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Weekly Field Crops Pest Report 2011

July 22, 2011, Volume 10 Number 12

  1. View from the Field
  2. Weather Outlook
  3. Winter Wheat Harvest & Storage, Year at a Glance
  4. How to Sample for Potato Leafhopper in Alfalfa
  5. Partial Alfalfa Field Harvest Increases PLH risks
  6. Western Bean Cutworm Trap Counts on the rise
  7. Clipboard Checklist
  8. Mark Your Calendars
  9. Contact Information

View from the Field

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There are reports statewide that western bean cutworm catches have increased this week. See the western bean cutworm update below.

Pasture and barn flies will increase with the excess heat this week. Animals on pasture should have a place to get out of the sun. If a building is available for pastured cattle to get out of the sun it will also help relieve horn and face fly pressure. Horn and face flies will not go into buildings. Stable flies will continue feed on and pester the cattle in the buildings. House flies will also be present in the barn. If fly pressure is above established action thresholds management measures may be needed.

Heat and drought stress can increase in populations of potato leafhopper on alfalfa VERY quickly. Make sure to monitor your alfalfa fields for potato leafhopper. If populations are above threshold you need to take management actions to control them. (See article below on how to monitor potato leafhopper in alfalfa) Heat plus drought stressed plants seems to help potato leafhoppers thrive. Potato leafhoppers optimum developmental temperature is 80 to 90 degrees. If is the temperature is higher than 90 degrees development will slow.

The parasitic weed, dodder, was found in an alfalfa field in western NY. If left uncontrolled a patch of this weed can grow to a considerable diameter reducing yields. Once in a field dodder can be difficult to control and is easily moved to other fields by equipment.


Weather Outlook

July 21, 2011

Jessica Rennells, Northeast Region Climate Center, Cornell University

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Temperatures have continued to be above normal, ranging up to 6 degrees above normal.  The eastern Great Lakes, Adirondacks, and southern Champlain Valley have seen half to over an inch of rain.  The rest of the state has had half an inch or less.  The base 50 growing degree days have ranged from 100 to 175. 

Hot temperatures and humidity have a large part of the state in an Excessive Heat Warning or Heat Advisory.  Heat indices will reach between 100 and 110 degrees in some areas.

Today will be hot and sunny with highs in the upper 80’s to around 100.  Lows will only cool to the mid 60’s to mid 70’s.  There’s a slight chance for isolated showers and thunderstorms.

Friday will be hot and sunny with highs in the mid 80’s to mid 90’s.  Lows will range from the upper 50’s in northern NY to low 70’s.

Saturday will be sunny with temperatures in the upper 80’s to mid 90’s with a slight chance for isolated showers and thunderstorms.  Overnight temperatures will be in the upper 60’s and low 70’s.

Sunday will range throughout the 80’s nearing 90 with a chance for showers and thunderstorms for western NY.  Lows will be in the 60’s.

Monday we will continue to gradually cool and have temperatures in the low to mid 80’s and a better chance for showers and thunderstorms.   Lows will be in the mid to upper 60s’.

Tuesday’s temperatures will be much more comfortable in the upper 70’s and low 80’s.  Remaining showers will be moving out of eastern NY.  Lows will be in the low to mid 60’s.

Wednesday’s temperatures will be in the low to mid 80’s.  Lows will be in the upper 50’s and low 60’s.

The five day precipitation amounts will range from half an inch to one and a half inches.  The 8-14 day out look is showing above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation.

Winter Wheat Harvest & Storage, Year at a Glance

Mike Stanyard, NW NY Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team

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Overall the winter wheat across NWNY has looked good despite a very soggy April and May.  Those that applied their nitrogen early during the brief windows definitely benefited.  Unfortunately, there were some areas so wet that they did not get nitrogen or herbicide on the ground.  I know more producers than usual applied fungicides early and at flag leaf for foliar diseases such as powdery mildew.  Cereal leaf beetle and common armyworm populations were present but at non-economic levels.  Most of our wheat pollinated over the first week of June and the weather was mostly dry and favorable.  I saw quite a few tire tracks in fields at flowering which means fungicides were being applied mainly for Fusarium head scab. 

Harvest Preparation
Know your grain moisture and have the combine prepared to go when it's time to pull the trigger.  Weather and field conditions do not always cooperate during harvest.  Many producers will start harvesting at 20% and dry it down to 13%.  Producers who don't have dryers and rely on field drying, run the greater risk of reduced grain quality.  The first harvested wheat will have the best quality.  Vomitoxin from Fusarium head scab are also concerns each season.  Look for pink coloration and shrunken kernels in the heads.  If these conditions are present, set the combine fans to high to try and blow these light kernels back onto the field.

Grain Bin Preparation
Storage facilities should be inspected thoroughly prior to grain fill. Look for openings, leaky vents, fallen supports, and signs of rodents.  Bird nests are always a treat to find in the auger or vents.  Stored grain insects survive in old grain so complete cleaning is the first line of defense.  Clean up all remaining grain on the floor of the bin.  Take a long-handled broom and remove any grain stuck to the walls, around the door, supports, and in the fan opening.  If there are a lot of fines remaining on the floor, clean up with a shop vacuum.  The same is true for grain handling equipment such as augers and drying bins.

We are very limited when it comes to empty bin insecticide treatments.  TEMPO® SC ULTRA and STORCIDE™ II (see label for application restrictions) are both labeled.  Malathion is also labeled but you do not want to use this when storing wheat (residue in flour).  Indian meal moth also has developed resistance to this product.  Diatomaceous earth (Dryacide) is a non-insecticidal silica sand that can be applied as a dust in the bin and below the floor.

Spray the floor and walls inside the bin to the point of runoff.  Spray some through the fan under the false floor of drying bins. Spray around the outside base of the bin and eliminate any weeds and old grain debris within 30 feet of the bin.  Insects and rodents can survive on weed seeds too!

Yield Prediction
At the Cornell Small Grains Field Day in April, Bill Cox reviewed past weather data in April and May to make a yield prediction for NY this year.  In years when we have above average rainfall in these two months, state yield averages are low.  We had over 11 inches in some areas!  Bill's prediction…55 bushel state average.  Let's hope it's higher!!!

How to Sample for Potato Leafhopper in Alfalfa

Ken Wise,

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Scouting alfalfa fields is the key to detection of potato leafhopper infestations. Use a 15-inch diameter sweep net to determine the potential risk a potato leafhopper infestation may pose to your alfalfa. Scouting for potato leafhopper starts after the first cutting of alfalfa (about the first part of June) till the first fall frost. You will want to use a potato leafhopper sequential sampling plan to determine if an infestation requires management or not. The first thing to do is determine the height of your alfalfa. Smaller plants are more vulnerable to potato leafhopper; thus there are different action thresholds for different heights of alfalfa. The second thing you will need to know is how to sample for potato leafhopper. A sample consists of a set of 10 sweeps of the net. A sweep is one pass in front of you as you walk through the alfalfa. The return swing is counted as another sweep. Sequential sampling reduces the time spent in each field and tells you whether to treat (management action) or not treat (no management action). Sequential sampling is particularly helpful in minimizing time required to make a management decision in situations where PLH populations are very high or very low. Use the following chart to determine potato leafhopper infestation levels.

potato leafhopper sampling chart

N= No management needed at this time
T= Management needed as soon as possible

Write down the number of potato leafhoppers for each sample taken on the card. Add each sample to the next, keeping a running total of potato leafhoppers. You will need to take at least 3 samples using the sequential sampling method. On the sequential sampling card "N" is defined as no treatment (no management) needed at this time and "T" is defined as treatment (management) needed within in a week. If the sample is smaller than the "N" number stop and scout 7 days later. If the number of leafhoppers is larger than the "T" number then management action needs to be taken within a week. If the number of potato leafhoppers fall between "N" and "T" then continue and take the next sample till a decision can be determined. Please see our guide, with a printable version of the sequential sampling chart: Potato Leafhopper on Alfalfa Management Guide.

Partial Alfalfa Field Harvest Increases PLH risks

Keith Waldron

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Are PLH in your alfalfa fields? If so, avoid partial field harvests to best manage PLH populations. Clean harvest of whole alfalfa fields is optimal, however our recent stretch of rainy weather has surely messed up more than one harvest schedule sometimes stopping a hay harvest in mid-stride. These partially harvested fields can set the stage for future PLH problems.  In situations where edges or portions of alfalfa fields have been harvested but other areas of the field are left intact watch closely for PLH populations and potential injury.

Adult PLH in the standing portion of the field can easily relocate to the shorter portion of the field and attack the vulnerable re-growth. The shorter alfalfa has a lower threshold for PLH than taller alfalfa so is at much higher risk for injury.

Harvest remaining portions of the field as soon as is practical to minimize PLH population buildup and their easy movement to adjacent portions of the field.

Western Bean Cutworm Trap Counts on the rise

Keith Waldron

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Western Bean Cutworm numbers are up this week from last. A total of 73 WBC moths were caught in 18 of the 51 traps reporting this week, up from twelve WBC moths (8 of 62 traps) caught last week. Fifteen WBC moths were caught in the Lewis county trap, eleven in the Essex county trap. Other counties catching WBC moths included: Broome, Steuben, Schuyler, Genesee (1 each), Jefferson (2), Tioga, Livingston, Monroe, Chautauqua, Wyoming and Wayne (3 each), Chemung (4), Yates (5), Delaware (6), and Tompkins (8). Our NY trap catch numbers are still quite low and do not indicate any cause for concern. In 2010, NY WBC numbers peaked the week of August 2. The NY WBC trapping program will continue through August. Stay tuned for more information.

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.
* Watch for any patches of herbicide resistant weeds, weed escapes
* Storage areas cleaned and ready to accept hay, wheat harvest

* Monitor fields for plant vigor, growth stage, R stage pest issues (corn rootworm, European corn borer, armyworm, foliar diseases, nutritional deficiencies)
* Monitor for weeds, note presence of "who", "how many" and "where"
* Monitor tasseling corn fields for presence of corn rootworm beetles.

Small Grains:
* Evaluate crop for plant vigor, lodging, maturity / time till harvest
* Grain bins ready to accept upcoming harvest?

Alfalfa & Hay:
* Monitor alfalfa seedings for weeds, insects & diseases.
* Check re-growth of established alfalfa stands for potato leafhopper, weed and disease problems.
* Storage areas cleaned and ready to accept incoming harvest

* Evaluate stand growth, development and condition
* Monitor fields for soybean aphid, foliar diseases, white mold, natural enemies, weed escapes

Dairy Livestock Barn Fly Management:
* 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
* Check water sources, drainage, roof gutters for leaks and potential overspill
* Continue fly monitoring: install "3X5" index card fly speck monitoring cards through out barn
* Install/refresh/replenish as needed: fly tapes, insecticide baits, natural enemies (parasitoids

Dairy Livestock Pasture Fly Management:
* Monitor animals for presence of pasture fly pests. Treatment guidelines: Horn flies (50 per dairy animal side, 100 per side for beef cattle), face flies (10 per animal face), stable flies (10 per 4 legs). See: (
* Consider installing biting fly traps to reduce horse, deer and stable fly populations.

* Check storage areas (bunk silos, etc.) for readiness to accept upcoming wheat harvest
* Clean in and outside of storage bins and grain handling equipment
* Keep areas around storage bins and silos clean and mowed
* Check areas around storage bins and silos for vertebrate tunneling
* Check temperature of recently baled hay in hay mow

* Note any repairs needed for recently used equipment: tractors, tillage implements, planters, sprayers, etc. as they are cleaned and serviced.
* Service hay harvesting equipment as needed.
* Calibrate manure spreaders - maintain records on amount spread per field


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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Dates of Pasture Fly IPM Meetings

Aug 16: Kinderhook Farm, 1958 Columbia County Road 21, Valatie, NY 4:00 pm. Columbia County Cornell Cooperative Extension: Mick Bessire,, (518)828-3346

Aug. 17: Location to be Announced, 6:00 pm. Dutchess County Cornell Cooperative Extension: Jennifer Fimbel,, (845) 677-8223

Aug, 29: Golden Acres Charolais Farm, 756 State Route 143 in Westerlo, NY, 6:00pm. Albany County Cornell Cooperative Extension: Tom Gallagher,, 518-765-3500

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