Here is this week's AgFax Southern Grain report, covering soybeans, corn, grain sorghum and small grains in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, SE Missouri, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

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Moth flights picked up in a number of areas in the last week, particularly in the lower Southeast and the Delta. Various mixes of other insects are being treated.

The bean plataspid has now been confirmed in 11 counties in Georgia and 4 in South Carolina. This invasive pest continues to build high numbers in places, but entomologists still can’t say for certain that it will cause much economic damage. Some threshold info has been extracted from scientific papers from China, where it’s considered a soybean pest. See photos and latest distribution map.

Corn harvest is approaching in parts of the lower South.

Hot, dry conditions persist in the upper Southeast. Crop insurance adjusters are evaluating claims in Virginia corn. A tropical disturbance in the Caribbean seems headed toward south Louisiana and the eastern Texas coast.


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Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist: "Fall armyworms are being found in what are described as clumps in some soybean fields in west Alabama. They aren’t necessarily being associated with grass, but they also were not doing much damage in the beans. Early in the week I started finding a lot of 1-day-old bollworm larvae in white blooms in cotton. It’s likely that they’ll develop in soybeans and peanuts over the next few weeks, but we can’t say to what extent. We’re seeing the July movement of moths from corn, and they will likely pick up over the next week. Also, I’ve received reports of a bollworm moth flight in the western part of the Florida Panhandle, with numbers described as unprecedented."

Charles Denver, Denver Crop Consulting, Watson, Ark.: "We could see some corn harvest starting around August 5. Everybody should be done with irrigation. Early MG IV soybeans are close to turning. Late MG IVs and MG Vs are setting pods and look like they’ll do well if we can just keep water on them. The soybean insect situation is still real light."

John Burleson, Consultant, Swan Quarter, N.C.: "We’ve got a good corn crop but can tell that pollination problems kept plants from filling out all the ears like we would want. It still will be a decent crop,. Soybeans are quiet. Most of mine are behind wheat or snap beans. Fortunately, we’ve been getting at least some rain every week, plus we’ve got heavy ground, which helps. As you go 30 miles west of here, the cotton is cutting out and corn has burned up."

Harold Lambert, Ind. Consultant, Innis, La.: "We’ve had horrible pressure in soybeans from fall armyworms, mainly where they were in grass and moved into beans when the grass was treated. This is the worst pressure I’ve seen in soybeans in 30 years. Some corn harvest will start this week."

Charlie Burmester, Extension Cotton Agronomist, Belle Mina, Ala.: "We’re still fighting pigweed some. Crews were pulling it in places. As it got drier, there’s been more chopping. I won’t be surprised to see some corn harvest starting in early August, especially guys with driers. Soybeans are pretty quiet. We got scattered, variable rain over the weekend (7/17-18), from a half inch to 2 inches, but late-season beans need more rain to get more growth."

Phillip McKibben, McKibben Ag Services, Mathiston, Miss.: "Insects continue to be fairly light in soybeans. We’re finding that some varieties didn’t pollinate well and shed a lot of flowers with all the heat earlier. Other varieties held onto half of what bloomed and look great. Corn is well into dent."

Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Ga.: "We’re still monitoring bean plataspid. So far, we’ve found it in 11 counties. We’ve got a better handle now on how to control it. It has been difficult to determine if soybeans have actually been economically damaged. We haven’t seen them feeding on pods yet, which would raise our level of concern. Adults were observed to initially feed on main stems, then move to the undersides of leaves in the upper canopy. We’ve observed some small lesions on the main stem, which may be associated with feeding. We’re getting some information about treatment thresholds used in China, where this is a more established pest. One reference, for example, suggests treatments when 300 to 500 bugs are found per 100 plants. If you do consider treatment, be sure to get a representative sample of the entire field. Populations have been significantly higher on field edges, and you may not have wide enough distribution to justify treating or at least spraying a whole field."

Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist: "We’re finding combinations of worms in late-planted soybeans on a broad basis. It can include fall armyworms, garden web worms and bollworms. Bollworms are particularly bad in southeast Arkansas in fields that are blooming and setting pods, with 1 per sweep in places. They’re not that bad everyplace, but numerous fields are over threshold."

Ames Herbert, Virginia Extension Entomologist: "I heard a report today about stink bugs in soybeans in North Carolina. That’s not a problem here because beans haven’t started podding up yet. The corn earworm moth flight dropped last week, then picked up some this week. Typically, we get our peak in early August, but that varies, and this year’s dry weather will probably mean we don’t get a strong peak. In dry years, movement is more localized, depending on the condition of the corn and when moths leave it."

Tucker Miller, Ind. Consultant, Drew, Miss.: "Insect activity in soybeans has picked up in the last few days. We had a pretty good bollworm flight 7 to 10 days ago, and we’ve been finding 4- to 5-day-old worms in late MG V fields and have been going with a pyrethroid and adding Orthene in some cases where we’ve got a mix of other insects. We’ve seen an uptick with bean leaf beetles. Most corn is getting to black layer, and we’re about to crank down on irrigation."

Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Cotton Entomologist, Blackville, S.C.: "The bean plataspid has now been confirmed in a fourth county here, Barnwell, in addition to Oconee, Anderson and Abbeville. All 4 border Georgia. We will intensify our surveys next week in an attempt to document whether the plataspid is in Aiken, Edgefield and McCormick Counties. I suspect that it is, and it will likely be detected in counties that don’t border Georgia. If you find it in soybeans or kudzu, please let us know. If possible, give us GPS coordinates. We still can’t say if this will be an economic pest and to what extent it needs to be treated, if at all."

Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist: "We’re spraying a lot of soybeans for bollworms. We had been flushing moths, anticipating an egg lay, and it’s here. This is mainly in the later beans that have open canopies and are just flowering. We’re still seeing a ton of moths. This is a really long generation, and in several fields we’ve already had to make a second application."

Richard Petcher, Regional Extension Agronomist, SW Alabama: "We’re 3 weeks from corn harvest. Several farmers say this may be the best corn crop they’ve ever grown. We’ve generally gotten better rain in Baldwin, Mobile, Escambia and Washington Counties, and that’s where we’re seeing the best corn. Our counties up from there will still have a pretty good crop, but they missed some of the rain that fell closer to the coast. Rains have helped soybeans, too. Three-corner alfalfa hopper is present in beans, and a few farmers have treated for worms. The predictions are that we’ll have a lot of stink bugs, but nothing has been sprayed yet. The mix I saw early in the week was about 50/50 brown and green."

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Lewis Wells, Agriliance, Gillett, Ark.: "A lot of bollworms are turning up in soybeans in Desha County across the Arkansas River from us, and growers are spraying. We’re not seeing that pressure, but we also don’t have much corn, which is the source. Our beans look good. In places, we were stretched on water, which might have affected yield potential when growers had to commit water to rice. Preventive fungicides are going out, and early beans are setting pods."

Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tenn.: "We’re seeing a pretty big jump in green stink bugs in soybeans. They appeared once soybeans hit R4 to R4.5. Where people included insecticides with fungicides at R3, they’ve had to come back in many cases and spray again. They’re not evident everywhere, but in 3 or 4 counties stink bugs have definitely arrived. We’re hearing about some populations at 3X to 4X threshold. In places, we’re also dealing with a worm complex that might include bollworms, yellow stripe armyworms (YSAW) and garden web worms (GWW). The GWW are in spots, moving off pigweed. YSAW usually move into field edges from other things and don’t cause many problems. But this year, YSAW moths are laying eggs directly in soybeans, and we’re seeing big numbers of moths and plenty of worms in late-planted fields."

Rome Ethredge, Seminole County, Georgia, Extension Coordinator: "We’ll probably see some corn harvest starting here next week. I’ve been finding foliage feeders in soybeans, but nothing bad."

Roger Leonard, LSU Research Entomologist, Winnsboro, La.: "Early soybeans looks excellent in many areas. Some of the earliest MG IVs are approaching R8, and harvest aids could be going out this week. Stink bug pressure in soybeans has been around threshold in some instances, and corn earworms are in the mix, plus bean leaf beetles (BLB) are resurging in some fields. We’ve got some BLB populations that are difficult to control, and it will take a tank mix. We’re seeing the first flush of what I think are soybean loopers. Numbers aren’t high yet. We’ll see corn harvest starting over the next 10 days."

Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, N.C.: "One grower was finding spider mites on some MG II soybeans in Chowan County. But the beans were probably far enough along that a treatment wouldn’t be needed. But another grower there had active mite colonies in MG VI beans, and those probably have been treated. Other Extension agents in that area, though, had not been finding mites in soybeans."










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