Manage Insect and Weed Pests with Regular Scouting
Insect pests can attack and cause yield loss quickly. Noticing them in time to stop the damage requires regular scouting. While it is impossible to scrutinize every foot of every row, you can efficiently scout by following a system that considers some key points. Take field notes and look for patterns. In general, you may notice that insect pests:
- Often attack first from fencerows, corners and edges before moving to the middle of a field.
- Typically hatch quickly in warmer weather.
- May target later-maturing or damaged portions of a field.
- May be attracted to weedy areas within or adjacent to fields.
- Will often attack fields that were infested in previous seasons.
Scouting is also a good time to evaluate the effectiveness of your weed-control program. Note the weed species or take photos. Pay special attention to populations that appear to have developed herbicide resistance, such as waterhemp and giant ragweed.
There have been reports of resistant Palmer amaranth moving into northern regions. This highly competitive weed used to be considered only a southern problem. But the trend seems to be that it is moving north, with populations now confirmed in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.
Palmer amaranth has a faster growth rate and is more competitive than other pigweed species. The weed looks similar to the pigweed species we are familiar with, but with some key differences.
- Leaves of Palmer amaranth have a small notch in the tip.
- Stems and leaves have no or few hairs and feel smooth.
Leaves are alternated on the stem and are generally lance-shaped or egg-shaped with prominent white veins on the underside.
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