Issue No. 1, Article 11/March 26, 2010
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.
To put this spring in perspective-since this time last year we have had over 12 inches of rain more than normal, with 5 of those coming just since October. Since January 1, the average daily high temperature has been 6 degrees cooler than normal. Fields went into the winter wet, with plenty of rain and snow throughout the winter and very little heat to promote drying. A few people have tried to get in the fields, but most have not gotten farther than a test strip.
There hasn't been any recent field work since the January corn harvest. In numerous areas of the region, the last of the December snowfall disappeared just three weeks ago.
As in many areas of the state, producers did not complete nearly as much fall tillage and fall anhydrous ammonia application as intended and are concerned with dealing with heavy crop residue and field ruts in preparation for planting.
There have been a few reports of wheat greening up nicely.
Extension educators will monitor black cutworm traps throughout the region, and results will be reported in future issues of the Bulletin.
Although one can observe the occasional anhydrous ammonia tank parked at a field edge, wet conditions have prevented any significant field work. Most of the ruts from last fall's harvest are sitting full of water and will have to be dealt with in some manner.
Wheat condition is extremely variable, influenced by planting date and/or field drainage. Well-drained fields that were planted on or before the fly-free date came through the winter in good condition. Poorly drained fields, no matter what the planting date, show damage where excess water has stood. Many fields were not planted until early to mid-November, and in some cases emergence has only recently occurred. Plant stands may be adequate, but little or no tillering has yet taken place. Growers are questioning whether to abandon these stands or to go ahead and apply nitrogen and hope for the best.
Forage producers have reported heaving in alfalfa and clover fields. If heaving is severe, the crop is often killed when the first cutting is taken.