Johnston County Ag Report

Johnston County Ag Report

May 11,  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

To: Johnston County Tobacco Growers

Tobacco transplanting has progressed quickly this week with a few farm operations in Johnston County finished transplanting and many others nearing completion.  I have had several calls this week from growers who have tobacco transplants available.  Currently, I have a list of available plants that includes K 326, NC 196, CC 143, NC 606, GL 318, PVH 1452, and Speight 227 to name a few.

If you are in need of plants, please give me a call and I will help you make a connection with a grower who has extra plants available.  If you have extra plants available for sale, please let me know that also, and I will add the information to a statewide list that may be helpful in selling the plants.

Presently, tobacco looks very good across the county with excellent stands to this point.  Hopefully, this trend will continue.

Cotton is most susceptible by far before the two-leaf stage.  Cotton will take a yield hit up to the five leaf stage, but sprays at the four and five-leaf stage are typically for revenge, rather than yield.  You can tank mix your insecticide with a post herbicide application.  The decision you will likely make is whether to be timely for the weeds or the thrips.

Cotton and Thrips-Dominic Reisig

What are your thrips numbers? Our threshold is two nymphs per seedling at or before the first leaf stage.  Note the importance of spraying your cotton early.  Finally, the majority of fields in our state without imidacloprid in-furrow will greatly exceed the economic threshold, justifying sprays.

When did you plant?  On average, cotton planted after the 17 of May is safe from thrips.  The earlier you plant, the more likely you are to suffer from thrips.  This varies from year to year, of course.  Last year, cotton planted mid-May was hammered by thrips.  This is because the two most critical factors for thrips injury in cotton are the “thrips flight” and how fast the cotton grows (cooler conditions mean slower grow off for the cotton).  Last year’s thrips flight just happened to be timed so that our cotton planted during mid-May was at severe risk.  Both weather and the thrips flight are unpredictable at this time, although a model is in development to predict risk to cotton.

What is your insecticidal seed treatment?  Acceleron I, FI, N, NPV, etc., as well as Aeris and Gaucho are imidacloprid alone or in combination with clothianidin.  These seed treatments are far and away what have been offered on our seed this year.  A little seed will be treated with Avicta or Cruiser, which is thiamethoxam.  Tobacco thrips are now resistant to neonicotinoid insecticides in our state, although the resistance levels in 2014 varied among geography.  In general, although there is imidacloprid resistance out there, field performance of this chemical seems to be superior to thiamethoxam.  Bottom line, if you only have thiamethoxam seed treatment, spray insecticide at the one leaf stage.  If you have imidacloprid-treated seed, keep an eye out for how it is performing.

Did you use imidacloprid in-furrow? Our recommendation for the past two years has been to use the highest labeled rate of imidacloprid (Admire Pro) in-furrow overtop of insecticide-treated seed.  The rationale for this is that, when the imidacloprid was applied correctly in replicated tests, a foliar spray for thrips was not necessary.  Even though thrips were neonicotinoid resistant in 2014, the cotton seemed to take up enough insecticide with this shot in the furrow to overcome the thrips.  We do not know how this will hold up in 2015.  Also, if the application method is not correct (not applied directly in-furrow with good insecticide to seed contact), you will likely need to spray.
Carpenter Bees and their Control

With warming temperatures our hovering neighbor the “Carpenter Bee” is beginning to
make an appearance. These busy bees can offer quite a nuisance for homeowners with
their excessive buzzing and wood excavation. Typically, carpenter bees do not cause
serious structural damage to wood unless large numbers of bees are allowed to drill many
tunnels over successive years. The bees often eliminate their wastes before entering the
tunnel. Yellowish-brown staining from voided fecal matter may be visible on the wood
beneath the hole as seen in the picture above. Woodpeckers may damage infested wood
in search of bee larvae in the tunnels. In the case of thin wood, such as siding, this
damage can be severe. Holes on exposed surfaces may lead to damage by wood-decaying fungi or attack by other insects, such as carpenter ants.
Although carpenter bees resemble bumble bees, the two can be readily distinguished
from one another, as carpenter bees lack the yellowish hairs on their abdomens
(which are black and shiny). The male bees are easy to identify because they have
white spots in the center of their head (between their eyes), and they are typically
seen hovering around prime real estate watching for the girl bee of their dreams
and chasing off rival males at the same time. Male bees do not sting but their
aggressive behavior can be intimidating to those passing by.
After mating, the female bee goes hunting for a new place to build a nesting
gallery. Choice locations will be wooden porch rails and balusters, wooden planks and
solid wood siding. This includes treated and resistant wood species. Females will
excavate a nearly perfectly round hole and gallery that typically follows the grain of the
wood. Females then make a ball of pollen, stick it into the gallery and deposit an egg.
She will then construct a partition of chewed wood debris and repeat this process until the
gallery is furnished with multiple offspring. At that point, the female dies and for most of
the summer, no activity is seen. The offspring will then emerge in late summer and/or fall
and hang around before finding a sheltered location to pass the winter (like an abandoned
gallery). When control is warranted, there are a couple of options. First, chasing the bees
around the yard with a badminton racquet can offer some stress relief. However,
long-term control is questionable. The second, slightly more effective option is
treating individual excavated galleries with an insecticidal dust. By treating individual galleries, you are far more likely to produce a lethal effect on these bees. Wide spread surface applications of insecticide provide little control and are often dangerous for both humans and other insects. A targeted approach will provide a slightly safer and satisfactory result. After applying an insecticidal dust to the individual gallery,
following up by placing a small ball of tin foil into the hole and apply caulk. This will
help seal the hole from moisture, and reduce overwintering sites for these insects.
Always remember when applying an insecticide to READ AND FOLLOW THE LABEL
DIRECTIONS. If you would like more information about Carpenter Bees you can visit
the NC State Extension Insect Note at this address

Wheat Update


To maintain this potential yield, upper wheat leaves (particularly the flag leaf – the top leaf) need to be healthy.  This includes minimal insect feeding and disease development.

Weekly scouting is suggested from the last week of March through the grain fill hard dough stage. Most of our wheat has pollinated and seed formation has started and the threat of Cereal Leaf Beetle is over. This is the time when leaf rust could play a role in yield reduction.


Fungal Diseases

Fungal diseases include powdery mildew, leaf rust and stripe rust.
Powdery mildew lesions are first noticeable as white, powdery spots on lower leaves and
stems. The disease may then progress up the plant. Powdery mildew variety resistance is
the most economical control measure. Pay special attention to wheat fields planted to
powdery mildew susceptible/moderately susceptible varieties. A fungicide should be
applied if powdery mildew reaches 5-10% coverage of the upper leaves.
Leaf rust lesions are small/circular/brown and individually spaced. Stripe rust lesions are
small/circular/yellow-orange and merge to form stripes. Leaf rust/stripe rust variety
resistance is the most economical control measure. Pay special attention to wheat
fields planted to leaf rust/stripe rust susceptible/moderately susceptible varieties. If
the variety is rated susceptible/moderately susceptible and 1-3% of the leaf area is
covered with lesions, a fungicide should be applied. If the variety is rated resistant or
moderately resistant, it likely has adult-plant resistance meaning that although a few
lesions will appear, it will not be profitable to apply a fungicide.
Head Scab
As little as two or three days of light to moderate rainfall can favor infection. Optimum
temperatures for infection are between 75°F and 85°F, but during prolonged periods of
high humidity and moisture, infection will occur at lower temperatures. The initial
infection on the wheat head may produce additional spores that can infect other wheat
heads. This secondary infection can be especially problematic in uneven wheat stands
with late flowering tillers.
Resistant Varieties: Although no varieties are immune to head scab, some are more
resistant than others. Check the wheat variety guide as it has a column on scab
Chemical Control
There are several options when it comes to disease control on wheat. Triazoles are the
best for controlling head scab as they can be safety applied at flowering. Caramba,
Proline 480, and Prosaro are rated as good in the 2015 NC Ag chemical manual for head
Fungicides that contain an active ingredient in the “strobilurin” class should NEVER be
applied when wheat is flowering as research has shown that strobilurin fungicides can
actually increase DON levels in harvested grain. Caution, it cannot cause head scab, but
it can make it worse.
Strobilurin products are very good at controlling foliar diseases of wheat, and if used,
should be applied earlier in the season, before wheat heads are fully erect and flowering
Open flowering occurs shortly after head emergence (3-4 days). Open flowering is
characterized by extrusion of the anther (reproductive portion of the flower which
produces pollen) from each floret on the head. Wheat begins flowering in the middle of
the plant and extends upward and downward over 7 days. When you can see the yellow
anthers, wheat is at Feeks 10.5 growth stage, which is flowering.

Multiple Products in Transplant Water

Many growers are successfully applying insecticides in the transplant water to control
aphids, flea beetles, wireworms, and other larvae that attack tobacco. Examples include
acephate, imidacloprid (Admire Pro and others), thiamethoxam (Platinum and others),
and chlorantroniliprole (Coragen). Others are interested in applying Ridomil Gold SL or
Presidio in the transplant water to help manage Black Shank, and still others would like
to apply starter fertilizer to boost early season growth. In addition to these options, there
are producers that would like to and have successfully applied 3 or more of these options
in the transplant water without any known issues or concerns. The more products that are
used, the greater the potential for phytotoxicity or mixing problems.
So, what if anything should you add to the transplant water? First you must answer the
question of what you are trying to achieve with the addition of these products.
Insecticides-Imidacloprid and thiamethoxam are effective tools for managing wireworm,
flea beetles, and aphids and transplant water application is a labeled and effective
application method. One benefit of this method is a lower risk for stunting when
compared to tray drench application. However, the transplant water application may
provide less suppression of Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV) than tray drench
application because the plant must grow and absorb insecticide before the suppression is
in effect. NCSU research has shown that Coragen provides control of hornworms and
budworms during the first 5-6 weeks after transplanting when applied in the transplant
water. Careful scouting to monitor pest levels is always important regardless of what
products have been used.
Fungicides-NCSU research has also shown that 4 ounces of Ridomil Gold SL in the
transplant water provides similar Black Shank control to 16 ounces applied at first
cultivation in some locations. Additionally, Presidio has a new label for flue-cured
tobacco and is effective for managing Black Shank. This application method offers
excellent placement and timing and can result in improved uptake during the first 1-2
weeks after planting. If there is a history of black shank in the field, a follow-up fungicide
application between transplant and lay-by can provide further benefit. However, the
product label does not allow consecutive applications of Presidio, therefore growers
should alternate these fungicides when using sequential applications. If there is little
history of Black Shank, a long rotation (4 or more years without tobacco), and highly
resistant varieties are planted, then Ridomil will have limited value in the transplant water
or otherwise.
Starter fertilizers can provide improved early season growth and earlier topping when
compared to no starter. However, research has shown that this earliness does not
normally result in measurable increases in yield or quality. Does this mean that starter
fertilizers do not have a place? No, to the contrary a good crop start is always important
no matter what crop you are trying to grow. Good early season growth can facilitate
improved cultivation and therefore better weed control. The quicker that tobacco reaches
topping, the sooner that it is safe from pests like aphids, budworms, and even reduces
blue mold risk. So, early growth is important. When selecting a starter fertilizer, choose
a product that provides the most nutrients (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium) for your
money. Application rates should be based on providing approximately 5 pounds of
phosphorus per acre. The benefit of starter fertilizers in the transplant water will be even
less when a complete fertilizer like 6-6-18 or 8-8-24 is used as the base fertilizer. If 40
pounds of phosphorus is applied in the base fertilizer at or near transplanting, then it is
really difficult to justify the extra expense, trouble, and potential risk associated with
transplant water fertilizer.
Ultimately, every grower must decide what benefits are needed from transplant water
treatments, and decide where to spend their money and effort for the maximum benefit.
Does Starter Fertilizer Result in More Black Shank?
The real short answer is, it can in some cases. Research has shown that using starter
fertilizer in the transplant water can result in more Black Shank. The reason has not been
proven through research, but it is possible that this can be explained by the growth of a
larger root system early in the season. Typically varieties with smaller root systems are
more resistant to disease. Obviously, a large healthy root system is very desirable when
disease is not a problem.
So, should you use starter fertilizer, and should you use it in combination with Ridomil or
Presidio? Black Shank is much less of a problem in Johnston County than is Granville
Wilt. It is not known whether starter fertilizers have similar effects on the incidence of
Granville Wilt. The ratio of Granville Wilt problem fields to Black Shank fields is
probably at least 10 to 1 in Johnston County. However, some farms and some fields can
have severe Black Shank pressure. If you are having difficulty managing Black Shank
and you are using starter fertilizer, then you should consider discontinuing the use of the
product. If you have been using starter with good results and Black Shank is not a big
concern, then there is really no reason to change. You can even use Ridomil with the
starter fertilizer and this will reduce your risk of disease as illustrated by the data.
Mixing and Application-When using any product in the transplant water uniform
application is critical. Mixing products in the nurse tank is advisable to avoid mistakes
and concentration in the field. Agitation is important to make sure that products are
properly mixed and that they stay in suspension. Application equipment should be
calibrated to make sure that rates are accurate. Pressure systems rather than gravity flow
systems are preferred.

Wayne County joins quarantine area for emerald ash borer
RALEIGH – Wayne County is the latest to come under quarantine rules
restricting the movement of hardwood firewood, ash nursery stock and other ash
materials after emerald ash borers were confirmed in a 2.5-acre stand of trees on the
Cherry Research Farm. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler signed an emergency
quarantine order allowing the expansion.
An employee with the research farm noticed unusual markings on ash trees and
contacted an entomologist with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer
Services’ Plant Industry Division for confirmation of EAB. Ash trees were planted on
about 13 acres in 2000 as part of a research project.
Granville, Person, Vance and Warren counties remain under quarantine from the
first detection of emerald ash borer in the state in June 2013. North Carolina was the 20th
state in the country to confirm the presence of the destructive pest.
“This discovery comes as our Plant Industry Division prepares to begin placing
traps, readying for beetle emergence in April. Staff will be setting out traps statewide
looking for signs of this pest in other locations,” Troxler said. “If you see the purple,
triangle-shaped traps, please do not disturb them. We ask for the public’s cooperation
with these quarantine rules to restrict the movement any further.”
The beetle was first detected in the United States in Michigan in 2002. It is
responsible for the death or decline of tens of millions of ash trees across the country.
Under the state quarantine, all hardwood firewood and plants and plant parts of the
ash tree — including living, dead, cut or fallen, green lumber, stumps, roots, branches and
composted and uncomposted chips — cannot be moved outside the county.
The Plant Industry and Research Stations divisions and N.C. Forest Service are
working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service.
Symptoms of emerald ash borer in ash trees include a general decline in the
appearance of the tree, such as thinning from the top down and loss of leaves. Clumps of
shoots, also known as epicormic sprouts, emerging from the trunk of the tree and
increased woodpecker activity are other symptoms. The emerald ash borer is not the only
pest that can cause these.
Emerald ash borers overwinter as larvae. The adult beetle is one-fourth to a halfinch
long and is slender and metallic green. When the adults emerge from a tree, they
leave behind a D-shaped exit hole. The larvae can also create serpentine tunneling marks,
known as feeding galleries, which are found under the bark of the infested trees.
Home and landowners are encouraged to report any symptomatic activity in ash
trees to the NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division hotline at 1-800-206-9333 or by email at The pest can affect any of the four types of ash trees grown in the

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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