Spraying for cutworm, hoping for moisture

Spraying for cutworm, hoping for moisture

Western bean cutworm flights have been high.

Early planted corn is pretty much done pollinating, while the later planted fields are just starting. Soybeans have jetted through growth stages and most are now in R3, where there are ¼” pods on upper nodes of the plant.

The heat is a concern. Except for a few locations where pop-up storms dropped a couple inches of rain, there isn’t excess moisture out there. The crops have been just getting by on a few tenths here and there. As always, the month of August will determine quite a lot, not only for soybeans, but for corn as well.

Two planes came in Tuesday afternoon and were able to get quite a bit done before dark.

We heard from several sources that the Western bean cutworm flights were very high this year. This pest enters the corn ear after hatching from the eggs laid by the moth and hangs out there having a buffet until it’s time to leave. They can be quite destructive. They are also hard to scout for because often much of the field is clear while other areas are ‘hot spots.’ Based on peak flights dates, we sprayed many fields this week. Two planes came in Tuesday afternoon and were able to get quite a bit done before dark. We do wonder if we were duped though, we have not seen many other fields receiving treatment. We expect residual insecticide to protect us for the next 5-7 days. The last few fields will be finished soon.

We’ve been spraying fungicide along with the insecticide. Irrigation adds to the risk of fungus outbreaks. We have been adding water to the fields about twice a week. If you add in the occasional system rain, the field is being wetted up to four times a week. Warm temperatures and moisture are prime conditions for a disease outbreak in both corn and soybeans.


The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.

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