By Marilyn Thelen
Below are some considerations raised by Michigan State University Extension educators and specialists that growers may want to consider implementing if drought conditions continue or intensify.
Prevent fires during wheat harvest
Many wheat fields yet to be harvested may have particularly dry chaff and straw during the weeks to come. Exhaust pipes, worn bearings and broken, internal equipment parts can readily ignite the flammable chaff and straw that inevitably collects within the combine. Growers are reminded to make sure that combines are clean and in good working order; remove collected chaff after every couple hours of operation and check to insure that the combine's fire extinguisher is in working order. Operators might also consider having a shuttle of water at hand to immediately respond to an equipment or field fire. (Martin Nagelkirk,MSU Extension Educator)
Manage potato leafhoppers in alfalfa and dry beans
Potato leafhoppers are "thick" this season in fields and roadside vegetation. As ditch banks and roadsides dry down, these leafhoppers will move into fields. Leafhoppers in alfalfa will also move into neighboring fields after cutting. Thresholds for alfalfa are based on a combination of numbers of potato leafhoppers per 100 sweeps and plant height (3 inches = 20 potato leafhoppers; 3 to 8 inches = 50 potato leafhoppers; 8 to 12 inches = 100 potato leafhoppers; over 12 inches = 200 potato leafhoppers). In dry beans, the threshold is only one potato leafhopper per trifoliate. See the Insect Updates for July 1 for more details. (Chris DiFonzo, MSU Department of Entomology)