University of Illinois Weed Science Field Research Tour

The Extension weed scientists on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana-Champaign have scheduled their annual field day. The Weed Science tour is set for Wednesday June 29th says Aaron Hager.

It’ll be at the South Farms and will begin roughly between 7:30 and 8:00 o’clock in the morning. It will be very similar in terms of format to what we’ve done before. We’ll all gather around the South Farms at the Seed House for a few introductory remarks and comments, and then everybody will get back into their vehicles and we’ll car pool across Windsor Road and look at some of the research plots on the Animal Sciences tracts.

Again, the 2016 University of Illinois Weed Science Field Day is Wednesday, June 29th at the University of Illinois Crop Sciences Research and Education Center, the South Farms, located just to the east of the State Farm Center (Assembly Hall).

Coffee and refreshments will be available under the shade trees near the Seed House beginning at 8:00 a.m. Cost for the Urbana weed science field tour is $10. The event will conclude around noon with a catered lunch.

The tour will provide ample opportunity to look at research plots and interact with weed science faculty, staff, and graduate students. Participants can compare their favorite corn and soybean herbicide programs to other commercial programs and get an early look at a few new products that soon will be on the market.

May 23 | USDA Weekly Crop Progress Report

USDA’s May 23rd Weekly Crop Progress and Condition report shows farmers in the eastern part of the corn belt are lagging behind. Unplanted acres can be inferred from the reported numbers. Former University of Illinois Agricultural Economist John Newton, whom you may follow on Twitter has done the math. Nationally 50 million acres of corn and soybeans remain unplanted. About 5 million of those are corn acres in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Twelve and half million acres of soybeans have yet to be sown in those three states.

Given that, USDA’s report shows 86% of the corn around the nation has been planted. This is nearly on pace with the rolling 5 year average. 60% of the crop is up and growing… that’s 5 points ahead of average. 56% of the soybeans are planted and 22% have emerged. Those numbers are both close to average.

The winter wheat crop, which came out of dormancy about 3 weeks early, remains ahead of the game. 75% of the crop has now headed. Normally that number is 66%. The condition of the crop this week is the same as last with 30% fair, 51% good, and 11% excellent.

Now here are the statisticians from Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa with their regional updates.

Will Summer Pricing Opportunities Materialize for Corn & Soybeans

The very low price of corn and soybeans, and predictions for even lower prices later in the year, has farmers worried. They’re wondering, even hopeful, if a summer weather rally could offer up a pricing opportunity. Darrel Good tries to answer this question in the May 23rd Weekly Outlook on the FarmDocDaily website.

Quote Summary - If a summer price rally does occur, producers will likely want to aggressively price the 2016 crop. In addition, history suggests that a weather market would also result in opportunities for pricing 2017 crops and beyond. A weather market would likely result in smaller price increases for those crops than for the 2015 and 2106 crops, similar to the recent price pattern. From the close on March 31 to the close on May 20, July 2016 corn futures gained almost $0.39, while December 2016 and December 2017 futures gained $0.31 and $0.24, respectively. From the close on March 1, July 2016 soybean futures gained $2.10, while November 2016 and November 2017 futures gained $1.79 and $0.88, respectively. Still, prices for those deferred crops could move to levels reflecting positive returns for most producers. How aggressively to price multiple crops depends on the magnitude of the price rally, should it occur.

Reasons to Price Soybeans Now …first, soybean acreage is likely to exceed intentions so that production could still be large even with a modest shortfall in yields. Second, soybean yields may be less vulnerable to stressful summer weather than corn yields. Third, soybean prices have increased more than corn prices in recent weeks and are now at a relatively high level compared to corn prices. Fourth, November 2016 soybean futures are now trading near $10.40, above the spring price guarantee of $9.73 for crop revenue insurance. Fifth, with trend yields, current new crop soybean prices are high enough to generate positive returns to owner -operators, those with crop share rents, and those with modest cash rents.

Reasons to Wait on Corn …acreage may be less than intentions, yields are more vulnerable to adverse summer weather, recent price strength has been modest, and December 2016 futures are currently trading only modestly above the spring price guarantee of $3.86 for crop revenue insurance. While waiting for a price that offers a positive return has some risk, the risk for corn seems limited over the next several weeks

$4.20 Corn Needed to Stabilize Grain Farm Income

Grain farmers throughout the Midwest are suffering through a third straight year of losses and prices don’t look to go high enough, yet, to stabilize net incomes. A University of Illinois study suggests the cash price of corn needs to be $4.20 a bushel to make that happen.

Marestail Control Prior to Planting

link to article online

Farmers in Illinois, other states too, are struggling to control glyphosate resistant weeds. Marestail can be one of the most challenging under no-till conditions prior to planting soybeans. More often than not farmers are using a tank mix of glyphosate and 2,4-D (two-four-dee). Sometimes the problem is that the weed is already too big to control, at others says University of Illinois Extension Weed Scientist Aaron Hager is its just that the 2,4-D isn’t doing the job any better than the glyphosate.

Quote Summary - Well, there are some alternatives that can be used for control of mares tail in a burn down scenario. A product called Sharpen could be included with glyphosate/2,4-D to try to increase the efficacy on the marestail and if that is the case be sure to include a methylated seed oil with any application that has Sharpen with it. Or alternatively you could switch completely over to something like a glufosinate product, like a Liberty or Interline containing product or something like Gramoxone. Either of those will typically perform better when used in combination with metribuzin and probably 2,4-D in the tank as well.

Tillage is another option, however, Hager says to delay it until field conditions are suitable and be sure to till deep enough to completely uproot all existing vegetation.

USDA May WASDE














Illini Summer Academy

Illini Summer Academy

REGISTER NOW - Experience Ag Business on U of I Campus
June 26–29 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Cost: $220. Cost supported by a gift from DuPont/Pioneer.

Join us in the wonderful world of agribusiness! Create a marketing plan for a product, trade commodities and stocks and compete with others, follow the food supply chain around the world, and see agribusinesses firsthand in action. Take a step into the business world in food and agriculture, and find out more about how you can become a part of it.

Career Opportunities: Agronomist, Farm Appraiser, Agricultural Policy Analyst, Farm Manager, Crop Producer, Grain & Livestock Buyer, Market Analyst, Financier, Quality Controller, Marketing Head, Ag Science Teacher or Professor



REGISTER NOW - Experience Crop Sciences on U of I Campus
June 26–29 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Cost: $205. Cost supported by a gift from DuPont/Pioneer. No repeat attendees from 2015.

Plant Science is an exciting field with many career opportunities where knowledge about plants, insects, biology, agriculture, genetics, plant pathology, horticulture and other topics are used to improve plants and their products and enhance agricultural production. Join this academy to explore plant biotechnology; discover how to identify insects, plant diseases and noxious weeds; investigate climate change and the effects on crops; learn what makes peppers hot; understand how a hydroponics system works; go on field trips and more!

Career Opportunities: Plant scientist, Agronomist or Crop Scientist, Turf Manager, Farm Manager, Food Scientist, Weed Scientist, Entomologist, Nursery and Garden Specialist, Researcher Plant Biotechnology & Molecular Biology, Sustainable Food & Production, Agro Ecology, Crop Agribusiness, Plant Protection

USDA Weekly Crop Progress for May 9, 2016

USDA NASS in its weekly Crop Progress report shows farmers around the nation have planted 64% of this year’s corn crop. That’s as of Sunday May 8th. This is well ahead of the five year rolling average of 50% complete, but 5 points behind last year. Farmers in Illinois and Iowa lead the charge over the past week. Each is nearly 80% done planting corn. The five year average in both states is 56%.

27% of the corn crop is emerged, 10% points ahead of the five year average.

The 18 reporting states tallied 23% of the soybeans in the ground. This compares to 16% on the five year. Given the cool weather coming to the Midwest this weekend it might be important to note that Minnesota farmers are pushing the envelope with this crop. Their five year planting pace for soybeans is 18%, however, this year Minnesota producers have dropped 46 percent of the crop.
57% of the winter wheat crop has headed, and it remains in good condition. All toll improving one point in the fair, good, and excellent categories, and now standing 62% good to excellent.

Now, here are statisticians from Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa with their statewide updates.

Summer Weather, El Niño, & Corn Yields

The agricultural economists at the land grant university in Illinois have gone through 56 years of weather data to see if there is any connection between the current El Niño event and trend yields for corn.



The trend yield for corn has been going up 1.8 bushels per yer for about 50 years say the number crunchers from the University of Illinois. It means, under normal weather conditions with a little adjustment upward, this year’s corn crop should average 166.2 bushels to the acre nationwide.



The 166.2 is the norm, but it lives within a range that would be indicative of really good years like 2004 and really bad years like 2012 says U of I’s Scott Irwin, “Now what we want to ask is if we should skew our expectations of this risk given this outside factor that doesn’t happen every year that we call El Niño”.

ILLINOIS’ research suggests the answer to this question is a qualified yes. The qualification is that the El Niño event is measured strictly as an effect of water temperature in the Pacific Ocean near the equator and that only the most extreme of these events, those a full degree or more centigrade above the norm for three months running, would be considered strong enough to regularly have a real measurable impact on U.S. crops.

The warmest one, to date, was 1997/98 and it peaked at 2.3 degrees centigrade above normal. If you take the same period and you estimate trend yields going back to 1960 there were 11 El Niño episodes at least one centigrade degree above normal. The Illinois agricultural economists filtered this data so these spikes had to occur in what they called the pre-season periods for corn production. This would be from September to March prior to the crop year. It is exactly what has happened this year and the spike is more than two degrees centigrade. It’s a really big one.
Irwin - What we find is, in these big spiking El Niños that occur in the pre-season period, that corn on average is about 4 to 5 bushels to the acre below trend.
Having said that, Irwin points to a large range of occurrences from 11 bushels above trend in 1992 to 23 bushels below trend in 1982. 1988 and 2012, the two worst drought years, also count under this construct.



The model used very reliably predicts summer heat waves, however, it is not so great at determining the amount of rainfall. Recall the reference Irwin made to the 1997/98 pre-season El Niño, the largest on record, similar to this year. The national corn yield was 3 bushels to the acre above trend. The heat wave came, it was just very last in August and early September after the corn crop had been made.