Issue No. 7, Article 11/May 8, 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.
No progress on field work was made this last week; fields are still too wet for activity. Corn planted 2-1/2 weeks ago has finally started to emerge but looks very pale.
Regarding winter annuals, yellow blossoms are starting to overshadow the purple. Butterweed is starting to really take off.
Some field work and corn planting started last weekend (May 1-3) but on a very limited basis throughout the region. Activity was more widespread by Monday, May 4, as producers were able to pick and choose drier fields in which to get started. Field conditions vary throughout the region; reports from DeKalb County indicate activity began to pick up on May 5, but Ogle County field activity was more prominent on Friday, May 1.
According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, as of May 3, 6% and 1% of corn was planted in the northwest and northeast Illinois crop reporting districts, respectively. For comparison purposes, NASS reported corn planting progress on May 4, 2008, as 14% (northwest Illinois) and 19% (northeast Illinois). It was a late year in 2008 for planting progress, and to date, 2009 is farther behind.
Extension educators continue to catch black cutworm moths, with "intense captures" reported on May 5 in Ogle and Winnebago counties.
Soils in the majority of the region remain wet, with ponded water present. A small area along the northwestern side of the region has remained somewhat drier, and some field work and planting continue on better drained soils. In that area, corn planted earlier has now emerged and stands appear uniform.
Wheat growth stages range from Feekes 10 (boot) to 10.5.1 (first anther visible). Most fields are at or beyond the cutoff point for application of strobilurin fungicides. Bird cherry-oat aphids are present in most fields, but predators and parasitoids are also present. Rather than panic, growers should continue to scout fields to see if the natural enemies can keep aphid populations under control. Cereal leaf beetle larvae can also be easily observed, but populations are still far below threshold levels. As wheat approaches flowering, wet and humid conditions increase the potential for Fusarium head scab infection. Growers wishing to monitor head scab risk should check out the Fusarium Head Blight Prediction Center.
Alfalfa is at 28 to 30 inches of growth, and plants are in full bud stage. The weather and field conditions are not conducive for harvest, so those needing dairy quality forage may end up harvesting poorer quality than they would like.
The last week has seen more rainfall along with cloudy days. No field work has been completed beyond a location or two in the southern and southwest areas of the region the past day or so. Those few early-planted (mid-April) corn fields have emerged. Fields planted April 24-26 are beginning to emerge. Very few, if any, of the fields planted late in April have had herbicides applied. A few weeds are beginning to make their presence known; for fields of non-GMO corn, producers need to scout to determine what weeds are present before herbicide application.
We had an intense capture of black cutworm moths the weekend of May 2-3 southeast of Quincy.
Wheat stage is ranging from Feekes 4 to Feekes 6, dependent on planting date.
Alfalfa and grass growth have really accelerated over the past two weeks. Some alfalfa is at the maturity that it should be harvested for dairy quality hay.
As if mushroom hunters didn't have enough to worry about with ticks (which are at the highest populations reported in a number of years), there was a report early in the week that Buffalo gnats are back.