Mark Licht

Dr. Mark Licht is an associate 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.

July 9, 2020 2:40 PM

For a couple of years, some Iowa farmers have noticed lower yields along the southern and/or western edges of their fields. The low yields along the border tend to be prevalent when soybean, hay, or pasture are growing adjacently to the field on the southern or western edge. This phenomenon...

Crop Production
July 8, 2020 10:23 AM

Since July 1 high humidity and temperatures have been scorching Iowa. Okay, maybe that is a little extreme. June has led to dry conditions across much of central and southwest Iowa. Heat and dry weather are not desired weather conditions in the 2 weeks before or after pollination. This four-week...

Crop Production
June 25, 2020 1:09 PM

 M. Licht).
Leaf ripples and yellowing shortly after the whorl unfurls...

Crop Production
June 23, 2020 9:40 AM

Many farmers and agronomists are noticing short soybean this spring. Some are pondering if there is something that can be done to spur some additional growth as flowering is fast approaching, if not already begun. The surprise with short soybean is that planting was timely. The unfortunate...

Crop Production, Equipment and Machinery
June 15, 2020 10:18 AM

Radiation is down up to June 1 according the latest FACTS extrapolations.

The springtime decreases in radiation—especially in May—could have caused yellowing corn leaves and slowed down leaf appearance rates (radiation and moisture play a role in phenology, even though temperature is the...

Crop Production
May 20, 2020 1:54 PM

With the weather Iowa has recently experienced and the time of year it is, we all can expect to see purple and yellow corn and even some tattered leaves: the ugly ducklings of your field. Don’t fret just yet, cooler temperatures and wet conditions are all contributing factors to the mosaic...

Crop Production
May 19, 2020 8:04 PM

Planting is nearly wrapped up for corn, with soybean soon to follow. What a difference a year makes considering the last two years have seen planting delayed. That means corn and soybean emergence should be good, right? Wrong! The cost of seed makes it essential to get the highest, most uniform...

Crop Production
May 8, 2020 11:07 AM

The Forecasting and Assessment of Cropping Systems (FACTS) from Iowa State Extension and Outreach results as of May 5 extrapolate that Iowa soils a bit drier than neighboring Illinois or Indiana, but shouldn’t be an issue moving forward:

Crop Production
May 6, 2020 12:58 PM

Friday and Saturday night will have cold temperatures reach into northern Iowa and maybe even southern Iowa. Below is a National Weather Service low temperature prediction ( for Saturday, May 9. Notice that north of Interstate...

Crop Production
April 23, 2020 3:41 PM

The Forecasting and Assessment of Cropping Systems (FACTS) project is up and running with accurate, recent data to inform decision making for a variety of industry professionals. FACTS is an ongoing project developed to forecast and evaluate in...

Crop Production
April 14, 2020 6:25 PM

Farmers in Iowa have been experimenting with very early soybean planting dates, from late March to mid-April. Based on reviews of the yield data, there is not a consistent yield benefit to planting early as opposed to planting the first week of May. But one benefit of very early planting is that...

Crop Production
April 9, 2020 12:47 PM

March into early April has been warm enough and dry enough to the point that soil conditions are good for planting. The calendar date is a bit early; after all the crop insurance, replanting is April 11. Regardless, many are pondering if they should be planting corn already, and some maybe...

Crop Production
April 1, 2020 10:43 AM

This year let’s all toss out planting windows for corn. Farmers should be focused on when soil conditions are prime to plant. Soil temperatures need to be on the rise; 50oF and rising. Planting 24-36 hours before a cold spell—regardless of how long—is putting your seed at risk of cold...

Crop Production
March 26, 2020 4:10 PM

The USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, along with the...

Crop Production
October 29, 2019 11:40 AM

It doesn’t happen every year, but it does occur – snow accumulation before harvest is complete. Here are some considerations and tips for dealing with this unique situation:

Crop Production
October 7, 2019 3:25 PM

A portion of Iowa’s corn crop is likely to experience a frost before naturally reaching maturity as a result of cool temperatures later this week. Natural maturity is often determined when a black layer is formed at the kernel tip. At this timeframe grain moisture is typically 28–35% moisture....

Crop Production, Grain Handling and Storage
September 9, 2019 9:39 PM

One of the pressing questions this fall is when corn will reach maturity and if there is going to be enough time to dry down in the field. We have developed and released a corn grain dry down calculator that can help...

Crop Production, Grain Handling and Storage
August 22, 2019 3:02 PM

Update on crop and soil status across the I-states – August 21, 2019

This year the FACTS project is providing a suite of regional scale maps to assist decision making. The data provided is based on APSIM model simulations which are driven...

Crop Production
August 21, 2019 9:02 AM

According to the latest NASS report, the 2019 corn crop is about 2-weeks behind normal in terms of reaching dent stage. What are the implications of this delay in grain filling period and end of season yield? We address this question by examining two key weather variables; solar radiation and...

Crop Production
July 23, 2019 3:34 PM

As July comes to a close, it is time to make plans to seed fall cover crops. Cover crop species, seeding method, seeding rate, and timing will all depend on the goals for that cover crop. In broad terms there are three methods: 1) overseeding, 2) drill seeding, and 3) broadcast seeding with...

Crop Production
July 15, 2019 4:25 PM

The weather forecast for this next week is calling for daytime high temperatures in the 90s and even in the 100s across the state and low nighttime temperatures in the 70s to 80s with little chances of rainfall. This is raising concerns on what impact this can have on the crop, especially with...

Crop Production
July 9, 2019 1:44 PM

Unfavorable planting conditions this spring commonly delayed, and in some cases, prevented crop planting. Producers looking to plant a cover crop to meet the requirements of their insurance coverage must work with their insurer on the details of the policy, and also be mindful of the legal...

Crop Production
June 19, 2019 10:50 AM

The Forecast and Assessment of Cropping sysTemS (FACTS) webpage has been updated to include regional scale forecasts. These regional scale forecast cover the three I-states providing weather, soil water, and soil N mineralization information....

Crop Production
June 19, 2019 10:23 AM

The Forecast and Assessment of Cropping sysTemS (FACTS) project was first launched in 2015 to provide yield and soil nitrogen predictions at individual fields. In addition to the field scale forecasts, in 2019 we added a regional scale component...

Crop Production
May 1, 2019 4:38 PM

The calendar may now say we are in the month of May, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way with the weather and with planting progress across Iowa.

Soil temp. Ideally we want soil temps at the 4” depth to be 50oF or warmer prior to planting corn. While we did...

Crop Production