Monday, June 26, 2017

Thistle Caterpillar

Generally speaking, thistle caterpillars are a minor concern for growers. However, they have been reported in soybeans across the Burrus territory this year.  If a soybean field has small plants and the caterpillar population averages one insect for every other plant across the entire field, or if defoliation reaches 20-25%, then these pests should be a concern.

Thistle caterpillars are mostly found in the leaves of soybean plants. They hatch and form webs by tying the leaves together with silk, creating a protected area for them to feed. After 2 to 4 weeks they form a chrysalis that hangs from the plant, and hatch after 7 to 10 days, emerging as a butterfly.


Eggs: The thistle caterpillar eggs are light green and barrel shaped.

Caterpillar: The body of the caterpillar is approximately 1 ¼" long and is black with yellow striping on both sides. It is covered with branched, spiny hairs. They are often found in webbed leaves where they feed.

Adult (Butterfly): Upper portion of the front wings are red-orange and brown with black and white spots. The hind or lower wings are red-orange and brown with black “eye spots” along the edge.

Thistle caterpillar found on soybeans in northern IL

Example of leaf webbing on soybeans in central MO


When the thistle caterpillar feeds on the leaves of the soybean plant, it causes defoliation in the upper canopy. 

Example of leaf defoliation


If high concentrations are found in one area of the field, those places could be spot sprayed. Labeled rates of insecticides can be used to manage thistle caterpillars.

Koch, Robert, Suzanne Wold-Burkness. “Thistle Caterpillar in Minnesota Soybean.” University of Minnesota Extension, Crops Team. 2015.
Rice, Martin E. “Thistle Caterpillar – Mostly Minor Pests of Soybeans.” Department of Entomology, IC-494 (15). 20 June 2005.

Written by Burrus Seed Intern Andy Vanlanduyt

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

High-Performance Alfalfa Forage Solutions

While most of our growers know we carry a complete lineup of superior seed corn and soybean products, it is a lesser known fact that we also offer three outstanding alfalfa varieties for growers looking for high forage solutions.  

214FY Brand Alfalfa
High forage yielding, persistent alfalfa that has excellent quality potential. It has a quick re-growth after cutting to maximize the growing season and performs best in high producing, well drained soils.

214FY has a solid disease, insect and nematode resistance package that allows it to thrive in adverse environments. This variety is excellent for the dairy and beef producer that needs high tonnages of dairy quality forage.

388HY Hybrid Alfalfa
This is a new improvement in Hybrid Alfalfa with the use of msSunstra Hybrid Alfalfa Technology. Some of the characteristics of this hybrid are dense stands with fine-stemmed herbage and fast recovery. But there is an exceptional boost in yield.

The fine stem characteristic of this alfalfa makes a dense, attractive alfalfa bale. 388HY Alfalfa is the variety of choice for the highest yields of high quality forage.

344EQ (Extended Quality) Alfalfa

344EQ was created to provide superior forage quality over an extended harvest window for growers. It features high TTNDED (Total Track Neutral Detergent Fiber Digestibility) and NDGD48 forage scores. Yield for 344EQ is very good and it has a reliable disease package. This variety excels on farms that want to produce high yields of consistently top quality forage.

388HY alfalfa spring planting in Sugar Creek, WI

388HY alfalfa spring planting in Sugar Creek, WI

Agronomic Summaries

By Andrew Vanlanduyt, Burrus Intern