Some late season activity by corn earworm and fall armyworm in parts of Virginia

Although most of our sweet corn has been harvested for 2018, there are still some late-planted fields that may still be at risk to insect attack.  While most of the remaining pheromone traps around the state had low catch numbers, Mark Sutphin VCE Frederick County saw a great jump in corn earworm catch this week at one of the farms still growing sweet corn.  Keep in mind that corn earworm is also a pest of many other crops that may still be at risk this fall including tomatoes and beans (See images below).

Please keep in mind, In an effort to fend off any more pyrethroid insecticide resistance development in our corn earworm populations, rotating to another insecticide than a Class 3 (pyrethroid) is highly encouraged for at least one spray. Diamide insecticides such as Coragen or Besiege, the carbamate Lannate LV, or the spinosyn Blackhawk, are all effective non-pyrethroid options.

Also, Phil Blevins VCE Washington County reported some of the highest fall armyworm catch of the year >200 moths in the bucket trap this week.  These moths showed up late to southwest Virginia and are probably not going to be much of a pest concern in the state, and they will not successfully overwinter here as they are a tropical moth.

Fig. 1. Corn earworm damage to snap bean pods.

Fig. 2. Corn earworm (=tomato fruitworm) damage to tomato fruit.

 

 

Soybean Sprouting in the Pods/Pod Splitting

We are seeing immature soybean once again sprouting in the pods in Suffolk and Gloucester County, and I heard of this happening in other states.  This seems to occur every 3-6 years somewhere.  Although I don’t have a great explanation for why this occurs, it usually happens when there are good growing conditions early followed by 2-4 weeks of drought stress during pod formation, and then excellent conditions return for seed fill.  Typically, it happens in big-canopied soybean (lots of leaf area) with lots of yield potential, but not enough pods (or big enough pods) to fulfill that potential.  I think that the seeds enlarge so much that the pod splits.

Keep in mind that I’m talking about immature seeds and pods.  This can also occur after the crop matures (R7 to R8) when we get excessive rainfall after the seed in question has dried down.  But, I have not seen that yet this year.

There is little that you can do about it.  Those sprouted seed will usually dry up on the plant and be blown out the back of the combine.

Although there has to be some yield loss, I’ve not seen it to be very great.  And, I suspect that if you did not notice the sprouted seed, you probably would not know that you had a loss.

For more information, see previous blogs on this subject.

Wet Conditions May Lead to Soybean Seed Sprouting

The Good and Bad of a Wet September

Calibrate your yield monitor – a checklist

While this post is likely too late for corn, it does apply to other crops.  If you have yet harvested all of your corn, it’s never too late to calibrate your yield monitor.

First, I am no expert in calibrating yield monitors.  My experience with the process only involves showing up to the farm with an accurate weigh wagon (or we use their grain cart), riding with the combine operator as he harvests a known area of the field, weighing the load and obtaining a moisture from the load (with a calibrated moisture tester), then watch him do the calibration.

Still, I understand the need for calibration although it takes time and may mean looking in the manual to learn or refresh one’s memory on the process.

John Barker, Knox County Extension Educator (Ohio State Extension) wrote an excellent article, “It’s almost that time of year … Don’t forget to calibrate your yield monitor!”, which is a step-by-step checklist of how to do this.  I highly encourage all to read it.

We do have several weigh wagons located around the state that Virginia Cooperative Extension uses for our on-farm research.  If you want me or one of your County Agents to help with this process, let us know.

Peanut harvest is coming sooner than we thought this year!

Friday, Sep 7th, a pod-blasting clinic was organized in Windsor, Isle of Wight County in Virginia. Farmers brought samples for maturity evaluation from 40 fields, in majority from the IOW but a few were from Suffolk and Southampton. Samples were taken from fields totaling a minimum of 3100 acres of peanut. Based on the mesocarp color, we identified that one sample was ready to dig, 12 in a week, 15 in a week and a half (10 days), 8 in two weeks, and 4 in three weeks or more. This indicated that two thirds of these fields were ready for digging after this week and after the hurricane Florence has passed.

Peanut varieties planted were in majority Bailey and Sullivan with only very few acres of Wynne and Emery, the last being a new cultivar just released in 2015. On these checked fields, farmers did not irrigate and only one farmer used Apogee, a growth regulator that could have affected maturity. Defoliation due to leaf spot was almost absent in all fields, as it was rootworm damage.

The earliest to be dug, in no more than a week, were fields planted during the first week of May and receiving constant rainfall in June, July, and August. Note that precipitation received in July and August exceeded by far this year the multi-annual average for most fields. Some fields planted in mid-May and constantly rained out, also showed digging approaching in 7-10 days (picture below). The only early May plantings a little behind, 10-14 days from digging, were fields with a dry June, regardless if for the rest of the summer they were wet; and the majority of fields planted in mid-May. Based on the color charts, the fields planted during the last week of May could wait three weeks or more before digging. Meanwhile, several other pod-blasting clinics will be organized to help farmers decide when and what fields to start digging with.

This result came to no surprise. It has been determined that Bailey requires about 2700 °F heat units (or GDD) to reach optimum maturity. The Cotton – Peanut Infonet online service provided by Virginia Tech here https://webipm.ento.vt.edu/cgi-bin/infonet1.cgi shows that by Sep 7th peanut planted on May 1st received 2649 °F in Suffolk, 2637 °F at Capron in Southampton, 2718 °F at Skippers in Greensville, and 2640 °F at Waverly in Sussex. Researchers at the University of Georgia determined that every event of rainfall and irrigation received by a crop at one inch or above has an effect equivalent with 10 °F heat units and can speed up peanut maturity. If so, 100 or 200 heat units are to be added to those measured by the thermometer.  Indeed, under the conditions of this year early May planted peanuts are expected to be ready for digging 7 to 10 days sooner than last year.

Sweet Corn IPM Moth Trapping in Virginia – Week Ending September 7, 2018

This will be final trap catch alert of the year for the sweet corn IPM program as most corn has been harvested. I want to thank all of the VCE Extension folks who monitored traps on farms in their respective counties this year: Phil Blevins (Washington Co.); Chris Brown (Franklin Co.); Jason Cooper (Rockingham Co.); Ursula Deitch (Northampton Co.); Helene Doughty (Eastern Shore AREC Entomologist, Accomack Co.); Roy Flanagan (VA Beach); Bob Jones (Charlotte Co.); Kenner Love (Page and Rappahannock Co.); Laura Maxey Nay (Hanover Co.); Steve Pottorff (Carrol Co.); Stephanie Romelczyk (Westmoreland Co.); Beth Sastre-Flores (Loudoun Co.); Laura Siegle (Amelia Co.); Rebekah Slabach (Halifax Co.); and Mark Sutphin (Frederick Co.).
Click on the table below to view the trap catch results (moths per night) for some of the locations around Virginia for this final week. We will send out a synopsis of the season this winter. We are still seeing some high corn earworm moth activity on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Westmoreland County on the Northern Neck, and Frederick County in the northwestern portion of our state. With the hot weather that we’ve experienced the past 2 weeks, moth activity has probably been a little higher than usual for September. Sweet corn growers are advised to keep control measures (spray intervals) as they were during August in most counties.
We still have caught very few fall armyworm moths in our traps around Virginia; however, this insect could contribute to some infestations in the ears of late corn. In an effort to fend off any more pyrethroid insecticide resistance development in our corn earworm populations, rotating to another insecticide than a Class 3 (pyrethroid) is highly encouraged for at least one spray. Diamide insecticides such as Coragen or Besiege, the carbamate Lannate LV, or the spinosyn Blackhawk, are all effective non-pyrethroid options.

Corn earworm average moth catch per night at farms around Virginia for week ending September 7, 2018.

Fall armyworm larva.

Mid-Atlantic Crop Management School Registration is Open!

Registration is open for the 2018 Mid-Atlantic Crop Management School for Certified Crop Adviser, Nutrient Management, and Pesticide Applicator Credits for Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The venue is the Princess Royale Oceanfront Hotel and Conference Center in Ocean City, MD on November 13-15, 2018. Register early so you can enroll in your preferred classes!

Registration: https://app.certain.com/profile/2876563
Schedule: https://sites.udel.edu/agronomy/cropschool/

 

Finishing out the soybean crop – when you can safely stop spraying

Soybean loopers have reared their ugly heads across southeastern and coastal Virginia this week. With many of us busy hauling corn, it is reasonable to ask  – when can we stop spraying beans?

In a normal year, we could safely ignore mid-September infestations. This year, the majority of double crop Virginia fields are completing pod fill. Research indicates that R3-R5 beans benefit from a spray when defoliation reaches 15% and you find more than 1 looper per sweep. I recommend that you at least double, and can safely triple, this threshold in R6 beans (i.e., 35-50% defoliation is acceptable). It benefits you to exercise restraint when treating fields after R5.5. There is no scenario when you need to spray R7 beans for loopers. Cooler evening temperatures will work in our favor when they arrive.

In Virginia, Intrepid Edge and Steward have been our most consistent treatments (see image below from 2017). Looper populations in Virginia have tested diamide resistant the past two years (e.g., Besiege, Prevathon). Spraying pyrethoids  will only make the problem worse.

 

Finishing Out the Soybean Crop – What do we need for Good Yields?

In general, we’ve had a good, but not great year for soybean in Virginia.  Although many areas were hit with a 3 to 4 week dry spell during July, August rains kept us in the game.  However, we did not see the ample  rains or cool temperatures that we experienced in August of 2017, which resulting in record yields.  Below is a summary of August rainfall and temperature anomalies for the U.S.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you’ll notice,  we had about average or slightly below average precipitation and average to slightly above average temperatures for most of Virginia’s soybean growing areas.

So, I do not suspect that our yields will be as good as last year.  Still, our earlier-maturing varieties planted in April or May should yield quite respectably considering that most have made over 50% of their yield – they have reached the R6 stage (see photo below).  Yield of our later-maturing varieties, planted in May and early June, and our double-crop plantings are not quite there yet – much of our yield is yet to be determined – R5 soybean have only made roughly 25% of their yield at that time.

So, what do we need for good yields?  Rain is obvious.  Full-canopied plants with adequate soil moisture will draw about 0.25 inches of water/day from the soil.  But, we also need cool temperatures – soybean do not generally like 90+ degree days, especially when forming seed.

Below is the 10 day rainfall and temperature forecast for the U.S., and it does not necessarily look good for us.  Note that the rainfall is predicted accumulation and the temperature map shows anomaly.  Although we should get some rain this weekend only (more in northern parts), temperatures are supposed to be above average.  But, forecasts are only forecasts.  The weather does change.  I hope we will get the needed rainfall that they are predicting this weekend.  But a big ridge appears to be setting up over the Mid-Atlantic states for next week.  This usually means warm weather and only at the edges of ridges do we normally see rainfall – note the heavy rainfall predicted from Nebraska through Michigan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t mean to discourage, just to inform.  We still have decent soil moisture, at least in the subsoil.  With rain this weekend, we should get through next week without too much harm to the crop.

Our double-crop soybean (assuming late maturity group 4’s and group 5’s planted in late June to July) are just now in the R5 stage – it usually takes 80 to 100 days from planting to reach R6, depending on maturity and planting date.  So some timely September rains will usually result in good double-crop soybean.

When will our yield be “made”?  Below is table showing the number of days to soybean physiological maturity (R7; 95% of yield has made).  When can we expect to be harvesting our soybean?  Full maturity is reached about 2 weeks after R7 and harvest can proceed after the soybean have dried down to a harvestable moisture, usually within a week after R8.