Issue No. 5, Article 10/April 27, 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.
A brief break in the weather allowed a significant amount of corn planting to occur in the drier areas. Anhydrous ammonia was still being applied to many fields; corn planting will have to wait for the next "weather window" in those fields.
Established alfalfa stands are slowly recovering from the freeze injury, with new growth from the axillary buds.
Some wheat at the southern end of the region had entered the jointing stage prior to the freeze and was heavily damaged. Damage appears to be slight at the northern end of the region, where plants were just breaking dormancy, tillering, and starting to elongate.
Area-wide field activity began late last week and has continued through midweek. Activities focused on anhydrous ammonia application, secondary tillage, and corn planting. Corn planting estimates as of April 24 vary from 10% to 30% complete within the northern region.
Alfalfa fields still exhibit a brownish cast due to the previous cold weather, but fields appear to be recovering. However, first harvest of alfalfa will be delayed. As a reminder, soil temperature and moisture conditions are available at this Illinois State Water Survey Web site: www.sws.uiuc.edu/warm/agdata.asp.
An intense black cutworm moth capture (nine or more moths captured in one or two consecutive days) was reported in Lee County on April 23.
The weather continues to be the focus of crop agriculture in southern Illinois.
Wheat growers are still evaluating freeze-damaged fields. The level of foliage damage is easy to assess. Splitting plant stems allows quick evaluation of the wheat head and growing point. The real remaining question is the level of freeze damage to the lower stem. Some stems are brown and collapsed, others are damaged but not dead, and some have minimal damage. Hopefully the next week will allow an accurate determination of stem health and integrity.
Forage plants are attempting to slowly recover and regrow from freeze injury. A potentially early harvest has changed to a later reduced harvest.
Some corn has been planted; the amount varies by location. A number of farmers have limited their activities because of "heavy" soils and forecasted rainfall.
Tillage, nitrogen and chemical applications, and corn planting are in full swing around the region. We are about one to two weeks behind schedule, and recent scattered rainfall may set some planting operations even farther back.
Wheat is hanging on, and growth stages range from tiller to at least Feekes 7 stage. Most wheat plants are growing out okay but have lower leaves turning brown from frost and cold damage. A very small percentage of plants have tillers showing soft areas along the lower stem above and below the lowest node, indicating dead and dying tissue. Some barley yellow dwarf virus was found in fields of wheat following wheat.
Alfalfa regrowth is occurring mostly from the crown area, with less regrowth coming from axillary buds. Some alfalfa has been cut and baled in the southern part of the region. Alfalfa weevils have reappeared following the cold weather, so continue to scout.
Other insects being noted in high numbers in the central and eastern portions of Sangamon County are grubs, most likely to be Japanese beetle grubs.