In this video update, Dr. Giovani Preza Fontes, University of Illinois’ Assistant Professor and Field Crops Extension Agronomist, shares insights from the field on his Illinois Soybean Association funded research project, “Adaptive Management for Maximizing Soybean Production Following Cereal Rye Termination.” This project is in collaboration with Dr. Shalamar Armstrong and Dr. Shaun Casteel from Purdue University and 2023 is the first growing season for the study. Two sites in Illinois and three in Indiana are in place this year with the Indiana sites supported by the Indiana Soybean Alliance. Preza Fontes and his collaborators hope to better understand the situations that could impede soybean development and yield following cereal rye and develop adaptive management to mitigate nitrogen and sulfur deficiencies. 

Two main observations from this growing season so far include: 

  • In the Urbana site, soybean growth (specifically height and richness of green color) in the cereal rye plot was slower at the beginning of the season compared to soybeans without cereal rye. The soybeans following cereal rye caught up to those without cereal rye in terms of growth stage and were all at R3 on August 1. 
  • Similar observations on soybean node development and leaf color following cereal rye were also recorded early in the season at the Indiana sites. 

Stay tuned for tissue test and soil sensor results, as well as harvest data, to help better understand the delay in soybean growth following cereal rye and see if it translates to a yield impact. This study will be repeated in Illinois during the 2024 growing season to provide more data and findings to Illinois producers seeking to incorporate a cereal rye cover crop before soybeans. 

Learn more about this project and its goals here. 

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About the Author: Kelsey Litchfield

Kelsey Litchfield is the Agronomic Outreach Specialist for the Illinois Soybean Association. In her role, she manages ILSoyAdvisor media platforms and assists the agronomy team with events and field days. A native of Rio, IL, Kelsey earned her bachelor’s degree from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2017 where she double majored in Agricultural Communications and Broadcast Journalism.

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