Read more Field & Forage Crops Ag Updates
on the Rutgers Plant & Pest Advisory

Plant & Pest Advisory > Field & Forage Crops

Contact Information

The points of contact between Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and the grower & business communities are the NJ County Agricultural Agents. The agents are a tremendous source of information for both new and experienced growers.
Visit your local county extension office.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Stink Bugs in Soybeans

Stink Bugs, including the Brown Marmorated type (BMSB), have begun to show up in soybean fields around the state. In addition to our RCE associated blog on the BMSB, the Plant Management Network has developed a webcast titled “Impact and Management of BMSB in Mid-Atlantic Soybean”. This talk by Virginia Tech entomology professor Ames Herbert Jr., covers: Patterns of field infestation by BMSB;Conditions that may predispose soybean fields to infestation;The impact of BMSB feeding on soybean seed and yield;Field management practices that have proven successful with growers; and Insecticide efficacy comparisons. This 20-minute presentation is open access through November 30, 2013. Viewers can also opt to see a 2-minute executive summary version of this presentation. This shorter executive summary version is permanently open access courtesy of the United Soybean Board and supported by your New Jersey Soybean Board. Zane R. Helsel

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

RCE Field Crop Twilight Meeting Announced

Commercial Growers, Crop Consultants, and Ag Industry personnel
are invited to attend a RCE Field Crop Twilight Meeting

Date: Sep 10th, 5PM - Dusk
Location: Rutgers Snyder Research and Extension Farm, Pittstown, NJ
Please RSVP by 9/6/13 to (908) 788-1339

Dinner 5:00PM
Wagon Tour:
  • Stop 1: 67 Full season soybean varieties; evaluating soybean resistance to white mold 
  • Stop 2: Double crop soybean variety trial following canola evaluating 65 soybean varieties resistance to white mold 
  • Stop 3: Field corn variety study evaluating different fertilizer treatments 
  • Stop 4: Field corn trial comparing different liming agents 
  • Stop 5: Irrigation pond management 
  • Stop 6: Agronomic production issues for corn mazes
- Bill Bamka

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Watch for soybean aphids

I was out scouting some double crop soybeans earlier this morning and came across several fields with moderate populations of soybean aphids. I have not encountered aphid populations this high in several years. The early flowering period has been shown to be a critical time for soybean aphid damage in several Midwest studies. Impact on yield has been as high as 50% in some studies. Fortunately, the threshold for soybean aphid is fairly high, 250 aphids per plant. This threshold allows for about seven days time to allow for gathering spray materials, until populations would build to 1000 per plant. Lady bird beetles can keep low or moderate soybean aphid populations in check. More information on scouting and control can be found in the RCE soybean aphid fact sheet.   

Bill Bamka

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Kudzu Bug Getting Closer

You may have read in different farming publications about the presence of bean platasipid (Megacopta cribraria) or more commonly the kudzu bug in the southeastern US. It is referred to as the kudzu bug because it has a tendency to feed on kudzu. This is not necessarily a bad thing in the south where kudzu is an exotic invasive species. In the southeastern US kudzu bug has become a concern because it is also a pest of soybeans. This stink bug species is smaller than brown marmorated stink bug and has a different shape. Like brown marmorated stink bug it also can overwinter in homes. This stink bug species was discovered in Georgia in 2009 and has since spread through out the southeast and is heading north. The kudzu bug has most recently been found in Sussex County Delaware. It has also been found in Maryland in Prince George, Charles, Calvert, and Anne Arundel counties. As kudzu bug is a soybean pest we need to keep a watchful eye for it here in New Jersey.

Bill Bamka

adult kudzu bug


Friday, July 5, 2013

Grasshopper Reports

Over the past few days I have received several reports of large grasshopper populations in several soybean fields. Initially, grasshoppers tend to occur along field edges and areas near drainage ditches. No economic damage has been reported due to grasshoppers yet. But consider this an early warning to scout fields. There are no good thresholds established for grasshoppers in corn or soybeans. Generally consider treatment in pre-bloom soybeans if grasshoppers are present and 40% or more defoliation is encountered. When in the pod forming and pod filling stages treatment is recommended with 20% or more defoliation.

Bill Bamka

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wheat Harvest and Storage

 Wheat is being or is ready to be harvested in a good portion of the state, but high temperatures, high humidity and predicted rain showers daily for the next week have the potential to cause problems. Where large amounts of rain fall, getting combines into the field may be difficult. Where fields are passable, grain may be mature but high in moisture. It is important to get wheat out of the field quickly after the kernals have matured to avoid loss of yield, reduced quality and ultimately sprouting in the heads. Combines operate most efficiently and with less kernal damage when grain moisture is between 13-20%. If wheat is harvested much above 14% it needs to be dried relatively quickly to prevent sprouting in storage.  Wheat is harder to dry than corn because of the high humidity this time of the year and because it packs tighter than corn thus grain depths in the bin need to shallower or fan speeds/volumes greater. The following links to publications from Purdue University and the University of Missouri may be useful if the current weather conditions persist and problems are encountered.

Zane R. Helsel

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cereal Leaf Beetle in Corn

We spent a fair amount of time scouting wheat fields for cereal leaf beetles earlier in the season. Now it is time to focus attention on adjacent corn fields. The adult cereal leaf beetles can now be found in adjacent corn fields. They are primarily found on the perimeter of the corn fields. Though I have encountered them throughout some corn fields. Adult cereal leaf beetle damage appears as longitudinal slits between the leaf veins. Corn plants usually outgrow the injury. Unlike larval damage in wheat, there are no firm thresholds for adult damage in corn. One threshold suggests treatment when 10 or more adults are found per plant and 50% of plants show feeding damage.

Cereal Leaf Beetle Adult
Courtesy Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension
Bill Bamka

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Soybean Replanting Decisions

I have received several calls about soybean replanting. Making a replanting decision is never an easy task. When evaluating reduced or uneven stands there are a few things to take into consideration. First, do you know what caused the problem in the first place? Planting too deep? Improper planter settings? Herbicide injury? Insect feeding? Possibly planting too early, followed by slow growing conditions? If you do not know what happened the first time, you could be setting yourself up for failure again if you do not address the problem. Second, before deciding to replant you need to determine the density of your current stand. The Hula Hoop method or counting plants in 1/1000 of an acre can be used to do this. Once you know your stand count you can estimate the yield potential of your field. Making the decision to replant can be agonizing, however there are resources to help growers. Purdue University has published a good Soybean Production System fact sheet that clearly guides growers through the replant decision.

Bill Bamka

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Keep Alert for Slugs in Soybeans

The recent wet weather can create the opportunity for slug damage in newly planted soybean fields. Occasionally, we have had fields that required replanting due to slug damage. No till fields can be at greater risk for slug problems. Be sure to scout low lying fields and fields with heavy residue. More information on life cycle and pest management options are available in Penn State's fact sheet "Slugs as Pests of Field Crops." 

Bill Bamka

Monday, June 17, 2013

Soybean Double Cropping

While some growers are still trying to plant or replant first crop beans, double crop opportunities will likely be occurring in about 2-3 weeks. Courtesy of your soybean checkoff dollars, a webcast is availble to view with tips on various management practices. Although originating out of Virginia, many of the tips are helpful here in NJ.
This 20-minute webcast is open access. Viewers can also opt to see a 5-minute executive summary version. This shorter executive summary version is permanently open access courtesy of the United Soybean Board.
Other Focus on Soybean presentations can be viewed at
Focus on Soybean is a publication of the Plant Management Network. To get the most out of the Plant Management Network’s full line of resources, please sign up for PMN’s free electronic newsletter, PMN Update.

PMN Update:

Zane Helsel

Calibration of Spray Equipment

-Stephen Komar and Bill Bamka

We have been getting calls related to proper spray calibration.

A simple way to perform a calibration is the 1/128th method. This method is based on spraying 1/128th of an acre per nozzle and simply collecting the spray released during the time it takes to travel over that area. Since there are 128 fluid ounces in 1 gallon, the number of ounces collected equals the application rate in gallons per acre. This method works well for broadcast applications, banded applications and directed applications. The 1/128th method is described in NJAES Fact Sheet 1085, Sprayer Calibration.

Proper calibration can ensure the best possible control and can save you $.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Wet Weather, Yellow Corn, N losses

Many corn fields have been repeatedly saturated by recent successive rainfalls. Numerous fields, particularly no-till fields, are yellowing. While this could be due to several factors, one may be the lack or loss of Nitrogen. On sandy soils, N has probably leached below the root zone and on heavier textured soils some may have also leached but more than likely some denitrification has occurred where N is lost to the atmosphere. Regardless, some supplemental N applications may be necessary. Sidedressing N is the best option but soils are so wet that it may be a week or so before growers can get in. In other cases, growers may not have such equipment. Fertilizer suppliers may have equipment to apply such products as UAN solutions or Urea(preferably with a urease inhibitor if not incorporated). If surface applied, N losses can occur if rain doesnot follow application within a day or two. How much N to apply is also a question. If a good amount of N was applied before or at planting then 50 lbs/A of actual N is probably appropriate. If growers put little or no N down in hopes of sidedressing, then a good portion of their planned amounts will be needed. The ideal time to apply sidedress N is between corn stage V6 and V8 (12-18 inches tall). If the growers have early and late planted corn that is yellow, then the early planted, taller fields should be fertilized first.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Time to Scout Timothy

It is that time of year again, time to dust off your hand lens and scout for cereal rust mite (aka timothy mite) in your timothy fields. This is often the first pest of the season hay growers have to deal with. As we all know this pest can reduce both yield and quality of timothy. Look for signs of damage in your fields. If you see leaves rolled that look like the plant is in drought stress, your field most likely has mites. Treatment is recommended when 25% of leafs are curled. Sevin XLR Plus is labeled for control.  Remember to increase spray pressure to enable the material to reach into rolled leaves where the mites are located. RCE fact sheet FS1084 "Cereal rust mite on timothy hay" has more information.

Bill Bamka

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Corn Seeding Rates in the Northeast

A webinar has been posted by and on the Plant Management Network to help you with choosing the best seeding rates for corn. With the high price of seed and other inputs, fine tuning your seeding rates could help improve your overall profitability in 2013. Please go to:

Zane R. Helsel

Monday, February 11, 2013

Soybean Mtg-Feb 13-Register Now!!!!

A statewide soybean producers meeting sponsored by the NJ Soybean Board will be held Wednesday from 9-3 at the Rutgers Ecocomplex off Exit 52B of I-295. Breakfast and lunch will be served. Various pesticide credits are available. Please register by noon Tuesday by calling 609-585-6871.
Zane Helsel

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Agritourism Risk Management Workshop

Rutgers NJAES Agritourism Working Group presents:

Agritourism Risk Management Workshop 
Date: Monday, February 25, 2013
Location: Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension
of Burlington County 
2 Academy Dr., Westampton, NJ

This workshop is being offered to go over some of the risk management issues that may come up on the farm when agritourism marketing is offered.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Soybean Storage and Drying Tips

With the high price of soybeans and good yields this past fall there are a lot of stored beans in NJ that will need attension during the winter and spring to maintain good quality. The following is information on a webinar by one of the nation's top drying and storage experts who also will be a presenter at the February 13 statewide soybean producers meeting. Viewing this webinar in advance of the meeting will give you an opportunity to get important questions answered.
Zane R. Helsel

Statewide Soybean Producers Meeting February 13

The NJ Soybean Board (check-off program) is again sponsoring a Statewide Soybean Producers meeting at the Rutgers Ecocomplex from 9-3pm on February 13. Topics will include marketing, drying and storage, pest control updates (pesticide credits are being applied for) and other important topics. You can register free by calling 609--585-6871 which will also entitle you to a free breakfast and lunch.
Zane R. Helsel

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winter Water needs for Livestock

- Mike Westendorf

With winter now upon us along with the erratic weather patterns which have affected New Jersey and parts of the rest of the country, it is wise to act now to guarantee winter water supplies. In January and February, when weather gets the coldest, water availability for domestic livestock animals can become a concern.

Water is the most abundant, cheapest, and least understood of all nutrients required for livestock production. We become concerned with water only when it is in short supply or contamination is suspected. If subfreezing temperatures turn water into a frozen nutrient, it will mean trouble for domestic livestock. Livestock will suffer more quickly from the lack of water than any other nutrient. The stresses on an animal caused by cold, wet winter weather require an animal's digestive system and metabolic processes to function at peak efficiency to convert feedstuffs to energy so they can remain warm, healthy, and productive.