Funded by the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program.

March 2019

Seven Tips to Make Cover Crops Pay

While many growers realize the long-term benefits of cover crops for their soil, justifying an extra $30 to $35 an acre may be difficult in the short term. How do you make cover crops pay without an immediate return on investment with a grain sale? Speaking at the recent Conservation Cropping Seminar in Springfield, Illinois, Sarah Carlson, strategic initiatives director for Practical Farmers of Iowa Cooperators’ Program, presented seven tips for making cover crops pay: 1. Be cautious about how much you spend on seed. Cover crop seed can become expensive quickly, especially with more exotic choices like radishes [...]

By |March 29, 2019|

How to Manage Volunteer Corn

With more acres of soybeans being planted and more dropped ears during corn harvest, volunteer corn is becoming a larger issue for Illinois growers. Areas across Northern Illinois experienced 2018 harvest conditions where some of the corn crop didn’t make it to the bin. After the combine had harvested a corn field, it wasn’t uncommon to have more than 10 bushels/acre of grain left in the field. We also experienced weather conditions that were not conducive to fall tillage which helped lost ears germinate, in many cases before a winter freeze. Volunteer corn competes with soybeans for nutrients, water [...]

By |March 27, 2019|

What does a cool, wet spring mean for soybean growers?

Early springs can create trying conditions for producers. In 2018, it snowed in Illinois on April 9. It was cool and wet through the middle of April, leading many growers to reconsider plans to attempt to plant beans before corn. The cool, wet conditions lasted until the end of the month, delaying the planting season in many areas. So far, 2019 seems to be following the same pattern, with cool saturated soils thus far. The National Weather Service predicts a moderate possibility of wetter and cooler than normal conditions through at least the end of the month. What does [...]

By |March 25, 2019|

Can Better Seed Singulation Improve Yield?

Will precisely singulating soybean seed down to 1-inch plant-to-plant spacing improve pod count and potential? Several agronomists, including me, think this could be true even though there is no data yet on this question. Corn planting is all about seed singulation and precisely placing every seed at the right depth and right spacing between seeds. Everyone appreciates the rows of corn that look like a picket fence with all the plants equally spaced and emerging at the same time. Each plant has nearly the same stalk and ear girth. We have all seen the photos and manufacturers have excelled [...]

By |March 20, 2019|

WEBINAR: Advantages to Participating in the Illinois Soybean Yield Challenge

The Illinois Soybean Association has been sponsoring the Illinois Yield Challenge since 2010. During the last 9 years, growers have challenged themselves to produce high soybean yields and yield results have steadily increased from highs in the 60s to highs in the 80s and 90s, with some entrants breaking 100 bushels. This webinar will look back at the history of the Yield Challenge, what we have learned, tips on how to improve your yield and set your own records, review the 2019 Yield Challenge structure and how to enter. Presenter: Bob Wells, Illinois Yield Challenge Coordinator [...]

By |March 19, 2019|

Adopting Starter Fertilizer

I have said that starters may be the next edge to growing high-yield soybeans after adopting early planting. Most starter trials show little yield response, but those trials were conducted with soybeans planted in May and often after May 10 or 15. Today soybeans are being planted 20 to 30 days earlier and the results may prove to be different. A question recently came in from a grower in Tazewell County on using starter fertilizer on soybeans and expressing some concern on seed safety. While he had record yields around 80 bu/A, he feels he can do better and [...]

By |March 18, 2019|

Sulfur Becoming a Necessity

by Stephanie Porter and Stephanie Smith Why is there such interest in sulfur (S) now and why is it important for our yields? Sulfur deposits have changed dramatically over the years due in part to air quality improvement efforts. Owners of coal-fired power plants have invested more in scrubbers, decreasing the amount of acid rain we receive. Acid rain brought atmospheric sulfur to our soil, and now sulfur deficiencies are more common in some areas that used to receive more acid rains. The map below shows the decrease in the amount of sulfur deposited. Areas in and around Indiana [...]

By |March 15, 2019|

WEBINAR: Importance of Aggregation for Soil Health

In this webinar we go in-depth and learn more about how aggregates are an important part of a healthy soil. We’ll start with the basics of how aggregates form, what stabilizes them and how they naturally turnover with time. We’ll also talk about how to evaluate aggregation using a shovel in the field along with options for analyses in the lab. The benefits of stable aggregation are not just physical, but also biological. This is part of why aggregation can be a great indicator of a healthy soil. Knowing what aggregates can do for you and how to manage [...]

By |March 13, 2019|

Soybean Population Trends

There has been a lot, and I mean a lot, of buzz lately around lowering soybean populations. There are many studies showing soybeans planted at lower populations either meet or exceed yields of soybeans planted at higher populations. There are also growers who are achieving very high soybean yields describing how they planted at lower populations. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are considering lowering your soybean planting population. Current planting population. Before I can recommend you lower your planting population, your current planting population must be considered. The term “lower” is relative not [...]

By |March 10, 2019|

LISTEN: Kevin Nelson on Rural Radio

2018 Master Adviser, Kevin Nelson, sat down with Shark Farmer Radio to talk about the honor of receiving the Master Adviser award, starting a new business, and traveling to Nicaragua on an agricultural mission to help improve management practices for farmers there.

By |March 5, 2019|
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