Issue No. 3, Article 10/April 13, 2007
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.
There have been some applications of dry fertilizer, manure, and anhydrous ammonia in the region during the past week, but they were very limited because of wet soil conditions. Alfalfa and oat seeding has also been very limited. Field activities were halted on April 11 due to precipitation in the form of snow and rain. Forecasts predicted snow accumulation of 2 to 5 inches for April 11 and 12 throughout a large portion of the northern region.
Last week's cold weather, especially during April 5 through 7, should have a minimal effect on most wheat in the northern area of the region, as those fields have not yet jointed. However, wheat that was farther along in development exhibited cold injury prior to April 5. Jim Morrison, crop systems Extension educator, suggests the cold temperature could have caused damage to some alfalfa fields depending on the age of the stand and current plant height. Growers are encouraged to check the condition of wheat and alfalfa stems and crowns and also alfalfa taproots for cold injury.
Dave Feltes, IPM Extension educator, reported capturing seven black cutworm moths on April 3 in Whiteside County.
The obvious topic of conversation all week has been the condition of both wheat and alfalfa. Wheat condition is highly variable in the south, with some fields obviously failed while others appear to have come through with minimal damage. Wheat in the more southerly counties seems to have been more seriously impacted because of its more advanced maturity. Even wheat that appears normal other than leaf burn may have experienced freeze injury close to the ground line and might lodge later as the head emerges. Only time will tell.
First-cutting alfalfa has pretty much been lost, with many fields frosted down to within a couple inches of the ground. Had weather and field conditions permitted, it would have been advantageous to have harvested fields early to salvage the growth that was there. However, Tuesday night's rain eliminated this option. Regrowth may occur from either axillary stem buds or crown buds and therefore be very uneven. Once regrowth begins, the alfalfa should not be cut until it is well into bloom so crowns and root systems can recover more fully. With this scenario, when the first cutting is finally taken it will contain a fair amount of dead stem tissue and not be very high quality. Continue to monitor alfalfa weevil pressure to insure that regrowth is not damaged.