Flowering is well underway in many South Dakota sunflower fields. It is time to start scouting fields for insect pests, including red sunflower seed weevils. Last year, red sunflower seed weevil populations were much higher than normal in South Dakota.
Flea beetles have been showing up in many different crops this year. One of the crops that is often affected by flea beetle feeding is canola. There are three species of flea beetles that commonly infest canola and feed on the leaves.
A new alfalfa trial was developed and planted in June 7th of 2018 at Northeast Research Farm near South Shore, SD. This project is in collaboration with Valent U.S.A Company in Sioux Falls, SD.
As is the case every year there is a possibility that we may see some downy mildew in young sunflower fields around the state in 2018. Downy mildew is often found at low levels in fields. Prevalence and incidence of this disease will vary from year to year as environmental conditions do impact the incidence of this disease.
We are receiving several reports of blister beetles in South Dakota. While the larvae of these insects are considered beneficial due feeding on grasshopper eggs, the adults can cause defoliation as well as health issues for livestock.
We have been receiving reports of plant bugs showing up in alfalfa across the state. A number of alfalfa growers have had questions regarding the variation in appearance among the plant bugs.
South Dakota producers may want to start scouting sunflowers earlier than usual this year. The Panhandle Research and Extension Center in western Nebraska has noted the early occurrence of sunflower rust on volunteer sunflower plants this spring.
While scouting this week we, noticed that there are large numbers of Lygus bugs present in Central South Dakota. Although these insects are generally not an issue for most crops, they can cause serious injury to field peas if pod feeding occurs.
First cutting is the most important and critical of the alfalfa growing season. A late start of this growing season will determine multiple things during this year’s production.
The first cutting of alfalfa is either done or underway in South Dakota, and we are starting to notice pea aphids in the fields. Although pea aphid populations can vary quite a bit from field to field it is important to monitor their populations to ensure that loss due to their feeding doesn’t occur.