Agronomy Talk

Agronomy Update

UAV's, NCLB and Japanese Beetles in Indiana

Published on Monday, July 27, 2015

As Indiana corn continues to grow, scouting efforts have become more difficult. With some fields averaging over 8 feet tall, patterns are impossible to see from inside the field, which in turn makes diagnosing a field much more difficult. UAV's have proven to be a useful scouting tool in our research this summer, allowing agronomists to see the field from a broad perspective without getting into an airplane or helicopter.

UAV's prove useful, Northern Corn Leaf Blight persisting, 
and Japanese Beetles threatening corn pollination.

Christy Kettler | Sales Intern | Central Indiana

July 20-July 26, 2015

The Yuneec Typhoon Q500+, for example, is a UAV being used across the Midwest as a crop scouting tool. Other popular brands include the DJI Phantom 3 and DJI Inspire 1. The Typhoon Q500+ quadcopter can fly up to 16,000 feet away and capture images of a field. It is orientated with satellites and the “home” controller, and the images are connected to the controller by a Wi-Fi signal. The copter can fly for up to 30 minutes on a single rechargeable battery pack, while gathering pictures and videos. This device has the ability to “follow” the controller, which allows the operator to walk through a field and observe the patterns around him in a tall field. The Typhoon features a detachable camera that can be placed in a handheld stabilizer and used on the ground too.


Northern corn leaf blight has not slowed its spread in some fields. Fungicides with both curative and protective capabilities are suggested. Lesions (as shown in the photo below) will continue to grow and limit photosynthetic action through the remainder of the growing season. There is also a possibility of stalk rot coming from untreated cases of NCLB. Talk to your local agronomist and assess the potential yield loss. 



Japanese beetles can be a cause for concern in some fields that have not yet finished pollinating. If the beetles have eaten green silks to less than one-half inch before 50 percent pollination and beetles are present and actively feeding, an insecticide application may be needed.

Check with your local agronomist and scout at least five spots in a field before making a management decision. Japanese beetles eating away at brown silks will not cause damage as the pollination is already complete for that ear. Watch for more than two beetles on each ear and consider other economic factors when assessing the insect interference. 

The insect traps in north central Indiana had 12 European corn borer moths this week. This indicates flight of the second generation of European corn borers. Watch for egg masses and hatched larva, mostly in non-GMO corn. Purdue University Extension offers a guide to management decisions and crop scouting guides that can serve as an excellent resource.


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Denny Cobb

Denny Cobb

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