The Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program, along with American Farmland Trust, Soil Health Partnership and dozens of other partners held a soil-health field day August 17, 2017, at the Bill Heyen farm near Gillespie, Ill., highlighting local efforts to reduce erosion and nutrient loss within the Upper Macoupin Creek Watershed, one of the state’s top three watersheds for phosphorus loss.
The basis for nitrogen rate recommendations in Illinois is the MRTN. Years ago, the system was more of a slogan and it went like this: “1.2 is the Most You Should Do.” This meant take an average of the last five years of corn yield (bushel/acre) on a field, add 5 percent and then multiply that number by 1.2 (the estimated pounds of N per acre it took to produce a bushel of corn) to come up with the recommended nitrogen rate.
The Fall of 2017 has been a testament to the impact of the 4Rs, particularly fall anhydrous ammonia as a nitrogen application. There is no regulation that dictates when fertilizer dealers and farmers can begin to fall-apply nitrogen, and there were plenty of days in mid-October when application could have started early.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IL EPA) rules for agricultural related pollution include specific provisions for applying manure, whether liquid or solid, to frozen, ice or snow-covered ground. Frozen ground is defined by the IL EPA as soil that is frozen anywhere between the first half inch to eight inches of soil as measured from the ground surface.
Looking for more information on nutrient utilization, fall fertilizer best practices and considerations for first-time cover crop adopters?
The substantial rain that fell over central and northern Illinois between October 5 and 15 mostly soaked into the soil that was dried out by crop water use, and harvest has moved back to full speed in most areas. With harvest, thoughts turn to application of fall ammonia in central and northern Illinois. Almost everyone is on board with waiting until soil temperatures are at or below 50 degrees before applying ammonia. Cool soil (along with use of nitrification inhibitor) lowers the rate of nitrification, so helps preserve N in the ammonium form. Nitrogen present in the soil as ammonium is safe from loss.
Looking for a new cover crop guidance document? The document, published by NREC, outlines a step by step approach for planting cereal rye ahead of soybeans.
The Illinois Soybean Association along with Syngenta, Growmark and Limagrain Genetics sponsored a double-crop demonstration plots at the 2017 Farm Progress Show Aug. 29 to 30 in Decatur.
The weather has turned from cool and wet to warm and dry, with thoughts now turning to when it might rain next. The US Drought Monitor at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/ shows no drought in the Corn Belt, and water use is still low, but some plants whose roots are not growing well or are in compacted soil are starting to show afternoon leaf curling, and water demand is increasing as plant growth rates increase. We hope rainfall returns soon.
Dr. Maria Villamil and Dr. Emerson Nafziger in the Crop Science Department at the University of Illinois collected some 2,300 corn and 2,600 soybean grain samples over the 2014 through 2016 seasons in Illinois in order to see if the crop removal numbers have changed since the currently-used numbers were generated some decades ago. As expected, they found a considerable amount of variability in grain P and K content, with the highest values as much as double the lowest values. In order to reduce the chances of having the number too low for a given field, they decided to use the 75th percentile – the number that is higher than 75 percent (and lower than 25 percent) of the values they found.