Forage Insect Update

We have had an interesting year so far in our hay crop. Our dry Spring kept us from truly getting started, and the current rain is keeping growers from cutting. We have hundreds of acres that hasn’t been cut yet. If it has been cut, it’s mostly been cut once. There is a very small amount of hay that has been cut twice.

This may be one reason we are seeing stem maggot in some fields. I stopped by this field Wednesday, and a large section appeared frosted. Stem maggot has done lots of damage here. The good news is we have yet to see fall armyworms. This too may be cause the rain.

UGA Extension Forage Specialist Dr. Dennis Hancock has given an update on some other insect issues throughout the state:

Bermudagrass Stem Maggot

Damage from bermudagrass stem maggot

Reports of the bermudagrass stem maggot have been coming in from all over the Coastal Plain and into the southern 2-3 counties in the Piedmont. I suspect with the abundant rainfall in most places, we will see BSM pressures similar to the heavy pressure we saw in 2013. Producers need to employ the standard suppression technique (labeled pyrethroid of their choice 7-10 days after cutting and again 7-10 days later, as needed). Moderate N fertilization rates, and good K fertilization minimizes disease and this seems to minimize BSM activity (but it doesn’t eliminate it). In the past, we have recommended spinosad, as well. Current research indicates this is not as effective as we believed it to be. Pyrethroids are our best option currently. We have a new Extension bulletin on BSM found at Bermudagrass Stem Maggot Research Update.

Fall Armyworms

Reports of fall armyworm are also starting to come in. Producers need to scout and spray if the threshold is reached. The newest bulletin is Caterpillar Pests in Pastures and Hayfields.

Where BSM activity is high and FAW pressure is imminent, consider using Besiege (Lambda-cyhalothrin for the BSM and active FAW; Chlorantraniliprole for residual control of FAW).

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