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Late Season Scouting

Our late season scouting focused mainly on fungal diseases and some pests as well. At this point the corn was around the tasseled stage, VT, and usually way over my head which made scouting pretty miserable.

One of the more common late season pests that we saw was the Fall Armyworm. Several of our clients are produce farmers and the majority of the Fall Armyworm damage we saw was in their sweet corn. They aren’t as common in field corn; however, we did see a number of field corn acres that showed damage symptoms, luckily none bad enough require action. The late timing at which the pests arrive is what makes them a problem; the corn is usually too tall to get a sprayer rig in the field that can spray for the worms. They cause the same type of foliar damage as the Armyworm you see in the early season but they will feed on the ear as well.

We saw much more of the fungal diseases than we did of the late season pests. Common rust was a major one and along with the rust we saw a lot of Eyespot. Rust is casued by the fungus Puccinia sorghi and just like the potato leaf hopper, the spores of the fungus are blown north by winds and storms and they end up here in our crops. The fungus dies in the winter with our cold climate but its able to overwinter in the southern temperate climate and each year it makes its way north. Usually the Common rust doesn’t cause any substantial yeild losses but the Southern rust is one that can cause a lot of damage. We were told to indiciate any form of rust that we found in the field, which leaves it was present on and what percentage of the plants in the particular field had it.

(Fall Armyworm on left, Eyespot in center, Nitrogen burn on right)

Eyespot is another fungal disease that favors a cooler climate than the rust but still the humid conditions. Its able to overwinter in the corn stuble and its seen more commonly in fields that have been planted in continuos corn. Luckily none of the corn we scouted showed severe symtoms of Eyespot and it wasn’t a huge issue for our farmers.

Nitrogen burn from sidedressing the corn was something else we saw a lot of but there nothing that can be done about that. The late season scouting continued and increased instances of blight began to worry some of our farmers.

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