Issue No. 3, Article 8/April 11, 2008
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.
Continued rainfall throughout the region has prevented any field work. Additional precipitation and possible snow flurries are predicted during the end of the week. There have not been any reports of oat or alfalfa seeding in northwestern Illinois. Lyle Paul, agronomist at the University of Illinois Agronomy Research Center near DeKalb, reports some winter wheat kill in areas that were under ice for an extended period. Overall, many winter wheat fields throughout the region have a few areas of winter kill, but the areas are very minimal in each field.
Rainfall during the past week has become spottier, allowing some fields to actually drain off surface-water ponding while others remain saturated. Wheat continues to develop normally, and overall it looks much better than one might expect considering how wet it has been. Some growers are having nitrogen aerially applied on fields that did not receive it earlier in the spring. Fields that have not had nitrogen applied are beginning to lose color, and areas that have held ponded water are yellow.
Some tillage, nitrogen and chemical applications, and corn planting operations are beginning, but most are on hold due to the cold and rainy weather. A little anhydrous has been applied in some areas between the rains and in regions with lighter, sandier soils. Soil temperatures are hovering around 50F.
Wheat is continuing to green up nicely. Some nitrogen top-dressing is getting done in between rains.
A lot of soil erosion, mostly along natural waterways and field edges, is apparent from the heavy rains on frozen soil earlier this year. Erosion is particularly bad in fields tilled last fall.