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Critical month for crops

A Livingston County soybean field shown Thursday evening / CIFN photo.

LEXINGTON – July is a critical month for crop development and a time for growers to keep a close eye on the weather and growing conditions.

Dan Froelich, a technical agronomist for Brandt in Lexington, suggests taking care of the developing crops in order to maximize yield. This includes monitoring for conditions in corn such as gray leaf spot which likes hot and humid conditions.

“I know with $3 corn, farmers have a hard time thinking about fungicide but I think it is something we have to be aware of,” Froelich told The Central Illinois Farm Network.

Froelich isn’t too worried about northern leaf blight at this point. Many corn fields are just a week or two away from tassel.

If it stays hot with no rain, that dreaded word spidermite comes to mind with soybeans. Also, Japanese beetles are starting to appear. Plants should be monitored for defoliation by insects feeding on leaves.

“I hope we don’t run into that because that is a never ending battle.”

You must have 40-50 percent defoliation before hitting the threshold to treat, but many beans aren’t growing very fast and are sitting in dry ground making this a potential issue.

When it comes to crop growth and development, we are catching up quickly with the heat. Froelich feels things are right on schedule, although the crops planted in April are slightly ahead. The May plantings are catching up.

“There is not a lot of difference between April 20 planted corn and May 15 planted corn as far as what stage it is at,” Froelich explains. “It has caught up pretty quickly.”

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