The potential for southern rust on corn crops has been reported in Crawford County and the surrounding areas, and is something farmers need to keep an eye on, according to Wildcat District Extension Agent Josh Coltrain.

Southern rust is a fungus that develops on the leaves of corn plants, identified by oval-shaped, orange or yellow pustules. Coltrain said southern rust can usually be seen in late July and early August when it is not a danger to yield, but with it appearing this early, it could hurt the crop.

“Holcus spots and common rust we see all over, and we don’t worry about those damaging the yield,” he said. “Southern rust we do worry about, and we want farmers to be aware and to spray fungicide if they do see it on their plants.”

Coltrain also spotted Japanese Beetles on corn plants in Crawford County last week. Japanese Beetles are a fairly new pest to the area, and Coltrain said information on them is limited in the area. The beetles chew the silks off corn plants, which can cause seed to not form if the plant has not pollinated.

“The field I saw them in had pollinated, so they aren’t really a danger there,” Coltrain said. “But for later planted corn — which we have a lot of — farmers need to keep an eye out.”

Insecticide will get rid of the Japanese Beetles, and Coltrain said the best way to combat them is timely scouting and rapid response if they are sighted.

Wheat harvest is still ongoing in Crawford County, but very near completion. Spotty rainfall has kept farmers out of the field, but Coltrain said the finish line is close, even with recent rainfall.

Yield for hard wheat has been average to below average, with average yield for soft wheat. As for protein content, Coltrain said he hadn’t heard any hard numbers.

“I haven’t gotten any numbers on protein, but I would imagine it’s pretty low just due to the growing conditions,” he said.

Soybeans are still young, but Coltrain said now problems have been reported at this time and that rainfall has been good for the sprouting plants.

— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at choener@morningsun.net or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.