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.
Cooler-than-normal temperatures throughout the region have slowed crop development. Corn planted April 21 to 23 in the center of the northern region has reached the V5 to V6 stage. The main activities the past week include sidedressing anhydrous ammonia, corn and soybean postemergence-herbicide application, and baling hay. Drying hay has been challenging due to some rainfall and cloudy days. First-cutting yield data from the U of I forage variety trials is available at http://vt.cropsci.uiuc.edu/forage.html.
Few pest problems have been reported in the region. Some frost damage on soybeans was reported in LaSalle County, probably from the evening temperatures of May 31.
Several reports of suspected herbicide drift damage on windbreaks have been received. Upon further investigation, the conifers' new growth has about 2 to 3 inches of tip dieback. U of I Plant Clinic diagnosis suggests this damage is the result of injury to newly emerged growth during recent strong windstorms and other environmental stress. The tip-dieback symptom appears to be most common on spruce.
Rainfall received over the weekend and earlier this week has kept the last remaining acres of soybeans from being put into the ground in some areas of the region. Corn growth has finally begun to pick up as roots of earlier-planted corn begin to reach the nitrogen and temperatures begin to approach those considered normal for the first part of June. Previously, a lot of corn acres had demonstrated slow growth and "purple corn syndrome" indicative of the cool temperatures of late. Currently, early-planted corn is now waist high in some places and beginning to canopy, but most of the crop is in the V6 to V9 range.
Soybeans are anywhere from just emerging to the second trifoliate, with little difference in development between those planted in late April and those planted in mid-May. Despite the cool weather, only scattered reports of soybean seedling diseases have been received, and stands appear adequate in most fields.
Hay harvest continues, as most producers battle with poor drying conditions to get the first crop in the barn. Alfalfa that was cut in mid- to late May has already put on 4 to 6 inches of regrowth in some areas.
Wheat has flowered in nearly all areas and is well into the milk stage in most places. On sandier soils, some of the crop has begun to turn and is less than a few weeks from maturity. Some reports of the presence of head scab have been received.
The Western Illinois University (WIU) Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with University of Illinois Extension, is sponsoring a Herbicide Field Plot Tour on Thursday, June 26 at 1 p.m. at the WIU Agronomy Field Laboratory located immediately north of the WIU Golf Course in Macomb. Fourteen corn experiments and seven soybean experiments will be shown in no-till, strip-till, and mulch-till. Other topics include PPO-resistant waterhemp, triazine-resistant lambs-quarters, glyphosate-resistant marestail, strategies to protect the effectiveness of glyphosate, giant ragweed biology and control, pokeweed control, and chickweed biology and control.
Producers were finally able to get back into the fields in the past week as planting emphasis switched from corn to soybean. Some corn-planting intentions were dropped due to late-planting delays. In some cases, wet field conditions and heavy winter-annual weed cover forced operators to open fields up with heavy disks to dry them out enough to plant. Rainfall across much of the region Tuesday night ranged from 2 to 4 inches and may result in soybean fields' having to be replanted.
The condition of corn planted in April is variable. Depending upon drainage conditions, some fields are in good shape, while others show uneven growth and irregular stands.
The condition of the wheat crop continues to deteriorate due to the weather. Scab is prevalent in all fields, with the severity dependent upon varietal susceptibility. Overall, we may see a yield drop of 10 to 15% over earlier yield forecasts. As harvest rapidly approaches, wet field conditions will also complicate wheat harvest and double-crop soybean planting.