Funded by the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program.

Kevin Nelson

Soybeans as a Cover Crop

Father’s Day was just over a week ago, and since we couldn’t be in the fields, I invited my dad to join us for supper to catch up on things from home. Talk inevitably turned to the crops and #plant19. My dad was born in the late summer of 1934. He has farmed all his life, by my estimation if we assume his first cropping season was when he was fifteen, he’s seen 69 crops. Dad looked me in the eye and said, “I’ve never seen a year like this.” That’s powerful. This season has been like nothing anyone [...]

By |June 24, 2019|

Soybean Planting Date: Cussed, Re-cussed, and Discussed

Soybean planting date. Plant early. What’s early? February? March? Before corn? Simultaneously with corn? These questions and many, many more come up in discussion whenever this topic is broached. And it comes up often these days. Over the past few seasons, agronomists have been recommending that growers move soybean planting dates earlier to get higher yields. Growers have responded by adopting earlier planting in greater numbers than many of us who made these recommendations expected. My first comment is that the term “early” is very subjective and relative. Everyone gets a picture in their head when the term early [...]

By |April 19, 2019|

Water, Water Everywhere – And Not a Drop to Drink

A corridor of the Midwest stretching from Nebraska through Iowa and into Northern Illinois has been receiving almost continuous rainfall for an extended period this harvest season. This pattern has made it difficult, if not impossible to harvest soybeans. The current scenario doesn’t fit what we might think of as a typical situation of repeated wet/dry cycles where the soybeans get wet in a rain event, then dry out, rain again, dry, and so forth. The combination of rainfall, high soil moisture and high atmospheric humidity have prevented these beans from drying further since the first week or so [...]

By |October 10, 2018|

2018 Harvest: What Makes the Soybean World Go ‘Round?

October has arrived and the 2018 soybean growing season is wrapping up in Northern Illinois. It’s always interesting, as well as a good idea, to look back over the past six months and see what was in the forefront of our minds as the growing season developed, what we worried about that didn’t impact the crop as much as we thought it might, and what surprised us. One important recommendation that has been endorsed for improving soybean yields has been planting soybeans “early.” Many growers have taken this recommendation seriously and I’ve seen it being adopted in many operations [...]

By |October 8, 2018|

Green is for Go – Except for Soybean Stems

As harvest approaches, it’s time once again to discuss green stems in soybeans. Green Stem Syndrome (GSS) has been with us for quite some time. Some years more severely than others, but most years someone must deal with soybean stems remaining green after the beans (and pods) are mature and dry. In 2017, I wrote a blog post on practices for harvesting soybeans as close to the optimum moisture as possible to avoid sacrificing yield and profitability. While reading up on GSS, it became apparent that trying to wait out the green stems can cause as much as a [...]

By |September 6, 2018|

Soybeans, White Mold and SDS – Oh My!

It’s early August in Northern Illinois and it’s time to start wrapping up the 2018 soybean crop. Granted, August rains can add some yield, but for the most part the soybeans are made, though not in the bin. Now is the time we must evaluate whether sudden death syndrome (SDS) and white mold, which may have infected the crop in earlier development stages, continued to grow and will ultimately cause yield loss by harvest. In May and June, I tried out a new mobile app that will help predict the need to treat soybeans for the infection of white [...]

By |August 18, 2018|

Soypocalypse 2018: An Envoy Discussion

In July, we have an opportunity to review the first half of the soybean growing season. Soybeans have moved into the reproductive stages and we can go back and look at the earlier stages, trying to gauge the potential of the crop and what may have taken us to this point. The Soy Envoy team held a conference call recently to discuss what was happening around the state in soybeans. The topic quickly came around to the influx of seedling diseases that occurred during the first part of June. I wasn’t able to come up with any exact figures, [...]

By |July 12, 2018|

Sporecaster: Smartphone App Aids in White Mold Treatment Decisions

Sclerotinia stem rot, more commonly referred to as white mold, can be a devastating disease in soybeans. Yield losses can be extreme when conditions favor the development of the disease. Treatment options have historically been few, and the ones available have been difficult to decide to use and to time for the best control. Adding to the frustrations associated with trying to treat soybeans for white mold is the fact that treatments have to be made before symptoms appear. Dan Davidson posted an excellent description of the symptoms of this fungal disease last year on ILSoyAdvisor https://www.ilsoyadvisor.com/on-farm/ilsoyadvisor/controlling-white-mold. White mold [...]

By |June 14, 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|

Your Beans are Planted – Now What?

Beans are planted. What steps can you take today to make sure they thrive? Getting the crop in the ground checks items off my planning list: Soil fertility Genetics matched to my conditions Optimum row spacing and population Customized seed treatment Foliar protection plan Weather’s out of my control, cross fingers Now just sit back and wait for harvest, right? Well, not exactly. If you are familiar with Fred Below’s “Six Secrets of Soybean Success” you might be tempted to sit back and relax after your beans are in the ground. But there are plenty of actionable management items [...]

By |April 14, 2018|
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