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Northern Illinois Agriculture

University of Illinois Extension
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A March day!

Posted by Russel Higgins -

Now this is March! Cold and blustery, the measured low for the day was 36.1 degrees at 8 am at the NIARC.  We are using the day (with jackets) to finish calibration of planting and fertilizer application equipment. We are measuring the output of 32% UAN solution to insure accuracy in our 2012 fertilizer studies. Today notwithstanding, just a reminder how warm this late winter/ea...

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Biograss harvest

Posted by Russel Higgins -

Dave Lindgren battles the wind as he chops 2011's growth of Miscanthus and Switchgrass in preparation for the 2012 growing season. Yield for the two grasses is northern Illinois have been measured at 9 and 2 1/2 tons per acre. Unlike the NIARC; several University of Illinois research centers managed to plant an early early corn planting (like many farmers in northern Illinois, we don't have our se...

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References online!

Posted by Russel Higgins -

The initial 2012 issue of the Illinois Bulletin has been posted. The Bulletin provides pest management and crop development information throughout the growing season. Follow along; http://bulletin.ipm.illinois.edu/ The 24th edition of the Illinois Agronomy Handbook was printed in 2009. That version has also been uploade...

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Burn

The end of one study, the start of another!

Posted by Russel Higgins -

Today Dr. D. K. Lee's team harvested switchgrass trials at the NIARC. Switchgrass ( Panicum virgatum ) is a perennial warm season bunchgrass native to North America. It is one of many plant species being evaluated as a bio-fuel. This was the final harvest for this multi-year study. After harvest the switchgrass plot was burned and in 2012 we plan to evaluate corn and soybean no tilled in...

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oats planting 2012

Planting oats!

Posted by Russel Higgins -

Once more than 3 million acres in Illinois were planted to spring oats. That number has dwindled to fewer than 100,000 acres which includes oats over seeded with alfalfa. The University of Illinois continues to have an active breeding and variety development program in oats. Dr. Fred Kolb's agronomy team was at the NIARC today planting the oat variety trials (in 80 degree weather, and shorts!)....

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Can I plant now?

Posted by Russel Higgins - Corn

Mother nature has rarely tempted farmers with almost ideal planting conditions this early in the season. In northern Illinois we currently have the soil temperature, field conditions are or are close to being suitable for planting, but it's is March 20th! Truths or untruths about corn planted down the road or downstate are being shared in coffee shops, ag meetings or whenever two or more far...

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Will this warm weather increase the liklihood of insect problems?

Posted by Russel Higgins -

I saw a butterfly yesterday! I cannot remember the exact date when I normally notice butterfly's in a year, but March 16th seemed earlier than normal. A question received often in recent weeks is for a prediction of insect pest populations, especially in light of Illinois's mild winter. Dr. Mike Gray, University of Illinois Extension Entomologist was posed this question at a gathering in Champaign...

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Spring tillage in March

Posted by Russel Higgins -

Last evening I was a guest of the Granville Rotary Club and their 2012 Agri-Business Nite. President Jim Mack shared the head table with Scott and Adriane Shore and myself. It was a very enjoyable evening meeting with the Rotarian's and their guests. Thanks to the Granville Rotary for the invitation! Today was dry enough to start our secondary tillage in preparation of future trials at the N...

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Seed house

Planting fever

The last two days were spent on campus of the University of Illinois as agronomy research plans for the South farms and the outlying research centers (including the NIARC) were shared and finalized. I passed through the "Seed House" building and saw hundreds of seed packets individually packaged, sorted, and carefully ordered for planting. The distinctive smell in the building coupled with warm te...

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Mark your calendar!

Posted by Russel Higgins -

Its never to early to start planning, the 2012 Summer agronomy day at the NIARC will be held on July 10th starting at 9 am and ending with a luncheon meal. Looking forward to seeing you there!...

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Machinery is moving!

Posted by Russel Higgins - Corn

With an unbelievable early March forecast for the week of March 12 (including temps in the 70's for midweek) coupled with several windy days many fields became dry enough for fertilizer or tillage operations. Is there an advantage for tillage this early in the season when we will almost certainly have a return to more "normal"  northern Illinois the soils before March ends? If you are using tillag...

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Insect management in 2012

Posted by Russel Higgins - Corn

Visiting with producers over the winter months a question often discussed was "will applying a soil applied insecticide enhance the control of pests in my traited corn hybrids?" Most farmers have already decided on an insect control strategy for the 2012 growing season. That decision has been based on advice from agronomists, seedsmen, neighbors or individual economic risk concerns. Regardless of...

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Winter Wheat

Spring is almost here!

Posted by Russel Higgins -

Signs were everywhere that spring, if not officially here, is certainly getting closer Today I saw Robins at the research farm County highway crews taking down snow fence Mud on the road from the few producers who managed to get in the field yesterday for catch up/early tillage operations Most importantly our wheat at the resear...

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Windy day

Posted by Russel Higgins -

Sometimes your best laid out plans simply don't work out. Our intent today was to apply nitrogen to the wheat plots at the NIARC in front of the predicted rainfall. But windy conditions simply wouldn't allow the application of urea....

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Are micronutrients needed?

Last week Illinois Extension hosted the two-day Northern Illinois Crop Management Conference in Malta. Over 100 individuals from three states traveled to DeKalb County to participate. The Northern Illinois Crop Management Conference is one of four like conferences held across the state. Individuals from 18 Illinois counties heard campus specialists and researchers share summaries and informatio...

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Equipment inventory

Posted by Russel Higgins -

Snow is still on the ground on March 5th in Northern Illinois. Even so, a very favorable forecast is in the future. We expect temperatures in the 50's by the end of the week. The soil temperature at 10 am this morning was 34.4 degrees under bare soil (measured at 4 inches). The Illinois State Water Survey provides a site that can be accessed to allow producers regional soil temperature information...

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Let's get started

Posted by Russel Higgins -

Greetings from the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center. My name is Russ Higgins and I am a Commercial Agriculture Educator with the University of Illinois Extension. Recent changes within Extension have given me the opportunity to work at the 160 Acre agronomy research center near Shabbona Illinois. This is the northernmost research center in the University of Illinois Department of Crop Sc...

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