It is the time of the year when farmers and farmland owners begin the process of renegotiating cash rent leases for the next growing season. In Illinois, about 75% of all farmland is owned by non-farming land owners, and nearly 2/3's of those acres are cash rented in some form. This results in approximately half of all Illinois farmland being cash rented.

A lot of factors will ultimately determine whether the final negotiated cash rent for 2018 is higher or lower than 2017.

If farming was baseball and Team Herbicides was at bat against the weed Team of Amaranths, then right now, there are two strikes against Herbicides. A new report from the University of Illinois Plant Clinic bears this out. This has weed scientists across the Midwest very concerned and it should have Illinois farmers and farmland owners concerned.

2017 has provided this part of Illinois with another "interesting" growing season. According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map from the USDA and NOAA, a portion of central Illinois stretching from southern Champaign County through parts of DeWitt, Piatt, Logan, Sangamon, Cass and Morgan to the Illinois River is in a "Moderate Drought". This has led to a story of two different growing conditions within the same county and across our region of Illinois.

The 2017 Illinois Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Program has started and cooperators are reporting high captures of Black Cutworm moths and True Armyworm moths in their pheromone traps. Recent articles in the Purdue University Pest & Crop Newsletter have highlighted the same findings in Indiana as well.

Since 2011, I have been planting cover crops and I have grown different types: spring oats and radish; cereal rye; and cereal rye with rapeseed. I like cereal rye and we grow 250+ bushel per acre corn after cereal rye. It can be done. Why do I like Cereal Rye?

The month of May has given local farmers wet, soggy and cool soils with the result being fields with uneven stands of corn and soybeans. Cool, wet soils slow the germination and emergence of plants, which leads to increased seed rots, seedling blights, occurrences of insect damage, nutrient deficiency and herbicide injury.

The Worker Protection Standards (WPS) established specific requirements for employers to follow in order to reduce the potential for worker exposure to pesticides. New revisions to these standards went into effect January 2, 2017. They will give farm workers health protections similar to those that are already afforded to workers in other industries.

Here in central Illinois, we have had over ten days of open, dry harvest weather. This has been great for farmers wanting to get their crops harvested. However, this is leading to overly dry crops, especially soybeans harvested at moistures less than 10 percent moisture. It is an unfortunate situation leading to yield reduction due to moisture shrink.