The corn crop is really starting to take off across Central Illinois which is a good change from previous years. Most growers have been able to get in their fields and evaluate the emerged stands the last few days. Though some areas received heavy local rains, issues have been isolated and the soil profile has definitely replenished.
Of all the early season observations, one common theme is uneven emergence. This can be attributed to variable soil temperatures from cool April conditions. As you know, the cool conditions persisted for weeks and fields planted closest to this cool down were most affected.
The map to the left shows the departure from mean of the GDUs in April. As you can see, most areas of the state were below normal. These are the below normal temperatures that contributed to the uneven emergence. Final stands however are in line with yield expectations for the field. I still encourage growers to make certain there are no surprises with any of their fields.
One of the most discouraging things is to not have looked a problem that could have been resolved. Being that it’s early in May, there is plenty of opportunity to fix a potential issue in the field.
On my travels, good appearing emerged corn far exceeds any problem fields. This is usually the case, but there was some cause for concern in early April as the temperatures dipped well below normal. Insect pressure, especially black cutworm, has been talked about by a lot of agronomists. I’m not certain of the level of total feeding statewide, but in my experience to date it has been low. This does not mean that feeding could not pick up in the coming days as the warm weather will further the development of the cutworm. Continue to monitor fields for activity and consult with someone if questions should arise.