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• Combine the higher than usual populations of plant bugs, with usually high stink bug populations, lower than expected corn earworm populations, early fall armyworms and kudzu bugs and growers found more and more problems getting the right insecticide on at the right time to take care of different combinations of these pests.
MULTIPLE INSECT pests in late-season crops was a ‘mess’ said Virginia Tech Entomologist Ames Herbert.
Prone to build up late
“We know fall armyworms are prone to build up late in the growing season in grain sorghum. This year there will be sorghum out there later than usual, so fall armyworms could be a bigger problem,” Herbert says.
“On the other hand, in early August, our fall armyworm counts were running below 20 per sample. At this time of year, 30 is more normal and 50 isn’t unusual in a droughty year,” he said.
These insects, he said, typically aren’t as big a problem in cool, wet years.
Cotton planting date was delayed and maturity was delayed after that, because of the continuous wet weather in the Upper Southeast. Late-planted, late-maturing cotton was at risk from insects that usually aren’t a problem because cotton is mature and/or picked.
Herbert and Reisig agree the biggest insect problem for late cotton is usually stink bugs.
In Virginia, Herbert says the wild card among insects in soybeans is now the kudzu bug. “We went from zero counties with kudzu bugs on soybeans to having 33 of 48 soybean producing counties infested with these bugs,” he said.
“Based on research in Georgia and South Carolina, we shouldn’t get but two generations of kudzu bugs, but this is a new pest and in much different cropping conditions than we’ve ever seen it before,” Herbert says.
Much the same level of uncertainty is the case with many crops in the Virginia-Carolinas area, Historic rainfall throughout the planting and growing season forced growers to manage crops at times of the year when they are typically mature.
What impact the late planting had on pest management and final yield and quality of these crops is in large part unknown and in larger part to be determined by harvest time weather.
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