Corn fields can contain numerous pathogens in the soil that are capable of infecting corn seeds and seedlings. Corn planted into a well-prepared seedbed with warm conditions that allow it to emerge quickly, can generally outgrow the effects of pathogen attack. However, corn planted into cold, wet soils that emerges more slowly can be susceptible to injury from soilborne pathogens. Soilborne pathogens may attack seeds and seedlings both before and after plant emergence, as well as the roots and mesocotyl of emerging or established plants.
Time seems to be in short supply, especially right now as farmers are busy with planting, last-minute fertilizations, and field prep. In the midst of all the chaos, it can be easy to lose track of the fields that have been planted and what they need as they develop, emerge and grow.
The threat of black cutworms is a possibility every year. These pests arrive yearly in April and May with spring storms after migrating from the South. Their damage can range from very little to severe cases of stand loss in cornfields. Midwest cornfields serve as a main hotspot for these insects.
Alfalfa crops face many insects throughout their growing season. Some of these insects are beneficial and control a variety of pest species throughout the season, while others have the ability to decrease forage tonnage and quality.
Two of the pests that you could be seeing this year are Wireworms and False Wireworms. I will cover the differences between them and tell you a quick way of telling them apart without having to send them to a lab or count body parts. Both pests can attack your corn seedlings and reduce stands or stunt plants thus reducing your yields.