Issue No. 6, Article 9/April 29, 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.
The weather turned cool and rainy. There hasn't been much activity in the fields this week. The predominant activity on rural roads has been the last of the seed bean deliveries.
Most of the corn has been planted; some strip-till and no-till fields are still waiting. Most planted fields have emerged, but with cold conditions, development has been very slow. Air temperatures dropped to freezing on Sunday morning, April 24. Some corn leaf tips appear to have been "nipped."
Winter annual weeds have continued to develop despite cool conditions. We have had some calls on butterweed control.
Most of the region received 0.5 to 0.7 inch of precipitation during the week of April 17 through the 23rd, which halted fieldwork only for a few days. The amount of completed corn planting varies greatly throughout the northern region, with overall estimates suggesting more than 50% completion. Soybean planting began in most of the region early in the week.
Extension educators monitoring black cutworm moth traps have not reported any "intense" moth captures. Winter annual weed pressure in untilled fields is lower compared to the last few years, which is a pleasant surprise, particularly since the region experienced unseasonably warm weather during the first few weeks of April.
The last week has brought above-normal to well-below-normal tem-peratures. Fieldwork has progressed, but rainfall has stopped field activities in most locations. Approximately two-thirds of the corn has been planted, but that varies widely with location and individual grower.
Giant ragweed, smartweed, and other weeds have joined the winter annuals in the very actively growing category. Cressleaf groundsel continues to be the most noticeable weed.
Winter wheat is catching up on growth stages and is now at GS 9-10. A few early-heading fields can be observed.
Every-other-day rains have kept farmers out of the field in many areas of the west-central region for most of the past week.
Some superficial frost and cold injury, a result of near-30û temperatures encountered Saturday night and Sunday morning, is evident in corn (distribution of that injury appeared irregular in many fields), but the subterranean growing point still appears firm and healthy. That cold snap, combined with a week of less-than-stellar weather, has placed some real downward pressure on soil temperatures. Two-inch soil temperatures taken at 7:30 a.m. dropped as low as 46û during the last week, as recorded by Adams-Brown Extension, raising concerns that opportunistic soil pests (root-rotting pathogens in particular) may damage plants in some fields.
There are no significant insect problems to report in corn other than the occasional gnawed-on seedling. The likely culprits, often undetectable by even the best scouts, may be exceptionally small cutworms. Corn flea beetle numbers in the west-central region are impressive but still subthreshold.
Nitrogen applications in corn continued last week, squeezed in just ahead of recent rainfall, with cost per unit raising the eyebrows of many producers, and early-planted beans have swollen to "lima sizes." Wheat (flag leaf now emerged in some areas) and alfalfa are growing very fast. Alfalfa still looks pretty good, although alfalfa weevil damage has picked up over the last several days (a few fields have already been sprayed around the Springfield area). Wheat seems to be struggling, colorwise.