AgFax Southern Grain: Odd Insect Issues, Soybean Rust In Georgia

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    AgFax Southern Grain: Odd Insect Issues, Soybean Rust In Georgia

    Owen Taylor, Editor 601-992-9488


    More corn is at tassel in the lower South, with a little of it at least approaching brown silk. In soybeans, blooms are beginning to appear on early-planted soybeans in Louisiana.

    Wheat harvest has started in Louisiana and maybe by now in Georgia. No yield reports but hardly anybody expects strong averages on a broad basis, considering all the rain since the crop started.

    Insects are ramping up in corn. With this year’s weird weather patterns, people in the field are finding pests in places where they typically don’t turn up much. See comments by North Carolina’s Dominic Reisig.

    Soybean planting continues. More MG IV beans are being planted this year in the Southeast, continuing a trend started a couple of years ago to grow at least a few more acres of the early maturing varieties and plant them early. Essentially, this parallels the accepted approach in the Midsouth. Interest in early-planted MG IVs took shape when a handful of growers in Georgia began ringing up triple-digit yields.

    Redbanded stink bugs appear to be building early populations in north Louisiana, which could lead to more pressure later in the year in other Midsouth states. See comments by Louisiana’s Sebe Brown.

    Asian soybean rust has been found on kudzu in Georgia, and this is the earliest the disease has been detected in the state since 2005. This early sighting “likely means rust will be problematic for our soybean producers this year. Current conditions favor spread of the disease within kudzu,” reported Bob Kemerait, Extension Plant Pathologist with the University of Georgia. Connect to more info from Kemerait, including a corn disease update, in our Links section.


    Wes Briggs, Briggs Crop Services, Inc., Bainbridge, Georgia:

    “All of my corn, if not already tasseling, will be in the next 10 days (from 5/16) and some is approaching brown silk. Most of it is in the 60- to 80-day range, with a few fields at 30 to 40 days. Still no disease to be concerned about  — just a little common rust. A few stink bugs have turned up on field edges but nothing we would treat.

    “Our soybeans range from still being planted to the second trifoliate. The majority of our beans this year will still be planted behind sweet corn or field corn. I’ve got one field of wheat this year and it’s pretty close to harvest.”

    Curt Johnson, CRC Ag Consulting, LLC, Lake Village, Arkansas:

    “With soybeans, we’re getting close to being planted up. Some that were planted 10 days ago look good, but we also have fields where they’re coming up to sporadic, skippy stands due to lack of moisture. The beans that are still laying there are good and will come up once it rains. We’re just seeing a worm here and there in beans, nothing we would treat.

    “My corn ranges from 5-leaf up to 9 or 10, and that oldest corn isn’t far from pre-tassel nitrogen. In those fields we might be looking for tassels within a couple of weeks. Because of the cold temperatures and saturated soils earlier, corn stunted to some degree. Now that things are drier, I think it’s putting down a better root system. There’s enough moisture there to keep corn going, and I’m recommending that my growers hold off a little longer on irrigation to give plants a bit more time for better rooting.

    “The forecast calls for rain Thursday night and Friday (5/19-20), with an inch predicted, and that would maintain corn for a while.”

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

    “Insects have been chewing on corn enough in places to grab farmers’ attention. I don’t know that anything really serious is happening on a wide basis, though. Corn got off to a really strong start and looks great, which has made some minor things stand out. Otherwise, these things might have been overlooked if corn had been more beaten up early on.

    “I’m getting a few more calls than usual about billbugs in corn. Our more common seed treatment for billbugs isn’t always adequate under high pressure. We always stress the advantages of rotation to help minimize billbugs. But even with rotation, populations might develop in adjoining fields or borders and move over. Corn and yellow nutsedge are the known reproductive hosts, but billbugs will overwinter in ditches and hedgerows. If you plant corn near where your neighbor had corn the year before, billbugs can move into your field.

    “Stink bugs also have turned up in seedling corn. These have mostly been light populations. Where farmers find injury, it probably was done a week or two before, so you missed them when you might have treated. But even then, they probably weren’t causing economic loss.

    “People are finding injury in corn in the coastal plain that appears to be from sugarcane beetles. That’s based on several phone calls and photos sent to me showing the damage. Typically, they’re more common in the Piedmont. In this case, they’re in the southern part of the state and outside of the Piedmont, which is a bit out of the ordinary.

    “We’re also having insect problems relating to cover crops. We rarely have problems with cutworms, but in a few cases they developed where cover crops weren’t burned down soon enough before corn was planted. Some stink bugs also turned up in corn behind cover crops.

    “In soybeans, we’ve also had to deal with one case of pea aphids, which came out of Austrian winter peas that were planted as a cover and rolled – but not chemically burned down – ahead of soybean planting. The farmer ended up treating for the aphids. The damage was bad enough that we’re hoping he doesn’t have to replant. This same thing happened a couple of years ago in Arkansas. Gus Lorenz (Extension Entomologist, University of Arkansas) has a good deal of experience with pea aphids and was able to bring us up to speed on it.”

    Sebe Brown, Northeast Louisiana Region Extension Entomologist:

    “Southwestern corn borer numbers are pretty much nonexistent in our traps, and they’ve generally been low over the last 4 to 5 years. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t scout refuge corn for borers. The trick is to detect them early before they bore into the plant. After that, there’s nothing you can do.

    “Our soybeans, like our cotton, have been plagued with cool temperatures that stalled out growth. And like the cotton, soybeans have attracted thrips in places. We can find some injury and more numbers of thrips than you would expect where a seed treatment was used. On the other hand, some growers didn’t go with a seed treatment and those beans have even more aphids.

    “People want to know if they should treat. Generally, no. In soybeans it takes severe injury and stand loss to justify spraying thrips. And if you use a broad-spectrum insecticide you can set back beneficials and open yourself to pest issues almost to harvest. Be patient. With warmer weather, soybeans will grow past thrips and you shouldn’t see any yield differences where treatments weren’t made.

    “We are finding a lot of redbanded stink bugs in clover and other weeds where we’re sweeping. We’ve been finding them in parts of north Louisiana since March. It wouldn’t be unusual to find this much activity in south Louisiana right now, but this it’s a bit out of the ordinary up here. Folks in north Louisiana, south Arkansas and adjoining areas of Mississippi probably should brace themselves. Things might change, but this seems to be setting us up for a pretty rough year with redbanded.”

    Zach Ingrum, Sanders, Inc., Athens, Alabama:

    “We had an easy time getting corn planted and stands established, even on the bottom ground. It was just about perfect. We missed some rains that caused delays elsewhere. We’ve had intermittent rains but then it started getting dry enough last week that people cut on irrigation. The next day it rained.

    “Our corn is pretty much all laid by. My growers are at least 90% finished planting full-season soybeans. Other than a few places where people got in a hurry and didn’t do a good job on pigweed at the start, soybeans look good.

    “We’ve got a fair amount of wheat and Canola. Wheat on well drained soils looks pretty good. Canola acreage is down this year but the crop looks okay. Like with wheat, you never know how Canola will turn out until the combine moves into the field.”

    Hank Jones, C&J Ag Consulting, Pioneer, Louisiana:

    “After what probably was the wettest spring here in 500 years, we need rain and growers are starting to irrigate some corn. A modest amount of tasseling has started. A lot of tassels are short this year, which indicates how much stress plants have been through, plus we’ve got shorter internodes.

    “The crop is starting to shape up now that conditions have somewhat improved and even the replanted acres from last month are taking hold. We’re finding common rust in corn but nothing that we would even consider treating.

    “The biggest issue with soybeans has been cleaning up fields so we can plant. It’s been a complicated year with herbicides ahead of beans. In places, planting was delayed to the point that burndown applications broke. Also, wet weather and the push to plant corn kept some growers from being timely with herbicide applications in soybeans. We’ve been coming back with some hot and costly tankmix applications to regain control in problem areas and we’ll probably have to battle a few more pigweeds than we would if crops had been on a more normal schedule.

    “At this point, we need rain to activate our pre herbicides. Some treatments went out before Mother’s Day and a lot of those fields haven’t had a rain since then. We desperately need showers right now (5/17).”

    Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist:

    “Stink bugs have been turning up in late-planted corn, especially in north Arkansas where some of it just emerged a couple of weeks ago. When they hit seedling corn, they can kill or stunt it, and a few treatments have been made. I’m cautioning people to walk field edges, especially along tree lines, and look in the whorl.

    “Cutworms are still out there and we’re seeing them in cotton, corn and soybeans. Calls have tapered off about true armyworms in wheat, particularly in our southern counties. That wheat is beginning to turn, so it’s past the point that worms would matter. We’ve had high true armyworms numbers in places, and I think that we had such a small wheat crop that they tended to concentrate more so than usual.

    “We’ve gotten that Section 18 exemption to use Transform on grain sorghum for sugarcane aphids and are awaiting news on the same exemption for plant bugs in cotton. It’s important for as many farmers and crop advisors as possible to post a formal comment about the need for this cotton exemption on EPA’s website (click here to access the page). The deadline is this Friday, May 20, so please attend to this as soon as possible.

    “Rest assured that people and groups who don’t want to see this product used will be actively commenting, so we need to ensure that our opinions are heard, too.”

    Tyson Raper, Cotton And Small Grain Specialist, University of Tennessee:

    “Rain is in the forecast, which should be good to help finish out wheat. Barley yellow dwarf virus has turned up in a couple of spots but nothing bad.”

    Dan Fromme, Louisiana Extension Cotton And Corn Specialist:

    “Corn is tasseling now. We’ve got this big spread of ages because of the rain and flooding, but that older corn that’s tasseling looks really good. It needs a rain. Farmers began stretching out polypipe last week. Some corn planted in mid April was obviously stressed and had that pineapple-like appearance. It rained a little yesterday (5/16) and the forecast says we have 60% to 100% chances over the next 3 to 4 days.”

    Herbert Jones Jr., Ind. Consultant, Leland, Mississippi:

    “We were able to catch early planting dates with corn and it’s at the 6- to 7-leaf stage now and is almost waist high. All the herbicides are out and all we lack is the last shot of fertilizer. I found a few stink bugs and armyworms in the whorl but just here and there and nothing close to threshold. From 75% to 80% of our soybeans have been planted and are up. They all went in at about the same time and are at 2 to 4 trifoliates.”

    Brandon Dillard, Regional Agronomist, Geneva, Alabama:

    “Corn started out rough this year. Temperatures were cold early. We’ve had a lot of uneven growth, which has worried farmers. Some of that may be traceable to nutrient deficiencies. As soils warmed up and the corn caught some nitrogen, plants rebounded. But stands are still erratic. We do need rain on dryland corn, and we’re seeing some leaves shrivel up.

    “A few soybeans are in. But as it started getting dry, people started pushing to plant cotton and peanuts, so soybeans took a back seat. Wheat is right at the beginning of harvest. Farmers harvested some oats last week, and wheat harvest will start this week or next week, weather permitting.”

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

    “Corn is just now starting to lap up except where crusting forced us to replant.  I’ve never had to replant corn due to crusting until this year. You’d think corn would break through concrete, but this has just been one of those years for things out of the ordinary. All of our fertilizer, atrazine and residuals are out on everything except smaller corn that we’ve still got to clean up.

    “Overall, soybeans are 90% planted, with 10% left behind wheat. Most beans are up to a good stand. Wheat is in mostly decent shape, considering all the rain.”

    Harold Lambert, Independent Consultant, Innis, Louisiana:

    “If the forecast holds, we have a chance of rain every day for the rest of the week, and we need it. A lot of soybeans were planted recently on heavy ground. They went into moist soil but the furrow opened as it got drier, so we need the rain where seeds didn’t germinate.

    “Our early beans are in bloom and look good. Those are early MG IVs. Even though they’re at R2, they’re only at 6 nodes. We also have soybeans that are still in the bag. What little wheat we have this year has either just been harvested or will be in the next day or so. No yields yet. Our oldest corn is just getting into pollination pretty good. Our youngest is at 7 leaf collars.”


    AgFax Southern Grain is published by AgFax Media LLC, Owen Taylor, Editorial Director. It is available to United States residents engaged in grain farming or qualifying ag-related professions.

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