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Regional Roundup - Southeast: Begin watching for armyworm infestations

Jason Duggin for Progressive Cattleman Published on 21 July 2017

Hope the summer has been kind to your operation thus far. The summer of 2016 was a struggle for most; the drought was a hard pill to swallow. This year has shaken out to be much better for many, and the long-term precipitation forecast is more optimistic.

On another note, last year was also a bad year for armyworms. Now is the time to begin watching for infestations in forage, corn and sorghum crops.

Armyworms or other foliage-feeding caterpillars may go undetected during the spring and early summer. However, after three or four generations of females laying 50 eggs each, a field can be taken over very quickly during late summer or fall. Large flocks of black birds congregating in a field could be a sign of armyworm infestation.

Experts recommend treating if the following is found: more than three larvae measuring half-an-inch in length or longer within a square foot area. If infestations occur, quick treatment is key.

Spring calving

If you have read this update before, it’s likely something about preconditioning was included. Preconditioning calves prior to marketing is essential for proper transition to the next phase of the beef chain. It should also yield more profit. Vaccinate prior to weaning with two rounds of respiratory and blackleg treatments. Provide a cool and comfortable spot with clean water for the 30- to 45-day weaning period.

Regional Roundup Southeast

If it seems the mature cow herd is getting thin and is holding too much hair over the summer, work with your veterinarian on updated deworming strategies. A combination of injectable and paste application has been shown to be very effective.

Fall calving

Watch for declining pastures prior to calving next month. The heat and heavy grazing may not leave much for September. Whether or not pastures are short, this is a great time to shop for commodities. Prices should be much better now versus late fall and winter. Monitor the cow herd’s body conditioning score.

Cows need to be at least a body conditioning score of 5. First-calf heifers will need monitoring and special feeding after calving. Now is a great time to get them sorted from the rest of the herd. If you are also developing replacements, provide forage and supplement (if needed) to achieve at least 1.7 pounds of average daily gain.  end mark

Jason Duggin
  • Jason Duggin

  • Beef Extension Specialist
  • University of Georgia
  • Email Jason Duggin

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