Crop & Pest Report


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Southwest ND (09/14/17)

Information from the Southwest region of North Dakota.

Heavy haze from the fires in Montana have been lingering for the past several days in southwest North Dakota. The drought of 2017 continues after the short relief of some rain received in August. According to NDAWN from September 1st to September 13th, Dickinson, Beach, Bowman, Hettinger, and Mott have received 0 rainfall. Many in the region haven’t received any rainfall in over a month. I have been driving around this corner of the state the past couple of weeks for the National Sunflower Association’s Sunflower Crop Survey. Many of the pastures across the region are looking very dry and there have been many trucks passing by with loads of hay. Sunflower fields are ranging in maturity to a few fields still in late R-5 or flowering, to most in the R-8 stage with the back of the head turned yellow. Many sunflower fields are very stunted with many fields only 3-5 feet tall, depending on timing and amount of rains some of the sunflower fields in the region could still yield well. Disease doesn’t appear to be much of an issue in the southwest this year for sunflowers, but there are some issues with low populations, most likely caused by poor emergence due to the drought. There are also many fields with high kochia pressure. Soybeans in the region are beginning to mature as well and some will receive decent yields thanks to August precipitation. This has been a difficult year for many and hopefully we will receive some moisture this fall and winter to replenish the soil moisture.


Ryan Buetow

Area Extension Specialist/Cropping Systems

NDSU Dickinson Research Extension Center

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South Central ND (09/14/17)

Information from the South Central region of North Dakota.

The region has been dry so far this month, with NDAWN stations indicating September 1 to September 11 rainfall ranging from 0 (Cooperstown and Robinson) to 0.4 inch (Pillsbury). Rainfall from April 1 to September 11 ranges from 7.5 inches (Wishek) to 14.1 inches (Cooperstown).

Small grain harvest is essentially complete, while flax, dry bean and hay harvest continues. Silage corn harvest is underway. Based on NDAWN corn growing degree day units accumulated from May 1 planting date to September 11, the region is generally behind the long-term average, ranging from -202 units (Marion) to 106 units (Wishek). Most timely planted corn will reach maturity (R6 stage) during the last week of September through the first week of October (assuming we avoid a killing frost). Soybean generally are at initial to full maturity (R7-8), with harvest beginning in some areas.



Greg Endres

Area Extension Specialist/Cropping Systems

NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center

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2017 Corn Disease Survey

Over 100 corn fields were scouted in the past month to document the prevalence of foliar diseases in corn.

2017 Corn Disease Survey

Over 100 corn fields were scouted in the past month to document the prevalence of foliar diseases in corn. This effort has been conducted since 2014 with support from the North Dakota Corn Utilization Council and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. This year the three most common diseases identified were common corn rust (93% of the fields), common corn smut (44%), and Goss’ leaf blight (35%). Compared to the 2016 growing season, Goss’ leaf blight (Goss’) was found in more fields and higher incidence levels were noticed in fields with hail damage.

Of the three diseases detected, Goss’ (Figures 1 and 2) deserves the most attention for potential economic yield losses. If you found Goss’ this year, do not panic, but it is important to be aware of the disease to avoid management failures. The best way to manage Goss’ is using resistant hybrids, crop rotation (ie: soybean, sunflower) and residue management (when appropriate). Most hybrid companies will have a rating system for Goss’ in hybrid selection guides and it is important to avoid susceptible hybrids, especially in areas with higher incidence levels of Goss’. Both corn and sorghum are hosts for the Goss’ pathogen as well as grassy weed species, including volunteer corn, large crabgrass, yellow foxtail, green foxtail, giant foxtail, shattercane and annual ryegrass. Rotating away from corn and managing other hosts of the pathogen will help reduce Goss’ risk. The pathogen can overwinter on corn residue on the soil surface for up to 10 months, but leaf residue incorporated into the soil has a shorter shelf life. Finally, since Goss’ is caused by a bacterium, do not use fungicides to manage this disease.




Andrew Friskop

Extension Plant Pathology, Cereal Crops


Elizabeth Bauske

NDSU Plant Pathology, Research Specialist

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Sunflower Stem Diseases (09/14/17)

A visit to sunflower fields at this time of year can provide information on what disease(s) you might face in future years. This is particularly true with stem diseases.

Sunflower Stem Diseases

A visit to sunflower fields at this time of year can provide information on what disease(s) you might face in future years. This is particularly true with stem diseases.

Two stem diseases (Charcoal rot and Verticillium wilt) tend to be more common in dry years, while Phoma, Phomopsis and Sclerotinia stalk rot tend to be more common in years with adequate or excessive moisture.

A brief description of importance and symptoms is below. More information about these are other diseases are available in the original publication:

Stem diseases that tend to show up in drier seasons


Charcoal Rot

Importance: More common in dry years. Yield loss can occur. Can also infect soybeans and corn.

Key Symptoms: Premature senescence, gray lesion at the soil line appearing to be spreading up the stalk (Figure 1), small black specks (microsclerotia) in the stem (Figure 2).

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Verticillium wilt

Importance: Often appears in spots in a field but occasionally can be widespread. Where it appears, complete wilt and premature plant death can occur.

Key Symptoms: Mid-season - Interveinal chlorosis and necrosis most severe in lower canopy, with brown ring in pith and inside of pith still white (Figure 3). Late-season – external gray lesion on stalk with shrunken pith covered with black microsclerotia (Figure 4).



Stem diseases that tend to show up in wetter seasons


Phoma Black Stem

Importance: Very common stem disease but rarely economically important.

Key Symptoms: 1-2 inch coal-black lesion centered on a petiole, usually superficial. Many lesions may occur on the same stem

(Figure 5).


Phomopsis Stem Canker

Importance: Severe yield loss can occur with adequate moisture. Lesions may degrade the pith, resulting in yield loss and lodging. High disease pressure early in the season can devastate a crop.

Key Symptoms: Large (often greater than 6 inches) brown lesion centered on a petiole (Figure 6). Stem becomes hollow underneath the lesion, and is easily punctured with thumb pressure (Figure 7). Lodging may occur.

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Sclerotinia Mid-Stem Rot

Importance: Common disease that causes can cause yield loss and lodging, high disease pressure will result in yield loss. Caused by the same pathogen that causes head rot in sunflower and white mold in other broadleaf crops (for example, soybean, dry bean, canola, pulse crops, etc.).

Key symptoms: Large (often greater than 6 inches) tan to cream colored stem lesion centered on a petiole. White fungal growth and black fungal bodies may appear on or in stem. Stem frequently shreds and lodges (Figure 8).



Sam Markell

Extension Plant Pathologist, Broad-leaf Crops

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Soybean Cyst Nematode Sampling – Q and A (09/14/17)

We encourage soybean and dry bean growers to sample for soybean cyst nematode. Below are some commonly asked questions and answers.

Soybean Cyst Nematode Sampling – Q and A

We encourage soybean and dry bean growers to sample for soybean cyst nematode. Below are some commonly asked questions and answers.

Q:   Why should I sample?

A:    Soybean cyst nematode can cause very high levels of yield loss before you see symptoms. Soil sampling is the best way to detect SCN. We have solid management tools for SCN on soybeans, so it is worth your time to look for it.

Q:  Are my soybeans at risk for SCN?

A:    While it is possible that any soybean grower in North Dakota could have SCN, the greatest risk is in the Eastern part of the state. The highest egg levels have been reported in Richland, Cass, Traill and Southern Grand Forks Counties. To date, SCN has been found in 19 North Dakota counties.

Q:   Are my dry beans at risk?

A:    Soybean cyst nematode can infect dry beans and SCN has been spreading into areas where dry beans are very common. While all market classes can be infected, recent data suggests that kidneys are the most susceptible market class and blacks might be the least susceptible. Pinto and Navy beans appear to be moderately susceptible.

Q:   What’s the most common symptom of SCN?

A:    Healthy looking soybeans. Typically, the first thing you will notice is a spot in the field that doesn’t yield well. After you have relatively high egg levels in a spot, you may start to see stunting or yellowing that appears in August.

Q:   When is the best time to sample?

A:    Just before or after harvest. The nematode population builds through the season, so sampling at the season ends maximizes your chances of detecting it.

Q:   Where do I sample?

A:    Anything that moves soil can move SCN. Consequently, we tend to find SCN in places where soil is deposited from other sources, such as the field entrance (soil moves on equipment), low spots (from overland flooding) or shelter belts / fences (from wind-blown soil). Additionally, consistently low yielding patches or yellow spots that appear in August may be a result of SCN. Lastly, SCN likes high pH; if you have a low yielding and yellowing high pH spot, it could be SCN.

Q:   How do I sample?

A:    Use a small soil probe or a shovel and aim for the roots. Take 10-20 small samples, mix up, and fill soil bag with the composite sample. Keep the bag relatively cool and get to the lab in the next few days.

Q:   What do the results tell me?

A:    Your results will be reported in eggs / per 100cc of soil. Essentially, this is how many eggs you have in about half a cup of soil. Positive egg counts mean you should begin managing SCN, negative egg counts mean you should be happy, and sample again when you put soybeans back in the ground. One point of note, very low numbers could be false positives (50 to 200). Resampling may be a good idea.

Q:   How does the North Dakota Soybean Council (NDSC) funded sampling program work?

A:    The NDSC has provided enough funding for up to 2,000 SCN grower samples. Go to the County Extension office, pick up several pre-marked bags, take some soil samples (directions are included) and mail to Agvise (the lab partner). You’ll get you results in the mail and the NDSC will pick up the bill. That’s it!

Q:   Where can I find more information?

A:    I suggest to take a look at the recent issue of the NDSU Crop and Pest Report (2017 Soybean Cyst Nematode Sampling Program) or contact your local county extension agent.

Sam Markell

Extension Plant Pathologist, Broad-leaf Crops

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Corn Development and Dry-Down in 2017 (09/14/17)

After a relatively cold August and a colder than average start to September, the questions being asked by many corn growers are, when is my corn going to mature and when will it be dry enough to allow for harvest.

Corn Development and Dry-Down in 2017

After a relatively cold August and a colder than average start to September, the questions being asked by many corn growers are, when is my corn going to mature and when will it be dry enough to allow for harvest. Accumulated corn growing degree days (GDDs) can be a good predictor of corn development, and from a quick look at NDAWN, these accumulations are running slightly ahead of the long-term average for the western two thirds of the state and well below average for the eastern third of the state. In the southeastern corner of the state in particular, GDD accumulations range from 100 to 239 GDDs behind normal. The same region is running 150 to 345 GDDs behind last year, which was an exceptionally good year for corn development and dry-down. I used the U2U Decision Support Tool – Corn Growing Degree Days (, to predict when corn hybrids of differing maturity will reach black layer this year in a few areas of the state (see Table 1 on next page).

This tool was developed by a group of researchers from land grant institutions in the mid-west and can be used to estimate corn maturity date anywhere in the region (point and click on a location in a map) for a range of hybrid relative maturities and planting dates. These predictions use average weather data for future weather, so their accuracy will be influenced by future weather that is warmer or cooler than average. These data show that corn will mature more than a week later than last year for most areas of the state. For the various scenarios described, they further suggest all except the later maturing hybrids should reach physiological maturity (black layer) unless we get a killing frost within the next two weeks.


How quickly will corn dry is the second concern, as this will dictate harvest date and the amount of on-farm drying that will be needed. A rough rule of thumb is that it will take at least a month to dry corn after reaching black layer to the point that harvest can begin. However, the actual rate of drying is impacted by the moisture of the corn and weather factors such as relative humidity, temperature and wind speed. In 2016, we found corn to dry at the rate of about 0.75 percent per day for the period mid-September to mid-October. This rate was exceptional, as in other years we have found the rate to be more in the order of 0.25% to 0.33% loss per day for that same period. If we have near normal weather the remainder of this season, we can probably expect corn to reach the harvest moistures achieved last year in the eastern part of the state more than a week (and probably more like two weeks) later than the last two years. Warmer than normal weather will obviously hasten the process. Some potentially good news is that the most recent three-month climate outlook by the National Weather Service predicts that temperatures for the next two months will be probably be above normal.

Joel Ransom

Extension Agronomist for Cereal Crops

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Farmer Rancher Grant Program (09/14/17)

Farmers and ranchers have great insight when it comes to improving their production systems.

Farmer Rancher Grant Program

Farmers and ranchers have great insight when it comes to improving their production systems. They may choose to change their farming system to reduced tillage, limit off-farm inputs, reduce erosion, add cover crops, create more time for family or community activities, learn marketing skills, or find other ways to enhance their businesses. Farmers and ranchers can apply to the North Central Region SARE (NCR-SARE) for grant funding to implement their novel ideas. NCR-SARE’s Farmer Rancher Grant Program is a competitive grants program for farmers and ranchers who want to explore sustainable solutions to problems through on-farm research, demonstration, and education projects. If you are a farmer or rancher, or if you work with producers, consider getting involved. The call for proposals for the Farmer and Rancher grants in now available, and the deadline for submission is December 7, 2017 at 4 p.m. For more information about SARE projects in North Dakota and the call for proposal, contact one of the two North Dakota state coordinators: Karl Hoppe at 701-652-2951 or Bill Hodous at 701-662-7030.

Before writing a grant proposal, determine a clear project goal, explore previous and current research and determine what previous grant recipients have accomplished. It often helps to contact ND NCR-SARE or NDSU Extension agents to share ideas and invite participation.

-The maximum Farmer Rancher grant amounts are $7,500 for an individual, $15,000 for a team of two farmers/ranchers (not from the same farm), or $22,500 for a group. These grants are intended for ideas initiated by farmers and ranchers.

-Projects may last up to 24 months.

-Grants support producers who are protecting natural resources, enhancing communities, and boosting profitability.

-Outreach and networking multiplies producer project results.

Hans Kandel

Extension Agronomist Broadleaf Crops

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2017 IPM Survey Results – Small Grain Summary (09/14/17)

The purpose of the IPM (Integrated Pest Management) Survey is to detect the presence and population levels of diseases and insect pests in various crops, including those that are common in wheat and barley grown in North Dakota.

2017 IPM Survey Results – Small Grain Summary

The purpose of the IPM (Integrated Pest Management) Survey is to detect the presence and population levels of diseases and insect pests in various crops, including those that are common in wheat and barley grown in North Dakota. Six individuals were hired as full-time survey scouts and they operated out of the Dickinson Research Extension Center, the North Central Research Extension Center (Minot), the Carrington Research Extension Center, the Langdon Research Extension Center, the Williston Research Extension Center and the Fargo Agricultural Experiment Station.

NDSU IPM field scouts surveyed a total of 882 wheat fields (winter wheat, hard red spring wheat, durum wheat) and 113 barley fields for 18 diseases and 6 insect pests of North Dakota in 2017.  The survey was initiated on May 25 and continued through August 9, 2017. Crops were surveyed from the 2-leaf stage (seedling) through ripening stages. IPM survey data/maps provide near real-time pest information to North Dakota producers and others in agriculture to assist with scouting and pest management decision making. Pest maps from the 2017 IPM Survey in North Dakota were uploaded weekly onto the NDSU IPM website. Some of the IPM highlights for wheat and barley are reported below.

Insect Pests:

Grasshoppers - A total of 2,204 fields was surveyed in North Dakota. Grasshoppers were found in 36% of fields surveyed from early June through the end of the survey (mid-August). The number of grasshoppers per 4 sweeps (1 yd2) ranged from 1 to 60 per 4 sweeps. Although hot and dry weather conditions are favorable for grasshopper infestation, most fields primarily had feeding damage on field edges during the period of IPM scouting.


Grain aphids were found in about 17% of the wheat fields and 18% of the barley fields surveyed in North Dakota. Grain aphids were first detected early (May 26); however, populations did not develop into economic levels (85% of stems infested with one or more aphids) until mid-July. By then, most of the wheat fields were advanced beyond the susceptible crop stages for damage from aphid feeding. It is estimated that 5-10% of the cereal fields required insecticide control in central, southeast and east central regions.

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Wheat stem maggot was observed in 20% of wheat fields surveyed in North Dakota and damage ranged from two to 54% of plants with damaged heads (white heads). Wheat fields with >25% damaged heads were observed in McKenzie and Williams Counties in the northwest, Benson County in the north central region, and Cass County in the east central region.


Wheat stem sawfly populations increased in wheat fields in 2017. Wheat stem sawflies were observed in only 1.3% of the fields surveyed, but were found in 7 counties total, in Burke, Divide and Mountrail Counties in the northwest, Bottineau County in the north central region, McLean and Sheridan County in west central counties, and Golden Valley County in the southwest. The highest numbers of sawflies observed were in Divide and Mountrail Counties. 


Cereal leaf beetle is no longer a pest of export concern for shipments of hay from North Dakota to California or Canada; however, we monitor cereal leaf beetle as an economic insect pest of wheat and barley. No cereal leaf beetle was observed in wheat and barley fields surveyed in 2017. North Dakota counties that previously have been positive for cereal leaf beetle include:  Burke, Divide, McKenzie, Mountrail and Williams counties in the northwest; Renville and Ward counties in the north central district; and Cavalier county in the northeast.

Barley thrips were observed in 25% of the barley fields surveyed from June through July. Barley thrips prefer dry, hot weather conditions, which some areas of North Dakota experienced. Economic populations of barley thrips (>13 thrips per stem for malting barley) occurred in Ransom County in the southeast, Stutsman County in the central areas, Williams County in the northwest and Hettinger County in the southwest.



Wheat disease incidence and severity were low for much of the state. This can be attributed to the dry weather conditions and the lack of morning dews in heavy wheat acreage counties. As a result, reports of dry weather diseases (root roots and virus) was higher when compared to previous years.

The most common disease detected by IPM scouts was tan spot. This disease was detected in approximately 24% of the surveyed fields (Figure 1) with an average severity of 5.5% (about 2-3 small lesions on a leaf). Higher severity levels of tan spot were noticed late in the growing season (dough development) and likely had little effect on yield and test weight

Wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV) was recorded in approximately 5% of the wheat fields (Figure 2) with most reports from central and northwest ND. Given the higher incidence levels in these regions, growers should make sure to follow appropriate management strategies to reduce WSMV risk in next year’s winter wheat and spring wheat.

Fusarium head blight (scab) risk was low across much of the state. The area at greatest risk was northeast North Dakota. However, several growers in this area used less susceptible varieties and timely triazole fungicide applications to reduce both scab and vomitoxin (deoxynivalenol) risk.

Similar to wheat, barley disease incidence and severity were low this year. The most common diseases detected by scouts were the residue-borne fungal leaf spots spot blotch and net blotch. Spot blotch and net blotch were recorded in 8% and 11% of the fields, respectively.

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Acknowledgments:  Many thanks to the hard-working field scouts of 2017:  Marc Michaelson, Brittany Aasand, Grace Dragseth, Hannah Kempler, Jaime Lundquist, Scott Knoke and Isabelle Wieseler. We appreciate the help of Darla Bakko, NDSU Dept. of Plant Pathology, for data compilation and Honggang Bu, NDSU Dept. of Soil Science, for ArcMap programming. This survey was partially supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Crop Protection and Pest Management, Extension Implementation Program (Project No. 2014-70006-22562), and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.


Janet J. Knodel  

Extension Entomologist


Andrew Friskop

Extension Plant Pathology, Cereal Crops

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North Central ND (09/14/17)

Information from the North Central region of North Dakota

Dry conditions have continued throughout the region, with no more than 0.03” (Rolla) falling throughout the region over the last week. A decent chance of precipitation is expected for Friday into Saturday.

Most small grains, pulses, and canola appear to have been either harvested or swathed at this time. For the longer season crops, many (like soybeans) have begun to dry down as maturity approaches. At this time, I have continued to receive some questions regarding spider mites and wheat stem sawfly. Please refer to past Crop and Pest Report editions for more information, if needed.

TJ Prochaska

Area Extension Specialist/Crop Protection

NDSU North Central Research Extension Center


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Weather Forecast (08/31/17)

The August 31 through September 6, 2017 Weather Summary/Outlook

The past few days have been an exception, but much of the month of August has been on the cool side. Most of the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network (NDAWN) stations have recorded temperatures 3° to 6° below normal this month. Our current stretch of above average temperatures is expected to last through Sunday, then much cooler temperatures are projected for several days next week.


August has been cool, but also the wettest month of the growing season in many parts of the state. August average rainfall is around 1.5 inches along the North Dakota / Montana border and near 2.5 inches in the Red River Valley. The central and northern Red River Valley, into northwestern Minnesota and parts of northwestern and southwestern North Dakota, were the main locations to record below average rainfall this month.


The above average temperatures currently in place will be replaced by cooler air next week. Next Tuesday through Friday look to be well below average for temperatures. Below average temperatures this time of year can bring the threat for frost. As of this writing, temperatures dropping into the 30s in some parts of the region next week clearly look like a possibility, but as is always the case this time of year - the sky needs to be clear and the wind light. We have experienced lows in the 30s already on August 23 and 24 at some NDAWN stations and 30s this time of year are very unwelcome, yet not uncommon. Rain possibilities in the near term will come on Friday and again on Monday. The Labor Day rain chance will be associated with a cold front that will bring in that expected colder air that will linger much of next week.

The projected growing degree days (GDDs), base 50°, 44° and 32  for the period August 31 through September 6 is presented below.


The projected number of hours with relative humidity (RH) above 85% for the period of August 31 through September 6 is presented below. The dry conditions in the past week, plus with only scattered precipitation anticipated, the number of high RH hours this week should be near the average for this time of year.

Using May 10, 2017 as an average planting date, the number of corn growing degree days (Base 50°) accumulated through August 29 is depicted below. The exact numbers based on your actual planting date(s) can be found here:


Using a planting date of May 1, 2017, the number of wheat growing degree days (Base 32°) accumulated through August 29 is presented below. The exact numbers based on your actual planting date(s) can be found here:



Daryl Ritchison


Interim Director of the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network

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