Rabbits are usually the reference when it comes to a boom in population, but the Potato leafhopper may be giving bunnies a run for their money. Cornell Cooperative Extension's Jeff Miller scouted Central New York fields and found an enormous increase in the pest over the past 2 weeks.

The results of Jeff's field sweeps prompted him to issue an emergency message to CNY farmers. His field sweeps for the week of July 1 found 5 to 8 Potato Leafhoppers per 30 sweeps. Several days of dry and warm weather created a perfect breeding ground for the pest and Jeff's subsequent sweeps yielded 75-82 of them in 30 sweeps. And a recently harvested field found over a 120.

He adds that the pest not only destroys the crop "up to 1/2ton /acre yield losses are possible," but it can also "reduce protein content in the leaves and can reduce winter hardiness." Walking your fields is the only way to know if your alfalfa crop is being affected.  CCE has details on how to determine your level of infestation and what products can reduce their population ion their FaceBook Page.

SOURCE: Cornell Cooperative Extension