Issue No. 6, Article 9/May 2, 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.
Field work proceeded at a hectic pace last week. In the Decatur area some farmers were nearly finished with corn planting by the end of the week.
Since planting started, growing degree day accumulation has not been enough for emergence. Farmers finished with the better drained fields are going back to plant wet areas.
Wheat fields are at Feeke's stage 6, with few apparent problems so far.
Alfalfa fields have started growing again; dead areas from ponds, ice, and heaving are present in some of the more poorly drained fields.
The limited field activity in the region since last week's report has focused on application of anhydrous ammonia and preemergence herbicide. Very limited corn planting was done, and some oats were seeded late last week. Widespread precipitation on April 28 in the form of rainfall and snow flurries, coupled with limited drying conditions, has halted fieldwork for a few days. Extension educators monitoring black cutworm traps continued to catch moths during the past week, but no intense captures were reported.
Jim Morrison, crop systems Extension educator, reports some alfalfa winterkill across northern Illinois, typically in a spotty pattern within a field but commonly in low, wet areas.
The weather and wet fields continue to be the focus in southern Illinois. Conditions have improved slightly, and some fieldwork is progressing. Ammonia applications, some tillage, and limited corn planting have occurred. Farmers are anxious about the fieldwork delays.
Wheat is growth stage 8, probably a week later than average. Most wheat is also shorter than normally expected. Fields show excess water stress.
Alfalfa weevil feeding is easily noticed. Cool-season grass pastures are good to excellent.
Planting finally picked up steam in the west-central region, with varied levels of progress throughout the area and plenty of tillage work. Rainfall encountered earlier in the week will likely hold some producers back until Wednesday or Thursday, while others were able to hit fields on Tuesday. Some corn has emerged, and those early fields managed to skirt any frost injury. However, the cold weather did knock back soil temperatures.
Wheat in the west-central region seems to average about Feekes 6, with the first node of the plant just evident above the soil surface. That crop also skirted any injury from cold weather, looks relatively good except for some evidence of viral disease, and has become a little woolly here and there with winter annuals poking through. While some wheat did suffer a little winter injury, most damage has been restricted to small areas of the field.
It seems to be a good year for winter annuals, with plenty of henbit purpling no-till fields in the area and lots of chickweed. This is a poor combination with the recent news of some intense black cutworm captures in our region (specifically noted by Mike Roegge in Adams-Brown Extension) and with some exceptional adult flights in Missouri.
Alfalfa continues to progress well, with some fields nearing a foot in height and little evidence of cold injury.