Skip to main content

A long, wet Spring

Black Cutworm

This summer I am interning at Carolina-Eastern Vail, which is a fertilizer and crop service company with several locations in eastern and central New York. They not only sell and apply both fertilizers and pesticides, but they also are a DuPont Pioneer seed distributor. They handle application and distribution of these products to growers from central New York to western New England and everywhere in between. Another service that this company offers is crop scouting to it’s growers, which is a large part of what my internship has been thus far.

Interning in a large dairy area near Salem, NY has allowed me to see many different fields while working with a number of dairymen and women and, this year, observe the effects that a cold, wet spring can have on all crops. Farmers throughout the eastern part of the state have had an incredibly tough start to the growing season, with only about half of the corn being planted as of June 1st. However, conditions have turned around slightly as of late, and agronomists at CaroVail believe at this point that most farmers have stopped planting, with the exception of some shorter day silage corns.

One of the many pests I observed early in the spring is pictured above, and that is black cutworm. This creature tends to show up in stands of corn where there was a rye cover crop, or old grass sod that was turned under. The cutworm feeds on the root systems of the grass and rye, and then after the cover crop is killed, resort to the corn crop. They are easier to find during the night or in the early morning hours, as they do most of their feeding at night.


Another pest that I have been tracking heavily in corn this spring is bindweed. Bindweed is a perennial that grows in a vine and can devastate corn crops. It has a tendency to form a green wall on the stand of corn, making the corn damaging to any harvesting equipment. It can pop up anywhere, grows fast, and is very resilient to herbicide injury. This is definitely a weed to lookout for!

As the growing season continues, the weather is beginning to straighten out, and the fields are starting to dry up (for the most part). It will be interesting to see what mother nature has in store for the rest of the summer.

Skip to toolbar