Pest Control in Agriculture: Protecting Crops and Livestock

Agriculture in Jackson and Madison County has changed dramatically since farming began in Tennessee. Jackson remains a hub for agriculture, but there are not as many farmers as there used to be. Farms have gotten bigger with the help of more sophisticated farming equipment. Farmers are also more diversified, growing multiple crops such as cotton, wheat, corn, and soybean.

Common crops in Jackson today include grains, dry peas, tobacco, cotton, melons, potatoes, fruits, berries, and nuts. Livestock commonly found in Jackson include chickens, cows, pigs, sheep, and horses. Being a farmer is not an easy job. Farmers have to take care of their crops and livestock, which includes knowing how to prevent and control pests. Insects can make their way onto farms and fields and cause an infestation. This can lead to disease, killing crops and livestock which, leads to significant economic damage. 

Pest control is a necessity for every farm. Here’s what you need to know about crops, livestock, and pests in Jackson, Tennessee. 

Common Crop Pests in Tennessee

Crops in Jackson may be affected by pests and diseases, which can reduce the quality of your crops as well as your yield. Here’s what you need to look for:

  • Corn earworm. This pest is a common problem for Tennessee corn growers. Corn earworm is considered by some to be the most costly crop pest in North America, as its larvae damage the crop. In addition to corn, corn earworm also attacks tomatoes, artichoke, asparagus, cabbage, cantaloupe, cucumber, lettuce, pumpkin, spinach, squash, watermelon, and many other fruits and vegetables. 
  • Japanese beetle. The Japanese beetle is another highly destructive plant pest. It feeds on grass roots and can be very difficult to control. These pests attack the foliage, flowers, and fruits of more than 300 agricultural plants, including corn, soybeans, and fruit trees. 
  • Soybean aphid. Soybean aphids are small, green bugs that use their piercing-sucking mouthparts to extract plant sap from soybean leaves. Heavy infestations can result in mold to crops. Soybean aphids can also transmit viruses to soybeans, so they are a pest you want to eradicate as soon as you see them. 
  • Corn rootworm. Corn rootworm larvae feed on pollen, green silks, or leaves in corn fields. They can damage the roots of corn plants, causing the corn plant to suffer from mold and other diseases. Many plants die.
  • Stink bugs. Stink bugs can feed on a wide range of crops, including soybeans, cotton, and corn. They damage plants by piercing them and sucking out juices, killing the plants.
  • Cutworms. Cutworms are moth larvae that hide under litter or soil during the day. They come out at night to feed on plants. They can be a problem for a variety of crops, including corn, soybeans, and vegetables. They tend to cut down young plants at or near the soil surface, hence their name.
  • Wireworms. Wireworms are wormlike hard-skinned larvae, often coming from a click beetle. Wireworms live in soil and feed on the underground parts of plants. They can cause damage to various crops, including corn and potatoes.

Here are a couple diseases you should know about that can affect your crops:

  • Southern corn rust. This is a fungal disease that makes corn have a rusty appearance. It can reduce the quality and yield of corn crops.
  • Gray leaf spot. This is another fungal disease that can damage corn leaves and reduce photosynthesis. It also affects perennial ryegrass and tall fescue. 

Common Livestock Pests in Tennessee

Cattle, goats, horses, sheep, pigs, fowl, dogs, and cats can all be affected by the following pests:

  • Black flies
  • Horse flies
  • Deer flies
  • Cattle grubs
  • Chewing lice
  • Mange mites
  • Mosquitoes
  • Ticks

Farmers may use a wide range of pest management strategies to control weeds, insects, fungi, viruses, and bacteria. They till their soils, rotate their crops, and carefully consider plant density and planting dates. They also apply pesticides.

Herbicides are widely used for weed control. These pesticides are often applied before planting. Insecticides are used to control insect infestations. Some insecticides are incorporated into the soil, while others are applied directly to plant foliage. 

Pest Control Methods

How can you protect your crops from pests and diseases? Here are some effective methods:

  • Create healthy soil. Healthy soil attracts friendly insects and helps prevent certain plant diseases.
  • Plant at the right times. Pests and diseases often respond to the weather. Watch how each crop grows and talk with other farmers about these patterns. Planting earlier or later than usual may be an option. 
  • Plant a variety of crops. Large areas with only one kind of plant attract pests that like that plant.
  • Space plants correctly. Planting crops too close makes it so plants do not get enough air and sun, which they need to thrive. On the other hand, planting crops farther apart can leave too much room for weeds and can dry up the soil. You may need to experiment to find the optimal amount of spacing for each crop.
  • Water from below. Watering from above can cause diseases that live in soil. Plus, wet leaves and stems allow diseases to grow. Use drip irrigation or flood irrigation to keep plant leaves and stems healthy.

Contact Us Today

If you own a farm, it’s important to protect your crops and livestock. Bugs and diseases can threaten your livelihood without proper pest control. Golden Circle Exterminators can help you protect your assets from pests. We understand how stressful a pest infestation can be, whether it’s in a home, yard, or field. 

Our knowledgeable team is ready to serve you. We’ll help you understand your pest control and extermination options. To schedule a free inspection, give us a call at (731) 668-4887.