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Regional Reports

May 15, 2003

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.

Northern Illinois

Fieldwork resumed early this week. There has been very little field activity in most of the region during the past 2 weeks because of wet soil conditions. Most of the area has had 3 to 5 inches of rainfall since May 1. Corn and soybean planting are the main activities at this time, with corn planting estimated at over 80% complete.

Corn emerged in many fields during the past weekend. Considering the cool temperatures and wet soil environment, corn color and emergence appear to be better than expected. However, some field areas will need to be replanted because of repeated ponding.

Jim Morrison, crop systems educator, reports alfalfa in the Freeport/Rockford area was 16 to 22 inches tall in the vegetative stage on May 12. For estimates of preharvest alfalfa quality, growers are encouraged to check out the Web site at

Southern Illinois

Unlike much of the rest of the state, fieldwork in southern Illinois has been at a virtual standstill since the third week of April. Rainfall toward the end of last week was more variable than previous storms, with amounts ranging from 1 to 3 inches or more, depending on the location. Ron Hines reports intense captures of black cutworm moths in the extreme southern tip of the state following the storms on May 6 and 10.

Corn planted in April is at growth stage V3 or later and appears to be in good condition except where water is ponding. Some wireworm damage is being seen, even on corn that had an insecticide seed treatment. We have also received reports of some fields being sprayed for flea beetle injury. This may be a year when corn growers here take a double hit: some very early corn will be at risk for first-generation European corn borer, and some very late corn will be at risk for second-generation ECB.

Wheat is at or beyond Feeke's stage 10.5 (flowering). It is still too early to tell whether head scab is going to be a serious problem.

Little or no first-cutting alfalfa has been harvested. Many alfalfa fields are beginning to lodge, which will make harvest more difficult and increase the likelihood of leaf spot diseases in the second cutting.

West-Central Illinois

Most of the region received heavy rain during the past week, with some reports of 6 inches or more. Consequently, little fieldwork was done in those areas. Where rainfall did not exist or in the sandy soil areas, planting did continue.

The earliest planted corn is in the V4­5 stage. Pest complaints have been few, but those received include white grubs, cutworms, and flea beetles. Some fields have been treated for cutworm and flea beetle control. Postemergence herbicides are being applied where soil conditions allow.

Soybean is beginning to emerge in some fields. Bean leaf beetle populations are anticipated to be high in those early fields. We have no reports of seedling diseases yet.

Most wheat fields are in the boot or heading stages. Those fields continue to look good, with very few major diseases noticeable.

Alfalfa harvest has begun where weather has permitted, and alfalfa weevils continue to be a problem. Because of a 3- to 21-day harvest interval with most insecticides, farmers will probably take the first cutting off and evaluate the weevil problem for the second cutting.


The Pest Management and Crop Development Bulletin
Executive Editor: Kevin Steffey, Extension Entomologist

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