Pest Monitoring Serves as Early Warning System for Growers
This article was originally published on June 11, 2012 and expired on June 18, 2012. It is provided here for archival purposes and may contain dated information.
University of Illinois Extension's Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit assists area growers by participating in two statewide pest monitoring networks that act as early warning systems for growers. The first is a statewide insect pest monitoring network. The second is a statewide disease monitoring network dedicated to evaluating fields for soybean disease. The first is managed by the Illinois Natural History Survey. The second is managed by campus-based specialists and funded by the Illinois Soybean Association.
Field crop pests have an irritating habit of sneaking up on growers. A field appears seemingly okay only to show, almost overnight, that it is plagued by insects and/or disease. Scouting, i.e. weekly monitoring of fields, is critically important to avoid such problems. An early warning system can be useful, as well. Such a system detects emerging pest problems and lets the grower be more strategic when crop scouting.
U of I Extension's insect monitoring begins with the distribution of black cutworm moth traps each season with the intent of detecting any atypically severe migrations. Should a critical number of moths be captured, one can be relatively sure that stand-reducing cutworm populations will soon emerge in nearby corn. The detection of intense flights statewide or regionally can indicate intensified area-wide cutworm pressure. Armyworm populations are monitored, as are corn borer populations, western bean cutworm populations, and earworm populations.
Soybean disease monitoring starts in mid-summer. U of I Extension typically works with a local grower to select a "soybean sentinel plot" in the local area. Plots are monitored weekly. Visual observations are made and samples are collected and submitted to the University of Illinois Plant Clinic for analysis. Specifically designed to monitor the state soybean crop when Asian soybean rust first reached the continental United States, sentinel plots have also painted an invaluable week by week disease picture in Illinois.
The previous two examples represent formalized efforts to improve the management of area crops. For more information about the Agriculture and Natural Resource programs in the Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell unit, please contact Matt Montgomery, Extension Educator, Sustainable Agriculture, at email@example.com or 309-547-3711.
Source: Matt Montgomery, Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pull date: June 18, 2012