Bayer urges farmers to scout for corn rootworm
Bayer is urging farmers to track 2020 corn rootworm pressure. This is the second year of what Bayer calls The Watch, a program the company hopes will encourage farmers to scout for corn rootworm. Bayer corn traits development manager Jody Gander calls corn rootworm the billion-dollar bug.
“Between the cost of control and management, as well as reduced yield, corn rootworm can cost growers up to $1 billion every year,” Gander told Brownfield Ag News.
Corn rootworm management includes rotating the crop away from corn, soil applied insecticides and the planting of BT corn hybrids, said Gander, adding that the best defense is vigilance.
“Once you see the damage there’s really not an effective rescue treatment to address that,” said Gander, “and that’s one of the purposes of The Watch is to raise grower awareness around that.”
“While some areas have seen lighter pressure in recent years, corn rootworm is highly variable and now is not the time to relax on management,” said Gander. “We’re challenging farmers to monitor and share their corn rootworm pressure this season as a way to showcase the very real threat in their fields.”
As corn rootworm feeds on roots below ground, according to Gander, it can impact yield potential and make the plants more susceptible to root lodging. While corn rootworm pressure isn’t visible at this point in the season, he says farmers can still be proactive in the months ahead through a number of methods.
Bayer is providing sticky trap starter kits to help farmers track rootworm pressure in their own fields and to share the information with neighbors.
Farmers can also track corn rootworm pressure throughout the season digitally at the website InsectForecast.com, where hatches, beetle movement and other key pests are tracked throughout the Corn Belt.
AUDIO: Jody Gander