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Northern Illinois Agriculture

University of Illinois Extension
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A combine rolls in northern Illinois

Posted by Russel Higgins -

I'm certain this is not the first corn that has been harvested in northern Illinois, but it is the first combined field that I have seen in my travels (just south of the Illinois river). Several producers that I visited with suggested the Tuesday following Labor Day as their targeted date for initiating harvest. We will have to see how the remnants of Hurricane Isaac track this weekend to see if field conditions will be suitable. After this summer I expect few will be disappointed at being rained out of the field, for a few days at least. I had the opportunity to attend the Illinois Central College agronomy tour last night. It was an educational evening and I came away impressed with studies and demonstrations of the ICC Ag department. The last stop of the evening was a demonstration plot of cover crops. This has certainly been a highly discussed topic and has generated considerable interest in northern Illinois. For those considering interseeding a cover crop into corn or soybean either by aerial seeding or a modified ground applicator, when should the seeding take place? Recommendations in the Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide provide the following guidelines.

In corn

  • Seed after silks are brown
  • Leaves have turned down
  • Light penetration at the soil surface is greater than 50%

In soybeans

  • When 25% of the leaves are yellow

In both cases, success is more likely if the seeding can precede a measurable rain.

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