Issue No. 2, Article 6/April 3, 2009
Extension center educators, unit educators, and unit assistants in northern, west-central, east-central, and southern Illinois prepare regional reports to provide more localized insight into pest situations and crop conditions in Illinois. The reports will keep you up to date on situations in field and forage crops as they develop throughout the season. The regions have been defined broadly to include the agricultural statistics districts as designated by the Illinois Agricultural Statistics Service, with slight modifications:
- North (Northwest and Northeast districts, plus Stark and Marshall counties)
- West-central (West and West Southwest districts, and Peoria, Woodford, Tazewell, Mason, Menard, and Logan counties from the Central district)
- East-central (East and East Southeast districts [except Marion, Clay, Richland, and Lawrence counties], McLean, DeWitt, and Macon counties from the Central district)
- (Southwest and Southeast districts, and Marion, Clay, Richland, and Lawrence counties from the East Southeast district)
We hope these reports will provide additional benefits for staying current as the season progresses.
Rain, wet soils and poor drying conditions are common across the northern region. Fields are not any drier than reported several weeks ago, as several widespread precipitation events have gone through the northern region the past several weeks, including 1 to 3 inches of snow with sleet on March 28 and 29. Wet soil conditions are becoming a concern, especially for producers who were not able to get nitrogen applied last fall and for those who still have corn standingin the field. Standing corn does not comprise significant acres, but it is scattered throughout the region, mainly in the northern third.
Wheat has greened up nicely for the most part, but some fields have patches of winter kill due to last month's ponding and ice. Jim Morrison, crop systems extension educator, reports several instances of alfalfa heaving.
Dave Feltes, IPM extension educator, reported catching six black cutworm moths during March at his Whiteside County trap location.
Rainfall throughout the region has brought field work to a halt. A few corn planters were put to use in the past week, but planted fields are few and far between. Cool, wet soils will obviously prove challenging for seedling germination and emergence.
Wheat growth ranges from Feeke's Stage 5 to 6. Most fields have received nitrogen. Late-planted fields that had thin stands coming out of dormancy should now be evaluated to see if adequate tillers are present to justify keeping the stand. Henbit, purple deadnettle, and other winter annuals are growing rapidly and will be highly competitive if not controlled soon.
Alfalfa is 8 to 10 inches tall and actively growing. Scouting for alfalfa weevils should begin soon, especially in the far southern part of the region and on south-facing slopes throughout the region.
The west-central region is best termed "wet, wet, wet" as of the first of April, and recent cold weather has dampened expectations that we might quickly jump from winter to spring. Much of the region saw a few inches of snow in the final weekend of March, and the 10-day forecast clusters around 50-degree daytime followed by 30-degree nighttime temperatures. Long story shortit will be some time before we get into fields, which means no field work or planting for a while. The need for nitrogen in more than a few fields combined with a delayed return will apply some extra stress. Wheat is near Feekes 3, and some winter kill needs to be evaluated in the area.