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Southern Corn Seeing Early Insects, Disease – AgFax

Owen Taylor
By Owen Taylor May 4, 2012


Owen Taylor, Editor

Northern corn leaf blight was
detected this week in Seminole County, Georgia. See our Links
section to pull up a report.


Southwestern corn borers have made
an early showing in Mississippi’s central Delta. See comments
from Tucker Miller. Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension IPM
Coordinator, noted today that this is a month early for the pest. See
the Links section to connect to a report.


Sugarcane beetles are turning up in
high numbers in light traps in parts of the region. See comments from
Dominic Reisig in North Carolina and Erick Larson in


Lack of rain continues to nudge
more growers into irrigating corn this week. Drought intensity has
increased in the Southeast (see Links section) where some
farmers already are trying to work with limited water


Heavy rain did fall in southern
portions of Alabama and Mississippi on Wednesday. Rain
also developed in the Delta, more so in Mississippi than in Arkansas.
But the storms did not appear to be widespread. Flexible pipe already
was being rolled out for corn irrigation, and some had started.


Wheat harvest has started on a
limited basis in the lower Southeast. No word on yields.


More soybean planting has started
in the Midsouth, while growers in portons of the Southeast are putting
the first seed in the ground now.


High soybean prices may even prompt
some folks in peanut country to plant a few acres if

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Mike Donahoe, Santa Rosa County
Extension Leader, Milton, Fla.:
“My counterpart in Escambia County
said that a little wheat harvest had started there, but I don’t know of
any being cut here yet.”


John Kruse, Louisiana Extension
Cotton/Corn Specialist:
“Corn is to the point that irrigation has to
start, where available. This constant wind and warm temperatures – both
during the day and at night – are drying out soils fairly quickly. Plus,
the earliest corn will start tasseling within a week or two, so we’ve
got to get into an irrigation mindset. Flexible pipe is being rolled out
all over the place.”


Chris Drake, Extension Agent,
Southampton County, Courtland, Virginia:
“Corn stands look pretty
good. We received 2.5 inches of rain 2 weeks ago, and the crop is really
jumping with that moisture. Some people started planting in the last
couple of days of March, then we hit a cool spell that kept things on
hold until April 8-15 when more was planted. Not a lot of soybeans have
been planted yet. Some of our earlier wheat varieties started heading
out 3 weeks ago, and I’m finding some wheat drying up from the bottom.
Cool temperatures recently kind of slowed it down, though, and we’re not
as far along as it might have looked earlier.”


Charlie Burmester, Extension Cotton
Agronomist, Belle Mina, Ala.:
"We don’t plant a lot of MG IV
soybeans, but a few have gone in the ground. It’s dry, and most people
at this point (4/30) are either waiting for rain or will plant soybeans
behind wheat. Corn is still growing good. In places we’re seeing
over-the-top herbicide damage, but it mostly grows out of that. This
seems mainly caused by Halex. This might be tied to when we hit that
cooler weather spell and corn wasn’t growing like it should.


“Wwheat is really turning now, and I won’t
be surprised to see some harvest starting in mid May.


“The biggest thing this year, so far, has
been poor control of horseweed with Dicamba in places. Larry Steckel
(Tennessee Extension Weed Scientist) also posted something

about these horseweed escapes on the UT blog
We’re trying to
figure out what’s going on. I collected some whole-plant samples that
will be evaluated at the main campus. We’ve been seeing this now for 2
to 3 weeks. We’re killing some plants okay but have been leaving some in
the field where we’ve treated. They’re kind of sick but not dead.”


Steve Schutz, Ind. Consultant,
Coushatta, Louisiana:
“We’re finding yellow stripe armyworms at
treatment levels in a field of small soybeans where they seemed to have
built in a pasture weed, purple cud weed. This has never been a problem
weed, but we hadn’t seen it like this, either, and didn’t have much
information on what to use. Reflex took out 70% of it. Between that and
knocking the beds down, we were able to plant. But armyworms apparently
had established themselves pretty good. We found the worms clipping
leaves pretty bad in beans just at first trifoliate, and we’ll treat
them with a pyrethroid, probably bifenthrin.


“Thrips could be a real messy deal this
year. With all this wheat drying down so fast, we could see thrips
issues in soybeans. I checked some today (4/30) that were at first true
leaf and found a few thrips on them. I’ve already had to recommend a
thrips treatment on some corn that was at the 3- to 4-collar stage.
There were so many on the leaves that looked odd from a distance.


“We might start cutting wheat as early as
May 10 – it’s moving that fast and is anywhere from 10 to 21 days ahead
of what we consider normal.


“Corn is at all stages, with a little
irrigated acreage still being planted. With earlier rains, some growers
got behind on corn fertilizer, and that’s a problem. This is a mixed
crop in other ways. Corn stands either look perfect or like dogs, with
nothing in between. Well-drained fields have excellent stands. I’ve got
corn in one area already at 13 collars, and it will be tasseling before
long. Where fields don’t drain well, the rain hurt and fertilizer uptake
wasn’t good. On the bright side, weed control in corn has been pretty
effective. The only problem – across all our crops – has been cutleaf
evening primrose. The atrazine should take it out in corn, but I’m
finding escapes in beans and cotton.”


Gary Swords, Swords Consulting,
Arlington, Georgia:
“Most of the corn looks really good, especially
on heavier dirt. If anything, it’s growing a little too fast, which has
made it hard to keep up with water. Even where we’re putting more water
on than recommendations might indicate, it would be hard to over-water
in this situation. Where we’re putting on more water, the corn is
definitely responding.


“Wheat maybe will come off a little early.
I’m seeing some really good wheat out there. I am a little concerned in
places where we didn’t treat twice with a fungicide. That part of the
crop may be a little lighter.”


Tucker Miller, Ind. Consultant, Drew,
“We’re well into planting soybeans, and a lot are up.
Some of our oldest are at third trifoliate, and we’ve already made a
couple of herbicide applications on the largest. No insect problems in


“We’re closely scouting corn. So far, we
haven’t found any stink bugs, maybe just a few on edges. In some non-Bt
corn we’re already seeing a few southwestern corn borers down in the
whorl. Everything is early this year, so I shouldn’t be surprised that
they’re showing up early, too. I don’t even had our traps up yet. That
was on this week’s schedule.


“We started irrigating a little corn on
Monday (4/29). We’ve got so much corn that people have been scrambling
to apply fertilizer and atrazine before it got too big, especially
making sure we get that second shot of fertilizer out. Now, we’re
pushing to get flexible pipe out. Wheat harvest might start in 10 days
on a limited basis, but mostly it will begin in mid May, which is still
earlier than normal here.”


Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension
Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina:
“Sugarcane beetles
have been turning up in high numbers in our light traps over the last
few nights (from 5/3), and this may be due to warm weather. The numbers
and timing seem similar to what we saw last year. They clobbered growers
in the Piedmont in 2011 but were less of a factor here in the eastern
part of the state. Growers in the east use higher-rate formulations of
seed treatment to prevent billbug damage, which would take the edge off
sugarcane beetles in the process.



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“I’ve heard one report about a grower in
the Piedmont having trouble finding one seed treatment at the high-rate
formulation. I hate to recommend high rates in the Piedmont because they
historically haven’t had heavy insect pressure, but sugarcane beetles
hammered growers last year, so they’re not taking any chances this


“I’m also getting scattered calls about
billbug issues, which isn’t out of the ordinary in corn here. These tend
to be cases where growers didn’t use the high-rate option. Overall,
we’re close to being finished with corn planting.”


Lance Honeycutt, Jimmy Sanders, Inc.,
Jonesboro, Ark.:
“A few guys are planting soybeans. Two weeks ago we
got 1.5 inches of rain. Where farmers were ready, they planted. Others
are waiting. That rain was the only real moisture we’ve had in the last
45 days (as of 5/2). Some growers also don’t want to plant until they
get into May, but the majority are still waiting for rain.


“I drove to Forrest City this morning, and
the wheat between here and there was turning big time. In 2 or maybe 3
weeks we’ll be harvesting. In 18 years in this business I’ve never seen
May wheat here, but it sure looks like we’ll start cutting this month.


“Corn is being sidedressed, and people are
rolling out pipe and watering it.”


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Allen McKnight, Delta Ag Consulting,
Greenville, Mississippi:
“Our most advanced wheat is right at 2
weeks away from cutting, maybe a little sooner than that, and a bunch
will be ready in 3 weeks (from 5/2). That’s 2 to 3 weeks earlier than we


“Farmers are planting soybeans fast and
furious, and a few people have wrapped up full season fields. Except for
wheat beans, we’ll be finished in 7 to 10 days. Our oldest beans
probably are at fifth trifoliate. We’re just about through laying by
corn. Still no insects to amount to anything.”


Dewey Lee, Georgia Extension Grain
“I’ve heard second-hand that some wheat harvest has
started but haven’t talked to anybody with direct knowledge about how
it’s going.


“Rome Ethredge (Extension Agent) in
Seminole County reported on his blog this week that northern corn leaf
blight had been found. When it starts you get on a fungicide program.
But it’s not like southern rust where the pathogen is so aggressive that
you end up spraying every week.



“The drought continues, and growers are
trying to judge how to best use their water resources. One farmer told
me today (5/3) that he had 3 or 4 irrigations left, then his pond would
be dry. We’ve got plenty of other situations like that, I suspect.”


Wade Thomason, Virginia Extension Grain
“We’re finished with corn planting in our eastern
counties. Planting is still underway in our western production area. I’m
not hearing about a lot of problems. Some cool-water injury has been
reported in the west, but it’s not widespread. Wheat is just kind of
holding on at this point. A few fields in the western part of the state
are flowering, and that’s the very last of it. Some of those guys are
spraying for head scab. We finally moved into a rainy period with
somewhat more risk.”


Erick Larson, Mississippi Extension
Grain Specialist:
“High numbers of sugarcane beetles are being
trapped in parts of northeast Mississippi where we still have a lot of
young corn. Any control on this pest is through a seed treatment, and
there’s no retroactive measure you can take now.


"We’re getting a little drier. The corn
still isn’t at a critical stage quite yet, but rain would certainly help
right now. Most of our corn is furrow irrigated, and you hate to water
corn like that right now while it’s still developing roots. You can’t
furrow irrigate as precisely as you can with a pivot, so you’re always
going to saturate parts of a field and hold back root growth.


"It did rain yesterday (5/2), and in
pockets it rained a lot, from a half-inch up to 2.5-plus inches. But
this wasn’t a widespread, well-distributed system, and the better
amounts were probably more toward the coast and centered along the
Alabama-Mississippi line. Where it did rain in other parts of the state
we’re mainly looking at short-term relief.”



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Mississippi: Delta Station Field Day
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But Drought Holds Kansas Back



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Louisiana: Pest Management And Crop
Production Field Day, St. Joseph, June 14



Louisiana: Crop Production Field Day,
Bossier City, June 6



U.S. Drought Outlook: Drought Conditions
Intensify in Southeast



Delta Rice Needs Rain, Texas Planting Lags
– RiceFax


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Mostly. AgFax


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Rain Needed – AgFax



Georgia: Random Spots in Corn

5-2 Georgia Grain Crops


Georgia: Northern Leaf Blight Found in
5-1 Seminole Crop
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Georgia: Nematodes Jumping on Corn

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Georgia Corn: The Crop Pushes Ahead With
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Kentucky: Observations on Wheat

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Kentucky: Barley Yellow Dwarf – A Product
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Kentucky: Barley Yellow Dwarf Evident in
Some Wheat Fields
Kentucky Pest News



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Owen Taylor
By Owen Taylor May 4, 2012