Issue No. 13, Article 8/June 20, 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.
Corn crop condition varies tremendously throughout the region. Taller, healthier corn is more consistently observed in the southern third of the region, particularly south of Interstate 80. The remainder of the region has some good corn, but many fields have uneven heights and yellow plants, mostly due to wet soil conditions during the past three weeks. Drier conditions this week have allowed fieldwork to pick up, with side-dressing nitrogen and postemergence herbicide applications the main activities. Weed competition in soybeans is very common throughout the region, but the current focus has been on finishing herbicide applications in corn. Soybean emergence has been good, but many fields are expressing a yellowish-green color. Russ Higgins, IPM extension educator, reported observing some soybean aphids in Grundy County.
Alfalfa harvest continues this week throughout the area and is about 3 to 4 weeks later than normal. Several reports have said the wheat looks very good, with minimal or no disease pressure observed.
Finally we have acceptable field conditions in many locations, and soybean planting is proceeding. The wheat crop is very close to mature, and harvest will start within days.
River counties, especially along the Mississippi, are concerned about rising water levels.
The rain has stopped, and the corn is starting to grow out of some of the yellow discoloration in the central, western, and northern portions of the region. Further south, near Quincy, very few cornfields look good, and most have uneven growth. The average corn stage is V5 to V7, and height ranges from 10 to 23 inches. In the Quincy area, a few fields of corn still need planting, and producers will try until next week to get that corn in the ground. There is a mad rush to apply Roundup to beat the 30-inch rows before they close.
Soybeans in general are not growing as well as the corn. Fields with beans germinating are at the V2 to V3 stage. Populations are quite variable depending on how much rain a field got after planting. There are still a few fields throughout the region needing to be planted in the areas that received more rain. Near Quincy, closer to 65% of the beans still need to be planted or replanted.
Wheat is turning color a little too rapidly, causing concern because with delayed heading this spring there has not been enough time for proper grain fill. Many diseases are evident on the flag leaf, including rust, viruses, and scab. Some fields in the Quincy area have up to 10% to 15% of heads infected with scab. In addition, some fields diagnosed with Pythium spp. and Pseudomonas spp. are showing foliar symptoms associated with Pythium root rot and bacterial leaf blight.
The first cutting of alfalfa is about 75% to 95% done. Many fields that were cut and wind-rowed received rain, delaying baling, but the rest of the first cutting will go quickly given the 10-day forecast for warmer, dry weather. A good amount of hay has been cut in the past day or two as rains have stopped.