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Weekly Field Crops Pest Report 2012

July 6, 2012, Volume 11 Number 12

  1. View from the Field
  2. Weather Outlook
  3. Wheat Harvest—Preparing Bins to Avoid Pest Problems
  4. Western Bean Cutworm Update
  5. Clipboard Checklist
  6. Mark Your Calendars
  7. Contact Information

View from the Field

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Potato leafhopper (PLH) wins “pest of the week” for the second week in a row. PLH has been reported over threshold in alfalfa across the New York. In many cases fields have already yellowed and damage has occurred—including reduced yield and protein levels.

alfalfa yellowing due to potato leafhopper

Alfalfa yellowing from potato leafhopper damage

If you see the classic PLH V-shaped yellowing on the leaflets, your alfalfa has have suffered damage.

v-shaped yellowing due to plh feeding

V-shaped yellowing on leaflets

PLH thrive on susceptible alfalfa varieties when it’s hot and dry, and populations can explode. Remember that PLH lays eggs within the petioles and veins on the undersurfaces of alfalfa leaflets. PLH females prefer laying eggs at 76°F—but will not above 90°F or below 62°F. Eggs (1 mm long—that’s tiny) will hatch in about 10 days. Each female can lay 2 to 3 eggs per day over their life. Once they hatch nymphs develop between 54 and 88°F. They really thrive and develop most rapidly at about 86°F. Looks like the weather conditions we’ve had this week!
The best thing to do if you have yellow alfalfa is to harvest it. Spraying won’t increase its quality and just add more costs. Once you’ve baled it, monitor for PLH weekly. The regrowth will be the normal high quality forage. If you then reach threshold on regrowth—but before it has yellowed—then spray unless you’re a week from harvest. In that case, cut it before it turns yellow.
It’s best to harvest the entire field, even undamaged areas, because otherwise you’re setting the stage for future PLH problems. Adult PLH in the standing portion of the field can easily relocate to the shorter portion of the field and attack vulnerable regrowth. Shorter alfalfa has a lower threshold for PLH than taller alfalfa, so it’s at much higher risk for injury. If a partial field harvest is necessary, harvest remaining portions of the field as soon as possible.
The take-home on PLH: plant PLH-resistant alfalfa. These varieties are highly resistant and have yields and quality similar to susceptible ones.

Paul Cerosaletti says that bird damage in corn has gotten worse recently, with birds plucking out seeds from the soil. Normally if seed is planted 2 inches deep, it is hard for birds to get to the seeds… BUT this is not always the case. Many times in no-till fields, rocky soils, or other conditions that are not conducive to deeper planting put seeds in the range where the birds can get to them. In many cases crows have taken most of the seed in a field, forcing to replant. Many other extension educators say their growers face the same problem.

Alex Wright reports finding grey leaf spot on field corn. She says the disease had infected corn on the lower leaves. Alex will continue to monitor fields to see if the infection spreads. The fields were located in Amsterdam in Montgomery County; Niverville in northern Columbia County and Ancram in southern Columbia County.

Gary Bergstrom repots several diseases recently observed infecting field crops. These include Brown stripe (Cercosporidium graminis) of orchardgrass (Washington Co.) Sharp eyespot (Rhizoctonia) of wheat (Cayuga Co.) Fusarium root/foot rot of wheat (Cayuga Co.) Bacterial blight of soybean (Cayuga Co.) Septoria brown spot of soybean (Cayuga Co.) Net blotch of barley (Tioga Co.) and Crown rust of oat (Oneida, Seneca, Tompkins).

Weather Outlook

July 5, 2012
Jessica Rennells, Northeast Region Climate Center, Cornell University

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Last week, temperatures ranged from near normal,to as much as 6 degrees above normal across the state. Precipitation was less than a half an inch statewide, with some areas receiving only a trace or no rain at all. Base 50 Growing Degree Days were between 125 and 175 for most of the state, with the higher elevations of the Adirondacks, Catskills and southwest New York between 75 and 125.

Friday’s highs range from the low to mid 90s west of Interstate 81 and toward New York City. No rain is expected. Overnight lows should be mainly in the 60s.

A cold front (a relative term!) will cross the state sometime early Saturday. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will be possible, but heavy or widespread rain looks unlikely. High temperatures will be near 80, with upper 80s in southeast New York. Overnight lows will be around 60.

On Sunday showers are possible over southeast New York as the cold front slowly moves southeast. High temperatures will be in the 70s to near 80 for much of the state. Low temperatures will drop into the 50s to near 60 for most areas.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday all look dry. High temperatures will range from the mid to upper 70s on Monday to the low 80s on Tuesday and Wednesday. Overnight lows should generally be in the 50s all three days.

The 5-day precipitation totals will generally be less than 0.25". Some areas may see little to no rain. The 8-14 Day outlook calls for near normal temperatures with near- or slightly below-normal precipitation.

National Weather Service Climate Prediction Service Maps of 8-14 day outlooks

National Weather Service Eastern Region Headquarters watch/warnings map

NRCC Drought Page which features the US Drought Monitor map (updated every Thursday)

Wheat Harvest—Preparing Bins to Avoid Pest Problems

Keith Waldron

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Wheat harvest is well underway in many areas of the state. To maintain the profits a good yield can bring, make and follow a plan to protect the grain while in storage. Grain storage will not improve grain quality. However, proper management of grain during storage will protect the quality present at harvest.

The IPM approach for stored grain protection includes a combination of sanitation, well-sealed bins, frequent monitoring for temperature and insect populations, aeration to cool grain in the fall, and pest management treatments as needed. Stored grain management begins with "an ounce of prevention". This article will highlight some of the steps one can take now to protect stored grain before it is harvested. The following pre-harvest information was "gleaned" whole or in part from Stored Grain IPM information from Oklahoma State University Stored Products Research & Education Center and Purdue University.

Insect infestations are the more common stored grain pest issues one might encounter. Insect infested grain can be docked at time of sale. Most common grain bin insect problems can be traced back to infestations in previously stored material, cracked grain and grain fines and trash. The key to prevention is SANITATION - clean out the bin every time it is emptied. How clean? If you can tell what was stored in the bin the last time it was used, it needs more cleaning. In addition to insects, birds and rodents are also attracted to left over and spilled grain. Lights mounted on or in close proximity to grain bins may attract unwanted stored grain insects.

The following sanitation practices are recommended for managing empty storage bins.
* Clean harvest and transportation machines before harvest.
* Repair all grain handling equipment before harvest and keep it in good condition.
* Seal unloading auger, auger tube opening, and side door openings before harvest
* Empty storage structures of old grain. The new crop should never be stored on top of old grain.
* Remove and destroy any grain from beneath, around or near the bin area. Sweep and vacuum the floors, false floors, and walls inside empty bins to remove old grain and debris. This debris usually contains insect eggs, larvae, pupae, and/or adults, all ready to infest the new grain. A shop vacuum, broom and scoop are very useful in a cleanup job, and all collected material should be discarded properly.
* Check fan boxes for possible grain pests.
* Remove any spilled grain outside the storage structure.
* Mow / remove weeds at least 10 feet around the bins.
* Check and clean or replace rodent traps.
* Check the integrity of screens and porcupine wires to limit bird entry and roosting.
* For additional protection against infestation, the inside and outside surfaces, foundations and floor of a storage facility can be sprayed with residual insecticide, four to six weeks prior to harvest, to kill any insects that were not removed during cleaning and those that migrate into the bin.
* Establish a written sanitation schedule, keep appropriate records

Bin Sealing
Roof leaks commonly lead to columns of spoiled grain. Check for these leaks by looking for light coming into the bin. Moisture coming into the bin through the seal between the bin and concrete will cause spoilage around the perimeter of the bin at the base. Check the seal since sealants do deteriorate. Water will run away from the seal at the base of the bin wall if the concrete is sloped away from the bin. Also check the seals around the doors and hatches.

Besides keeping grain dry, grain storages should be well sealed for two other basic reasons: (1) to minimize grain insect entry problems into base and sidewall grain, and (2) to minimize leakage should fumigants be used.

In addition, improved insect kill (efficacy), tighter sealed structures require lower dosage rates, which reduce the cost of future fumigations and cover the cost for the sealing materials and labor.

When clean grain is transferred into a clean, sanitized structure with base and sidewalls well sealed, the main insect infestation and population growth should be on the grain surface in the structure headspace. Permanently sealing all non-functional base, sidewall and roof openings is the first priority of sealing storages. The second sealing priority is to seal functional openings at all times during the year when the component is not being used.
Suggested source of information

Western Bean Cutworm Update

Keith Waldron

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Western bean cutworm (WBC) is an emerging pest in NY, with the potential to cause substantial damage to corn, Zea mays and beans, Phaseolus vulgaris. WBC is native to North America and has historically been a pest of corn and dry beans in the high plains region of the western US.  In the last decade, however, WBC infestations have steadily moved eastward. In 2009 WBC were first confirmed in Pennsylvania and western New York.  Extensive monitoring across New York during 2010 and 2011 determined that WBC moths are well distributed across the state, WBC populations have been below economically damaging levels, however, their numbers are slowly increasing with somewhat higher numbers in captured western and northeastern NY counties; the physical appearance of captured WBC moths suggest they are overwintering locally and could be expected to increase risk of economic impact to NY dry bean and corn production in the future.
This summer WBC monitoring efforts are again in place initiated in mid-June to continue acquiring information about this insect and it’s potential risk to NY producers. The pheromone traps attract male moths and provide an indication of WBC presence and activity.  The trap data does not equate to a threshold for damage but will provide important information regarding when to begin monitoring fields for presence of egg masses and the larvae that can damage corn ears and dry bean pods. Pre-tassel corn is the preferred egg laying site for this insect. Based on observations over the past 2 years we expect peak WBC moth flights to occur towards the end of July and the first of August.  Trap catches the past 2 weeks have detected WBC activity across the state. Many locations are still catching 0 moths, some 1 – 3 and one in the Ithaca area caught 14 WBC moths last week. These numbers indicate presence but by no means are cause for concern at this time.
Western bean cutworm data is being tabulated and can be viewed at two on-line locations:

We will be reporting more on western bean cutworm activity in the next several weeks. Stay Tuned!

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, vegetative stage pest issues (corn rootworm larvae, European corn borer, armyworm, foliar diseases, nutritional deficiencies)
* Monitor for weeds, note presence of "who", "how many" and "where"

Small Grains:
* Evaluate crop for maturity, lodging, 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, spider mites
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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Freeville, NY (10 miles Northeast of Ithaca, Fall Creek Road, Rt. 366 extension)
8:00 a.m. Registration
Coffee (beverage), doughnuts, and informational trial packet
8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Vegetable Crop Weed Control (Bellinder)

Aurora, NY (Poplar Ridge Road, connects 90 and 34B)
12:00 – 1:30 p.m. NYSABA Pork BBQ lunch at Musgrave Research Farm.
1:30 p.m. Registration
2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Field Crop Weed Control (Hahn)
CCA and DEC Credits have been requested for field crop and vegetable

July 18-Robert B. Musgrave Research Farm Field Day
1256 Poplar Ridge Road, Aurora, New York
WEDNESDAY, July 18, 2012, 9:00-3:00 pm

FREE and open to all!
Registration at 9:00 with Coffee and Donuts (no preregistration)
FREE Lunch will be available at 12:00 noon
Pesticide Applicator and Certified Crop Advisor Credits will be available
Questions: Please call (607-255-2177) or email ( Mary McKellar

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