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Crop Management

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South Dakota agricultural landscape painted with Spring colors and a setting Sun.

Every Acre Counts Program Expands to All South Dakota Counties

September 08, 2020

SDSU Extension has opened the Every Acre Counts program to include all counties in South Dakota with a primary emphasis on the eastern side of the state.

Numerous grasshoppers feeding on a yellow sunflower head.

Watch Sunflowers for Grasshopper Defoliation and Flower Feeding

Grasshoppers continue to be an issue in some areas of South Dakota. The hotspots seem to be along the Missouri River, but it is a reminder that everyone should be monitoring their crops for grasshopper feeding.

Gray beetle with long antennae that are alternating white and black pattern on green leaf petiole.

Will Dectes Stem Borers Be an Issue in 2020?

Every year, there is a risk that sunflower in South Dakota will be infested by Dectes stem borer larvae. At this point in the season, adults are active, and females have likely been laying eggs in sunflower plants.

Diseased sunflower head, showing sclerotia bodies that have replaced seeds.

Sclerotinia Concerns in Sunflower

Sclerotinia diseases are a concern in sunflowers, because the fungus can infect the plant through the root, mid-stalk or the head. Wet weather and cool temperatures two-to-three weeks prior to and during flowering favor disease development.

Small reddish-orange beetles on a green sunflower bud with a larger grey beetle also present.

Identifying Red and Gray Sunflower Seed Weevils

When scouting sunflower, the most observed weevil is the red sunflower seed weevil. However, there are two species of seed weevils that can be present on sunflower heads in South Dakota.

Cream colored moth with a dark brown band in the middle of its body.

Monitor Sunflower for Banded Sunflower Moth Activity

Banded sunflower moths are active in South Dakota, which means it is time to start scouting sunflowers for their eggs. Banded sunflower moth caterpillars can reduce yields and oil content by feeding on the developing florets and tunneling into developing seeds.

Small pale green leafhopper on a green alfalfa leaf.

Potato Leafhoppers in Alfalfa

Potato leafhoppers are a migratory pest that commonly impact alfalfa fields throughout South Dakota. Feeding injury caused by potato leafhoppers resembles drought stress and, if left untreated, can reduce both yield and forage quality.

Three photos of blister beetles. The first is a black colored blister beetle on a purple flower. The second is a gray colored blister beetle on yellow flowers. The third is an orange-brown colored blister beetle feeding on a green leaf.

Check Alfalfa for Blister Beetle Activity

Blister beetles are becoming more common as we progress through the growing season. Recently, there have been multiple reports of blister beetles showing up in alfalfa fields.

Looking down onto a Palmer amaranth plant one sees how the whorled leaves are designed to receive sunlight.

Check Fields for Palmer Amaranth

Palmer amaranth, is an aggressive weed from the pigweed family, which has been reported with increasing frequency in recent years around Central South Dakota.

Green sunflower leaves with two snails present on them.

Snails Observed in South Dakota Sunflower

Last week we received reports of snail populations causing issues in South Dakota sunflower fields. Snails are normally not an issue in South Dakota crops but like their slug relatives, they can pose a threat to crops when field conditions are just right.