Local Interest

By Gary Stone, Extension Educator Invasive Resistant Pest Issue Team

Last year in another state, 14 horses died and another 100 were sickened from hay that contained blister beetles. Usually Blister beetles are not a problem, but growers should be aware of the insect and what to scout for in their fields.

The Pest: The blister beetle (scientific name Epicauta spp., order Coleoptera, family Meloidae) includes several species: ash-gray blister beetle (Epicauta fabricii), black blister beetle (Epicauta pennsylvania), three-striped blister beetle (Epicauta vittata), and spotted blister beetle (Epicauta maculata).

Anyone who receives a package in the mail with unsolicited seeds from China is encouraged not to plant them, but to contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) office in Lincoln.

According to John Thomas, Nebraska Extension Educator based in Alliance, Extension has been receiving some inquiries about the seeds, and has received the following guidance from the Lincoln APHIS office:

Anyone receiving the seeds should call the Lincoln APHIS office at (402) 434-2346 for additional instruction.

Leafy spurge is a non-native perennial forb. Leafy spurge is not a single species, but an aggregation of closely related, perhaps hybridized, taxa. Leafy spurge reproduces from seed and vegetative root buds. It is an erect plant 1 to 3 feet tall with blueish-green leaves with round edges. Flowers are surrounded by heart-shaped yellow-green bracts which hold three round to oblong seeds. They are located in clusters near the top of the plant. Flowers develop in mid-June, but flowering can occur through fall. Each stem produces an average of 140 seeds.

John Thomas, Extension Educator, Box Butte County
Jeff Bradshaw, Extension Entomologist, Panhandle Research and Extension Center
Karen DeBoer, Extension Educator, Cheyenne County

As winter wheat harvest progresses in the Nebraska Panhandle, it is becoming clear that 2020 is another year of significant wheat stem sawfly infestation and cutting. Infestations are moderate in the north and heavier in the south.

Robert M. Harveson, Extension Plant Pathologist
Xin Qiao, Water and Irrigation Management Specialist
University of Nebraska, Panhandle Research and Extension Center, Scottsbluff

On July 13, 2020 we found symptoms characteristic of Cercospora leaf spot (CLS) on lower leaves of sugarbeets from research plots at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Scottsbluff.

CLS, a foliar disease of the beet, has long been a problem for sugarbeet production in more humid areas of the United States. But it has been a sporadic, but potentially severe problem for us in western Nebraska. The disease is caused by the fungal pathogen, Cercospora beticola, and is spread by spores moving in wind currents throughout and among fields.

Hot, dry conditions in early summer have taken a toll on grass growth in much of the Great Plains this year. There are several options cattle producers may want to consider to conserve grass in these dry areas. Every producer should have a drought plan that includes trigger dates and a culling strategy, but once those top cuts are made, what feeding options are there for the core herd?

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