It’s been a warmer, dryer winter than normal, says Tim Laatsch with the Agronomy Division at GROWMARK. Combining that with the wet conditions many growers are experiencing this spring puts crops at risk. The dry windows have provided opportunity to plant some early season corn, but corn isn’t the only thing growing in the field.
Winter annuals are also thriving, which causes concerns because their foliage provides a habitat for pests to lay their eggs. Of special concern is the cutworm, Laatsch tells us. Purdue has reported significant numbers of cutworms in the past three weeks so he suggests that growers be scouting that early corn very aggressively in the coming week or two.
Controlling the weeds is important, but two modern farming practices work against farmers when it comes to insect control. Vertical tillage requires a partner in the form of a strong herbicide and cover crops need a timely burn down, Laatsch cautions.
Disease control is anther area that growers should be attuned to this season, specifically when it comes to wheat. According to Laatsch, the flag leaf is critical and growers may need a second application at the vegetative state to protect its development and the yield potential of the plant. Scout, watch the weather, and be prepared, he advises.
Tim talks more about conditions this spring in this interview: Interview with Tim Laatsch, GROWMARK