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CROP WATCH

By Staff | Jul 28, 2017

We are now in the last week of July and still fighting several different battles. Time is precious and working during 90 plus degree heat makes it tougher to get things done. The weeds are still emerging and growing plus a few insects are appearing that may have to be dealt with. I will try to cover a few of these things in a short letter. I have to take off shortly to catch a spray plane so they can get their job done.

The Dicamba saga

The Dicamba beans and the drift that is occurring continues. In news over the weekend growers in several southern states, mostly Arkansas, who planted the beans and anticipated spraying a form of Dicamba over their fields, are now left unable to do so due to action by their attorney general and their regulatory bodies, so they have weedy fields they are trying to clean up and are unable to do so. With so many complaints in so many bean growing states and bans in place against the product, commercial applicators will be jumpy about putting themselves in the middle of any legal proceedings.

There are a number of major lawsuits yet from damage resulting from drift in 2016 that still have to be heard, so to compound and add to the pile of complaints is questionable. In the end the liability insurance companies and their risk assessors may have the most to say on this topic. People who know herbicides very well questioned the widespread and late season use of a very volatile product. It does seem that windier weather is more common and the proper application window exists for fewer hours.

Insects

A few insects are appearing right about on schedule. One can find a small number of smaller and a few sow aphids in fields north of Hwy30. Not enough to spray but enough to give a heads up and consider adding an insecticide if they are getting ready to spray. It violates IPM principles to apply an insecticide before thresholds are reached, but paying twice for an application is not something anyone wants to do.

Another insect showing up are bean leaf beetles. These would be the first true generation and typically show up in late July through mid August. They will chew holes in leaves and eat a few pods. The damage they cause will primarily be to infect them with pod mottle virus. Be scouting for them.

A corn insect to keep an eye out for among growers who planted conventional corn are the second brood corn borers. They typically begin to appear around July 25 and will lay eggs that can be found o the underside of corn leaves. This is the year they were supposed to be bad and in places thresholds were reached. The growers are glad now that they made a treatment before they tunneled into the stalks.

Corn and soybean status

Few of us have seen a season where rainfall was as unevenly distribute across a state. It is taking a toll on most fields west of I35. Leaves were rolled with a number of those fields having turned a very bright yellow. My guess is that the plants could not cool themselves off and the leaves scaled. In addition the plants began to denature their proteins at the high temps.

There are currently pictures circulating of corn ears from southern Illinois where nearly 50 percemt of the kernels have already aborted.

Bob Streit is an independent crop consultant and columnist for Farm News. He can be reached at (515) 709-0143 or www.CentralIowaAg.com.

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