Manage Carefully To Control Western Corn Rootworm
Posted: May 9, 2014
folks growing continuous corn, western corn rootworm is a serious pest that
needs regular attention. Most growers in Pennsylvania seem to be aware of
the ongoing struggle in the Midwest with populations of western corn rootworm
that are resistant to some varieties of Bt corn. Similar reports of suspected
resistance have emerged from Michigan and New York. This resistance issue
continues to be a serious threat and we do not want it to develop in
Pennsylvania or the eastern corn regions. Rotating crops is the best
approach for managing rootworms.
In response to this resistance threat, many growers have considered putting insecticides over the top of Bt-rootworm seed. Extension Agronomist Bill Curran cautions growers that combining these tactics will not necessarily increase yield. In fact, a recently released research paper from the University of Illinois and one last year from Iowa State University indicate that adding soil insecticides to Bt seed tend to improve root protection a little but do not increase yield. Together the two research papers addressed single-trait hybrids, hybrids with more than one Bt gene, and refuge-in-a-bag, and insecticides did not provide a yield benefit in any case. So when you are planting corn this spring, think twice prior to putting insecticides over the top of your Bt corn.
(Contributed by Leon J. Ressler, District 17 Director as part of his Now Is The Time Column for May 10, 2014)