Issue No. 21, Article 6/August 18, 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.
The corn and soybean crops appear very good throughout most of the region, except on some of the lighter soils. Soybean aphid populations continue to increase, but very few reports have been received concerning economic populations.
Sudden death syndrome disease (SDS) in soybeans has become more prevalent in some areas during the past week. Growers experiencing SDS in soybeans in the same location as in previous years are encouraged to collect soil samples and have them screened for soybean cyst nematode.
Just a reminder: the Illinois Forage Expo will be held Friday, August 25, at Hildebrandt Farms, located east of South Beloit on State Line Road. The event will include educational presentations on forage production and feeding forages, forage equipment field demonstrations, and commercial exhibits. The site can be reached by going north of Belvidere about 16 miles on Route 76, then west 1-1/2 miles on State Line Road. Watch for the signs.
Rainfall throughout the south continues to be spotty, and many areas remain extremely dry. As a result, crop conditions are quite variable, depending on location. Corn that has not received adequate rainfall is almost completely brown and has undergone fair amounts of kernel abortion. Fields that experienced hail damage from the storms of late July are heavily infected with ear rots. Extremely stunted or insect-damaged ears show Aspergillus infection and may be at risk for aflatoxin contamination.
Pastures are in very poor condition overall, and alfalfa regrowth in the last 30 days has been slow, making growers wonder if taking a fourth cutting is worth the effort.
Corn is mostly dented, and about 50% has reached black layer. Many fields tipped back the ears ranging from 1 to 4 inches. Some test weights may be lowered due to the rate that the crop has matured. Gray leaf spot and northern leaf blight can easily be found. Harvest may start in fewer than 30 days in some areas, but it may be delayed this year considering the higher drying rates. One report from the Adams-Brown County area stated that some corn may only yield as much as 40 bushels an acre due to the hot and dry conditions this season. Silage harvest has been continuing across the area.
Soybeans have improved due to recent rainfall. Fields range from R4 to R5 and are over waist high. Septoria is common, and SDS and brown stem root are starting to show. Aphid populations range from zero to a few but remain below threshold levels at this point. There is concern that numbers may be increasing with the cooler temperatures, and the need to spray before the beans mature is questionable. It will depend on how fast aphid populations increase in relation to maturity.
A large proportion of third-cutting alfalfa got rained on, some up to three times. Much of it was round-baled for beef cattle. Hay producers are now looking for the fourth cutting to go better.
Pasture conditions range from dormant to improving, depending on whether the area received any rainfall. Producers are also preparing for fall pasture seeding.