One of our Columbia County farmers has started sweet corn harvest. The spring was challenging for the sweet corn crop with cool temperatures throughout March and April and a hard freeze on the mornings of March 27 and 28. However things have gone well overall and they have started harvest of a great crop. Prior to harvest we reached out to Multi-County Vegetable Extension Agent Bob Hochmuth for help with with stinkbug damage. We found high levels of green and brown stinkbugs earlier this season. The farmer initiated a timely bi-weekly stinkbug control program before ear development. What we apparently observed was that when an adjacent field of small grains matured, stinkbugs left for a better environment. There was apparently one planting date of sweet corn that was ideally suited geographically and physiologically. We sought the advice of Dr. Joanne Whalen, University of Delaware Extension IPM Specialist and she confirmed our thoughts. While we felt like we were doing all we could on pesticide management, we need to learn from this experience and do a better job with small grains planting, and stink bug management in small grains. We may also potentially need to grow a “trap crop” that would be a sacrifice area to attract stink bugs. It appears that we can use agronomics to help our control.
A custom harvest crew came from Belle Glade with a mule train to harvest. This machine was quite the engineering marvel. I gathered it was made from two military trucks and had a Duetz engine. It crawled along at a snails pace towing a flatbed truck, dozens of harvesters tossing ears of corn, two men building crates, dozens of people packing crates, and loading them onto a conveyer belt to a flatbed truck headed to the cooler. Equipment videos are my most popular posts, and I wanted to share this one.