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Crop Scouting and Planting Cover Crops

The past couple weeks have been pretty routine at Edgewood.  I have spent much of my time scouting the farms corn, soybeans, and dry beans.  When I was not scouting the crops, I was likely planting oats as a cover crop in all the fields that we unable to be planted this spring due to the extremely wet conditions we experienced.

Scouting has been relatively uneventful lately however; I suppose no news is good news when you are looking for insects and diseases.  All the time I spent walking through thousands of acres of corn I found no diseases and only insect pest I found was a patch of western bean cutworm eggs.  The eggs are often found on the top side of the upper most leaves and as they hatch the larva quickly move down to the ear, where they can cause significant damage.  An infestation of one cutworm per ear of corn can result in a yield loss of roughly 4% and up to 30-40% if there are several worms per ear.  It is recommended that an insecticide be applied if ~5% of the corn plants have either eggs or larva present.  Luckily, we never reached a threshold where treatment was necessary.

In dry beans and soybeans, the most common pest found was the red-headed flea beetle.  These insects eat the leaves of the plants and the threshold for treatment is based on percent defoliation and stage of the beans.  According to North Dakota State University, the action threshold is as follows: 30% defoliation in vegetative stages, 15% in bloom to pod-fill stages, and 25% in pod-fill to maturity stages.  The flea beetles in our fields didn’t cause anywhere near this amount of damage so again, like the cutworms in corn, treatment was not needed.

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