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May 15, 2105

Volume 14  Number 3


View from the Field

Much of the reporting this week is that alfalfa heights are variable cross the state. They range from 12 up to 20 inches. Grass maturity reports are also variable. Many report that although grasses in some areas are short they are maturing such that the need to be harvested. Much of the corn is planted and some of it at spike to V2 stage.  Soybean planting is underway with some soybean emergence reported.  Small grain development progressing with reported growth stages ranging from Feekes scale 6 to 8.

Alfalfa Weevil and Cereal Leaf Beetle

Alfalfa weevil adults and some alfalfa larval damage are being reported in western NY alfalfa.  In Eastern NY only adult alfalfa weevil have been found in fields.  Cereal leaf beetle adults have been found on wheat and some feeding on triticale in both eastern and western NY.


CLB Adult

Cereal Leaf Beetle Adult

Cutworm and Armyworm

Keith Waldron (NYS IPM) reports that Kentucky reported peak flights of true armyworm in late April. They are looking for signs of larval activity around May 22 – 27. We have not heard of any armyworm activity in New York at this time. Penn State University reports black cutworm moths are at peak flights in several areas. They also suggest staying vigilant at scouting for cutworms to detect them before they do much damage.

Alfalfa Root Rot and Alfalfa Snout Beetle

Harry N. Fefee (CCE Franklin County) reports finding frost heaved alfalfa in several fields in Franklin County. Many times frost heaved alfalfa is a secondary symptom of plants with root diseases. He also shared some alfalfa snout beetles adults he found in the county during a field meeting this week.

Barely Yellow Dwarf Virus

Barley yellow dwarf was found on triticale at the Cornell Farm in Valatie. The virus normally only infects upper leaves and/or the flag leaves. The symptoms appear at the jointing stage of wheat growth.  Leaf symptoms begin as irregular spots near the tip. Over time these yellowing areas turn various shades of yellow, red or purple. This disease progresses from leaf tip to base and margin to mid-rib. Symptoms are more pronounced under cool temperatures, causing the tips of flag leaves to sometimes become a reddish-purple.



Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus

Barley Yellow dwarf-virus is transmitted to wheat through feeding by several species of aphids. If winter wheat is planted too early in the fall it may allow aphids to infest and infect plants. If there are also large populations of aphids the next spring it may increase risk of infecting wheat. Winter wheat that is infected in the fall does not show symptoms. Symptoms start to appear mid-spring as yellowing of leaves. Management Options for this virus are:

  1. Plant resistant varieties
  2. Plant after the Hessian fly free dates
  3. Systemic seed insecticides

Weather Outlook – May 14, 2015

Samantha Borisoff: NOAA Northeast Regional Climate Center, Cornell University

Patchy frost was a concern last night and this morning for much of the state. Freeze warnings were in effect for parts of the Western and Eastern Plateaus, along with Lewis and northern Oneida Counties. Frost advisories were in effect for much of the rest of upstate. Here in Ithaca, our low was 31, which is about 12 degrees below normal. Tomorrow is the average date of the last frost in Ithaca. Over the past 7 days, temperatures ranged from 8 to 16 degrees above normal. Precipitation ranged from a trace to more than 1.5 inches. Base 50 growing degree-days were from 70 to 110 in much of northern New York, parts of the Eastern Plateau, and along Lake Ontario’s southern shore. Elsewhere, base 50 GDDs ranged from 110 to 150.  High pressure will be in place through Friday. A warm front will lift north across the state Saturday, bringing the chance of showers. Another warm front will move through Monday, followed by a cold front Tuesday. There’s a chance of showers both days. High pressure builds in Wednesday. Above-normal temperatures are expected during the next week.  Today will be mostly sunny with highs in the mid 60s to near 70.  Overnight temperatures will be from upper 30s to the low 40s. Friday will be partly to mostly cloudy, with a chance of showers starting in the afternoon and continuing overnight. Highs will be in the upper 60s to low 70s, with lows in the low to upper 50s.

Saturday will be mostly cloudy with scattered showers and thunderstorms, especially in the morning and afternoon. Highs will be in the low to mid 70s, with low temperatures in the mid to upper 50s.

Sunday will be partly to mostly cloudy with isolated showers possible. Highs will be in the mid to upper 70s and overnight lows will be in the upper 50s to low 60s.

Monday and Tuesday will be partly to mostly cloudy with scattered showers and thunderstorms possible. Highs will be in the mid to upper 70s Monday and in the upper 60s to mid 70s Tuesday.  Overnight temperatures will in the mid to upper 50s Monday and low to upper 40s Tuesday.

Wednesday will be partly to mostly cloudy. Highs will be in the low to upper 60s and lows will be in the low to upper 40s. The five-day precipitation (today through Tuesday) amounts will range from 1/10” near Long Island up to 1” in western NY.  The 8-14 day outlook (May 21-27) is showing above normal temperatures and above normal precipitation for the southern half of the state.

There are abnormally dry areas covering a majority of the state, including all of northern and eastern NY and parts of the Great Lakes and Central Lakes regions.

Maps of 8-14 day outlooks:

National Weather Service watch/warnings map:

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

How to Monitor Alfalfa Weevil in Alfalfa.

Ken Wise, NYS IPM

Monitor alfalfa weevil weekly from mid to late-April through June. Because weevil populations can build up over the life of the alfalfa stand, monitoring fields that are two or more years in production is critical to determine infestation levels. Start weekly field sampling in fields at about 350 degree-days (base temperature 48F) which is about mid to late April in most years, but not this year!

  • Pick 50 alfalfa stems at random throughout the field.
  • Look for the small “shot holes” in the leaves that indicate that larvae are feeding.
  • Record the percentage of alfalfa stems that show the “shot hole” feeding damage in the top 3 inches of the canopy.

Before the first cutting, if 40% of the stem tips show feeding damage, you are at the “action threshold”. The good thing is that alfalfa weevil can generally be controlled by harvesting. If you reach an action threshold within a week of your normal 1st cutting date, early harvesting will help avoid economic, yield, and forage quality losses. Alfalfa weevils only have one generation per year and are typically not a problem after first harvest. Occasionally, weevil can damage alfalfa re-growth after harvest. This damage may be more evident in the windrow areas, and can be more noticeable under cool or droughty weather conditions. If you find that 50 percent of the new growth is damaged, with many small larvae present, a chemical control may be warranted.

Root Diseases of Alfalfa and Clover

Ken Wise, NYS IPM

There are many potential causes of alfalfa/clover winter kill often involving some type of root disease. Crown rot is one of the possible problems that can occur in older fields with a history of stress, heavy traffic or grazing, poor drainage, fertility and pH problems, previous insect damage, etc. Plants exhibiting crown rot appear stunted and have few stems. Crown rot progresses slowly in the crown and taproot area of the plant. In many situations, crown rot cannot be attributed to a single pathogen. Several fungi (Fusarium spp., Phoma, Pythium, Rhizoctonia) as well as some bacteria, have been implicated in the disease. To tell if a plant has the disease dig up (not pull up) a plant showing symptoms. Then use a knife to split open the crowns and roots. Healthy tissue should be white, moist, and firm. Rotted tissue usually has a black or brownish- red color, but the color may vary from yellowish to pinkish or gray.

Another common alfalfa/clover problem observed is frost heaved crowns. Low areas of the field that tend to accumulate water are sites worth checking for this ailment. Frost heaving may indicate potential disease problems such as Pythium or Phytopthora root rot which attack and destroy lateral and main root systems leaving plants with limited holding power for staying in the ground.


Frost Heaved Plants


Degree Day Models for Field Crops Across New York

Ken Wise, NYS IPM

Station Location

Alfalfa Weevil

(Base 48) March 1

GDDs (Base 50 F)

March 1

Ceres 219 175
Chazy 225 178
Geneva 280 226
Highland 375 315
Ithaca 237 194
Massena 220 170
Ripley 277 233
Versailles 239 195
Watertown 189 150
Wayland 250 203

NEWA Growing Degree Days


Clipboard Checklist

Keith Waldron, NYS IPM



*Walk fields to check tile flow, check and clear drainage outlets. Look for line breaks
*Note and record location of wet areas on field maps or aerial photo for future tiling considerations and crop decisions, check for areas of soil erosion
*Pre-plant weed evaluation, timing cultivation and/or pre-plant weed management
*Watch for early season weeds: winter annuals, chickweed, henbit, field penny cress, shepherd’s purse, giant and common ragweed, purple deadnettle, lambsquarters, redroot pigweed, velvet leaf, Pennsylvania smartweed, common sunflower, quackgrass, foxtail


*Evaluate established legume stands for winter damage (thinning stand, frost heave, Brown root rot), determine average alfalfa stand count adjust crop plans if necessary
*Monitor for alfalfa weevil
*Monitor new seedings for Pythium blight and Phytopthora Root Rot.
*Monitor for Alfalfa Snout Beetle (In Oswego, Jefferson, Cayuga, Wayne, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Clinton, Essex, and Franklin counties)

Small Grains:
*Monitor winter grain fields for over wintering survival (snow mold and other cold injury issues), weed issues (such as winter annuals, corn chamomile and chickweed), growth stage, number of tillers
*Check stands for soilborne virus diseases, Wheat spindle streak mosaic and Soilborne wheat mosaic, check for signs of powdery mildew or other maladies, cereal leaf beetle, weed escapes, goose damage

*Monitor growth stage of development


*Prepare land and plant corn as conditions allow
*Pre-plant weed evaluation, timing cultivation and/or pre-plant weed management

*Post-emergence stand counts, weed evaluations

*Prepare land and plant soybeans as conditions allow
*Pre-plant weed evaluation, timing cultivation and/or pre-plant weed management

*Post-emergence stand counts, weed evaluations

Check and mend fences as needed.
*Check crop growth
*Monitor fields for invasive species, plants harmful to livestock
*Review/Plan rotation system

Dairy Confinement Areas

*Clean potential house and stable fly breeding habitat: inside barn sanitation: clean / remove spoiled bedding, spilled feed, check water sources for leaks; outside animal exercise / loafing areas / alleyways / feed troughs, feed rings, etc. clean areas of undisturbed moist organic matter such as spilled feed and silage, feed debris around feed troughs and feed rings


*Remove / clean soil and crop debris from equipment
Arrange for custom weed control or check your own application or cultivator equipment for repairs.
*Carry appropriate / necessary NYS DEC and EPA required documents: (pesticide applicators license, pesticide labels, MSDS sheets, etc.) with application equipment

-planting equipment – maintain records on planting rate per field

-manure spreaders – maintain records on amount spread per field

-pesticide application equipment – Check nozzles, pumps, etc., recalibrate pesticide application equipment before use.

* Check stored grain bins for temperature, moisture and signs of mold and insects. Aerate, core, transfer grain or treat as necessary
Check forage allocation and anticipate feed program adjustments as forages from previous year are used up
*Plan where forages should be stored for optimum allocation next feeding season