Johnston County Ag Report

Johnston County Ag Report

August 31,  2015


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

Brandon Parker, Extension Agent – Horticulture

Shawn Banks, Extension Agent – Horticulture

Bryant Spivey, County Extension Director

Fall Armyworms-Sweetpotatoes

Since I have heard of growers seeing Fall Armyworm in sweet potatoes recently and asking questions about spraying, I have attached all registered products for sweetpotatoes on Armyworm.

 Product               OZ Per Acre             PHI                  REI

Coragen             3.5 to 5 fl oz.           1 day               4 hrs.

Intrepid             6 to 10 fl oz.             7 days             4 hrs.

Rimon               9 to 12 fl oz.               4 days           12 hrs.

Radiant             6 to 8 fl oz.               7 days             4 hrs.

 When making a choice of what to spray keep in mind the Pre Harvest Interval (PHI) getting this close to harvest season of early-planted potatoes. The threshold for Armyworm is 5 per row Ft.

Coragen, Intrepid and Rimon are all rated as (E) Excellent on Armyworm, while Radiant is rated at (G) Good in the NC Ag. Chemical manual.

Forestry Landowner Meeting –October 27, 2015

The NC Forest Service and NC Cooperative Extension would like to invite you a Forest Management Workshop that will be held on October 27, at the Johnston County Ag Center, 2736, NC 210 Hwy, Smithfield. The meeting will begin at 9:00 AM and end at 2:00 PM. There will be a sponsored lunch at 12:00. Topics will include Taxation updates, cost share assistance, CREP, pest control updates, Longleaf pine establishment, hardwood management, and the NC Tree Farm/Stewardship program.

Please RSVP for meeting by contacting the Cooperative Extension Service at 919-989-5380. Hope to see you there.

Persons with disabilities and persons with limited English proficiency may request accommodations to participate by contacting Bryant Spivey, County Extension Director, at (919) 989-5380 or in person at the Johnston County Extension Center at least 5 days prior to the event.

Private Applicators Recertification/Safety Classes

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service is inviting all private applicators whose license expires in 2015 to attend the last Private Applicator Pesticide Recertification/Safety class for 2015. This last two-hour class will be held on the following dates:

Thursday, September 10, 2015, 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.

Johnston County Corn Trial


The corn variety trial was planted on Stewart Road. The cooperator was Tony Lee. All corn variety trials are non-irrigated trials. The plot received approximately 14.4 inches of rain from planting to harvest. There was a 56.4 bushel difference from low to high with an average yield of 135 bushels/A. Only eight varieties preformed above average. Data will be combined with corn plots from 4 other counties in the area. All yields were dry corn yields.

Storage Grain Treatments for Corn


Late Season Peanut Insect Control in Peanuts

Corn earworm is the most common foliage feeding insect on peanuts. Corn earworms usually appear in peanut fields in August after the moths emerge from corn fields. Corn ear- worms initially feed in plant terminals, then blooms, older leaves, and pegs as the worms mature. Fall armyworms are not usually an economic problem on peanut, but can occur in very high numbers during outbreak years. This insect usually shows up in peanut fields in mid-August, a couple weeks after corn earworms first appear. The threshold for foliage feeding insects for Rank-growing, unstressed peanuts can tolerate 8 foliage feeding worms per row ft. The treatment threshold is 4 worms per row ft. on stressed plants which have not lapped the middle. Pyrethroids are labeled for control of corn earworms and fall armyworms in peanuts, however, as has been stated many times this season there have been control failures with pyrethroids for corn earworms and higher levels of resistance have been documented. With this in mind it may be wise to apply an alternative insecticide for corn earworms and armyworms. Products that are registered for use in peanuts and will give good levels of control are: Lannate, Steward, Tracer, Orthene, and Belt.

Fall Armyworm in Forage Crops/Coastal Fall armyworms can cause major damage to forage crops from mid-summer until frost. Fall armyworms cannot survive even a mild NC winter. They typically overwinter along the Gulf Coast and we see moths arriving by mid-summer in NC. Moths typically lay eggs on structure (trees, buildings, fencelines, etc.) near a field of standing forage. When the caterpillars hatch out, they advance across the field, consuming leaves at an amazing rate. It is this “skirmish line” type of advance that gives them their name. They are capable of decimating an entire hayfield or pasture in a matter of days, so regular scouting from late summer to frost is needed to catch them before major damage is done.

Fall armyworms are quite distinctive. A large caterpillar can be an inch and a half long, green with a black stripe down either side. They have black dots on top of the abdominal sections, and a pale, inverted “Y” over their forehead. To scout for fall armyworms, look for damage, including leaves stripped from standing forage and sometimes even seedheads eaten. Damage may look similar to drought damage, as plants start to dehydrate due to the loss of leaves. In severe infestations, fall armyworms can be seen on the plants. One method of scouting is to “sweep” the forage with your hands, then look on the ground for worms that have been knocked off the plants. They typically curl up when they fall to the ground.

There are various control methods for fall armyworms. One option may be to graze or cut the forage to control the damage, as armyworms rarely feed on forage that has been cut. This is not always an option due to harvest timing or weather, so an insecticide may be needed. Following are some insecticide options for fall armyworms.
Dimilin 2L-For early instars (very immature armyworms) only, 2 oz per acre, No grazing restriction, 1 day hay restriction
Sevin XLR or SP-very effective on immature worms, with varying control of adults. 1-1.5 qt. per acre. 7 day grazing and hay restriction.
Lannate-a restricted use product, .5-1 pound per acre, much better control of adults, but very toxic and more expensive. 7 day grazing, 3 day hay restriction.
Tracer-1-2 oz per acre,  low risk product, graze after drying, 14 day hay restriction.
Entrust-.63-1.25 oz per acre, OMRI listed, graze after drying, 3 day hay restriction
Karate-2.56-a restricted use product, 3.84 oz. per acre, no grazing restriction, 7 day hay restriction
Mustang Max-a restricted use product, 2.8-4 oz. per acre, no grazing or hay restriction, 7 day straw or seed restriction.

Grain Sorghum and White Sugarcane Aphid

Since the white sugarcane has been identified in Johnston County, the likely hood that is in all sorghum fields at some level is probable.

At the stage we are at, I am attaching a threshold chart

Growth Stage Threshold
Pre-boot 20% infested plants with localized area of honeydew and established aphid colonies
Boot 20% infested plants with localized area of honeydew and established aphid colonies
Flowering-milk 30% infested plants with localized area of honeydew and established aphid colonies
Soft dough 30% infested plants with localized area of honeydew and established aphid colonies
Dough 30% infested plants with localized area of honeydew and established aphid colonies
Black layer Heavy honeydew and established aphid colonies in head (treat to avoid problems at harvest)

I am also attaching a fact sheet from Texas A&M.

Why is this insect so bad?  Before sorghum heads it can kill or stunt plants, prevent heading, or reduce head size.  After sorghum heads up until harvest, it can prevent equipment from harvesting by plugging it with honeydew (from the aphids).  This insect breeds extremely rapidly.  Once you have the insect, it can blow up in a few days.  Weekly sampling intervals need to be shortened for proper management.

If you decide to spray:

Use an effective insecticide –

  • Transform WG (Dow AgroSciences) – Transform WG rates of 1.0 and 1.5 oz per acre are effective. Use the 1.5 oz rate if aphid populations are increasing rapidly. The label allows for 2 applications per season and not more than 3 oz per acre per crop and has a 14 day PHI.
  • Sivanto (Bayer Crop Protection) – Sivanto rates are 4 – 7 fl. oz per acre.  Sivanto is very effective at rates of 3, 5, and 7 fl. oz. per acre, so the 4 fl. oz. rate should be effective.  At the 4 oz rate it can be applied up to 7 times during the season but has a 21 day PHI.
  • Chlopyrifos (Lorsban Advanced, Nufos, other) – Lorsban is labeled at 1 to 2 pints per acre. The 2 pint rate has a 60 day harvest interval.  Data shows that the 2-pint/A rate was 80-90% effective but could not be used after the boot stage due the 60 day PHI. The 1-pint/A rate was not effective.

Do the stage of our sorghum, Transform and Sivanto are the only options and availability is limited.  Both of these products outperform Lorsban at 2 pints.

For Headworm,  Use products without pyrethroids, Try Blackhawk, Belt, Prevathon, or Lannate which are specific to caterpillars.

Good coverage is Key.

Protecting Pollinators

Garden pests create stress not only for the plants but also for the growers. They eat leaves, transmit viruses, cause flowers not to open, and in some cases can even cause plants to die. The first thing many gardeners do at the sign of pests is spray. Often, this reaction to garden pests causes more harm to the delicate environment than the pests cause to the plants.

Pollinators, such as honeybees, depend on flowers for the food they need to live. As reported by news media for several years now, the honeybee population is rapidly declining. Therefore, it is safe to assume that if honeybees are dropping off in number, so are other pollinators like bumble bees, butterflies, bats, and beetles (just to name a few). While few people are monitoring the levels of these other pollinators, scientists and beekeepers all over the world are monitoring the honeybees.

To save our pollinators, we must take some precautions before spraying pesticides. First, make sure to correctly identify the problem. Is the pest really affecting the plant, and if so, is it really a problem? Some beneficial insects look just like pest insects. Secondly, assess the damage. Do the pests really need to be controlled? Are they eating leaves on the plant, but leaving the fruit alone? What amount of damage is the insect causing, and is it enough to justify spraying in order to control them? Thirdly, determine if there are some cultural control options. Cultural controls include using traps, beneficial insects, handpicking insects off of plants, etc.

If you have evaluated the situation and spraying is your only option for control, please think before you spray. Many pesticides can be extremely toxic to honeybees and other pollinators. Pollinators are attracted to flowering plants. Try to avoid spraying plants when they are in bloom. If pests are negatively affecting plants that are in bloom, then treat the plants with pesticide in the evening hours when the bees are less active. This will minimize pesticide exposure to many of the beneficial pollinators.

Pesticide application depends on how the chemical was formulated. Dusts and wettable powders leave a highly toxic residue – a residue that is toxic to pests and pollinators. These types of chemical formulations don’t target specific pests; they are non-selective killers. Solutions and granular pesticides usually aim to target specific pest insects and are less likely to harm the beneficial insects.

The 2015 North Carolina Agricultural Chemical Manual lists the relative pesticide toxicity in regards to honeybees. ( When protecting plants from pests, consideration must be given to those insects, birds, and mammals that are providing pollination services.

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.

USDA Local Foods Directory

USDA has developed a local food directory to help farmers who have a stand, store, or
other direct-to-consumer retail outlet on the farm to be found more easily. USDA wants
to raise awareness of this resource. Details can be found here:
For questions, people can call: 202.690.1327 or send an email to

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.

Disclaimer: Recommendations are included as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services does not imply endorsement by North Carolina State University nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned.

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