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Northern Illinois Agriculture

University of Illinois Extension
Cover Crops
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Successful Cover Cropping in Northern Illinois

The varied benefits of cover crops are recognized, but few of the benefits can be realized without first getting the cover crop established. Management suggestions for overcoming the challenges of establishing cover crops in Northern Illinois will be the theme of presentations offered at the Highland Community College and repeated at the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center. "Succ...

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Productive week at NIARC and Northern Illinois

Prior to the weekend storm events that rolled across northern Illinois, tremendous progress was made in planting the 2015 corn crop. Planters were running late into the night despite temperatures that stayed near or slightly below seasonal averages for most of the week. Statewide, NASS reported that corn planting advanced 38% in the week ending May 3rd. In addition to planting corn and soybean plo...

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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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Cover Crops 2014

Harvest has started at NIARC

Last week we harvested group 1.8 maturity soybean to allow the planting of the winter wheat trials at the NIARC. Our combine yield monitor had the soybean near 60 bushels an acre. On September 16th we planted our 2014 cover crops into standing corn and soybean. We hand seed the cover crops to emulate aerial seeding. Cover crops used in this NIARC study include Oilseed radish, Winter rye, Annual ry...

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Planting resumes in northern Illinois

Our emerged corn is showing the effect of last weeks cool temperatures, but the results are not lethal. Over the last several days planting has resumed at the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center. Our fourth and final planting date of corn, second planting date of soybean (our first planted soybean have emerged), and our cover crop study were planted. The cover crop study has both corn and s...

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Cover crop termination

Mother nature stepped up and successfully terminated most of the cover crop species planted at the NIARC in the fall of 2013. Some were expected to winter kill, some not. For the second consecutive year cereal rye was the only cover crop that successfully overwintered at our location. Dr. Aaron Hager, University of Illinois Weeds Specialist shared information for producers looking to chemically te...

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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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Soil sampling in the snow

That's right, snow on November 25th at the NIARC. Less than ideal conditions to collect soil samples from the Cover Crop study. The five year study includes spring and fall soil samples at 0-30, 30-60, 60-90 centimeters. Our goal is to quantify any nutrient recycling that results from growing cover crops. Thanks to Greg Steckel and Race Higgins who bundled up and assisted with today's...

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Cover crop tour

Today I traveled to Lena to participate in a four stop cover crop tour co-sponsored by NRCS, Stephenson County SWCD and the University of Illinois Extension. At the Foley Farm  Jay Solomon, Energy and Environmental Stewardship Extension Educator in the Jo Daviess/Stephenson/Winnebago Unit shared the importance of having a primary and secondary plan in place when making management decisions with co...

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Interseeded cover crop emergence

When seeding cover crops into standing crops on the soil surface, germination success or failure is often dependent on rainfall. We have been fortunate so far in 2013 at the NIARC. We have received just over an inch of rain since planting our cover crop species into standing corn and soybean fields. I have been pleased with our emergence in this weeks evaluation. Pictured above is Annual ryegrass...

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Cover crops are planted

The 2013 cover crop study has been planted. While we are right where we need to be as far as calendar date, other conditions are less than perfect. It is dry at the NIARC and we are not getting quite as much light to the soil surface as we would like, especially in the soybean. Despite limited yellowing of the leaves, our 30" row soybeans did not completely canopy the row, so we chose to plant our...

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View from the drill

We planted medium red clover in oat ground to set the groundwork for a 2014 corn study. Farm foreman Dave Lindgren piloted the tractor and NIARC research agronomist Greg Steckel made sure the replications were planted correctly. Last week was spent at the University of Illinois tent at the Farm Progress Show, it was a warm one! Weekend rains were spotty across northern Illinois;.72 inches recorded...

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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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