Black cutworms cutting late-planted corn

For most farmers at this time of year, black cutworms are a pest of the past, and they won't give this insect another thought until next April. However, there is still some very short corn in southern Iowa that is being cut by black cutworms. Jim Jensen, extension specialist in crops, reports cutting in both Lee and Van Buren counties on 4-5 leaf corn.

Black cutworm drilling into side of young corn.

The black cutworm has 2-3 generations in Iowa each summer, so the corn growth stage is a more critical factor in scouting for this insect than the time of the year. When corn has less than five true leaves, it can potentially be cut by black cutworms. Management suggestions may be found in ICM #11 (pages 78-79), but another aspect to consider is the delayed crop development relative to the time of the year. If the field can not be expected to produce a decent grain yield, or any yield at all, then chemical management of cutworms would not be a wise investment.

This article originally appeared on page 136 of the IC-476(19) -- July 22, 1996 issue.

Updated 07/21/1996 - 1:00pm