Issue No. 8, Article 3/May 15, 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.
Some farmers were able to start field work last Sunday. The tempo continued to build until activity came to a screeching halt Wednesday morning when heavy rains moved in. Some areas had received over 2 inches of rain by noon on Wednesday, with more in the forecast.
Field activity started on a limited basis over the weekend after the rainfall events of May 6-8. Corn planting was more widespread beginning on Monday, May 11. Corn planting progress varies throughout the region, with more progress in the west portion of the region than in the east. The widespread precipitation on May 13 has halted field work at the present time.
Multiple locations reported "intense" black cutworm moth captures on April 25-27. Using historical weather data (accumulation of 300 degree-days from intense capture date) from Freeport or DeKalb, the projected date of first cutting by black cutworm larvae is May 28-29 in the "northern region." There was one exception, with an intense moth capture in Lee County recorded on April 10, which would predict first cutting by black cutworm moths on May 23. The moths are attracted to fields with emerged winter annuals as preferred egg-laying sites.
Dave Feltes, extension IPM educator, reports observing second-instar alfalfa weevil larvae, causing minimal damage at the present time. Jim Morrison, extension crop systems educator, reports as of May 11 that alfalfa in northern Illinois at 20 inches plant height and late vegetative stage has a relative feed value in the field of 211 according to PEAQ (peaq.traill.uiuc.edu/index.cfm).
Soil conditions remain saturated throughout the region, and no additional field work has been done during the past week. Wheat is in the process of flowering and at risk for Fusarium head scab infection. Some alfalfa haylage has been put in the silo. Corn planted in early May looks good in fields with adequate drainage.
The last week got off to a slow start, improved, but then struggled with more rain delays as of report time. However, the lull between showers allowed activity in the field to pick up significantly. Field work has progressed, with tillage, fertilizer applications (dry fertilizer and anhydrous), herbicide applications, and planting "going great guns," in the words of one of our extension educators. As a result, corn-planting progress finally averages double digits in the region. The ripple effects on delayed bean planting are being felt, though, with wet fields causing more delays.
In the arena of pest management, alfalfa weevils are present and should be watched closely. Some cutworm pressure has developed as well.