Field Crop Update, August 4, 2023

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

August 4, 2023

1. Field Observations

Most corn fields have tasseled by now, but a few late plantings in the region have yet to flower.

Corn and soybean crops continue to look good, with low pest and disease levels so far, but this rain and humidity means that diseases are just around the corner. Soybean canopies are closing and pods are filling out. Despite the many emergence challenges we had this year, I've seen several fields that look excellent. If you think you have a field that fits that description, don't hesitate to enter this year's NY Corn and Soybean Growers yield contest.

Potato leafhopper numbers in alfalfa are continuing to elevate in some areas, particularly the southern parts of our region (section 3). Thankfully most of our high leafhopper populations are in fields that are on the verge of harvest.

Western bean cutworm numbers continue to be higher than they have been in previous years. They are most attracted to pre-tassel corn, so hopefully most of us are exiting the highest-risk period for this pest. So we will stop reporting this pest for the year. Fall armyworm has been non-existent so far. We'll continue to trap both pests in order to track their population dynamics and compare them to previous years, but the information won't be very useful from a management perspective - but if fall armyworm populations begin to increase to a point where it is of concern, I'll be sure to pass that information along.

For the season, our GDD are just a bit below the 30-yr average, so we're definitely behind schedule compared to where we have been the past few years. And at this point, our GDD since silking date are also behind schedule, so silage harvest will probably start a week or more into September. So stay tuned.

Another reminder that now is the time when perennial hayfield weeds start to make themselves known. Here is a great article from Penn State on Perennial Weed Control in Grass Forages.

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, we are using base 50/86, as corn development starts at 50 degrees F and ceases above 86. Check your location, planting date, and silking date. Silage corn needs 750-800 GDD (depending on hybrid maturity) after silking to reach a whole plant DM of 32%. Under typical late season dry down conditions we can expect the crop to reach 35% DM four to seven days later (Remember that we can expect to accumulate 20-25 GDD per day, or even up to 30, so this is not a large window). For more details, see this article. No matter what the numbers say, always check your crop to see how close you may be to harvest:

Growing Degree Days table

3. Pest and disease monitoring

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

Action thresholds are determined by comparing average crop height and average number of potato leafhoppers per sweep (3 sets of 10 sweeps in different parts of the field) using a 15" diameter sweep net.

alfalfa potato leaf hopper found in field 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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