App helps corn growers scout for western bean cutworms
Western bean cutworms are a major pest of corn crops across Nebraska and the north central Corn Belt. A new Western Bean Cutworm Speed Scout app will make scouting for the yield-reducing pest faster and easier, said Wayne Ohnesorg, UNL Extension educator in Madison County.
Scouting for western bean cutworms is finished for this year. However, it's still a good idea to download the app and start practicing for next year, Ohnesorg said.
Ohnesorg, along with UNL entomologists Gary Hein, Tom Hunt, Robert Wright and UNL graduate student Silvana Paula-Moraes of Brazil, collaborated with University of Minnesota entomologists William Hutchison and Eric Burkness on the app. It was produced by Educational Media at UNL. The free app is available in the iTunes store at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/western-bean-cutworm-speed/id543341625?mt=8.
Similar to the Aphid Speed Scout app, the Western Bean Cutworm app allows users to speed scout corn fields to help them determine whether WBC populations have reached the action threshold for treatments. An action threshold is a best guess as far as what damaging levels are and where farmers will cover their cost of treatment in terms of yield, Ohnesorg said.
The app has visuals that show what WBCs look like.
In addition, since the application is based on a spreadsheet, people may download it to other smart phones, computers, etc., as well as iPads and iPhones, Ohnesorg said.
The app also allows the user to store scouting history, which allows the user to review the information without Internet access. The app can also send a reminder for when scouting is needed again.
To scout WBC in corn, typically 100 plants are sampled. However, with this new speed scout method, only about 54 plants on average need to be sampled.
Ohnesorg also has plans for an app for first and second generation European corn borer, but is awaiting a funder for that project.
Crop scouts and others may learn more about the application during regularly scheduled Extension workshops.