Corn root worm infestations expected to increase this season

A BASF representative says Corn Belt farmers could see increased populations of corn root worm this season.

Nick Tinsley, a Seed Treatment Technical Representative based in Champaign, Illinois tells Brownfield in recent years they have spotted more in areas with a lot of continuous corn including parts of Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“A lot of that has been related to some of the traits not working as well as they have in the past, as well as some favorable weather, and so we expect populations to be a little larger this year.”

He says the forecast for a wet spring could be beneficial because the pest does not do well if soils are too wet during hatching in late May, but early planting can give them a boost.

“One of the things early planting can do is create a lot of root tissue for insects to be well supported on.”

After a decade of working with the pest, he says the number one thing growers can do is be aware of what is in their fields.  

“Doing some scouting throughout the year, especially when adults are around in mid-July thought August. Growers can even dig some roots to help understand how well their different management tactics are working.”

He says corn root worm costs US growers over $1 billion in yield loss annually and the only management tools are corn root worm traits, seed treatments and soil insecticides.

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