Johnston County Ag Report

Johnston County Ag Report

August 4, 2014


The Johnston County Ag Report is edited weekly by Agricultural Extension Agents at the Johnston County Extension Center.  If you have any questions about the content, please call the Extension Center at 919-989-5380.


Tim Britton, Extension Agent – Field Crops

Dan Wells, Extension Agent – Livestock

Amie Newsome, Extension Agent – Horticulture

Shawn Banks, Extension Agent – Horticulture

Bryant Spivey, County Extension Director

2012 Census of Agriculture-County Highlights

 Johnston County reported 1175 operation farms with over 50% reporting less than $10,000 in sales and approximately 20% reporting over $100,000 in sales. Johnston County was ranked 10th in the state in total agricultural products sold, reporting over $265 million in sales. Johnson County was ranked 1st in tobacco sales and 2nd in the tobacco acreage nationally. Johnston County ranked 2nd in the state in vegetable sales and acreage. We are also ranked 12th in swine sales, 13th in Grains and beans, fruits, nuts, and berries sales, and 14th in nursery, greenhouse, and sod sales and 18th in hay sales.

Of the 1175 farms, 548 farms were operated by full-time farmers and 627 were operated by part-time farmers. The average age of the farmer was 57.6.

 Private Applicators Recertification/Safety Classes

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service is inviting all private applicators whose license expires in 2014 to attend the last Private Applicator Pesticide Recertification/Safety class for 2014. This last two-hour class will be held on the following dates:

Thursday, September 11, 2014, beginning at 6:30-8:30 PM

The class will be at the Johnston County Ag Center in Smithfield on NC 210 Hwy.   Applicators are reminded that licenses expire at the end of the year, but all recertification credits must be obtained before September 30th of the year the license expires. Applicators are asked to bring their Pesticide Credit Report Card with the bar code scan along with them to class. Please call Tim Britton at 989-5380 to check credits.

Pesticide Exam Schedule-Johnston County

The North Carolina Pesticide exams will be offered on Wednesday, August 13th at 1:00 PM at the Johnston County Ag Center. To take the exam, bring valid ID (Drivers License) and calculator. Please arrive by 12:30PM. For anyone wishing to take the private applicator exam, there will be a review at 10:00 AM.

August Ag business meeting- August 7th, 2014

Ag business Meeting on Thursday, Augsut 7th at 7:30 AM at the Ag center. Jordon Armel, wildlife specialist with the USDA will be our quest speaker. He will discuss the Beaver Management program. To register, please call 919-989-5380.

Field Days Coming up

Sorghum Field Day

The Sorghum Field Day begins at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 14, 2014, and the Corn Aflatoxin Field Day starts at 1:00 p.m. The field days include a joint luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Both field days will be held at the Upper Coastal Plain Research Station, Rocky Mount, NC.

Production and Disease Management for Stevia in NC August 19, 2014

Caswell Research Farm, 2415 W. Vernon Avenue, Kinston, NC   28504-3321

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Stevia, a perennial crop used as a no-calorie sweetener, is a new specialty crop for North Carolina with an established and rapidly expanding market for conventional and organic production.  At this workshop we will talk in depth about one of the biggest challenges to stevia production in NC, stem rot diseases, the research being done to overcome the diseases, and what we know so far about how to manage for them.  General production and marketing information also will be covered.  We will visit a stevia research plot and learn more about the stevia research in NC over the last three years.

10 to 10:15 a.m. – Welcome and overview of field day – Dr. David Shew (Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, NCSU)

10:15 to 11:15 a.m. – Dr. David Shew and Alyssa Koehler (Graduate student, Department of Plant Pathology, NCSU)

11:15 a.m. to noon – General Discussion of Stevia Production – Hal Teegarden (V. P. of Agriculture Operations at Sweet Green Fields)

Noon to 1 p.m. – Lunch and discussion

To register on-line, go to:

Or, contact Molly Hamilton at:

828-273-1041 or

Registration is free, and lunch is provided courtesy of Sweet Green Fields.

2 hours CCA CEUs available (CM)

Soybean Scouting Update and Herbicide Injury Field Day-August 20th

North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Johnston, Sampson, and Harnett Counties are inviting growers to attend a soybean field day.
The event will start at 7:30 AM with a sponsored breakfast at Strickland’s Crossroad Volunteer Fire Department (2706 Strickland’s Crossroads, Four Oaks). We will look at a foliar enhancement trial, an insecticide trial, a pre-emergence and post emergence soybean injury trial, and a double crop variety trial with group V’s, VI’s and VII’s.  Scouting techniques will be demonstrated and an insect identification guide will be available.  Two hours of pesticide credits in N, D, O, and X and 2 hours of CCA credits will be split between crop and pest management.   To register, please call 919-989-5380.

Cotton Information

Growth Regulation
Some cotton will be blooming next week.  Remember the general rule of 21 days from square to bloom.  NCSU 2014 Cotton Information Suggestions for Growth Regulator Use Pages 50-56 is based on a desired plant height of 20-24 inches at early bloom.

For most growers, I suggest the Modified Early Bloom Strategy on Pages 55-56.  With this strategy, the 1st plant evaluation is made 10-14 days after 1st square.  Better growing cotton fields were at this point this week.  For this evaluation, plant height, height-to-node ratio, and internode length are items considered.

If you miss this evaluation and early bloom appears, use the Early Bloom – if Mepiquat has NOT been applied table on Page 56.  For this evaluation, plant height and internode length are items considered.

Table rates are for 0.35 lb/gal mepiquat chloride products.  Under each table, you will note do not apply if soil moisture is poor.  If cotton is wilted by 12:00 noon, soil moisture is poor.

Remember timely mepiquat applications (if needed) 10-14 days after 1st square and early bloom provide more bang for the buck than later catch-up applications.  Also remember mepiquat does not shrink BIG COTTON.

Nitrogen & Boron

Sidedress nitrogen should be applied approximately 14 days after 1st square.  This timing lessens the risk of early season leaching and ensures nitrogen is available for the high-demand bloom/boll development period.

For soils with moderate/high leaching potential, boron application is recommended near the early bloom growth stage.  This application promotes adequate boron during the critical bloom/boll development period.  1/2 pound/acre of actual boron should be applied.  This boron application can be made with the soil-applied sidedress nitrogen or as a foliar spray.

Stink Bug Management in Cotton

Stink bugs are tearing through cotton that has bolls, although they are spotty in some areas. Both plant bugs and especially stink bugs and their damage vary widely across North Carolina, but are generally at much higher levels than we’ve seen during the past few years. They were also high in 2013.

Scout for stink bugs by splitting and examining the inside walls of 1-inch diameter bolls for warts and/or stained lint (any amount of even subtle injury is scored as a damaged boll). Be sure to observe the 10% injured boll threshold level during weeks 3 to 5 of the bloom period. Please download either the Android or iPhone Cotton Stink Bug Decision Aid App for additional information about stink bug scouting, identification, injury and other information. Search for “stink bug decision” in the iTunes app store or using Google play. You can also see an online version here

If present in moderate to high levels, stink bug injury can result in significant yield losses. In making spray/no-spray decisions, remember that the cost of the treatment and insecticide typically translates into the value of 10 to 12 pounds of lint. Insecticides targeted for stink bugs generally do a good job with plant bugs. Although Bidrin and Bidrin XP II offer excellent control of stink bugs and plant bugs, be aware of these products’ 6-day reentry interval.

Soybean Pest complex

Where Are the Kudzu Bugs?

We have rapidly become accustomed to dealing with kudzu bugs in our soybeans throughout the season. So the question is, “where are they now?”

Believe it or not, the kudzu bug migration into soybeans is in full swing. It is really wimpy compared to previous years. From what I can gather, our population levels are 10 to 20 times lower than last year. Right now, kudzu bugs are moving into soybeans, mating and laying eggs. I have noticed nymphs this weeks, but nowhere near threshold. We can expect a few fields to hit threshold within a couple weeks.  If you do not find kudzu bugs at one nymph per sweep (one per “swoosh” of the net), you do not need to treat.

It is especially critical to use a sweep net in situations like this year. We can expect most of our fields at risk for kudzu bug (which are few) to be borderline situations.  Many fields in the past were obvious treatment situations.  Those fields were so full of kudzu bugs that you could smell them through the AC system pulling up to the field.  This year, you will find one nymph per sweep a lot easier and quicker using the sweep net than you will just walking into a field and parting the canopy.  Small hairy green nymphs blend in with the stems and will be difficult to spot. Most fields hopefully won’t need to be treated for this insect!

Midseason Soybean Insects

Because we won’t be dealing with many kudzu bugs this we need to focus our efforts on the other pests that are around. These include the corn earworm/tobacco budworm, stink bugs and defoliators (loopers, armyworms, etc.). I have seen more loopers so far this year, but levels have not been that high and beneficials have done a good job on these loopers. So the first pest we will likely have to manage is corn earworm/tobacco budworm.  Our “major” bollworm moth flight in central and northern North Carolina is picked up last week and should during the last week of July and first of August based on typical timing, development in corn. Worm numbers of the next couple of weeks should be very heavy based on numbers I have seen in corn and tobacco this year.

These insects can defoliate, but are more serious pests of seeds forming in the pod. They should never be sprayed at flowering, but should be controlled when pods are present (especially at R4 to R7).  Thresholds vary with sampling method and row spacing; I suggest using the earworm/budworm online threshold calculator as a guide for treatment, if not use information in the lastest Johnston County Grower.  Corn earworm can usually be controlled with pyrethroids – unless there are resistant worms present.  Earworms and budworms are very difficult to tell apart without specialized training.  If you use a pyrethroid and it fails, switch to one of the worm-specific materials listed in the ag chemical manual.

Stink bugs move in an out of soybeans throughout the season. You might notice a lot of them when soybean is flowering (R1-R2), but they do not cause yield loss at this point. Focus your control when the seed is forming (R5-R6). Seed producers should also treat at R7 to avoid quality loss. Like corn earworm/tobacco budworm, the thresholds vary with sampling method and row spacing. You can use the stink bug online threshold calculator figure out when to treat. Green stink bug can be managed with a pyrethroid. Add in something like acephate (Orthene) or use acephate alone to kill browns.

Defoliators like armyworms are more of a problem later on in the season. There are two reasons for this. One is that many are migratory pests that do not overwinter here. So they can build as the season progresses. The second is that we often treat with a pyrethroid midseason. This is to manage things like earworms and stink bugs and is often needed. The disadvantage is that we knock out all the beneficial good-guy insects, releasing these worms to eat foliage. You should only treat for defoliators when the canopy loss is 15% after bloom. For soybean looper, beet armyworm, and fall armyworm, use a worm-specific insecticide (such as Belt, Blackhawk, Prevathon or Steward).

Soybean Rust-

As most of you are aware, the majority of our storms have been moving up from the southeast. This increases our risk for Asiatic Soybean Rust. Please watch the rust forecast by typing in google soybean rust map.

United States Soybean Rust Commentary (updated: 08/03/14)
Soybean rust (SBR) was detected in a soybean sentinel plot in Autauga County in Alabama on August 3rd. This is the first report of SBR on soybeans in the U.S. during the current growing season. The soybeans were at the R5 growth stage with full canopy closure. Incidence of SBR within the plot was less than 1 percent.

Sweet Potatoes and Armyworm

 One issue that we always have when we start digging sweetpotatoes is fall armyworm,

The time to scout for armyworm is now! Do to resistance and tolerance to pyrethroids, growers have been using products like Intrepid, Rimon, and Radiant which have 7-14 day pre-harvest intervals. Coragen is in the vegetable crop handbook and has a 1 day pre-harvest interval. Keep these intervals in mind when choosing an insecticide.

Kudzu Bug-Thresholds

Kudzu bugs have now invaded early-planted full-season soybeans across the state.  Remember that they are easy to kill, but once you put the insecticide out, you have the potential to have more insect problems throughout the season.  Insecticides that kill kudzu bugs also kill beneficial insects.

The preliminary NC threshold is 5 bugs per seedling, until plants are one foot tall.  Fields infested at these levels will likely be a rare situation.  Then, the threshold will change to 10 bugs per plant for plants from 1-2 feet tall.  The established threshold of one nymph per sweep (one swoosh of the net) should be used for plants above 2 feet tallPlants should be sampled at least 50 feet from the edge of the field.  The reason for this is that the adults have an extended migration period (6-8 weeks) and colonize field edges first.  If you sample the edges, chances are you will make a spray decision too soon before the migration is over.

Insecticide evaluations indicate that bifenthrin (e.g. Brigade), bifenthrin + chloronicotinoid combinations (e.g. Brigadier) and lambda-cyhalothrin + thiamethoxam (e.g. Endigo) are very active against kudzu bug on soybean. Because these chemistries are broad-spectrum, beneficial insects will likely be eliminated, putting fields at greater risk for mid- to late-season lepidopteran infestations, such as corn earworm, armyworm species, and soybean looper. Fields should be intensively scouted through R7 for this and all other pests. Kudzu bugs were found in most of North Carolina’s soybean-producing counties in 2013. For now, the most effective approach to managing this threat to profitable soybean production is to scout regularly, use recommended thresholds, and spray when needed with effective insecticides.

Pesticide Container Rinse and Recycle Program

 The pesticide container rinse and recycle program has expanded to two new locations, giving Johnston County more room to properly dispose of pesticide containers.

These sites are located at 820 Stewart Road in Four Oaks, 1096 Scout Road in the Bentonville area, 9349 NC Hwy 96 S in the Meadow area, 5677 US Hwy 301 in Kenly, 15031 Buffalo Road in Clayton, and at the Johnston County Landfill site on County Home Road in Smithfield.

Properly rinsed containers can be taken to these sites during normal operating hours. You do not need a county solid waste sticker to dispose of containers. Remember, to remove the label and lid, on buckets, remove the label and large lid, and on 35 and 55 gallon drums, drill holes in bottom and do not crush.

 Beaver Management Assistance Program

 Johnston County participates in the beaver management and assistance program conducted by the USDA.  County, state, and federal monies provide the program designed to give individual technical assistance and advice to landowners with beaver problems.  Property inspection and consultation is free.  Consultation may include showing the landowner how to trap beavers and destroy dams.

For work that the USDA actually conducts, landowners will be charged a fee for each visit to the site and a set amount for each dam destroyed.  USDA will do all or part of the work.

Interested landowners should call or contact Tim Britton with the Johnston County Cooperative extension service at (919) 989-5380 or by email at

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