Drought makes crops more susceptible to pests

An extension entomologist is concerned crops in areas of prolonged drought will be more vulnerable to pests.

Erin Hodgson with Iowa State University says a lack of moisture puts stress on plants.

“That makes (the plants) more susceptible to some of the feeding that happens from insects, so I think that’s what we’ve seen the last couple years is crops are suffering to a certain extent because they’re just not getting adequate moisture. So they’re not optimal, and then you have insect pressure, you might have disease pressure.”

She tells Brownfield severe weather during the growing season can also leave lasting impacts.

“It sets crops up for not total success because you have these stressors on top of everything else. So I don’t know if the drought will continue this year, but that’s certainly not a good thing for farmers because it kind of sets up a step-wise stresses for everything else that might happen in the season.”

Hodgson says corn and soybeans in many parts of the Midwest will likely start the year at a moisture “deficit” and farmers should factor that into pest management.

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