Issue No. 7, Article 12/May 12, 2006
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.
Corn planting is 90% complete throughout the region, with a large portion of those acres exhibiting plant emergence this week. Soybean planting ranges from 25% to 50% completion in various areas in northern Illinois. Alfalfa, wheat, and pastures appear good to excellent. Jim Morrison, Extension educator, reports that alfalfa harvest could begin next week in northwestern Illinois. According to the Illini PEAQ program, alfalfa in northwestern Illinois on May 8 ranged from 19 to 26 inches tall, with estimated relative feed value standing in the field of 217 in Boone County and 180 in southern Ogle County.
Black cutworm moth catches in traps monitored by Extension educators have decreased this week. However, a widespread intense moth flight occurred on April 17 in northern Illinois. Projected plant cutting date from this intense flight (300 heat units at 50°F) is May 23. Growers are encouraged to scout cornfields for pinhole leaf feeding prior to May 23. This spring's black cutworm moth trap catches have been the highest in a number of years, which warrants paying extra attention next week in emerged cornfields.
Rainfall throughout the region has been variable during the past week, with most of the heavier rain staying to the more southerly areas. Fieldwork has slowed, but some beans were getting planted earlier in the week. The soybean rust sentinel plot at St. Jacob on April 21 is at growth stage VC.
Corn ranges from V1 to V3, and most fields have excellent stands. In some fields, there is uneven emergence due to earlier dry conditions. There have been scattered incidences of economic black cutworm damage, and growers should be monitoring fields for this pest, plus white grubs and wireworms, now.
Wheat ranges from full bloom to early seed fill, depending on variety. Septoria leaf blotch is present on the lower canopies, and BYDV can be found in some fields, but overall the crop looks excellent. Thus far there is no evidence of head scab, leaf rust, or stripe rust, but continued wet and humid weather will increase the likelihood of these diseases' showing up at some point. In any event, the crop is past the stage where a fungicide to control head scab can be legally applied.
Alfalfa that was cut prior to the wet period has put on 4 inches of regrowth. Alfalfa that wasn't cut continues to deteriorate in quality.
Corn planting is basically done in the region, and a majority of that has emerged. The tallest fields are in the 3- to 4-leaf stage. Cutworms have been noted here and there, but nothing worth spraying. White grubs have also been a recent topic; lots of grubsapparently Japanese beetles in some areasbut little feeding on the crop itself.
So many soil insecticides and seed treatments are now used that many keep commenting on how quiet the early season seems to be any more.
Soybean planting was feverish the past week. The percentage planted varies across the region from 15% to 40% done.
Alfalfa weevil pressure continues to mount in the area, but natural control (zoophthora/ewinia) still seems fairly absent. Potato leafhoppers were found in several fields as well. Most fields in the region are very close to bud stage and will likely be cut during the next week or so as weather permits.
Wheat stage varies from just starting to head to fully headed out. Some impressive examples of viral disease can be found.