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How to Plant and Manage Summer Trap Crops


– [Narrator] This video explains
some of the finer points for trap crop planting
and maintenance suitable for small farms. For details about basic principles and effective layouts of mixed trap crops, please see videos part one and two. Trap crops are not the silver
bullet solution to all pests. While this video explains
planting method for NK300 sorghum and peredovic sunflower for leaffooted and stink bug management, research continues on finding
more suitable trap crops and varieties for reducing
other major pests of vegetables like cucumber beetles and aphids. In the case of sorghum
and sunflower trap crops the seed head is the attractive
plant part in each case. In order to synchronize the
availability of the seed head with the occurrence of the insect, these trap crops should be
planted two weeks earlier than the main crop. Small farmers can stagger
plant with multiple rows of trap crops. Sunflowers take 70 days,
while sorghum takes about 100 days to mature. Sorghum and sunflower trap
crop should be planted in April or May on good quality soil. Planting the trap crop seeds
with the garden push type planter is an easy process. For sorghum we have
observed two plants per foot to be adequate plant density
and function as a trap crop. Rows can be planted
three or more feet apart depending on available area. Sidedress and nitrogen for
soil will promote rapid growth of the trap crop. Some trap crops can have poor germination with too little soil moisture. In Alabama research
running a drip tape between sorghum rows work really
well for this hardy, low maintenance trap crop. Sunflowers also do well with irrigation and should be planted
on the outside to arrest early season leaffooted bug migration. Tomatoes and other main
crops should be planted as far from sorghum NK300 as
possible to reduce shading. Extra space is also necessary
for operating small farm machinery like tillers and
sprayers between the rows. A trap cropping system is
designed to arrest leaffooted bug migration and large numbers will gather on sunflower and sorghum heads. Keep a detailed record of
numbers by scouting the insects on a minimum of 20 heads of the crop and check the insect count
on main crop as well. This will be useful for
targeting insecticide sprays on sorghum. Target pests must be removed
from the sorghum trap crop to prevent large build up and
migration to the main crop. One or two insecticide treatments
with synthetic pyrethroids like Warrior and Mustang
Maxx are sufficient in conventional farming systems. Organic producers should target nymphs with approved products. Destroy the trap crops at the
end of the season to prevent pest carryover. Please attend a regional
Extension meeting to get new information on
integrated pest management and crop production methods. You can also attend Extension
field days for hands on integrated pest management training. Please contact a Regional
Extension Agent at your local county office today.

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