Army worms invading hayfields in Autauga Co. - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Army worms invading hayfields in Autauga Co.

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
AUTAUGA CO., AL (WSFA) -

Alabama farmers know them all too well, the armyworms are already here, earlier than expected.

As of right now, more than 30 counties say they are seeing reports of the pests.

They are small, but powerful. Strong enough as an army to strip an entire hay field like Cattleman Win Palmer's near Autaugaville.

"It is the number one enemy," Palmer said.

Palmer spent Monday rolling up the hay for the season. The ride was bumpy of course but smoother compared to the damage these little fellas can cause to the crop and to Palmer's bottom line.

"See where they already make it look like someone put fire on it," Palmer said.

The invasion of armyworms is nothing new this time year, just a little earlier than expected. 34 counties including Autauga County are getting reports of the worms.

"They are a seasonal pest that we deal with," said Josh Elmore, Autauga County Co-op Extension Agent. "Typically we see them after a drought year."

It didn't take Elmore long to sweep up more than few worms, a reminder to farmers like Palmer that they will need to spend thousands of dollars on pesticide. In theory this could impact you, the consumer at the store.

"It follows on up through the chain, where food can become more expensive to produce," Elmore said.

Although the weather will always be the farmer's biggest worry, the lowly armyworm is not far behind.

"He is here for a reason, but I don't know what for," Palmer said.

So far Palmer has harvested around 1,000 bales of hay, a clear sign he's winning the battle against the big bad armyworm, but a battle he know he can never afford to lose.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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