Integrated Crop Management News

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Managing Palmer Amaranth in Conservation Plantings

September 9, 2016
Palmer Amaranth photo

Discoveries of Palmer amaranth in conservation plantings have created the need to develop management plans to reduce the likelihood of movement of the weed into crop fields (Figure 1). Reducing or preventing Palmer amaranth seed production should be a high priority. The maturity of Palmer amaranth varies considerably in the fields we have observed.  While it is likely that some viable seed is already present, the amount of seed produced can still be dramatically reduced with appropriate control measures.

Bacterial Leaf Streak Confirmed in Iowa

August 26, 2016
Bacterial Leaf Streak photo

Bacterial leaf streak (BLS) in corn was recently identified in Iowa. Bacterial leaf streak is a disease caused by Xanthomonas vasicola pv. vasculorum. The disease has been found on field corn, seed corn, popcorn, and sweet corn. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has been working with the USDA, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), the Iowa Crop Improvement Association (ICIA) and surveying several counties in the state.

Managing Aphids in Corn

August 23, 2016
Aphids in Corn image

In the past, corn leaf aphid could be a problem during corn tasseling. This species aggregated around the ear and silks, and sometimes their honeydew production interfered with pollination. But natural enemies and the environment rarely let them persist past July. Therefore, economic thresholds for corn leaf aphid are targeted around VT-R1 and mostly for drought-stressed cornfields. Since 2010, aphids have been colonizing corn later in the summer and are building up to striking levels.

Palmer Amaranth in Iowa - What We Know

August 19, 2016
Palmer Amaranth locations in Iowa map

Palmer amaranth was first detected in Iowa in 2013 in Harrison County, and until recently the invasive weed had been found in four additional counties. About a month ago, two landowners (both professional agronomists) detected Palmer amaranth in fields planted in spring 2016 with native seed mixes for conservation purposes. In the time since those July detections, Palmer amaranth has been found in an additional five counties (multiple fields in several of the counties). We think it’s safe to say the calm before the storm has ended.

Bean Leaf Beetle Activity Noted in 2016

August 4, 2016
Bean Leaf Beetle

In April 2016, an ICM News article showed a prediction for higher survivorship of overwintering bean leaf beetles in Iowa. Not surprisingly, I have been finding more bean leaf beetles in my research plots and hearing about adults in commercial soybean this summer. Most people have reported minor defoliation from overwintering and first generation adults, but some scouts are wondering about the potential for second generation injury.

Palmer Amaranth on the Move

July 21, 2016
Places where Palmer Amaranth are found in Iowa

Palmer amaranth was first identified in Iowa in 2013. Currently, we know it is established in five Iowa counties, but we suspect it is more widespread than this (Fig. 1). This past weekend we were made aware of a new infestation of Palmer amaranth in Fremont County, distant from the initial infestation in this county.  In addition, a suspicious looking Amaranthus species was found in Madison County – the owner is allowing a few plants to develop seedheads in order to make a positive identification.

Soil Compaction and What You Can do About It

July 20, 2016
Soil Compaction example

This spring consisted of wet field conditions for many regions across Iowa during planting season. When soil moisture is at or exceeds field capacity, there is an increased potential for soil compaction, particularly at topsoil depths. Soil compaction at planting time can impact root growth and development for the rest of the growing season, and can be a serious problem for Iowa farmers. However, with proper field management, compaction can be minimized.

Learning From This Year's Weed Management Triumphs and Failures

July 7, 2016
Weeds in Soybean fields

Most herbicide applications have ceased for the year, but it is not too late to evaluate how well the program worked and what changes might be necessary for next year. Rather than just falling back on old habits, analyze your program closely to look for improvements for future years.

Surviving weeds from this year will affect weed pressure in next year’s crops. Identifying this season’s management successes and failures will make weed management and herbicide purchase decisions easier this winter.

Spider Mite Injury Confirmed in Soybean

July 6, 2016
Spider Mite damage

A few places in southeastern Iowa and surrounding states have already reported heavy twospotted spider mite populations with prolonged feeding in soybean this year. I recommend scouting corn and soybean fields for mite infestations this year because they thrive in hot and dry conditions. The U.S. Drought Monitor estimates about 70% of Iowa is abnormally dry or in severe drought as of June 28, 2016.