Spring Field Operations

Planting Operations are Underway. Now that soil temperatures have become more favorable for seed germination, Northwestern Illinois Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center (NWIARDC) Research Agronomist Brian Mansfield and Research Specialist Marty Johnson have been hard at work planting corn during the past several days (Figures). They take turns operating tractors that pull either eight or four-row planters. The eight row planter is used to plant bulk corn (30 inch rows) and soybean acres (15 or 30 inch rows) and research trials that require larger plot-sizes, while the four-row planter (30 inch rows) is used to plant small plot research trials.

Approximately 10 percent of the corn acres have been planted as of 12 P.M. on April 22nd. Corn planting is expected to progress rapidly on Wednesday as the Department of Crop Sciences Variety Testing crew will be planting their conventional and herbicide resistant corn acres and Brian and Marty will tackle some bulk acres.

Statewide, 5 percent of the intended corn acres have been planted as of April 21.

Spring N. More than 90 percent of the spring nitrogen has been applied at the NWIARDC. The NWIARDC will host a new corn nitrogen trial beginning this year: at several research center and on-farm locations throughout Illinois Dr. Emerson Nafziger will be studying corn response to different nitrogen rates, different nitrogen forms with and without inhibitors, and different application timings to provide the best economic and environmental returns for Illinois farmers. Expect to hear more about this NREC-sponsored research during winter meetings in the years to come.

Winter Survival of Winter Wheat. The colder than normal temperatures and lack of snow-cover during several of the cold-snaps during this past winter (2013-2014) significantly affected winter wheat survival at the NWIARDC. Winter wheat plots sustained between 80 and 90 percent winter kill. Consequently, the remaining 10-20 percent winter wheat stand was killed to make way for other crops. Soybean will now be planted in a field that was intended as a winter wheat fungicide trial. In the long-term tillage and rotation study, wheat was terminated and an alternative small grain crop (oats) was seeded to maintain a small grain in the rotation.