Think safety during harvest season

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, September 9, 2015

by Janet Spencer

Happy Fall (almost)! Where does the time and summer go?! It seems like just yesterday we were talking about planting and early season insect control and here we are picking corn and thinking about digging peanuts. With harvest season upon us, I want to remind you all to think safety. Harvest often means long days and nights, which means you’re over-tired and over-worked, which is when accidents can easily occur. Don’t underestimate the value of a quick break. One of my favorite childhood memories is when my Mom and I would take food out to my Dad and brothers in the field so they could stop for at least 15-20 minutes to fortify and refresh themselves before getting back on the tractors and going again. It doesn’t seem like much, but I’m sure that little bit of rest helped, plus it makes for a great memory! I wish you all a successful harvest season, and don’t forget, the fair is coming, so I’ll need your crop entries! As always, please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can be of assistance.


Janet Spencer,

Extension Agent, ANR

Isle of Wight

Extension Service

J17100 Monument Circle,

Suite B

Isle of Wight, VA 23397-0074

(P) 365-6262; (F) 357-9610


Upcoming Events

• Pre-Harvest Field Tour: Sept. 17, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Tidewater AREC’s Research Farm, 1045 Hare Rd., Suffolk. Please contact Pam Worrell for more information, 657-6450, ext. 401.

• Isle of Wight County Fair: Sept. 17-20, Windsor.

• State Fair of Virginia: Sept. 25-Oct. 4. Doswell.

• North Carolina Meat Conference: Oct. 12-13. Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Please visit for more information.


Insect & Disease Update

Frogeye Leafspot in Soybeans: There has been numerous reports of frogeye leafspot (FLS) over the past several weeks, mainly in fields that were planted to a FLS susceptible variety. Frogeye leaf spot can cause significant yield loss, so a fungicide application may be needed to manage this disease. However, it is important to note that FLS isolates resistant to strobilurin (Group 11) fungicides have been detected in some Virginia locations. Dr. Hillary Mehl is currently surveying soybean fields in Virginia for strobilurin-resistant FLS isolates, however it is unclear at this time the extent of the issue. It is recommended you assume FLS will not be managed by strobilurin fungicides and you choose a fungicide with a different chemistry, such as triazoles. A soybean disease scouting and fungicide guide can be found at


Corn Earworm: The corn earworm moth (CEW) flight is officially underway, however nightly moth catches in blacklight traps remain low. Cotton has reached a maturity level where CEW shouldn’t be an issue, unless it was very late planted cotton. CEW numbers in peanut rarely reach a point where an insecticide spray would be economically feasible, so at this time, we are not anticipating issue with CEW in peanut. Crops that should be closely monitored are soybeans and sorghum. With soybeans, only those fields that have reached the R5 growth stage (forming seed) are at risk from CEW feeding. We recommend you sample these fields with a sweep net to determine CEW pressure. According to Dr. Ames Herbert, a general rule of thumb for CEW in soybeans is 1-2 worms per 15 sweeps, but again, only if seeds are present in the pods. Sorghum is highly attractive right now to CEW, so make sure to check these fields often. Sorghum heads not only provide a great food source for CEW, but they are able to hide in the heads, often making detection difficult. The current recommended sampling procedure is to sample multiple locations in a field by shaking heads into a 5-gallon white bucket. The worms, even very small ones, show up well in the white bucket and you can get an accurate CEW count. The economic threshold recommendations for CEW in sorghum is an average of 2 CEW/ head.


Sugarcane Aphid: This is a relatively new pest of sorghum in the United States. It was first detected in Hawaii in the late 1800’s, but not detected in mainland America until 1977, when it was found in Florida. Interestingly, this particular “bio-type” of sugarcane aphid (SCA) feeds on sorghum and Johnsongrass, but not sugarcane, corn, millet, barley or rye. Currently, sugarcane aphid has been found as far north as mid- North Carolina, which means the Virginia sorghum crop could be at an increased risk. SCA feeds only in the summer, doesn’t need to mate to reproduce, and gives live birth to female offspring. Immature females can reach adulthood in 2-24 days and can live for 28 days. All of this combines to result in very rapid population build-up that can quickly escalate to economic threshold levels. Feeding from SCA is more of an issue during the early season, however feeding during the boot stage can prevent heading or may result in sterile grain heads. Infestations that occur in late season, such as where we are now, often don’t result in a direct yield loss, but high SCA populations at harvest can clog combine heads. If you suspect SCA in your sorghum fields, please call the Extension office. Because there are several other species of aphids that can feed on sorghum, we would like to positively identify the SCA aphids so that our entomology specialists can accurately track the northern migration of this pest.


Isle of Wight County Fair

It’s time once again to start thinking about the Isle of Wight County Fair, scheduled for Sept, 17-20. I encourage each of you to submit entries for the Row Crops and Farm Excellence Competitions. Entries will be accepted on Wednesday, Sept. 16, from 3-6 p.m. and on Thursday, Sept. 17, from 7 a.m.-noon. Please let me know if you are interested in participating, but are unable to bring entries during that time. Be aware that the minimum number of crops for the Farm Excellence category changed last year. We now need 3 crop entries per farm in order for you to be included in the Farm Excellence category. I look forward to seeing you at the fair! Reminder: All crop entries must be grown in Isle of Wight County.