Dr. Joel Gruver

What are your soggy fields telling you?

I just checked out the 7-, 14-, 30- and 60-day rainfall accumulation maps on the National Weather Services website and observed amazingly extensive blue and green areas across Illinois and a wide swath of other colors over central and eastern Corn Belt states—representing 200% to 500% of normal precipitation during all time frames! According to State Climatologist Jim Angel, Illinois has actually been wetter during the last 6 weeks (June 1 – July 13) than during the same time frame in 1993, the year of the Great Flood. Visit the blog post here. Not surprisingly, in between scrambling to plant, [...]

By |July 20, 2015|

Agronomics: Don’t Let Lower Commodity Prices Sway Conservation and Soil Health

I recently have been pondering how the use of cover crops and other conservation practices on Illinois farms is likely to be impacted by low crop prices. One possibility is that farmers will be unwilling to invest in conservation when margins are slim. History is often the best crystal ball so I dug into NRCS data and found that average soil erosion rates in the state dropped almost 40% from the early 1980s to the late 1990s. Not surprising, as the adoption of conservation tillage practices in Illinois grew most rapidly during the same time frame. Then I looked [...]

By |October 24, 2014|
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