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Veteran Advisor

Black cutworms

Just got done scouting a field of soybeans I planted three weeks ago. The beans are 2-3 inches tall in most of the field with the exception of a few crusted areas. What I thought was just slow to emerge beans turned out to be cut stems under the soil surface with a big fat cutworm nearby. I usually don't have any real pest issues other than soybean aphids later on in the season so I didn't treat the bean seed with pesticide.... I did use a fungicide and inoculant. The field was tilled about a month ago and will be sprayed for weeds soon. Is there any control options? Its hard to say weather or not the damage is bad enough to justify control. I have never had an issue with cutworms in soybeans before. Have any of you?

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4 Replies
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Senior Advisor

Re: Black cutworms

Are cutworms what eventually turn into moths?  The only reason I ask, is because in Central Kansas we have had moths heavier than usual for about the last month.  That was about the time most of our early planted corn was seeded.  Could this mean we have a cutworm issue as well?

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Frequent Contributor

Re: Black cutworms

Never had trouble with them in beans until this year.  I've sprayed one field already and have another that I'm watching.  Also have army worms in a couple of corn fields that are getting close to the threshold for spraying.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Black cutworms

CZ I had one field sprayed for weeds last week and had the applicator add insecticide to the mix. I have never had cutworm problems until this year. I will probably have all my soybean acres sprayed with an insecticide to make sure they don't do anymore damage than whats already been done. To drive by the beans you would never know their was a problem but it is noticeable when I walk the fields that something just isn't right with the stand. I feel I have found enough six inch gaps of clipped beans to justify spraying.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Black cutworms

For all who read this post, I am not crazy nor am I seeing things. Before going to the local elevator yesterday to schedule a soybean field for herbicide spraying, I grabbed a cutworm from the field due to be sprayed. I brought my little friend in to their agronomist; she looked at it and asked, "You found this cutworm in your corn right?" I said no, that the cutworm was found in a field of soybeans. She later went with me to the field to scout for herself. While scouting I believe we found two dingy and one black cutworm. The worms are being sent to Purdue for confirmation. The agronomist said in her ten years of being an agronomist, she's never seen cutworms in soybeans. For all of you that like to drive by the fields and "scout," you may be in for a rude awakening come harvest. Apparently cutworms are not killed by seed-applied insecticide, so scouting and foliar-applied insecticides are the only way to control the pest.

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