather

Posted by Russel Higgins - Weather

Northern Illinois farmers are waiting for favorable weather to insure the 2014 crop reaches maturity and initiates dry down. The National Agricultural Statistics Service report shared that for the week ending September 14th; 92% of the corn was dented with 29% mature in the NW crop reporting district. 81% of the corn was dented and 8% was mature in the NE crop reporting district....

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Do you want to build a snowman?

Posted by Russel Higgins - Weather

Another weather anomaly for northern Illinois farmers attempting to plant the 2014 crop. Snow fell for 4 hours on Friday at the NIARC. Farm foreman Dave Lindgren stepped outside to take a picture of the May 16th event. While the snow did not stick, the question persists on the impact of last weeks temperature drop on planted or emerged crops. We will keep a close eye on crops that have or are now...

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Evaluating emergence

With most field work halted due to weather, it is an opportune time to visit emerged corn fields (you may need boots). Especially those that were planted in less than ideal conditions. What can we look for? Check emerged population, measure 1/1000 of an acre (17 feet 5 inches for 30 inch rows) and count corn seedlings. Look for variations in population...

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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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Another snow day!

Posted by Russel Higgins - Weather

An evening snow storm that dropped an additional 4 to 7+ inches of snow over most of northern Illinois again caused the cancellation of many schools and activities in northern Illinois. As I watch the icicles forming on my office grow to almost stalactite size I again have been searching for an agricultural silver lining in the weather we have been experiencing. The (at times) sub zero weather cou...

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Dr. Mike Gray
2014 Corn and Soybean Classic - Malta

Corn & Soybean Classic

The Corn and Soybean Classic moved through northern Illinois yesterday. This is the 17th year of the University of Illinois outreach program that brings agronomy and economic research from the University to the rest of the state. I was part of an audience of nearly 100 that garnered some interesting facts from the speakers. Here are just a few; Jim Angel...

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Dr. Christy Sprague
Michigan State University

2013 AG Masters conference

Just returned from campus after attending the 2013 version of the AG Masters conference. The conference planning committee works diligently to bring in talented speakers with different perspectives, often from different states. Several things gleaned from the sessions I attended include Dr. Kevin Bradley -University of Missouri      Biology and Management of the Pig...

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Bt trait table/NIARC update

The soil tests are done! With help, the fall sampling of the cover crop study was completed at the NIARC. Thanks to overnight delivery of an electric clutch, the Almaco plot combine was running as well as we near the end of harvest. A handy guide is available to producers as they make corn variety selections for the 2014 growing season. Authored by Drs. Chris Difonzo (Michigan...

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Corn on corn variety plots planted at NIARC May 9th, 2013

University of Illinois yield results

A deadly weekend weather-wise in Illinois, a dramatic warm-up over the weekend spawned tornadoes across the Midwest. Temperatures at the research center rose to 66 degrees on Sunday morning prior to the arrival of the storm front. Sustained hourly winds were measured at 25 mph. Fortunately, for those who still have corn standing; most fields seem to have weathered the storm with little addition...

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A killing frost

Posted by Russel Higgins - Weather

We have experienced frost for several consecutive days, but even the most hardy plants in our trials have now succumbed to cold temperatures. After reaching early morning sub freezing temperatures on Saturday and Sunday (31.3 and 30.1 degrees) the final blow for most plants took place yesterday when our low temperature of the day dipped to  24.4 degrees. Even our our late planted (mid June) full s...

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2013 harvest

Harvest observations from a trip to campus

Today I traveled to the University of Illinois campus to meet with peers for our Extension marketing team. One of the jobs tasked to this committee is development or collection of content to be used to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of Extension. If you have not already done so, visit the 100 Year web site and spend some time in the Bulletin board, Scrapbook and Timeline. We are also anxious t...

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Palmer amaranth update

On September 24th Dr. Aaron Hager penned a Palmer amaranth distribution update in the Illinois Bulletin. Dr. Hager shared that recent research conducted in Illinois by Dr. Adam Davis, USDA-ARS plant ecologist at the University of Illinois, demonstrated that there are few landscape-level barriers to the establishment of Palmer amaranth populations in Illinois, and that these populations, o...

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Corn yields, revisited

Last week we touched on the subject of corn that had died prematurely due to dry weather and warm temperatures and its effect on grain fill and final yield. (Not an issue at the NIARC, we picked up .79 inches on Sunday) It was shared that corn just entering the dent stage (R5) still has about 40% of its potential yield to assimilate. To ground truth this assumption Dr....

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Possible yield impact of late season drought on corn crop

It seems every time I visit with farmers recently with brown instead of green corn the question that arises is " what impact will this have on final yield?" Here is the perspective of Dr. Bob Nielsen from Purdue University. In his September 10th news release he shared "Once corn reaches dent stage, many folks can be heard confidently stating that there is no reaso...

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Some green, some not

Posted by Russel Higgins - Weather

There is tremendous variability in northern Illinois fields, from those still green right down to the soil line, to those that have died prematurely due to lack of moisture. Several fields with rapid senescence I have visited in the last week are emanating a distinctive smell that I first experienced during the drought year of 2012. I'm associating it with the corn plants premature demise. At the...

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How far to go to reach maturity in the northern Illinois corn crop?

Recently I've heard several agronomists who have broached the subject of an early (or even normal) frost and what impact that will have on our 2013 corn crop. Today I was asked how many days are yet needed to reach maturity. While some variation can be expected by variety and the weather conditions we experience in the remainder of the growing season, the following can be used as a guide....

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