Dates: June 29th, July 28th, September 8th 

 Locations: St. Joseph, IL, Augusta, IL, and Hoopeston, IL 

 The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) and ILSoyAdvisor recently hosted informative and engaging events throughout the 2023 growing season focused on agronomic topics or questions from Illinois farmers. The events attracted a diverse audience at each location that included not only growers but those actively in agribusiness as well as government entities. Each field day event featured an impressive lineup of speakers and field trials to help address issues relating to various agronomic topics. 

FieldTalk at Ideus Farm: Participants had the unique opportunity to visit Brock Ideus’ Farm, where they learned firsthand how the farm had successfully integrated cover crops, no-till, strip-till, and nutrient practices into their operation. Frank Rademacher, The Nature Conservancy Conservation Agronomist, provided valuable insights into these sustainable farming practices. Dr. Nick Seiter, Assistant Professor in Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois, stopped by to shed some light and answer all of the audience’s corn and soybean pest questions. Attendees also gained knowledge from Abigail Peterson and Stephanie Porter, ISA agronomy experts and Certified Crop Advisers, about the latest cover crop information as well as current pest and disease issues affecting fields during the season. 

Soybean Fertility Tailgate Talk: Another highlight of the event series was the Tailgate Talk session, which focused on soybean fertility and a special emphasis on sulfur nutrition. Dr. Connor Sible from the University of Illinois Crop Sciences Department discussed soybean nutrient requirements, emphasizing the importance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur for soybean health and high yields. Brady Holst, ISA Director, and Zach Rolfe, AdvanSix Marketing Specialist, also conducted an informative field trial on ammonium sulfate’s impact on soybean yields, providing valuable insights into its effectiveness as part of soybean nutrition strategies. Attendees also had the opportunity to interact with a team from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, who were conducting research to better understand the challenges faced by soybean and corn growers. Their presence added a valuable research perspective to the event. 

David Olson’s Legume FieldTalk: The third and final field day event was with David Olson, an Illinois farmer, who shared his journey of implementing legume cover crops on his farm to reduce nitrogen expenses. Collaborating with experts like Jim Isermann of the Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership and Doug Hanson of ProHarvest Seeds, Olson conducted a multiyear study to evaluate the effectiveness of this strategy. 

 Key takeaways from the 2023 ILSoyAdvisor field events: 

  • Sustainable practices such as cover crops, no-till, and nutrient management are crucial for soybean soil health. 
  • Sulfur nutrition plays a significant role in soybean yield optimization. 
  • Ammonium sulfate trials can offer valuable insights into improving soybean yields. 
  • Collaboration between farmers, researchers, and agronomists is essential for developing effective, sustainable farming practices. 
  • Legume cover crops have the potential to reduce nitrogen expenses, and ongoing research is shedding light on their long-term impact. 

 The event series provided a valuable platform for growers and experts to exchange knowledge and ideas, as well as explore sustainable soybean farming practices in the region. The Illinois Soybean Association continues to be a driving force in supporting farmers’ efforts to improve crop yields while minimizing environmental impact. 

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About the Author: Lexi Hoffman

Lexi Hoffman, a resident of Minier, Illinois, serves as the Communication Coordinator at the Illinois Soybean Association. In her role, she provides support to the ISA Agronomy Team in overseeing ILSoyAdvisor and managing ISA's media platforms. Additionally, Lexi plays an integral role in promoting the activities of the Soybean Production Committee. She earned her bachelor's degree in Marketing from Blackburn College in 2023 and is presently pursuing her Master's degree in Digital Marketing at Lindenwood University.

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