Prioritizing early season pest management

corn rootworm

An integrated pest management specialist says farmers need to prioritize potential insect pressures at the start of the growing season.

Bruce Potter with Minnesota Extension tells Brownfield corn growers should have a fairly good idea of where there could be problems.

“If you’ve got a field (that’s) had some rootworm problems; hopefully people have been paying attention to beetles in those fields the past couple years.  Some of those (fields) might be at higher risk (so) that’s where you’re going to want to focus with your traits.  If you’re not using a Bt rootworm hybrid, use some insecticide.”

While a wait-and-see approach is probably ok for cutworms and corn borers early on, Potter says seed corn maggots are another pest that needs to be addressed right away.

“If (farmers) are planting into a field that’s had a lot of manure spread on it, or if they’ve worked up some alfalfa or even some of these cover crops people are planting now.  That makes those fields attractive to flies.”

He says there are ways of preventing, or at least slowing the spread of seed corn maggots.

“Generally the treated seed is going to help, but if you plant into really high pressure you can still have some issues.  The good news about seed corn maggot is you can kind of predict when those flies are going to be out, and plant accordingly.”

Potter says regardless of crop prices, the principles of pest management remain the same; and more time spent scouting might be a producer’s best way of saving input dollars.




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