We are just past the summer solstice and per the “crop” calendar, halfway through the year already. One activity that is often overlooked at this point in the year is evaluating the fertility programs’ performance and making adjustments, also known as tissue sampling. The GI/GO Principle applies: The only way to receive good and usable results is to send in the correct tissue for the growth stage of the crop. I won’t go too deep into the procedure, but I will say that it does follow the GI/GO rule, Garbage in = Garbage out. Here’s a good resource that outlines [...]
At first glance, soil looks rather uninteresting. It might be brown, red, gray, white, or other colors depending on organic matter content and mineral characteristics, pieces of crop residue may be present, and if you are lucky, you might also see an earthworm. Have you considered, however, that each teaspoon of soil contains billions of bacteria and countless other microscopic organisms? This world, hidden in plain sight, influences many aspects of soil productivity, nutrient cycling, and crop yields. Let’s dive in and take a look! Farmers and gardeners have long recognized that healthy, productive soil is the foundation of [...]
In many parts of the state, soybean fields are planted and ready to start growing. I can sense the genetic potential of the 2021 soybean crop. A soybean plant actively absorbs nutrients and moisture as it grows and develops new plant parts that advance through its vegetative and reproductive growth stages. As the plant undergoes photosynthesis, develops nodules, develops new root zones, and other activities, it utilizes nutrients. These nutrients are referred to as essential nutrients, because without them a soybean plant cannot grow and develop as needed. When a plant needs more ‘supplies’ (nutrients) and the soil is [...]
Many have heard that pH affects nutrient availability in their soil or uptake by the plant. We try to have pH around 6.0 to 6.5 so as many nutrients as possible are in their maximum level of availability (see Figure 1). We’ve learned that managing pH can increase uptake and set the plant up for maximum yield potential. It’s possible to manage pH, but we can’t manage temperatures, so what do various temperatures do to this nutrient availability or uptake? Figure 1. Nutrient availability by pH. This graph shows how the different nutrients are available across various pH levels. [...]
Planting season has begun and with it comes the anticipation of in-season crop management decisions. Optimizing fertility management is one of the cornerstones of a high yielding soybean crop. The knowledge of how much nutrition a soybean plant requires, the timing of when it is taken up, and how the plant distributes nutrients internally are a few of the details that contribute to effective pre-season and in-season crop fertility management planning. A soybean crop is no different than an elite athlete. Before you dismiss this as nonsense, let me explain. High yielding crops and athletes both require balanced nutrition [...]
The months of January through March are particularly busy for those of us working with the Precision Conservation Management program (PCM). That’s when we are developing and delivering our customized reports to each PCM cooperator across Illinois and Kentucky. We’re always glad to see the end of March come since – right when Illinois farmers are about to spring into action with planting activities - we are more than ready for a little breather. But we did have a chance to pull together some numbers summarizing the impacts of the PCM program. Let’s start with program enrolled acres. PCM [...]
In the past five years, it seems like conversations regarding sulfur have increased. And as a result, many farmers are starting to incorporate a sulfur application into their corn fertility program with strong results. Since then, the conversation has moved from corn to soybeans. Do soybeans need sulfur? Simply put, yes. Sulfur is an essential nutrient that is required by all plants - including soybeans. The question is whether or not sulfur is a limiting nutrient for your high yield journey. Since sulfur is immobile in the plant, deficiency will show up in the upper canopy and typically have [...]
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development and utilization efforts while the membership program supports the government relations interests of Illinois soybean farmers at the local, state, and national level, through the Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG). ISA upholds the interests of Illinois soybean producers through promotion, advocacy, and education with the vision of becoming a market leader in sustainable soybean production and profitability.