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Issue No. 9, Article 8/May 23, 2008

Regional Reports

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.

Northern Illinois

Corn planting for the northern region was nearly 95% complete by midweek. A majority of the early-planted corn emerged late last week and is pale green/yellow due to the cool environment. Growing degree-day accumulation for the northern region from May 1 to May 18 is less than 70% of normal. Several observations of a light frost were reported in Ogle and Whiteside counties on May 16.

Soybean planting was over 50% complete by midweek. Some untilled fields have become very weedy with winter annuals, and many growers have been tilling fields in place of applying a preplant burndown herbicide prior to soybean planting.

Winter wheat is at Feekes stage 8, and there have been no reports of leaf diseases. Alfalfa pastures and wheat have been growing very well and appear excellent. Jim Morrison, crop systems extension educator, reports some alfalfa being harvested; as of May 19, alfalfa in several northwest Illinois counties had estimated relative feed value of 190, according to PEAQ (peaq.traill.uiuc.edu--see the related article in the Bulletin, May 9, 2008).

Southern Illinois

It's beginning to sound like a broken record to report no planting progress due to wet field conditions in southern Illinois. This week's Illinois Crop and Weather Report shows 65% of the corn planted in the southwest district with 15% emerged, and 45% planted in the southeast district with 25% emerged. The difference in percentages between planting and emergence indicates that a lot of corn has been sitting in saturated soils for nearly two weeks and will need replanting. Growers are faced with the dilemma of how best to destroy poor stands of glyphosate-resistant corn in fields that may be too wet or erodible to till effectively.

The wheat crop is at or beyond Feekes 10.5.1 and remains the bright spot so far. Foliar disease pressure is still low despite the prolonged wet period. The primary concern now is the potential for Fusarium head scab, and some aerial applications have been made.

West-Central Illinois

Farmers in western Illinois have been taking advantage of the warmer temperatures and drier conditions over the past week to catch up on planting. Unfortunately, more rain and cool weather are in the forecast for the next few days.

Much of the corn crop is planted, with variances depending on the area and the amount of rainfall received. Some producers on the eastern edge of the region, where fields received scattered rainfall, are completed or 90% to 95% planted. Western and southern areas of the region are 70% to 80% done, with scattered wet fields remaining to be planted. Corn is emerging, and in some places about 50% of planted fields are germinating. Fields are showing emergence problems due to soil crusting. About 70% of the corn planted in the Quincy area will be rotary-hoed to help break the crust once fields dry out. No-till fields are also receiving some type of tillage to expose soil and get it to dry out in order to help corn emergence. Emerged corn is showing some signs of slow growth, yellowing, purpling, and sandblastingall symptoms associated with germination in cool, wet, and windy weather. Some producers are contemplating replanting fields that are having trouble germinating. Intense captures of black cutworm moths are still occurring. Injury by cutworms has been reported in some fields around Quincy. Hancock County has a lot of reported cutting and spraying for cutworms in river bottoms. Continue to be vigilant and monitor corn fields for black cutworm damage.

Soybean fields are being aggressively planted, with 20% completed in the eastern part of the region to about 40% to 45% in the western half. Some of the beans planted 2 to 3 weeks ago are being replanted because seed sitting in cool, wet soil is rotting and not germinating.

Alfalfa and wheat are looking good. Some fungal diseases, such as Septoria and rust, have been reported. Fungicides are being applied aerially in McDonough and surrounding counties. Very few fungal and virus diseases on wheat have been noted around the Quincy area, although aerial applications of fungicides on wheat have been occurring for the past week.

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