Issue No. 6, Article 8/May 14, 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.
Timely rains have slowed down field activity, and a temperature drop Saturday night led to reports of scattered light frost damage.
Most farmers have finished corn planting; the crop report lists 99% planted. Most of the crop ranges from V1 to V4 and looks good to excellent.
Doug Gucker, Piatt County Extension, did a survey of fields in Piatt County and reported on scattered problems, including cloddy fields with emergence issues, minor insect feeding, vole damage, wind damage, twisted corn, and winter annual weeds.
Soybeans fields are more than 50% planted, and the earliest planted fields are starting to emerge.
The northern region received 1.5 to over 2 inches of rainfall from Friday, May 7, through Tuesday, May 11, halting field activity in most areas. Corn planting is over 95% complete and soybean planting about 50% complete. Corn emergence and stands look very good. The region experienced a light frost early Sunday, May 9, but there do not seem to be any serious effects on emerged corn. Cool temperatures and cloudy, damp conditions have caused corn seedlings to take on a pale, yellowish color. Sunny, warmer conditions would be most welcome. Soybeans have begun to emerge; some fields were exposed to the light frost and need to be monitored for possible damage.
Alfalfa harvest has begun, but the rainy conditions have halted that activity.
Extension educators continue to catch black cutworm moths in monitored traps, but there have been no reports of an intense capture.
Another week of good weather has allowed growers to pretty well finish corn planting and switch over to soybean. The exception to this is the southeastern portion of the region, where wetter soils have slowed progress somewhat in some areas. Corn development ranges from V1 to V4. Most fields appear to have uniform stands but are showing the effects of a week of cool growing conditions. Some corn replanting has been done where emergence was poor due to damage from storms a couple of weeks ago.
Wheat across the region is now at Feekes 10.5.1 (beginning flowering) or beyond. Wheat in the process of flowering is susceptible to Fusarium head blight (scab) if weather conditions are suitable for its development. While the weather in the previous week didn't favor scab development, thunderstorms rolled across the region early Wednesday morning, bringing heavy rain and some hail. Hopefully there will be a rapid return to drier conditions, with minimal disease progression.
Biennial weeds including musk thistle, poison hemlock, and cutleaf teasel are bolting, and musk thistle is beginning to bloom. The opportunity to use herbicides to effectively control these species in pastures and along roadsides is fast escaping. Once these weeds begin to flower, they often successfully produce viable seed even after an herbicide has been applied. It may be preferable to mow bolting plants and then quickly follow up with an herbicide application. Mowing should be done before the plants have actually begun to flower, however. Otherwise the mowing process will also disseminate viable seeds.
Corn planting progress ranges from 80% to 100%, dependent on location and rainfall. Quite a bit has emerged, and most stands are looking a little pale. In fact, for the GMO corn anyway (with the green seed treatment), the corn looked brighter in the bag than it does in the field, the result of too-cool temperatures and too-moist soil. A light frost occurred on the morning of May 9, but no great damage was done, although an occasional corn plant in at least one no-till field had foliage that froze to the ground.
Once soils dried out enough for farming to continue, corn replanting was the chore of the week in the south and west portions of the region. Some producers in Adams, Brown, Hancock, Pike, McDonough, Montgomery, Pike, and Schuyler counties saw quite a bit of replanting on corn that was planted 4 to 6 days before the rains of April 23 to 26 (3 to 5 inches and more), mostly in soils that were not well drained. There is more replanting this year than many have seen for quite a while.
Herbicide applications have not kept pace with planted corn acres. Some emerged corn has yet to receive an application, and some of that corn is non-GMO. A few grasses and broadleaves have emerged, but most fields are relatively clean.
Soybean planting ranges from 20% to 80% complete, again depending on where rains fell. A few fields are emerged. Some farmers are concerned with the cool, wet soils and soybean germination.
Wheat ranges from second joint to just headed. Hay fields are approaching harvest. Orchardgrass has headed, and fescue is just beginning to head.