Throughout January and February, University of Illinois Extension Agricultural Economists, in conjunction with the United States Department of Agriculture's Farm Services Agency and the Illinois Farm Bureau, will be holding 14 complimentary regional meetings to help walk people through the 2014 Farm Bill Commodity Support Programs, important decisions that need to be made before February and March deadlines and webtools that can help in the decision-making process.

Several of the Regional Seminars will be held in Western Illinois:

Soil conditions and weather was cooperating enough at the Northwestern Illinois Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center (NWIARDC) to both begin spring nitrogen applications and sow the first corn on April 1.

Purdue University's Center for Commercial Agriculture is hosting an upcoming webinar entitled, "Making Long-Term Cash Rent Decisions Using a Cash Rent Decision Tool" to be held on Friday, December 18 between 8 and 9 a.m. (CST).

Symptoms of bacterial blight are prevalent at the Northwestern Illinois Agricultural Research & Demonstration Center in 2015.

As the disease name suggests, bacterial blight is caused by a bacterium called Pseudomonas savastanoi pv. glycinea. Disease is favored by conditions that have been prevalent in 2015 - moderate temperatures (75-79 degrees) and windy, rain storms.

Precipitation. May precipitation at the Northwestern Illinois Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center (NWIARDC) totaled 4.76 inches - surpassing the total accumulated during the four previous months combined (Table) and totaling very close to the 30-year normal. Unlike other areas of the state and country that were deluged with several inches of rain at a time, the rain at the NWIARDC arrived on 18 of the month's 31 days (Figure).

2015 PRECIPITATION (in inches)

Do you produce soybeans in Illinois? Would you be willing to spend 10 minutes helping to tailor programs and projects geared toward improving future soybean yield and profitability?

If your answer to both questions is "yes", assist a joint effort of personnel from the University of Illinois Extension and Departments of Crop Sciences and Consumer and Environmental Sciences and the Illinois Soybean Association to better understand management and input decisions by completing a short online survey by April 10.

Corn planting date trials. Each year, personnel at the Northwestern Research and Demonstration Center establish a replicated planting date trial. The trial established this year will tell us, given the conditions that will be experienced by the crop from planting until harvest, when was the best time to plant corn in Monmouth in 2015. Over a number of years and locations, these data can be used to provide planting date recommendations to regional crop producers.

As part of their Agrichemical Container Recycling Program, the Illinois Department of Agriculture has released the locations, dates and times for the single day collections this July and August (Figure). These single-day sites complement the three permanent container collection sites that are open throughout the year. It is estimated that more than 1.6 million pounds of plastic have been recycled over the more than 20 years that this program has been running.

Although wheat is typically grown primarily in southern Illinois, where producers are then able plant double crop soybeans, some wheat is also produced throughout the rest of the state. At the Northwestern Illinois Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center (NWIARDC), winter wheat has been included in Dr. Emerson Nafziger long-term tillage and rotation trial since 1996 and more recently has also been planted for Dr. Carl Bradley's research on Fusarium head blight.

The results of a study that was initiated at the Northwestern Illinois Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center nearly 20 years ago (fall 2015) were recently summarized by University of Illinois Agronomist Dr. Emerson Nafziger. This study was designed to compare yields and returns among different cropping sequences (continuous corn, corn-soybean, continuous soybean, corn-soybean-wheat and soybean-corn-wheat) and tillage practices (tilled or no-till).

Through funding provided by the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a group of researchers from nine different Midwestern states and Universities worked collaboratively to develop a series of decision support tools for Midwestern crop producers. One of these is called the Corn Growing Degree Day (GDD) decision support tool.

Be sure to mark your calendars for the 34th Annual Northwestern Illinois Agricultural Research & Demonstration Center Field Day - this July 28 beginning at 8 AM! 

Come and visit with University of Illinois research and Extension personnel as they share the results of farm-practical disease, pest, weed, and crop management research.

Stay tuned for additional details regarding specific speakers and topics.

In any given year oats are typically the first crop to emerge at the Northwestern Illinois Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center (NWIARDC) in Monmouth. Oats were planted in 2015 on April 1 and as of April 17 have between one and three leaves (Figures).

What had begun as a study to investigate the effects of planting date and in-furrow treatments (fungicide and starter fertilizer) on soybean yield, morphed into a disease trial after severe symptoms of sudden death syndrome appeared in this trial in mid-August.

You will find a details regarding the design and results of this trial HERE.

No this is not a trick question; let me explain.

Pheromone traps are set up at various locations throughout the state in order to register when a "significant" black cutworm flight, which occurs when nine or more moths are trap

Iowa State University Extension Ag Engineering Specialist, Dr. Greg Brenneman, recently shared some information regarding cooling the grain that went into storage this year.

"In the past couple of weeks a lot of corn and soybeans went into storage with temperatures in the 60s. With grain this warm, moisture migration within the grain mass and spoilage can occur very quickly, even with fairly dry grain.

In a September, 2015 Plant Health Progress article entitled, "Timing and Efficacy of Fungicide Applications for Diplodia Ear Rot Management", Purdue Plant Pathologist, Dr. Kiersten Wise and graduate student Martha Romero Luna, summarize a series of field and lab-based experiments in which they investigate fungicides to manage this disease.

Most corn producers are aware of growing degree days as a way to both monitor the accumulation of heat units favorable to growth and estimate when a crop may reach important developmental milestones. Briefly, to calculate the GDD value for a particular day, the daily high and low temperatures (between and including a low of 50 and a high of 86 degrees) are added together, divided by 2, with 50 subtracted from the total.

A wet week. In a 7 day period between May 4 and 10, the Northwestern Illinois Agricultural Research & Demonstration Center (NWIARDC) received 2.21 inches of rain (Figure), an inch more than was received during the entire month of April! This rain largely put a stop to most field operations at the NWIARDC.

Corn ears are thought to be most susceptible to infection by Stenocarpella maydis, the fungus that causes Diplodia ear mold, in the 3 weeks after silking (milk stage), when the silks begin to die. Fungal spores are rain-splash disseminated onto the crop from residue from previously infected crops.

Since last Friday daily wind speeds have averaged between 5.9 and 11.6 mph at the Northwestern Illinois Agricultural Research & Demonstration Center. Warmer high temperatures and breezy weather through tomorrow and most of Thursday provide ideal conditions for in-field grain drying.

Many crop producers in Western Illinois have begun their corn harvest. Recent conversations have indicated that grain moisture levels averaged as low as 17 percent to 25 percent or higher.

Growing conditions influence growth and development of weed plants. Each of the past several growing seasons has seen unique challenges and triumphs. In 2012, favorable soil conditions allowed for early planting, soon followed by drought conditions. In 2013, record-setting spring rains delayed planting. While in 2014, mild temperatures and timely rain events led to record-setting corn and soybean yields. What has the corn-belt experienced in 2015?: record-setting precipitation in June and July in many areas that led to flooded or ponded water in areas of many fields.

There are economic and environmental pressures for farmers to consider applying their nitrogen at more than one time. Nitrogen that is lost to nitrification and nitrate leaching is not available for crop use. In addition, nitrate-nitrogen lost from farm fields can move into ground and surface waters resulting in water quality and potential regulatory issues.

Timely planting in April and May was followed by record-setting rains in June. This led to ponded water that remained for long periods of time in some areas. Research has shown that flooded, anaerobic soil conditions can be devastating for young corn plants, resulting in suffocation death after only 3 to 4 days. Flooded soil conditions can also favor water mold pathogens like Pythium. Water molds are fungal-like organisms that form swimming spores called zoospores that can swim toward plant roots.

Each year the University of Illinois Extension's regional Crop Management Conferences offer hours of research-based education to farmers, Certified Crop Advisors, and other agricultural professionals. Interactive online courses were developed from 2015 conference presentations by University of Illinois Department of Crop Science faculty:
  • New (and old) Tools for Delaying and Coping with Herbicide Resistance – Dr. Adam Davis, USDA Weed Ecologist
  • Confirming Herbicide Resistance – Dr.

Last week, symptoms of sudden death syndrome (SDS) began to appear in April 15-planted soybeans at the University of Illinois' Northwestern Research Center in Warren County. Weather during the 2015 growing season has been favorable for the development of SDS: cool, moist soils after planting and frequent rains ever since. Symptoms began appearing approximately 3 weeks earlier than in 2014.

Attendees can learn results of some of the latest soil fertility research going on at Midwestern Universities at the 2015 Soil Fertility Seminar. Certified Crop Advisors can earn up to FIVE Nutrient Management CEUs at the 2015 Soil Fertility Seminar.

Crop Production Summaries. At the end of each harvest season, the US Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Survey undertakes a County Agricultural Production Survey (CAPS) targeting all of the farms in each of the 44 participating states. Through mail-surveys and follow-up mail surveys or phone interviews, crop producers provide information that is used to generate state-wide and eventually county-specific crop production statistics.

Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) caused significant yield losses in soybeans in west-central Illinois in 2014. SDS was again reported in some west-central Illinois fields in 2015, and also appeared in the earliest (April 15) planted soybeans at the Northwestern IL Ag. R&D Center (NWIARDC).