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Issue No. 11, Article 4/June 5, 2009

Regional Reports

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.

East-Central Illinois

What a difference two weeks can make. Many farmers in the area have gone from barely started to almost done planting. Farmers hit the fields hard last week, giving up on the ponded areas and planting around them. Rains were spotty until this week and now the ponds are full to the brim again. Most ponds have yet to be planted for the first time. Some have been replanted once and will have to be evaluated again.

Corn that doesn't have wet feet responded well to the sun and heat last week and has started to grow quickly. Corn size varies from 10 inches to just spiked.

The first soybeans are just starting to emerge.

Northern Illinois

Several rainfall events Sunday evening through Tuesday have halted field work in most of the region. Corn planting ranges from complete in the northwest to 85% or more complete in some eastern areas of the region. Corn emergence looks good for the most part, but some corn planted the week of May 11 struggled to emerge, and there are a few fields with less-than-ideal populations. To date there have been no reports of cutworm damage, in spite of multiple intense black cutworm flights recorded in April.

Soybean planting ranges from 80% or more complete in the northwest to lower amounts in the eastern portion of the region.

Wheat looks good except for thinner stands in some field areas due to standing water and ice last winter.

Limited alfalfa was harvested this week. Pastures look good throughout the area.

Southern Illinois

A few days of dry weather followed by thunderstorms remains the continuing saga in the south. All crops are showing the effects of too much water.

Corn planting progress and development are extremely variable and have been influenced by both storm tracks and individual field drainage. Corn growth ranges from unplanted to V6. Much of the upland area on the western side of the region that was planted in early May has now been replanted and is approaching V2. Some soybeans have been planted but are showing the effects of wet conditions.

Wheat is beginning to turn color. In some cases this may be normal maturation, but flat, poorly drained fields are showing large areas where the crop is simply dying. While it seems that wheat heading was somewhat delayed earlier this spring, overall crop development has now caught back up. This shortening of the grain-fill process typically does not promote high yields. There have been some reports of armyworms being found in areas where the wheat has lodged.

There have been several reports of stem and foliar diseases affecting the second cutting of alfalfa. Given the delayed first cutting and the continuing wet weather, this shouldn't be too surprising.

West-Central Illinois

The nice weather has provided a good opportunity for farmers to get back into the field for 4 or 5 days after last week's rain. In the region, corn planting ranges from 80% to 100% completed. Many corn fields are emerging, and corn growth stages vary from emerging to V4. Nice weather for planting continues to be followed by heavy rainfall, making compaction and stand counts an issue this year. Due to the late planting and emergence, many producers will not replant. There have not yet been many reports of insect problems.

The nice weather has allowed soybean planting to progress rapidly, with probably about 25% to 50% now in the ground. Fields that got planted near the beginning or middle of May have their first trifoliate leaf. Like corn, some soybean fields had crusting problems, but emerged stands will be sufficient.

Wheat is flowering to mostly pollinated throughout the region, with some areas in the southeastern portion reporting uneven height. For the most part, flag leaves look good, with some scattered symptoms of barley yellow dwarf virus and the early signs of rust. Lower plant leaves are showing symptoms of leaf spots.

Oats are close to or at flag leaf. Farmers are trying hard, but a lot of hay and alfalfa fields still need cutting due to wet weather. Those that have been cut are giving excellent yields.

In wet fields along streams and waterways, some soil erosion as well as deposition has been of concern. Early in the week more storms dropped up to 6 inches of rain in some areas of the region.

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