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Pest Control
Don’t let wireworms chew up stand

Wireworms are long, slender, brown, shiny insects aptly named since they look downright “wiry.” They’re more of a concern at earlier planting dates, notes Dan Ritter, Newton County Extension ag educator. Ritter is also a Certified Crop Adviser.

Timing key to peanut yields

Some people say farming is both an art and a science. You might interpret the “science” side of that equation in terms of learning, knowing and performing the practices that are the best for your crop. If so, then much of the “art” of farming would be putting that science to work for you — and somehow pulling it off in the middle of a busy season, when you’re also trying to do a thousand other things at the same time.

Asian bug finds way into Georgia

If Joe Eger hadn’t stopped by Dan Suiter’s University of Georgia insect lab, homeowners in northeast Atlanta still wouldn’t know anything about the bug swarming their houses.

Pile on the grain

Across the Southeast, the best average is 165, in Kentucky, and the worst is 100, in Florida, according to USDA’s crop production report. Somewhere in the middle are Tennessee at 148, Georgia with 140 and Alabama with 108.

Proline challenges CBR

The promise of Proline fungicide seen in small-plot research trials testing its efficacy against CBR in peanuts played out in large-plot, on-farm trials in 2009.

Corn variety controls earworm

Trial plots of Monsanto’s new Genuity VT Triple PRO corn showed improved insect control and higher yields in 2009 in Texas.

Entomologist on hunt for what’s bugging rice

When there’s something bugging rice farmers, a large segment of the world’s population is likely to find out.

See big picture in cotton pest battle

The last six months produced a great amount of moisture in Texas cotton country. That holds potential for the 2010 cotton crop to have a strong start. But with the prolific growth of weeds serving as perfect hosts for bugs, it may also be a challenging season.

Prepare to face off against Goss’s wilt

For many Nebraska corn producers, Goss’s bacterial wilt and blight was like a scary, low-budget movie last year, but the sequel for 2010 could be even worse.

Rotation manages soybean yield robber

One of the best techniques a farmer can use to manage soybean cyst nematode is to rotate resistant soybean varieties, according to the preliminary findings of a Midwest SCN project.

Odd ears offer a teaching tool

The PowerPoint presentation has become a farm meeting favorite, but when it comes to showing farmers what can go wrong, it’s better to have something they can hold, says Peter Thomison, OSU Extension corn agronomist. So he brings along examples of abnormal ears.

Foliar application best with aphids

Will an insecticide seed treatment control soybean aphid, and is it economically justifiable when a foliar insecticide application may also be needed? Extension entomologists have been conducting research to answer these questions.

Stem canker rises in South Dakota

Something didn’t look right in the soybean field on the north side of the road. It was the wilted look of those leaves turned bottom up to the early September sun that made South Dakota State University plant pathologist Thomas Chase pull over and stop.

How to handle corn nematodes

I still remember the field day some time back when Purdue University pathologists first talked about sudden death syndrome. One farmer walked away from that talk as soon as it started. “I’ve got enough to worry about. I don’t need to know about some new thing that might become a problem.”

Sample to spot corn nematodes

Are nematodes why some cornfields got off to a slow start? Did you notice yellow, stunted patches? Are you sure it was just wet soils? Or could nematodes be part of the reason?

Solve mystery of missing corn plants

You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out what went wrong in your cornfield. But it helps if you follow a systematic pattern and observe small details, much like the legendary, fictional character who recently returned to the big screen.

Farmers remember last season’s aphids

Soybean aphids hit late in 2009 and went further south in Indiana than perhaps ever before. What can you expect from soybean aphids this summer?

New way to deal with aphids

Preventing yield losses from soybean aphids where they pose a threat is more than a one-step process. Matt Tenhaeff, brand marketing manager for NK soybeans, says it’s a multistep process.

New products fight problem pests found in late-season beans

With the advent of late-season soybeans, growers in recent years have been able to flexibly modify their planting schedules in response to harsh weather conditions and other factors at planting season.

Black root rot rising in Mississippi beans

While black root rot is no stranger to cotton growers, the fungal disease has been detected across Mississippi in soybean fields for the last two growing seasons. Plant pathologists with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station at Stoneville, Miss., have begun conducting studies to learn more about the fungus and the conditions under which it affects soybeans.

Take time to save time

If I had a dollar for every time I shared or heard that old adage “Time is money,” I wouldn’t have been stuck in Iowa all winter. Time is always at a premium during planting season, and I have a feeling this season it’ll be even more valuable. 

Scouting for soybean aphids

Light green to pale yellow soybean aphids have been a yield-robbing summer visitor to Nebraska soybean fields since their discovery in the state in 2003. Measuring less than one-sixteenth of an inch long, with two black cornicles or “tailpipes” on the rear of their abdomen, they have piercing and sucking mouthparts. They begin to feed on new tissue at the top of soybean plants beginning in late June and early to mid-July.

Stripe rust muffles wheat

After an extremely wet winter and early spring in the Southwest, even dryland wheat looked strong in much of Texas as harvest approached.

Refuge rules must be obeyed

Tragic events or situations result in great loss and misfortune. “The Tragedy of the Commons,” by British writer William Forster Lloyd, 1832, and cited later by Garrett Hardin, in Science magazine in 1968, illustrates this well. Lloyd asked, “Why are cattle on a common [publicly owned pasture] so puny and stunted? Why is the common so bare-worn and cropped so differently from the adjoining [privately owned] enclosures?”

Recruiting pests’ natural enemies

New pest control tools for orchards are on the way from Washington State University.Look for new weapons in the arena of herbivore induced plant volatile, or HIPV, as WSU grad student Shawn Steffan furthers his fieldwork.

Use plant oil to fight ticks

July’s American Agriculturist reported that the Northeast is crawling with deer ticks. Consequently, it’s America’s hotbed for Lyme disease. New York is the No. 1 state in the nation for confirmed cases of Lyme disease. Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland fill out the top six states.

Keep watch for these Southern invaders

Insects from the South are creeping northward. At least three insect pests that have been common in Southern soybean fields for years are finding their way more and more into Nebraska fields.

The scoop on pesky stinkbugs

A scoop — or shovel, if you prefer to call it that — was about as effective as any weapon Mid-Atlantic farmers tried last year against swarms of brown marmorated stinkbugs, or BSMB. Formerly just a stinking nuisance, the bug exploded into a major crop-insect problem last summer.

Flies breaking into resistant wheat

Soft wheat growers have gradually inched planting dates ahead of long-established Hessian-fly-free dates. Giving fly-resistant varieties a few extra days of warm growing weather helps the cover crop soak up more nitrogen and reduce erosion losses.

Options to protect corn from rootworm

You’ve got options today when it comes to protecting against corn rootworm. Each option has its pluses and minuses. There is no such thing as a silver bullet or foolproof remedy for rootworm control. But compared to days gone by, there are alternatives that allow you more flexibility.

Nematode fears move to corn

Soybean cyst nematodes are old news in Indiana. Now corn nematodes are making noise. There are also opportunities to treat for corn nematodes now that we didn’t have before.

Pesky question about a secondary pest

Suppose you had a poor stand of corn in one field in 2010, mostly in low spots. Your chemical supplier said it was caused by wireworms. Can you plant soybeans there safely now, even if the seed isn’t treated?

Weevil warrior

Even away from his Abilene office, Lindy Patton finds if difficult not to have weevils on his mind.

Boll weevil battle faces hard road

Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation President and CEO Lindy Patton says the eradication program is making great progress in some real tough areas, but must work with limited resources now.

Watch for midsummer insects

It’s July and not a fun time to scout for insects in soybean fields, but you really should go look. Of course, the first insect to watch for is Asian soybean aphid, our most economically important soybean pest. Next you need to watch for Japanese beetle, a relatively new pest in some parts of Iowa.

Pay attention to corn nematodes

So far this season, we’ve fought numerous challenges that could rob yield in cornfields: Insects, diseases, weeds, soil conditions, weather, fertilizer deficiencies and herbicide injury come to mind for most growers and agronomists. Not meaning to “pile it on,” I’m afraid I must add another to the list.

Still need to stop the yield-robber

We have come a long way since the early years of managing soybean cyst nematodes in the early to mid-90s, when the SCN Coalition’s motto was: “Take the test, beat the pest.”

Making corn fungicide decisions

The 2011 crop season got off to a slow start for many farmers, and with delayed planting came concerns about reduced yields. Growers are encouraged to protect yield potential by taking advantage of every opportunity to produce the highest-quality grain and crops. One way to achieve a greater profit is by improving the standability of corn plants and preventing lodging at harvest.

Orchard takes ‘natural’ path to pest control

The harvest season of 2009 was not a good one for Junell and Jerry Wentz. There wasn’t a market for their high-quality cherries that year, and they would have lost money by picking the fruit, so they left it to rot on the trees and fall to the ground.

2011’s ‘perfect storm’ for stripe rust hits PNW wheat fields

Club wheats like Cara and Chukar, as well as some soon-to-be-released experimentals, topped other varieties in yields in 2010 in 16- to 20-inch rainfall zones at Washington State University Extension test sites.

Know pH, hardness of your spray water

The quality of the water going into a spray tank may have more impact on the effectiveness of a herbicide application than most people realize. That’s the message from Fred Whitford, director of Pesticide Programs at Purdue University.

Map a season-long weed control strategy

Weeds peeking above five-leaf corn or broadleaves smothering soybeans are scary sights. The secret to avoiding nightmares is to plan, remember the basis and execute, notes Glenn Nice, Purdue University weed control specialist.

Adair’s biggest goal: Kill weeds

If your idea of the typical person who drives a sprayer is a bulky guy with his shirt hanging out the back and greasy hair, you haven’t been to Unger Farms near Carlisle. The person climbing in the spray rig will be Adair Everhart, Del and Tammi Unger’s daughter.

Lousy germinators still overwhelm crops

Only 1% of some weed seeds will germinate in the year they’re produced. Compare that to 95% for corn and soybeans. So why is weed control still such a big issue?

Understand fungicides before you spray

Are you going to spray fungicides? Can you mix other products with it? These are all common questions of the new fungicide era.This month, Indiana Certified Crop Adviser panelists address two specific issues related to fungicides.

Plan targets rootworm hot spots

Monsanto has announced it is taking steps to ensure best management practices are implemented by farmers for fields that were planted with the company’s single-mode-of-action corn hybrids that contain western corn rootworm protection and were affected by significant corn rootworm pressure in 2011.

What refuge-in-a-bag looks like in the field

Leaving refuge acres that do not have Bt traits, while extremely important, has been confusing from the start. By now most people still using the 80%/20% refuge system have figured out the configuration that meets requirements and works best for them.

Why GMO refuge is still crucial

If you wondered why it was so important to put out refuge acres as required for Bt GMO products, you don’t need to wonder any longer. It’s critical to follow the refuge rules, and it will remain critical even after refuge-in-a-bag corn becomes more common on the market.

Goss’s wilt on corn: Get the facts

Consider 115 bushels per acre — no matter what price that corn is sold at, that is a ton of money. And 115 bushels per acre was the yield difference reported between two hybrids in a split-planter field this year. The primary yield difference factor? Goss’s wilt.

What if this growing season is dry?

Talk to any farmer for a minute or two this winter and the lack of subsoil moisture is sure to come up. Depending on what part of the state you’re located, you haven’t seen a good rain for some time. It’s no secret that soil moisture reserves are nearly gone.

What’s going on with the soybean aphid?

At 700 per plant, the economic threshold for soybean aphids is fairly high.

Reduce risk of Goss’s wilt

In some areas of the Corn Belt, Goss’s wilt has re-emerged as an economically important corn disease the past few years. In Iowa, it was the clear winner as “Disease of the Year” in 2011, prevailing throughout much of the state. In some of the hardest-hit fields, yield losses of more than 100 bushels per acre were reported.

Expect more bean bugs this year

Between a mild winter, an early spring and favorable weather predicted for summer, the ag community is buzzing about the 2012 insect pest forecast. A dubious combination of warm temperatures and dry weather gave bugs the upperhand in overwintering success rates, and farmers may not have to wait long before they witness firsthand what kinds and how many of the pests will make an appearance in soybean fields this year.

Don’t let leafhoppers ‘burn’ hay

Potato leafhopper is a tiny insect that can feed on leaves of alfalfa plants, lowering both yield and quality of forage. Leafhopper populations don’t typically build up to damaging levels during the first crop in Iowa. But after you harvest that first cutting, keep an eye out for signs of this pest.

Beetles defoliate invasive salt cedar

Beetles are chomping their way through salt cedar at Lake Meredith in Texas.

Keep an eye out for Goss’s wilt

Despite June’s hot, dry weather, a couple of corn leaf diseases have already started showing up in Iowa. After last year’s outbreak, Goss’s wilt is on most every farmer’s radar.

Soybean aphid a formidable foe

Over the past decade the soybean aphid has proven to be an adaptable insect pest. Severe infestations can reduce yields by as much as 40%, but it is a sporadic pest. You need to scout fields regularly to keep an eye on populations. They can explode in a matter of days to damaging levels.

It’s time for inspection of fields for SCN

Now is the time to look for soybean cyst nematode on soybean roots. “SCN continues to cause serious soybean yield losses each year in Iowa and throughout the Midwest,” says Greg Tylka, Iowa State University Extension nematologist. “It’s easy to identify SCN infestations in the field during the growing season by checking soybean roots for the presence of SCN females,” he adds.

Soybean bug of the year

If North Carolina State University entomologist Dominic Resig were giving out awards, the trophy for the insect with the most impact on soybean producers last year would have to go to the kudzu bug.

Risk list for soybeans

Soybean growers feel upbeat going into the 2012 crop year, but they have some new potential challenges on the horizon this year, too.

Reduce your anxieties about corn borer

Your seed is likely purchased, but all your hybrid selections may not be nailed down. How much should you worry about whether every hybrid has corn borer resistance? Put into dollars and cents, is it worth paying for if you have a choice?

Corn after corn changes rootworm game

The outbreak of failures to control rootworm in fields planted to corn that get its genetic tolerance from a certain trait, the Cry3Bb1 event, has farmers everywhere asking questions. Farmers who grow corn after corn are especially concerned.

Brown marmorated stinkbug: Has a new superbug arrived?

First confirmed in Cook County, Ill., in 2010, to date brown marmorated stinkbugs have largely been an academic concern.

Assess your rootworm control

Reports from Iowa and later Illinois that rootworms were apparently breaking through genetic resistance were headline stories. What does it mean for Indiana?

Alarm sounds on corn rootworm

Early alarm bells are going off in South Dakota and North Dakota over the possible development of Bt-resistant corn rootworm.

5 steps to head off corn rootworm resistance

Steps that Janet Knodel, North Dakota State University Extension entomologist, says you can take to guard against the development of Bt-resistant corn rootworm are:

Bad year for rust, good year for the aerial applicators

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Bad year for rus

Know what to look for when scouting for armyworms

True armyworms do not overwinter in Michigan. Armyworm outbreaks occur when adult moths are blown in from Southern states in the spring. The warm winter and early spring experienced in much of the Midwest this year may have contributed to the arrival of armyworm moths in the state by giving them a head start as they made their way north this season. Both Indiana and Ohio were reporting scattered outbreaks of armyworm feedings — some cases were quite severe — in la

Notice to deer: buffet closed

Andy Thornburg doesn’t make any money feeding deer. He makes money growing row crops.

Get the most from cotton

Mark Mueller doesn’t want to mess around when it comes to getting cotton planted — or harvested — from the flat countryside surrounding Stamford, Texas.

Grapevine peril

It appears that (hold your breath) perhaps California agriculture has dodged a major catastrophe this year with the early control of the European grapevine moth, Lobesia botrana.

Reversal of moth

The European grapevine moth, or EGVM, remains a threat. Early-summer monitoring programs, however, are very encouraging, though the moth is a secondary threat to other crops.

Proactive avocado pest control

California’s avocado industry is worth more than $320 million annually, and has 6,000 growers farming 6,000 acres. Indeed, California grows nearly 95% of the country’s avocados. University of California, Riverside, entomologist Mark Hoddle is in Peru to look for known avocado pests: in particular, the avocado seed moth, Stenoma catenifer, that could wreak havoc on California’s avocados, should the pest make its way to the

Alternatives for fumigation tested

The first time crops and orchards are planted in virgin soil, they grow beautifully. But the plants themselves change the biology of the soil, setting up subsequent plantings for severe stress. In the past, the problem has been solved by moving to new farmland, rotating crops, fallowing, and heating soil under plastic tarps. The most effective treatment is soil fumigation.

How to pick SCN-resistant varieties

Soybean varieties resistant to soybean cyst nematode, or SCN, are tremendously effective management tools. These resistant varieties produce greater yields and result in lower SCN numbers at the end of the growing season than nonresistant (susceptible) varieties.

Is it time to apply fungicide? The answer varies by hybrid

To apply a fungicide on corn, or not to apply? That’s the question!

Agrisure Viptera trait represents new technology for corn growers

Take advantage of opportunities to view Syngenta hybrids with the new Agrisure Viptera trait in test plots. Contact a Syngenta seed representative if you want to see the trait in action. Next year, pending final necessary approvals, David O’Reilly hopes you’ll get a firsthand look at Agrisure Viptera on your farm.

Which field should you harvest first?

How do you decide which cornfield to harvest first? The first part of the answer is easy — don’t leave it to chance.

Recognize problem spots in soybeans and take a soil test

Soybean cyst nematode is a yield robber, so the first step in managing SCN in the field is to test the soil to know that a population exists. It can cause up to 30% yield loss with no aboveground symptoms on the plants, and it has been found in 50 Nebraska counties, which produce over 80% of the state’s soybeans. Last year, SCN cost Nebraska farmers more than $25 million in lost revenue.

Develop plan to manage aphids

It’s been a decade since soybean aphid populations skyrocketed across the upper Midwest. Managing this pest has become an important part of profitable soybean production.

15 key produce safety lessons

Bob Whitaker, Produce Marketing Association’s chief science officer and chairman of the Center for Produce Safety’s (CPS) Technical Committee, has provided a list of 15 take-away points from reports at the recent Produce Research Symposium:

Who should consider soybean insecticides?

You don’t have to go back very far to when soybean breeders and entomologists were scratching their heads, wondering why soybean seed treated with insecticide produced more. Now it’s becoming an accepted practice. The only flies in the ointment are cost and the fact that the payoff is larger in some years than others.

Be ready for the stinkbug invasion

Stinkbugs leave a powerful impression. As I began writing this story, I started smelling one that I searched for — in vain. Hopefully, you’ll also search for it in vain in your orchards and fields during the fast-coming growing season.

Detect ear-fill problems

Corn pollination is fast approaching, and it is an extremely important stage in the plant’s life cycle. Up to this point the corn plant has been determining its yield potential. The kernels to be fertilized are set at this point, and it is up to pollination to finish the process and begin seed development.

20 years of SCN bean variety trials

The Iowa State University trials that rate the performance of commercially available soybean varieties for resistance to soybean cyst nematode in Iowa reached a milestone in 2011. “We’ve been doing this testing each year for 20 years now,” says Greg Tylka, an ISU Extension nematologist who oversees the program. “And I didn’t realize it was 20 years until we were finished with the publication reporting the 2011 results.”

Cotton makes Monsanto’s list for research, development work

Cotton is among a diverse group of projects from Monsanto’s research and development platforms to make agriculture more productive and profitable for farmers.

Peanut producers looking for better year

Farmers live in “next-year” country. After the devastating 2011 drought in the Southwest, peanut growers are hoping for real change this year.

Syngenta takes bet

Major agricultural research companies see a world of challenge and opportunity unfolding ahead of them. The world’s population is quickly expanding, while the planet itself seems to get smaller every day.

Cotton crop a mighty mixed bag of tricks

Crop progress at this time of year across the Cotton Belt is, well, “all over the map.” As June got under way, there were some areas where cotton was nearing lay-by, and other areas where growers were still replanting failed stands.

Respect rootworm — stay alert!

The question posed to the panel from the Indiana Certified Crop Advisers Association says it all. There’s talk about breakthroughs in control of corn rootworm to one specific genetic trait: the Cry3Bb1 event. The reports are from Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and South Dakota. What does it mean for Indiana?

New beekeepers helping to pollinate crops

With plans to expand to over 3,000 hives this spring, Doug and Carrie Hoffman have become part of only a handful of commercial beekeepers in Indiana.

Seed insecticides hurt honeybees

Honeybee populations have been in serious decline for years, and Purdue University scientists may have identified one of the factors that cause bee death around agricultural fields.

How to help the pollinators

Pollinator experts say to cut an apple in half horizontally to see why you should care about pollinator conservation. If you see two seeds inside each of the five points of the apple’s star, it was completely pollinated. If there are fewer than 10 seeds, not enough pollen reached the flower’s stigma to develop all the seeds, and that apple could be small and lopsided. And, of course, you wouldn’t be holding an apple at all if the flower weren’t pollinated.

Beekeepers diversify to grow

From selling honey at local health food stores to providing beekeepers with packages of live bees, Apple Blossom Honey Farm thrives on a diverse business model. “We have the best honey in Star City,” says Doug Hoffman, co-owner of the farm with his wife, Carrie. “We used to do farmers markets and every local festival, but as we’ve expanded we’re selling to local grocery stores and health food locations.”

More on-farm research work urged for corn

Farmers and UNL Extension educators have run productive, organized on-farm research projects for several years in two regions of Nebraska — the Quad County Project of York, Fillmore, Hamilton and Clay counties, and the Nebraska Soybean and Feed Grain Profitability Project in east-central Nebraska.

Be on bean pest alert

Last season, several new and unusual insects showed up in Nebraska soybeans, with others expected in the near future moving in mostly from the South and East. Damage from these new insects is sporadic. While some of these bugs may rise again in 2012, nothing is certain. Here is a primer on new pests to watch for.

EPA gives approval for TwinLink technology

Bayer CropScience has the OK from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its TwinLink technology in the U.S. and anticipates having it in FiberMax and Stoneville cotton varieties in 2013, pending regulatory approvals in key import countries.

Pick where to control rootworm

Suppose your budget said “no” to planting all triple-stack hybrids. They include the Bt trait for rootworm control. If you still opted for some Bt rootworm corn, where should you plant it?

Volunteer corn bad for crop ecosystem

Volunteer corn growing in soybean fields that originated from Bt corn the year before may be much more onerous than it looks. One possible negative effect is obvious: soybean yield loss. The other downside is more subtle, but could be just as damaging. It relates to promoting insect resistance.

How to get money’s worth when picking bean seed treatment

Ordering soybean seed these days is somewhat like buying a new pickup truck. You’ve got to do more than just specify the variety. Do you want your soybeans treated? If so, what do you want them treated with? Do you want a company’s deluxe treatment option?