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Pests & Diseases

Diseases and pests diminish crop yields; find out what the current threats are and learn how to battle these yield robbers.

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Warmer-than-normal spring temperatures have accelerated the development of biennial weeds in pastures and along roadsides. "A problem that we would typically think about dealing with sometime in mid-May is rearing its ugly head now," said University of Illinois extension educator Robert Bellm.

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The clover root curculio weevil (Sitona hispidule) is one of the most serious alfalfa pests in the state of Idaho, where alfalfa is an important site-economic crop.

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Haymaking conditions in the spring are often poor and hay can be rained on or left lying in the field for prolonged time periods due to cool and humid conditions which reduces drying rates. The long drying periods with high humidity allow field growth of mold on the hay.

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Major losses to alfalfa stands can sometimes be attributed to plant disease. There are more than 12 diseases of alfalfa. They can be grouped into two categories: stem/crown/root diseases and foliage diseases.

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Have you struggled with winter annual weeds getting in the way of spring planting? Many farmers are fighting off these weeds with fall herbicide applications. Applying a herbicide now may help you save time next spring, said Aaron Hager, University of Illinois Extension weed specialist.

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Goss's leaf blight and wilt of corn is a damaging disease that has caused problems in fields in the past. The weather conditions this summer may favor development of this disease again in some Midwestern areas. 

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