Issue No. 5, Article 8/May 7, 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.
Corn is better than 95% planted in the east-central area; many farmers are finished and have moved on to soybean planting. Most corn is up, with sizes ranging from VE to V2. No significant problems have been noted.
Some farmers are reporting problems with corn residue when trying to plant soybeans. Soggy stalks are providing a mulch cover that is keeping soils damp. In this situation, some coulters and tillage tools are not "cutting it." No-till drills are in demand.
Corn planting is over 90% complete, and emerged stands look very good. The earliest planted corn is quickly approaching V3. A light frost was observed in portions of the region on April 28, causing some slight discoloration on emerged corn, but seedlings are recovering. Soybean planting is around 20% complete. Other activities during the week include side-dressing anhydrous ammonia and herbicide application.
Jim Morrison, crop systems extension educator, reports wheat in the northwest portion of the region at Feekes 7, approaching Feekes 8. He also reported powdery mildew infection in a Winnebago County wheat field.
Extension educators are still catching black cutworm moths in monitored traps, but no intense captures were reported in the past week.
Alfalfa growth is ahead of schedule and in the prebud stage. Growers are reminded to use the PEAQ technique (Predictive Equations for Alfalfa Quality--peaq.traill.uiuc.edu) to predict optimum dates for first cutting for high-quality alfalfa.
Intense but scattered storms earlier in the week left some areas saturated while other areas remain relatively dry. Little additional planting progress has been made since last week's report. Overall corn emergence is as uniform as one could ever hope to expect. A localized storm cell passing across parts of Calhoun, Jersey, and Madison counties on Monday night deposited anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of hail. Emerged corn was pretty much obliterated in the hardest-hit areas. Although the crop's growing point is still protected below ground, the large amounts of mud splashed over the plants may increase the likelihood of seedling rots' developing. Damaged fields should be monitored closely to determine what percentage of plants actually survive and are healthy.
Wheat development has reached Feekes 10.1 to 10.2 (head emergence). As the crop approaches and completes flowering over the next couple of weeks, the potential for Fusarium head blight, or scab, will need to be closely monitored. A web-based prediction tool (www.wheatscab.psu.edu) can help growers make informed decisions on the need for fungicide applications to manage this disease.
Alfalfa that has not yet been harvested is beginning to bloom, at which point relative feed value will quickly decline. Plants are beginning to lodge, and leaf spot diseases are becoming more obvious in the lower canopy. Harvesting the crop by cutting as close to the ground as possible will help remove diseased leaves and stems and thus leave less inoculum in the field to infect the regrowth.
Field work has just started again in the last few days. Fields have been very wet due to heavy rains at various times. Corn is mostly planted and ranges from 1- to 3-leaf development stages. For some areas, the weather allowed for a good test of emergence of some corn hybrids. Some drowned-out spots will have to be replanted. But all in all, most corn has emerged and looks good. There were some reports of wireworms and cutworms in corn in the southern part of the region, but nothing major at this time. We continue to catch cutworm moths in traps, but no significant captures have been reported. A portion of Macoupin County was hit by hail a few days ago, and damage to corn is being assessed.
Some soybean planting has started, and earlier-planted beans may be vulnerable to sudden death syndrome, thanks to the perfect weather conditions.
If you can find a wheat field, it is elongating and not quite jointed.
There have been some reports of weevil activity in alfalfa in the northwestern part of the region.