Funded by the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program.

January 2016

Agronomy: Profitability Matters: Do the Math on Farmland Values

Aired: January 2016 Lower commodity prices have brought tight margins to farmers around the country—and last year farm income was the lowest since 2002. However, farm economics works in a cycle and land values are beginning to adjust. "The economics of crop production drives land values,” says Brent Gloy, Ph.D., agricultural economist with Agricultural Economic Insights. “These have fallen in recent years, so we can look for land values to follow.” In this episode of Profitability Matters, Gloy shared his insights on 2015 and 2016 farmland values, negotiating rents and financing tips for a profitable 2016. Launch audio>>> Key [...]

By |January 12, 2016|

Disease Management: The Challenge of Managing SCN

Most of you already know that the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is the most damaging pathogen to soybeans. There are currently two widely recommended options for combatting this microscopic worm. 1) Rotate crops 2) Plant resistant varieties Unfortunately, both of these accepted strategies have limitations. Rotation is essential for preventing a buildup of SCN populations. However, the biology of SCN allows the worm to survive long periods without a soybean host. As an egg in the soil, SCN can sense the presence of soybean. If SCN senses that soybeans aren’t around (i.e., if corn is there) then it will [...]

By |January 8, 2016|

Agronomy: Growing Continuous Beans: Dos and Don’ts

With the low commodity prices and lower production costs with soybeans, growers may be inclined to plant some of their fields back to soybeans. While this should work okay, there are some dos and don’ts to this practice. Do expect a small amount of yield loss when soybeans follow soybeans: Continuous soybeans over the past 11 years averaged 95 percent as much as soybeans rotated with corn at the Monmouth site, where yields have averaged above 65 bushels per acre. At Perry, where soils are lighter and yields have averaged a little less than 50 bushels, continuous soybeans have [...]

By |January 7, 2016|

Weed Management: Dealing With Waterhemp Resistance

During the last two years waterhemp has exploded in soybean fields. Are they herbicide-resistant? Were they too tall to be controlled by a post herbicide application? Did they receive their post herbicide application or was it too wet? Had herbicide residual leached away? Was the waterhemp emergence probably due to late-emerging populations? We can’t be sure if the problem is herbicide resistance without testing, but in the last few years, we assumed that more and more waterhemp (and other weeds) are now resistant to glyphosate. As of last year, based on testing, it was estimated by Dr. Aaron Hager, [...]

By |January 6, 2016|


Fighting soil compaction, keeping nitrogen and phosphorous in your soil, and increasing your yield potential. Every farmer aims for these things, but how can you achieve them without spending more money than you have to? Every year, more farmers are adopting cover crops—the USDA Census of Agriculture report shows that U.S. farmers planted 10.2 million acres of cover crops in 2012—and for good reason. In this season’s last episode of “Management Matters,” Michael Plumer, coordinator with the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices (C-BMP), explains how farmers can take advantage of both the economic and environmental benefits of cover [...]

By |January 2, 2016|


Herbicide resistance is already a common issue in southern Illinois, one which presses northward each year. Without careful management, it’s only a matter time before resistance problems break out across the entire state and rob even more fields of yields. In the third episode of “Management Matters,” Mark Bernards, assistant professor of agronomy, crop science and weed control at Western Illinois University, gives tips on how to recognize, control and prevent herbicide resistance. He also discusses four herbicide-resistant weeds that should be of greatest concern to Illinois soybean farmers. LAUNCH AUDIO << Bernards’ Forecast Herbicide resistance is already common [...]

By |January 2, 2016|


Most growers invest in managing their corn crop, unaware that similar practices can achieve higher yields and profits for soybeans, too. While management matters for soybeans, there isn’t one silver bullet solution. With the right combination of management practices, growers can capture more soybean yield potential. In the fourth episode of “Management Matters,” Fred Below, professor of plant physiology and crop sciences at University of Illinois, shares tips on how farmers can more effectively manage their soybeans and achieve higher yields and profits. LAUNCH AUDIO<< Key takeaways: Start off strong by selecting the correct varieties, protect them with the [...]

By |January 2, 2016|

PROFITABILITY MATTERS: Tips to Manage Nutrients

Farmers have been bringing food to American tables for generations. But we have a new challenge—there will be 2 billion additional mouths to feed by 2050. To keep up with such rapid population growth, we need farming to be both profitable and sustainable. While farmers never plan to use more nutrients than needed, changes in the growing season can make it difficult to pinpoint the right amount to use. In the fifth episode of “Management Matters,” Dr. Howard Brown, manager of agronomy services with GROWMARK, Inc., explains how farmers can effectively manage nutrients while protecting their profits. LAUNCH AUDIO [...]

By |January 2, 2016|

MANAGEMENT MATTERS: Cutting $100 per Acre in Soybeans

Aired: November 2015 2015 delivered a tough growing season for many Illinois farmers, and lower soybean prices to follow. For incomes to increase in 2016, either commodity prices need to rise or farmers need to cut costs. “Looking at where commodity prices are now, farmers’ costs need to be $100 less in some cases just to break even. They need to focus on their cost structure and see where they can afford to make cuts,” says Gary Schnitkey, Ph.D., professor of agricultural and consumer economics at the University of Illinois. In the kickoff episode of “Profitability Matters,” Schnitkey explains how [...]

By |January 2, 2016|


Aired: November 2015 According to the USDA Economic Research Service, U.S. net farm income is set to decline by 36 percent in 2015, and commodity prices are not expected to improve in the foreseeable future. “Farmers are going to see more financial stress in the next six months, but they have many resources available to stay ahead of the curve on finances,” says Farm Management Specialist Steven Johnson, Ph.D., with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. In this episode of Profitability Matters, Johnson shares his insight on 2015 and 2016 commodity markets and steps farmers can take to ensure a [...]

By |January 2, 2016|
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