Issue No. 7, Article 10/May 9, 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.
Fieldwork continued at a rapid pace. In the Champaign-Bloomington-Decatur area many farmers have finished corn planting, and the rest are well on their way. The first planted fields are starting to emerge and look very good. Soybean planting has started. Wheat fields are at Feekes stage 7-8.
Don Frederick, University of Illinois Extension county director from the southern end of the east-central region (the Newton-Effingham area), reports that "a bunch of headway has occurred since last Wed. in regard to corn planting. We had no major weather interruptions and many acres of corn have been planted in the past 7 days. I would say this end of the EC Region is at or near 80% planted. I know of no activity regarding the planting of soybeans at this time. We have had some spotty showers this morning and I would say most everyone welcomed them."
Fieldwork has been common throughout the region from last weekend until it was halted in many areas due to precipitation on May 7. Corn planting was the main activity, followed by secondary tillage, fertilizer application, and herbicide application. Emerged winter annuals are very common in untilled fields.
Extension educators monitoring black cutworm moth traps continue to report captures throughout the area. However, only one intense moth capture (9 or more moths captured over two consecutive days) was reported, on May 5 in Lee County.
Jim Morrison, crop systems extension educator, reports wheat at Feekes stage 6 and alfalfa at 16 to 17 inches high in northwestern Illinois. Remember that the suggested alfalfa seeding deadline in northern Illinois is approximately May 10.
Drier weather during the past week has allowed growers to finally make measurable progress in the field. Herbicide applications, seedbed preparation, nitrogen applications, and corn planting were all going on at a hectic pace. The latest planting report estimates that around 17% of the corn was in the ground in the south on May 5. Thunderstorms rolling through on Wednesday and early Thursday put another damper on further progress.
Wheat is at Feekes stage 10. A number of fields received fungicide applications early in the week to control foliar diseases. Tan spot can be found on the lower canopy, and viral disease symptoms can be found on some varieties. As wheat approaches flowering during the upcoming week, the potential for Fusarium head scab will increase. Penn State University has a Web-based scab prediction tool that can help growers make fungicide application decisions: click on "risk map tool" at www.wheatscab.psu.edu.
Alfalfa is at the early bud stage, and harvest has begun as growers try to get it out of the field between rain showers. Alfalfa weevils are causing noticeable damage in many fields, so fields that are harvested rather than treated with an insecticide should be closely monitored during the upcoming week to insure that regrowth isn't being affected by continued weevil feeding.
Corn planting varies widely throughout the region based on rainfall events of the past two weeks. In the extreme west, progress has been hampered by frequent rains, and a number of producers have yet to plant any of the crop. As you progress eastward, more progress has been made, and some producers are very close to completion of corn planting. Corn has been extremely slow to emerge due to cold soil temperatures. Some of the crop was planted under somewhat poor soil conditions, which may hamper emergence as well, as the drying soils are becoming very dense.
Alfalfa growth has not been hampered by these cooler and wetter conditions. Growth has been excellent. Grass growth has been noticeably slower, possibly because it has been under severe stress the past two years due to very dry soil conditions and overgrazing. Some producers are reporting loss of orchardgrass stands in pastures.
Wheat growth has been excellent as well, with very little disease development noted. The most advanced fields are at Feekes 8 (flag leaf emerged).
Black cutworm moth flight has been reported as rather strong for the past 2 to 3 weeks.