Issue No. 4, Article 12/April 15, 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.
Widespread rainfall on Tuesday, April 12, halted field activities in most of the region. Most operators welcomed the precipitation because of the dry topsoil. Seed bed preparation and anhydrous ammonia application were the major activities prior to the rainfall.
Beginning last weekend, limited corn planting was observed throughout the region. Jim Morrison, Extension educator, Rockford Center, reports observing several alfalfa fields exhibiting some winter injury from winter ice sheeting and late fall cutting while the crop was still growing.
Rainfall early in the week, varying by area from just a few tenths of an inch up to several inches, has brought fieldwork to a halt. Over the past weekend and prior to the rain, seed bed preparation and corn planting throughout the region were in high gear. Some producers are finished planting corn, while others have yet to start.
Wheat is at Feeke's 6 (first node visible), and little disease pressure is evident. Thin stands in areas are allowing winter annuals such as field pennycress to become obvious in fields that did not have Harmony applied earlier. Some fields have been abandoned because of drowned-out areas and generally poor stands.
Alfalfa is 13 to 14 inches tall and in excellent condition. There was one report of a producer in the Jackson County area spraying for alfalfa weevil. While it is doubtful that the infestation was at economic threshold levels, growers should begin scouting for this pest soon.
Rains came through the area this week, leaving 2 inches or more in some locations. For producers in the extreme western portion of the region, the rain was very welcome, as some had stopped planting because of dry soil conditions. Some producers are done with corn planting, and otheres have just started in the past week. Rapid planting progress has been made. Some of the early-planted (March) corn has emerged and is approximately 2 inches high. Black cutworm moths have been reported from several sources in the area.
A field or two of soybean have been planted. Early-morning, 2-inch soil temperatures declined almost 15 degrees from the beginning to the middle of the week.
Alfalfa growth has responded to the warm weather with accelerated growth. Alfalfa weevil larvae can be found now in some alfalfa fields.
Those fields in which no tillage or early preplant herbicides have been placed are beginning to get "wooly" with winter annual weeds.