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DuPont Agronomist Says Scout for Cutworms

By Amanda Brodhagen,

Scout, scout, scout your fields! That’s the advice that DuPont Pioneer is telling growers. And what are you looking for? Cutworms.

Cutworms are caterpillar-like (moth larvae) pests that hide under the soil during the day and come out at night and feed on plants. There are several different species of cutworms that attack a wide range of plants and field crops. Perhaps the most common species are the black cutworm and the variegated cutworm. Managing cutworms requires regular monitoring and field management.

DuPont Pioneer says some areas of Western Canada are already experiencing significant cutworm outbreaks. According to Bree Kelln, a Duoint Pioneer Agronomist from Southern Saskatchewan, scouting remains the best tool to determine what thresholds are.

“Any ground that has grown a pulse in the past two years should be scouted, beginning with the hilltops,” she explained. “Plants that appear purple and have weak stems are likely victims. It is important to note that late seeded and stressed canola smaller than four leaf are at highest risk.”

Scouting suggestions:

  • Continue normal scouting over the next 7-10 days
  • When rain is in the forecast – a contact and ingestion production will help reduce any further damage (this should be done prior to rainfall). Use a registered insecticide.
  • Don’t wait too long to assess fields. In cases where there is significant pressure, entire field crops can be destroyed within days

See image below for a picture of cutworms:

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