Insects Weave A Tangled Web

Soybean aphids

You’re well aware insects exemplify Mother Nature’s authority to balance the environment. Controlling these pests enhances your growers’ efforts to protect and boost crop yields. To help get a handle on 2011 strategies, we’ve gathered the latest findings and recommendations from experts who make managing crop bugs their business.

Insect pressure in 2010 in some ways surprised those who keep an eye on this issue in Midwest corn and soybeans. While certain geographic hot spots experienced very high pressures of the usual pests and some emerging secondary pests, overall, most report 2010 as an amazingly benign year for insect yield damage.

Of course, with rising crop and input prices in the forecast, that’s no reason to let your guard down in the coming season.

Lessons Learned In 2010

“Uncertainty always exists when it comes to insect control, and that was clearly demonstrated in 2010,” says Hub Miller, Dow AgroSciences Insecticides Portfolio Market Leader. “As we prepared for the past growing season, coming out of a milder winter, we expected higher insect populations. Instead, insect pressure proved to be relatively mild.”

Miller thinks the jury is still out on what the Midwest dry fall harvest will mean for 2011 insect pressure. “The early, dry harvest allowed farmers to make land preparation to insure a clean start for the coming growing season,” he says. “With insects, we often have to think about weather conditions on any given day and weekly crop growth stage. We need our eyes wide open during the growing season.”

Among the tools offered by Dow AgroSciences insect control are Lorsban Advanced and Cobalt, which can provide broad-spectrum control of most common insect pests in corn and soybeans.

Academic Perspectives

Taking a look at the North-Central Midwest, Erin Hodgson, University of Iowa assistant professor, Extension entomologist, says there’s so much transgenic corn acreage that insect pressure was low in 2010. “We saw patchy areas with corn borer and corn rootworm trouble, mainly in refuge areas, and it was sparse,” she says.

Hodgson also observed patchy, low-to-moderate soybean aphid populations. “We did see a mix of defoliators last year, caterpillars and a somewhat unusual pest, celery leaftier,” she says. “Some growers saw trouble with cutworms and armyworms very early.”

In terms of weather effects, Hodgson believes heavy, windy rain in June throughout Iowa hindered aphids from surviving their flight from over-wintering buckthorn hosts to soybeans.

“Aphids are not strong fliers and have trouble making it through migration under inclement weather. A combination of wet weather and many days of over 90-degree heat index slowed reproduction,” she believes.

Hodgson’s advice to retailers: “Continue to promote high-yielding seed. With a specific insect problem, you can try to incorporate host plant resistance to pests like soybean aphids. Syngenta and Pioneer offered it in 2010, and Monsanto will offer it in 2011. Overall, be vigilant in scouting to treat target pests and get the best bang for the buck.”

Looking at the South Midwest, Wayne Bailey, University of Missouri associate professor and research entomologist, says 2010 delivered a mixed bag of insect pressure for both corn and soybeans.

Bailey agrees with other industry colleagues — 2010 was a quiet year for corn insect pressure. On soybeans, he says, it’s a different story.

“We certainly saw problems with soybean podworm/corn earworm across northwest and southwest Missouri,” says Bailey. “I scouted at least 30 fields in the northwest area with major outbreaks. In some fields, growers suffered a devastating 100% loss.”

Bailey says most retailers and growers first saw foliar damage, and, if scouting wasn’t done every day, pods quickly dropped.

“Some fields revealed early webworm infestations and were treated with an insecticide or a foliar fungicide,” Bailey reports. “I think the webworm spray knocked out some green clover worm, which appears to carry the fungal pathogen that kills late-season soybean podworm.”

It’s a delicate balance between control of damaging pests and elimination of beneficials.

He also saw odd occurrences such as high numbers of Southern corn rootworm beetles. Soybeans needed not only foliar treatment but also treatment for feeding on flowers. “I’ve never before seen feeding on flowers.”

Bailey’s assessment: “We’re using lots of corn transgenics, which work great on target insects, but secondary pests escape and show up in high numbers.”

Other entomologists report migratory pests such as soybean podworm/corn earworm, green clover worm and stinkbug seem to be moving further north.

Corn Observations

With traited corn acres being the norm, the pests growers sought to control were not much different in 2010: Corn earworm, corn rootworm and European corn borer. Many sources report that black cutworm pressure was slightly higher than in the past.

“The pests we seek to control in corn attack from the moment the seed leaves the planter and hits the ground,” says Chism Craig, Monsanto corn product development manager. “Myriad soil pests feed on seed. We always think about corn being attacked by corn borer and corn rootworm.

“However, in 2010 as you looked north of I-70, we saw one of the heaviest corn earworm infestations experienced in several years. These insects are moving further north every year.”

Craig points out that while some management system worries are eliminated with traited corn seed, the quest for higher yields shifts focus and decision-making to other contributing factors such as hybrid and trait selection, the correct seed population, fertility rates, fungicide and insect control.

SmartStax represents the Monsanto premium trait package with comprehensive insect control and the lowest refuge requirement for corn.

When it comes to production of hybrid seed corn, Dan Sherrod, DuPont product development manager, says: “It’s important to preserve every kernel on every ear. We believe Coragen possesses a growing role in hybrid corn seed production, particularly when used at brown silk to provide longer residual protection from late-season, foliar-feeding insects, such as corn earworm.”

DuPont Insecticides Portfolio Manager Lars Swanson adds: “Even when growers make an investment in seed genetics with insect control traits, sporadic outbreaks come with late-season, foliar-feeding insects, such as Japanese beetles and corn rootworm adults. It’s important to observe each field and compliment the genetic technology with an insecticide application as needed.”

DuPont offers Lannate and Asana to target corn earworm, corn rootworm and Japanese beetles.

“We still saw insect pressure last year, but grubs, wireworms and those pest types didn’t flair like previous years,” observes Craig Abell, Syngenta agronomist, who covers Illinois. “On the flip side, we worked with growers to use Force CS liquid insecticide in-furrow at planting of traited corn hybrids. On average, they realized 10 to 12 bushels per acre yield increase.” Force CS also offers late-season control of corn rootworms, plus secondary pest control of cutworms, wireworms and grubs — all insects which contribute to yield loss.

Soybean Observations

Options ranging from seed treatments to insecticides to new high-yielding varieties, make investing in 2011 soybean yield opportunities more attractive than ever to growers.

“The favorable fall weather and scouting so far indicates soybean aphid populations did grow late season, but dropped as they migrated away from the crop,” says Aaron Robinson, Monsanto soybean development manager. “Reports show a fair amount of population and egg-laying happening as they overwinter on buckthorn.

“Another possible pest to watch in 2011 would be over-wintering bean leaf beetles in some geographies, particularly in no-till. This pest can reduce stand by clipping cotelydons off early and may transmit soybean mosaic virus to reduce yield later in the season,” he says.

Many retailers will sell seed treatments like Acceleron, which provides an insecticide component to control bean leaf beetles. Acceleron seed treatment offers a fungicide-only option with two active ingredients or an option that also includes an insecticide. Either option may be used to treat Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield varieties. Of course, many manufacturers will offer a variety of seed treatments, such as INOVATE from Valent.

Keith Vodrazka, insecticide product manager, Bayer CropScience, advises retailers to warn growers against complacency when it comes to insect control.

“Just because a grower didn’t need to spray last year, doesn’t mean it won’t be needed in 2011,” says Vodrazka. “Common thinking about soybean aphids, for instance, is that wet weather last year kept populations down. Still, we saw pockets of heavy infestation.

“Monitoring populations on wild hosts will determine if aphids migrate early season to the soybean crop,” he says. “Advise growers to be ready to spray.”

Leverage 360 and Belt options control soybean aphids, offer other plant health benefits and work well in an integrated pest management system.

Retailer Cody Loyd, Panhandle Cooperative, Scottsbluff, NE, tells growers: “Insect control represents a vital piece of crop health and yield protection. Even if you do everything else right, lack of insect control can negate all the effort and investment put into the crop.”

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Insecticides Stories

Corn Field
InsecticidesArysta LifeScience, DuPont Collaborate On Rynaxpyr Premix Formulations
February 8, 2017
Arysta LifeScience recently announced that it has entered into a global collaboration with DuPont Crop Protection for the development of Read More
Young Corn Closeup
FungicidesArysta LifeScience Receives EPA Approval On New In-Furrow Products
February 2, 2017
Arysta LifeScience North America recently received EPA approval on two new products, both of which feature patented formulation technology that Read More
Scott Stewart, University of Tennessee
InsecticidesInsecticides: How To Win With A Smaller Arsenal
January 24, 2017
There’s no way around it: Loss is a central theme this year in dealing with insect pressure in the U.S. Read More
Soil Young Corn
InsecticidesAtticus Launches New Acetamiprid Alternative
January 3, 2017
Atticus recently announced the introduction of a line of products containing the active ingredient Acetamiprid, an insecticide that works quickly Read More
Trending Articles
AdjuvantsA New Weed-Control Era Begins: But First, One Last Obstacle
March 4, 2017
There is trepidation, there is reluctance, and there is excitement. Ag retailers feel it all about the new dicamba and Read More
LIFT Academy video screenshot
Crop InputsLIFT Agriculture Academy: A Q&A With West Central Distribution’s Dean Hendrickson
March 1, 2017
West Central Distribution recently launched its LIFT Agriculture Academy, a new, premiere training and professional development resource for West Central’s ag Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Latest News
ManagementThink You Know Water? Take WinField United’s R…
March 22, 2017
Water is among our most precious resources, and arguably the hardest working, with just one percent available for human use, Read More
Corn Field
LegislationTFI Hopes Court Dismissal Is ‘Final Chapter’…
March 20, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) released the following statement from President, Chris Jahn on the March 17, 2017, federal court dismissal Read More
Wheat Growers
Industry NewsWheat Growers CEO Dale Locken To Retire
March 20, 2017
CEO Dale Locken has announced that he plans to retire from Wheat Growers. Locken has served almost 15 years as Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Eric SfiligojBayer-Monsanto: Life, LibertyLink, And The Pursuit Of R…
March 20, 2017
As the calendar officially turns to spring, life is in full renewal mode. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and Read More
Corn Field
Crop InputsUltra Yield Micronutrients Acquires Kronos Micronutrien…
March 16, 2017
Ultra Yield Micronutrients, Inc. ”Ultra”, an affiliate of Cameron Chemicals, Inc., is pleased to announce that it has acquired the Read More
ManagementSnowstorms, Asset Sales, and Soybeans Prices
March 16, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the weather, precision ag, crop protection company mergers, and commodity prices in this Read More
Soybean Field
Seed/BiotechBayer Invests $8.1 million In Soybean Advancement In Th…
March 16, 2017
Growers in Illinois and across the Midwest now have the added benefit of a state-of-the-art soybean research facility, increasing accessibility Read More
CHS
CropLife 100CHS Acquires Western Co-op Transport Association
March 16, 2017
CHS Inc., North America’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, has purchased Western Co-op Transport Read More
Young corn plants in soil
HerbicidesBest Management Practices To Control PPO-Resistant Weed…
March 14, 2017
Weeds resistant to the class of herbicides called protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) inhibitors are spreading at a faster rate than weed Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Eric SfiligojFungicide Resistance On The Horizon
March 13, 2017
For many years now, the agricultural market has struggled to keep ahead of an ever-growing number of herbicide-resistant weeds. According Read More
Management2017 Commodity Classic Review
March 10, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss what happened at the recent Commodity Classic in San Antonio. Read More
Farmer using AgriSync
ManagementMajor AgriSync Update Aims To Extend Ag Experts’ Power …
March 10, 2017
AgriSync announced a major update to its leading collaboration and service management tool for professional ag advisors and their farmer Read More
Agrible Pocket Spray Smart App
EquipmentNew Agrible Pocket Spray Smart App Alleviates Spraying …
March 10, 2017
There’s a new app to help farmers decide when to spray their fields. Pocket Spray Smart is a free iOS Read More
BPIA logo
Crop InputsBiological Products Trade Association Changes Name, Exp…
March 9, 2017
The Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA), formerly the BioPesticide Industry Alliance, is the new name of the rapidly growing U.S.-based Read More
BBI MagnaSpread Salford BBI
Equipment14 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2017
March 9, 2017
Application equipment manufacturers stressed flexibility and accuracy with this year’s crop of fertilizer spreaders. From AGCO’s TerraGator TG9300B and Case IH’s 810 Read More
Sonny Perdue
LegislationARA: Sonny Perdue Confirmation Delay Simply A Paperwork…
March 9, 2017
It’s been seven weeks since the White House named former Gov. Sonny Perdue (R-Ga.) as the nominee for the next Read More
Storage Tank The Andersons
CropLife 100The Andersons To Sell Farm Center Locations In Florida
March 8, 2017
The Andersons, Inc. has signed an agreement to sell its farm center locations in Florida to Wedgworth’s Inc., of Belle Read More
Nebraska landscape Photo courtesy of Richard Hurd
ManagementNebraska Water: Another Opportunity To Sell Value
March 8, 2017
Keith Byerly has been an Advanced Cropping Systems (ACS) Manager with York, NE-headquartered, No. 13-ranked CropLife 100 retailer Central Valley Read More