Armyworms And Fomesafen Injury Hanging Over Midsouth Corn This Week – AgFax

Owen Taylor
By Owen Taylor April 19, 2012

Owen Taylor, Editor

Fomesafen carryover damage is turning up in more Tennessee corn fields. See comments from Larry Steckel.


Worm pressure continues to be a factor in portions of the Midsouth. True armyworms are the main culprit, but cutworms also are a factor. And chinch bugs are hitting corn, too. Reports are mainly coming from Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. See our Links section to access more information.


Barley yellow dwarf virus is turning up in some Virginia wheat. See comments by Wade Thomason.


Frost damage from the Easter weekend has become more apparent in wheat and corn. Some early planted corn in north Alabama had to be replanted.


When will wheat harvest start? A little might begin in Georgia and Louisiana on or just after May 1. Cooler weather, though, may stretch out grain fill in portions of the South and cut into the big head start the crop made in February and March.


Soybean planting has started on a wider basis in the Midsouth.


Kudzu bugs have now been reported in south Georgia in a couple of counties on the Florida line and in one county in southern Virginia, according to the most recent map posted on the Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System website. See the latest map here.








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Wendell Minson, Bootheel Crop Consultants, Dexter, Mo.: "Where we didn’t include an insecticide with our fungicide applications in wheat, we’ve had to come back in a lot of places with an armyworm treatment. Where we sprayed armyworms early, we haven’t had to treat a second time, and I think we’ll be okay. And where we didn’t apply a fungicide, we thought we’d dodged the rust bullet but have since had to come back with Tilt to stop the rust. In spots, it’s been bad – not an epidemic but enough that we had to do something. Our wheat looks pretty good, overall. I don’t know what it will do, though. It pollinated in good, dry weather, so we don’t think we’ll have scab. Frost hurt wheat in spots, although not a lot.”


Wade Thomason, Virginia Extension Grain Specialist: “A lot of barley yellow dwarf virus is turning up in wheat. It’s moved around by aphids. We had a lot of aphid activity in the fall and winter that we knew about, and it was addressed in many cases. But we’re also finding now that they were present in more places than might have been thought.


“Guys in southeast Virginia often start wheat harvest by June 10, but I won’t be surprised this year to see some start by June 1. In our variety trial plots, we usually expect heading to run from about April 20 to the first week of May, but I was in a test yesterday (4/17) where everything already had headed. That’s a good indicator about how much this crop is running ahead due to warmer conditions.


“We got little showers throughout the state today, which is good because it was getting really, really dry. Corn planting on the eastern side of the state may be as much as 75% done. Not much has been planted yet in the Shenandoah Valley or the western counties. Some people have been holding off simply due to frost potential. Here at Blacksburg we’ve still got a 50% likelihood of frost through May 1.”


Charles Denver, Denver Crop Consulting, Watson, Ark.: "Most of my growers have just started planting soybeans. One or two jumped out early and have some that are 2 to 3 inches tall. But most have only planted a day or so. We’ve been catching about 2 inches of rain a week, so growers have to cram whatever work they can into 2 days, maybe 3. Then it rains again, so they’ve got to sit out another 4 or 5 days.


“Most of our wheat ranges from soft to hard dough, with 1 or 2 late fields in milk. We’ve got a few armyworm here and there. They’re scattered. You’ll find them in one field but not in another, but they’re mainly turning up in greener fields.


“Corn ranges from just planted to some that was at 8 leaves on Monday and nearly waist high. Herbicides and fertilizer are going out. By and large, the only growers around here who will have cotton this year either own gin stock or have landlords who’ve insisted that they grow cotton.”


Dewey Lee, Georgia Extension Grain Specialist: “I won’t be surprised to see harvest start in 10 to 15 days (from 4/18) in our very earliest wheat. That’s highly unusual, as early as I’ve ever seen it. The crop looks pretty good. As I walk through wheat at this point in the season, I’ll drag my hands through to roughly judge how the crop is doing, based on the weight of the crop by the amount of friction and pushback from the heads. It’s not any kind of scientific sampling. But through the years I’ve done this enough that I can kind of judge how the crop might turn out. A lot of these fields feel heavy, so we should see some nice grain yields.


“Corn is progressing well, and the irrigated corn looks quite good. We still have those fields, unfortunately, where people did everything right but have something wrong – maybe herbicide problems, pH issues or something they missed. It continues to be dry and we very desperately need a really good rain.”


Terry Erwin, Morehouse Parish Extension Agent, Bastrop, La.: "With rain delays, our corn crop is really spread out – from some started in February to at least one case where a grower finished yesterday (4/17). So, it ranges from just in the ground all the way up to layby. Probably 25% of our soybeans have been planted. But, again, the rain put that on hold.


“Wheat is early and already is starting to dry down a little, and we could actually be cutting a little in 2 weeks. It’s unbelievable how fast it’s grown. It’s hard to say what all this rain has done to the wheat. Physically, it looks good, but test weight and seed quality are unknowns. We’ve had scattered armyworm problems. On the other hand, disease pressure has been minimal. We saw some bacterial streak in a lot of fields, but there’s nothing that controls that. Really, though, we saw very little rust.


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“We’ll probably have less cotton than we even had in 2011. Last year the parish planted  maybe 10,000 acres. This year, it may be 6,000 or even less. It’s hard to plant cotton with the temptation of $13 soybeans. We have farmers who own gins who haven’t planted cotton in the last 2 or 3 years. We are going to have a big increase in peanuts, relatively speaking. Two of our farmers have historically grown peanuts, but they’ll increase their acreage this year, plus a couple of other guys are going out on a limb and will grow some this year, too.”


Scott Holder, Helena Chemical Co., Cleveland, Miss.: “I doubt if we’re halfway through planting soybeans yet, maybe 40% (as of 4/18). We do have some soybeans up. We’re still spraying a few worms in wheat here and there and had some rust come in late. But we don’t think we can do anything about the rust at this point, so we’ll just ride it out. Most of the wheat actually looks better than I thought it would with all the rain we’ve had.”


Hugh Whitby, KC Consulting, Wynne, Ark.: “Some of my growers started planting soybeans in the last week of March, and I’ve probably got 2,000 acres that are up now (4/18). We’re spraying a few worms in wheat. They’re not everywhere, just isolated fields, and we’re also having to spray some borders where worms are coming out of wheat into newly emerged rice. We’re dealing with a lot of Roundup drift issues in wheat. The wheat is probably a month ahead of normal as far as growth stages go, and I believe we’ll be able to plant some May wheat beans this year. Our corn is up to a pretty good stand. It needs rain.”


John Kruse, Louisiana Extension Corn and Cotton Specialist: “We got another 4.5 inches of rain here at the station (Alexandria) this week, which may have been more than it rained in the surrounding area. But many locations received 2 to 3 inches. So, we’re on hold again, waiting for it to dry up enough to get back to planting soybeans and cotton. Corn, at least, is all planted . I’ve looked at a few poor stands caused by wet conditions, but most fields have good stands, and some fields are truly at V5 where guys planted in late February. In some cases, they’ve already sidedressed the corn, and it’s up to your waist.”


Erick Larson, Mississippi Extension Grain Specialist: “Nearly all our wheat is headed, and folks have put out a fungicide by now if they’re going to do so. But even though it headed out so early, I still don’t expect it to start turning yet. The weather has cooled down over the last week, and if cooler temperatures remain in place during grain filling, that will slow things down. We might start seeing wheat turn in our southern production areas around May 1, and we could see the crop finish out closer to a normal period than might have been indicated by the way things jumped ahead with all the early warm weather. We might actually have a longer-than-normal grain-fill period, so keep scouting for insects and disease. Corn, in general, is growing relatively faster than normal. We’ve had fairly frequent rains in the last couple of weeks, which also have helped.”


Charlie Burmester, Extension Cotton Agronomist, Belle Mina, Ala.: "When will the wheat be ready for harvest? That’s the big question people are asking. I’m not going to speculate on that, but some of the old timers say that wheat tends to average things out toward the end. So, even though heading started 2 weeks sooner than normal, we may not necessarily start cutting 2 weeks earlier. The crop still may come off earlier, they say, but that head start may not completely follow through all the way to the end.


“Most corn has been planted. We did sustain a little frost damage in places. A little corn planted early near the Tennessee line had to be replanted. Growers jumped out real early and corn was knee high when temperatures dropped. Overall, though, corn was smaller and got nipped back some but should grow out of that okay.


“A little cotton has been planted, but these cooler temperatures put that on hold. Most growers will start back next week. With strong soybean prices, we’re losing a little more cotton acreage every day, so it won’t take long to plant this crop once people get going. I expect a big push next week.”


Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist: “Cutworms are bad in corn in places (more info here) and getting worse, plus we’ve still got armyworms causing problems, too. And the armyworms are getting bigger. If you burn down a field near rice, corn or even wheat, that can drive huge numbers of armyworms into those crops. Even spraying ditch banks and turnrows can push damaging populations into your fields.


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“Don’t make the mistake of thinking that they’re gone once you find damage. These are true armyworms and mostly feed at night. So if they’re not immediately apparent, start flipping over clods and you probably will find them. They’re also moving into pastures. One concern is that we’re spraying a lot of wheat for this, which can’t be good for beneficial populations in other crops later. Chinch bugs are hitting some rice, so we need to scout. They tend to be worse in clay soils.”


Larry Steckel, Extension Weed Specialist, University of Tennessee: “Fomesafen carryover in corn continues to be a concern and the main topic of calls I’ve received over the last 10 days. I walked a number of these fields this week. Corn was showing the characteristic leaf vein chlorosis caused by fomesafen carryover. It’s not a real surprise since fomesafen applied within 10 months of corn planting can carry over into corn. This has not happened often over the last several years because the summers and falls were wet compared to 2011. Wet soils readily break down fomesafen. Another reason this has not happened in the last several years is that wet springs forced later corn planting dates.” (Read full report with images here.)


Sebe Brown, Northeast Region Extension Entomologist, Louisiana State University: “I’ve been receiving reports of true armyworms and chinch bugs in corn. True armyworms will usually move into corn once grass hosts have been exhausted or taken out by a burndown application. Corn planted near wheat also is susceptible to migrating armyworms. Infestations are typically found around field margins. True armyworm damage gives corn plants a tattered appearance with frass – meaning, insect feces – present on leaves or in the whorl during active infestations. Most transgenic corn varieties offer protection against armyworm damage. However, single gene varieties like Yield Guard and Herculex 1 may be overwhelmed when large populations are present.” Read more here.



Examining Historical Trends in Crop Insurance 4-19


U.S. Drought Outlook: Improvement is Limited 4-19


Arkansas: Relative Sensitivity Chart for Field Crops, Herbicides 4-19 Arkansas Row Crops


Florida: Herbicide Incorporation – How and Why 4-14 U. of Florida


Georgia: Soil Moisture Levels Still Short 4-18 USDA


Georgia Corn: Seeing Variability In 2012 4-15 Seminole County E-News


Kentucky: Possible Wheat Damage from Cold Temperatures 4-18 University of Kentucky Wheat Science News


Kentucky: Armyworms Active in Corn 4-18 Grain Crops Update


Louisiana: True Armyworm and Chinch Bugs in Corn 4-17 Louisiana Crops


Mississippi: Armyworm Update – Podcast 4-16 Mississippi Crop Situation


Mississippi: Leaf Diseases Spotted in Wheat 4-16 Mississippi Crop Situation


North Carolina Wheat: A Busy Season Gets Busier 4-15 Green Leaf Agronomy


Tennessee: Fomesafen Carryover in Corn Update 4-19 UTCrops



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Owen Taylor
By Owen Taylor April 19, 2012

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