Issue No. 3, Article 9/April 23, 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.
What a difference two weeks can make! Many farmers are finishing up corn planting or waiting to continue after anhydrous application. Corn is starting to emerge all over the area. There are some reports of soybean planting starting or of farmers waiting for a rain to continue. Clods from wet tillage are a common complaint.
Fieldwork has been constant for the last 10 days since most areas haven't had any precipitation since April 7. A gentle shower would be welcome in most places. Activities have focused on corn planting, tillage, anhydrous ammonia application, and preemergence herbicide application. Corn planting has been progressing, with completion estimates ranging from 30% to 50% throughout the region. Soil temperature at the 4-inch depth under bare soil in northwest Illinois has ranged from the mid 50s to low 60s. With the warm temperatures, alfalfa growth is ahead of the last few years for this time of year. Jim Morrison, crop systems extension educator, reports wheat approaching Feekes stage 6, or 1st node visible.
Extension educators monitoring black cutworm traps continue to catch a few moths, but there have been no reports of an "intensive" moth capture (9 or more moths caught over one or two consecutive days).
With the help of two weeks of dry weather, fieldwork has progressed rapidly. Tillage, anhydrous ammonia application, and corn planting have been the primary field activities. There are reports of ammonia supplies being tight in some areas due to high demand statewide. As of April 18, the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported corn planting 36% complete in the Southeast Crop Reporting District and 67% complete in the Southwest Crop Reporting District. These rates of completion haven't been seen since the 2004 and 2005 planting seasons. The earliest-planted corn has begun to emerge. Black cutworm moth captures in pheromone traps have been low thus far.
Winter wheat condition is listed as 2% excellent, 34% good, 33% fair, 19% poor, and 12% very poor. The growth stage has progressed to Feekes 7, and with continued warm weather flag leaves should be visible in another week or so. Thanks to dry conditions, foliar diseases are minimal. Thin stands that haven't had herbicide applied show significant winter annual weed pressure.
Winter canola is in full bloom.
Alfalfa ranges from 22 to 24 inches in height and is at or approaching bud stage. Some older stands have been severely damaged by heaving this spring and will probably be abandoned after the first cutting. There have been no reports of major alfalfa weevil damage thus far. Dairy producers needing premium quality forage are trying to get hay chopped before storm fronts move in later this week.
Corn planting has been ongoing at a rapid pace; most producers are somewhere between 50% and 100% complete. A few have stopped planting, because either soil is too dry or they fear crop damage from applications of anhydrous followed by very little moisture. A few places are reporting shortages on anhydrous.
Black cutworms are being caught in many traps throughout the region, so monitor cornfields after emergence.
Soybean planting has begun in a few locations, but most producers are applying burndowns and waiting for the calendar to advance or some much-needed rainfall to be received.
Alfalfa is growing extremely fast, so producers should plan for an earlier first cutting than usual. Monitor fields for bud/early bloom stage.