Issue No. 2, Article 6/April 1, 2005
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.
Prior to last weekend's rain and colder weather, a lot of nitrogen and fertilizer applications were happening across east-central Illinois. That activity came to a halt, but now the temperatures have increased; after a couple of days of sunny weather, planters are being brought out of the shed on many farmsteads.
Very limited fieldwork has occurred throughout the region as of March 29. Activity is expected to increase throughout the week, assuming rainfall doesn't halt activities. Some oat and alfalfa seeding began early in the week due to the drier soil conditions. Jim Morrison, extension educator at Rockford Center, and Lyle Paul, agronomist at Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center in Shabbona, report that timely seeded wheat has begun to green up, showing little ill effects from the winter. Jim reports most wheat in the far northern areas to be at Feekes stage 3 and suggests that browning leaf tips due to winter temperatures and wind should be only cosmetic. There was some concern earlier in the winter with possible ice damage (ice sheeting), but that now appears to be limited.
There was a real flurry of fieldwork activity, and then the rains came. Soils are saturated at this time. Some areas have up to 25% of fields with primary tillage completed. There has been no significant amount of corn planted.
Wheat is in growth stages 4 and 5 and is actively growing. Many poorly drained fields have suffered from very wet winter conditions. March growing-degree day accumulation is less than 50% of average. Wheat, forages, and even weed growth are behind what is normally expected.
There isn't much activity in the west-central region other than field preparation, fertilizer application, and the occasional early planting of a cornfield. A lot of nitrogen went on during the last 2 to 3 weeks. Wheat is greening up and tillering (some educators note reduced tillering in late-planted wheat), and many educators from our region report severe damage to wheat from water in poorly drained areas. "Greenup" of winter annuals and de-tection of wild garlic have again highlighted weed control issues for that crop. Pasture establishment and spring seeding of alfalfa continue as some producers mull renovation one last time. If the weather holds, a lot of corn will be planted starting this weekend.