AgFax Grain: Redbanded, Kudzu Bugs Appearing Early In Soybeans

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    Here is this week’s edition of AgFax Grain.

    Editor: Owen Taylor


    Redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) continue to grab attention in the Midsouth. People are finding them on a general basis at least as far north as Pine Bluff, Arkansas. A few treatments have gone out in central Louisiana, while growers in south Louisiana – who plant the earliest beans in the region – have already made multiple applications in places.

    The early RBSB population trend this year year closely parallels how the pest developed in 2017, several of our contacts pointed out this month. In 2017, RBSB inflicted heavy injury, especially in late-planted fields. As these contacts also point out, wet weather this spring delayed soybean planting on a wide basis in the Midsouth, so more soybean acres than usual fall into that late timeframe.

    Kudzu bugs appear to be turning up earlier than usual in parts of the Southeast.

    Stink bugs have prompted scattered applications in corn. But several of our contacts have say that the pressure this year has been lower than expected.

    Southwestern corn borer numbers have built in parts of West Tennessee in non-Bt corn. For various reasons, a good deal of those hybrids are planted in that part of the state.

    Soybean gall midge larvae are turning up in more areas in the Corn Belt. While not a Southern problem, this relatively new pest can thin stands and inflict significant yield loss when populations build. So far this year, it has been confirmed in Iowa, parts of Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota.

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    Gary Swords, Swords Consulting, Arlington, Georgia

    “Our first corn is at full dent now, and the bulk of the acreage will be at full dent next week. Our corn acres are up. Stink bugs are here, but they aren’t too heavy. I found some Southern rust early, but it didn’t explode on us as we expected three weeks ago when Tropical Storm Cristobal was coming toward us. We did have more Northern corn leaf blight than we’ve had in a couple of years. We probably treated about 70% of the corn with a fungicide.”


    David Hydrick, Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc., Jonesboro, Arkansas

    “Corn is starting to tassel, and we put out all of our pre-tassel urea.

    “Our early beans are at R2 and moving into R3. Our latest soybeans have just emerged.

    “We’re trying to clean up the beans, which is a never-ending battle. We’re spraying them just about every time it gets dry enough, overlaying a residual to try to maintain control.

    “We’re not completely planted across all of our crops, but we’re much farther along than we were this time last year. Across all of my crops, we are 95% planted. At this point in 2019, we were probably 75% planted, and a big portion of those unplanted acres ended up in prevented planting. We will have some prevented planting acreage this year but nothing on the scale of 2019.”

    Keith Collins, Extension Agent, Richland, Ouachita and Franklin Parishes, Rayville, Louisiana

    “Our soybeans vary greatly in age. Growers planted the earliest beans in the first week of April, and we were still planting some last week. Location and rainfall amounts had a lot to do with the difference in planting dates. So far, redbanded stink bugs haven’t shown up to any extent in our soybeans.

    “Our latest corn is pollinating with earlier corn at dent.”


    Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina

    “For the first time in several years, we’re seeing kudzu bugs in soybean early in the season. People sprayed a few fields, but I don’t know whether any were at threshold. The treatments that went out were tankmixed with the last herbicide application. We had slugs in the early crop of soybean, but we expect them to be less of an issue in the double-cropped fields.

    “In corn, we expected heavy stink bug pressure, but they didn’t really materialize.  Historically, we expect a generation to turn over in wheat and then move into corn. Over the last 10 to 15 years, we’ve seen a trend toward stink bug populations thriving in a corn/soybean rotation, rather than in wheat.

    “Isolated cornfields are being sprayed for stink bugs this week. We are seeing Southern green stink bugs, which is unusual for us. We suspect that results from a series of mild winters. The good news is Southern greens are easier to kill.”


    Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist

    “Our soybeans are going into R2 to R3, and we’re regularly picking up redbanded stink bugs (RBSB), which concerns me more than anything else right now. The numbers we’re picking up are nothing close to treatment level, but the population is definitely out there. This is really early for them to show up here. We have a lot of late-planted beans, and I’m really concerned about how bad RBSB will be in this crop.

    “Every day, multiple people tell me that they are finding RBSB in R2 or R3 beans, and these reports are coming from as far north as Pine Bluff. I’m afraid this is shaping up a lot like 2017, which was a bad RBSB season. If this trends like 2017, RBSB will be all across the state by the end of the year. Just about everyone has late beans, so I think these bugs will be an issue for everyone.”


    Hugh Whitby, KC Consulting, Wynne, Arkansas

    “All of our soybeans are up and going. We’ve sprayed everything and treatments seems to be working good. For the most part, we made the first dicamba shot on those varieties before the cutoff date. Now, we’ve got nothing left to kill pigweeds. We’re laying down residuals as much as possible, but pigweeds are still coming through in places.

    “Last week, growers planted 400 to 500 acres of soybeans in small areas where it finally dried up enough to do field work.

    “The majority of our corn received its pre-tassel nitrogen shot this week. I’ve seen some corn with tassels and silks, and the corn is moving right along.


    “It rained Saturday night (6/20) and then again this morning, with chances for another one tonight. We needed the rain to soften the crust so the last of the rice could emerge. In places, growers had run pivots to bring up late-planted soybeans and activate residuals.”


    John D. Beasley, South Georgia Crop Services, Inc., Screven, Georgia

    “Corn is at the dent stage. We’re at least three weeks from any of it being mature. We treated most of the acres for Southern rust. I think we’re going to have some pretty good yields. We didn’t get as much sun as we’d like, but you can’t have rain and sunshine. We’ll take what we got.”


    Tucker Miller, Ind. Consultant, Drew, Mississippi

    “We’ve had scattered showers today (6/22), but people are still in the field in some areas. Prior to today, some areas received up to 1.5 inches of rain, and farmers were ready for a shower where it hasn’t rained recently.

    “Our beans are between nine and ten nodes, and most are around R1 to R1.5. We like to get to 13 nodes or around R3 before we put out a fungicide, so we haven’t applied one yet.

    “Most of our corn is tasseling. We haven’t had any major disease issues. We were irrigating corn, but some people received rain last week.

    “Our Southwestern corn borer traps are in place around non-Bt corn, and those counts have been very low. We really haven’t had any major issues so far.”


    Sebe Brown, Louisiana Extension Field Crops Entomologist

    “In soybeans, I have had a report of spider mites on beans, something I don’t hear about very often. With this hot, dry weather, it’s a concern where the farmer has found them. If the rain in the forecast (as of 6/23) doesn’t knock them off, the farmer will treat. In all the years I’ve been here, this is only the second time I’ve ever gotten a call about spider mites in beans.

    “The farmer would just as soon not treat. He’s in south Louisiana, and those growers already spend a good deal of money on applications just for redbanded stink bugs (RBSB). They try to avoid any excess application if they can.

    “We’ve already been fighting RBSB really hard in the southern part of the state where soybeans are rotated with sugarcane. A lot of those growers already have made three to five RBSB treatments this year. Those soybeans are planted in March or even late February. Soybeans hit R5 down there first, so those fields are the only thing in large acreage for RBSB to feed on.

    “As for the northern part of the state, RBSB are there, but I haven’t heard of any guys making an application yet. A few treatments have gone out in central Louisiana.

    “The rain this week has been especially helpful in the corn. Some of our corn is moving into dent, and the most advanced corn is progressing to the point that irrigation will be cut off soon if it hasn’t already shut down in places. We have a great looking corn crop this year.”


    Michael Mulvaney, Cropping Systems Specialist, University of Florida, Western Panhandle

    “In the Eastern Panhandle, we’re seeing some yellowing and rapid decline in corn, and that may be due to N and K leaching. However, with the crop at this late stage, there’s little we can do about it.”


    Phillip McKibben, McKibben Ag Services, Mathiston, Mississippi

    “Most of our soybeans are between V8 and V12 and blooming.

    “The June solstice – the longest day of the year – was on June 20 this year, and our beans were not at the optimum growth stage to utilize the extended daylight hours. It has been well documented that beans must be at peak bloom, or an R3 growth stage, during this period for optimal yield potential.

    “To achieve that in our areas, beans would have to be planted around April 20-25. Supposedly, that is why four-tenths of a bushel of yield potential is lost every day after April 25 that you plant. If you plant on May 1, you’re giving up a couple of bushels because your peak bloom will be just after the summer solstice. This has been widely talked about, and we’ve been paying attention to the concept.

    “We did lose some corn to green snap when that quick-moving cold front blew through on June 5. In some fields, we lost up to 20% of the plants. That front came through like a train. The wind only blew about 15 minutes and we didn’t get much rain, but it left behind a trail of lower yields.

    “Despite that, all of our corn looks really good now. It’s all in tassel and moving into the silking stage. The temperature and moisture levels have been ideal over the past three weeks, so we’re excited about our yield potential.”


    Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tennessee

    “A few soybeans are beginning to flower. Soybean pest pressure appears to be normal, which means pretty light. I received a few calls about Japanese beetles showing up in pretty good numbers last week. They caused defoliation on the top of the plant, but that’s almost never an economic issue. Both the damage and the beetles are easy to see, so this insect comes up every year and people want to know whether they should do something.

    “But Japanese beetles aren’t as bad as they used to be. That seems to be the trend with this insect. They’re really bad for the first couple of years after they show up in an area, but natural enemies and diseases help reduce the population.

    “In non-Bt corn, we’re right in between our two big Southwestern corn borer moth flights. We had a decent sized moth flight, but moth catches have now dropped to nothing. It’s typical for the numbers to drop because the original moths are gone and we’re just waiting for the next generation to pop up, which I think will be around July 10.

    “We’re one of the few places that has an issue with them. We have so many non-Bt corn acres that West Tennessee is an easy target. A lot of those acres are on wildlife refuges, and farmers aren’t allowed to grow Bt corn on that land.

    “We’re having the same issue in a few other areas, such as where farmers are growing corn for the organic market. Also, we have a higher percentage of non-Bt acres around Carroll and Henry Counties, which are the areas where we deal with chronic Southwestern corn borer issues. Some farmers also grow white corn for a premium, which mostly tends to be non-Bt corn.

    “Only a very small percentage of our acres are affected right now, but it’s a pretty good infestation this year in those few areas.

    “We could use a little more rain in places. Corn is starting to tassel in a lot of fields, so a few guys would like just a little more rain.”


    Dale Wells, Ind. Cotton Services, Inc., Leachville, Arkansas

    “Scattered showers have been falling today (6/22), and we probably received 2 tenths of an inch today. But between 1 and 1.5 inches fell over the weekend, so we were not desperate for rain.

    “Our beans are really late. We started planted in the first week of June, so they’re between cotyledon and V2. Although they are late, we made good stands and the weed control looks great.

    “We are seeing dicamba symptoms in these late-planted E3 soybeans. Beans in the R1 stage are more susceptible to damage, but none of our soybeans are at bloom yet. Still, though, this is troubling.


    “We don’t use dicamba, so this wasn’t caused by anything that the farmer did. A couple of those fields were planted on May 28, which would have been three days after the cutoff date when anyone in Arkansas could apply dicamba. Beyond that, those beans didn’t emerge for seven days, so there’s no way that dicamba could have been applied according to guidelines and restrictions.

    “Corn looks great. Most is conventional but we do plant a limited amount of GMO corn. We put out nitrogen plus applied Afla-Guard on pretty much every acre in the past couple of weeks to prevent aflatoxin. Corn is tasseling this week. It was perfect timing with the rain, and the crop really looks good.”


    Tyler Sandlin, Extension Crop Specialist, North Alabama, Belle Mina

    “We are 90%-plus finished with wheat harvest. Although we expected a poor crop due all of the fall and winter rain, we made a decent crop where the wheat was still standing. In places, yields have been exceptional.

    “We are watching pigweed closely to determine whether control is slipping with dicamba. We have reports from opposite ends of the state that show poor control on weeds 2 inches or smaller. Auburn weed specialists are walking the fields and screening samples. Growers need to walk behind their treatments to ensure they’re getting good control.”


    Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist

    “Fairly low numbers of redbanded stink bugs are turning up in a few isolated areas. I’ve heard of one spot where the population is at an elevated number, but it’s still nothing to be highly alarmed about. We just have to wait and see what will become of the situation.”


    Sally Taylor, Virginia Tech Extension Entomologist, Tidewater REC

    “Stink bug pressure in corn has been light in most regions. Some fields will be affected and corn is susceptible to yield loss in the two weeks prior to tassel through R1. To speed up scouting, check the region of the developing ear and one leaf above and below. Stink bugs tend to prefer this area until reproductive stages of development.

    “In soybean, watch for defoliators and kudzu bugs. Soybean can recover from a good amount of defoliation and even multiple defoliation events. Defoliation thresholds up to two weeks prior to bloom are 30%. That’s a conservative threshold, and we want to focus on avoiding treatments in early season so we can preserve natural enemies. Early-season sprays contribute to repeated sprays later in the year.

    “Kudzu bug has been spotted in many regions of Virginia by homeowners and farmers. This could indicate a problem for soybean producers. Until mid-July, soybean can tolerate up to 5 bugs per plant.”

    AgFax Grain is published by AgFax Media LLC.

    Owen Taylor, Editor | 601-992-9488

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