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Angie Peltier


Angie Peltier
Former Extension Educator, Commercial Agriculture



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Hill and Furrow

Current topics about crop production in Western Illinois, including field crops research at the NWIARDC in Monmouth.
Figure. Map and Table summarizing abnormally dry soil conditions on April 28, 2015 (Source: U.S. Drought Monitor).

Dry April Weather = Good Planting Conditions


Precipitation. Before the most recent rain events over the weekend, Warren County was among several Illinois counties that that were listed by the U.S. Drought Monitor as being abnormally dry (Figure). This made for great planting conditions as soils were able to hold large equipment without compacting.

From the beginning of the year, each 2015 month has had below average precipitation, with April the driest yet (Table).

2015 PRECIPITATION (in inches)

Since January 1

Month

Monthly Total

Monthly departure from average

Total accumulation

Total departure

January

1.32

-0.20

1.32

-0.20

February

1.28

-0.26

2.60

-0.46

March

0.83

-1.70

3.43

-2.16

April

1.21

-2.67

4.64

-4.83

Planting progress. At the Northwestern Illinois Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center (NWIARDC), approximately 94 percent of the corn acres had been planted by May 1 and were able to take advantage of the 0.45 inches of rain that fell overnight between May 3 and 4.

NWIARDC soil conditions and planting progress mirrors regional soil conditions and planting progress. According to the USDA's National Agriculture Statistics Service Crop Progress and Condition report, as of May 3 in the Western crop reporting district, topsoil moisture supply was short in approximately 28 percent of the acres and 89 percent of the corn acres had been planted.

Temperature. Compared to the data collected in the 30-year period (1981-2010) used to establish monthly "normal" temperatures, the average monthly high temperature in April 2015 was 1 degree above normal.

Beginning in the 2015 growing season, the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS, as part of its Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring Program), began monitoring bare soil temperature at a 2 inch depth (Table). The NWIARDC is one location in the ISWS's Illinois Climate Network. Although field conditions are likely to vary according to location and site-specific characteristics such as soil type and ground cover, this real-time data is a valuable resource. When corn seedlings at the NWIARDC were exposed to temperatures below 30 degrees on both April 21 and 23, the data was able to confirm that soil temperatures near the seedling growing point had not fallen below freezing temperatures on either day.

APRIL 2015 WEATHER

Soil Temperature

Air Temp

2" (Bare)

4" (Bare)

4" (Sod)

(°F)

Growing Degree Days

-------------------(°F)--------------------

Monthly average high

66

Monthly total: 246.5

65

62

54

Monthly average low

40

46

48

48

Observed high (date)

82 (18,19)

18 (18)

78 (16)

78 (18)

77 (18)

Observed low (date)

23 (4)

0 (4,26)

36 (4,23)

35 (5)

41 (5)

Reference. Soil temperature data at the 2 inch depth were provided by: Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring Program. Illinois Climate Network. (2015). Illinois State Water Survey, 2204 Griffith Drive, Champaign, IL 61820-7495.



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