As with any year, crops can be impacted by disease and pest problems.
Despite the drought, farmers do have some disease and pest problems to be on the lookout for.
The good news is that a lot of the diseases that are usually yield impacting are not as much an issue this year because of the lack of moisture.
In the area of corn, if farmers are able to get a cob to develop, then they need to be on the lookout for Aspergillus ear rot. It is important to know whether or not you have it because it produces a mycotoxin (called aflatoxin), which is toxic to livestock.
To determine if you have it, inspect at least 10 ears in several locations within your field. After collecting it, peel back the husks.
If you see any olive-green mold, you should then send a sample of the corn to Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory (www.ppdl.purdue.edu or 765-494-7072) for confirmation.
In the area of soybeans, there is potential for charcoal rot and sudden death syndrome in some parts of the state.
For charcoal rot, you need to have moisture in the spring and then hot, dry weather later in the year.
Charcoal rot can be seen as a premature death of the plant that involves the leaflets turning yellow, dying, but continuing to stay attached to the plant.
Upon close inspection you would see gray speckling within the lower stem of the plant when it is cut open.
The drought prevents most insects from being out and about, however, there is one pest to still be on the lookout for. That would be two spotted spider mites (mites are not insects). Initial scouting for this problem can be done by looking for soybeans leaves turning a rust color.
If you see rust color leaves, then you should place a piece of white paper below the leaf and shake the leaf. If tiny reddish or orange mites fall into the paper, you have a spider mite problem.
As soon as you notice the spider mites, you should spray to control them.
It is important you spray within a few days as spider mites can move throughout a field, causing damage very rapidly.
For more information about two spotted spider mites go to: http:// extension.entm.edu/pestcrop.2012/issue14/index.html. Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.