March of the armyworms continuing


Tony Nye - OSU Extension



I begin this week remembering September 11, 2001. The events are forever burned into my memory as I remember being glued to a TV screen watching and listening to every second that took place that day. A day in history I wish never happened and an event I will never forget …

Moving forward to current time, the Fall armyworm saga continues throughout Clinton County, Ohio and several nearby states. In scouting, talking to farmers and industry reps within Clinton County, it appears numbers are slowly starting to decline.

I advise everyone to continue to scout fields both pasture/hay and double crop soybeans. Even if these fields have been treated, continue to scout.

The following information is from Mark Sulc, Ohio State University forage specialist (printed in the recent C.O.R.N. newsletter issue 2021-30)

• Fields with minor to no damage seen

If the hayfield or pasture shows any feeding damage at all and is reasonably close to having enough growth for harvest, cut or graze it as soon as possible. This is perfect timing to take the last cutting of the season.

If there are large numbers of fall armyworms present (more than 2 to 3 per square foot) and they are ¾-inch or larger, they will “harvest” the entire field for you while you sleep another night or two. So be aware of what is in your hayfield!

If your hayfield is not quite ready for harvest or is regrowing from a recent harvest, scout it now and continue to scout for fall armyworm every few days until you do harvest it. Be prepared to make a rescue treatment if fall armyworm numbers reach the threshold of 2-3 per square foot.

• Fields with severe fall armyworm damage

If an established hayfield or pasture has already been severely damaged by fall armyworm, cut it down and salvage what you can or mow off and remove the stems or graze it to prevent any windrows from smothering of the regrowth. This mowing will stimulate the plants to regrow.

But be aware that fall armyworms have been seen to survive a cutting, so they could continue to devour the crown buds and any regrowth. Those surviving fall armyworms could also move to adjacent fields including soybean and corn (especially non-Bt corn hybrids).

NOTE: It is essential to continue monitoring the forage stand and apply timely control of fall armyworm if 2 per square foot are present to prevent additional feeding.

We have time for recovery this fall, assuming additional feeding does not occur and the damage already done is not so severe as to have killed the stand.

The fall armyworm egg-laying could have been somewhat asynchronous (not happening at the same time) over time, so eggs could have been recently hatched or are still hatching in and around your forage fields. Fall armyworm population numbers can grow exponentially with each advancing generation.

So, we aren’t out of the woods even after cutting or after an insecticide treatment applied now. Continued monitoring this fall is very important.

If you have more questions, contact me at nye.1@osu.edu or call me at (937) 382-0901. You can also read more at the following link: https://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter/2021-30/managing-forage-stands-damaged-fall-armyworm .

FSR highlight

I also wanted to highlight another activity occurring at this years Farm Science Review. One of the hottest topics in the agricultural sector is Carbon Markets. Make sure to stop by the Carbon markets panel discussion Sept. 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. located at 426 Friday Avenue at the Farm Science Review.

“Carbon Markets: From All Sides Now” will include Brent Sohngen, a CFAES professor of natural resources and environmental economics at OSU, along with Peggy Hall, a CFAES agricultural and resource law field specialist; Luke Crumley, director of public policy and nutrient management for the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association; and Jessica D’Ambrosio, Ohio agriculture project director for The Nature Conservancy.

According to Sohngen, although farmers may want to wait before entering any carbon market contracts now, farmers can start figuring out how much carbon they can retain in their soil, what practices for carbon capture would work on their farm, and how much they’d have to spend. That would help them evaluate future carbon contract options.

Carbon markets have emerged in recent years as large international companies have vowed to offset the carbon dioxide they put out in emissions from producing and transporting products. That can be done by paying farmers and foresters to take measures that store more carbon in plants and soil.

When plants grow, they take up carbon dioxide through photosynthesis, and the carbon is stored in the plant. After the plant dies, it breaks down and the carbon from that plant goes into the soil, where it can enrich the soil.

Farms and forests across the United States already remove over 770 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, or about 10% of the country’s emissions, from the atmosphere.

Ian Sheldon, CFAES professor at OSU and moderator for this event notes that “Farmers are always looking for ways to diversify their income, and carbon markets are one way of doing that,”. He also says that “Carbon markets will only work if it’s profitable for farmers to participate, and the prices they receive reflect the true benefits from companies offsetting their carbon emissions.”

If farmers’ conservation measures lead to better water quality along with less carbon in the air, farmers should be fairly compensated for generating those environmental benefits as well as the carbon benefits, he said.

Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for over 30 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.

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Tony Nye

OSU Extension