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True Armyworms Invading Sweet Corn!

Chuck Bornt, Team Leader, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

June 7, 2018

This article was published in the June 7th 2018, ENYCHP Vegetable News.  Click here to view the full newsletter.

The last two weeks have had us finding some True Armyworm adult moths in our traps.  These moths move up from southern overwintering sites on storm fronts.  If you recall, we've had some issues with these buggers in the past and sweet corn isn't their only host as we've seen them attack several vegetable crops including sweet corn, brassicas, tomatoes, peppers and greens.   Not only is their damage a problem, but on things like lettuce, the droppings can affect marketability of the crop.  

Armyworms, whether Fall or True, are very eager feeders and can do a lot of damage in a short time.  Their feeding damage tends to appear ragged, with large holes eaten in the leaves and they leave lots and lots of sawdust looking frass (insect terminology for fecal matter).  They tend to feed on the top sides of crops during the night and on the undersides or deeper into the plant during the day.   

The adults are fairly large moths which are primarily nocturnal and have the ability to lay up to 2,000 eggs in their two week life.  The eggs will hatch in 7 to 14 days and the larvae begin feeding immediately, going through seven stages of development over several weeks.  The worms tend to be greenish brown (with some variations) with a pale white stripe on its back and an orange stripe on each side of the body.  One other distinguishable feature is a dark brown to black triangle located on the outside of each of the four pairs of prologs found towards the hind end of the body.   

Thresholds for when to treat corn have been established and should be treated when 25>#/b### of the plants are showing damage (Source: Integrated Pest Management Program, Missouri University).  For sweet corn and leafy greens, best control is achieved when the larvae are small (1st and 2nd instar) and applied usually later in the evening when the larvae tend to be more active and feeding on the upper surfaces of the plants.    

There are a number of insecticides labeled for leafy greens including these organic products:  Pyganic (pyrethrin), Dipel (Bacillus thuringinensis, subsp. Kurstaki), Xentari ((Bacillus thuringiensis, var. aizawai), Aza-Direct (azadirachtin), Azera (pre-mix of azadirachtin and a pyrethroid) and Entrust (check the label for the labeled rates as formulations vary for these products).   Again, these products are going to work best when applied to small larvae but if they get ahead of you, tank mixing a pyrethroid (Aza-Direct, Pyganic etc.) with a Bt (Dipel, Xentari etc) will improve performance.  Repeat applications may also be necessary depending on how long the egg laying period and development conditions are.  

Conventional insecticides labeled for armyworm control on sweet corn and leafy greens including Warrior II, Baythroid (both are recommended for 1st and 2nd instars), Coragen and Lannate.  Ensure that you get thorough coverage, of the canopy with any of these products including the whorl in the case of sweet corn.  Late evening applications also keep insecticides wet longer ensuring larval contact and ingestion of the insecticides.  Other insecticides labeled for sweet corn include Asana XL (1st and 2nd instars), Mustang Max, Radiant SC and Blackhawk.  Please check labels for rates.

army 1Note the ragged feeding and dark colored frass. (Photo: Teresa Rusinek)



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Upcoming Events

Berry Production Twilight Meeting

Event Offers DEC Credits

July 8, 2021
Peru, NY

Rulf's Orchard, 531 Bear Swamp Road, Peru, NY 

Many berry topics will be discussed including growing Juneberries (Amelanchier, not strawberries), using entomopathogenic nematodes to control strawberry root pests, low tunnel production in June bearing strawberries, SWD monitoring and management. 2.5 DEC pesticide recertification credits available in categories 1A, 10, 22, and 23. Contact Elisabeth Hodgdon (eh528@cornell.edu or 518-650-5323) or Laura McDermott (lgm4@cornell.edu or 518-746-2562) with questions.

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Announcements

U-Pick Farm Practices During Covid-19 Pandemic

U-Pick is a critical direct marketing approach for many of our farms and provides
customers with a unique connection to fresh produce grown close to home. In light
of what we understand about the spread of COVID-19, new management practices
will be needed to protect your farm team and your customers. This document
provides recommended practices and communication strategies for U-Pick
operations for the 2020 season.

https://rvpadmin.cce.cornell.edu/uploads/doc_864.pdf

Growers-are you running low on fall pumpkins, etc?

The Produce Auctions located around the state may have what you need.  Check out all of the opportunities here: https://harvestny.cce.cornell.edu/submission.php?id=4

Resources from CCE ENYCHP!

We are developing new ways to connect with the CCE ENYCHP team this year! We have a Youtube page located at this link. Check out videos on Table Grape Production, Pest Updates and the 20 Minute Ag Manager - in 4 Minutes series

We have a Facebook Page here as well as an Instagram page. We keep these places updated with current projects, events, and other interesting articles and deadlines.

There are also text alerts available. Fruit and vegetable farmers in 17 Eastern NY counties can now receive real time alerts on high risk disease and pest outbreaks texted directly to their cell phone. The Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture program, which is supported by local Cornell Cooperative Extension associations, will now offer text alerts to those that enroll in our program in 2019. 

The text alerts will be reserved for important crop alerts that could impact management decisions immediately. For instance, if there were an outbreak of Late Blight in the area, this would be transmitted to vegetable growers.

Farmers can choose the crop for which they wish to receive updates. Additionally they can request that Ag Business Alerts be sent to them. These alerts might include due dates for crop insurance deadlines, market opportunities etc.

If you have questions, please contact enychp@cornell.edu


Podcasts

“Understanding Fungicide Resistance and How to Avoid It” with Dr. Margaret McGrath

June 16, 2021
ENYCHP Veg News Farm and Field Updates with Teresa Rusinek
“Understanding Fungicide Resistance and How to Avoid It” with Dr. Margaret McGrath of Cornell University
In this this podcast ENYCHP vegetable specialist Teresa Rusinek interviews Dr. Margaret McGrath, of Cornell University School of Integrative Plant Science, to discuss the development of fungicide resistance in plant pathogens and steps growers can take to avoid it.
Resources:
https://www.vegetables.cornell.edu/pest-management/disease-factsheets/general-guidelines-for-managing-fungicide-resistance/
Vegetable Pathology – Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center (cornell.edu)
The Cucurbit Downy Mildew Forecast Homepage
https://cdm.ipmpipe.org/

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