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One For The Blackbird, One For The Crow, One For The Cutworm And One To Grow

By Nicole Santangelo Carutis
Once the corn is in the ground, it is important to assess the stand for the invasion of early season pests that wreak havoc on yields. Last week, Greg Roth offered items to be looking at in Evaluating Early Season Corn and Soybean Stands. This week, calls have been coming in to our Penn State Extension offices across the state asking for assistance in diagnosing and assessing some of these early season pest problems. Bird damage continues to be one of the issues near the top of this list.
Sometimes bird damage is not evident at first. There may not be a lot of birds around, leading one to that conclusion. The corn may look cut, much like the feeding of a cutworm; or in fields that have just began emerging, all but the roots may be missing. Turkeys, crows or geese will often leave larger holes around the corn or actually pull the corn right out of the ground, whereas blackbirds may dig down and eat only the seed.
Unfortunately, not much can be done after bird damage has occurred. However, being able to properly identify bird damaged fields may save from misdiagnoses and application of unsuccessful treatments. Bird damage is typically the worst at the field borders, near the birds’ habitat. Be sure to scout the entire field before determining if a replant is warranted. Refer to the Corn Planting Section of the Agronomy Guide for assistance with corn replanting decisions.
Bird Damage
Bird Damage in No-till Corn.

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