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Northern Illinois Agriculture

University of Illinois Extension
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Root of the problem

Posted by Russel Higgins -

Through the weekend we waited for much needed moisture that was to arrive on Monday. Anxiously we watched the radar as the front moved eastward across northern Illinois only to be disappointed when the system broke apart and the "rainmaker" clouds passed overhead sharing no precipitation. What does this mean to crops at the NIARC and elsewhere in northern Illinois? Moisture is needed to sustain and encourage plant root systems. Without a change in our current weather pattern, continued dry soils will likely decrease our potential yields, especially in corn.

"Doing the best they can" is a good descriptor of most crops in our area that is rated as abnormally dry by the US Drought Monitor

Dr. Emerson Nafziger shared in a recent article that water use accelerates as corn reaches V7-V8, but it is still only about an inch per week. Of concern at the NIARC are the later planted or emerged crops that have a limited root system in place. It is apparent in my daily travels that crops in soils with a higher water holding capacity are faring better than the lighter soils. Unfortunately, wait for rain is the only management option we have for our stressed crops at the NIARC although I did look longingly at an irrigation system on a sod farm on my trip home last night.

Activities today at the NIARC included applications on our high yield soybean study and removing volunteer corn from soybeans.

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