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Issue No. 10, Article 8/June 11, 2010

Regional Reports

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.

East-Central Illinois

The northern part of the area saw major storm activity over the weekend (of June 5). Another big rain moved across the region Tuesday night, dropping from .2 to more than 2 inches, with the heaviest amounts in DeWitt, Piatt, Champaign, and Vermilion counties. Until the most recent rains, lighter and more scattered precipitation allowed field activity to continue across most of the area. Corn development is continuing at a fast pace. Some farmers are still trying to catch up and get their nitrogen on with dwindling options. Some "over-the-top" broadcasts of liquid N have burned leaves.

There are still a few scattered soybean fields that need to be planted. Crop conditions in most soybean fields are good to excellent, with the possible exception of weed control. While many fields look clean, others have not had any herbicide applied and in some areas are solid green.

Weather and residue created a "perfect storm" in one DeWitt County no-till soybean field. Several years of continuous corn had created very high residue. After planting in May, the field emerged normally and appeared to be progressing normally. On Memorial Day the farmer first noticed some areas of the field that did not look as green, and by the next Friday soybean seedlings were becoming very hard to find in many areas of the field. Scouting revealed a very high slug population in the residue as well as late in-star cutworms. The cutworms were pupating past the stage of concern. In hopes of deterring the slugs, the farmer was rotary hoeing and treating the worst-affected areas with metaldehyde. Most seedlings were still present but had been completely stripped. However, most still appeared to have axillary tissue and were starting to regrow.

Northern Illinois

The main activities this past week have focused on finishing up side-dressing nitrogen fertilizer and applying post┬Čemergence herbicides. The region experienced widespread precipitation on Saturday (June 5) and Tuesday; totals ranged from 0.8 to 1.5 inches, with heavier amounts in the eastern portion of the region. All the rainfall means growers have been restricted to the "drier" fields for applying herbicides, and some fields are starting to become quite weedy.

Corn and soybeans are growing well with the available moisture, but there are still uneven lighter green areas in some cornfields. Soybeans look very good, though some fields have gotten very weedy.

Extension educators have begun monitoring insect traps for a wide spectrum of species and will report catch totals in future issues of the Bulletin.

Alfalfa growers are reminded to monitor regrowth for potato leafhopper infestations.

Southern Illinois

Corn development is at V9-V11 and is well into its exponential growth phase. While most fields appear to have excellent color, continuing wet conditions have resulted in non-uniform growth in poorly drained areas. Weed management continues to be an issue in some fields, complicated by the fact that the crop has passed the label cutoff for many herbicides.

Growers are working around thunderstorms to finish soybean planting, and untouched fields are still easy to find. Many fields are still wetter than ideal for good seedbed preparation. In spite of less-than-ideal conditions, the crop looks good so far. Full-season and double-crop soybean planting will likely overlap again this year.

Wheat fields are turning brown and approaching hard dough stage. Dry sunny weather is needed to facilitate final drying and harvest.

West-Central Illinois

It's amazing how fast the crops are growing!

The word on the street seems to be that the corn in the west-central region looks either really good or really bad--there is no middle ground. Planting date and soil drainage appear to be the two deciding factors. Most fields that have had drainage issues required replanting and now show very noticeably uneven stands. There have also been reports of yellow, stunted plants, most likely due to standing water or other herbicide-related issues.

Early planted corn is waist-high, but most corn is 20 to 24 inches tall. The rapid growth phase has begun, and many fields will be tasseling by July 4. There have been some reports of herbicide breaks in corn. We are seeing the nutrient deficiency symptoms showing up that have been attributed to the environment. There are few pest reports in corn at this time, though cutworm moths are still showing up in the trap in Montgomery County.

Most soybeans have been planted in the region, though some areas that received heavy rain remain about 50% unplanted. Other areas need replanting as a result of downpours. Soybean fields look good in places that missed the heavy rains, with the earliest plantings at V3-V4. There have been reports of early-season Phytophthora that has reduced soybean stands. This may be a good year for seed treatments. The only pest report on soybeans is a soybean sample of cutworm feeding submitted to the Plant Clinic--cutworm included. This is not very common, but the cutworms must be hungry!

Wheat is past pollination and into grain fill in the northern part of the region and starting to turn in the southern part. Quite a few diseases have appeared in wheat, such as various leaf diseases and scab. With the lack of tillering, there is not much hope for record yields.

The first cutting of alfalfa is about 75% done. Rain is slowing the progress and making it difficult to get any high-quality hay into a bale.

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