Soil fertility, crop production practices and environmental stewardship will be the foci of a Soil Fertility Seminar on February 28, 2017 in 18 different University of Illinois Extension county offices.

Presentations will be delivered through web conferencing from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Topics and speakers will include:

A significant black cutworm flight (9 moths) took place overnight May 3rd to 4th at the Northwestern Research Center in Monmouth. Along with rain, the recent weather system (which looked like a giant clock-wise turning hurricane over the middle of the US) likely carried North black cutworms.

Since the Hill and Furrow blog began in April 2012, a conscious effort has been made to keep its author (me) in the shadows so as to not distract from article content.

However as Friday, June 23 will be my last day at University of Illinois Extension, major changes will be coming to the Hill and Furrow.

I'd like to thank the blog's loyal subscribers and encourage you to not unsubscribe just yet, as there are a couple of more articles that have been scheduled to post throughout the 2017 growing season and my replacement is likely to start posting after he/she is hired.

It is widely understood that the quality of grain coming out of storage is never going to be better than the quality of that grain going into storage. For some that stored 2016 corn, Diplodia and other ear molds ensured that grain quality going into storage was not of ideal quality. Fluctuating air temperatures this winter and spring has the potential to cause moisture or hot-spots to develop in stored grain. As stored grain is the biological equivalent of stored cash, it is essential to periodically take a look at just how well this vital resource is holding up.

In the Bulletin, Dr. Emerson recently announced a nitrogen management webinar that he will present this Thursday:

"On Thursday, March 30 beginning at 9:00 AM, I will present a webinar summarizing our recent N management research, which is funded by the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council (NREC) using fertilizer checkoff funds.

Topics will include the status of N applied last fall, a summary of results from our N form and timing studies over the past three years, and a look at how well soil N tracked through the spring can tell us if we need more N.

Join personnel from the Northwestern Illinois Ag Research and Demonstration Center for their 36th annual field day on July 26.

Buses will leave the research center (321

Foliar fungicides in corn - a historical perspective. From the early 1970's through the mid-2000's, when prices averaged close to $2 per bushel and corn was considered a lower value crop, producers worked to minimize all but the most essential inputs. Between 2010 and 2012, when corn prices reached historic highs, producers may have considered additional inputs. While many production costs remain high, corn prices have since fallen and are projected to average below $3.75 per bushel for the 2017 crop marketing year.

Whenever a growing season ends, a lidded rubber box that houses my scouting supplies moves out from my vehicle's trunk and gets moved into the my office to make way for the lidded box holding my winter weather survival gear. Come spring, the scouting box gets restocked and switches place with the survival gear indicating that the growing season (aka scouting season) is upon us!

When applying post emergence herbicides in several of the Northwestern Research Center's soybean fields over the last week or so, research specialist Marty Johnson noticed large clusters of Japanese beetles feeding on volunteer corn plants. When one beetle lands to feed it tends to attract a lot of friends and mates (Figures).

In cooperation with Kelly Estes of the Illinois Natural History Survey, every April personnel at the Northwestern Illinois Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center (NWIARDC) maintain a pheromone trap to monitor black cutworm (BCW) moths. Pheromones, or the sex hormones that are produced by female BCW moths, are impregnated into small rubber lures that are placed in the center of a sticky surface in a triangle shaped trap (Figure).

You might have always wondered whether there was some way to estimate when your corn crop is likely to reach the silking and black layer growth stages. Well you might just be in luck if you gather the following information about a particular corn hybrid (when it was planted, where it was planted, its estimated days to maturity) and use any internet browser to visit Useful 2 Useable' s free corn degree day decision support tool.

Weather. As of early morning April 27, the Northwestern IL Ag R&D Center in Monmouth had gotten 4.22 inches of rain, 3/10 more than the 30-year 'normal'. If the forecast over the next couple of days is accurate, by the end of the day on the 30th, we will likely have 3 inches more rain in April than the 30-year average.

Temperatures on average had been a little bit above normal with high and low temperatures 1 and 3 degrees above normal, respectively.

On Thursday, January 19from noon-1 p.m. (CST) Dr. Pat Tranel and Dr. Aaron Hager from the Department of Crop Sciences will take part in an #askACES chat on Twitter to discuss the latest on herbicide-resistant weeds and the challenges they pose to production agriculture.

Use #askACES to ask your questions about what causes resistance, how to manage resistance, what has to happen to overcome the challenge of herbicide-resistant weeds, and more.

Potential topics include:

Are you an Illinois farmer?

How about an Illinois Ag chemical retailer, seed dealer, crop consultant, machinery/implement dealer, pesticide manufacture or public landowner?

Are you planning on attending the Commodity Classic in San Antonio in March?

Would you be willing to share your experiences regarding herbicide resistance management?

If you answered yes……..

U of I Extension communications specialist Anita Wilkinson summarizes the workshops as follows:

A weed management workshop will be held at the Fulton County Extension Office in Lewistown on Feb. 7 and the Tazewell County Extension Office in Pekin on Feb. 9. and will feature the following topics:

Last growing season (2016) a new corn disease called bacterial leaf streak (BLS) was confirmed in Illinois for the first time in DeKalb County. Symptoms of BLS include narrow yellow, tan, brown or orange lesions with wavy margins that occur between and along leaf veins (Figure).