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.
Most of the region received .5 to .7 inch of rain April 3 through April 5. Some areas in northwest Illinois received several inches of snowfall on April 7, with other areas receiving freezing rain and some snowfall. Cold, wet conditions have limited nearly all field activity since April 3.
Some nitrogen application, oat seeding, and alfalfa seeding occurred early last week, prior to the precipitation.
Warm, dry weather during much of last week allowed producers to begin applying anhydrous ammonia and start seedbed preparation in many areas of the south. Some corn is being planted in Gallatin and White counties in the southeast, and Monroe and Randolph counties in the southwest.
Ron Hines (Dixon Springs Ag Center) reported 19 BCW moths caught in the Pulaski County trap on April 7 following the weekend storms. Ron also found wireworm, annual white grubs, and crane fly larvae in a number of wireworm bait trap holes that he was preparing last week. Wireworms and annual white grub are already near the soil surface ready for the planted seed and seedlings, especially in fields containing volunteer wheat. Early dry weather has allowed a significant buildup of voles in no-till upland. Farmers should be scouting the dark green areas of fields for vole colonies.
The wheat crop looks good to excellent in most areas, and the final applications of nitrogen and/or Harmony Extra have been applied. Some isolated, low-lying areas of fields are showing signs of yellowing, which may be caused by either viral disease or saturated soil conditions from earlier rains.
The prolonged cold winter slowed the early development of winter annual weeds, but with the return of warmer weather they are now doing quite well. Henbit and purple deadnettle are beginning their usual showy purple display. Fields with heavy infestations will be attractive for black cutworm egg laying if fieldwork is delayed due to the passage of storm fronts.
Alfalfa is 3 to 5 inches tall. So far, we have received no reports of serious alfalfa weevil problems, although the pest has been found at low levels in some areas of the southwest.
The passage of the storm front over the past weekend brought .5 to 1.5 inches of rain across much of the south and brought fieldwork to a screeching halt. With temperatures predicted to reach 70° by next weekend, progress should resume quickly.
After ideal soil conditions earlier last week, fieldwork was brought to a halt late last week by rain, sleet, and even snow in some areas. Currently, most producers are waiting for things to dry out a bit before resuming field activities. Some corn has been planted in most all parts of the region, with as much as 15% completed in the southeastern part of the region.
Some field staff have placed cutworm moth bait stations out in different locations, and many have reported their first captures within the past week. However, none of the captures to date have been what we would consider intense (a capture is considered "intense" when there are 8 to 10 moths captured in a 48-hour period).
Wheat appears to have survived the winter well and really has begun to grow during the past weeks. We have received some reports of moderate infestations of winter annual weeds in many local wheat fields.