Issue No. 8, Article 4/May 16, 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 slowed considerably over the last week. In the Champaign-Bloomington-Decatur area more farmers have finished corn planting. Those who have were enjoying the break caused by the most recent rainfall. Most planted fields have emerged and look very good, except for the wettest areas. Soybean planting was underway prior to the rain. Wheat fields are around Feekes stage 9. Doug Gucker, Piatt County Extension, reported intense black cutworm moth captures on Saturday and Sunday nights (8 and 4 moths, respectively).
Don Frederick, Extension county director from the southern end of the east-central region, reports, "There's not been much headway made in the last seven days here in the Jasper/Cumberland area and surrounding counties. Field conditions are extremely wet, and this area continues to get more rainfall. Some corn fields are suspect of being replanted while others will make decent stands. It appears that fieldwork will be at a standstill for several more days. Most wheat fields have reached Feekes growth stage 10, with some fields expressing (excess) moisture stress. No flowering has been seen in this area as of yet."
Widespread precipitation on May 11 halted fieldwork for several days as most of the northern region received 1 to 1.5 inches of rainfall. Scattered thunderstorms also went through the region on May 13 and 14. Planting progress was made last week, with corn completion estimates ranging from 60% to 75% throughout the region. Very few soybean acres have been planted yet.
Several extension educators still report sporadic catches of black cutworm moths, but no intense catch was reported last week. Dave Feltes, IPM extension educator, reported observing a few 2nd-instar alfalfa weevil larvae, but the infestation level was less than 5%.
Emerged winter annuals have become very common in untilled fields. Wheat and pastures appear in good condition.
Planting progress and hay harvest ground to a halt during the past week, as a mix of showers and thunderstorms dumped an additional 3.5 to 5.5 inches of rain across much of the south. Fields that were only marginally dry enough for planting to begin with are once again totally saturated. Once the rain stops it will require several days of sunshine and wind before fieldwork can resume. Hopefully what little corn that was planted immediately before this latest wet period will not need to be replanted.
Wheat growth stage ranges from Feekes 10.0 to 10.5.1, depending on variety and location. The decision period for whether to apply a fungicide for head scab suppression is imminent. Growers should also be scouting fields closely for potential armyworm infestations. A raincoat and hip waders would be good additions to the normal scouting tools.
The amount of field activity varies widely over the west-central region. Corn planting ranges from 35% in Adams County to 95% in other counties. The corn has emerged in fields lucky enough to get planted a few weeks ago. That is less than 25% in even the driest counties. There appear to be very few problems yet other than cool, wet conditions causing pale green color in the young plants. Keep an eye on fields planted early, as black cutworms could begin cutting as soon as May 20, according to trap counts.
Very few soybeans have been planted.
Alfalfa looks very good and is in either late vegetative or early bloom stage.
Wheat looks good as well, with only a few diseases being found in random fields. Most wheat is at or slightly past Feekes 8 (flag leaf emerged).