Insect Pests of Hayfields and Pastures
Mississippi hayfields and pastures are subject to attack by relatively few insect pests, but, some of these pests can cause significant economic loss when they occur in high numbers and are not properly controlled. Fall armyworms can be especially damaging to bermudagrass hayfields and can destroy entire cuttings of hay if not detected and controlled in time. Fire ants are present in every hayfield and pasture in the state, with mound densities ranging from 50 to around 200 mounds per acre. Although their impact on grass production is questionable, fire ants can interfere with hay harvest, their mounds can damage mowers and other equipment, and their stings are painful to both humans and animals.
A recently established non-native insect pest, the bermudagrass stem maggot poses a new threat to bermudagrass hayfields because heavy stem maggot infestations reduce hay production by interfering with stem growth, especially in mid to late season cuttings. Other less common insect pests include: crickets, which sometimes destroy stands of newly planted winter grazing; mole crickets, which sometimes damage pastures and winter grazing in the southern part of the state; white grubs, which are occasional pests in pastures that have been heavily fertilized with poultry litter; and two-lined spittlebugs, which sometimes damage bermudagrass hayfields.
A long, cool spring put Mississippi hay production about two weeks behind schedule, but a long, hot summer can give producers the chance to catch up.
Rocky Lemus, Mississippi State University Extension Service forage specialist, said he expects a good year for forages.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- While many humans anticipate making certain changes with the arrival of a new year, certain insects have much different life cycles.
Periodical cicadas may anticipate emerging from the ground in 2016, while others may simply have to wait a few more years to see the light of day.
Cicadas are curious creatures. From beady eyes on the sides of their heads to prominent veins stretching across their glassy wings, they seem to be created from the Twilight Zone. Yet, they produce one the most common sounds of summer.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Southern farmers may never win the battle against imported fire ants, but aggressive tactics can slow the pests’ invasion, reduce damage and prevent further spread across the United States.
Jane Parish is an Extension/research professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. She said cattle and hay producers have learned to live with and work around the troublesome ants since the pests arrived in the state almost a century ago.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- People have many misconceptions on how to eliminate fire ant mounds and prevent them from coming back, and these erroneous beliefs hinder efforts to keep the harmful pest from spreading.
JACKSON -- Turf and forage producers in Mississippi need fewer clouds and more sunshine.
In 2014, forage producers raised an estimated 600,000 acres of hay across the state. There are about 60 farms producing sod for sale in the state.
The unusually harsh winter melted into a cool, wet spring and summer, which slowed spring growth and intensified diseases and last fall’s herbicide injury in sod, said Jay McCurdy, turf grass specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.