Owen Taylor, Editor
Heavy rains – mainly in the Midsouth but also in parts of the Southeast – created a new set of challenges this week for farmers across most crops. Totals of 6 to 9 inches were reported in Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana, with much of it falling Sunday night (6/8) and into the early part of the week. North Alabama and Tennessee also caught big amounts. This continues a wet-weather pattern that started in places a couple of weeks ago.
Storms also brought straight-line winds at up to 90 mph, which caused wheat to lodge and snapped corn on a wide basis in the upper Delta. In some cases, wind whipped around soybeans and cotton enough that the damage was mistaken for insect feeding.
Damage aside, the rains will generally be great for corn, much of which has either tasseled or is approaching that point. Soybeans also will benefit where they didn't go under water.
Weeds are thriving, too. We're hearing about some hoeing crews going after escaped marestail in one part of Alabama. Larry Steckel, Tennessee Extension Weed Specialist, said that when people started calling him Monday (6/9) about pigweed escapes, they were describing the plants' height in inches. "Two days later...the description of the Palmer amaranth height was given in feet," he reported this week. Connect in our Links section to a couple of expanded posts from Steckel.
Fall armyworms, bollworms and webworms have prompted scattered treatments in parts of the Midsouth. M.O. Way, Texas A&M Entomologist based in Beaumont, said that heavy infestations of fall armyworms had built in rice east of Houston. Stink bugs also have turned up in Midsouth soybeans on a scattered basis, but none of the fields were podding. Kudzu bugs have wandered into a few more fields in the Southeast but no real migration had started, based on this week's reports.
White sugarcane aphids have prompted limited treatments in grain sorghum in south Louisiana but populations are being found on sorghum now in the east-central part of the state.
Southern corn rust is turning up in more areas in the Southeast. The latest report came from Mace Bauer, Extension Agent in Columbia County, Florida. Connect to his post in our Links section.
Wheat harvest continues where it’s dry enough. We’re hearing about high yields in parts of Louisiana.
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Wendell Minson, Bootheel Crop Consultants, Dexter, Missouri: "With all the rain, our corn hasn’t been irrigated this season and probably will tassel next week. Early beans look pretty good but are beginning to suffer a little due to too much water. Pre herbicides are working well in beans. Wheat is close to being ready and some early fields could go Monday, which is about 10 days behind normal.”
Billy McLawhorn, McLawhorn Crop Services, Inc., Cove City, North Carolina: "Corn has all been laid by as far as nitrogen is concerned. Soybeans were a little late going in and we’re applying our first herbicides on a fair number of full-season beans. Wheat harvest has started a little in the last 5 or 6 days (from 6/9). The forecast calls for 30% to 40% chances for rain every day this week, so I don’t know how much progress we can make right away. It will pretty much be an average crop. I have a feeling we’ll see a lot more in the 55 to 65 bu/acre range than over 75 or 80.”
Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist: “Soybeans are kind of quiet after a lot of worm issues in previous weeks. Either farmers cleaned up weeds where worms had been building or they’ve cycled out. Also, people became aware of this and probably have been doing a better job of controlling them. A grain sorghum field in St. Landry Parish was at threshold Monday for white sugarcane aphids. When grain sorghum ranges from boot to heading, start scouting closely for this insect. We’ve also found some populations around Ferriday.”
Bob Griffin, Griffin Ag Consulting, Jonesboro, Arkansas: “Some beans haven’t been planted and others are just up. My oldest are at R2 this week. We’re finding a few stink bugs in beans but they aren’t a problem since those beans aren’t blooming. We’ll start our first fungicide next week on our oldest that will be at R3. Wheat looked beautiful at one point but has a dark coloring after all the rain. One farmer was suppose to cut a sample last Thursday before the rain started and that would have been as far as any of my clients would had gotten.”
Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Cotton Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina: “A few more kudzu bugs are showing up in soybeans. That varies by location but this seems to be the general case in many areas or probably will be soon.”
Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee: “The main calls about soybeans are about slug feeding. With all the wind from the storms, some corn laid down and the wind also damaged soybeans to the point that people think they’re seeing pest feeding.”
Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist: “We’re finding light sugarcane beetle numbers around, just in spots. Overall, corn is pretty quiet, maybe some rootworms and wireworms but nothing terrible. A few fields of blooming soybeans are being treated for bollworms. Also, fall armyworms (FAW) are still popping up and are building on grass like we’ve been seeing. With all the rain, growers can’t go in with herbicides to control the grass. When you can get back in the field to spray grass, be careful about burndown and look for FAW. If you kill the grass without addressing the worms, they’ll move over to the soybeans. I’m getting calls about stink bugs in early planted beans, nothing big, maybe 3 or 4 per 25 sweeps.”
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Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina: “I’ve heard my first report of kudzu bugs in early-planted soybeans. A few early-season bean leaf beetles are appearing. Some consultants note that stink bugs are showing up in corn. I had an isolated report of cereal leaf beetles damaging corn where they moved in from neighboring wheat.”
Dennis Reginelli, Area Extension Agent and Agronomist, East-Central Mississippi: “Rain last week put wheat harvest and soybean planting on hold. Wheat yields so far are running 50 to 75 bu/acre. The main difference seems to be where people could make nitrogen applications on time, but we also had thin stands in places. And with all the wind from the storms lately, some wheat is laying down. Corn is progressing well. It’s had plenty of rain, that’s for sure.”
Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist: "White margined burrower bugs are showing up on seedling crops, including soybeans. In intense spots you can find 100 adults chomping on one plant. I’ve had calls from across south Alabama. I’m thinking that in some places people will need to treat because the bugs are putting so much stress on plants. Last year we found them as far north as the Birmingham area. It’s becoming a more prominent insect.”
Keith Collins, Extension Agent, Richland Parish, Louisiana: “I’ve looked at more weed issues in soybeans this year than I can ever remember. The oldest beans have been planted since the third week of April and farmers were focusing on other things at a point when herbicides could have made a bigger difference. And then when they might have been able to spray, it was too wet. Our oldest beans are blooming and have little pods on the bottom. All the rain hit corn just right. Part of the crop began tasseling in the last week of May and most of the rest will be tasseling by late this week. Without any need to irrigate, this has been a cheap crop so far.”
Larry Walker, Walker Cotton Technical Services, Flintville, Tennessee: “We’re getting herbicides out on soybeans to try to stay ahead of pigweed. Some late MG IIIs and early MG IVs were planted about 6 weeks ago and are up to 8 trifoliates. Corn is enjoying the rain, and some is above shoulder high. We’ve had some lodging in corn and wheat due to straight line winds from storms over the last week, and the rain further delayed wheat harvest. Today is June 10 and I don’t think we’ve had a full day of sunshine or a day above 90 this month.”
Tucker Miller, Ind. Consultant, Drew, Mississippi: “In the last 10 days (from 6/10) we’ve gotten 8 inches of rain and corn is about the only crop benefitting from it. Corn has either tasseled or is pushing it. We treated 100 acres of non-Bt refuge corn around Sledge for southwestern corn borers in an area where we had them last year, too. We’ve found a few spots of green stink bugs in beans but none have pods, so no need to spray. We just started cutting wheat before this last 4-inch rain.”
Mark Mitchell, Mitchell Ag Consulting, Inc., Bainbridge, Georgia: “Most of our small grain has been harvested. Yields varied widely. Some people who consistently hit higher yield levels were down in the 40s (bu/acre), I’m told.
“Corn is in early tasseling to the pollination stage. A lot of fungicides have gone out over the last 7 to 10 days. We’re starting to pick up a little southern rust. We sprayed some corn last week with bifenthrin for stink bugs. When I checked on Monday, 2 stink bugs were the most I found in any field. One consultant said that he had not found stink bugs in any of his corn for the last 2 or 3 days. So, maybe they’re tapering off. The few I did find today (6/9) were brown, and I hadn’t expected to do a very good job on browns.”
Steve Schutz, Ind. Consultant, Coushatta, Louisiana: “We’ve treated a few hot spots for webworms in soybeans and have sustained damage in places. One new farmer wanted me to check his beans after the fact and he took a big enough hit that some replanting probably will be necessary. We’re finding a few armyworms on edges. A few pigweed issues are turning up but those situations are workable right now. In some R2 fields we may go with an early fungicide application. We’ve had enough rain that this may be the kind of year to do that.
“We sprayed 200 to 300 acres of corn for northern corn leaf blight in Red River Parish. It wasn’t killing leaves but had produced lesions up to the tenth leaf. Wheat yields have been phenomenal. I’m not going to say how high because some people won’t believe me and, in fact, those were fields with freeze damage where we found blank kernels and even some blank heads. In one case where we had high yields the farmer accidentally overplanted, which maybe made up for some of the lower tillering we see in certain new varieties.”
Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia: "I haven’t had a single call from an agent, farmer or consultant about kudzu bugs on soybeans. Numbers are still low and we have fields at V4 where we can’t find any kudzu bugs. If you go into a kudzu patch, though, you can find a lot of immatures, so we’re probably a couple of week away from finding adults. At that point we can expect movement into beans. Keep lesser cornstalk borers in mind. If you burn small grain stubble ahead of planting beans, that’s asking for trouble. They’re attracted to that charred residue. If you do burn straw and then plant, consider an at-planting preventive.”
David West, Wheat Tech Inc., Elkton, Kentucky: “Our wheat is about 7 to 10 days from dry down and looks reasonable. We started barley harvest, but we’re having trouble getting the crop out due to the continuing wet weather. Along with delays, we have some concerns that the rain could affect the quality of the barley. Our corn looks pretty good. Herbicide applications are complete on most of it. All of the full-season beans are planted, and herbicides probably have gone out on 20% to 30% of them. In general, our full-season soybean stands are very good.”
Wayne Dulaney, Dulaney Seed Co., Clarksdale, Mississippi: "Soybeans range from some planted last Saturday to a few beans at R1 and a couple of weeks away from a fungicide. Corn varies from the best a given farmer has ever grown to places where it’s marginal at best. This season shows every mistake a grower made in some fields. I saw 4 fields this week where growers tilled one way when it was too wet, trying to dry out the soil, and then planted across it. You can see stunted and yellow corn clearly outlining where those duals compacted the soil.
“No wheat cut here yet. We got 3.5 to 4 inches of rain on Monday, so that will further delay harvest. I’ve been told about some high yields in Louisiana. If wheat was taken care of, yields should be strong, and I’m hearing about a lot of wheat south of us averaging 90 to 100 bu/acre.”
Christy Hicks, Auburn University Regional Extension Agent, Opelika, Alabama: “We had a lot of heavy wind over the weekend with hard rain in places. The gauge at my home hit 2.7 inches. I haven’t seen any damage in the crops but we’ve had a lot of dirt splashing up on beans, which at least suggests potential for disease later. We’ve had reports of southern rust coming into corn in south Georgia. We’ve had a lot of overcast and humid days, so we’re on the lookout for blight and rust. Wheat harvest has started, although we had to stop over the weekend with all the rain. I’m hearing yields at 50 to 60 bu/acre in some fields.”
Josh Thompson, Regional IPM Extension Agent, Jackson County, Florida: “Maybe 75% of our wheat has been harvested. Overall, it turned out fair. Some averaged as high as 80 to 85 bu/acre but other fields are closer to 50. Most of our corn is silking now and just looks fair. But our best corn – just a few hundred acres – has been silking for about 3 weeks and has high yield potential.”
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