With wheat harvest officially wrapped up, the focus of farmers in Crawford County has turned to corn and soybeans.

Southern rust — a fungus that creates orange pustules on the leaves of plants — has been a concern for the county, and a case was confirmed this week, according to Wildcat Extension Agent Josh Coltrain.

“We just got a sample back this week and it was confirmed to be southern rust,” Coltrain said. “The sample was taken from a field just south of Hepler.”

Normally, timely scouting and quick application of fungicide would be recommended for fields with southern rust, but Coltrain said this late in the season, it is not recommended to spray.

“Most of our corn — if not all — is at a growth stage where we don’t want to spray,” he said. “The only corn we would recommend spraying is very late or second-planting corn.”

Corn in Crawford County and southeast Kansas is far ahead of corn in the rest of the state, which Coltrain said is a benefit with southern rust showing up.

Another concern for corn and soybeans alike is drought stress from high temperatures and little rainfall. Coltrain said Wednesday was the first day he had seen drought stress in the area, but corn is far enough along it shouldn’t be a huge issue.

“We aren’t too worried about the corn with how far along it is,” he said. “And the soybeans are resilient enough to make it through until we see some moisture.”

Coltrain also said he’s had reports of insect pressure from podworms in soybeans. Podworms are the common corn earworm — when found in soybeans.

“We’ve seen a lot of pressure in corn from earworm,” Coltrain said. “So we’re expecting to see podworm in the soybeans.”

While sorghum does not cover many acres in Crawford County, sugarcane aphids have been reported in counties to the south. Coltrain said he has not seen any in the area, but encourages sorghum producers to be aware of the potential for the sugarcane aphid.

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