Performing a root dig to monitor for corn rootworm

A seed and trait specialist says corn rootworm scouting is becoming more and more important for Corn Belt farmers.

Edwin Benkert with Bayer Crop Science says corn farmers should consider root digs throughout the growing season.

“The only way we can really evaluate how much feeding is happening, and therefore how much injury and how much yield loss we’re experiencing, is by going out to the field and finding those hot spots where we see downed corn or lodged or gooseneck plants.”

According to Bayer, farmers should dig away from the base of the plant with a shovel, keeping the roots intact. The roots should then be soaked in water to remove extra soil.

Benkert tells Brownfield root digs are most effective when the crop is silking.

“Because some of our hybrids have really good root regrowth,” he said. “And so if we get a lot of root regrowth, that can mask some of that feeding and make it harder to see. But if we go too early, then we may not be capturing all the feeding that’s going to happen because there may be larvae that are not done feeding yet.”

He says crop rotations can help combat the pest, but traited products can be another tool in the tool box.

Benkert spoke to Brownfield at a Bayer Crop Science field event near Atlantic, Iowa on Tuesday, July 25th.

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