Welcome To The
Fulton County, Arkansas
Cooperative Extension Service
We are part of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service’s statewide network and the University of Arkansas System’s Division of Agriculture. Our mission is to provide research-based information through non-formal education to help all Arkansans improve their economic well-being and the quality of lives. Whether it is agriculture, 4-H, health and living, or community development, the Fulton County Extension Office is at your service!
Check out our 'What We Do' Video to learn more about Extension!
Fall Armyworms on the Move: Scouting and Control
There are many reports of fall armyworm presence and damage to pastures and hayifelds scattered all over Fulton County. While fall armyworms prefer to feed on bermudagrass more so than other forages, it is important to adequately scout all fields every couple of days for the next few weeks.
Proper identification is critical, but not difficult. See the video below for a close-up view of the fall armyworm. When newly hatched, the fall armyworm larva is light green to cream-colored with a dark head capsule and measures approximately 1⁄16 inch long. As the larva feeds and molts, it becomes darker with light-colored lines down the sides of its body. The head capsule is dark with a light-colored Y mark on the front. In addition, the top portion of the next to last abdomen segment has four small dots. The inverted Y on the head capsule is a good characteristic to distinguish the fall armyworm from the true armyworm . A fully grown fall armyworm larva is about 1½ inches long. Once they are this large, they've done most of their damage and are more difficult to control with insecticide. The bulk of their feeding occurs when the caterpillars are between the 1/2" - 1".
As with many forage pests, they are best scouted for early in the morning before the sun gets up much or in the late afternoon. They can be hard to find during the day when they’ll bury up in the thatch layer. More than 3 armyworms per square foot justifies an insecticide application.
First of all, if this is a field that is ready to be hayed, go ahead and do it. The caterpillars will stop eating, for the most part, once the grass has been cut. In this case, save the expense of spraying it.
Fall armyworms, unlike true armyworms in the spring, do not overwinter here, so once we have a good spell of cold weather, we won’t see many more problems with them. Due to their reproduction and movement, we do tend to see fall armyworm problems in waves every 30 days or so. With the first reports occurring in late August and if we were to have a late first frost, we could see another round of them in late September/early October. So, it’ll be important to remain vigilant in your scouting.
Controlling them with an insecticide can be a cheap option. Insecticides containing lambda-cyhalothrin will be the cheapest option at a cost of around $3-5/acre. They do require a license to buy, and they only provide control for a few days. And, they don’t have a grazing restriction. Another option would be Prevathon, Coragen, or Besiege (chlorantraniliprole). It is a little more expensive (around $10/acre) but it does provide longer, residual control of around 10-14 days. It does not require a license to buy, and it has no grazing restriction either. Liquid Sevin (carbaryl) is another that doesn’t require a license, but it can be a little slower to work. It has a 14 days grazing restriction, so you’d have to hold off for two weeks. That’s not usually practical for most farmers. Mustang Max (zeta-cypermethrin) is another that does require a license but does not have a grazing restriction. See the forages section of the publication, MP144, for more information.
As always, the label is law. Follow the label. Not all formulations are concentrated the same, so know what you’ve got and how much to put out. Also, with these lower rates/acre of chemical and the fact that you’re dealing with an insecticide (which tend to be more toxic to humans) instead of an herbicide, it is important to be properly calibrated and use proper protective equipment. If you need help with calibration or with determining application rates, give me a call. Or, if you need help identifying fall armyworms or deciding if they’ve reached a threshold that justifies a spray application, give me a ring at 870-895-3301.
Photo: Fall armyworm with inverted "Y" on head for identification.
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Ready, Set, Graduate Program Teaches Financial Education to High School Seniors
To help fill the financial management needs of Americans, The U of A Cooperative Extension Service of Fulton County offers a class to high school seniors on budgeting, credit, and banking. The class offers all Fulton County Seniors an opportunity to experience purchasing homes, autos, and insurance, and using a proposed budget on the career they plan to pursue. By applying these important life skills, students will be able to manage resources more efficiently.
Students report 100% increase in knowledge after attending Ready, Set, Graduate classes. Students reported they were more aware of the impact their career decisions would make on the house, car, and other items they were able to afford. Thirty-three percent of students reported making better credit decisions as a result of attending the class.
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Photo: Bank of Salem and other Fulton County Extension partners teach money management skills to Fulton County. Seniors
Fulton County 4-H
Educating and Developing Fulton County Youth
Fulton County senior 4-H members constructed and tested the SeaPerch submersible robot, a S.T.E.M. initiative that is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research Science and Technology and the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). The goals of the project are to educate youth in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The project also gives 4-Hers an opportunity to compete against other teams in regional and national level competitions that will challenge their construction and intellectual capabilities. These youth will go on to teach the SeaPerch program to younger 4-H members later this year.
Video description: SeaPerch robot makes it way around the Salem City Pool, diving
to depths of 6-8'.
To enroll in Futon County 4-H, go to Arkansas 4-H Online.
Click here for Enrollment Instructions
Click here for Re-Enrollment Instructions
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Community & Economic Development
State Ballot Issues in Arkansas
The Public Policy Center publishes easy-to-read fact sheets on every statewide ballot measure. The fact sheets go through a vetting process that includes reviews by attorneys, issue supporters and opponents and subject experts. View the Fact Sheets.