Issue No. 3, Article 12/April 10, 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)
- South (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.
Same report as the last several weeks: wet soil conditions and poor drying conditions are common throughout the northern region. Most of the area experienced rain, sleet, and snow on April 5, with some areas reporting 2 inches of snow accumulation. There have not been any reports of tillage or seeding.
Below-freezing temperatures at night have allowed dry fertilizer application to occur on frozen ground the following mornings. According to the Illinois State Water Survey, the 4-inch bare soil temperature at 10 a.m. on April 6 was 36 to 38 F in the northwest portion of Illinois. Spring has been slow to appear in the northern region.
Jim Morrison, crop systems extension educator, reported wheat in the Rockford area at or approaching Feekes 3.
Fields are wet, and some show ponded water throughout much of the region. The northwest counties are somewhat drier, and some tillage and anhydrous ammonia applications resumed midweek. The forecast through the coming weekend is for near-normal temperatures and rain, which will put an end to any field work that has resumed.
Wheat is at Feekes stage 6 (jointing). Nighttime temperatures were at or below freezing earlier in the week, but they were not cold enough to cause major concern with the crop. Winter annuals are becoming more obvious on fields with thin stands where no herbicides have been applied.
Alfalfa new growth is at 11 inches or greater. Alfalfa weevils are on schedule based on GDU accumulations, and pinhole feeding can be observed in more southerly counties. Scouting in those counties should begin now, with special attention focused on south-facing slopes that have had greater GDU accumulations.
Frequent rain and cooler-than-normal temperatures have allowed very little field work to be done in the region. The 10-day forecast is for continued wetter and cooler conditions. This is going to make an even bigger challenge for spring fertilizer applications and field work, as the late harvest last fall prevented a lot of work that producers were hoping to get done this spring. It's looking like a long and late planting season at this point.
There are several reports of alfalfa heaving in a band from Bloomington through Peoria to Galesburg. Many producers have reported heaving up to 3 or 4 inches. Producers should check fields soon, and if plant are heaved more than 1-1/2 inches and taproots are broken less than 12 inches below ground, those fields will likely need to be terminated immediately.