Farmers already feeling the pressure from weeds, pests

Broadleaf weeds and black cutworm moths are already making their presence known in the Midwest, farmers say.

broadleaf weeds

NY State IPM Program at Cornell University

It feels as if planting season just began, but already farmers are seeing weeds and pests flocking to their fields. Row crop specialists say despite cool and wet weather early on in the planting season, broadleaf weeds are still making their presence known.

“We saw Waterhemp start emerging about two weeks ago. Generally, we see waterhemp come up about the second week to maybe the end of May for a majority of the Midwest. And we’ve got it coming up the second week of April this year, which can wreak havoc on some people that we’re planning on targeting those weeds with just pre-emergent application. So, it’s always a good practice to have those growers have a secondary plan to be sure that we can control those weeds that are out of the ground. The other one that was kind of unique is some winter annuals. When we went through that couple of weeks of cold, and we saw some of that frost be kind of a natural control for some of those winter annuals,” Kip Jacobs with UPL said.

And they’re not the only hassle producers are facing this early in the season. Black cutworm moths are also making moves.

“There are some reports coming that we’re starting to see some black cutworm moths moving up into the Midwest region. I know when we start talking about cutworms, the first practice that most people like to do is start putting some preventative insecticides out. It’s kind of the normal train of thought, but with black cutworm, the best thing is to do a curative application. So once the crop’s up, be sure you’re scouting regularly, checking for any potential damage. Be sure you’re checking for larvae and moths. Get with your trusted advisor and be sure we’re keeping a close eye on those fields as some of these pests become more present as the season goes on,” Jacobs said.

He tells producers to monitor fields closely along with local weather reports.

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