Texas Corn, Sorghum: Scout Fields for Early Pests, Sugarcane Aphids

Some places in Hill County received over 2.5″ of rain this past week. Temperatures were mostly warm but with a few colder mornings Wednesday and Thursday. More rain is expected this weekend, just like clockwork this year. However, we will remain warm and windy so fields should be drying down rapidly.

Corn

Early season corn pests can reduce stands and cause wilting. We’ve had a warm, wet winter so it will be very important to scout fields for unusual damage. The excess rains and wet ground might cause the corn seed treatments to run out early.

Wireworms feeding on the young stalks or roots can cause stunting or wilting in seedling corn. Other pests that can cause wilting include white grubs and chinch bugs.

It could be that armyworms and corn earworms also infest corn earlier this year due to the weather.

Sorghum

Danielle Sekula in the Lower Rio Grande Valley has reported sugarcane aphids on sorghum plants 3 weeks earlier this year than ever before. The warm winter may have allowed more aphids to survive on the Johnsongrass. Early infestations in the Valley could lead to early infestations here, as aphids travel on the winds from the south. Thankfully our ladybug populations are pretty high and may be able to suppress aphids for a short time in the early season.

The seed treatments on sorghum may run out early as well, so scout regularly for seedling problems.


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