Tracking Nitrogen And Black Cutworm

May 18, 2015
By Russel Higgins
One of the studies underway at multiple locations in Illinois, including the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center, will track the nitrogen fertilizer applied at varied times (fall, early spring, at planting, sidedress) and from different sources (UAN and Anhydrous Ammonia).
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Soil samples are collected at 0-1 and 1-2 feet and analyzed for nitrogen content. To insure uniformity, NIARC research agronomist Greg Steckel utilizes a template between rows to collect the sub samples for each location. Samples are collected every ten days.
Dr. Mike Gray reminded corn growers to be aware of the damage that can be caused by Black cutworms and encouraged farmers to look for early signs of leaf feeding as a potential indicator of cutting that may ensue. We have been unsuccessful in capturing a significant flight of Black cutworm (nine or more moths trapped over 2-day period) at our site, but enough moths have been caught in several northern counties to allow projected cutting dates to be shared. They include Lee County (May 31), Whiteside County (June 1), and Henry (June 3). Plants in the 1- to 4-leaf stage are most susceptible to cutting. Cutting of plants earlier than these projected cutting dates is possible — localized intense flights may have occurred and were not picked up in the trapping network. Dr. Grays May 13th Bulletin post can be accessed here.
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