Our challenges have started early this year. Planting has been delayed by at least a month in most locations and longer in other places. Time to breathe easy? Not likely for farmers because now that corn planting is wrapping up in some places and just getting going in others, we are now faced with a new challenge, the possibility of having some Black Cutworms or Armyworms working on our already late planted corn.
So why are we so concerned this year about these insects and why may we have issues with them? The answer is simple; this year we had a very cool and wet start to spring delaying most of us from being able to go in and spray burn down and get our winter annuals under control. So we, unknowingly, allowed an environment that is a breeding ground for Black Cutworms and Army worms. April to June is prime for Black Cutworms and May to July is prime for Armyworms. Because of our late planting, we are planting right in the heart of both these incest’s life cycles with our corn in the stages that are the most susceptible to these incest’s.
How do these pests affect you and your crop? With Armyworms you will find feeding from the leaf margins to the midrib, plant may look really ragged or be completely defoliated. Cutworms you are looking for leaf feeding with irregular holes, notched and cut plants along with dead plants. Since most corn has been planted in May, this could be devastating to you, as you may not have time to replant as late as it is. Also with the potential for up to 20% yields lose with late planted May corn, scouting for these pests, instead of paying the price for their presence in your field, may be a more business sound option.
Now keep in mind we may not have huge outbreaks on a state or even county wide area, but it is going to be more localized outbreaks in the fields or areas where winter annuals were able to get a good jump on us due to the delay in spraying. It will be very critical for you to scout your fields, not just from the road or the first 40 rows, but really walk out in them and take a good look at things. This is a simple solution to prevent a potentially devastating disaster.
I continue to wish you a safe and successful planting season and to help you be more informed and give you some tools for your arsenal; I have given you some links to see what others are saying and some identification help.