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Here is this week's AgFax Southern Grain report.


This week we welcome our summer sponsor, the Southern field staff of Chemtura AgroSolutions. Our thanks to FMC Corporation for once again sponsoring the first half of our 2011 reports.



Social NetworkSouthern corn rust has been confirmed in Jefferson County, Florida, which is in the panhandle and borders Brooks County, Georgia. See Bob Kemerait’s report, which includes a link to more info.


Drought persists across much of the South. Some areas caught showers and thunderstorms in the last week, which were helpful in places but maybe too late for some corn. The rain, where it fell, did allow growers to wrap up doublecrop soybean planting and also may trigger germination in soybeans that were dusted in earlier. More rain is needed.


Heavy winds in the upper Delta inflicted crop damage, especially in northeast Arkansas. We’ve heard reports of grain bins and pivots being damaged or destroyed, plus soybeans and cotton shredded by blowing sand. Corn laid over in spots in Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee.


In Virginia, Extension Entomologist Roger Youngman issued an advisory on Wednesday regarding stink bugs in corn whorls. See his comments and a link to further info in the Crop Reports section.


Soybean insects remain light in parts of the Delta, although a scattering of pests were being treated.


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Hugh Whitby, KC Consulting, Wynne, Ark.: “We’re just now planting our wheat beans. The older beans – the ones mostly planted in mid May – are getting their first in-season herbicide application. They’ve just now gotten big enough to treat. We got a little shower yesterday (6/14), but it wasn’t enough to count. Wheat yields have been excellent, which is one positive point this year. We’re hearing averages in the 60s, but quite a few fields were around 85. At one point, I wouldn’t have given anything for this wheat crop, considering all the rain and poor growing conditions earlier. But it seemed to turn around in the last month, and it makes you wonder if we should be watering our wheat more.”


Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Cotton Entomologist, Blackville, S.C.: “Only 5 counties in the state do not yet have confirmed sightings of the kudzu bug, and before the end of this week I’m expecting that we’ll check 3 of those counties off the list. Kudzu bug hasn't necessarily been found in every county on soybeans, but they are in wild hosts or other vegetation, and it’s just a matter of time before we see more instances of them in soybeans.”


Rogers Leonard, LSU Research Entomologist, Winnsboro, La.: “We’re seeing very high numbers of the colaspis beetle in soybeans where they’re migrating from corn. Threshold levels have been reached in several fields. We treat this insect very much as we would a bean leaf beetle. The threshold is 2 per sweep, so you need very high numbers before you would treat. They’re very sensitive to pyrethroids.”


Roger Youngman, Extension Entomologist, Virginia Tech University: “Recent reports of stink bugs feeding in the whorl of field corn have come to my attention. There was no word on what species of stink bug they were or how extensive the damage is. But whichever stink bug it is, their piercing-sucking mouthparts can reach the growing tip of young corn plants.” More info here.


Scott Gifford, Gifford Crop Consulting, Manila, Ark.: “I’m finding false chinch bugs in soybeans. It's an insect I’ve heard about but have never seen here. At first I thought they were aphids, except they move much faster on the plant. I came across them over the weekend (6/11-12). I was moving through the field, and the beans looked fine, then I suddenly came to circles that had been hit by something. Other people are finding them now, too. This is the kind of year where we’re likely to see a little bit of everything.”


Zach Ingrum, Field Rep, Southern States, Athens, Alabama: “Corn has been hurt by the drought. We’ve got some that has burned up. In other fields, growers might salvage 100 bu/acre if it rains enough this week. A lot of that corn is pollinating, so it’s in a crucial period. We’ve harvested about 90% of the wheat, and the crop has been excellent, with a lot of field averages between 90 and 100 bu/acre. Right now, our wheat will likely make more money than our corn . Soybeans, like the cotton, still have excellent yield potential if we can get a good rain and then shift into a better weather pattern through the season."


Terry Erwin, Morehouse Parish Extension Agent, Bastrop, La.: "We’re in a terrible, extreme drought. Everybody who can water is watering. Dryland corn is suffering, and some fields may not get over this. Irrigated corn looks good, but even in the irrigated corn we’re concerned about pollination with temperatures running in the mid 90s to 100 for the last 2 weeks. Soybeans look pretty good, and a lot of farmers have started irrigating. Most are MG IVs and are just starting to fruit. They’ve held up pretty good up until now, but I expect dryland beans to start suffering if they go another week without rain.”


Barry L. Freeman, Extension Entomologist (Retired), Belle Mina, Ala.: " We had scattered showers a few days ago but not enough to do any good. I spent a lot of last week in south Alabama, and they were sure enough in a drought. We’re just now getting into it here. Cotton is still hanging on, but corn is definitely suffering, and growers are having trouble getting in their doublecrop soybeans behind wheat.”


Charles Denver, Denver Crop Consulting, Watson, Ark.: "Corn ranges from tasseling to filling. With hotter weather, it’s made a turnaround and looks better. Everybody is irrigating the fool out of it. I’ve got 2 little blocks of dryland corn. One had quite a bit of rain, the other hasn’t had so much as a heavy dew. Up to this point, it hasn’t hurt a lot. But with corn starting to tassel, drought symptoms will be evident if we don’t get rain soon. Most everybody has finished planting beans. We’ve watered some of our earlier beans 3 times now, and we’ve got fields blooming and podding. Insects have been pretty light in soybeans, so far.”


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Bob Kemerait, University of Georgia Plant Pathologist: “To date, southern corn rust has not been found in Georgia. However, Kevin Phillips with Pioneer Seed brought a sample to the UGA Disease Diagnostic Lab in Tifton last Thursday (6/9) that was confirmed by Jason Brock as southern corn rust. The leaf sample was collected from corn in Jefferson County, Florida, and 2 miles south of the Florida-Georgia line from Brooks County, Georgia. The incidence of southern rust was very low in the field, which is heavily irrigated.” More info here.


Phillip McKibben, McKibben Ag Services, Mathiston, Miss.: “Corn ranges from just past tassel to early R2. Most of it needs rain. We’ve got a good ear already determined, based on what I’ve found from dissecting (see photo below). Most of them are running 14 to 16 rows and 38 to 40 kernels in length, so we’re pleased with the ear formation. We just need rain to fill them out. I’ve learned to start sampling before tasseling because the ear formation has taken place ahead of that, maybe 10 to 14 days before tassel. I’m telling my growers that it looks like this year’s ears mostly formed before it turned hot and we ran out of moisture. We’re getting a good stand on 90% of our wheat beans, which is a a little surprising as dry as it’s been. Our most advanced beans are at about the 13th node and R2. We’re finding a lot of alfalfa hoppers in seedling beans, and we’re treating those. In V3 soybeans, we’ve been catching 60 to 80 per 25 sweeps.”


Pre-tassel ear formation, 2011. Photo by
Phillip McKibben, McKibben Ag Services,
Mathiston, Miss.


Bill Brooks, Mid-South Farmers Cooperative, Alamo, Tenn.: “Corn ranges from V5 to tasseling. We got rain on Saturday (6/11), from a half inch to something over an inch, and that will help. I’d seen some leaf rolling in the last 2 weeks. Our oldest corn was planted at the end of March and into early April, and it had deeper roots and didn’t roll as badly. But the later corn planted in May has shown drought stress. We’re cutting wheat and planting soybeans and should mostly wind that up this week. Hopefully, this rain will get them up. We’ve had pigweed in full-season beans and have been dealing with that. Wheat yields have been surprisingly good in places, with 70 to 90 bu/acre yields. But I’ve also heard about some averages around 30, which I suspect was due to head scab.”


Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist: "Insects are still pretty light in soybeans. People have been catching stink bugs in beans that haven’t podded. It’s an odd thing but nothing that requires treatment. But it does make you wonder what our stink bug pressure will be like later. I’m hearing a few reports of spider mites hurting soybean plants in small spots. In a few cases we’re finding bollworms causing light defoliation in beans that aren’t podding yet. Right now, these are just small cases like we’ve seen in the last few years.”


John Kruse, Louisiana Extension Cotton/Corn Specialist: “Irrigated corn is going pretty well, overall. We seem to have good grain formation all the way to the top of the cob in most cases. All that aside, the lack of rain has really hurt dryland corn. A lot of it is maybe chest high, with leaves curled up and already dying. The final yield right now will be a function of how much water the crop receives, and we’ve obviously lost potential on a portion of the crop.”


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Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist: “Usually by now we’re seeing garden web worms or fall armyworms in soybeans, but there hasn’t been any kind of outbreak. It seems like the biggest thing in beans has been the threecorner alfalfa hopper. Those numbers are high in places, so check for girdling.”


Mark Mitchell, Mitchell Ag Consulting, Inc., Bainbridge, Ga.: “Our oldest corn is in the early dough stage. Stink bugs are out there. We sprayed a field for stink bugs on Monday where we had enough that it warranted an immediate application. That was the first application where we hit a direct treatment level. As we’re going through with fungicides, we’re adding methyl.”


Scott Holder, Helena Chemical Co., Cleveland, Miss.: “We had a few showers over the weekend, but we’re still irrigating the majority of our soybeans pretty hard. Mostly, our beans are pretty clean. We may do some touchup herbicide work, but that will be about it. We ended up not having many wheat beans. That may partly be due to lack of moisture, but I guess a lot of people made enough money off the wheat that they can let that land lay out this summer. Most of our corn is at tassel, and we’ve applied fungicides on a pretty good bit of it and are just irrigating now. I’ve heard about scattered pollination issues, but we haven’t seen anything like that in our corn. Wheat did real good in Bolivar and Sunflower Counties. That dry winter was just about ideal. Yields were above normal, and several fields cut 100 bu/acre.”


Tom Allen, Mississippi Extension Plant Pathologist: “Low levels of foliar disease continue to Social Networkbe reported from some corn fields throughout the Delta, and more common rust has been identified throughout the canopy. Currently, I’m not aware of any southern rust in Mississippi. In fact, the only observed southern rust in the southern U.S. is in the panhandle of Florida, specifically in Jefferson County, Florida.” More info here.


Scott Stewart, IPM Extension Specialist, University of Tennessee: “Japanese beetles are showing up in corn, soybean and cotton. Of these, cotton is their least favorite. These are showy beetles that often hang out in groups and draw a lot of attention. Fortunately, they rarely cause yield loss in field crops. The beetles will feed on leaves, flowers and corn silks. They only have one generation per year, and the adults started emerging last week. Adults will continue to emerge for several more weeks and persist into July. Larvae are white grubs that feed underground and are sometimes a pest of turfgrass.” More info here.



Palmer Drought Index Map


Arkansas: Moth Traps Indicate Bollworm Numbers May Be High This Year 6-14. Arkansas Row Crops Blog


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Georgia: Low Level Incidence of Southern Rust in Corn 6-15. Georgia Grain Crops Blog


Mississippi: Can I - Or Should I - Plant Soybeans Behind The Flood? 6-13. Mississippi Soybean Notes


Mississippi (Central): Gambling On Dryland Corn - This Year The Cards Went Against Us 6-12. Ernie Flint, Mississippi Extension Area Agronomist


Rootless Corn Syndrome Causing Lodging 6-14. Missouri Bootheel Ag Pest Management Blog


North Carolina: Kudzu Bug Found On Soybeans For First Time, Expect Rapid Expansion 6-12. North Carolina State University


Tennessee: Challenges Managing Glyphosate-Resistant Palmer Amaranth in Soybeans 6-15. UTcrops News


Virginia Corn: Stink Bugs In Whorls - Treatment Options 6-15. Virginia Ag Pest Advisory



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