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Issue No. 4, Article 11/April 16, 2004

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

Northern east-central Illinois. Easter weekend, the fields dried out enough for fieldwork to start up again. Despite cool conditions, planters popped up quickly all across the prairie, but most of the activity is still field preparation (fertilizer, herbicide, and tillage).

Southern east-central Illinois. Cooler temperatures have returned, slightly reducing the urge to plant in this area. The application of anhydrous ammonia is a major portion of the activity the past several days. Most planting that has occurred has been on irrigated land or predominantly sandy soils without irrigation. Most winter wheat is in good to excellent condition and shows good to excellent winter survival.

Northern Illinois

The weather remained dry throughout the region last week, which resulted in considerable field activity. Activity focused on secondary tillage and anhydrous ammonia application. Also, early preplant herbicide application, dry fertilizer application, and alfalfa and oat seeding occurred. A very limited amount of corn has been planted throughout the entire region. Winter annuals have been observed throughout the region, and some early preplant and/or burndown herbicides are being applied to address the problem.

Temperatures have been below average the past 10 days but are expected to be above average starting April 15. Jim Morrison, Extension educator, reported 4-inch soil temperature in a Stephenson County untilled corn stalk field to be 50°F at 4:00 p.m. on April 13.

Southern Illinois

Fieldwork has resumed during the past week, with some corn planting occurring throughout the region. Corn planted in late March to early April along the I-70 corridor has yet to emerge.

Winter annual weeds are growing rapidly, providing ideal egg-laying sites for black cutworm. Common lambsquarters, giant ragweed, and smartweed are also emerging. Ron Hines, Dixon Springs Research Center, reports intense captures of black cutworm moths at several locations, including St. Clair, Pulaski, and Pope counties. This emphasizes the need for scouting corn during the last week of April and the first two weeks in May.

Wheat development averages around Feekes stage 6. Wheat looks very good overall, though some fields show irregularities that may be due to nitrogen loss from very early applications. Some early-planted fields are showing laboratory-confirmed barley yellow dwarf virus infections. With the predicted return of normal to above average temperatures, wheat development should progress rapidly.

Alfalfa growers should begin to scout for alfalfa weevils, especially in the southernmost part of the region.

West-Central Illinois

Corn planting has resumed at a rapid pace, with the predictions of dry and warmer conditions. Some producers have finished, while others are just beginning. Very little, if any, plant emergence has been observed with the earliest plantings; however, this will probably occur very soon with the rising soil temperatures.

No pest problems have been noticed yet; however, intense black cutworm moth catches have been reported in the western part of the region. The first days of cutting activity by black cutworm can be anticipated after the accumulation of 300 degree-days from the date of the first intense capture.

Wheat looks very good in most areas and is growing rapidly, with most of it in Feekes growth stages 5-7. Very few disease problems have been reported, but garlic and winter annual weeds are appearing in some fields that do not have a herbicide application.

Alfalfa is growing rapidly, and with the rising temperatures, alfalfa weevil hatch is taking place in most fields. Plant height measurements in the region will begin next week and be reported on the PEAQ Web site. Contact your local Extension office for more information.

Some agribusinesses have indicated a significant increase in sales this year for soybean seed treatments and inoculants.

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