Army Worm Invasion Spreads Across Jefferson County
Larry Woodruff has 1,300 acres of hay fields and he's trying to harvest all that hay in just one week.
"It's gonna be a race to see who wins and I think the army worm's gonna win," Woodruff said.
Army worms were discovered on his farm in the town of Orleans late last week. He's trying now to harvest all that hay before the worms can eat it.
Mike Hunter of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County began checking fields for worms across the county after army worms caused hay losses in southern Jefferson County last week.
He found out they're everywhere.
"I have yet to struck out in a field," he said. "meaning that every field that I've checked, every hay field I check, we've been able to find an army worm of some size."
Luckily, most of the army worms Hunter is finding aren't mature yet.
"These little larva that we're finding in the field right now are quite small, haven't done a lot of damage."
When Hunter finds larva of this size there are two options to beat the worms, harvest the crop or spray chemicals to kill the worms.
After this outbreak, the insecticides which can costs farmers thousands of dollars are in short supply.
"A couple of the real popular insecticides, the real common ones that are being used, they're not making anymore," Hunter said
And after a long day of haying, Larry Woodruff has one piece of advice for farmers in the North Country
"Time is of the essence at this point," Woodruff said, "because I think it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of how much and when."
Hunter says the only thing farmers can do now is to get down on their hands and knees and check their fields for army worms and even then, it may be too late.
Sunday, May 19, 2013, Watertown, NY
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