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The Bulletin

Illinois Crops Update 5/20/2022

Chelsea Harbach

University of Illinois Extension

May 20, 2022
Recommended citation format: Harbach, C. "Illinois Crops Update 5/20/2022." University of Illinois Extension, May 20, 2022. Permalink

Each week, I put out a request to crops educators and specialists from the University of Illinois to compile an update to share with the entire state. We hope you find this information useful. If you have any questions or suggestions about the format or any feedback in general about these updates, please email me (


Nick Seiter, field crops entomology Extension specialist, University of Illinois

I have received few reports of insect damage to date, not surprising given how much of the crop is still being planted. In terms of scouting, be on the lookout for armyworm damage (corn following grassy weeds or a grass cover crop, or adjacent to wheat) and cutworm damage (soybean or especially corn following winter annuals). The upshot of this planting season is we are generally planting into good conditions for fast early growth, which helps the crop outrun early-season insect damage.


Aaron Hager, field crops weeds Extension specialist, University of Illinois

Soil-residual herbicides are important components of integrated weed management programs. Labels of many single and multiple active ingredient products allow application before and after crop emergence, but other active ingredients can cause severe crop injury if applied to emerging crop plants. In fields where a PRE herbicide application has been delayed and corn or soybean are beginning to emerge, certain active ingredients (applied either alone or as a premix product) or commercial products should not be applied.

Soybean field planted without controlling existing vegetation.

Dennis Bowman, digital agriculture Extension specialist, University of Illinois

Rain last weekend slowed the rapid planting progress made last week. Many fields still need to be planted. Crops are emerging rapidly everywhere. Corn ranging from VC to V1. Soybeans are mostly just emerging. Wheat at the research farm appears to be mostly at Feekes 11.1-11.2

Young corn and soybean just emerged soybeans in Piatt County
Soybean seedling with a heavy coat of morning dew, Piatt County
Wheat plots at the U of I South Farms
Crimson Clover in bloom along with shepherd’s purse and pennycress at the U of I South Farm

Talon Becker, commercial agriculture Extension educator, south-central IL

With a rare break in the rain for most of this past week, fieldwork has been going strong in southcentral Illinois. At the Ewing Demonstration Center, we were able to get a couple of trials and several more acres of non-trial area planted and sprayed. Corn put in the ground last Friday during some planter testing and calibration quickly emerged with the warm but still moist soils, spiking earlier this week. Rain through much of the area yesterday has slowed things down a bit, but with fast-moving systems and spotty accumulation, there will likely be some acres where work can continue today. There is a moderate chance of rain in the forecast this afternoon and a larger chance for a storm coming through this weekend that may slow things down again in the coming days.


Doug Gucker, local foods small farms Extension educator, central IL

Here in the central and eastern part of Illinois, the past 14 days have been dry 50-75% of normal precipitation. This has resulted in tremendous planting progress on fields with good to average drainage. My May 19 survey of 70 fields yielded a greater than 70% planted result with it varying greatly depending on field drainage capacity. Most corn has been planted and the growth stage varies from VE to V2. For soybean fields, it varies from planted to unifoliate leaves expanded and first trifoliate leaves developing. A number of farm operations have completed planting and the balance are waiting for their poorly drained or flooded fields to dry enough to allow planting. As you see in the photo, weeds are emerging and will need to be monitored closely to insure adequate post-emergence herbicide control.

Growth stages of early planted crops

Phillip Alberti, commercial agriculture Extension educator, northern IL

Wet conditions that slowed producers down heading into May have been mitigated by the warm, dry conditions as of late. Over the last week planting operations have picked up exponentially for both corn and soybeans despite intermittent (but welcome) rainfall events over the last few days. With on and off rain events expected into next week, I expect the breakneck pace to continue as long as possible. Despite many fields being planted as of this writing, emergence has yet to occur in many areas of Northwest Illinois.


Chelsea Harbach, commercial agriculture Extension educator, western IL

A combination of warmth plus a little bit of moisture has permitted lots of planting and some relatively quick germination. Corn is at VE across most of the areas I’ve surveyed, and some beans are also popping up (VC). Accumulated growing degree days from 5/13 to 5/18 in Monmouth were 115, which is nearly double the 11-year average ( The forecast for western Illinois is turning cooler and wetter for the next week. Seed treatments will be put to the test (think seed/seedling diseases that are favored by cool/wet weather). Be sure to get out to evaluate stands once the weather warms back up.


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