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A late planting season?

Yet another week of below average temperatures with more of the same in the future short-term forecast.

Are we in for another late planting season? It’s time to relax. Even though March 1 is considered meteorological spring, and we still have considerable snow atop frozen ground; things can change in a hurry.

Speaking at the Northern Illinois Crop Management Conference, Emerson Nafziger reminded producers 2013 taught us a lot of corn can go in the ground very quickly when conditions allow.

Last year Illinois farmers planted 1 million acres a day the second week of May, quickly catching up to the previous 20-year average. While the later planting certainly had an effect on harvest moisture, few will complain about the final corn yield.

So concentrate on what you can control, including machinery preparedness, coordination of available supplies and scheduling. Maybe get one last vacation in with your family before things get really hectic.

A concern for corn growers in several areas of the state is the efficiency of their 2014 Western corn rootworm management plan. Some Northern Illinois farmers were surprised when combining the 2013 corn crop, evidence of lodged corn and a corresponding dip recorded by yield monitors, made many question their current rootworm management program.

Is single-event Bt, stacked or pyramided corn varieties the best way to control corn rootworm larvae? Is a soil insecticide needed to guarantee greater control in 2014? On Feb. 19, Mike Gray, University of Illinois entomologist, was asked those questions.

His response was as follows: If a single Bt event hybrid is being planted in an area that has exhibited rootworm control issues, the use of a soil applied insecticide will likely reduce the risk of rootworm feeding and provide an economic benefit. If planting a pyramided hybrid with multiple Bt events against the rootworm larvae, the chance of an economic return is unlikely when applying a soil applied insecticide.

Rootworm management is a major concern across the entire Midwest. On Feb. 20 a webinar was presented by five land grant entomologists concerning western corn rootworm management challenges and recommendations. The webinar was supported by a USDA-NIFA North Central IPM Program grant, and the recording can be watched at the North Central IPM Center homepage.

Finally, the University of Illinois Extension welcomes Sue Brooker as the new 4-H youth development program coordinator for Bureau County. Sue is located in the Bureau County Extension office and welcomes your calls and is ready to assist you with your 4-H program projects and plans. Also joining the staff is Daryle Wragge who will be gathering information and coordinating agriculture programs to enhance programming and services. Please share your suggestions by emailing Daryle at Daryle can be reached at 309-364-2356.

Russ Higgins is from the University of Illinois Extension, Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center.

Corn/soybean yields for 2013

The 2013 estimated county yields for corn and soybean production have been released by the National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS).

The average corn yield for the state was posted at 178 bushels per acre; soybeans were 49 bushels per acre. Estimated average corn and soybean yields recorded in bushels per acre for Bureau and surrounding counties were as follows:

County     CORN     SOYBEAN
• Bureau     186.2         55.5
• LaSalle     187.2         54.4
• Marshall     191.2         53.0
• Stark         192.4         56.1
• Henry     184.8         54.1
• Whiteside     180.2         49.5
• Lee         171.7         52.8

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