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Northern Illinois Agriculture

University of Illinois Extension

Despite the year, the research continues

I expect few predicted the 2012 growing season. I had high expectations when trials went in the ground at the NIARC. Unfortunately, we have been reminded of the effect Mother Nature can have upon the livelihood of those involved in production agriculture. With precipitation she can be generous or not, and unless you invest in irrigation there is little one can do. There have been many suggestions followed by questions in recent weeks on products that could be applied to our crops to increase yield at best, or at the very least help them survive longer in hope of late season rains. Most of us realize, whether we want to admit it or not, what the crop needs is water. It is frustrating because that is out of our control. While we will not get the yields we expected at the beginning of the year, we will learn from the research nonetheless. We don't know when or if we will have a similar growing season to 2012, but if it does take place we will be better educated on what to expect and what may or may not be economically beneficial.

Several of you who attended the summer field day had the opportunity to see the weed competitiveness study by USDA weeds researcher Dr. Adam Davis. In this study Palmer amaranth and Shattercane seedlings were transplanted next to soybean to measure the competitiveness of these weeds on soybean yield as they mature. Several asked if introducing these troublesome weeds to northern Illinois was a sound idea (I cleaned the question up just a bit). For those who expressed concern, rest easy, the plot is being very carefully monitored by Vince Filicetti. At his behest, the Palmer amaranth was removed from the NIARC almost three weeks ago and the Shattercane will be removed tomorrow. In a year of things to worry about, this can be crossed off the list!

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