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By Staff | May 29, 2009

It is time to start scouting both corn and soybean fields for insects. Those that should be watched would be bean leaf beetles in soybeans and possibly cutworms in corn.

What seems to be showing up is a lot of beetles feeding on the first emerging volunteer bean plants in the corn, but very little feeding in the bean fields.

Apparently with nearly all the beans emerging at about the same time, the beetle populations is being diluted down and not causing high concentrations in other fields. The first wire worms can also be found now, with old pastures or those fields receiving bedding manure being those most targeted by the adult click beetles for egg laying. As of last weekend this year’s crop of June bugs has emerged. That means that the first Japanese beetles can’t be too far behind.

Those are the critters that many crop scouts expect to eventually cause major problems with crops in Iowa, due to voracious appetite and tolerance to many pesticides. Cutworm activity can be found, but not at levels that call for any action.

Looking at stands

Most corn growers are seeing stands that are very good and matched the higher plant populations that most of them were hoping to achieve.

What seems to be appearing are more seedlings that are taking a tortuous path to the soil surface.

Typically the direction and orientation that the kernel takes in how it lands in the seed trench and begins growth isn’t supposed to affect days to emergence and growth patterns.

But many of the seedlings have looped growth patterns as the sprouts changed directions a few times as they responded to the normal geotropic signals and headed to the soil surface.

Years ago there was a planter attachment called an Acra plant runner, developed and first built by August Koster, that formed a firmed V-trench that helped position the seed for early growth.

There have been a few areas that received packing rains and crusted-under seedlings became a problem. The rotary hoes were called into action and remedied the problem.

In some cases the crust was not very hard or thick, but more lack of heat caused the spikes to lack some of the push that they needed.

Until the heavy rains on Tuesday and Wednesday ponding was not a problem. Now we will have to be concerning about how fast those ponds drain and how well the seedlings tolerate the saturated and anaerobic conditions.

It will also help sort out which fields received a seed treatment and which ones didn’t.

Having a metalyxl treatment on the corn and soybean seeds now can act as replant insurance.

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