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Northern Illinois Agriculture

University of Illinois Extension
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Corn emergence

We are nearing the end of April when we would normally expect to see early planted corn emerging in northern Illinois. In my travels I have yet to see any corn that can be rowed from the road, despite being planted over two weeks ago. At the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center we have corn that has now been in the ground for three weeks in our date of planting study that we expect to emerge this week. We planted at 1 ½ inch depth on April 7th and when scouting the plot earlier today, we carefully dug around the planted seed and found the coleoptile, or shoot, between an inch and an inch and a quarter in length and very close to the soil surface. The reason for the delay in emergence is temperature driven. At our site we went from a night time low of near 50 degrees on April 18th to a night time low of under 25 degrees on April 24th. This has resulted in a swing in the recorded 2 inch soil temperature at DeKalb from 60 degrees mid-month, to our current measured temperature of 41 degrees.

With area farmers likely out of the field because of weekend precipitation, and a projected warmup due this coming weekend, a quick reminder to check stored grain. Ideally grain temperatures should still be in the 30s or below. However, in many instances grain moisture's last fall were above average, and there are many bins with corn moisture's in the range of 16-20%. High moisture grain will spoil quickly if grain temperatures rise. In the bin, headspace warms first which can lead to condensation. Be prepared to provide aeration or plan on moving grain if there is a temperature rise in the grain and  mold activity is starting.

Before the weekend rains we planted our first soybean of the year at the NIARC in our date of planting and population studies.

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