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Straight Stalk

Current crop information updates and research highlights

University of Illinois Extension 2019 Late Planting Checklist

University of Illinois Extension Specialists and Educators created the following checklist of common late planting questions. Corn planting continues in Illinois - should I change maturities? For planting by mid-June, the northern tiers of counties probably need hybrids that are 105 RM or less. On the I-80 corridor it should be 110 RM or less. If planting opportunities...

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2019 Planting Progress2

Panic/Don't Panic Chart Update May 10, 2019

An update to the chart adding Week#19. we are poised to be the second slowest planting season in the last 20 years at the need of week #19 (second week of May)...

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Deja Vu Don't Panic Part 2

The 2018 planting season got off to a very late start and now in 2019 we are running even later. As the updated chart shows, delayed planting does not necessarily equate with lower yields....

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Fall 2018 Nitrogen Resources

Here are links to Nitrogen application resources for Fall 2018: Dr. Nafziger's latest bulletin article. Soil temperatures May need to sign up for free account, recommended to cha...

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Don't Panic

Stealing a phrase from the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", there is still time to plant and get above average yields. The attached chart shows the Illinois corn planting progress chart since 1999 and the corresponding corn and soybean yields. I included the soybean yields because I have heard the question, "If corn planting is late, then soybeans will be even later and we have been pushing for...

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Snow Day for Planting

We often start April with some corn already planted and we normally end April with about 50 percent of the corn planted, based upon state averages published by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. The latest planting start in the last 20 years was in 2013 when only 1 percent of the crop had been planted by May 1 but by mid-May we had recovered significantly with 75 percent planted. The...

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Soybean Planting Date Response

The probability of getting the maximum soybean yield declines very similar to corn....

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April 27 Early soybean near Cisco, IL.

Cool Beans

These young soybean plants emerging near Cisco, IL may wish they were still in the bag, but soybean planting date research shows that in Central and Northern Illinois early planted soybeans tend to have highest probability of maximum yield....

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Don't be surprised by very low K soil tests this fall!

Better than expected yields and a very dry fall are causing soils to test very low for available potassium (K). Most of the K in corn is in the foliage an is washed back into the soil by rainfall as the residue decays. Some of the K may also be locked into very dry soil clay particles. If you look at annual graphs of soil available K, September is traditionally the low point in the cycle, but norm...

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Soybean not a fan of bright lights/big cities

One of those oddities that I get a question or two about every fall. Why do soybean plants near street/highway lights stay green until frost? While corn plants love light and heat in their rush to harvest. Soybean plants are night owls. The soybean varieties we grow in Illinois are grouped by Maturity groups with groups II, III and IV being the most common in Central Illinois. Soybean p...

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Emergence well underway

The corn planted April 1 benefited from warmer than normal conditions and started emerging on April 16 and is now close to 100%. But colder temperatures over the last few days has slowed additional growth....

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First Corn Planting

No April Fools joke, corn planting started at the South Farm yesterday. Not very much, but for a couple of experiments looking at planting date, April 1 will be the first of several planting dates included. Heat units will not likely accumulate very fast but I will start tracking using the U2U Corn GDD tool. Average weather would predict emergence...

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Evaluating corn after frost

Making a replant decision after frost can be challenging. Which plants do you include in population counts, when evaluating a damaged corn stand? In 2012 a hard freeze hit the Corn Planting Date Study here at the CSREC, we took that opportunity to tag plants with different levels of damage and follow them to harvest. The bottom line is, if you don't see more than a hint of green after 5-7 days, it...

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April 27th Rainfall

From the Map it looks like most of Illinois south of I-72 received at least 1 inch of rain yesterday. That should get a lot of corn off to a good start....

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2014 County Corn Yields (NASS)
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2013 Corn and Soybean Yields

A few days ago, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the county corn and soybean production numbers. This annual event is often a source of bragging rights for which county had the highest corn and soybean yields. The top yielding corn county in 2013 was Carroll in northwestern Illinois with an average yield of 200 bushels per acre. For soybean, DeKalb took the honors wi...

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A Tree with Many Names and an Interesting History

It started with a phone call. The caller said "Several years ago a friend gave me some unusual fruit to put in my cabinet to keep away spiders. Can you tell me what it was and where I can get some more?" I am not sure how this call ended up with me but as a public servant I wanted to help, if I could. The caller could not supply much more information, so I started guessing. "Could it have been...

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New Corn Replanting Decision Aid

Deciding on whether or not to replant can be a difficult decision. Cutworm, compaction and seedling blight are some of the problems that can lead to reduced plant populations. The sight of an uneven reduced stand is often more than many farmers can take, but the desire to "fix-it" may not make sense agronomically or economically. For fields where the stand has been relatively evenly th...

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Field activity in the area

Last Thursday through Sunday saw much field preparation in the Champaign to Decatur area. There was a continuous shuttle of anhydrous tanks on country roads. In my travels I spotted, one large operation with 4 tracked tractors working in adjacent fields all pulling large applicators with two-tank anhydrous carts trailing behind.  A pair a planters were also working nearby....

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Aspergillus ear rot. Photo by Robert Bellm

Aflatoxin Alert

Pouring salt into a wound- Despite recent rains the drought continues to reduce the value of this year's corn crop. To some area farmers' dismay, elevators are rejecting truckloads of grain based on the detection of aflatoxin in the grain. Aflatoxin is a toxic and carcinogenic compound produced by the Aspergillus fungus. This ear rot fungus occurs most often in hot dry years. It will in...

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Cover crop seeding experiment

This summer/fall I have the opportunity to assist with a on-farm cover crop seeding trial. I am evaluating several different seeding methods from a ground-based applicator. The first few rounds were planted/seeded last week until a welcome rain stopped them. Some of the units have actual ground contact and lightly incorporate the seed. Looking at the strips this week shows some excelle...

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Short Crop-Long Tail or maybe Long Tales

"Short crop, long tail" is one of those catchy phrases that stick in your brain. I remember hearing it early in my Extension career after another drought year from one of our Crop Outlook and Marketing Specialists. Stories of the "drought of aught 12" will likely be told for years and "short crops have long tales" may also be accurate. As an agronomist I try to avoid economics, when pos...

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Drought Resource Website

The latest information from the University of Illinois on:  Dealing with Drought and Heat -  This site contains information on Crops, Livestock, Finances and Home & Garden...

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Rootless Corn Syndrome

This spring, unlike the last few years, has been very dry in some parts of the state. Other areas have had more than they wished for. Unfortunately, reports about rootless corn are coming in from areas all around the state. The orange areas in the map below indicate the areas that have had the least rainfall for the last 30 days. The data comes from the National Weather Service's Ad...

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Million Dollar Rain?

It has been a dusty spring so far and moisture concerns have been on the rise. Rain over the last weekend has pushed back the short term concerns for most of the area....

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Dead plant between two relatively slightly damaged plants.
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Frost Follow-up

We generally advise that, prior to the 4 leaf-collar stage, frost will destroy leaf tissue, but the growing point is below ground and protected. The plants will be stressed but alive. The April 11th freeze was severely damaging to the corn planted on March 16th in our planting date study. On that clear night around 1:00am the temperature dropped below 32 degrees and did not cross back above the li...

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