While many people enjoyed this year’s mild winters, farmers struggled to enjoy the balmy break from freezing temperatures. Instead growers have been more concerned with the affect the temperature will have had on insect pressure. AgWired spoke with Tim Laatsch of GROWMARK to learn more about what could be in store this growing season.
First, Laatsch points out, there are two types of insects: those that overwinter in the area and those that migrate during the cold weather. Migratory insects won’t be affected by the mild winters, since they aren’t around to experience them anyway. Common migratory pests include army worms, black cut worms and corn leaf aphids. Expect those in their usual numbers. “Now we could see them showing up earlier than normal and maybe developing faster if the warm weather persists into the spring window,” Laatsch says.
While migratory insects probably won’t differ much this year, those that stay around for the cold may not be as affected as farmers believe either. Most have adapted so well they survive even the most severe temperatures.
Growers should be most concerned with pests that make an early appearance in the fields. Corn flea beetles, soybean aphids and bean leaf beetles are likely to appear even earlier than usual, and in greater numbers. All three bring diseases with them as well, so scout early and often to respond and adjust as the season progresses.
Laatsch offers many specifics about preparing for this set of circumstances. Choose a fungicide seed treatment, and look at insecticide seed treatment as well, he suggests. Another warning growers should heed is the possible appearance of corn root worm where it has been dormant the past few years. Our wet, cool springs of the past two years may have lulled producers into a false sense of security, believing the problem has gone away, but a different environment may bring them on again, full force.
“I would suspect that if we see a relatively normal growing season in late May, early June this year that we’ll see a rapid resurgence of those populations, back to yield damaging levels if we’re not appropriately managing those.” Don’t let your guard down, Laatsch warns.
Listen to the full interview which also covers a look at expected action by the EPA on products for this season, as well as lots of detail surrounding products and solutions: Interview with Tim Laatsch, GROWMARK