COLUMBUS – Warmer weather in early April pushed many farmers to plant corn and soybeans. In their haste, they risk neglecting vulnerable alfalfa crops, said Extension entomologists from Purdue and Ohio State universities.
Alfalfa weevil feeding is beginning in southern Indiana and could soon be a problem in southern Ohio. Producers should scout their fields as soon as possible.
Affects yield, quality. “If left unchecked, significant first-cutting yield and quality may be lost from this pest,” said Purdue’s John Obermeyer.
“While initial damage is minor ‘pinhole’ feeding, now is the best time to begin scouting.”
How to scout. Obermeyer recommended producers use a M-shaped pattern to sample their fields for alfalfa weevil damage and plant development.
Ten alfalfa stems should be examined in each of five representative areas of the field, for a total of 50 stems from the entire field, Obermeyer said.
South-facing slopes and/or sandy soils warm sooner and should be included in the sampling.
Obermeyer said each stem should be examined for:
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