No. 1 Article 1/March 24, 2006

The 2006 Growing Season Is Just Around the Corner

Gazing out at the snow-covered ground and feeling the bite of freezing temperatures, it's difficult to imagine that planters will be rolling within a month. As is always the case whenever a new growing season is imminent in Illinois, most of us wonder what lies in store for the crops that will be growing soon. As always, the weather will be foremost in our minds, especially after the weather stresses we experienced in 2005. For 2006, should we expect a repeat of the weather conditions in 2005? Unlikely, but stranger things have happened. We do know, however, that the weather will have a significant impact on crop growth and development and the occurrence and intensity of crop pests, so the relationships among weather, crops, and pests will be a predominant theme in the articles we write in the Bulletin in 2006.

The primary issues of concern in 2006 will be similar to the issues addressed by many people in agriculture in the Midwest in 2005--soybean rust, corn rootworms, soybean aphid, and glyphosate resistance. However, these are only the "headline" pest issues. Other crop and pest issues can, and likely will, arise during 2006, and we fully intend to keep current and maybe a little ahead of the game when any significant issue develops. We will strive to provide timely, objective, and accurate reports, as well as the occasional commentary or editorial, throughout 2006. We hope that you refer to the pages of the Bulletin as a primary source for "pest management and crop development information for Illinois" (the Bulletin's tag line).

As you know, the articles that are published in the Bulletin are written by Extension specialists in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois and by University of Illinois Extension educators. The specialists and educators (area of expertise in parentheses) who will write many of the articles this year are Emerson Nafziger (crop production); Aaron Hager and Dawn Nordby (weed science); Suzanne Bissonnette (plant pathology); and Kelly Cook, Mike Gray, and Kevin Steffey (entomology). Regional reports will be written by Extension educators in four areas of the state. On occasion, guest authors will be asked to write timely articles. And our practice of linking to other timely articles written by specialists in other midwestern states will continue. The Internet allows us to find the types of information that might be useful when you have the least amount of time to search, so we hope to take full advantage of its capabilities.

At the risk of repeating myself annually, I encourage any of our readers to provide reports of crop and pest situations in your area throughout the year. Such reports provide real-world experiences that inform readers in other areas of the state or Midwest. From your reports and from our own observations, research, and experiences, we can provide fully developed articles that address your concerns and needs. On behalf of my colleagues, I thank you in advance for all of the invaluable input you will provide this year.

I remind readers that you can receive e-mail notification of the availability of the most recent issue of the Bulletin on the Web, which usually occurs on Thursday afternoons. The "subscription" is free, and completing the subscription form takes only a couple of minutes. The e-mail notification provides thumbnail summaries of each article published in the current issue.

Again, on behalf of all of the authors who contribute to the the Bulletin, I thank you for your continued support of our efforts and your interest in the information we provide. I also invite you to offer suggestions about ways of improving the Bulletin--in delivery, appearance, navigability, features, or any other aspect you choose. As users of our information, you have considerable say in the manner in which we present our information. So stay in touch. And have a terrific year.--Kevin Steffey

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