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Don't Forget About Black Cutworm Just Yet

Don't Forget About Black Cutworm Just Yet
Keep scouting for cut plants or damaged plants due to black cutworm feeding.

No-tillers or those that use strip-till or some other form of minimum tillage know to look for a couple of pests as corn emerges. That's especially true if they burned down a cover crop or planted into it. They know to look for black cutworm and slugs.

Slugs are much tougher to deal with. The only remedy available is bait that is very expensive. The best hope for slugs is warm weather so they will disappear.

Black cutworms, on the other hand, can be treated for if they're present at economic levels. And they're not exclusive to minimum tillage fields. Many fields were covered with winter annual weeds this spring before they were tilled.

Cut plant: This plant in a minimum tillage field was likely affected by larval feeding of the black cutworm.

Even if full tillage was done later, the black cutworm moths may have been attracted to those fields. Purdue University entomologist John Obermeyer always stresses that black cutworm moths are attracted to fields with green cover to lay their eggs.

Mark Lawson, a Syngenta technical advisor and farmer, found cutworm moths in late April near Danville. Farmers who have planted into fields which had green cover early and where the corn is up say they have found at least a few cut plants. Roger Wenning, Decatur County, Greensburg, found some cutworm damage in one his fields recently. At the time, however, it was too sporadic to qualify for or justify economic treatment.

The key to cutworms is understanding how they typically don't infest a field uniformly, entomologists say. They may be more intense in one part of a field and not impact another area of the same field at all. They tend to be found in lower spots within a field, but that's not a conclusive finding. You should still scout all areas of the field.

This is one you need to scout for soon. Once the plants are cut and the damage is done, all you can do is live with the stand or determine if there is enough loss to justify replanting.

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