6.15.10 – Great Growing Conditions

  The past week produced hot temperatures, rain showers and an abundance of humidity.  Although this combination doesn’t bode well with outdoor projects, the corn and soybean crops have continued to thrive through this late spring weather.  Our early corn is now close to head high.  Many of my friends from outside central Illinois have referred to the great crop conditions this year in our “garden spot”… they have continued to endure the heavy showers of 2-3” that were all too familiar during last year. 

  Between showers, we were able to finish one painting project and spot spray detrimental weeds in roadsides and waterways.  As you can see in one of the pictures, Duane and Neil are spraying Canadian Thistle that has overtaken areas throughout ditches and waterways.  This perennial is difficult to kill due to its extensive root system… plus the discomfort of having one snag your leg while crossing a ditch bank. 

  Last Thursday, a representative of FB Sciences drove down from Macomb to evaluate early progress in our corn root growth promoter test plot.  The hand-held device (which looks similar to a weed-whacker) is raised above the corn and uses the Normalized Difference Vegetative Index (NDVI) as an indicator to measure the plant’s growth and chlorophyll amount.  Values were taken and compared for corn with and without the growth enhancer.  The product aims to “promote healthier plants, increase yields, improve efficiency of applied or naturally-occurring nutrients, reduce soil chemistry tie-ups, and help mitigate plant stress.”  As I previously mentioned, crop conditions have been great thus far, and this might lead to weaker results than in a year of plant stress.  The product will be tracked throughout the growing season, and we look forward to viewing the results through the combine’s yield monitor this fall.  We hope to begin spraying our non-gmo soybeans next week, but will have to wait for field conditions to dry out.