Starting Off in Illinois

We started building our cropping plan for this season in about August of last year. For the most part we’re sticking to it, with minor changes. Mother nature usually has the call with any changes.

The weather’s been a challenge this year in Illinois, and we’re way behind. A few weeks ago, everyone fired off hot and heavy to get their crop in. But it didn’t go in in real good conditions; it was wet. We all had to work the ground once, and let it dry out before we could plant. It was far from ideal and I'm not happy about that. But you just can't wait on perfect conditions.

But aside from that, there is something unique in our plan this year. This is the first year in 10 years we don't have any corn on corn. With the economic conditions and everything taken into effect though, we decided not to plant corn and corn this year and put it all back to beans. Together we’ve got 1800 acres of corn and 1500 acres of soybeans this year, so we’ll see.

From an economic side of things, the biggest thing for us is basically fertility management — to give our crops what they need to produce that optimum yield. We started doing some strip till with dry fertilizer this year, trying to get beneath this crop a little more and take care of it. Agronomically, that's the biggest challenge around here. With our highly variable soil types, low CECs, and low organic matter, we have to try real hard to feed fertility to our crop and keep it happy all year.

Hopefully we’ll see success when we start integrating that strip till system. And when I say that, it's more for the fertilizer placement than strip till, and it's more for banking the fertilizer. We’ll get that implemented and effective and operational. And after our last two seasons, it would be nice to have a normal season — whatever "normal" is.