Thursday, July 18, 2013

High Day Temperatures and Corn Pollination

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

Corn pollen drop is
occurring in many fields. 
Much of the corn in the state is going through pollination right as daytime temperatures are the highest for the season. Fortunately, most pollen drop occurs earlier in the morning and some occurs later in the evening. Soon after pollen comes into contact with silks, it begins pollen tube growth in those silks. As long as morning temperatures stay in the low 70's, pollination should occur without much trouble. Last year, morning temperatures were in excess of 90 degrees, relative humidity was low, the soils were extremely dry and the corn was under severe drought stress. This year, humidity is accompanying the hotter temperatures. The higher humidity will help the viability of the pollen grains.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Kudzu Bug – Not Crying Wolf

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

Any number of you are aware that I have been talking about the arrival of Kudzu bug in Kentucky for the past two years. Fortunately, so far as I know, this invasive pest has not arrived in the commonwealth. Nevertheless, it approaches ever nearer to our area. Dr. Scott Stewart, my colleague in Tennessee, is now dealing with Kudzu bug infestations in several southeastern Tennessee counties (See his article through the link immediately below).


Like Kentucky, most of Tennessee’s soybean production is in the western portion of the state. None the less, this activity in eastern Tennessee provides a foothold in our area and represents the infestation closest to Kentucky. In addition, this probably represents establishment (a locally overwintered population) and not introduction because this pest was discovered in eastern Tennessee in previous years.

It is as yet unknown how important this pest will be in Kentucky soybeans. However, it has become a major pest within two years of discovery in the soybean production states to the south of us. I see no reason to believe that this will not be the case in Kentucky. It is therefore important for us to keep a watch out for this pest. My guess is that it will first appear in counties with kudzu along the interstate corridors that handle traffic from east Tennessee, the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama. This includes I-75, I-65 and I-24. Producers and other interested parties would do well to look for this bug in kudzu and soybeans that border these highways.