Issue No. 5, Article 7/April 25, 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.
The weather pattern finally broke. Marion Shier, Extension educator in Livingston County, reported limited fieldwork starting late last week. In the ChampaignDecatur area, very little activity was apparent until April 21. In many areas the first sign of activity was burning crop residue that had accumulated at the high-water mark around the "ponds." This was followed by dry-fertilizer and anhydrous applications. Several farms now have a good start on corn planting.
There has been limited field activity, which was widespread since late last week until scattered storms went through the area on April 22. Most activity focused on application of anhydrous ammonia and preplant herbicides. There are a few cornfields planted, but an insignificant total.
Consistently warm temperatures have improved the condition of alfalfa, pastures, and wheat. Many wheat fields are showing small dead areas due to ice damage from last winter, but very few fields have been abandoned.
Though Extension educators monitoring black cutworm moth traps caught moths almost daily from April 16 to 21 due to the storm fronts moving through the area, an intense moth flight (9 or more months captured over 2 consecutive days) has not been reported. Due to the warmer temperatures some fields are showing some "green cover" from the emergence of winter annuals.
There has still been little or no progress on fieldwork due to wet field conditions. Just as soils begin to dry enough to carry equipment, another shower comes through to add to the delay.
Wheat is at Feeke's stage 7. There is some evidence of foliar diseases beginning to appear on lower leaves, but so far it is minor. Winter annual weed pressure is heavy in many fields.
Alfalfa is around 9 inches tall. Alfalfa weevil can be found in some fields, but pressure overall is still low.
Field conditions continue to be wet across most of the area. A few fields were dry enough to have anhydrous ammonia applied and corn planted before the rain last weekend. Soil temperatures are hovering in the mid-50s range, and producers are searching for fields dry enough to work.
Mike Roegge, Extension educator in Adams and Brown counties, reported an intense capture of black cutworm moths over the weekend. With the increased vegetation in many fields, these moths will soon be depositing eggs in fields across the area and should be monitored in future weeks.
Wheat fields range from Feeke's growth stage 5-6 in most places, with few disease reports. A few bird-cherry oat aphids are present but not at high levels. Winter annuals in no-till fields are being controlled with herbicide applications as well as final top-dress applications of nitrogen.
Alfalfa fields have resumed growth and look good following the winter.