With the early planting season comes the opportunity and challenge for farmers to scout their planted crops early to look for a variety of disease and pest problems. Paula Davis, Pioneer Senior Manager for Insect and Disease Traits, suggests growers monitor crops closely then follow a management plan to resolve challenges. In corn pests such as armyworms, black cutworms, white grubs and wireworms can surface during the early growth stages. Also look for early signs of bean leaf beetle in soybeans.
Davis says one insect to watch for this season is the black cutworm. The pest leaves small shot holes in corn leaves. When black cutworms are about a half-inch long they can cut the plant. Stand loss or irregular stands may result. Davis reports significant flights of black cutworms in Missouri. The first captures took place in mid-March showing it may be a threat this year to some regions.
A common pest to both corn and soybeans is some grub species such as the Japanese Beetle. Davis reports they are common in Illinois and the eastern Corn Belt but even range into Nebraska. Davis adds they're not just a seedling pest. She says they've seen silk clipping in corn and adult beetles can defoliate soybeans.