David Owens, Extension Entomologist, email@example.com
Congratulations to Keith McGowan and others for correctly identifying the damage in last week’s photo as bird damage. A guaranteed winning guess would have been Matt Daudt pulling plants up, but no one suggested him despite my best effort to implicate him in the photo. My shoe size is a good deal smaller.
Note how the plants have been pulled completely out of the ground, showing the below ground, pale portion of the stem and the root but no seed. This year, EPA canceled all state uses of the Avipel dry hopper box treatment. If you notice more bird damage in fields, please let us know so that we can forward your observations to both EPA and the registrant to encourage them to bridge the regulatory hurdles for next season.
Cutworm damage can look similar, but cutworms will chew the plant off at the soil surface. They may partially drag the cut end of the plant under dirt clods to snack on later. With cutworm, you may also see small holes in the soil surface scattered across and between rows where they have or are currently hiding.