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Western Bean Cutworm Moth Flight Lower This Year

John Obermeyer

Thanks to our network of pheromone trap cooperators throughout the state, we are able to assess the flight of western bean cutworm moths this summer. As you can see from the following graph, this year’s numbers have been much lower, though the peak period of mid-July remained. Certainly the accompanying good news is that larval damage reports have essentially been zilch.

It is now up to speculation to attribute these lower numbers. The list of possibilities includes the polar vortex winter causing high mortality in overwintering pre-pupa larva, a higher percentage of trait-targeted corn being grown in Indiana’s high-risk areas, and/or natural enemies (e.g., predators, parasites) have caught up with them since their known presence in 2006.

Hopefully we can convince the trappers to again monitor for this pest next season, to determine if this decline is a trend or is a one-year blip on the curve.

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The bin build is up against it now. We've run out of room in the old system using the old dryer. The new dryer and new bins are not yet ready to use. Harvest holdups usually include weather and breakdowns, but this time we're sitting idle because we just have no place to go with our crop. And the harvest we have done has been really inefficient with no grain cart!