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Patience urged with cool temps

A newly-emerged corn field shown last season / CIFN file photo.

FAIRBURY – One local agronomist hopes farmers wait to plant crops into soil which is in good working order.

Marion Shier, an agronomist for United Soils in Fairbury, likes to see soil which is not too wet or dry before seed goes into it. Our soil conditions aren’t bad now despite a few showers lately. The biggest challenge growers are facing is air and soil temperatures.

“Whenever we plant in cool, damp conditions if it’s too cool for germination to occur in a rapid rate, we expose the seed to all sorts of pathogens in the soil,” Shier told The Central Illinois Farm Network.

Producers rely on seed treatment for protection, but the longer the seed is in the soil the greater chance it has to be impacted by a fungus or organism within the soil, according to Shier. Ideally, soil temperatures should be 50 degrees and increasing for corn planting and 55 degrees and increasing for soybeans.

“It sounds like we are going to remain on the cool side,” Shier explained. “Use some common sense and don’t get in too big of a hurry.”

Even though we like to see warmer soils, early planting is often the key to better yields in the fall. Shier says whichever fungicide is used should have a diverse package of protection which will last a while.

So far, soil moisture is better this year compared to last year when we stayed wet and kept getting wetter.

“Right now, we’ve got moisture in the soil but not extreme amounts,” Shier added.

Compaction is not a major issue currently since soils are not extremely wet. In fact, soil texture and moisture are pretty good. Growers should keep their crystal ball handy as we move through the growing season – paying close attention to the forecast and trying to anticipate what may be coming.

“Make sure you go out and scout your fields on a regular basis,” Shier suggested.

If a pest does show up in the field and increases in severity, be ready to take the proper steps to address the problem.

For more information on these agronomic topics, Shier can be reached at 815-419-4850.

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