Crop Protection: Chomping At The Bit

Japanese beetles

Every season, it’s the same concern: keeping insects and diseases from taking a big bite out of your grower-customers’ corn and soybean yields.

How are retailers dealing with the key insects and diseases in their area? CropLife® magazine talked to a few CropLife 100 retailers to get their take.

Timely Scouting

Integrated pest management practices and timely scouting are the keys to protecting your grower-customers’ yields from insects and diseases, says Ernie Holycross, plant manager for Allerton Supply Co., Homer, IL. “I still like to scout and see if it’s worth spraying, because every year’s a little different,” he says.

For example, soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is a common problem in his area, so SCN-resistant soybeans varieties are plentiful. “However, 90% are only resistant to certain SCN races,” he says, so he reminds growers to scout for threshold levels.

He also talks to them about the importance of soil sampling. “We need to take soil samples every two years to see if the SCN is growing in numbers,” he explains. Yet despite knowing the damage SCN can cause, some growers balk at paying $25 to $35 per soil sample as soybean prices drop.

Other soybean pest concerns include Japanese and bean leaf beetles and soybean aphids. “We’re going to try some insecticides on some high-yielding soybean plots to see if we can bump yields no matter what the bean leaf beetle or Japanese beetle infestation,” he says.

On the corn side, corn rootworm beetles, and larvae are bad every year in his territory, but Holycross says his growers — who primarily plant genetically modified corn — tend to forget about the secondary pests like wireworms and grubs. “We haven’t had a major infestation yet, but need to keep scouting,” he says.

Spray Early

Soybean grower-customers of Hills, IA-based Eldon C. Stutsman primarily deal with soybean aphids every season, says Steve Meyerholz, agronomy manager. “Aphids are the worst,” he says. “We generally spray pretty early and pretty regularly. The threshold is 250 aphids per plant, but we’ll spray earlier than that because we think there’s more damage being done if we wait for the threshold amount.”

Bean leaf beetles hurt the soybeans earlier, he says, so “we’ll add an insecticide at the first Roundup spray to get rid of them.”

Weather affects insects. “In dry years we get spider mites,” says Meyerholz. “Last year we ended up spraying the majority of our soybean acres for spider mites.”

Management Critical

The insects and diseases may be a little different in the South compared to the Midwest, but the concerns are the same.

“In general, depending on environmental conditions, the insects that will be most troublesome in soybeans will be stinkbugs, beanleaf beetles, grasshoppers, and possibly soybean loopers,” says Dr. Michael Kenty, product specialist for Collierville, TN-based Helena Chemical‘s Southern business. “In corn, most problems will be attributed to stinkbugs and corn borers. Stinkbugs continue to be problematic throughout the Southern U.S. due to the increased soybean and corn acres and the wide range of hosts.

“The key to managing these and all insects is to scout and properly identify the insect in order to choose the best insecticide,” Kenty says. “This is especially true of stinkbugs since there are several different types and not all are controlled equally by the different insecticides available.”

However, the most problematic insect the past few years has been the plant bug. “Typically associated with damage in cotton, their populations build up in soybeans and corn,” says Kenty. “If left unchecked in areas where cotton is grown, the population being hosted in corn and soybeans will seek out cotton as the corn and soybeans acres mature and dry down. This may seem like simple migration from one host to another — but the concentration is magnified as the plant bugs move to the lower number of acres of cotton. Timely scouting and a good pest management program are the best offense.”

Monitor Diseases

Kenty and Holycross note that gray leaf spot is the most prevalent corn disease. Kenty adds that “aflatoxin always looms as a potential problem to plague the selling of the crop.”

Soil-borne diseases attack soybeans, including Phytophthora and Pythium, and in the South, the late-season foliar disease, frogeye leaf spot.

A comprehensive, aggressive crop management program that includes seed treatments, sound season-long fertility, and foliar disease monitoring/timely fungicide application are recommended. “It is more effective to take a proactive approach to pest management than to wait for a pest to reach economic thresholds,” says Kenty.

Meyerholz says that while his growers’ crops don’t have a lot of disease problems, around 40% of his growers continue to use Headline fungicide as a preventive measure in soybeans. Holycross, on the other hand, says his aerial spraying in corn will be cut nearly in half due to financing.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Crop Protection: Chomping At The Bit

  1. I was given this site for a fungicide p[roduct called Citrox. Was this ever a product used in America. Is it still around – was it ever used on anything.
    Thanks.

Crop Inputs Stories
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
MicronutrientsMicronutrients Going Macro
September 9, 2014
Between 2014’s fantastic growing conditions and a heightened awareness on plant nutrition, the major players in micronutrients are gearing up for another big year. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
FungicidesSudden Death Syndrome, Brown Stem Rot Reported In Indiana Soybeans
September 3, 2014
Farmers and retailers should be watching for symptoms of these two diseases over the next few weeks as they are best managed through preventative methods. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
Carl Casale of CHS
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
Latest News
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Creates, Fills New Pacific Northwest Sales P…
March 30, 2015
H.J. Baker announced today that Gary Bingham has joined the company’s Crop Performance Division to further deepen its sales portfolio Read More
Algal blooms
StewardshipStudy: Algae From Clogged Waterways Could Be Used As Bi…
March 30, 2015
Water-borne algal blooms from farm fertilizer runoff can destroy aquatic life and clog rivers and lakes, but scientists are reporting Read More
Young corn plants
Stewardship4R Nutrient Stewardship Summit Coming To DC
March 30, 2015
The annual 4R Nutrient Stewardship Summit will be held on May 12 in Washington DC. The summit will include a full Read More
FungicidesSyngenta Suing Willowood Over Azoxystrobin Fungicide
March 27, 2015
Syngenta announced today that it has sued agrochemical maker Willowood, LLC., for patent and copyright infringement, as well as unfair Read More
ManagementRetail Week: The Future Of Mycogen Seeds; The 4Rs At Na…
March 27, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Matt Hopkins discuss recent trips, including a look at the future of Mycogen Seeds at Dow Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto Hears The WHO
March 27, 2015
Another challenge to the safety of glyphosate, and the responses from supporters and opponents, calls to mind a classic Dr. Seuss story. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Plant Food Expands Sales Team
March 27, 2015
Monty’s Plant Food Company, a leader in natural soil enhancement and  plant fertility products, has hired Andrew Bullock as a Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Louisiana Plant Poised For 2015 Production
March 26, 2015
As the 2015 planting season gets underway, growers across the country will need crop protection products to combat pests and Read More
Lake Erie Nutrient Stewardship
LegislationOhio Lawmakers Finalize Phosphorus Restrictions
March 25, 2015
State lawmakers on Wednesday finalized new rules designed to curb toxic algal blooms on Lake Erie, calling the regulations a major step forward in addressing the problem. Read More
Spreaders17 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2015
March 25, 2015
Manufacturers shoot for versatility and accuracy in this year's crop of fertilizer spreaders. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Hires Mid-South Product Consultant
March 25, 2015
Monty's Plant Food Co. has hired Matt Woodring as a Product Consultant for portions of Central Kentucky and Tennessee.    Read More
StewardshipMapShots Integrates With DriftWatch
March 23, 2015
Growers and agricultural providers using AgStudio FARM and AgStudio PRO can now view vital information about specialty crops and apiaries through a recent integration with the DriftWatch Specialty Crop Site Registry from FieldWatch, Inc. Read More
Crop InputsWorld Health Organization Report Contradicts Scientific…
March 23, 2015
A new report from the World Health Organization has classified glyphosate with a “2A” rating as a probable carcinogen, a Read More
Eric SfiligojSeed Treatment Stays Necessary
March 20, 2015
Grower-customers looking to scale back spending in 2015 won’t consider seed treatment, say experts. Read More
HerbicidesMARCH MADNESS: Industry Rallies Around Glyphosate Safet…
March 20, 2015
A newly published report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the herbicide glyphosate as a "2A-rated possible carcinogen" and the ag industry responds by circling the wagons. Read More
ManagementRetail Week: Precision survey, a technology acquisition…
March 20, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sflilgoj discuss recent travel, the upcoming precision adoption survey, and an unusual sighting at a Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Launching TerraGrow Soil Inoculant
March 20, 2015
TerraGrow is a blend of beneficial bacterial and fungal spores and nutrients carefully designed to promote healthier soil and crops. Read More