It is too early to know if black cutworm will be a significant problem in 2014 MN crop production. However, captures in a cooperative pheromone trapping network indicate vigilance is in order. We do not have complete coverage of the state with this network and cutworm infestations are always variable from field to field so it is best to err on the side of caution. Pay close attention to any leaf feeding, wilted or cut off corn plants as you scout.
There are at least two flights, April 28 and May 8, where larvae would be large enough show leaf feeding and may be large enough to cut corn in warmer locations. The highest, but not exclusive, risk for black cutworm infestations is highest from Faribault and Steele County in SC MN and a diagonal northwest up the Minnesota River to southern WC MN.
We do know that black cutworm larvae are present and active. I just received a report of black cutworm leaf feeding on corn near the Sibley/Renville County line (Curt Burns). In addition to corn, sugarbeets and several other dicot crops can be attacked.. Later planted weedy fields are were not tilled before cutworm moths arrived are most at risk. Depending on geography, weedy late worked fields may be common this year.
Scouting is important to determine if cutworms are a problem in you fields. Some corn hybrids and at plant insecticides provide control of black cutworm larvae. Insurance insecticide applications for black cutworm are not productive. For further information see: http://swroc.cfans.umn.edu/prod/groups/cfans/@pub/@cfans/@swroc/documents/asset/cfans_asset_480595.pdf .