Corn farmers who might have hoped that a new insect threat would be slowed by this winter’s frigid temperatures could be disappointed, says a Purdue University Extension entomologist.
The western bean cutworm is likely to emerge from winter in numbers capable of exacting a toll on the corn crop this summer, said Christian Krupke.
“A question I’ve gotten a lot from farmers is, with the colder-than-average winter will we have a lot of mortality of the overwintering larvae?” Krupke said. “The answer is probably not. That’s not because of the temperature of the air; it’s more because we’ve had so much snow and relatively few days without snow.”
Snow cover insulates crop fields and “keeps the temperature in the soil higher than it would be if the soil were bare, which actually helps the larvae survive,” he said.
Fortunately, timely scouting of fields, insecticide treatments and some biotech (Bt) corn varieties have proved successful in controlling the bug.… Continue readingRead More »