Field Crop Update, July 20, 2023

Erik Smith, Area Field Crop Specialist
Central New York Dairy and Field Crops

July 20, 2023

1. Field Observations

Corn is juuuuust beginning to tassel in Central NY! So we will soon begin to track GDD from tassel/silk dates in preparation for corn silage harvest.

Overall, corn is looking much, much better than it did a few weeks ago. Soybeans are also looking good and are flowering across our region and across the state. I've seen low soybean aphid numbers, and we may have the rain to thank for some of that. Rain will knock aphid populations down in the short-term. But now is the time to protect your soybeans from white mold (if you haven't started already) in high-risk fields as they are flowering and as canopies close.

Potato leafhopper numbers in alfalfa are elevating (section 3), though for the most part, they have only reached the damage threshold in those fields that are closest to harvest. We've seen an abundance of predators/natural enemies in many of our fields, so we're getting some help in keeping pest populations low.

Western bean cutworm numbers are higher than they have been in previous years. We will be looking out for their egg masses until corn tassels - they are most attracted to pre-tassel corn, of which we have a lot at this point in the year. Tasseling is about a week behind last year, and even further behind 2021's tasseling dates. As you can see in Section 2, most of our region is only now catching up to the 30-yr avg GDD, but most are still behind compared to the 15-yr Avg.

The following images are courtesy of Jessica Spaccio, Climatologist at the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell:

7-Day Streamflow
7-day Precipitation amounts

2. Growing Degree Days (See: Climate Smart Farming Growing Degree Day Calculator)
Growing degree days (GDD) are calculated by taking the average daily temperature and subtracting the base temperature for development of a given organism ((High + Low)/2 - base temp = GDD). For corn silage, we are using base 50/86, as corn development starts at 50 degrees F and ceases above 86. Check your location and planting date:

Growing degree days table
Growing Degree Days table

3. Pest and disease monitoring
Western Bean Cutworm (WBC) and Fall Armyworm (FAW) in corn

WBC is hot out of the gate across our region. I scouted the Chenango Co. field with the highest number for WBC egg masses (they prefer to lay eggs on the top surface of the uppermost leaves), but found none. Something to keep an eye on….

western bean cutworm and fall armyworm found table

Potato leafhopper (PLH) in alfalfa - Fields swept by Ashley Bound and Emily Anderson, CCE Chenango, who will be working with local FFA chapters across our region to sweep alfalfa fields this year (funding provided by the Chobani Community Impact Fund)

potato leafhopper found in alfalfa table

*No action needed if crop is within 1 week of cutting. If not, use a short-residual insecticide.









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Spotted Lanternfly

Lycorma delicatula, or Spotted Lanternfly (SLF), is an invasive plant hopper from Asia and is an agricultural pest. In the United States, it was first found in Pennsylvania in 2014. Spotted Lanternfly has been found in New York State on Staten Island, all New York City boroughs, Long Island, Port Jervis, Sloatsburg, Orangeburg, Ithaca, Binghamton, Middletown, Newburgh, Highland, and the Buffalo area. SLF threatens the agriculture and forestry industries, and is also a nuisance pest. The nymphs and adults feed on over 70 different plants, but is especially detrimental to grapes, a black walnut, hops, maple trees and apples. New York State Ag and Markets supported CCE efforts to help bring awareness to communities and we developed this Public Service Announcement and would appreciate you sharing it with your member lists. 

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