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Actively monitor your sunflowers for insect damage

Agronomy Bulletin 93 ─ Sunflower Insect Scouting

Situation

Protect your crop by scouting sunflower fields for insects, which can appear at different crop maturity stages throughout the growing season. Establish action thresholds for each insect based on population to help determine when an insecticide application is economically sensible.

Factors to Consider

  • Field scouting
  • Crop stage
  • Action thresholds
  • Pest management
Source: North Dakota State University Extension Service Sunflower Production (Page 33)

Action Plan

  1. Scout fields. Monitoring fields for insects should begin at emergence and continue throughout the growing season on a weekly basis. If harmful insects are present and nearing threshold action levels, fields may need to be checked every two to three days. To scout for insects, walk at least 75 feet from the field border and across the field in an “X” or “Z” pattern, checking multiple plants at several different locations within the field. This is important to determine insect population and distribution.
  2. Consider crop stage and insect life cycle. While insects can be a problem throughout the growing season (see table), action depends on life cycle and crop stage. Cutworms are a typical early season sunflower pest, followed by insects such as weevils, sunflower moths and late-season grasshoppers. Make sure to monitor fields for these and other insects.
  3. Follow action thresholds. Action thresholds for each insect are established based on crop damage, timing and insect species. Consult the table on Page 3 of the Sunflower Pest Control Guide to determine if treatment should be considered.
  4. Understand management options. If a sunflower field will be sprayed for insects in the bud or flowering stage, it may be economically beneficial to include a fungicide in the application. Also, if a disease warrants a fungicide application, consider tank-mixing an insecticide.

Summary

Monitoring sunflower fields for insects throughout the growing season helps to protect returns. To help determine if action needs to be taken, contact your local Mycogen Seeds customer agronomist or trusted agronomic adviser.

Published on Friday, November 08, 2013