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Weekly Field Crops Pest Report 2011

May 27, 2011, Volume 10 Number 4

  1. View from the Field
  2. Weather Outlook
  3. Cultivating Corn
  4. Fusarium head blight map risk assessment tool 2011
  5. Growing Degree Days
  6. Clipboard Checklist
  7. Mark Your Calendars
  8. Contact Information

View from the Field

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Mike Stanyard (Western NY) reports very high infestation levels of cereal leaf beetles in winter wheat. The adults are 3/16 inch long with metallic bluish-black head and wing covers. Eggs can be found on the upper surface of the leaves near the midrib. Eggs are elongate, yellow to brown about 1/16 inch long, and are laid in chains of two or three. Small black slug-like larvae emerge from the egg and reach about a 1/4 inch long. Larvae feed on the leaf surface, leaving long narrow white strips between the veins. Cereal leaf beetle is more of a problem in oats but can occasionally reach threshold levels in wheat.
The economic threshold for cereal leaf beetle is three or more eggs and larvae per stem before the boot stage of oats or one or more larvae per flag leaf after the boot stage. Check 30 stems distributed throughout a field to determine if the field are at an action threshold.

cereal leaf beetle larva

Cereal leaf beetle larvae 

Mike is also finding powdery mildew in winter wheat. He states that the mildew is only in the lower canopy at the moment. There is the potential for the disease to progress up the plants to the flag leaves. When powdery mildew reaches the upper leaves it can cause significant yield losses. The economic threshold for powdery mildew is reached if any amount of disease is observed on approximately 50 percent of main tillers.

Weather Outlook

May 26, 2011

Jessica Rennells, Northeast Region Climate Center, Cornell University

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Temperatures have been 3-8 degrees above normal.  Precipitation has ranged from less than half an inch to over 2 inches.  The Base 50 growing degree days have ranged from under 75 to over 100 most of the state is in the 75 to 100 range.

Today (5.26.11) well have above normal temperatures in the mid 70s to low 80s.  Low pressure will bring showers and possible thunderstorms to western NY in the afternoon, slowly moving into central NY later in the afternoon and evening.  Overnight temperatures will also be warm, in the mid 50s to low 60s. Fridays highs will again be in the mid 70s to low 80s.  There will be showers and possibly strong thunderstorms as the system moves through.  Friday night temperatures will be in the mid 50s to low 60s. Saturday temperatures will be in the 70s with a chance of showers and thunderstorms.  Overnight lows will be in the 60s. Sunday highs will be in the upper 70s to mid 80s with a lower chance of showers.  Lows will be in the 60s. Monday highs will range from the upper 70s to upper 80s with a slight chance for showers.  Lows will be warm in the 60s. Tuesdays highs will be in the upper 70s and low 80s.  Overnight temperatures will be in the 60s. Wednesdays temperatures will be in the mid 70s to mid 80s with a possibility of showers.  Lows will continue to be warm in the 60s.

The five day precipitation amounts will range from a tenth of an inch to 3 inches.  The 8-14 day outlook is showing above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation for most of the state.  The one month outlook is showing equal chances for above or below normal precipitation.

Cultivating Corn

Aaron Gabriel, CCE Capital Area Agriculture and Horticulture Program

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Weed control without herbicides can be successful, if you use several different tactics beginning the year before corn planting and through the growing season.  Cultivating is just one step of many in a program for controlling weeds without herbicides.

To be successful, the crop must always be more advanced in growth than the weeds.  So, before planting, weeds should not be growing.  The stale seedbed technique is one way to control weeds before planting.  Corn should be planted a minimum of 2 1/2” deep.  A starter fertilizer will help the corn jump out of the ground. 

Once the corn is planted, you have to watch it like a hawk.  First, the seed will send a root down into the soil.  The root is an anchor.  At this point with the root anchored, but no shoot emerging, you can do a blind, broadcast cultivation (you go over the crop and entire field before crop emergence).  A tine weeder is the preferred implement to run over the field at no more than 2” deep.  The second choice of implement is a rotary hoe, run over the field at 10 mph or so.  It is less aggressive than tine weeders.  The weeds ideally will have no true leaves yet, just cotyledons.  From the time of corn emergence to its leaf or two, you should not cultivate with a tine weeder or rotary hoe to avoid injuring the crop.  After the corn has a few leaves on it, you need another broadcast cultivation right over the crop with a tine weeder or rotary hoe. 

Adjusting the implement properly is key, and takes experience.  The tines should be almost perpendicular to the soil surface.  If it goes in at an angle, it will hook roots and pull out the corn.

Rain and muddy soil is the enemy of cultivation.  So, in wet soil, a cultivator may not pull out the weeds for them to dry in the sun.  Here, the strategy is to bury them, to stunt their growth and let the crop can get more advanced.  Use a tractor that will cause the least soil compaction (if it is too wet, you have no choice but to stay off the field).  A tine weeder may bury small seedlings, or use a row cultivator with shovels that throw soil to bury weeds.  It is not the ideal situation, but you do the best that you can.

Typically, after two cultivations with a tine weeder, two more cultivations follow with a row crop cultivator.  Again, you have to watch the weeds like a hawk, and cultivate when they are small (one true leaf or less), and disturb no more than 2” of soil.

With knowledge, the right implements, and some favorable weather, controlling weeds without herbicide can be very effective.

tine weedeer

Tine weeders run directly over the crop and kick out weeds before they are rooted in.

rotary hoe

Rotary hoes are less aggressive than tine weeders.  They break up crusted soil very well, which may be necessary this year.

Fusarium head blight map risk assessment tool 2011

Gary Bergstrom, Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Cornell University

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As the winter wheat crop approaches flowering, growers and crop consultants are urged to consult frequently the map-based risk assessment tool that utilizes regional weather parameters to establish the general level of risk for severe infection (at crop flowering) of Fusarium head blight.  This is suggested as just one available tool to utilize in decisions concerning fungicide application at flowering.  Local factors of crop history, microclimate, and wheat variety are also important in fungicide decisions. 

Fusarium head blight risk assessment tool

New York Commentary for May 24, 2011.  Winter wheat development in much of New York State currently ranges from flag leaf just visible (Feekes 8) to boot (Feekes 10) stages.  Flowering will begin over the next 10 days, close to typical timing.  Powdery mildew and fungal leaf blotches are prevalent in the middle crop canopy in some, but not all, fields.  Growers should monitor winter wheat at this time and be prepared to apply an efficacious triazole fungicide (Caramba, Prosaro, or Proline) at early flowering (Feekes 10.5.1) for suppression of Fusarium head blight (FHB) and associated accumulation of the mycotoxin, deoxynivalenol (DON) in grain, as well as to protect flag leaves against fungal foliar diseases. There is consensus that these materials are ‘rainfast’ within 2 hours or less of application.  Generic tebuconazole (Folicur-like) fungicides may also be applied at flowering, but expected levels of FHB and DON suppression are less than the other triazoles mentioned. Products containing strobilurin fungicides are not recommended after heads have emerged as they may result in increased levels of DON.  Check the risk prediction map tool frequently as your wheat crop approaches flowering.

You can also sign up for state, regional, or national FHB alerts to be sent directly to your email or your cell phone by subscribing to the U.S. Wheat & Barley Scab Initiative’s (USWBSI) FHB Alerts.

Growing Degree Days

Ken Wise,

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CURRENT Accumulated Growing degree days (48F Base):

March 1 - May 25, 2011

Base 48 F
Base 50 F
*Indicates missing data
Data from NEWA

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) and water/ponding issues (Phytopthora root rot), determine average alfalfa stand count, adjust crop plans if necessary
*Evaluate alfalfa seedings for weeds, insects & diseases.
*Monitor alfalfa and grass stands, and field condition, to determine optimal harvest date.

Small Grains:
*Monitor winter grain fields for crop growth stage, virus and other foliar disease (powdery mildew, Stagonospora) symptoms, weed pressure, insects (cereal leaf beetle), goose damage
*Monitor crop growth stage and Fusarium Head Blight disease prediction model to help evaluate fungicide use decisions

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, slugs, black cutworm, birds
*Adjust post emergence weed control actions

*Finish soybean planting
**Post emergence: Determine plant populations, make notes on germination problems, monitor for weeds, note presence of what species are present, 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
*Check edge of bunk and standing silos for wet areas conducive to fly breeding habitat (house fly, stable fly, and rat tail maggot)

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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Cornell University's Small Grains Management Field Day, Musgrave Research Farm, 1256 Poplar Ridge Road, Aurora, NY, Thursday June 2, 2011. The Program will run from 10:00am-12:00 noon, registration begins at 9:30.

An educational program of the Integrated Field Crop, Soil, and Pest Management Program Work Team in conjunction with Cornell Cooperative Extension will be hosting the Small Grains Management Field Day with research demonstrations and presentations of interest to the local farming community. DEC and CCA credits will be available. For more information, please contact Larissa Smith at or 607-255-2177.

Cornell University's Aurora Farm Field Day, Musgrave Research Farm, 1256 Poplar Ridge Road, Aurora, NY, Thursday July 14, 2011. 10:00am-3:00pm, free registration begins at 9:00. Aurora Farm Field Day will highlight research demonstrations and presentations of interest to the local farming community. Details on program topics forthcoming.

Cornell University's Weed Days, Wednesday, July 13th.
Morning program at the Thompson Vegetable Farm in Freeville and afternoon program at the Musgrave Research Farm in Aurora. DEC and CCA credits available.

For more information regarding these meetings, please contact Larissa Smith at or 607-255-2177.

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