Wildcat Extension Agent Josh Coltrain predicted that Crawford County may see podworm pressure in soybeans this year, and he was right.
Friday morning, Wildcat Extension District issued a podworm alert, and the insect has been found in soybean fields in Crawford County. The podworm is the same insect as the corn earworm, but called a different name based on the crop it is infecting.
The main danger is that podworms eat the bean itself.
“Soybeans can take pretty substantial damage to their foliage — leaves — and we don’t worry about it. They are very resistant,” Coltrain said. “But podworms attack the bean itself and can cause yield damage.”
Coltrain said the best course of action if podworms are found is to spray crops. Wildcat Extension has information on what insecticides are effective on podworm. There is no biological control for podworm.
Coltrain also said he has heard reports of stink bugs in fields — another insect that attacks the bean directly — but has not seen any himself to confirm.
Corn in Crawford County is currently in a wide range of maturity. Some corn has been picked, other fields would have been picked if not for rain, and some are still not fully matured. Coltrain said most corn has already made seed, so will not be in danger of damage from the weather.
“Even the plants that are a long way from maturity have already made,” he said. “So we’re not worried about yield. It is good weather for the plants to finish right now.”
The biggest effect recent rains have had on farmers is keeping them out of the fields to harvest corn. However, Coltrain said the positives of the rain outweigh the negative.
“Soybeans can use every drop of rain as long as they aren’t being flooded,” he said. “There is an old saying that it only takes a couple good rains in August to make a good soybean farmer.”
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.