Wind has damaged early grain sorghum as well. Leaves have been wilting and shriveling up on sorghum throughout the valley.

“In some dry land fields in Willacy County, grain sorghum that was planted a month ago is barely standing about 3 inches tall. It is experiencing stunted plant growth,” Norman reports.

He says parts of Hidalgo and Cameron County are seeing very light levels of corn leaf aphids and sugar cane aphids being controlled nicely by lady bird beetle adults and larvae. Norman urges farmers to watch for corn leaf aphids, which are usually green in color and like to feed in the middle whorl. On the other hand, Norman says sugar cane aphids are yellow and usually found feeding on the under sides of the leaves. Sugar cane aphids secrete a toxin while feeding that turns the leaf yellowish red and causes it to wilt.

In corn it was reported that rootless corn syndrome or “floppy corn” is already an issue throughout the valley due to the drought.

“Corn that came up good is standing anywhere from 4 to 8 inches but has been flopping over and dying because the winds have just been too strong for too long. Any soil moisture that was in the ground has dried out making soil hard, cloddy and more difficult for the corn plant to achieve good nodal root development and anchor itself in the ground,” Norman reported.

He says without good nodal root development after the seminal root has dried up we expect to see stunted plant growth and plant death.

“If you have access to water, check soil moisture in corn fields to see if it’s time to irrigate to avoid this or keep from getting worse.”

In some parts of Hidalgo County heavy cutworm levels that have been migrating from winter weeds into corn to feed have been reported. Cutworms are caterpillars that are the larvae of night flying grayish and brown moths. Cutworms like to cut off newly emerged seedlings at the surface and feed on them during the night.

The Row Crops IPM Newsletter for the LRGV, Pest Cast as it is known regionally, as a joint publication project between Texas AgriLife and the Cotton and Grain Producers of the LRGV. Sponsorship opportunities exist for the popular newsletter. More information is available through Webb Wallace by calling 956-491-1793. Pest Cast is published regularly throughout the growing season.


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