Issue No. 2, Article 9/April 9, 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.
More consistent warmer and slightly drier weather has enabled a limited amount of fieldwork to occur. But as soon as activity really starts to pick up, another shower comes through, and waiting starts again. Most activity has been anhydrous ammonia application, with some general tillage and spraying also being accomplished. A few scattered acres have been planted. Winter annual weeds are really starting to take off.
Field activity was widespread throughout the region the week of March 29 until nearly daily precipitation April 2 through April 7. Total accumulation ranged from 0.8 inches to 1.8 inches, with heavier amounts in the northeast portion of the region. Activities focused on tillage and anhydrous ammonia application. There was also some corn harvested and planted the week of March 29. Other activities included oat seeding, alfalfa seeding, dry fertilizer application, and some preplant herbicide application.
Generally winter wheat looks surprisingly good except in low, poorly drained areas where water and ice accumulated.
Extension educators are monitoring black cutworm traps, and a few captures have been reported in Lee County.
Producers took advantage of several warm, sunny, windy days in the past week to get into the fields. While fertilizer application, anhydrous ammonia application, and first-pass tillage were the primary practices being implemented, some corn planting was also accomplished. Winter annual weeds are also taking advantage of the warmer conditions, and the lovely purple color of henbit and purple deadnettle is becoming more obvious. Storms late Sunday night dropped variable amounts of rain and hail across the region, putting a stop to fieldwork in some areas.
Wheat condition continues to be variable. Fields planted in November continue to tiller and fill in, but bare ground between the rows is still visible. Early-planted, well-drained fields look good, while fields with poor drainage are patchy and show damage from excessive water. Winter annual weeds are becoming competitive in many fields.
A Cover Crop Field Day will be held Wednesday, April 14, at 2:00 at the Terry Taylor farm on IL Route 45 south of Geff. The program will review the different cover crop varieties, including hairy vetch, annual ryegrass, and crimson clover. Plots that contained oilseed radish, planted alone or with hairy vetch, will also be reviewed. Several fields of aerial seedings will be looked at and evaluated. For more information, contact Mike Plumer (618-453-5563). No preregistration is needed to attend.
Wet conditions the past week have prevented any fieldwork. Since April 2, the south and west portions of the region had rainfall up to and exceeding 3 inches, while the north and east sections had less than an inch. Prior to that, fieldwork (tillage and NH3 applications) began in scattered locations around April 1. A handful of fields were planted April 2.
Soils in the west and south are completely saturated (again).
Wheat fields range from still (hopefully) tillering (on the late-seeded fields) to stem elongation (on those planted at the fly-free date). Stand counts are good.
Alfalfa fields saw good growth last week, with some fields at 6 inches in height. No noticeable weevil damage yet, but vole damage is apparent in many fields.