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Angie Peltier

Angie Peltier
Former Extension Educator, Commercial Agriculture

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Hill and Furrow

Current topics about crop production in Western Illinois, including field crops research at the NWIARDC in Monmouth.
Figure. State-wide corn planting progress as of May 6th, 2013. (Source: USDA-NASS).

Rain, rain, go away

Another week brings more rain to western Illinois. It almost seems as if 2012 happened in an alternate universe.

The USDA-NASS's most recent Illinois crop condition and weather report revealed that corn planting has not progressed much since the previous week. Only 7 percent of the intended corn acres have been seeded as of May 6th, far behind 2012 and the five-year average but slightly ahead of 2009 (Figure).

Last week, the NWIARDC saw more than 3 inches of rain and another inch is forecasted for this week. Marty Johnson and Brian Mansfield at the NWIARDC were able to get into the fields four full days last week. Their efforts have resulted in a little more than 40 percent of the research trials having been planted and more than 90 percent of the trials requiring nitrogen having had nitrogen applied.

Agronomists, and soil and weed scientists, and Agricultural Economists from the University of Illinois and the Iowa State University have weighed in on how this spring's wet soil conditions will affect planting and subsequent yield prospects, soil nutrients, and weeds.

Yield potential and planting date

University of Illinois Agricultural Economists Drs. Ryan Batts and Gary Schnitkey wrote a recent farmDocDAILY article about a decision support tool that they developed. This tool, which uses planting data tied to planting date and 2013 enterprise budget costs, can help producers to compare projected returns by planting date for corn and soybean by region.

Dr. Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois Crop Production Specialist, wrote a recent article for the Bulletin in which he detailed the effects of late planting date versus season-long effects of planting into wet soils. Warren Pierson and Dr. Roger Elmore from Iowa State University also wrote an article discussing corn planting date and yield in Iowa, again weighing the effects on yield of late planting and wet soil conditions at planting.

Dr. Nafziger also wrote a recent Bulletin article about soybean planting date. In this article, he introduced an updated online soybean seeding rate calculator developed by he and Dennis Bowman (Extension Educator in Commercial Agriculture) that can help in determining when to plant. This tool is available online and for Android and Apple devices.

Spring 2013 rains - implications for nutrient availability

Last fall and winter's dry soil conditions and lower yields had people speculating about whether there would be nitrogen applied for the 2012 crop left for the 2013 season. Now folks are wondering if there will be enough fall-applied nitrogen remaining to start off the corn crop.

Dr. Fabi├ín Fern├índez, University of Illinois Fertility Specialist, recently wrote an article about determining how much nitrogen might still be present in a field and the two ways that nitrogen can be lost from the root zone – denitrification and leaching. Dr. Antonio Mallarino, Agronomist from Iowa State University, discussed starter fertilizers and late planted corn. Lastly, Dr. John Sawyer, Iowa State University Agronomist wrote about his recommendations regarding which task people should consider completing first, nitrogen application or planting.

Controlling weeds recommended before planting

Dr. Aaron Hager, University of Illinois Weed Science Specialist, recently wrote an article for the Bulletin recommending weed control before planting to reduce the risk of weed-associated yield loss. Dr. Bob Hartzler, Weed Science Specialist from Iowa State University, has a similar recommendation.

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