Issue No. 13, Article 10/July 2, 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.
The rain has finally slacked off. Some farmers have been able to return to the fields for the first time since Memorial Day. With the exception of the slowly drying ponds, corn still looks good to excellent. Tasseling and silking are under way in a majority of fields. Gray leaf spot and rust are starting to show up.
Soybean field conditions vary widely by planting date, drainage, and herbicide program. Plants are flowering. Herbicide application is the current priority in many fields.
Precipitation since Wednesday, June 23, has ranged from 1.5 to over 2 inches in most areas of the region. The storm of June 23 brought high winds, which resulted in some wind-damaged corn in the region. Hail damage was reported in central Lee County from the same storm.
Overall, the corn crop appears in good shape compared to other areas of the state, except for some drowned-out areas that are minimal in size and frequency. Some early corn has just begun to tassel, with many fields in the region not far behind. Soybeans are in full bloom, but it has been challenging to make timely herbicide applications due to earlier wet soil conditions.
Wheat harvest has not begun, and alfalfa harvest has been challenging. Pastures are in excellent condition.
Extension educators monitoring insect traps during the past few weeks have reported only sporadic, minimal western bean cutworm moth catches. However, Japanese beetles are abundant once again this year.
According to the latest weekly USDA crop report, corn silking ranges from around 25% in the northern portion of the region up to 65% in the south. With bright sunshine, adequate soil moisture, and temperatures moderating into the low to mid-80s this week, prospects for successful pollination and kernel set look to be excellent. Gray leaf spot lesions have become obvious on lower leaves in some fields, and differences in susceptibility among hybrids are easy to observe.
Soybean flowering has also begun, as nights start to get longer after the first day of summer. Late-planted soybeans are still a long way away from canopy closure, and sunlight hitting bare ground is wasted energy that won't be converted to yield. There are still a few fields that have not received an herbicide application, although calling them soybean fields at this point may be a stretch of the imagination.
Wet weather during the last week continued to keep producers out of the field. Two days or more of field work were possible in some locations, but many fields are still untouchable. Wheat harvest has started, but test weights are low and some loads are being rejected due to the presence of vomitoxin.
Corn has begun to tassel, and wet weather has resulted in the sudden onset of gray leaf spot in some locations. Yellow seems to be the consistent pallor of many cornfields in central Illinois due to a lack of nitrogen in poorly drained soils, and stand height is variable to say the least.
Soybean fields range from V3 to R1, with some fields yet to be planted; in some cases they have even been scrapped for the year. The lack of a window for herbicide application has created unprecedented weed pressure in fields across the area, with some producers preparing to walk beans in a last effort to get the fields clean. Root rots plague the bean crop in some locations as well, with some producers having attempted to establish a stand three times.
In the insect arena, western corn rootworm beetles have emerged; Japanese beetles have also made their presence known,pummeling trees and yards and anxiously awaiting the arrival of silks in cornfields.