Extension Bi-State Crops Conferences in and near Western Illinois

Newer and longer-term partnerships between personnel in Illinois and personnel in Missouri and Iowa have resulted in several bi-state crops conferences to be held during January 2017 in Western Illinois or Eastern Iowa.

 

Friday, January 6, 2017: Bi-State Crop Advantage Conference, Burlington, IA, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Location: Comfort Suites, 1708 Stonegate Center Drive, Burlington, IA.

Hosts: Iowa State University and University of Illinois Extension

More Information: Click here to access the flier.

Online Registration: Click here to register

 

Friday, January 27, 2017: Bi-State Crop Advantage Conference, Davenport, IA, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Location: Rhythm City Casino Resort, 7077 Elmore Ave., Davenport, IA

Hosts: Iowa State University and University of Illinois Extension

More Information: Click here to access the flier.

Online Registration: Click here to register.

 

Friday, January 27, 2017: Western Illinois-Northeastern Missouri No-till Crop Management Conference, Quincy, IL, 8:45 AM – 2:00 PM

Location: John Wood Community College, 1301 S. 48th St., Quincy, IL

Hosts: University of Illinois and University of Missouri Extension, Illinois and Missouri NRCS

More Information: Click here to access the flier.

Online Registration: Click here to register.


A Mixed Bag of Insect Densities in 2016 Corn and Soybean Surveys

Once again, statewide surveys of insects in corn and soybean fields were conducted during the summer of 2016.  A total of 33 counties were surveyed this year. The surveys were performed during the first week of August by sampling five corn and five soybean fields per county. For the past several years (2011, 2013–2016), surveys in corn and soybean fields have been conducted with the goal of estimating densities of common insect pests. Densities are reported for the various USDA crop reporting districts of Illinois to highlight portions of the state where the risk of economic insect damage is greatest. The estimates provided in this article should not be considered a substitute for scouting individual fields and making informed pest management decisions—even areas of the state that appear to be at low risk could have contained fields with high densities of a given insect pest.

Western corn rootworm beetles were sampled in cornfields by counting the number of beetles on 20 consecutive plants beyond the end rows of a given field—a beetle per plant average was calculated for each field. Much like 2015, the number of western corn rootworm adults in corn was very low throughout the state (Table 1).

Table 1  ∙  Mean number of western corn rootworm beetles per plant in corn by crop reporting district and year
District 2011 2013 2014 2015 2016
Northwest 0.26 0.33 0.05 0.02 0.02
Northeast 0.15 0.20 0.02 0.00 0.02
West 0.01 0.10 0.01 0.01 0.00
Central 0.35 0.37 0.74 0.02 0.05
East 0.31 0.81 0.51 0.01 0.01
West-southwest 0.01 0.20 0.06 0.00 0.01
East-southeast 0.02 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00
Southwest 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.01
Southeast 0.00 0.03 0.01 0.00 0.02
Means were determined by counting the number of beetles on 20 consecutive plants for between 15 and 50 fields per district.

 

Within an adjacent soybean field, 50 or 100 sweeps were performed at least 12 rows beyond the field edge using a 38-cm diameter sweep net. The insects collected in sweep samples were identified and counted to provide an estimate of the number of insects per 100 sweeps. Depending on the year, five or ten pairs of corn and soybean fields were sampled at random in each county visited. The number of western corn rootworm adults in soybean fields throughout the state was very low as well. The greatest number of beetles in soybeans occurred in McLean County, 8.00 beetles per 100 sweeps. All other counties sampled had fewer than 5 beetles per 100 sweeps (range of 0 to 2.4 per 100 sweeps.)

Table 2  ∙  Mean number of various insect pests per 100 sweeps in soybean by crop reporting district and year

District

Year Bean leafbeetles Japanesebeetles Western cornrootworm beetles Grasshoppers Greencloverworms Soybeanloopers

Stink bugs

Northwest 2011 0.0 31.7 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.2
2013 0.3 28.3 1.0 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.1
2014 0.3 14.5 1.0 0.7 0.9 0.2 0.5
2015 1.1 13.4 0.0 1.6 1.9 0.1 0.5
2016 1.1 21.8 0 3.2 2.0 0.0 0.8
Northeast 2011 1.4 13.0 0.3 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.1
2013 0.5 13.8 10.0 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.0
2014 0.2 18.3 3.0 0.3 0.6 0.1 0.6
2015 0.7 12.9 0.1 1.7 2.3 0.0 0.6
2016 8.3 1.3 0.0 5.9 2.9 0.0 0.0
West 2011 0.7 9.5 0.1 0.6 0.7 0.0 0.2
2013 1.0 5.0 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.2
2014 11.7 2.1 0.2 1.2 0.4 0.2 1.5
2015 1.6 17.5 0.0 2.8 1.3 0.1 0.5
2016 0.9 89.4 0.7 1.5 6.6 1.4 0.2
Central 2011 3.3 24.1 0.9 0.5 0.1 0.0 0.1
2013 0.5 0.9 6.4 0.3 0.4 0.1 0.2
2014 2.4 0.7 18.9 0.6 2.6 0.3 0.7
2015 5.8 2.7 0.2 4.0 0.5 0.0 0.7
2016 16.8 2.0 5.2 4.0 10.0 0.0 0.0
East 2011 17.0 5.3 7.0 1.1 5.4 0.0 0.3
2013 1.4 2.2 9.8 1.0 1.4 0.0 0.1
2014 1.9 0.4 10.2 0.7 3.0 0.0 0.7
2015 5.5 2.0 0.1 3.8 2.3 0.0 0.8
2016 13.4 0.8 0.13 2.3 11.3 0 0.0
West-southwest 2011 1.4 7.0 0.0 1.3 6.1 0.0 0.5
2013 1.3 2.4 1.5 0.5 1.4 0.0 0.1
2014 1.8 7.3 0.4 0.4 0.9 0.3 1.9
2015 5.4 22.2 0.0 5.8 1.5 0.1 1.7
2016 4.0 10.5 0.3 5.2 12.8 0 0.6
East-southeast 2011 4.1 2.0 0.4 1.3 23.8 0.0 0.1
2013 1.1 0.5 0.1 0.4 1.6 0.0 0.0
2014 1.7 0.4 0.0 0.5 2.7 0.0 0.7
2015 0.9 2.7 0.0 1.7 3.4 0.5 2.1
2016 0.8 2.0 0.0 2.2 7.0 0.0 0.1
Southwest 2011 2.6 2.7 0.0 1.0 4.4 0.0 0.4
2013 1.2 0.4 0.1 0.3 3.4 0.0 0.2
2014 8.4 0.2 0.0 0.6 6.1 0.1 1.3
2015 0.8 2.1 0.0 1.1 2.7 0.0 0.3
2016 1.2 12.0 0.0 4.0 13.2 0.0 0.1
Southeast 2011 1.9 2.5 0.0 0.9 9.7 0.0 0.3
2013 0.5 0.5 1.5 0.1 2.4 0.2 0.3
2014 2.4 0.8 0.1 0.4 2.2 0.2 1.2
2015 0.2 2.5 0.0 1.1 3.3 0.1 0.3
2016 1.9 7.7 0.53 1.1 6.1 0 0.6
Means were determined by counting the number of insects in a 50- or 100-sweep sample for between 15 and 50 fields per district. The stink bug species reported here are the green stink bug and the brown stink bug.

 

Increased densities of some of the defoliating insect species were observed in several districts. Samples were screened for bean leaf beetles, Japanese beetles, grasshoppers, green cloverworm, soybean loopers, and stink bugs. As with many years, Japanese beetles “hot spots” were observed around the state. The western part of the state yielded the most impressive numbers (89.4 per 100 sweep average), with 240 per 100 sweeps and 108 per 100 sweeps recorded in Pike and Warren counties, respectively.  Interestingly, we had higher numbers across the board for green cloverworm in 2016. A few counties had noticeable bean leaf beetles in the samples (Central – 16.8 bean leaf beetles per 100 sweeps and East 13.4 bean leaf beetles per 100 sweeps). No brown marmorated stink bugs were detected in any of the soybean or cornfields that were sampled, though this species has been confirmed in many Illinois counties (Figure 1).

BMSB August 2016

Funding for survey activities was provided by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Illinois Soybean Association. This survey would not be possible without the hard work and contributions of many people. I would like to thank Illinois Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey Program interns Evan Cropek, Colleen Musson, Ryan Pavolka, Emma Sementi, and Jacob Styan as well as Department of Crop Science interns Lacie Butler and Sarah Luce.


Insect Briefs – Soybean Aphids, Syrphid Flies, and More

–  Russ Higgins, University of Illinois Extension reports finding a couple of soybean aphids in LaSalle County this week. This follows some earlier reports in July of soybean aphids being found in low numbers in Iowa. Despite some of the recommendations floating around, direct yield loss from soybean aphid feeding does not occur when the first (or five or ten) aphids begin feeding. Today’s soybean varieties are equipped to handle minor challenges, including a few aphids. Yield loss from soybean aphid is related to how many soybean aphids are present and for how long the aphids are present and feeding. The amount of aphid population pressure over time is calculated as aphid-days. Simply put, this is the average number of aphids on a plant multiplied by the number of days they are present. A single soybean aphid on a plant for 10 days is equal to 10 aphid-days, 200 aphids on a plant for 20 days is equal to 4,000 aphid-days, and so on. This aphid-day concept proved to be a good indicator of how soybean yield responded to aphid populations. The lowest level of aphid infestation that has been shown to cause yield loss in soybean is several thousand aphid-days.

*This excerpt was taken from a larger document co-written by many entomologists in the North Central region (see list below). To read the full article with citations, please click on the link:​ Just the facts: A review of the biology and economics behind soybean aphid insecticide recommendations.

As always, we continue to encourage growers to scout fields and utilize economic established economic thresholds.

University of Minnesota: Bruce Potter, Robert Koch & Phil Glogoza
Iowa State University: Erin Hodgson
Purdue University: Christian Krupke
Penn State University: John Tooker
Michigan State University: Chris DiFonzo
Ohio State University: Andrew Michel & Kelley Tilmon
North Dakota State University: Travis Prochaska & Janet Knodel
University of Nebraska: Robert Wright & Thomas E. Hunt
University of Wisconsin: Bryan Jensen
University of Illinois: Kelly Estes & Joseph Spencer

 

–  I’ve received a few reports of maggots in corn. I believe these insects are syrphid fly larvae. One report indicated large numbers of these larvae throughout the entire corn field. Syrphid fly larvae are actually predators of soft-bodied insects like aphids. They are not causing injury to the corn. Perhaps some of you may remember a similar story out of Indiana last year: https://www.no-tillfarmer.com/articles/4935-looping-worms-and-sweat-bees-seen-in-corn

–  Despite inconsistent moth flights, there are reports of fall armyworm and corn earworm feeding in corn.

–  We’ve had a few western bean cutworm in traps in northern Illinois. Flights generally peak in mid-July.


University of Illinois Plant Clinic: Celebrating 40 Years of Service to Illinois

Anniversary Overview of Plant Clinic: Welcome to another year of service at the Plant Clinic! Since 1976, the University of Illinois Extension Plant Clinic has served as a clearinghouse for plant problems. Housed first in the Department of Plant Pathology and now Crop Sciences, the Plant Clinic was originally developed to help County Cooperative Extension staff and campus-based Extension specialists with requests for diagnoses on a wide variety of plants. By acting as a centralized diagnostic laboratory, the Plant Clinic  serves as a source of information about plant problems in Illinois.  While our primary mission is to provide diagnostic service to Illinois,  the Clinic maintains permits to receive plant, pest, and soil samples from the continental US and territories.

For most of its existence, the Plant Clinic was open from May through October. In 2010, we began year round operation.  During the off-season diagnostic staff write grants, compile reports, write fact sheets, and present at conferences and meetings around the state to support the outreach mission.  Our Nematology diagnostic clinic staff process samples and bioassays year round. The Plant Clinic has taken a lead role in the Illinois First Detector Invasive Species Workshops which started in 2013, as a part of our NIFA CPPM-EIP grant that supports IPM and diagnostics outreach. The workshops are held every year in various locations across Illinois and educate green professionals, city and municipal employees, and concerned public about invasive plants, insects, and diseases that threaten Illinois horticulture and agriculture.

U of I Plant Clinic Diagnostic Lab

U of I Plant Clinic Diagnostic Lab

For the past several years, the Plant Clinic has processed over 4,000 plant and soil samples annually. The vast majority of the plant samples are analyzed for disease and insect problems, though plant and insect identification is also performed. The soil samples are analyzed for nematode populations, including Soybean Cyst Nematode and vermiform pathogenic nematodes. Last year a new service testing for herbicide resistance in waterhemp was offered. Protocols for molecular testing for glyphosate and PPO-inhibitor resistance were adapted from ones developed in Dr. Tranel’s laboratory at the University of Illinois, 338 fields (representing 1350 plants) were analyzed. Plants were submitted from Illinois and 4 other Midwestern states.

The Plant Clinic works with the National Plant Diagnostic Network, Illinois Department of Agriculture and the National Sentinel Plant Network to stay aware of new threats in Illinois. Last year we found several new pests in Illinois, including jumping worms (an invasive earthworm) in northern Illinois, and tar spot of corn in north/central Illinois (this disease was found in Illinois and Indiana in 2015 and was a first find in the country). The Plant Clinic also works with the Illinois Department of Agriculture and Illinois Crop Improvement Association to certify diseases present crops for export, and has a partnership with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to monitor the health of natural areas in Illinois.

The Plant Clinic employs undergraduate and graduate students, providing them with hands-on experience working in a plant diagnostic laboratory and expanding their outreach skills. Staff write articles for various online newsletters, including the Home, Yard, and Garden Pest Newsletter (http://hyg.ipm.illinois.edu/) and The Bulletin (http://bulletin.ipm.illinois.edu/). The Plant Clinic participated in the ACES Family Academies in 2015, where youth ages 6-13 got a chance to use microscopes, inoculate plants, and wash soil to collect nematode eggs. Departmental service includes opening the laboratory for tours and hands-on activities for students, and outreach at events such as Agronomy Day held every August.

Sample Information for the 2016  Season: Plant Clinic services include plant and insect identification, diagnosis of disease, insect, weed, and chemical injury problems (chemical injury on field crops only), nematode assays, herbicide resistance testing of waterhemp to PPO and glypohsate, and help with nutrient related problems, as well as recommendations involving these diagnoses. Microscopic examinations, laboratory culturing, virus assays, qPCR, ELISA and nematode assays are some of the techniques used at the Plant Clinic. Many samples can be diagnosed within a few days. Should culturing be necessary, isolates may not be ready to make a final reading for 10-14 days. Standard nematode processing also requires 1-2 weeks depending on the procedure. Some nematode bio-assays can take up to 4 months. We send your final diagnosis and invoice to you through both the US mail and email.

Please refer to our website at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/plantclinic/ for additional details on samples, sample forms, fees, and services offered. If you have questions about what, where, when, or how to sample call us at 217-333-0519. When submitting a sample, please provide as much information as possible on the pattern of injury in the planting, the pattern on individual affected plants, and details describing how symptoms have changed over time to cause you concern. Pictures of the affected plants or areas can also be sent with the sample to give us a better idea of what is occurring in the environment.

Our fees vary depending on the procedure necessary. General diagnosis including culturing is $15, ELISA and other serological testing is $25, nematode analysis for SCN or PWN is $20, specialty nematode testing (such as corn) is $40. Call ahead for other specialty nematode testing or bio-assays. Checks should be made payable to the University of Illinois Plant Clinic. Please contact us if you are uncertain of which test is needed.

For more information about the Plant Clinic, including how to contact us and submit a sample, please see our website at: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/plantclinic/. We are celebrating 40 years of service to the state of Illinois all season long on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/UofIPlantClinic/) and are looking forward to another 40 years of helping people with their plant problems!  authors Suzanne Bissonnette and Diane Plewa


Black Cutworm Activity Increasing Across Illinois

*Edited April 28 to include significant flights and projected cutting dates for Carroll, Effingham, and Ford counties.

Black cutworms have been observed in traps across the state for the past couple of weeks. Several counties have reported significant moth flights (9 or more moths over a 2-night span). We can use the date of the significant flight to predict potential cutting dates based on degree day predictions.

For more complete information about the biology, life cycle, and management of black cutworms, a fact sheet is available from the Department of Crop Sciences, UIUC. Provided below is a brief overview of some key life cycle and management facts concerning black cutworms.

  • Black cutworm moths are strong migratory insects with northward flights commonly observed from Gulf States into the Midwest from March through May.
  • Moths are attracted to fields heavily infested with weeds such as chickweed, shepherd’s purse, peppergrass, and yellow rocket.
  • Late tillage and planting tends to increase the susceptibility of fields to black cutworm infestations.
  • Cutting of corn plants begins when larvae reach the 4th instar — with a single cutworm cutting an average of 3 to 4 plants during its larval development.
  • Cutting tends to occur most often during nights or on dark overcast days.
  • Fields at greatest risk to cutting and economic damage are in the 1-to-4 leaf stage of plant development.
  • An early warning sign of potential economic damage includes small pinhole feeding injury in leaves (caused by the first 3 instars).
  • Producers are encouraged to look for early signs of leaf feeding as a potential indicator of cutting, rather than waiting for cutting to take place.
  • Don’t assume that all Bt hybrids offer the same level of cutworm protection. Plants in the 1- to 4-leaf stage are most susceptible to cutting.
  • Cutting of plants earlier than these projected cutting dates is possible — localized intense flights may have occurred and were not picked up by our volunteers.
  • A nominal threshold of 3% cutting of plants has traditionally been used as a point at which growers should consider a rescue treatment.
  • Not all Bt hybrids offer adequate protection against black cutworm damage. Growers should consult the Handy Bt trait table prepared by Dr. Chris DiFonzo at Michigan State University to determine the level of protection provided by their chosen Bt hybrid.

Weekly trap counts in their entirety can be found at the link below and are also shared weekly via Twitter (@ILPestSurvey) along with current pest alerts.

March 28- April 4

April 5 – April 11

April 12 – April 18

April 19 – April 25

 

The 2016 Illinois Pest Monitoring Network is part of the Area-wide Pest Monitoring Project that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2014-70006-22557 and is made possible through a network of volunteer cooperators.

Kelly Estes, Illinois State Agricultural Survey Coordinator, Illinois Natural History Survey


Ewing Demonstration Center Fall Field Day – September 10th

The University of Illinois Extension will host its annual Ewing Demonstration Center Fall Field Day on Thursday, September 10, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.  The Ewing Demonstration Center is located in southern Illinois about 20 miles south of Mt. Vernon at 16132 N. Ewing Rd; Ewing, IL 62836.  It is on the north edge of the village of Ewing, north of the Ewing Grade School on north Ewing Road.  Watch for signs.

The ongoing research this year includes trials on soybean cover crops, nitrogen management in corn, corn maturity, corn seeding rates, soybean seed treatments, and a pumpkin variety trial.

 

The topics to be discussed at Field Day include:

 

Soybean Weed Management

  • Ron Krausz, Manager, SIU Belleville Research Center

2015 Cropping Season Challenges

  • Emerson Nafziger, Extension Crop Specialist, University of Illinois

Planning Ahead for the 2016 Wheat Crop

  • Robert Bellm, Extension Educator, University of Illinois

Results of 2015 Corn and Soybean Insect Surveys: Implications for 2016

  • Mike Gray, Extension Entomologist, University of Illinois

Making the Most of Prevent Plant Acres with Cover Crops

  • Nathan Johanning, Extension Educator, University of Illinois

 

The field day is free and open to anyone interested and lunch will be provided.  Certified Crop Advisor CEUs will also be offered (CM –  1.0, PM – 1.0, SW – 0.5).  For additional information, contact Nathan Johanning (618-687-1727; njohann@illinois.edu) or Marc Lamczyk (618-439-3178; lamczyk@illinois.edu).


Brownstown Agronomy Research Center Field Day – August 5, 2015

The 2015 Brownstown Agronomy Research Center Field Day, presented by the University Of Illinois Department Of Crop Sciences, will be held on Wednesday, August 5. Extension researchers and specialists will address issues pertinent to the current growing season. The tour will start at 8 a.m. and will last approximately three hours. It will be followed by lunch provided by U of I Extension. 2.5 hours of Certified Crop Adviser CEUs have been approved.

Shaded tour wagons will take participants to each stop. These topics will be addressed:

  • 2015 Cropping Season Challenges – Dr. Emerson Nafziger, U of I
  • Weed Management: The Simple Days are Over – Dr. Aaron Hager, U of I
  • Soybean Sudden Death Syndrome – Dr. Angie Peltier, U of I
  • Update on Statewide Insect Surveys & Potential Implications – Dr. Mike Gray, U of I
  • Factors Contributing to a Healthy Soil – Russ Higgins, U of I

The 208-acre Brownstown Agronomy Research Center has been conducting crop research on the claypan soils of southern Illinois since 1937. More than 30 research and demonstration projects are conducted at the Center each year. Visitors are always welcome.

The research center is located south of Brownstown on IL Route 185, approximately 4 miles east of the IL Route 40/185 junction.

For more information, contact Robert Bellm (618-427-3349); rcbellm@illinois.edu
Visit us on the web at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/barc/


2015 Season at the University of Illinois Plant Clinic

What pests will the 2015 growing season feature? Let the Plant Clinic help you diagnose them. Samples havePreview been gradually filling up the lab here at the Clinic in our 40th year of operation. On the field front, there have been concerns with root and virus disease diagnosis in wheat. On the home landscape front, there has been a steady influx of fungal disease.

 
The University of Illinois Plant Clinic accepts samples year-round. We are located in the Jonathan Baldwin Turner Hall building on the south end of the Urbana campus. Plant Clinic services include plant and insect identification, diagnosis of disease, insect, weed and chemical injury observation (chemical injury on field crops only), nematode assays, herbicide resistance testing for glyphosate and PPO inhibitors in pigweed, and help with nutrient related problems, as well as management recommendations involving these diagnoses. Microscopic examinations, laboratory culturing, virus assays, and nematode assays are some of the techniques used in the clinic. Many samples can be diagnosed within a day or two. Should culturing be necessary, isolates may not be ready to make a final reading for as much as two weeks. Nematode processing also requires about 1-2 weeks depending on the procedure. We send your final diagnoses and invoices to you through both the US mail and email. If you provide your email address on the sample form you will get your information earlier.

 
Please refer to our website http://web.extension.illinois.edu/plantclinic/ for additional details on sampling, sample forms, fees and services offered. If you have questions about what, where, or how to sample call us at 217-333-0519, leave a voicemail if you can’t get through. Whenever submitting a sample, provide as much information as possible on the pattern of injury in the planting, the pattern on individual affected plants, and details describing how symptoms have changed over time to cause you concern.

Our fees vary depending on the procedure necessary. General diagnosis including culturing is $15, ELISA and immunostrip testing is $25, Nematode analysis for SCN or PWN is $20, Specialty Nematode testing (such as corn) is $40. Please include payment with the sample for diagnosis to be initiated. Checks should be made payable to the University of Illinois or to the Plant Clinic. Companies can setup an account, call and we will accommodate you. Call if uncertain of which test is needed.

Photo 1:

Photo 1:Example of a great sample: Sample form, symptomatic plant, protected root ball and payment

Sending a sample thru US mail or delivery service address to:
University of Illinois Plant Clinic
1102 S. Goodwin, S-417 Turner Hall
Urbana, IL 61801

Email: We have a new email address plantclinic@illinois.edu. Use this address to send .jpg pictures to accompany your samples or to contact a diagnostician.

Drop off a sample:
You can also drop off a sample at S-417 Turner Hall. Park in the metered lot F 28 on the east side of Turner Hall or at the ACES library metered lot on the west side of Turner. Come in the South door. Take the elevator located in the SE corner of the building. Turn left when exiting the elevator; we are located along the SE corridor of the 4th floor. Please use the green drop box located just outside S-417 if we are temporarily out of the office.

Plant Clinic location, S-417 Turner Hall, 1102 S. Goodwin, Urbana IL 61801

Photo 2: Plant Clinic location, S-417 Turner Hall, 1102 S. Goodwin, Urbana IL 61801

Suzanne Bissonnette


Black Cutworm Moth Captures Common in Several Midwestern States

Impressive flights of black cutworm and armyworm moths have been reported by Doug Johnson an Extension Entomologist at the University of Kentucky . Entomologists at Purdue University also have received reports that black cutworm moth captures are now common in many areas of Indiana. Kelly Estes, Agricultural Pest Survey Coordinator with the Illinois Natural History Survey, has established a network of trapping cooperators across Illinois. Although no intense flights (nine or more moths caught over a 2-day period) of black cutworm moths have been reported by these cooperators, captures of this species have been common the past two weeks in the following counties: Champaign, Fayette, Logan, Lee, Macon, Macoupin, and Madison. This distribution of captures suggests that black cutworm moth flights have likely taken place throughout Illinois and growers are encouraged to remain vigilant for early signs of leaf feeding when corn seedlings begin to emerge. Today (April 21) strong winds from the south are undoubtedly bringing many black cutworm moths into Illinois and fields like the one featured in the photograph below will be prime targets for egg laying by this species.

Champaign County field considered a prime target for black cutworm moth egg laying, April 21, 2015.

 

For more complete information about the biology, life cycle, and management of black cutworms and armyworms, fact sheets are available from the Department of Crop Sciences, UIUC. Provided below is a brief overview of some key life cycle and management facts concerning black cutworms.

  • Black cutworm moths are strong migratory insects with northward flights commonly observed from Gulf States into the Midwest from March through May.
  • Moths are attracted to fields heavily infested with weeds such as chickweed, shepherd’s purse, peppergrass, and yellow rocket.
  • Late tillage and planting tends to increase the susceptibility of fields to black cutworm infestations.
  • Cutting of corn plants begins when larvae reach the 4th instar — with a single cutworm cutting an average of 3 to 4 plants during its larval development.
  • Cutting tends to occur most often during nights or on dark overcast days.
  • Fields at greatest risk to cutting and economic damage are in the 1-to-4 leaf stage of plant development.
  • An early warning sign of potential economic damage includes small pinhole feeding injury in leaves (caused by the first 3 instars).
  • A nominal threshold of 3% cutting of plants has traditionally been used as a point at which growers should consider a rescue treatment.
  • Not all Bt hybrids offer adequate protection against black cutworm damage. Growers should consult the Handy Bt trait table prepared by Dr. Chris DiFonzo at Michigan State University to determine the level of protection provided by their chosen Bt hybrid.

As the season progresses, if you learn of significant black cutworm infestations, please let me know and I will share this information with the readers of this Bulletin.

Mike Gray, Extension Entomologist


Spring Cover Crop Field Day March 26th – Ewing Demonstration Center

Join us on Thursday, March 26th, 2015 for the  Spring Cover Crop Field Day at the University of Illinois Extension Ewing Demonstration Center.  Registration will start at 8:30 a.m. and the program will begin at 9:00 a.m., rain or shine.  The Ewing Demonstration Center is located at 16132 N. Ewing Rd; Ewing, IL 62836, on the north edge of the village of Ewing, north of the Ewing Grade School on north Ewing Road.  Watch for signs.

Cover crops have many benefits to the soil, environment, and overall crop production and management.  Topics covered during this field day program include:

Challenges of Grazing Lush Spring Forage

–          Travis Meteer, Extension Educator, U of I Extension

Techniques for Planting into Cover Crop Residue

–          Mike Plumer, Private Consultant

Understanding the Soil Profile Beneath Your Feet

–          Bryan Fitch, Resource Soil Scientist, NRCS

Which One to Choose? Cover Crop Species Selection and Demonstration Trial Tour

–          Nathan Johanning, Extension Educator, U of I Extension

Some of the program highlights will be the demonstration trial planting of cover crops, including 17 different cover crops and combinations illustrating first hand the characteristics of the cover crops and what benefits they bring to your soil and crop production system.  Also, (weather and soil conditions permitting) we will have a soil pit dug, exposing the soil profile, where NRCS Resource Soil Scientist, Bryan Fitch will lead us through the characteristics of our southern Illinois soils to enhance understanding of the importance of a healthy soil.  Also Certified Crop Advisor CEU credits will be available (2.0 Soil & Water Management & 1.0 Crop Management) for the program.

This field day will be free and open to anyone interested in learning more about cover crops.  A light lunch will be provided and this is a great way to talk to fellow growers to learn more from their challenges and successes incorporating cover crops into their cropping systems.  Please call the Franklin County Extension Office at 618-439-3178 for more information and to register by March 24th.  We hope to see you there!