Black Cutworm Alert
Purdue entomologist John Obermeyer is urging farmers to get out and check for black cutworms and their damage.
"I don't want to be an alarmist, but there are some cornfields from I-70 and south getting ripped by black cutworm," he says. "This includes fields that have received insecticides at planting."
Obermeyer says northern Indiana will likely see similar damage soon, and he's asking farmers who see damage to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (765) 494-4563.
"Just like last year, cutworms of all sizes are being found. The small ones are leaf feeding, the big ones are cutting."
He advises scouters to dig around freshly damaged plants to collect several black cutworm larvae and measure average size. "Control may be warranted if 3 percent to 5 percent of the plants are damaged and larvae are one half to 1 inch long," he says.
Obermeyer says corn plants with 1 to 3 leaves cut often grow back. But in drier soils, cutworms are more apt to feed underground, and cause far more damage. Several insecticides are recommended: Ambush*; Asana XL*; Lorsban; Pounce*; and Warrior*.
* restricted-use pesticide