USDA Project Releases Corn Split Nitrogen Application Decision Tool

stelprdb1192557 Source USDA NRCS

The USDA-funded Useful to Usable (U2U) project has released their split Nitrogen application decision tool for corn across the Corn Belt. The Corn Split N tool combines historical weather and fieldwork data with economic considerations to determine the feasibility and profitability of completing a second (split) N application within a user-specified time period. Check it out at under the “decision support tools”.

Screen shot with default values for Champaign County, Illinois

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The user guide can be found here.

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November, Starting Warm and Dry in Illinois

November is starting out warm and dry for Illinois. The statewide average temperature is 6.1 degrees above average, while statewide precipitation is at 0.8 inches (75% of average).

The map below shows that precipitation is fairly widespread across the state. Meanwhile, lower precipitation totals prevailed in states to the west. Wetter conditions have occurred across southern Missouri and across the Ohio River Valley.


Here are how past Novembers have fared in terms of temperature and precipitation. No trends in precipitation; however, the 1980s and 1990s were wetter. There is a slight tendency towards warmer Novembers in the last 35 years. However, 2014 proved to be the exception with the 4th coldest November on record.  Continue reading

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October Warmer and Drier than Average in Illinois

October ended up warmer and drier than average in Illinois. The statewide average temperature was 55.8 degrees, 1.7 degrees above average.

The statewide average precipitation was 1.47 inches, 1.79 inches below average and the 22nd driest October on record. Even so, there were a few areas on the border with Iowa and Kentucky that received 2 to 3 inches of precipitation (dark blue in map below). The two largest monthly totals came from Stockton IL (COOP) and Orion IL (IL-HY-1), both reporting totals of 3.47 inches of precipitation.


The outlook for November, according to the National Weather Service, shows an increased chance for above-average temperatures across Illinois and the Midwest. The outlook shows an increased for above-average precipitation for the southern two-thirds of Illinois. This is part of broad area of expected wetter conditions across the southern US. Meanwhile, the northern third of Illinois has equal chances (EC) for above, below, and near-average precipitation.  Click on the maps to enlarge.


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Now 13th Driest October on Record in Illinois

The rains of the past few days have moved us from the 2nd driest October on record to the 13th driest October on record. The statewide total is now 1.24 inches, 2″ below average.

The Illinois State Water Survey soil moisture network shows a nice recovery at the 2 and 4-inch depths. However, dry conditions remain at the 8-inch depth at most locations. This should be good news for winter wheat and pasture. 

Fraction of water by volume.

Fraction of water by volume at 2 inches for October 28, 2015. I know, odd units to understand. For most of our soils, values less than 0.3 are dry, values of 0.3 to 0.4 are good, and values above 0.4 are wet. Havana in the center of the state is our special case – a sandy soil that holds little water. 

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Rain At Last in Illinois

Here is the rainfall map for the past 7 days. Most of the rain in Illinois has come in the last 2 days of that mapping period. In fact, almost all the rain in October for Illinois has fallen in the last 2 days.

Most of Illinois was in the two lighter shades of green, indicating rainfall amount of between 0.5 and 1.5 inches. There is a hole in southwestern Illinois (blue) were rainfall amounts were less than 0.5 inches. Higher amounts of 2 or more inches just missed Illinois, and fell across the border in Kentucky and southern Indiana.

It looks like we have one last shot of rain in October on Saturday.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

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Second Driest October on Record for Illinois, But Not for Long

As of this morning, the statewide average precipitation in Illinois was 0.34 inches. That makes it the second driest October on record. However, the forecast for Tuesday will move us down in the rankings. In the meantime, here is where we stand for dry Octobers:

Rank Year Amount Departure Percent of Average
1 1964 0.18 -3.06 6%
2 2015 0.34 -2.90 11%
3 1897 0.46 -2.78 14%
4 1908 0.50 -2.78 15%
5 1895 0.60 -2.64 19%
6 1952 0.67 -2.57 21%
7 1904 0.71 -2.53 22%
8 1956 0.72 -2.52 22%
9 1915 0.83 -2.41 26%
10 1963 0.93 -2.31 29%
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Drought in Illinois? Maybe, Maybe Not.

The US Drought Monitor has placed portions of Illinois in a moderate drought this week.

USDM for Illinois. Click to enlarge.

USDM for Illinois. Click to enlarge.

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