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.
Planting had been going full speed until the widespread precipitation on April 29 and 30. Corn planting estimates range from 20% complete in the far northwest Illinois counties to 70%-plus complete in many areas of the region. Some producers started planting soybeans late last week.
Even though the rainfall on April 29 and 30 halted field operations in many areas, the moisture was welcome because the soil was dry.
The winter wheat crop appears to be in good to excellent condition. Numerous oat fields emerged last week.
Continuing bands of storm fronts are keeping soils saturated, with ponding occurring in some areas. Little additional fieldwork was accomplished during the past week. Corn planted 2 to 3 weeks ago is now emerging and would benefit from sunshine and drier soils in order to green up.
Wheat is at or approaching boot stage in most areas and looks good. Some foliar diseases are beginning to show on lower leaves because of the extended cool, wet weather.
Some alfalfa fields are still being sprayed for weevil control. According to PEAQ data being collected, alfalfa is ready to harvest in the southernmost counties and is approaching harvest readiness by the first week of May along the I-70 corridor. Alfalfa growers will have to weigh the need to cut now for highest quality versus the potential damage to plant crowns that may be caused by wheel traffic on wet soils. Detailed information on alfalfa maturity development can be found on the Illini PEAQ Web site at http://peaq.outreach.uiuc.edu/.
Ron Hines, at Dixon Springs, reported intense captures of black cutworm moths at three of his four trap sites during the period of April 24-26, with the highest numbers of captures in Pulaski and Massac counties. According to average heat unit accumulations during the past 10 years, we should obtain about 300 base 50°F heat units around May 14-15 after this flight. The April 7 intense flight of black cutworm moths should be at the 300 heat unit stage of development this week.
Rain showers toward the end of last week left many fields too wet to work. In some areas, producers got back into the fields late last weekend only to be rained out again on Monday. Most areas are beginning to catch up on cumulative precipitation for the year, but despite recent rains, some tile lines have yet to flow, indicating that subsoil moisture may not yet be recharged.
Local estimates indicate that corn planting is about 60 to 70% complete. In some localized areas south of Springfield, corn planting is complete. However, less than a third of the crop has been planted in Adams County. We have received reports that some soybeans have been planted in Sangamon and Hancock counties.
Alfalfa is growing very rapidly with the recent rains and warm weather. Many established stands are 15 to 20 inches in height and are approaching optimal quality.
Insect pests are beginning to make their presence known. Intense captures of cutworm moths continue to be observed. Reports of black cutworm and flea beetle feeding on 1- to 2-leaf corn have been received from fields in Adams County. Agronomists in Hancock and McDonough counties have reported that a number of wireworms can be found in many cornfields. Alfalfa weevil has yet to be a problem, but producers are still encouraged to be vigilant in their scouting efforts.