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.
Precipitation on April 29 and 30, followed by rainfall on May 4, throughout the region has limited field activities during the past 10 days. Activities occurring during the week included herbicide application and limited planting. Corn planting progress remains at about 70% throughout the region. Early-planted corn emerged over the weekend.
Jim Morrison, crop systems Extension educator, reports alfalfa in the Freeport/Rockford area ranged from 10 to 14 inches in the vegetative stage, with Knox County reporting 20-inch alfalfa in the bud stage. For estimates of preharvest alfalfa quality, growers are encouraged to check http://peaq.outreach.uiuc.edu/.
Wet soil conditions have kept farmers out of the field recently. However, corn planting has progressed well, and some farmers are also finished planting soybeans. To speed up soybean planting, several farmers have reportedly gone back to 30-inch row spacing and planting with their 24-row planters.
The earliest planted corn is in the V2-3 stage. No major pest problems have been observed; however, significant BCW moth catches have been reported in some areas. Projected cutting date for the Springfield area is May 15.
A fairly large number of bean leaf beetles can be found in wheat and alfalfa fields, ready to migrate into newly emerged soybean fields. Soybeans should be scouted thoroughly for the potential damage.
Most wheat fields are at least Feekes growth stage 8 (flag leaf), with some approaching stage 10 (boot). At this time there is little evidence of major disease problems; winter annuals can be still be noticed in some fields.
Alfalfa harvest will begin soon. Even though alfalfa weevils are present, it appears most fields can be harvested before reaching economic threshold levels.