End of Season Pest Management Decision Making

Corn and Grain Sorghum harvest has begun on the Mid-Coast of Texas. Early yield reports are above average. While many Sorghum fields are no longer susceptible to the yield reducing impacts of insects, we must not forget the later fields. Stink bugs and headworms can impact sorghum yield and quality losses until hard dough or when the grain cannot be compressed between the fingers.

Sugarcane aphids have been relatively low across the mid-coast this year with less than 30% of fields requiring treatment. Don’t forget these aphids after hard dough! They won’t cause grain loss but can affect harvest if honeydew is allowed to accumulate high in the leaf canopy.

Lately most sorghum fields with sugarcane aphids have also had exceptionally high numbers of beneficial insects. These lady bugs, syrphid fly and lacewing larvae, and parasitic wasps are keeping the aphids in check in most fields.

Some of the lady bug larvae we are finding a unique Scymnus Lady Beetle Larvae (See Picture). The scymnus lady beetles I usually see have white on their backs similar to a mealy bug. In fields with leaves containing this number of lady beetle larvae and aphid mummies, I may choose to forego an insecticide and let the beneficial insects do their job.

Cotton Fields should be monitored for the number of nodes above the first position white flower (NAWF). The field will be “safe” from stink bugs and bollworms 350 heat units (HU) after  5 NAWF. It usually takes about 16 days to accumulate 350 heat units.

I have been hearing rumors of bollworm activity in the Upper Coast. I have not found this to be the case in the Mid-Coast. We have been closely watching several fields of non-Bt cotton and have yet to find more than 4 percent of plants with a bollworm. The few worms we have found are in bolls in the mid canopy.

Continue to watch for stink bug feeding and bollworms until the crop is beyond their damage window of 5 NAWF plus 350 HU.

Soybeans are susceptible to stink bugs until the field has mature beans. Most fields need to be scouted weekly and treated when thresholds are exceeded. We have not found economic numbers of stink bugs this week but will continue to watch for them and leaf feeding caterpillars.

Soybean Turnrow Meeting, Tuesday June 27; 3:30 pm to review soybean variety work at the Wehmeyer Farm near Pt. Lavaca. First generation Roundup-Ready soybean varieties, high OL (linoleic acid), and conventional varieties (high Group 4’s to mid Group 5’s) selected from the Univ of Missouri breeding program are being evaluated for their potential production in the Texas soybean production areas.  More Information HERE.

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