Issue No. 21, Article 5/August 17, 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.
Soil moisture levels are adequate throughout most of the region as a result of numerous thunderstorms in the past 10 days. Many soybean fields have been treated for soybean aphids over the same period. Soybean aphid populations have decreased over the past week, but some fields remain above threshold. Soybean aphid predator populations continue to remain low.
Soybean sudden death syndrome (SDS) has become more prevalent throughout the region. White mold, downy mildew, and frogeye leaf spot also have been reported more frequently this week. Double-crop soybeans are more prevalent in Whiteside and Ogle counties compared to previous years.
Hay harvest has been occurring but difficult due to the repeated thunderstorms and high humidity. Late-summer seeding of forages in northern Illinois can be done up to September 1 (allow 6 weeks before the first killing frost). The last hay harvest during the growing season should be in late August to early September for the northern quarter of Illinois.
Toast may not be an agronomic term, but it does describe the current field conditions. There is some variability, but 99% of southern Illinois is very short on soil moisture.
Nearly all corn is mid- to late dent. Soybeans are trying to hold on with great difficulty, attempting to fill pods with very little available water.
Livestock producers have been feeding hay, a commodity in short supply.
Pest problems are limited.
Rain continues to be sparse across the region. Some areas have not seen measurable rain since early July, and large cracks are appearing in the soil as a sign of the degree of dryness.
The corn crop seems to have run out of water in many places. On the better soils it has hung on longer and will likely yield more at harvest. Silage harvest has been underway since last week, with producers commenting that it is drier than preferred due to the heat and the maturity of the corn. Farmers are reporting that harvest of some high-moisture corn will begin late this week, with anticipation that test weights will be lower than ideal due to late-season stress during grain-filling.
Many soybeans are waiting for a rain to continue grain filling. The reports of soybean aphids suggest that the hot, dry weather did not reduce populations as is normally expected. Sudden death syndrome is showing up in fields along with continued incidence of Septoria brown spot and downy mildew. Whiteflies continue to be an irritation for those scouting soybean fields.
The third cutting of alfalfa is complete, with mixed reports of quantity. Potato leafhoppers continue to plague the small amount of regrowth that has occurred since cutting. It was also noted that spring-planted alfalfa in the northern part of the region is struggling to make it through the hot and dry conditions. Some livestock producers have resorted to seeding turnips, oats, and rye for grazing this fall and winter. Hay is being fed in some areas, and cattle sales have also been made earlier than normal by farmers struggling with little forage and the need to purchase expensive hay.
Some dealers have already announced fall fertilizer prices. Farmers will need to figure the increase in this input price into crop budgets for the next year.