Sunday, September 23, 2012

Scouting Naughty Armyworms

Just before we received our first inch of rain in the midst of our exceptional drought, our tractors and seed planting equipment were kicking up the dust planting haygrazer and millet seed in hope of growing a desperately needed fall forage crop. Thankfully, we have received enough rain to green up the pastures and the newly planted crops are growing. Now we are facing another challenge--those naughty fall armyworms! With a little moisture,warm temperatures and humidity, fall armyworms  have been reported in Northwest Arkansas. Besides being extremely naughty in devastating a crop or pasture, they are also ugly to look at!

According to the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension, fall armyworms are one of the most devastating pests of pastures,hayfields and crops with damage appearing almost overnight. Here are a few armyworm scouting tips:
  • Diligently scout pastures,hayfields and cropland by examining at least 10 one square foot samples at random across the field.
  • Include a few samples in areas of abundant growth because this is where female armyworm moths prefer to lay eggs.
  • Chemical control is needed when 3 or more worms per square foot are found. If chemical control is necessary, there are a number of insecticides available for control. It's important to read label instructions before purchasing and follow harvesting and grazing restrictions.
As we drove from pasture to crop fields Friday night scouting for those naughty armyworms, I couldn't help but feel like I was on the look-out for a desperate criminal that's out to steal our crop. Exceptional drought continues to provide plenty of challenge as we're scouting for those naughty armyworms!

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