Tobacco budworm levels have increased dramatically during the last week to 10 days in Johnston County. Today I scouted a later planted field with most plants about 1 week away from the early button stage. Approximately 50% of plants were infested with a live tobacco budworm. Larvae ranged in size from newly hatched to 1 inch in length. If you are not already spraying for worms, you definitely need to be checking your tobacco closely. The suggested threshold for budworm treatment is 10% of plants infested with a live budworm. Focus your attention on later planted fields first. These fields are more susceptible to budworms while those that are at button stage or already topped are at little to no threat.
Recent rainfall has been very beneficial to the tobacco crop in general. However, these rains have provided enough moisture to allow target spot to begin developing in the lower canopy. Quadris is an effective tool for the management of target spot, and it works best when used in a preventive manner. Considering the strong demand for flue-cured tobacco and the associated value of leaf, a preventive fungicide treatment is probably warranted. Do not assume that hot dry days will eliminate this fungus.
Bryant M. Spivey
County Extension Director – Johnston County Center
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service