I found 5 individual potato leafhoppers in 6 alfalfa fields this week
at the SUNY Cobleskill farm (Sept. 9). The population of potato leafhoppers
has declined dramatically over the last few weeks.
For more information, see Potato Leafhopper
on Alfalfa Management Guide, 302k pdf file
of potato leafhopper
I am still seeing corn rootworm in most corn fields at the SUNY Cobleskill
farm (Sept. 9). There were many more northern corn rootworm adults this
week. Still the majority of rootworm beetles in the field were western.
How to Monitor for Corn
Common Smut in Field Corn
I observed many corn plants infected with a disease called common smut
at the SUNY Cobleskill farm this week (Sept. 9). Common smut is caused
by the fungus Ustilago zeae, which overwinters in corn residue or soil.
The spores, called teliospores, germinate in moist air and give rise
to tiny spores called sporidia. The sporidia can infect through unwounded
cells, but wounds caused by insects, cultivation, hail, or blowing soil
are important infection sites as well. The disease grows into a gall
that is covered with a white membrane. The inside of the gall turns
into a mass of powdery black spores. The disease is favored by excess
nitrogen, excess manure or herbicide injury, and warm weather. Management
of this disease is through selecting resistance hybrids.
Smut galls are not poisonous to animals. In fact, immature smut galls
are considered a delicacy in some Latin American countries. I have heard
they taste like a good mushroom!
smut galls and black spores on corn ear.
Birds and Deer Damage Corn Ears
This week I have seen an excess of ear damage caused mostly by birds,
but also deer at the SUNY Cobleskill farm (Sept. 9). The husk covering
the corn was pulled back and about a 1/3 of the grain was gone. Some
of the ends of the ears were bitten right off by deer.