Funded by the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program.

October 2019

Potassium and Soybean Production

Having spent my time as a CCA Soy Envoy writing about micronutrients, sulfur, nitrogen and phosphorus, it seems appropriate to close out the year focusing on potassium. Of the plant nutrients, potassium is part of the big 3—nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK). When I run soil tests in my area potassium is the most likely to be low, although some soils I work with can be high and stay high. Potassium helps plants withstand drought damage. It is also credited with general plant health and preventing lodging. Potassium helps the plant produce starch and transform sugars. This nutrient is [...]

By |October 31, 2019|

Put Your Thinking Cap On

In Illinois we are not only blessed with fertile soils, we are also blessed to have a great agriculture network of industry professionals to study and share their findings. In some situations, attending meetings is seen as added, unnecessary work or taxing. However, to many progressive growers who want to learn and strive to obtain higher yields and profits while being sustainable, winter meetings are an indispensable resource. Now is the time to learn the lessons from the 2019 challenges, the tools that work and, more importantly, how Illinois soybean producers can sharpen their skills to attack 2020 soybean [...]

By |October 28, 2019|

Let’s Talk Soybean Trade

As I sit in my combine watching the harvest fill up grain cart after grain cart, I’m sure I’ll wonder at times where my soybeans will find a home and who will use them. Considering this year’s challenges, I’m sure these concerns may be on the minds of other growers, too. There’s no debate that the soybean market caused a few headaches and sleepless nights the past few months. Between turbulent trade talks and less than ideal weather, this growing season has been a rollercoaster ride. Even with the highs and lows this year, I’m optimistic about where the [...]

By |October 25, 2019|

PODCAST: Soil Compaction Restoration

CCA Soy Envoy, Dave Rahe, looks at soil compaction caused by planting in less than ideal soil conditions and what soybean growers can do to minimize the impact on the 2020 growing season.

By |October 22, 2019|

Controlling Marestail with a Fall Application

With all the challenges we have faced in 2019, I figure we’ll see a few more before December gets here. One that particularly concerns me is marestail that will germinate this fall because of the weed seed bank in some areas across the state. This past spring and summer most were unable to get residuals down in a timely manner. This has led to more escaped weeds than we would like, some of which is marestail that has, or will, go to seed. So, how do we address this issue? What herbicides or combination of herbicides are most effective? [...]

By |October 21, 2019|

Soil Sampling Considerations

When should I test soils? For years, fall soil sampling was the standard practice. However, it became a challenge to collect samples, get a lab report, develop a recommendation and apply nutrient needs prior to tillage or winter. In some situations, if the summer and fall were extremely dry, fall sampling could provide somewhat of an inaccurate measurement of true plant-available nutrients. As a result, a more modern method is to collect samples during the spring or early summer, which allows for greater time to develop an actionable plan. Should I GPS-track sample locations? In any science-based system, it’s [...]

By |October 21, 2019|

Are You Neutral?

If asked, most people can tell you their Social Security number and maybe their spouse’s birthday, but how many producers could accurately tell you the average pH of their farm? Hopefully, the response is, “It’s 6.5.”, and not “Less than 6.” or “I don’t know.” When it comes to crop inputs, soil pH tends to take a back seat compared to the “cooler” inputs such as nitrogen and seed variety. A soil’s pH can have an impact on nutrient availability, nutrient toxicity, herbicide interaction and soil organism activity (i.e., nitrogen fixation for legume crops). Table 1: Soil pH acidity [...]

By |October 18, 2019|

Seeing is Believing

In modern production agriculture, sometimes we need to see proof before we can believe. Every year growers perform on-farm research trials to search for a yield advantage from seed selection, herbicide application, fungicide application, seed treatment and the list goes on. In most cases these tests result in positive or negative yield responses and a corresponding positive, negative or flat return on investment. It’s typically hard to put a financial value on the concept of soil health, for the simple reason there are so many variables and it’s a system or ecosystem that takes time—more than one growing season [...]

By |October 10, 2019|
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