Issue No. 16, Article 6/July 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.
Corn development varies throughout the region. Numerous fields exhibit uneven plant height, with the shorter plants in low field areas growing slower. Jim Morrison, crop systems extension educator, reports some lodged and green snap corn due to high winds last week. Some of the earlier-planted corn may begin to tassel late next week. Postemergence herbicide application in corn is nearly complete, with the focus now on soybean weed control.
Soybeans have been growing well over the last few weeks. There have been no reports of soybean aphids. Extension educators have begun to monitor soybean rust sentinel plots. Extension educators monitoring insect traps caught few Japanese beetles from July 1 through July 3, but early this week they have been catching 200 to over 1,500 beetles daily.
Only a few wheat fields have been harvested. There has been considerable second cutting of alfalfa and haylage.
In celebration of July 4, the southern region received 2 to 4 inches of additional rain. This was probably fortunate for shallow-rooted corn fields that are beginning to pollinate, as well as for double-crop soybeans no-tilled into wheat stubble. Conventional soybeans (one almost hates to describe them as "full season" at this point) that were planted just before the rain fell may not be so happy, since they now have to deal with crusting soils.
For the most part, one would have to say that planting is complete, although there are scattered fields that are still fallow. It's amazing to find corn that is pollinating in close proximity to replanted corn that is only at V2. The soybean rust sentinel plot near St. Jacob that was no-tilled into wet soil on April 23 is now 36 inches tall and in full bloom, while most soybeans in the area are at V2 or less. The struggle to harvest wheat and finish planting means that some earlier-planted soybean fields have not had herbicides applied. The weed competition in these fields is fierce and needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
Japanese beetles seem especially abundant this year. Driving down the highway feels like passing through a hailstorm in some areas. The scattered fields of early-planted corn that are now silking should be closely monitored, since they will be especially attractive for silk clipping.
Recent rainfall means that some low spots are flooded again in the region.
Corn is either pollinating, on the verge of pollinating, or on the verge of tasselling in the west-central region, but variability in height and color still best describes area corn. The amount of moisture and accompanying warm weather (minus the cold spell surrounding the July 4 holiday) has elevated concern associated with gray leaf spot. The disease is now very easy to find in some area fields.
Some of the earliest beans are flowering, while other fields are only recently emerged. Examined soybean rust sentinel plots are fairly clean of disease at the moment except for some evidence of phytophthora root rot, a disease to be expected given our wet conditions.
Wheat harvest is either completed (especially in southern portions of the region) or on target to start once the area dries out (especially in northern portions). Reports from the combine have not been as positive as in past years.
Most of the region is now acquainted with impressive pressure from Japanese beetles in row crops. A band running from Havana to Keokuk represents the most "virgin territory" for this pest, with exceptional pressure more restricted to fruit trees along the fringes of that band.
The second cutting of alfalfa has started for those who were fortunate enough to squeeze in a first cutting.