There were predictions a year ago that incidence of corn rootworm this year would be on the increase. “Ya that really has materialized and I think if we look at what we’re seeing for rootworm pressure in 2020 we’re seeing that it is definitely higher this year compared to what we’ve seen in the last several years,” said Jody Gander with Bayer.
Gander says it’s true over a wide geography and he explains one of the reasons.
“If you think about corn rootworm, the eggs overwinter in the soil and then typically hatch in late May or early June. This year we had a relatively mild winter followed by some pretty favorable conditions for rootworm hatch and survival when that was going on. That more than likely contributed to the higher level of pressure that we’re seeing this year.”
Gander says Bayer suggests an integrated pest management approach rather than relying on a single control tactic for the pest.
“There are different things such as number one, crop rotation,” he told HAT. “If you rotate out of corn to a non-host crop or a non-corn crop, you’re able to break the life cycle of corn rootworm. When those eggs hatch in late May or June and there’s no corn available they go ahead and they starve and they die. Then the following year you more than likely would not have any corn rootworm pressure.”
You can also use non-traited corn with soil applied insecticide or use a traited product such as SmartStax from Bayer with multiple modes of action. And Gander recommends trapping next year so you can monitor adults, “by using yellow sticky traps to try to get a feel for what the pressure may be going into the next year.”
To track pressure Bayer created “The Watch” program last year. “The purpose of this is to help increase grower awareness around corn rootworm. As you can see this year, corn rootworm populations can rebound very quickly.”
Learn more about the program by visiting Traits.bayer.com/thewatch and you will receive a sticky trap starter kit.