Funded by the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program.

January 2020

A Warm and Wet Winter So Far for Illinois’ Soils

Despite the recent cold, Illinois has had a warm winter so far with air temperatures averaging 7.3° F above normal as of Jan. 18. This weather has led to warmer and wetter soils across the state. Statewide, soil temperatures at depths of 4 inches under bare soil averaged 38.0° between Dec. 1 and Jan. 18, 1.3° warmer than last winter and 3.0° higher than the long-term average. These numbers were greatly influenced by the balmier weather at the end of December when soil temperatures were 10–15° above normal with daily highs in the upper 50s. The state did see [...]

By |January 31, 2020|

Five Easy Ways to Use Digital Ag to Improve Production on Your Farm

There are many digital ag platforms available to today’s farmers. These powerful tools allow growers to easily summarize and analyze their results from past growing seasons. However, if you are only using your digital platform to look at yield data, you are missing out on an opportunity to improve your operation in numerous ways. Here are five ways you can improve your return on investment with digital agriculture. Optimize your inputs One way some digital ag tools create value is by allowing growers to create variable planting rate prescriptions. These prescriptions can be automatically generated and use prior years’ [...]

By |January 29, 2020|

A New Emerging Soybean Pest? Introducing the Dectes Stem Borer

This article was written in collaboration with Nick Seiter, Research Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois. There’s a new(er) soybean pest in town that’s receiving some attention from southern Illinois soybean growers. Feeding caused by the Dectes stem borer contributed to stalk breakage and lodging found in area soybean fields around harvest. Image 1: Dectes stem borer on a corn leaf. Grayish-blue in color, the Dectes stem borer is a small, longhorned beetle, approximately ½” in length with antennae that are usually as long, or longer than the length of the beetle (Image 1). Adults are present late [...]

By |January 27, 2020|

Unlocking the Secret to Sulfur in Soybeans

Sulfur is one of the essential nutrients that is required by all plants to live and successfully complete their life cycle. Just like any other nutrient, if sulfur is limited, growth and development will be harmed, having an impact on the final product (reduced yield/profitability). Some would say that sulfur needs to have primary consideration right behind N, P, K. Even though sulfur isn’t a macro nutrient, it is very high on the micronutrients list. Since sulfur is immobile in the plant, deficiency will be present in the newest leaf material. This nutrient can be mobile in the soil [...]

By |January 24, 2020|

Planning for Contingencies

This article was originally published in the January issue of Soy Perspectives magazine. Planting and harvest in 2019 were bookended by an extended winter, an early frost and a fall snowstorm, leading many Illinois soybean producers to experience yield and profit losses due to the short window for plant development. Throw in a market-reducing trade war with China and delay in congressional approval for the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade pact and, at the very least, maybe producers can look back for lessons that can be learned from 2019. Upgrade Farm Technology Assets It’s easy to see why farmers may [...]

By |January 21, 2020|

7 Apps to Use on Your Farm This Year

Whether we like it or not, cell phones, iPads and apps have become a part of our daily lives. These technologies have ushered in a new era of agriculture: non-traditional tools that help producers and agronomists manage risk and improve production. Recently, CropLife magazine published an article highlighting several new apps for 2020; below are a few that stood out to me and could be worth further investigation for incorporation into your operation. Farm Service Manager: Service logs for equipment and machinery By having digital logs available at any time, you can refence tasks that need to be done, [...]

By |January 18, 2020|

Make A New Year’s Resolution to Manage Farm Risk

At the top of most Americans’ New Year’s resolutions are things like eating healthier, exercising more and losing weight. Being health-conscious coming into the new year is a great way to get started on the right foot. But beyond physical health, it’s also a great idea to place the health of your finances, business and crop management practices on your resolution list, too. We start each year with an idea of what we hope to achieve and how we want our businesses to operate. Although we can’t predict every factor that will affect our farms, we can start the [...]

By |January 16, 2020|

Big Data vs. Digital Data

Big data has taken the agriculture industry by storm. It has been well received by some, and resented by others, for a multitude of reasons. Companies and universities have told us there is value in big data, that we should be using it to make management decisions and product recommendations. It is hard to argue this point, but what is the value of data if it is too confusing to understand and manage? That’s where digital agriculture comes in. Our industry has made strong advancements to make the data collected from planters, combines, soil tests, weather stations, etc. practical, [...]

By |January 13, 2020|

How to Determine If You Are Using the Right Products On Your Farm

With the modern advancements in production agriculture, producers are seeing new products enter the marketplace faster than ever. It can be challenging to keep up with old and new products, therefore it’s important to have a trusted advisor to track product development and product life cycles. As a producer it’s important to have a good balance of product life cycles that are being implemented on your farm. For example, Soybean Seed:  It’s good to have the bulk of production products that are in the growth and mature stages to not only capture the most recent yield rate of gain [...]

By |January 10, 2020|
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