URBANA — Illinois researchers are launching a project to inventory soil nitrate levels in hopes of fine-tuning nitrogen recommendations for 2013 crops.
They're asking ag retailers and certified crop advisers to collect soil samples from customers' fields and submit them for testing.
The analysts are particularly interested in fields that were planted in corn this year and are expected to return to corn next year.
The project is being done by the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices in coordination with UI Extension specialists Emerson Nafziger and Fabian Fernandez.
This year's drought raised questions about how much nitrogen remains in the soil because of low corn yields and the crop's early death in dry areas.
The council will cover the cost of shipping and analyzing samples and will share results with those collecting samples. The UI will use the data to help fine-tune nitrogen application strategies for 2013.
More information about the sample collection process and the availability of soil probes is available from Dan Schaefer, the council's director of nutrient stewardship, at 202-5173.
Soybean harvest two-thirds done
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois soybean harvest is 69 percent complete, the state office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday.
A week earlier, only 47 percent of the state's soybeans had been harvested.
Meanwhile, the corn harvest neared completion, reaching 87 percent, up from 80 percent a week earlier.
Topsoil moisture levels statewide improved last week, with 61 percent deemed adequate, 23 percent short, 12 percent very short and 4 percent surplus.
Subsoil moisture levels weren't as good. Seventy-three percent of soils were considered either short or very short on moisture, while 27 percent had adequate or surplus moisture.
Farmland conference set Nov. 7
DECATUR — Fifteen speakers, including several agricultural economists, are slated to speak at the Farmland Value and Leasing Conference scheduled Nov. 7 in Decatur.
The conference, sponsored by Farm Credit and presented by Ag Engage, is set from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Decatur Conference Center and Hotel.
Speakers will discuss how markets and the drought affect land prices and cash rents.
Among the presenters will be Joel Hertz, chairman of the board emeritus of Hertz Farm Management, Bruce Sherrick and Gary Schnitkey of the University of Illinois and David Oppedahl of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
Cost for participants, including lunch and materials, is $85 through Oct. 28 and $99 afterward.
More information is available at http://www.agengage.com/farmlandconference/ .