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Friday, May 6, 2016

Forage producers faced much adversity this year

Thursday, October 6, 2005

OREGON COUNTY -- Forage producers in southern Missouri, including Oregon County, have had their share of adversities this growing season. Agronomy specialist Vance Hambelton with University Extension said the old saying "when it rains it pours" seems to be the case for the producers.

"This year has included early dry conditions plus late spring freezes, drought conditions for most of the area;,high grasshopper numbers in some areas. All of these have contributed to hay and pasture losses of 50 to 75 percent," Hambelton said. He said the quality of forages have also been reduced.

"Things began looking up with the rain we received two weeks ago. Things greened up a little in Oregon County and I think that extra food allowed us to see what the armyworms were trying to fill their stomachs with," he said.

Hambelton said he started receiving calls about the armyworms last week. "I have had reports of the worms in pastures including fescue, orchard grass and clover, alfalfa and sudangrass. The alfalfa fields, summer annuals and newly seeded fields will be the most susceptible to fall armyworms" he said.

Hambelton said the larvae or worm of this insect can be devastating to grasses and legumes. "The larvae are about 1 1/4 inch to 1 1/2 inches long when full grown. They are smooth skinned and vary in color from light tan or green to almost black. Running from head to tail are three thin yellow-white lines. On each side is a wide, dark stripe and below this is a wider, wavy yellow stripe splotched with red," he said.

Hambelton said the fall armyworm cannot survive the winter in southern Missouri because it gets too cold. "This means the adult moths migrate in from the Deep South, lay their eggs and begin the reproduction process. The eggs of fall armyworms are laid in shady areas and not in plant seed heads. To my knowledge they are not spread by seeding."

Oregon County pastures were nearly destroyed three years ago when armyworms first made an appearance in the area.

Hambelton said area farmers should contact their local extension office to learn how deal with the problem of the worms.

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