Seminole Crop E News

Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

Pest Alert – Fall Armyworms in Grazing and Hay

Posted by romeethredge on July 24, 2013

Fall Armyworms (FAW) are terrible right now. I just came from a bermudagrass hayfield that was infested and lots of the leaves were heavily eaten. Yesterday, we looked at some pearl millet for grazing that had lots of the caterpillars eating their fill. I had been in the field a week ago and didn’t notice them at that time. The problem with these voracious caterpillars is that they lay low when young and don’t eat that much. When they get close to an inch long, it’s incredible how much they can eat, especially if their populations are high. In both fields I was in there were over 5 per square foot! If they were all an inch and a half long, then they would be close to cycling out, pupating, but there is a mixture of sizes in the fields I’ve seen.

So, now is the time to check all pastures and hayfields for this pest. I have noticed the White Egrets, cow birds, in many fields and they are a good indication that you may have a problem. They provide some biological control of the critters but not enough in most cases.

The photo with my hand in it below is in a bermudagrass hayfield that was severely infested. The other photo is in the pearl millet where the grower just put his cattle in to graze. He said the caterpillars are eating far more than the cattle. Both fields will be sprayed today.

Thanks to Andrew Sawyer for the millet photo.

Max-Lion'sClub 007 photo (7)

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