Featured Articles

Starter Fertilization Sometimes Boosts Corn Yield

When Is Starter Fertilizer Beneficial?

Starter fertilizer can be used to complement pre-plant fertilization of crops to increase yield and economic returns to production. However, its use will not be beneficial in all production conditions. Read more

University of Illinois - New Soybean Nutrition Needs Identified

Photo Credit: Ann LaveryOver the last several decades there have been substantial yield improvements in soybean. Because of new varieties and new agronomic practices, the yield potential in soybean is higher now than ever before. But a lack of updated information on the nutritional needs of soybean crops may be limiting the crop’s potential.

Researchers from the University of Illinois Crop Physiology Laboratory led by Fred Below have recently provided an updated set of nutrition needs for soybean, identifying exactly which nutrients the plant needs, when those nutrients are accumulated throughout the season, and where the plant uses those nutrients. Read more

Greater-than-Additive Management Effects Key In Reducing Corn Yield Gaps - University of Illinois College of ACES

While many recent studies have documented that agricultural producers must significantly increase yields in order to meet the food, feed, and fuel demands of a growing population, few have given practical solutions on how to do this. Crop science researchers at the University of Illinois interested in determining and reducing corn yield gaps are addressing this important issue by taking a systematic approach to the problem. Read more

Integrated Crop Management - Pay Attention to Stored Grain

The first significant warmup of the year should be a reminder to check stored grain frequently. If good practices were followed through the fall and winter seasons, grain temperatures should be in the 30s or below. Grain moistures last fall were above average, and there are many bins with corn moistures in the range of 16-20%. This wetter grain will spoil quickly if grain temperatures rise.

In the bin, headspace warms first which can lead to condensation. To reduce this problem, ventilate the headspace by running the roof fans, if the bin has them. This will take out moisture without having to warm the grain mass. Read more

Purdue Leading Research To Improve Water Management On Farms

This "capture and use" system diverts subsurface farmland drainage water into an on-farm reservoir, or pond, where it is stored until needed to irrigate crops, especially in times of drought. It is one of three farmland drainage innovations being studied by researchers at eight universities, including Purdue, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. (Purdue Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering graphic)A Purdue University researcher is heading a $5 million federally funded project examining the economic and environmental benefits and costs of storing water on farms in ways for crops to use it when they need it and to reduce nutrients draining into waterways. Read more

Wet Fields Profitable For Farmers,Migrating Birds

Farmers who have a hard-to-farm wet spot on their land may be able to turn it into a well-drained, profitable field by providing a temporary wet habitat for migrating birds. According to University of Illinois ornithologist Michael Ward, about 60 fields in East Central Illinois that qualify would receive incentives to install water control structures into existing tile drainage systems.  Drainage water management, as it’s commonly referred to, would give farmers greater control over the amount of water on their land and could be used to provide wet spots until April for migrating birds. Read more

Family Farms are the Focus of New Agriculture Census Data

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reports that family-owned farms remain the backbone of the agriculture industry. The latest data come from the Census of Agriculture farm typology report and help shine light on the question, "What is a family farm?"

"As we wrap up mining the 6 million data points from the latest Census of Agriculture, we used typology to further explore the demographics of who is farming and ranching today," said NASS Statistics Division Director Hubert Hamer. "What we found is that family-owned businesses, while very diverse, are at the core of the U.S. agriculture industry. In fact, 97 percent of all U.S. farms are family-owned." Read more

ISU Scientists Identify A Seed Treatment To Curtail Soybean Sudden Death Syndrome

From left, Yuba Kandel, Leonor Leandro and Daren Mueller are part of the team SDS research team at Iowa State.Researchers at Iowa State University are leading a regional research project to identify farm management practices that help reduce Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) in soybeans.

SDS is caused by a fungus that can destroy a small patch to an entire field of soybeans. Since its appearance 40 years ago, it has spread to most soybean-growing area in the United States and Ontario, Canada, and continues to move into new areas. Read more

Tillage System Options

Producers must consider the advantage and disadvantages of a tillage system before changing systems. The most important advantage of conservation tillage systems is significantly less soil erosion due to wind and water. Other advantages include reduced fuel and labor requirements. However, increased reliance may be placed on herbicides with some conservation tillage systems. The herbicide labels do not change the recommended rates based on tillage system, but tillage may not be an option for weed control in some tillage systems.  Read more

Feature Article: U.S. Custom Harvesters - Harvesting the Crops that Feed the World

Nothing is more gratifying to a grain farmer than when the crops have been harvested and the fruits of the labor are completed. In an ideal world, this final act would be so simple. However, the cost of equipment, the labor it takes to complete the harvest and the uncertainty of the weather also makes it a huge challenge for a lot of farmers.
Yet there is a viable option that will take care of all of these concerns: U. S. Custom Harvesters, Inc (USCHI).