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Issue No. 4, Article 11/April 21, 2006

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

The weather broke briefly the end of last week, and some field activity took place, primarily finishing anhydrous application, tillage, preplant chemicals, and winter annual burndowns. Very little corn planting has occurred.

Northern Illinois

The region received areawide precipitation on April 16, with reports ranging from 1 inch to more than 4. Associated with the April 16 storm, Extension educators reported intense black cutworm moth captures (nine moths caught over two consecutive days) in Ogle, Whiteside, and Stephenson counties. There has been limited fieldwork this week due to the rainfall; however, some corn planting occurred prior to the precipitation.

Wheat, pastures, and alfalfa are growing, and their condition appears good.

Southern Illinois

What a difference a week makes! Growers have been in the field almost nonstop since last week's report, and it appears that 25% to 50% of the corn is now in the ground in some areas. Ron Hines reports that soil temperature under grass sod at Dixon Springs was 63°F at 8 a.m. on April 19. Fields that have not been planted are being worked in preparation to plant. Some producers will be finished with corn by the end of this week, while others will just be getting started. With projected daytime temperatures in the mid-70s and warm soil temperatures, corn germination and emergence should be rapid. So far, black cutworm moth captures have been light in the south.

Wheat is progressing quickly and is now at Feeke's stage 8 to 9 in the northern part of the region and Feeke's stage 9 to 10 in the extreme south. There is little evidence of disease at this time, but bird cherry-oat aphids are present in impressive numbers, especially in heavily fertilized and dense stands. Wheat will begin heading in some areas during the next week, and decisions regarding fungicide applications to control head scab will soon need to be made.

As wheat approaches heading, growers should be alert for the potential for true armyworm damage. While Kentucky has been reporting impressive TAW moth captures in their traps, the numbers haven't been nearly as high in Illinois. Ron Hines reported finding a 3/8-inch armyworm larvae while sweeping pastures and wheat fields, so the larvae are present if few and far between at this point.

Alfalfa is now 18 to 22 inches tall. Alfalfa weevils are easily found in some fields, and scouting for this pest should continue from now through first cutting. Some spraying has been done to control weevil in the far south, but field-to-field variability means that you will need to get out and monitor what is happening at your location.

Biennial weeds such as bull thistle, musk thistle, and poison hemlock will begin bolting within the next week or so and are therefore past the best time for control using herbicides.

West-Central Illinois

Reports from across the area vary from almost done with corn planting to very little planted. The areas that have been planting report warm and dry soil conditions with a 1-inch root on corn within three days of planting. Rows of corn can already be seen in some of these fields. There is concern in the dry areas about incorporating herbicides. Areas that have received more rainfall in recent weeks are waiting on the next weather front to see if producers will be in the field or waiting until after the weekend to plant.

In general, the wheat conditions are good across the area. Alfalfa and pastures have put on growth in the past week along with the winter annuals. Some oats and alfalfa were seeded in areas last week.

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