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Northern Illinois Agriculture

University of Illinois Extension
2015 date of planting corn

Initial results, 2015 corn date of planting and fungicide application

Posted by Russel Higgins - Corn

A sincere thank you to the men and women who have, or are, currently serving in the military on this eleventh day of the eleventh month, Veterans Day.

As we near mid-November harvest nears completion in Northern Illinois. Tillage operations are underway and fall anhydrous can now safely be applied when soil conditions permit; soil temperatures in northern Illinois are registering around 40 degrees. Time in the tractor seat or at the desk gives farmers the opportunity to reflect on the 2015 growing season. Despite numerous challenges presented, the year from a production standpoint was successful for most. Several farmers have shared they harvested their highest yielding crops ever, surpassing 2014.

Preliminary research at the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center has been assimilated by Dr. Greg Steckel and Dr. Emerson Nafziger. Our corn date of planting study which compared a full season corn variety vs. shorter season variety X four planting dates (April 7th, April  17th , May 1st , May 20th ) X with and without fungicide application. Despite early season rains, our plots were planted in April and May. In previous years the final planting date often neared June.

Observations from Dr. Nafziger include

  • "The planting date response was much flatter than we normally see, the full season variety P1221 with fungicide barely dropped in yield with late planting."(As mentioned, the last planting date in 2015 was May 20, comparatively earlier than previous years)
  • "We did not see a larger effect of delayed planting on the later-maturing hybrid, as we might have expected to see. We saw the opposite."
  • "Fungicide gave an average yield increase of about 15 bushels per acre across hybrids and planting dates. It interacted with both hybrid and planting date, but mostly by increasing yield by different amounts rather than only some of the time." This is not surprising with the disease pressure in 2015. There were obvious varietal differences, but in my field visits, Northern corn leaf blight, and to a lesser extent Grey leaf spot were easily found.
  • "As always, take caution about putting too much weight on results from one year". Dr. Nafziger "went back and looked at the historic data and in this trial from 2010 through 2014, fungicide produced a significant yield response twice – in 2013 and 2014 – and the average over those 5 years was 3.7 bushels, not enough to pay for the practice."

We encourage farmers to take advantage of upcoming University of Illinois programs to enhance skills for their farming operation, including then 2015 Illinois Farm Economics Summit programs. The northern Illinois date is December 15th in DeKalb at Farranda's Banquet Center. Visit the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Economics Farmdoc website for additional locations and to preregister for the event.

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