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Pests may affect Del. soybeans
NEWARK, Del. - When soil
moisture and temperature are
adequate for seed germination and
growth, soybean plants can
tolerate a lot of seedling injury.
Farmers are wondering whether
this will hold true this season.
“In many cases,” says
University of Delaware extension
pest management specialist
Joanne Whalen, “seed ger
mination and quality have already
been reduced by last summer’s
drought. Insect and disease injury
to germinating seeds could further
reduce plant stands.”
What’s the likelihood of that
happening this spring?
According to Whalen, the in
crease in full season no-till
soybean acreage on Delmarva has
been accompanied by increased
seed corn maggot and black cut
worm seedling injury. Seed corn
maggot larvae begin feeding on
soybeans in late May, and cause
the most damage to soybeans
planted in cool, wet soil that’s high
in organic matter. Cool weather
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delays germination and makes the
seed susceptible to attack for
If cool, wet conditions persist
through planting this spring, she
recommends growers use a seed
treatment containing Diazinon or
Diazinon plus Lindane for maggot
control. These treatments costs
less than a dollar per acre and will
also help suppress other seed
attacking insects such as
“Black cutworm outbreaks are
most likely to occur in low, poorly
drained areas and in no-till fields,”
the specialist warns. “Start
scouting for cutworm damage as
soon as plants emerge. Base
treatment decisions on a random
sample of 20 consecutive plants in
five locations throughout a field.
We recommend an insecticide
treatment when 30 percent or more
of the plants are damaged and live
larvae can still be found.”
White grub and wireworm
feeding may also cause stand
reductions. These insects won’t
(Continued from Page D 26)
740 EAST LINCOLN AVE.
MYERSTOWN, PA 17067
build up to economic levels in one
year, Whalen says, so use a soil
insecticide only if wirewortns or
grubs were a problem in the same
field last year.
To reduce potential disease
problems in soybeans this year,
Delaware extension plant
pathologist Bob Mulrooney
recommends farmers use a
fungicide seed treatment. These
treatments can help increase plant
stands in a wet spring like this by
reducing seed-borne diseases and
protecting seeds against decay and
He recommends treating poor
quality seed if fungi have reduced
germination to below 80 percent.
Fungicides won’t improve poor
germination caused by mechanical
damage or improper storage, but
in most cases Mulrooney en
courages growers to treat low
quality seed if high quality seed is
not available. Research has shown
that fungicides generally increase
stands of poor quality seed, but
don’t always ensure higher yields.
Yield increases will occur only if
the seed treatment prevents
frequent skips of 6 inches or more
between plants in a row.
Delaware residents who want
further information on in-season
pest activity can call the
University of Delaware’s crop pest
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