Funded by the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program.

May 2018

Soil Testing: Value of Base Saturation

When you or your agronomist sends soil samples to a laboratory, they measure all the bases—include K, Ca, Mg and Na. And not only do they report the extractable levels they also calculate the base saturation (B.S.,) which compares the amounts of each to the others as a percent. The only base missing is hydrogen (H), which if included would total near 100 percent. There are a few competing philosophies concerning soil chemistry and interpreting soil test values. These include the buildup and maintenance philosophy, the sufficiency philosophy and the base saturation philosophy. Over the years, an almost fanatical [...]

By |May 25, 2018|

Farms Under Threat: the State of America’s Farmland

The United States is blessed with a remarkably productive agricultural landscape. Cropland, pastureland, rangeland, and woodland support a regionally diverse food and farming system capable of ensuring domestic food security. Agricultural land contributes to state and local economies, supplies lucrative export markets, and bolsters the nation’s balance of trade. These exceptional natural resources sustain valuable wildlife habitat, provide flood control and fire suppression, scenic views, and resources for hunting and fishing. This land also acts as an enormous carbon sink, drawing down carbon from the atmosphere, which helps combat climate change. By 2050, the demands on agriculture to provide [...]

By |May 24, 2018|

Replant Considerations: Checklist for Coming Back from Calamity

Down at the local co-op, farm store, or coffee shop, there’s always one guy who, when asked if done with planting, answers, “Yeah, at least for the first time.” Everyone chuckles knowingly because they’ve all experienced having to make the decisions surrounding replanting. There are a host of problems that may cause one to have to replant soybeans - crusting, flooding, dry soil, insects, diseases, the list goes on. In each case, though, there are common things that need to be considered when making a replant decision. Is the reason for considering replanting solved or has it improved?  First, [...]

By |May 24, 2018|

Soybean Fields or Swingin’ Hips

After the planter is parked for the season it is time to make observations of emerging and developing crop. Early scouting trips provide a look at how the crop begins the season and the potential for growth the remainder of the year. Soybeans seem to receive less attention after planting during early vegetative growth stages than corn but as more soybeans were planted this year and interest in increasing soybean yields is increasing, take time to assess fields. Can’t emphasize enough the importance of walking the field. Don’t just look at headlands or walk in 100 feet. Get a [...]

By |May 22, 2018|

Seeing Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency is not as common in Illinois as other parts of the Corn Belt, particularly in states like the Dakotas, Nebraska, Western Minnesota and Northwestern Iowa due to the presence of either poorly drained or tight clay soils with high pH, and calcareous soils. Symptoms of iron deficiency are chlorotic leaves, hence the name “Iron Deficiency Chlorosis,” or IDC for short. The primary symptom of iron deficiency is interveinal chlorosis. Symptoms don’t appear on the cotyledon or unifoliate leaves, but do appear on the trifoliate leaves beginning as early as the first trifoliate stage. Iron chlorosis, like most [...]

By |May 21, 2018|

Early Soybean Scouting

ILeVO Halo Effect The Halo effect is associated with ILeVO-treated soybean seed. Regardless of the halo severity on early leaves, stand is not affected, the plants will recover, and the crop will be protected against early SCN and SDS. Show in Image 1, the ILeVO Halo Effect is a discoloration of the outside edges of the cotyledons. We have seen this every year since ILeVO was launched, so most growers are familiar with it. However, this year the first planted ILeVO treated soybeans to emerge had little to no halo effect. Then as the planting season progressed, the halo [...]

By |May 21, 2018|

Identifying Troublesome Broadleaf Weeds in Soybeans

It’s been a fast and furious spring here in south-central Illinois. The first half of April was a wash and what seemed to be an endless pattern of heavy rains and cold weather. The sun finally came out to play. It didn’t take too many 20-hour days, and before I knew it, all the ammonia was on and 90 percent of the corn and soybeans were planted in about 12-days.  But as the dust settles, it still amazes me how quickly we can put in our crop. As we park the planters for the year, the sprayers will start [...]

By |May 17, 2018|

The Art & Science of Soy Planting

The decision about when to plant a soybean field is very important, because it will set the stage for how well the crop emerges and if it will ultimately establish a vigorous stand. In recent years there has been a movement to plant soybeans earlier to take advantage of early season sunlight accumulation (building more nodes and canopy to capture more energy). Considerations for balancing the art and science: What are the current soil temperatures? What is the current soil moisture? What is the next 7- to 10-day weather forecast? What is the germination rate of the soybean seed? [...]

By |May 15, 2018|

Adopt an Early Wheat System for Double-Crop Soybeans

If you double-crop soybeans after wheat, and want to your soybean crop to yield respectably, you must manage the previous wheat crop and the following soybean crop. Over a decade ago I interviewed some growers in southern Illinois who double-cropped soybeans mostly after wheat. One of the things I determined was that the growers focused primarily on growing wheat and maximizing its yield and soybeans were left to fend for themselves. The approach to double-crop soybeans is changing, though, as agronomists and growers realize that these soybeans can yield well with a focus on management, much like for full [...]

By |May 14, 2018|

Diptera, Lepidoptera and Coleoptera—OH MY!

Scouting for early season soybean insect pests is beneficial in determining if your pre-planting management strategies are working as expected. Many growers are wisely choosing to treat their early planted soybean seeds with a minimum of an appropriate combination of fungicide/insecticide seed treatment product(s) because history has shown that those costly seeds can become life sustaining food for other natural creatures trying to survive in their own underground habitat. There are several insect pests that should be monitored for if emergence isn’t what you had anticipated. Typically, for most of the insect pests discussed, there are limited, if any, [...]

By |May 10, 2018|
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