Black cutworm monitoring program in southeast Michigan

The goal of this program is to decrease corn growers’ reliance on at-planting insecticide applications for black cutworm while still protecting crops from economic injury.

Black cutworm trap
Photo by Ricardo Costa, MSU Extension.

Michigan State University Extension has maintained a black cutworm monitoring and forecasting program in southeast Michigan to minimize farmers’ reliance on at-planting insecticide applications while still protecting their corn fields from economy injury caused by black cutworm. You should not apply a preventive pesticide for black cutworm because it is hard to predict which fields will have any economic infestation. The recommendation is to scout your fields and apply a rescue pesticide in case the economic threshold is met. Treatment threshold in corn is 5% feeding damage and larvae below 1.5 inches in length. You can finetune your decisions on when to scout your fields through using pheromone traps and predicting the stages of the pest that can cause injury to corn based on its degree-day model of development.

Collecting more than 18 moths in a two-night period will trigger what is called intensive capture. It will be used as the starting point for accumulating degree-days based on the minimum developmental threshold of 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It will take around 300 degree-days for the black cutworm to develop from egg to the plant-cutting fourth instar.

This information can help you to find out when you should be scouting your fields, and in case you need to apply a rescue pesticide when it should be done while reducing unnecessary at planting pesticide applications.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, watch this short video.

Field Crops Virtual Breakfast is back for the 2019 growing season

In agriculture, things can change fast. To help growers keep up with weather, pests and crop management issues, the MSU Extension field crops team will again hold free Virtual Breakfast sessions every week during the growing season via Zoom video or phone conference. These virtual meetings will take place every Thursday morning from 7-7:30 a.m. starting April 25 through Sept. 5, 2019.

Participating is easy!

You can join using your computer or mobile device (audio and visual) following the Zoom link: Or, call in from your phone (audio only) by dialing 669-900-6833 and enter meeting ID 552-324-349.

To receive a weekly email reminder of the Virtual Breakfast, sign up at Participants receiving emails can opt in or out at any time.

Can’t make it Thursday morning? Watch the recording!

For those who cannot join on Thursdays at 7 a.m., the Virtual Breakfast sessions will be recorded for later viewing with closed-captioning on the Field Crops Virtual Breakfast webpage. Podcasts are also available via iTunes and Spotify.

Don’t forget to follow us on social media. Stay up-to-date on what is happening in Michigan field crops by liking the MSU Extension Field Crops Facebook page or following @MSUEFieldCrops on Twitter.

Scheduled topics and dates

Note that these may change to cover breaking pest and weather situations.

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