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Water, water, everywhere ...

Everyone talks about the weather, and for good reason. We are mired in a wet cycle; the research center has received nearly 4 inches of rain this week. While moisture is needed for a good crop, (let’s not forget 2012) there can be too much of a good thing. The saturated soil effects on our current crop can range from stunting to death of corn and soybean in severely ponded situations.

When our growing season is wet we often associate that with an increase in plant disease incidence. An issue last experienced in 2011 in our northern Illinois corn crop was Goss’s Bacterial Wilt and Leaf Blight. Commonly referred to as Goss’s wilt, this disease is spread by bacteria that must enter plants through wounds like those caused by hail, heavy rains or high winds. The first case of Goss’s wilt in 2013 was confirmed by the Illinois plant clinic this past week. The corn sample was submitted from Piatt County in east central Illinois, but with this news corn growers in northern Illinois should remain diligent. There are no in-season control options for Goss’s wilt infection. Foliar fungicides are ineffective on the bacterial disease.

Farmers in northern Illinois have a great opportunity to learn about Goss’s wilt and other diseases at the Northern Illinois Agronomy Day on July 10, at the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center. Join University of Illinois Extension specialists and researchers as they address issues related to the 2013 growing season. The program begins at 9 a.m. and will finish with a meal provided at noon. It is open to all who wish to attend and there is no registration fee. Weather permitting, presentations will take place outside in the research plots.

Topics and presenters include:

• Crop rotation and corn management – Emerson Nafziger.

• Corn rootworm resistance to Bt and product efficacy – Mike Gray.

• Goss’s wilt and corn diseases – Carl Bradley.

• Brown marmorated stink bug in Illinois – Kelly Estes.

•  2013 weed control challenges – Doug Maxwell.

• University of Illinois cover crop studies – Russ Higgins

In addition, a corn rootworm root rating program is being offered in conjunction with the Agronomy Day. Farmers and agronomists are invited to bring corn root samples. The roots will be washed and evaluated for corn rootworm damage. This evaluation could be very valuable to farmers in Bureau and LaSalle counties. Corn with the Cry 3Bb1 event has been collected in this area that performed poorly against the Western corn rootworm.

What specifically will producers get in return for bringing corn root samples? They will get a hands-on evaluation of your root injury from an expert. Confirmation of your corn varieties rootworm traits with an expression test and the opportunity to take part in a general discussion on sustainable corn rootworm management

How to collect corn root samples:

• On July 9, the day before the event, choose the field you want to sample.

• Record the township/GPS location of the field and the corn hybrid/traits used.

• Walk beyond the end rows and dig up a corn plant.

• Shake off excess soil and cut the stalk off about 24 inches from the base.

• Walk at least six rows in a different direction to sample the next plant.

• Collect 10 total plants in that field.

• Soak roots in 5-gallon buckets with water overnight.

The Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center is located at 14509 University Road, Shabbona. For more information on the agronomy day or corn root project, contact Russ Higgins at 815-274-1343 or email

While farmers and agribusiness are busy in the month of July, we need also to salute our 4-Hers who are quickly reaching the conclusion of the 4-H project year. For most this includes the opportunity to showcase their projects and demonstrate the knowledge and skills acquired at the 4-H Fair.

2013 4-H Fair dates are:

• LaSalle County 4-H Show and Junior Fair: July 10-14.

• Marshall-Putnam 4-H Show: July 15-18.

• Bureau County 4-H Fair: July 25-28.

Russ Higgins, University of Illinois Extension.

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