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.
With 2.5 to 4.5 inches of rain in the last 3 weeks and cool temperatures, almost no fieldwork has been done. Tillage equipment and planters are poised at many farmsteads waiting for the first sustained break in the weather.
Many areas received at least 2 inches of rain on April 8 and 9. This precipitation, along with the rain and snow received April 1 and 2, has limited most fieldwork across northern Illinois so far during April.
Some concern has been expressed about potential alfalfa winter injury due to the mild winter and then sudden temperature drops when there was no snow cover. Jim Morrison, Extension educator, encourages alfalfa growers to dig random plants and check the conditions of tap roots, crown and shoots. Consider renovating/abandoning the stand if there are less than six plants per square foot for a second-year stand or three plants per square foot for a third-year or older stand. Once alfalfa starts growing and is 4 to 6 inches tall, consider destroying the stand if there are less than 39 stems (note: stems, not plants) per square foot. Fifty-five alfalfa stems per square foot is considered optimum stand density.
Recent rain on top of already saturated soil has halted most fieldwork. Some early flights of black cutworm and true armyworm have been noted by Ron Hines at the Dixon Agricultural Experiment Station.
Omar Koester (Monroe and Randolph counties) indicated that there had been the start of some planting late last week. He had scouted some alfalfa fields and found alfalfa weevil feeding, with a few fields at threshold levels. He specifically mentioned shaking eight small larvae out of one alfalfa tip. He mentioned that most alfalfa is quite short (3 inches) and may be more subject to damage.
Cool temperatures and wet soil conditions have kept most farmers out of the field so far this spring. However, a significant number of corn acres were planted last week in the region north and west of Springfield.
A few ag chem dealers are reporting that some of their customers will be planting as much as 70 to 80% of their acres into corn this year if weather conditions allow it.
Winter annuals are becoming apparent in numerous fields this spring.
Most of the wheat acres have nitrogen applied this spring. Harmony application has also begun.