Issue No. 5, Article 5/April 24, 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.
Field activity started midweek last week and focused on tillage, herbicide application, and application of anhydrous ammonia. Some corn was planted but on a very limited basis overall. Precipitation on April 19 halted field work; reported amounts ranged from 1 to 2 inches. Due to cooler temperatures, growth has been slow in alfalfa and winter wheat.
The dates and topics have been set for the summer 2009 Crops Training Center sessions at the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center near Shabbona: June 3, Corn Nematode Management and Insect Trap Monitoring; July 6, Sprayer Technology and In-Season Crop Updates; August 11, Soil Fertility and Plant Disease/Fungicide Update. All sessions will be held from 9:00 a.m. to noon; registration details will be available in the near future.
The sun finally began to shine on Wednesday of this week, but fields remain saturated throughout the region. There has been no progress on field work in the past two weeks. If we get a few days of drying weather, there is always the temptation to get into the field before soils have dried adequately. The resulting compaction can cause serious crop development problems later in the season. The extended forecast is for more normal temperatures, so both wheat and alfalfa development should speed up.
Most wheat is at growth stage Feekes 7 (2 nodes visible), while the most advanced fields in the extreme south are approaching Feekes 8 (flag leaf tip visible). Flat, poorly drained fields are showing evidence of nitrogen loss and stand damage.
New growth on alfalfa is at 17 inches. Some fields in the Carbondale area have experienced heavy alfalfa weevil feeding pressure and been sprayed. Weevil scouting should be ongoing throughout the region.
Is there any planting progress news to report from the west-central region? Bluntly stated--no. The region received an inch to a few inches of rain depending on location. A brief break in the weather over the last week allowed a few producers to squeeze some planting in, others to work a little ground, and some to press anhydrous applications closer to the "completed" mark. With the forecast changing from day to day, rain appears poised to make some kind of appearance, and that likely spells further planting delays into next week. Much of the wheat crop appears to be in fairly decent shape, but fields that were drilled a few weeks after the fly-free date have required some stand evaluation. Soil temperatures remain cool.