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Monroe County Agriculture: Corn pest Asiatic garden beetle recently found locally

The latest eight- to 14-day agricultural weather outlook from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center, issued Jan. 23 and for Jan. 31-Feb. 6, has an 80-90% probability for above normal temperatures and near normal to a 30-40% chance for below normal precipitation. Eric Snodgrass of Nutrien Ag Solutions says El Niño has peaked and we may return to La Niña later in 2024.

Ned Birkey
Ned Birkey

Tar spot and DON in corn was one hot topic at the 10th Great Lakes Crop Summit Jan. 24, in Mount Pleasant. Marty Chilvers of Michigan State University said tar spot was not a big problem in corn for the second year in a row, due to early season dry weather when corn is vulnerable to infection. But ear molds due to mycotoxins and DON (deoxynivalenol) was a big problem this year in some corn fields and varieties. DON in corn is the same disease as Fusarium head scab in wheat, but has a different timing of the infection period, which is the flowering period of either crop. Weather and the corn hybrid account for just over half of the risk factors for DON, with infection from fungal spores or insect wounds at flowering and silking time, accounting for more risk. Corn varieties with the Vip3a trait has helped with insect protection.

2024 Handy Bt Trait Table was one of two topics addressed by Christina DiFonzo at the Ohio State University Corn-Soy Day at Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio, on Jan. 19. This free guide is available for field crop corn, and there is another one for sweet corn farmers. This guide is a helpful listing of insect trait packages offered by commercial seed corn companies for various insect pests of corn. It is available free of charge at: texasinsects.org/bt-corn-trait-table.html.  She also handed out the new pocket field guide for Asiatic garden beetle, an insect pest of corn that has recently been found in Monroe County. This field guide will be handed out to interested farmers at both the Feb. 5 MSU Field Crop “Agronomy Day” meeting in Dundee and the Feb. 20 MSU Vegetable meeting at Monroe County Community College. To register for the Dundee meeting, call the Jackson County Extension office at 517-788-4292. To register for the Feb. 20 Vegetable Grower meeting, call Chris Galbraith at 734-240-3178. DiFonzo also has a pocket field guide about stink bugs, another vegetable insect pest, that will be available at the Feb. 20 meeting.

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Snow is just frozen water and is not white, it’s translucent. The reason it appears white is because of the light reflecting off the six sides of the snowflakes. Snow can also appear orange, yellow, pink, green, blue and purple, perhaps due to dust, algae or other contaminants. Fear of snow is called “chionophobia,” particularly if people are worried about an avalanche or being buried under snow. Snow is good for the garden, as “nature’s mulch,” providing needed moisture and nitrogen that is attached to snowflakes as the snow falls through the atmosphere. It is also a great insulator for winter wheat or other overwintering plants.

Ned Birkey is an MSU Extension educator emeritus and a regular contributor to The Monroe News.

This article originally appeared on The Monroe News: Corn pest Asiatic garden beetle recently found in Monroe County

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