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Insects starting to show up in area fields

Posted Monday, May 9, 2011, at 3:46 PM

U.S. corn planting is advancing at the slowest pace in 16 years due to cold, wet conditions. In Missouri, corn planting was at 32 percent as of May 2. This was 14 days behind last year and 10 days behind normal.

Replanting will be necessary in fields across the state. In talking to a crop insurance adjuster, it seems that corn planted the week of April 11 thru 15 was most likely to have emergence problems. In this area, we are seeing damage from both standing water and chilling injury.

It is that time of the year again when insects become a concern. The University of Missouri has been monitoring black cutworm moth flights and has detected several significant catches in the area.

A significant catch indicates that moth flights have been sufficient to potentially create a problem as their eggs hatch and the larvae attack corn plants.

A significant catch does not indicate that treatment is necessary. The predicted cut date is an estimated date when damage may be seen in the field. It is based on actual and 30-year estimated temperatures.

This estimated date may change as actual temperatures become available. This estimated cut date is when scouting should be started. A summary of 2011 intensive capture counts along with estimated cut date is located at: http://ppp.missouri.edu/pestmonitoring/b...

Black cutworm moths tend to lay their eggs where there is vegetative material, thus no-till fields with weeds may be more prone to problems. Late planted corn will be more susceptible damage. Corn plants are typically susceptible to "cutting" damage through the 4th leaf growth stage. Corn just emerging at this time is most at risk as large larvae may be present in fields. Although wet conditions may limit scouting activities for this pest, it is recommended that corn fields be scouted at least weekly from seedling emergence through the 4-leaf stage of growth.

We have also received reports of some armyworm activity in the area. First reports were from Cole Camp and Lincoln. Reports are also coming in from Kentucky of heavy armyworm moth flights.

Moths have been caught in Missouri but counts do not seem excessive at this time. Both corn and wheat producers need to be vigilant in their scouting efforts for armyworm infestations this spring.

Over the past few weeks, greenbug and bird cherry-oat aphid numbers have increased in some wheat fields in the state according to Wayne Bailey. These are the most damaging to Missouri wheat of the five species that attack wheat in Missouri. Although producers are encouraged to scout individual fields to determine greenbug and bird cherry oat aphid numbers at this time, most wheat fields in Missouri do not currently support aphid numbers requiring applications of insecticides.

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As our local University of Missouri Agronomy Extension Specialist, Crook has been writing a column for the print edition Agriculture page for the past three years and we will now be sharing it on our web version. Crook has a bachelor and masters degree in agronomy from University of Missouri and received his doctorate in Agronomy from Kansas State University. He was in soybean variety development research for 22 years for various seed companies and has been Saline County's agronomy specialist for 10 years.
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