Mark Licht

Dr. Mark Licht is an assistant professor and extension cropping systems specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. His extension, research and teaching program is focused on how to holistically manage Iowa cropping systems to achieve productivity, profitability and environmental goals. Research is centered around varied aspects of soybean, corn and cover crop management as well as agronomic implications of precision technologies.

May 12, 2022 10:54 AM

The planting is slow in 2022 – according to last Monday’s USDA Crop Progress Report corn planting was at 14% and soybean planting was at 7% complete. This is nearly two weeks behind normal. This week’s warm temperatures have driven up soil temperatures but wet soil conditions are still the...

Crop Production
May 6, 2022 10:34 AM

Corn and soybean planting is progressing very slowly across the state. The starting soil conditions (temperature, water, nitrogen) however are very different from last year. In this blog we’ll benchmark soil conditions using simulated data from...

Crop Production
May 3, 2022 8:30 AM

Over the last couple of weeks there have been numerous reports of both corn and soybean fields being planted. At present soil temperatures are hovering just below 50oF for most of the state, with the...

Crop Production
April 19, 2022 8:00 AM

Yesterday’s crop progress and condition report indicated little to no planting progress for corn or soybean. This is not a bad thing, considering the temperatures the five days. All hope is not lost! Iowa farmers are able to plant an incredible number of acres really fast. Larger planters,...

Crop Production
April 11, 2022 12:30 PM

Soil temperature is one of the most important factors to guide planting decisions. The rule of thumb is to wait until the upper 4 inches reach at least 50 degrees, with a warming temperature trend in the forecast. One way to track soil temperatures across Iowa is by using the...

Crop Production
March 25, 2022 12:33 PM

Why do we need your input?

An unprecedented amount of data is being collected on soybean fields thanks to advances in sensing technologies and cost-efficient computing, yet these data

are rarely used to their full potential. Extension is uniquely positioned to...

Crop Production
February 8, 2022 12:16 PM

Extension specialists at Iowa State and across the U.S. present this new one-hour...

Crop Production
January 24, 2022 11:13 AM

Row spacing for both corn and soybean is an important decision to make for any crop producer and can lead to high yielding crops. Corn row spacing is important to maximize yield as well as to keep balanced with economic output.

Corn row widths continue to decrease as time moves forward....

Crop Production
December 13, 2021 11:45 AM

Planting soybean in the same field that just grew soybean is not recommended. Soybean yield will suffer even before factoring in environmental conditions, weather, and pest/disease pressures. 

Four different studies in Minnesota and Wisconsin have shown a yield decline of at least 5% and...

Crop Production
November 8, 2021 1:18 PM

Cover crops can enhance soil health by capturing nutrients, slow erosion and can reduce the need for herbicides. Growers face many different decisions in the field, and the latest edition of the Cover Crop Field Guide will assist in some of those choices.

...

Crop Production
October 19, 2021 11:54 AM

Corn Hybrids

Choosing corn hybrids is one of the most crucial crop management decisions to be made. There are a range of factors to consider, most notably the weather, which makes it difficult as this decision is typically made months in advance of the growing season....

Crop Production
September 16, 2021 12:21 PM

As corn has quickly reached maturity, the next hurdle of the 2021 growing season is harvest. Stalk quality will be a concern for fields across that state that experienced the stress of too much or not enough moisture. Alison Robertson recently wrote an...

Crop Production
July 19, 2021 4:20 PM

Corn pollination is well underway and is one of the most critical times in corn development. Pollination is the biggest factor on the size of yield.

Corn plants have both male and female flowers. The tassel represents the male flower. When tassels emerge, they produce a spikelet, which...

Crop Production
July 16, 2021 10:53 AM

Now is the time to make plans for cover crop planting if you have not already done so. There are several cover crop species that are often talked about, however, cereal rye,...

Crop Production
June 14, 2021 12:32 PM

Across most of Iowa, corn is near V6 stage and much of Iowa is under some degree of drought stress. The exception being extreme southeast Iowa. Being at V6 stage means corn ear initiation is occurring and in the coming week the number of kernel rows on the ear will be determined. This is the...

Crop Production
June 8, 2021 8:51 AM

The dry conditions are causing some to see what is known as “floppy” corn (aka rootless corn). Rootless corn is easy to diagnose – simply dig up plants that are not standing erect like they should be, then gently knock off the soil to get a look at the roots. With rootless corn you will see the...

Crop Production
May 24, 2021 2:43 PM

Sandy to clay soils have different hydrological properties such as wilting point, field capacity, and saturation level (Fig 1a). Wilting point means no water is available to plants, field capacity means near optimum moisture for plant growth, and saturation means the soil pores are full of water...

Crop Production
May 24, 2021 1:55 PM

The Forecast and Assessment of Cropping sysTemS (FACTS) webpage is evolving. When it was launched in 2015, FACTS provided forecasts soil moisture, nitrogen, phenology, and crop yields at two Iowa locations. In 2016, it was expanded to six Iowa...

Crop Production
May 10, 2021 2:06 PM

Planting conditions in April were pretty good for planting. In fact, there were many reports of planting in early April. Unfortunately, April was much cooler and dryer than normal. Early planted corn and soybean took longer to germinate and emerge because of these cooler conditions. Additionally...

Crop Production
April 27, 2021 8:29 AM

While the warm weather has finally arrived for planting season, dry soil is becoming an increasing concern in parts of the state. In addition to concerns about subsoil moisture, some fields have had significant surface drying, particularly in areas with more tillage this spring. Dry soil...

Crop Production
April 22, 2021 2:42 PM

The concern for not having enough water during the 2021 growing season is increasing. Observations from Iowa fields (i.e., deep soil samples and tile drainage experiments), and analytical frameworks (i.e., Drought monitor) indicate below normal moisture in parts of Iowa. Here, we benchmark the...

Crop Production
April 16, 2021 11:07 AM

With cool weather conditions potentially causing delays in cover crop termination, what options are available? Cereal rye ahead of soybean is not nearly as problematic. While planting green may not be advised for beginning cover crop users, more experienced cover crop users have...

Crop Production
April 9, 2021 2:55 PM

Choosing a corn seeding rate is as much art as it is science because soil conditions and seed quality can greatly affect the outcome. The goal is to choose a seeding rate that produces an economical optimal yield as opposed to the maximum yield. A seeding rate has to factor in seed quality,...

Crop Production
April 1, 2021 11:35 AM

The nice weather and dry conditions have led some to think about the start of planting. My opinion, it is too early. Remember crop insurance replant dates are not until April 11. Use the extra days to get plans in order and a little rest and relaxation before the pace picks up.

...

Crop Production
March 4, 2021 8:56 AM

Over the last 5-years the Northwest Research Farm near Sutherland, IA has been conducting row spacing by plant population through cultivar trials with two different brands. The trials were not designed to compare brands, but rather provide another comparison to evaluate soybean row spacing and...

Crop Production

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