Cutworms Showing Up in Mississippi Crops

Jeff Gore, Research and Extension Entomologist
By Jeff Gore, Research and Extension Entomologist, Angus Catchot, Extension Entomologist and Don Cook, Research Entomologist May 2, 2016 14:32

Cutworms Showing Up in Mississippi Crops

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We have had several calls over the last week about cutworms reducing plant densities in cotton, soybean, and non-Bt corn. Based on the number of calls, it appears that cutworm populations are much higher than they have been the last several years.  In all cases, it has been large larvae that were already in the field when the crops emerged in conventional and conservation tilled fields.

Fortunately, cutworms that occur this time of year are easy to control with a low to mid rate of a pyrethroid. We recommend treating when the threat of stand loss can reduce the plant population below recommended levels for the crop.

The main point is that scouting fields at and soon after plant emergence of the crop is going to be very important. Keep in mind that cutworms are nocturnal and do all of their feeding and damage at night, especially on bright sunny days. During the day, larvae burrow just below the soil surface and can be difficult to find.  Also keep in mind that Bt cotton has little to no effect on cutworms.

For fields that have not been planted, putting out a pyrethroid behind the planter may be the most economical way to prevent stand losses because it saves a trip across the field. In general, fields that have been hipped in the fall and fields that had weeds or other plants throughout the winter are at the greatest risk of experiencing cutworm infestations. Fields that were worked in the spring tend to have the lowest risk of a significant infestation, but don’t take it for granted and scout those fields regularly.

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Jeff Gore, Research and Extension Entomologist
By Jeff Gore, Research and Extension Entomologist, Angus Catchot, Extension Entomologist and Don Cook, Research Entomologist May 2, 2016 14:32
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