“They can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true!” – The Internet.

While one must do their due diligence to sort fact from fiction, it is hard to deny the usefulness that the world wide web provides with quick access to information. The Crop Physiology Laboratory at the University of Illinois has their own webpage (cropphysiology.cropsci.illinois.edu) where one can stay up to date with research projects. For those unfamiliar, the Crop Physiology Lab is led by Dr. Fred Below. His research program focuses on management practices to improve corn and soybean grain yields. While the group has had their own webpage for many years, in the fall of 2022, led by recent graduate and postdoctoral research associate Dr. Connor Sible, with the help of Gregory Parks and the Department IT staff, the webpage received a much-needed facelift back to modern times!

The Crop Physiology Laboratory conducts replicated field studies and posts their findings and research conclusions to their website for the benefit of farmers, retailers, and industry representatives. With this new website makeover, it has become much easier to update the page with recent project findings and blog posts to introduce the students and their research interests! They are eager to utilize this new platform to continue providing free access resources on agronomic management practices and considerations for improving nutrient stewardship and grain yields. Furthermore, this website has its own blog feature that allows for public commentary and opportunity for you to interact with the group. While they enjoy sharing their findings with you, your questions and insights help them know what the next research projects could be!

The website serves to provide access to information on their previous findings and resources on established and novel agronomic managements. In addition to this updated resource, the group is extremely excited to host their 2nd annual Crop Physiology Field Day in August 2023. With the theme “Where’s the Yield?” the group will discuss their current projects and most recent discoveries for best management practices related to fertilizer use efficiency, hybrid and variety selection, residue management, soybean planting dates and management, and other topics. The final details regarding date and time are yet to be released, so that means you will have to check their new website this spring for the official announcement!

Agronomists by training, the website skills of the Crop Physiology team are still a work in progress. However, they are pleased to announce this updated platform and look forward to its continued improvement and posting research updates as the 2023 season begins. Most recently, they have posted their 2022 corn hybrid and soybean variety management reports in addition to two brand new biological screening studies in corn and soybean. New projects for 2023 include residue management of cover and double-crop systems for improved soybean yields, so stay tuned for those results to come this November!


2022 Crop Physiology Laboratory Research Team. Row 1 from left to right: Logan Woodward, Juliann Seebauer, Fred Below, Darby Danzl, Molly Schempp. Row 2 from left to right: Connor Sible, Sam Leskanich, Marcos Loman, Jared Fender, Fabrício Geraldini, and Fábio van de Groes Swart.

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About the Author: Connor N. Sible

The author is currently a graduate research assistant at the University of Illinois with Dr. Fred Below. His research focus is in plant growth regulators, biologicals and biostimulants in various corn and soybean cropping systems. Sible is working to categorize these products based on their active components and the mode of action designed to create an agricultural advantage, and determine in which situations do these products perform best and bring their greatest value to growers. Information on the U of I Crop Physiology lab and some of its current research can be found at http://cropphysiology.cropsci.illinois.edu/.

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