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Weekly Field Crops Pest Report 2010

May 17, 2010         Volume 9 Number 4

1. View from the Field

2. Weather Outlook

3. Native Beetle Makes Lady Beetle of the Week!

4. Watch-out for Black Cutworm

5. Alfalfa Weevil Degree Days Update

6. Soybean Rust Update

7. Clipboard Checklist

8. Mark Your Calendars

9. Contact Information

View from the Field

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The story of the week is cold weather, with some counties reporting snow events. There are reports of frost damaged corn and soybeans in Western NY. Soybeans are very sensitive to freezing temperatures while corn can be frozen to a degree and survive. The growing point of corn is still below the soil surface this time of the season which protects the plant from being killed. Corn should recover as long as that growing point did not freeze.

I scouted both the SUNY Cobleskill Farm and Cornell Research Farm in Valatie this week. I found a lot of first instar alfalfa weevil larvae again this week. The colder temperatures are slowing the development of the larvae. Alfalfa snout beetle sightings in northern NY continue. This is the time of year the beetle emerges for the soil and migrates looking for new alfalfa to infest. 

Weather Outlook

Jessica Rennells
Northeast Climate Center, Cornell University

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Last week was cool and rainy.   Most of the state was 3 to 9 degrees below normal.  A majority of the state had 1 to 2 inches of precipitation.  Oswego, Lewis, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties had 2-3 inches.  The northernmost and southernmost parts of the state had less than an inch.  

The base 50 Growing Degree Days ranged from less than 25 to 50, half as much as last week.   Most of the state had less than 25 degree days, the southern Hudson Valley & southern Catskills had 25-50.  We are still ahead of last year for most of the state by 0-10 days.  We are also still ahead of normal by 7 to 14 days for most of the state.    

Today's highs will be in the 50s and some low 60s with lows in the 30s.  Precipitation is still likely this evening, especially for western NY.  Friday a warm front will bring temperatures back into the 60s but with a continued chance of showers throughout the state.   Lows will be in the upper 30s and low 40s.  Saturday will have highs in the upper 50s low 60s.  Lows in the mid 40s to low 50s.  Scattered showers are possible mostly for the northernmost part of the state.  Sunday there will be sunny skies with highs in the mid to upper 60s and lows in the low to mid 40s.  Monday will still be sunny with highs in the upper 60s and low 70s.  Lows will be in the mid 40s.  Tuesday will have highs in the mid to upper 60s and lows in the upper 40s and low 50s.   A low pressure system will begin to move in and will bring a chance of scattered showers for the southwest part of the state.  Wednesday there will be a slight chance of showers for the whole state.  Temperatures will be in the upper 60s and low 70s during the day and upper 40s and low 50s at night.

Precipitation totals will range from a quarter of an inch to 1.5 inches.  The 8-14 day outlook is showing normal temperatures for most of the state, above normal for western NY.  The precipitation outlook is below normal for the entire state.  The areas of St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties that have experienced moderate drought are now likely to improve.

Native Beetle Makes Lady Beetle of the Week!

Ken Wise

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While sweeping fields this week I came across several native lady beetles. The Pink-Spotted Lady Beetle (Coleomegilla maculata) is native to North America and is very abundant in the Northeast. Adults can consume 50 aphids per day, while larvae can eat 10 to 25 per day. The pink-spotted lady beetle will consume plant pollen that may constitute up to 50% of the diet. This is a medium sized lady beetle at 5 to 6 millimeters. They can be found in several habitats like: wheat, alfalfa, soybeans, potatoes, corn (tassels may supply both pollen and small prey), peas, beans, cole crops, tomatoes, apples and other crops.

Figure 1: Pink-spotted Lady Beetle

Watch-out for Black Cutworm

Ken Wise

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Other parts of the country are reporting black cutworm moths in their light traps. This migratory insect pest could show-up in NY on the next storm. As these moths migrate in the spring they are looking for attractive locations to lay their eggs. Corn fields with grasses and chickweed problems are prime locations for the moths to lay eggs. No-till fields are at particular risk to black cutworm if grassy weeds are not controlled early enough. What happens is after the eggs hatch the larvae start to feed on the grassy weeds. Once the weeds are sprayed and eliminated, their food source has vanished. What is left in the field to eat? "CORN!"

Black Cutworm larvae vary in color from light gray to black with a pale brown to black head. Larvae have a greasy, shiny appearance with coarse granules present over their body. During the day larvae burrow into the soil next to the corn plant. These larvae curl into a C shape when disturbed. Symptoms of damage occur at night and are leaf feeding, irregular holes in stem, notched and cut plants. Monitor fields to find black cutworm larvae when they are less than 1/2 inch long. If there are sufficient numbers and damage present, an insecticide could be justified. Treat only the affected area and a 20 to 40-foot border around the infestation. Rarely does a whole field need to be treated for cutworm. Larger cutworm larvae, greater than 1/2 inch long, are much more difficult to control. If the majority of cutworm larvae are 1/2 inch long or larger their damage is already done. These large larvae are also more tolerant of insecticides, reducing the effectiveness and economic viability of this option.

Alfalfa Weevil Degree Days Update

Ken Wise

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Growing degree Days for peak (50%) Occurrence of Alfalfa Weevil growth stage:

Stage or Event
Accumulated growing degree days (48F base temperature)
Eggs hatch
Instar 1
Instar 2
Instar 3
Instar 4
Adult Emergence
(Note: for alfalfa weevil predictions use Base Temp of 48F)

CURRENT Accumulated Growing degree days (48F Base)

March 1 -   May 12, 2010

Base 48 F
Base 50 F
*Indicates missing data
source: NEWA

Soybean Rust Update

Gary C. Bergstrom
Plant Pathologist, Cornell University

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No new rust observations were reported in the US for the months of March and April.

On February 12th, rust was reported on soybean in Mexico in the state of Tamaulipas in Gonzalez and Mante municipalities.

On February 10th, rust was reported on kudzu in Mobile county Alabama.

On January 19th, Georgia reported that rust can no longer be found in Miller and Lowndes counties, which were positive previously.

In 2010, soybean rust was reported on kudzu in one county in Alabama, two counties in Georgia, four counties in Louisiana, and one county in Florida in the US Soybean rust has also been reported in Mexico on soybean in the state of Tamaulipas in Gonalez and Mante municipalities. In Mexico soybean rust has also been reported on jicama in the states of Tamaulipas, Veracruz-Llave, Campeche, San Luis Potosi and Chiapas. In 2010, soybean rust has been found in eight US counties and five states in Mexico.

In 2009, soybean rust was found in 16 states and over 576 counties in the United States, and in three states and nine municipalities in Mexico.

Clipboard Checklist

Keith Waldron

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*Emergency contact information ("911", local hospital, Chem. Spill emergency contact, other?) posted in central posting area
*Maintain crop records by field, including variety, planting date, pesticides used, nutrient inputs including manure, etc.
*Walk fields to check crop condition, growth, and emergence. Look for signs of vertebrate pests.
*Watch for early season weeds: winter annuals: chickweed, henbit, purple deadnettle, field penny cress, shepherd's purse; annuals: giant ragweed, lambsquarters, Pennsylvania smartweed, common sunflower
*Mow around farm buildings to minimize rodent and other pest habitat

Alfalfa and Grass Hay:
*Monitor alfalfa for alfalfa snout beetle (In Oswego, Jefferson, Cayuga, Wayne, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Clinton, Essex, and Franklin counties)
*Monitor alfalfa for crop condition, alfalfa weevil, foliar, systemic and crown rot diseases.
*Evaluate established legume stands for winter damage (thinning stand, frost heave, Brown Root Rot), determine average alfalfa stand count, adjust crop plans if necessary
*Evaluate alfalfa seedings for weeds, insects & diseases.
*Monitor alfalfa and grass stands to determine optimal harvest date.

Small Grains:
*Monitor winter grain fields for crop growth stage, virus and other foliar disease symptoms, weed pressure, insects (cereal Leaf beetle) goose damage
*Monitor winter wheat for Wheat spindle streak mosaic virus, (WSSMV) and Soilborne wheat mosaic virus (SBWMV). WSSMV is widely distributed in NYS,  SBWMV has been confirmed only in certain areas in southern portions of the Finger Lakes Region. (See last weeks WPR)

Field Corn:
*Finish corn planting
*Using a Bt hybrid? Have a refuge plan?
*Post emergence: Determine corn plant populations, make notes on germination problems, monitor for weeds, note presence of "who", "how many" and "where"
* Early season corn pests: seedling blights, seed corn maggot, white grub, wireworm, black cutworm, slugs, birds
*Adjust post emergence weed control actions

*Pre-plant field assessment and weed evaluation
**Post emergence: Determine plant populations, make notes on germination problems, monitor for weeds, note presence of "who", "how many" and "where"

*Check and mend fences as needed.
*Check crop growth
* Check for presence of undesirable plant species harmful to livestock.
*Review/Plan rotation system

*Arrange for custom weed control or check your own application or cultivator equipment for readiness or need for repairs.
*Check nozzles, pumps, etc., recalibrate pesticide application equipment regularly before use.
*Calibrate planting equipment - maintain records on crop planting rate per field
*Calibrate manure spreaders - maintain records on amount spread per field

*Check forage allocation and anticipate feed program adjustments as forages from previous year are used up
*Plan where forages should be stored for optimum allocation next feeding season

Cattle on Pasture:
Monitor animals for presence of face flies, horn flies and stable flies. Action guidelines: face flies (average 10 per animal face), horn flies (average 50 / dairy, 200 / beef cattle per animal side), stable flies average 10 per animal  (all four legs)
* Check feed bunk / water source locations for signs of stable fly breeding (moist undisturbed organic matter ? spilled feed, round bales, etc.), minimize source of moist organic matter i.e. fly breeding areas in barn and in adjacent animal loafing yard
* Check paddocks for forage quality / quantity, rotate as appropriate
* Check paddocks for vegetation poisonous to livestock
* Consider use of fly traps to help reduce deer, horse and stable fly populations

Dairy Cattle Barn Fly Management:
*Monitor animals and barn area for house fly, stable fly and other pest management needs including presence of rodents and birds.
* Check facilities for favorable fly breeding conditions: (organic matter + moisture): leaks in watering systems, roof gutters for leaks and potential overspill, drainage,
* Sanitation, sanitation, sanitation - clean animal resting areas, feed troughs, minimize source of moist organic matter i.e. fly breeding areas in barn and in adjacent animal loafing yard * Continue fly monitoring: install "3X5" index card fly speck monitoring cards through out barn
* Use, replenish, replace fly management materials: sticky fly tapes/ribbons, insecticide baits, natural enemies (parasitoids), fly population monitoring (3 x 5) spot cards
* Consider purchase and release of Muscidifurax raptor and/or M. raptorellus natural enemies of house and stable fly pupae.

 Emergency responder information on pesticide spills and accidents?
      CHEMTREC - 800-424-9300
For pesticide information:
      National Pesticide Information Center -  800-858-7378
To Report Oil and Hazardous Material Spills in New York State:
      NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Spill Response - 800-457-7362 (in NYS), 518-457-7362 (outside NYS)

Poison Control Centers
Poison Control Centers nationwide -  800-222-1222
If you are unable to reach a Poison Control Center or obtain the information your doctor needs, the office of the NYS Pesticide Coordinator at Cornell University, 607-255-1866, may be able to assist you in obtaining such information.

Mark Your Calendars

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June 3 -- Small Grains Management Field Day, Musgrave Research Farm, 1256 Poplar Ridge Rd., Aurora, NY  
Free registration at 9:00am.  Program runs from 10:00am-12:00 noon.  Dec and CCA credits have been applied for
For more information contact Larissa Smith at 607-255-2177 or

July 14-- Weed Science Field Day, Thompson Research Farm, Freeville, NY (morning program)

July 14-- NYSABA Summer BBQ, Musgrave Research Farm, 1256 Poplar Ridge Rd.,  Aurora, NY (12:00 noon)

July 14-- Weed Science Field Day, Musgrave Research Farm, 1256 Poplar Ridge Rd., Aurora, NY (1:30pm 5:00pm)

July 22-- Aurora Farm Field Day, Musgrave Research Farm, 1256 Poplar Ridge Rd., Aurora, NY (10:00am-3:00pm)

Contact Information

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Keith Waldron: NYS Livestock and Field Crops IPM Coordinator
Phone: (315) 787 - 2432
Fax: (315) 787-2360

Ken Wise: Eastern NYS IPM Area Educator: Field Crops and Livestock
Phone: (518) 434-1690
Fax: (518) 426-3316