Crop Updates: I really appreciate all those in ag industry who share what you’re seeing in the fields; it’s a blessing to have a great network of people looking at fields in different areas of the state and sharing what we’re all seeing!
Western bean cutworm (WBC) moths were seen in corn whorls the past week. They’re
also showing up in UNL light traps in addition to industry ones. To view the UNL light trap reports near Clay Center, please go to: https://scal.unl.edu/ltr2019.pdf. The light trap near Mead is currently having black light issues, but the report can be viewed at: https://go.unl.edu/2usz and the light trap report from North Platte is at: https://go.unl.edu/a56b. WBC moths prefer laying eggs on upper leaf surfaces in corn that is in the late whorl to early tassel stage. UNL entomologists recommend scouting at 25% of moth flight. It’s unknown how larval survival will be impacted by corn growth stage at this time. Larvae survival is highest when they have fresh tassel tissue and pollen to feed on before moving down to developing ears and silks. Larval survival is lowest when only vegetative tissue is available to feed on. So, the delayed planting and growth in some fields may allow for less western bean cutworm damage in 2019. However, our entomologists say that air and soil temperature can also impact insect development leading to slower development of the insects. UNL Entomologists Tom Hunt and Bob Wright, along with University of Minnesota researchers, developed a degree-day model to predict when WBC moths will emerge to begin mating and laying eggs. In a recent CropWatch article, they were predicting 25% moth flight to occur for the following dates/locations: July 7th in Lincoln; July 11 in Hastings and Ithaca; July 12 in Grand Island and York; July 13 in Clay Center; July 15 in Holdrege, and July 23 in North Platte. Corn expressing VIP3A proteins are highly effective for WBC control. Corn expressing Cry1F (Herculex) proteins may provide some WBC feeding suppression but shouldn’t be relied upon for control. The current UNL economic threshold for treatment is 5-8% of corn plants with eggs or larvae.
Common Rust in Corn: The rainfall, humidity, and wet canopies have allowed for
increased common rust to be seen in corn this past week. I was seeing larger numbers of pustules on lower leaves of plants, but this week could also see pustules occurring in upper canopies. Pustules of common rust are typically brick red in color, larger, more separate, and can appear on both the upper and lower leaf surfaces. Southern rust typically has smaller, orange to tan colored pustules occurring in tight clusters on upper surfaces of leaves. However, the past few years, we’ve seen common rust looking more orange in color, including this year. The best way to confirm for sure if it’s common or southern rust is to check the spores under the microscope, and I’m happy to do that. The spores of common rust will be circular in shape whereas southern rust spores are more oval to football shaped. Samples can also be submitted to the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic lab. So far, every sample I’ve looked at has been common rust. Southern rust hasn’t been found further than Georgia and Louisiana to my knowledge right now. We don’t typically recommend fungicides for common rust. It will be important to continue scouting for diseases with the humidity and leaf wetness we’re experiencing this year.
Lawn and Garden Questions: The wet weather has allowed slime mold (gray-black fungal growth on leaves) in patches in lawns in addition to mushrooms in lawns and landscapes. They are harmless and fungicides aren’t effective. They will go away upon drying out and with warmer weather.
Bagworms are out and it’s time to control them if you have them. The following gives more detailed info on their life cycle: https://go.unl.edu/rgju and this YouTube video shows what you’re looking for this time of year on your trees: https://jenreesources.com/2015/06/27/bagworms-in-evergreens/.
Japanese Beetles may be causing holes in Linden trees or rose leaves. They are
green/brown beetles with white hairs that look like rows of white spots near each wing. Kelly Feehan in Platte County shares that “applying insecticides to lawns to control grubs will not prevent beetles from feeding on landscape plants. The product ‘Milky Spore’ sold to kill them, does not work. On landscape plants, hand picking or knocking beetles into a bucket of soapy water around 7 PM is the best time of day to do this as it prevents plants producing a distress pheromone that attracts more beetles. Japanese beetle traps work very well – IF you want to attract them to your yard – so traps are best NOT used. If a Linden tree has Japanese beetles, know these trees CANNOT be treated with Imidacloprid or other Neonicotinoid insecticides.” Carbaryl (Sevin) is effective to use for Lindens and landscape plants where it’s not feasible to remove beetles by hand.
Crop Updates: A great deal of timely information was provided in this week’s CropWatch at http://cropwatch.unl.edu including information about high heat and pollination, applying fertilizer during pollination, western bean cutworm scouting, forecasted yields, etc. Please check it out!
Several called me asking about applying fertilizer during pollination. I shared that while
I wasn’t aware of research, I personally was concerned about anything potentially interfering with pollination and that I do recommend 30 lbs of N at brown silk if needed or if you were originally planning split nitrogen apps. This is based on research from Purdue sharing today’s hybrids use 30-40% of their total Nitrogen from flowering through maturity. After discussing with Dr. Tom Hoegemeyer, Adjunct UNL Professor of Practice, he offered the following insights: “Pollination mostly occurs between 8:30 a.m. and Noon. Thus, as a precaution, I would not run a pivot on pollinating corn from 6 a.m. to Noon. When the temperature is 90°F to 95°F, the pollen is killed by heat and is seldom viable past 2 p.m. That leaves lots of time to run pivots, apply N, etc. when it won’t harm pollination. Silks tend to be viable for three or four days at these temperatures, so if a plant isn’t pollinated one day, generally the next day will work just fine. (If nitrogen is needed), I’d recommend that nitrogen go on as soon as practical. Corn nitrogen use is very high during the pre-tassel growth phase and again at kernel growth, from one to three weeks post pollination. About seven to ten days post pollination (before brown silk) lower N will start causing kernel abortion and serious yield loss in corn.” The UNL recommendation for fertigation is to use 30 lb of N with 0.25″ of water or 50-60 lb of N with 0.50″ of water.
Last week also brought questions regarding thresholds and difficulty in finding Western Bean Cutworm egg masses with moth flights at their peak. You can view light trap data from UNL’s South Central Ag Lab thanks to Terry Devries at: https://scal.unl.edu/ltr2018.pdf. There’s also a great article in this week’s CropWatch on how to scout for them, insecticide options, and additional recommendations. Thresholds for western bean cutworm are 5-8% of corn plants in the field containing egg masses or larvae. Egg masses can be difficult to find during pollination with pollen hiding them. ‘Typically’ egg masses are found in the top third of the plant on the upper sides of leaves and near midribs or leaf axils. However, with higher heat, I tend to find them closer to the ears and have even seen masses laid on the ear husks and on the backsides of leaves (not common). While larvae are generally known to move up the plant to feed at the tassels, I’ve seen high heat force larvae into ears earlier. It typically takes 5-7 days for larvae to hatch and the egg masses turn purple just prior to hatching. A number of insecticide options are available for both aerial application and via chemigation; these products are listed in the CropWatch article.
With insecticide applications occurring in corn for both western bean cutworm and also corn rootworm beetles, many have also called or talked with me about the recommendation of fungicide applications. Right now, I haven’t found gray leaf spot above 3 leaves below the ear leaf in several counties. There’s been some mis-diagnosing bacterial leaf streak as gray leaf spot. Southern rust was just confirmed in a Kansas county this week, but we still have yet to confirm it in Nebraska. Even the longest residual products won’t get us through August if a fungicide application occurs now. I can appreciate that economics are tight so the thought is to save an additional application cost by applying a fungicide now with the insecticide. And, I can appreciate economics are tight regarding why apply a fungicide right now when disease pressure doesn’t warrant it? Perhaps, at least those of you with the ability to chemigate could consider waiting till disease pressure warrants it for your field, if it does. Always in the back of my mind is the need for late-season protection with southern rust eventually showing up and gray leaf spot often worse then.
My perspective is from a resistance management and research-based one. We have 5 total modes of action for fungicides with 2 of them being in nearly every fungicide product we use in corn, soybean, and wheat because they work against foliar fungal pathogens. At some point, our pathogens will also adapt, as we’ve seen our weeds and insects do…it would be like losing our ability to control gray leaf spot and southern rust similar to palmer amaranth on the weed side. In Nebraska, Dr. Tamra Jackson-Ziem’s research has not shown an automatic yield increase to fungicide application in the absence of disease. And, it has also not shown an automatic yield increase when applied at tassel. In a high heat and low disease year like 2012, there were no statistical yield differences with fungicide application vs. the untreated control. Even in years with some disease pressure such as 2008-2010, she found no statistical yield differences between when various products were applied from Tassel through Dough stages. In high disease years, her research shows the benefit of fungicide application for reduced disease pressure and increased stalk strength. Fungicides are great tools to help us with disease pressure and stalk strength. Just would encourage all of us to consider when we really need to apply them and to understand that research in Nebraska does not automatically show increased yields with the use of them or with the timing of Tassel/Silking vs. later in the year. Also, hybrids may vary in their response due to disease susceptibility and other factors. Not all her data is listed at this site, but you can view it for yourself at: https://go.unl.edu/ni3y.
Bagworms: I’ve been seeing shelter belts and various trees turning brown from heavy
bagworm infestations. Please be checking your trees if you are noticing them turning brown. Additional information can be found at: https://go.unl.edu/rgju.