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Armyworms on the March in Indiana

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Armyworms on the March in Indiana

With a wet early spring in Indiana, knocking back cover crops in time for planting has been an issue in some areas.  Dry weather this past week has allowed many growers to get this done along with burndown of fall annual weeds. This week’s DuPont Pioneer Agronomy Report from Hoosier Ag Today contains some suggestions for managing cover crop burndown.

Information from Purdue suggests we may be in for a heavier infestation of armyworms this spring. “We typically don’t see levels this high at this time of year,” stated the Purdue Pest and Crop Newsletter. “The northeastern part of the state, where we happen to also grow wheat  in some areas, is particularly thick with migrant moths. The female moths that arrive will be loaded with eggs and looking for suitable hosts to lay them on – many plants will do the job, with grasses strongly preferred. If you have wheat acreage, or your soon-to-be-corn acres have a grass cover crop, particularly cereal rye, those fields will be an armyworm magnet. Depending on when that cover crop is killed and corn is planted, the crop could be at risk.”

Mary Gumz

Mary Gumz, with DuPont Pioneer, urges growers to start scouting their fields in the next few days. She says, if you have wheat or cover crops, you may want to take extra precautions, “Once you have burned down the cover crop, you may want to give yourself a week before you begin planting, so you can starve out the armyworms and give you a better seed bed and planting conditions.”.

Gumz says, with heavy rains on the way, planting just before that rain may not be a good idea, “This may be been the issue this past week when we had some fields planted just before a cold rain.” She added we still have plenty of time to get this crop planted, so take time to make sure the fields are dry and the weather is optimal.

Hoosier Ag Today meteorologist Ryan Martin says a strong frontal boundary off to the west is gearing up to tear across the Corn Belt, “This front impacts the Hoosier State early Thursday. Rains are likely going to be from .5”-1.25” and we think that we can see some heavier thunderstorms hold on as they exit Eastern Illinois Thursday morning. That may put some localized areas from Winamac to Terre Haute in line to see the strong thunderstorm action after sunrise. The rest of the state and the rest of the day should be a little more calm, but still wet.”

Listen to the complete report under the agronomy tab on this web site.