Justin McMechan - Crop Protection and Cropping Systems Specialist

Painted lady butterfly by Jim Kalisch

Large Populations of Painted Lady Butterflies August 8, 2017

Reports of painted lady butterflys have been numerous in rural areas, including in soybeans, causing growers to ask if there's likely to be an increase in their soybean leaf-eating caterpillars. Entomologists discuss this question and the insect's life cycle, and offer a "how-to" on estimating leaf defoliation.

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Stem borer in soybean

Check Soybean Fields for Evidence of Soybean Stem Borer August 7, 2017

Dropped leaves in soybean fields indicate soybean stem borers are feeding and causing leaf damage. These insects are expanding their range as a pest of soybeans in Nebraska and now can be found in several counties north of I-80.

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Figure 1. Severe wheat streak mosaic in a grower’s field in Jefferson County on June 1. (Photo by Stephen Wegulo)

Protect Future Wheat Yields: Control the Volunteer Green Bridge August 2, 2017

Wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV) problems have been extensive throughout the western Great Plains this year, significantly reducing the yield potential of many fields. A critical key in managing this threat in the next crop is elimination of volunteer wheat. Tillage or chemical weed control should occur at least one month before planting to allow host plants time to dry up and cease being a host.

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Guide to estimating soybean leaf defoliation

Estimating Soybean Leaf Defoliation July 26, 2017

Growers are reporting finding painted lady caterpillars and silver spotted skipper caterpillars in soybeans. This guide can help estimate leaf defoliation in soybean, key to determining whether treatment is necessary.

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Wheat streak mosaic virus in wheat
Severe wheat streak mosaic virus in a wheat field in Deuel County on May 15, 2017. (Photo by Stephen Wegulo)

Why Control of Volunteer Wheat is Critical to Protecting 2018 Yields July 13, 2017

Timely control of volunteer wheat and other weeds is key to managing yield loss risk in your 2018 crop. Yield-limiting risk factors affected by weed control include wheat streak mosaic and other diseases, insects (wheat stem sawfly and disease vectors), moisture loss, and increased weed seed production.

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Wheat stem maggot fly

Adult Emergence of Suspected Wheat Stem Maggot from Infested Corn Plants June 22, 2017

University researchers are studying why suspected wheat stem sawflies are being found again this year in Nebraska corn, previously thought to be a non-host. Major yield loss is not expected in corn from this pest.

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Differential grasshopper

They're Back ... Time to Scout Field Borders for Grasshoppers June 22, 2017

Populations of immature grasshoppers have been reported in areas bordering crop fields. If you're seeing one of the four species that harm cropland noted here, control may be warranted. Treatment is most effective when grasshoppers are small and still contained in field borders.

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Corn damaged by wheat stem maggot

Suspected Wheat Stem Maggot Damage in Corn following Cover Crops June 13, 2017

Ag professionals across central and eastern Nebraska are reporting insect damage to corn following rye and wheat cover crops, likely from the wheat stem maggot. A recent field survey found stand losses in fields ranged from 2%-30% on a whole-field basis.

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